Eve Marriott’s WW1 Diary 1915 – March

1st March

No entry by Eve

British blockade of German East Africa commenced.


2nd March

Went to London by the early train and when I got there, having travelled with Kate Gilliat, I drove to Helen’s studio where I found her and Tod. She had said that she would get me a room but I found that Bay had asked me to go there so I went to the Bakers’ instead. Had lunch with Bay and Mrs B. and then went out shopping with Bay and a Miss Jenkins. Went to several rather smart hat shops. Had tea at the studio and then went to a small restaurant in Soho to dinner with H. Tod and a Mrs Beaumont and a Mrs Richardson, and after that all of us except Tod went to see Fanny’s first play, which I had seen once before. We went to the pit. It was very empty.

British Vice Admiral Carden began bombardment of Dardanelles forts.


3rd March

Bay and I did a little shopping and then we joined H. at Harrods and went to another little food shop in Soho called the ‘Petit Riche’ and had lunch there. Joyce joined us there. It appears that the ‘Norman’ on a submarine that we used to rag her about so at Grindelwald is really Norman Holbrook V.C. etc! Went to see ‘Peg O’ My Heart’ and liked it very much. Had tea at the Troc, I think, and then back to the studio where we stayed for supper. It was an impromptu one meant only for Tod but very good. Rang up Jim and told him to come round afterwards which he did, also a charming young friend of Bay’s in the Naval Flying Corps called ‘Brian’. He played bridge badly but his little wings were too sweet for words.

Reims again bombarded by the Germans.


4th March

Had a nasty shock this morning. Bay came in said she had found out the mystery about Bill, whose curious conduct in not coming near her or H. for a long time had been puzzling them a good deal. It appears that he has been figuring as a correspondent in a divorce case!! Bill of all people!! Nowadays everyone who does not get killed in this dreadful war feels so reckless. She only discovered by hearing Mrs Hargreaves talk about it on the telephone, then lunch, then met up with H. and Mrs Robertson who were just going out. Bay broke the sad news to them, much to the fascination of a man sitting just behind her and drinking it all in. Went down to Rye by the 4.30 train. Found Vi and Connie Sidgwick there, and all the kids except Nancy. That wretch Tod had known all about Bill, but never told us. Why?

First case of “indicator” nets aiding in the destruction of a German submarine (“U.-8″ in Straits of Dover). Crew taken prisoner. Russian Government sent circular telegram to Entente Governments laying claim to Constantinople.


5th March

Went over to Winchelsea, which is a most lovely place, and looked at the old church and at two houses which we thought might do for Connie. Went there in the car and walked home by Camber Castle – a long walk over very flat country with huge dykes all over. Looked at Camber Castle on the way. An old man took us across in a ferry boat at Rye Harbour.

Bombardment of Smyrna by British squadron (5th – 9th)


6th March

Scottie turned up.

Dardanelles: bombardment continued by “Queen Elizabeth” and seven other warships.


7th March

Connie and I went to church at Rye. It was full of soldiers who sang lustily and is a most lovely old church. Walked back.

Ostend bombed by 6 British aviators.


8th March

A beastly day. Connie went to stay at Peasmarsh with the other Scotts. Dug the garden. Tom went back to London in the evening.


9th March

A horrid day. Snowing off and on. I hardly went out at all.

Heavy fighting between Four-de-Paris and Bolante on the Western Front. Submarine U12 rammed and sunk by H.M.S. “Ariel”.


10th March

A lovely day, quite warm for a change. Went to the club house to get the papers. Played golf with Vi. She beat me hollow, of course.

Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10th – 13th ); British plan of attack informed for first time by aerial photographs taken by Royal Flying Corps


11th March

Walked to Peasmarsh.

British made progress near Neuve Chapelle, occupying village of l’Epinette. British auxiliary cruiser “Bayona” torpedoed and sunk close to coast of Scotland.


12th March

Started off for Bexhill in the Argyll. Vi drove with great success up and down the most fearful hills I have ever met in a car. We had a little trouble once or twice at corners when she went too far and stopped the engine as reversing is not her strong point. Found Mary looking blooming and in great form and George looking very ill as usual. Had lunch with them and all the boys and afterwards watched a hockey match between the best and the rest. G & M then walked down to the shops with us and we did a little shopping. Went home another way, one awful hill but the others not quite so bad. Helen & Tom came down.

General Sir Ian Hamilton appointed Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean (Dardanelles) Expeditionary Force.


13th March

Wrote letters and sat on the sand hills with Helen in the morning. She was feeling rather mouldy and developed a temperature after lunch. Vi and Tom motored over to Peasmarsh to lunch. I walked over to the club house and got the paper. Put H. to bed after tea. Vi & Tom spent most of their spare time planting shrubs.

