Margaret’s WW1 Diary +100 Years

Journal Entry – Sunday July 15th 1917

Frank, Ursula & Juliana are here, also a friend of Franks Mr Bonnet, a medical student at St Thomas. Last Saturday there was a fearful air raid in London. 30 enemy aeroplanes came over & dropped bombs on the city, Mary saw it all from her office. Yesterday the Bishop came here to visit the church, he was going around in the deanery. He told the Newmans that he thought the war would end in September as it could not last financially any longer. We had a letter from Mr Bateman saying that his brother had been told by some...

Journal Entry – Thursday June 21st 1917

The longest day, & certainly does seem long, for since the new arrangement of the time, the evenings are so light. It is very convenient, for we have no need of any lamps. All is going well. Father gain strength each day, he comes into the dining room for lunch & dinner, wheeling himself about in the wheelchair. On Sunday he was carried into church & returned thanks publicly for his recovery. Mr Moore went off today to Scarborough. He came in last night to say goodbye, wearing his uniform. It is absurd to dress the clergy up as if...

Journal Entry – Thursday June 14th 1917

There was a fearful air raid over London yesterday morning, 100 deaths & many injured. Bombs were dropped from aeroplanes on the east of London & the city, I had a letter from Ursula saying she was safe, which sounds rather as if they came her way. A lovely day, father went out again in the donkey carriage up to the lodge, along Torre Lane & home by Bradstone. My potatoes are looking splendid, I banked them up yesterday evening.

Journal Entry – Wednesday June 13th 1917

Last Wednesday morning at 4 AM we began on the big offensive on the Western front, by exploding 9 miles of mines in the neighbourhood of Ypres. The noise of the explosion was heard in London. Mary came here on Tuesday & left today will stop father has been out each day in the bath chair, & today went out in the old pony carriage that grandfather used to go in. He is carried downstairs each morning & spends the day in the drawing room, & gets out of doors from there through the window and stop the nurse left...

Journal Entry – Sunday June 3rd 1917

Cold & cloudy but fine later. Yesterday I fetched Mary from Tavistock & took her to Mary Stowe, in Tavistock saw a crowd of foreign looking men in the square & find out that they are Portuguese come to fell trees in the Lydford Woods. Father who has sold some of the Ramsdown plantations to the government hopes that a herd of foreigners will not be sent to fell them. Last evening I picked a piece of flower from the Embothrium, there was only one bloom on the bush, & that is the first it has borne. There is to...

Journal Entry – Friday June 1st 1917

Yesterday we got farther up for the first time into a chair, it was not very successful as he found the position uncomfortable so today we bought in the sofa & he lay on that, and afterwards he went back into his own big bed & was much happier, free from pain. Yesterday we had a letter from aunt Sophie describing the air raid. Gen Smuts* has made a fine speech in which he says that the whole character of the war has been changed by the Russian Revolution & the coming in of America. It is now no longer...

Journal Entry – Monday May 28th 1917

A letter came yesterday from the Red Cross enquiry office. In it was a statement by Private Loder of the fifth Dorsets who was with Bob on January 11, to the effect that he saw Bob fall during the attack & he went on to say that a friend of his lance Cpl Parsey said he saw him dead. Now all this D & I don’t believe, as the Private’s do make up such tales. However I have written to the adjutant of the regiment to ask him what he thinks about it. We must try & keep this away...

Journal Entry – Saturday May 26th 1917

Very warm day, thundery in evening. Father is getting on slowly, but has more pain & this afternoon it was extra bad. Mr Bush came to see him, which cheered him up & helped him to forget it. We heard yesterday that Mary has measles. Lloyd George in the house yesterday made a cheery speech in which he said that the number of ships sunk this month was fewer than those sunk in April, & that we hoped through the help of America to overcome the submarine danger. This coincides with something that cousin Addy wrote & told us of...

Journal Entry – Sunday May 20th 1917

A lovely warm day. Father continues to improve, but it is weary work for him. It is such a pity he cannot get out & see the apple blossom stop never has it been so wonderful. Not only our orchard, but all the orchards around about are one sheet of blossom. The azaleas to our full of bloom & everything glorious & beauteous, a joy after all the long cold winter & spring. The submarines are doing a great deal of damage, sinking numbers of ships consequently our food supply is running short. We do not feel it here, but...

Journal Entry – Thursday May 17th 1917

Ascension Day A cold grey day. Service at eight, Mr Moore brought the sacrament over to father and gave it him in his room, doing this in the middle of the service. The doctorate’s visit said that father is now out of danger, so we hope now that all will go well. Mary went back to London on Tuesday stop At 730 we had Evensong. The choir sang the Rosy Sequence. It is quite the most beautiful hymn ever written both as regards the words & music.

