Margaret’s WW1 Diary +100 Years

Journal Entry – Tuesday August 18th 1914

News that our army has reached France. General French [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_French,_1st_Earl_of_Ypres] had a wonderful reception in Paris. Working party at the Rectory, a representation gathering, all classes. Mrs Smith [Vicar’s wife] read aloud extracts from the paper. Reginald brought back news from Lanson [Launceston] that the Germans Crown Prince had been wounded, This and the murder of the German Emperor & Austrian Emperor is what we hear from time to time. The people in Meadwell have heard the firing of “the battle” so little idea have they of the geography of the world. A man has been caught trying to poison...

Journal Entry – Saturday August 15th 1914

Thunderstorm in early morning. Baby woke 4.45, but went to sleep again about 5.30. Very hot & close. No news in the paper of our army or navy. Reported defeat to Germans. We doubt if any of it is true. The French army is now ready & on the move. In morning washed my hair, dried it out of doors, no sun. In afternoon went to Tavistock for drill, made a bed again & did some bandaging. A real nurse was there, showed me how to bandage an arm, She was not at all pleased with the way I did...

Journal Entry – Friday August 14th 1914

Very close & hot. Baby very good in the night did not wake until 6.45, was quite happy no tears after her bottle. Germans had another defeat in Belgium. Still no news of our army or navy. I went to Plymouth to see W Britton [Dentist]. He finished crowning a tooth. Got some flannel for shirts & wool for socks, for the working party to make. Very slow tedious journey back. Waited ever so long at L Road [Railway Station] for Riviera Express [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornish_Riviera_Express]. Admiral met me at Lifton. Very slow journey home. Reginald spent the day on the moor...

Journal Entry – Thursday August 13th 1914

England has declared war on Austria. Germany has made no head way in Belgium [Schlieffen Plan]. The forces of the nations are gathering up for a fearful battle. If only something could stop it, it is too terrible to contemplate. No one knows where our army and navy is at least when I say no one, of course one forgets the authorities. The King for instance is kept informed by wireless telegraphy, the exact position of every ship. The Atlantic is being guarded by our cruisers so that our food supply shall not be cut off. Last night Plymouth was...

Journal Entry – Wednesday August 12th 1914

In afternoon Mary & I went to Tavistock for drill. Spent 6 hours of time driving there and back & drilling, having tea & all we did was to make one bed. It was rather sickening. We wished we had brought in some bandages to practise with. After the drill we went to the Mission Room where was held a working party. Every parish is to hold one & send in shirts and socks to Tavistock. Truly the women of Tavistock are working very hard. Could hear no news of the war, we seem very out of things here. Lovely...

Journal Entry – Monday August 10th 1914

Sun at last. Blue sky & white clouds. Lovely day. Paper Western Morning news. Very reduced only one sheet. We read of another defeat to Germany. This time by the French in Alsac [tk]. Dorothea went down to Plymouth to see Mr Britton [the family dentist]. Mary & Stella practised bandaging all the morning. Frank Drewe came over from St Stephens to fetch Ursula, and it was settled that they leave Baby here for a week so that Ursula should have a rest. At 1.15 Mary & I set off for Tavistock in four wheel dogcart, drawn by the Admiral...

Journal Entry – Sunday August 9th 1914

Same misty rain. Everything in the house damp & wet Rose at 6.30 fed fowls. Church at 8. Quite a lot of people including Locum tenens of Bradstone & Dunterton. Good sermon at Matins from Mr Smith (a prepared one) Had to play for children service. Afterwards Dorothea, Ela & I went up to Minnemore with Hector. Very damp but not much falling. After tea fed fowls. 10 eggs. Must try and get rid of some of the stags* . Food is getting very dear. We have started jam sandwiches for tea to save butter, the family call them “the...

Journal Entry – Saturday August 8th 1914

Very wet all day with fine mist. Did usual jobs all the morning, in the afternoon M*1 & I went to Tavistock with Father & Arthur, the 2 latter to meeting of Kelly College Trustees on the matter of “Boggis wires” M & I went to the hospital & had there a lesson from Matron in making beds. Phyllis Morshead was there & before the class began She, I & Mary had an amusing chat about “Boggis wires”. At the other end of the room was another group all indignant that the college was not to be used. After the...