Swedish S.S. “Hanna” torpedoed without warning. First neutral ship actually sunk by German submarine. Belgians gained ground on the Yser. Germans bombarded Ypres.


14th March

Vi’s birthday. A perfect day.

Beginning of Battle of St. Eloi; Germans attacked south of Ypres.Belgians made progress in the bend of the Yser and south of Dixmude. Violent German attacks failed between Four-de-Paris and Bolante. Light cruiser “Dresden”, last German cruiser left at sea, sunk by British warships in Chilean waters off Juan Fernandez


15th March

Went down to London. Had a train that left about 12.15. William motored into Rye. He is still feeling rather ill poor dear. Arrived at Cannon St about 3.30 and left my luggage there. Went by various buses to the wilds of Camberwell and after great difficulties I succeeded in finding St John’s Gate which is the headquarters of St John Ambulance. There I was interviewed by a hospital nurse and another lady who accepted my application to be taken on for duty at the Memorial Hospital, but said that I must sign on for a year or the duration of the war, which I did not like to do because they may send soldiers to Lutterworth. Went back to Cannon Street and took a taxi to Clareville Grove where I found Tod had taken a room close at hand. Had tea with Tod and afterwards Jim came in and T and I had supper at Beauchet’s in Soho and afterwards went to the Scala Theatre and saw some very good pictures. There was also a moving map of the war which was very funny.

First British merchant ship (S.S. “Blonde”) attacked by enemy aircraft


16th March

Had breakfast with Todd. A word came from Helen to say she was still too ill to come up to London. Went out shopping most of the day. Had lunch at Selfridges were I saw Goodacres and Miss Winny (?) who was there with her motor. Afterwards bought a picture for Mother Scott for a confirmation present at a nice little shop just beside Hamptons. Then into Hamptons where I found heaps of lovely photos of Italian pictures for 1/- each. Went back to the city in time for tea. Met Todd in the tube on my way back. Jim came to dinner. Afterwards we went to a cinema together at Marble Arch.


17th March

Packed and then played bridge with Todd until it was time to catch a train about 1pm at Waterloo. I went through to Bordon where Ruth met me at the station in a tiny pony cart and we drove up to Headley in it. Mrs Wallace and Sir Herbert and Lady M went for a walk after tea and heard some delicious music proceeding apparently from a from an Army Service Corps encampment, so R and I followed it by going straight across country until we found a clarinettist. We talked to him a bit and found he had been a conductor of a theatre orchestra in private life. Afterwards we joined Mrs W again and went off round the camp of the A.S.C. and saw them making bread and all the loaves and flour in store also the meat which I didn’t like so much. A funny little officer showed us round, and another rather nice one. Some people called Mr & Mrs Squarey came to tea and Mrs W also came in later, and a most charming American whom I had met there before.

General Sir Ian Hamilton took over command of Dardanelles Expeditionary Force


18th March

A nasty cold day. Fred turned up for tea and stayed to dinner. He had a rather bad leg as he had been playing football and it was rather bad before as he had fallen all of a sudden when running a race. Had a wire from Mother to say that they were going to send wounded to Lutterworth.

Allied attack on Dardanelles repulsed; one French and two British battleships sunk.


19th March

Drove to Bordon station with Ruth to get my hat box which had been left there. Saw hordes of soldiers both coming and going, among others one who by all accounts looked exactly like Bamber Baker although Bay had told me he was in France. I did not pay much attention to him, but I found out later it was important at the time. The whole of that division is at Bordon as well as a brigade of the 14th – Fred’s. Miss Murray came over in a car and has been here most of the afternoon. A nice and rather quiet girl.

Heavy German attack in the Vosges


20th March

A horrid day, very cold. Went out with R in the morning. Major Somebody and his wife and sisters-in-law came to call. He was nice but the women seemed rather dull. While they were there Mr & Mrs Mainwaring, Robertson, Miss R, his sister and Bay all came over in a car. We had expected Mrs & Bay but not quite such a large party. Sir H and Ruth were very charming to them. Lady M and Mrs Wallace were out, perhaps locally…It appeared that the other three were Mürrenites of the deepest dye and a great argument on the rival merits of the German Mürren and Grindelwald started at once. It was very nice to see the Robertsons again. They are an awfully nice couple. They came in an enormous car and had had some difficulty in finding the house. Ruth and I went round to the Squareys’ house after they had gone.

Action of Jakalswater (German South-West Africa).