Journal Entry – Sunday May 13th 1917

A terrible, an awful thing happened on Monday evening. Father was standing outside the boiling house talking to Eli with his gun under his arm when it slipped & fell to the ground & went off the charge entering his left foot. I was weeding the border by the front door when it happened. Beatrice came running to me with the news of the accident, I went & found him lying on the ground. Ballsdon Eli & Lane got a door & we put him on it & carried him in and got him to bed & I tied up...

Journal Entry – Sunday May 6th 1917

On Thursday I went up to Exeter with Nicholas & dispatched him to school. A great responsibility gone, I stayed a couple of nights in Exeter, & met various old friends. On Friday I had tea at Delles with Tindall, Briggs, Alexandre, & Paramore. Came home on Sat. The fighting on the Western front is intense Mildred Hillyard’s husband, Capt Bradford has been drowned. He was on his way home from Nigeria, & when near England the ship was torpedoed, he & some other passengers got into a boat which was upset, all were lost.

Journal Entry – Wednesday May 2nd 1917

Lovely day, really hot, but still very few trees in leaf. This afternoon Charlotte May Shaw, D & I went into North Park Wood, & had our team there, we made the donkey carry all the things on his back. It was very lovely & peaceful down there, the anemones were out, & the Larch just in leaf. The food question is getting more serious every day, the Germans are determined to starve us out their U boats are busy sinking ships of all nationalities within a limited zone around the British Isles. Every day appeals are issued urging people...

Journal Entry – Sunday April 29th 1917

A whole week of perfect weather. Bright sun, but still not really hot, as the wind is cold. Mary Shaw came here on Thursday. Mr Franchelian went away that day. His ship was supposed to sale in the afternoon from Plymouth for Mombasa, via Cape Town. We hope he will have time to see Agnes on the way. I had the letter affixed to this page on Wednesday, from Mrs Collinson. It is a wonderful example of unselfish bravery, in its there is no word of herself or her sorrow, truly the world is full of beautiful characters. On Friday...

Journal Entry – Thursday April 19th 1917

George Collinson has been killed in an aeroplane accident in Scotland. He was buried yesterday morning in Mary Stowe churchyard. Father Dorothea & I went over to the service. Mrs Collinson we hear is wonderfully brave, but it is a terrible blow to her, as he was all she lived for, & he was such a nice boy & good son. The fighting in France is now terrific. The French have begun their attack & taken 17,000 prisoners & many guns, our army is also taking many prisoners, & making furious attacks on the enemy. It really seems now as...

Journal Entry – Sunday April 15th 1917

The Winter has returned again. Last week we had snow most days & a few blizzards & thunderstorms thrown in, & an icy wind. It is too depressing for words. Mary came home on Thursday in holy week & stayed until Monday. Even appeared on Monday. He is going to France to work in canteens. We had a fine Easter morning, but later in the day the good old hail etc returned. America has now declared war & on Easter Monday we began our big push & have gone forward & taken many prisoners & gains etc. The news is...

Journal Entry – Wednesday April 4th 1917

Winter back again. All last week the wind was bitter & on Thursday morning there was snow. Every day since it has snowed & on Monday, Tuesday extra special line in snowstorms, with high wind. Father has had a very nasty cold, being on the for more than a week & children also have colds. Yesterday I went to Exeter to meet Nicholas, had a perilous journey to the station, the snow balled in the Abbots hoofs, Wilcox had to lead him down the steep hill. At Exeter had only two hours. Went to Number One hospital, saw Bert Clogg....

Journal Entry – Monday March 26th 1917

Brightest day, but bitter wind. The children & I went to Yeomans Mill to take Mr Neale & his nephew cards about National Service. Mr Neale told me a wonderful tale that he had heard from the morning postman, namely that 30,000 Germans had landed in England, & that all the soldiers on leave had been recalled on Saturday & that six express trains had gone up from the West during the weekend full of men returning from leave. It was a fine tale but the very unreliable source may be doubted. Anyhow it made father used at teatime. We...

Journal Entry – Sunday March 25th 1917

Another fine day. We were excited this morning at seeing 21 pheasants in the field by the lawn. Elizabeth & Philippa were very interested. In the afternoon went down to Yalford to inquire for Nora Guscott who is very ill. The revolution in Russia is a big thing. The Emperor and Empress are prisoners. Our if only Germany would follow suit & pop the Kaiser & his sons into a prison, perhaps the war would cease. Am reading Wells’ new book, “War & the future.” In it he states that the development of the tanks will be perhaps the means...