Journal Entry – Friday August 7th 1914

Practised bed making & more bandaging. I tried also to reduce housekeeping expenses. Butter for instance is to be curtailed. No bread & butter for early morning tea. Must think out more schemes. Eggs to be used very carefully. Cakes to be plain dough cakes. In afternoon Mary & I went in Tavistock to see the Red Cross sec’t*1 & give in our names. We have to pledge ourselves for a year and to be ready to come at any moment. Attend 3 drills a week. That evening at dinner came a telegram from the woman at the head of...

Journal Entry – Thursday August 6th 1914

In Afternoon Dorothea & I went in to a meeting in Launceston of the Suffrage Society, I had to take the chair. We decided to discontinue all Suffrage work & use the small funds we have to help the distress in Launceston which will be caused by high prices & loss of work. After the meeting we went to tea with Mrs Horlock, she told us that a cousin of hers, Mrs Acland was in Germany with her husband, that no news of them had they heard. Whilst we were having tea in rushed Mr Frank Rodgers with the tiding...

Journal Entry – Wednesday August 5th 1914

The paper brought the news that war was actually declared between England & Germany. A policeman came up from Lifton & stuck up 2 printed notices on the double doors of the frame ground, calling on all Territorial Reservists to report themselves. Intense excitement all day. What can we do to help. I wrote to Mrs Boggis who is head of the Red X Dep’t in Tavistock & offered my services as nurse, Although I know nothing. That afternoon Stella suggested that we should practice some bandaging & we went to Kelly Mill to ask Mrs Yole to come &...

Journal Entry – Tuesday August 4th 1914

Father, Dorothea & I went to Plymouth. In train read Sir Edward Grey’s wonderful speech*1, and Germany’s demand to go through Belgium. After seeing the dentist we went on to the Hoe & watched the holiday crowds sporting themselves. From the Breakwater came flash light signals & all around Drake’s Island were a number of destroyers. Plymouth itself did not seem excited. The shops, especially the grocery departments were having a great run on them. Large orders of stores being presented. Householders in rather a panic. Stella Donville came. *1 Wikipedia Link – Edward Grey Speech

Journal Entry – Sunday August 2nd 1914

We had a special service here that day, because of the great seriousness of the European situation. We began with the Litany Followed by the Celebration. Mr Smith asked everyone to stop at the end of the Service. We heard no news all day. it was very hot, I walked over to Bradstone Rectory to call on the Locum Tenen’s*1 Wife, whom I failed to find. Mary, Ursula, Frank & Reginald walked over to Marystowe to settle about the proposed camp on Dartmoor which considering the exceeding dampness of the weather, they wish to put off. Very large congregation at...

A Day to Go

In one days time – on Saturday 2nd August – we will start blogging Margaret Clare Kelly’s War Journal. A brief explanation is in order, so this journal can remain as honest as possible! Margaret did not buy the physical book in which she wrote her thoughts until roughly a week after the war began – it then being obvious that she would want to record her observations for posterity. She then transcribed her words in to the new tome, and we are able to read them 100 years on. If you have any questions or comments related to the...

Margaret Clare Kelly

Margaret Kelly was born in 1879 in Ottery St Mary, Devon. She was the eldest daughter of Rev. Maitland Kelly and Agnes Leigh Clare Kelly. Following her mother’s death, and that of her Stepmother, in 1891 Margaret became matriarch of the Kelly Family, responsible for the running of the household. In 1899 her father inherited Kelly House from his brother Reginald and became squire of Kelly. Margaret came to Kelly with her father. It is fair, indeed necessary, to recognise many aspects of her identity when considering the tone and opinions she uses and espouses in this memoir. First, she...

Coming Soon!

Starting on the 2nd August this year, we will be blogging Margaret Clare Kelly’s WW1 diary! Family information and a brief overview introducing Margaret are now available on the blog. For more information on Kelly House, visit our website: http://kelly-house.co.uk