21st March

Went to Church with the 9 family members. A lovely day, just like summer. Had a letter from Fred saying he was in bed as his knee was still pretty bad, so we decided to go and see him in the afternoon. We had a long, hot and rather nasty walk into Bordon and went through a lot of the camp which is simply full of men. We kept on asking where Guadaloupe Barracks were, but took ages before we could find them. First we went all through Quebec and another lot of huts. At last we found the Officers Mess of the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade and then no one was to be found to tell us anything. At last a young officer appeared and Ruth asked where Fred’s room was upon which he said rather sternly that he was afraid he was in bed. On Ruth explaining that I was his sister he relented and took us to a horrid little hut where we found poor Fred lying on a camp bed in his great coat. It was a beastly little room, very dark and with hardly any furniture except the bare necessities of life. We stayed and talked to him for some time. His mood seems to be rather bad. Walked back and went to tea with Mrs Duffins who was most amusing.

First German airship raid on Paris.


22nd March

Very cold again, so different to yesterday. Did not go out much.

Turkish raiding forces discovered near El Kubri (Suez).


23rd March

Ruth and I left Bayfield and travelled together as far as Wellington College Station where we both got out and drove up to her Aunt’s house which is about a mile away, so decided to stop there instead of Reading. It is a modern house, quite new in fact. I think they are only just getting into it. It was furnished in the most original and artistic way and quite regardless of expense I should say. The dining room was a harmony in grey and orange with black net curtains. Mr & Mrs Mansfield were both very nice but sad to say the Military Cross hero Geoffrey, whom Ruth had been most anxious for me to see was out. I walked back to the station and travelled very, very sadly alone. Altogether I had 7 changes between Bordon and Lutterworth, so it cannot be called a good journey. Saw Alan Young at Lutterworth in Private’s uniform.

First kite-balloon ship (vessel with tethered, manned reconnaissance balloon) commissioned.


24th March

Went down to Lutterworth and spent the morning messing about at the new hospital with Mother and various other people as we are expecting to receive wounded on Friday. It really is a perfectly splendid place. There is one ward with room for 12 beds and a very nice smaller one and a room where men can sit, a small room over towards the small kitchen. Took a lot of things across to Mrs Ffinch’s house where she has given up a small room kindly to the hospital. Went back to a rather late lunch and unpacked afterwards. Fred came home on sick leave, very lame poor dear.

Raid by British Naval airmen on Hoboken (near Antwerp). Chilean protest against violation of her territorial waters by the British at the battle of Juan Fernandez.


25th March

Went down to the hospital again and washed heaps of china. Dressed Fred’s leg by way of keeping my hand in.

Dutch (neutral) ship S.S. Medea sunk by German submarine.


26th March

Mabel Young came over to see Fred. Bicycled into Lutterworth and went to see sisters in the hospital. Mrs Entwistle and Flossie Ramsley came over in the afternoon.

Metz bombed by six French airmen.


27th March

E called. Walked to Coton to meet with Aunt Lucy and Valérie Gillot, eldest lady of the Belgians. It was a horrible day and snow at intervals. Jim turned up late at night having driven out from Rugby. He told us that the whole business at Lords had been given up and he had been spending most of the day chatting over a commission with a good deal of assistance from a Mrs Farran F, a widowed lady who is a friend of Townshend’s and apparently makes a hobby of getting commissions for stray would-be officers. She seems to be a person of considerable influence at the War Office. Jim had also been down to Bedford for a few hours on purpose to get the Headmaster’s signature on the application form, so he had had a busy day.

Bosporus forts bombarded by Russian Black Sea Fleet.


28th March

Went to Church. Horribly cold and snowing at intervals. We started to bicycle to Bitteswell, but it snowed so hard we came back. Father and Mother went to lunch at Coton.

First passenger ship (the British SS “Falaba”) sunk by German submarine.


29th March

Still horribly cold and freezing hard at night. Jim went back to London to continue his hunt for a commission.

Russians took 5,600 prisoners in the Carpathians.


30th March

A nasty day. Jim came home and told us he had got a commission in the Flying Corps. Most exciting news. He is to be employed on wireless work only and is to be on probation for a month.

Further German bombing of Reims cathedral


31st March

Went into Leicester with Jim and Father. Travelled in with Mrs Rows and Mrs A Watson and Cecil. Did some shopping at Johnsons where I bought a pair of shoes suitable for cycling with great difficulty. Came out and met Jim in the street, he having just been to the dentist. We then did a little shopping together, bought some ammunition for Fred’s revolver with much difficulty, as the man had orders only to sell it to officers and then had a cup of coffee at Millers and went back to the station. I had a foul shock on the way there as we nearly overtook Capt and Mrs C.C. Rolph and I lost my nerve completely and hastily crossed over to the other side of the street and passed by them I hope unobserved. She really did look a typical Leicester lady in the latest thing in plaid skirts and small hats. C was limping a bit and did not look well. I felt rather a brute but a meeting would have been most embarrassing for both of us, with all the foul things I have said about her in the past. Got home in time for a late lunch. Corbett Smith called. Aunts came to tea. Esther came from Heighington.

Severe fighting in the Carpathians. Home Secretary appointed a Committee of enquiry into the recruiting of men from retail trades.