Margaret’s WW1 Diary +100 Years

Journal Entry – Wednesday March 21th 1917

Father says the wind is N.E. Dorothea says N.W. Which am I to believe? Anyhow it was cold wherever it was. It is also the birthday of the great Dorothea Juliana Drewe. D and I drove to Haine. We saw the baby, poor little thing she looks very frightened. This retreat of the Germans is evidently a clever move affairs, as they have destroyed everything on their way. Some authorities consider that by doing it now, they have hindered us from making any big move forward this summer.

Journal Entry – Monday March 19th 1917

Our troops have taken Bapaume & Péronne. The heading in the paper to day was “Germans crumpling up.” The Russians are to have Duke Michael as Tsar, & the Emperor Nicholas retires. We wonder what is the real truth of it all it is so difficult to find out anything from the papers as they are so one sided. The Turks are fleeing, so altogether we feel more cheered to day, if only we could hear some news of Bob.

Journal Entry – Friday March 16th 1917

Bag dad is taken by our army. It was entered on Sunday & by now they are about 30 miles n of it. This ought to mean something, anyhow it cheers us up. In to days paper is the startling news that the Tsar has abdicated. There have been terrible riots in Petrograd, food riots. & Now the Duma wishes to have real power instead of being a mere letter. There is also a feeling that the government & the Imperial party are in the pay of the Germans. This however is only what we gather from the newspapers of...

Journal Entry – Sunday March 11th 1917

Another wet Sunday. In Thursday’s paper was an account of a Home Rule Debate in the House. The Government are now independent of the Irish Vote, & although the Home Rule has been passed yet now Lloyd George turns round & says that Home Rule can be for those who want it, which means that Ulster is to be left out. This naturally makes Irishmen very angry as they consider they have been badly treated, & so they have. This affair & the publication of the Report of the Commission on the Dardanelles has made the week a depressing one....

Journal Entry – Wednesday March 7th 1917

A terrible N E wind cutting through everything, strong & biting. I tried to go to Marystowe, but had to turn back. Father however drove in to Tavistock for a Kelly College meeting. The Germans continue to withdraw on the western front. Lovat Fraser – a writer in the Daily Mail – gives 6 probable reasons why they are doing it. One is that by retreating in this way we have to go to the expense of making fresh railways & so will have to postpone our offensive. He states that it does not indicate any weakness on their part....

Journal Entry – Wednesday February 28th 1917

Kut has been taken and the Turks driven back. Here we have been thrilled all day. The face of the stable clock has been regilded. For years the figures have gradually got more & more indistinct until alt last they have disappeared & we could only guess the time by the position of the hands. Two men came up from Plymouth, one came into the house and set going all the clocks, & the other did the gilding. Balsdon was very pleased with himself as it was his suggestion. The man took up three sacks stuffed with hay, which he...

Journal Entry – Monday February 26th 1917

Another move forwards on the Ancre. Serre has been taken. The Germans have withdrawn their troops. We have now at this point in front of our trenches a piece of ground unbroken with shell holes. Lloyd George has made a statement that certain imports are to be forbidden, but that will not affect us much. The potatoe question is a very burning one, the price is very high & some people think that farmers are holding up supplies in case that the price should go up. In the meantime poor people who depend very largely upon potatoes for food have...

Journal Entry – Tuesday February 20th 1917 Shrove Tuesday

The War Loan has bee a great success. Mr Bonar Law last night in the House made the statement that £700,000,000 had been subscribed & more is coming in. Here in this parish Miss Miller has taken it up & has collected £113 chiefly through the children of the school. It is extraordinary what a number of people have a hoard of gold & we were asked long ago to give up all gold. Father & Arthur went in to Tavistock to Kelly College meeting consequently the former was not able to make his famous quotation at lunch. In afternoon...

Journal Entry – Sunday February 18th 1917

The thaw has come at last. It began on Monday, but the ice has not gone yet. I can still stand on the lily pond, but the flowers are beginning to show . The snowdrops have come up with a rush. Yesterday Father heard from Highbury that Uncle Joe was very ill & we fear this may be the end. Bob’s kit has returned from France. Ellis & I unpacked it on Thursday. Mr Moore’s brother who is in the Lincolns is home on sick leave. He has been wounded & was in hospital in Boulogne. One day this week...

Journal Entry – Tuesday February 13th 1917

Mr Gerard has left Berlin, but still America is uncertain about what she intends to do, it almost seems now as if she will patch it up again on as before. The thaw has come at last but the wind is still cold. Yest Dorothea went to Buckfastleigh & I walked over to Landue with bag in hand & spent the night there, Sophie & Mrs Tregonning were the only ones at home. I had a most pleasant evening there. Mrs T amused me much by her views on the war & was exceedingly bitter against the Prussians & looks...

Journal Entry – Friday February 9th 1917

Only 7 degrees last night. Heard from Father describing Gerald’s wedding. It was a very quiet affair. This morning Dorothea and I both noticed a curious noise. At first I thought it was a Aroplane but it was too steady & continuous & sounded like the sea. Balsdon told us it was the East wind roaring on Dartmoor & this evening after tea we went to the front door & heard it again, a steady rustling noise of wind & yet it was quite still here. Elizabeth & I walked to Milton to inquire at the Post Office about the...

Journal Entry – Monday February 5th 1917

Very cold day. America has withdrawn her Ambassador from Berlin & Count Bernstorff has been handed his papers at Washington. This looks as if America means to act, but I hope she will not come in. There are enough nations fighting. This submarine menace is the last resort of the enemy. The Zepps have failed & her army on the Western Front can not make any headway. now it comes to this, either Germany is starved out or we are starved out. A list of food regulations is published to day. 2 ½ lbs of meat per head per week,...

Journal Entry – Saturday February 3rd 1917

Returned home on Thursday. The weather has been bitter, & in that little house in Wimbledon it was impossible to get warm. None of the doors or windows fit, gales blow all round you when you sit in any of the rooms. There is a large crack in the house from top to bottom & the ceiling in one of the rooms was momentarily expected to fall. Yet for all this Frank, Ursula & Juliana live a happy life. I had a nice time running up to town most days & seeing several of my friends. Had tea at Wimb....

Journal Entry – Saturday January 27th 1917

Something bombarded the Sussex coast last night but did very little damage & there were no casualties. The Germans are attacking mear Verdun again. A bitter wind still. We have not had such a cold winter since the year 1895 but we have not had severe frosts but it is such a long spell of cold winds. We have had stacks of letters enquiring about Bob perhaps by the end of next week we get news. This afternoon to give the children exercise I fetched them down in to the dining room & had a good romp. Ellis has moved...