Eve Marriott’s WW1 Diary 1915 – May


Saturday 1st May

Was down at the hospital again at 8.00. Mrs Martin came later. Was allowed to help to bandage Bollington’s arm. Mrs Sarson told me when I got there that Watts had had a temperature the night before, so I firmly sent him back to bed till the doctor came which was a good thing as it turned out, as he was kept there for the rest of the day. He is a corporal in the Norfolk Regiment and has a slight wound in his foot, but he doesn’t seem well and no wonder as he has been out there ever since the beginning of the war till the night at Hill 60 which was only a week ago. He has never been ill or wanted or had a day’s leave till this so I think he deserves a bit of rest. In the afternoon I took Sorrel across to the Cottage Hospital to have his leg treated with an electric therapy machine. Jeffery, a nice quiet-looking boy wheeled him across in a bath chair. Found Sister Britton there who has just come back; she came across at tea time. Found Fred when I got home. He had come for what is probably his last weekend.

Second Battle of Ypres: Repulse of German attack on Hill 60, British ordered to withdraw to new line.

Dardanelles: Turks attack the Allied line at Gallipoli.

S.S. “Gulflight” torpedoed without warning: damaged, but reaches port. First United States ship attacked by German submarine.


Sunday 2nd May

Went down at 8.00, found there had been some trouble last night as the men had been out of bounds. Of course, I think it is a pity not to let the men go where they like so long as they behave themselves. Some of them went to Church, but not many as the doctor came very late. Watched the dressings and massaged Sorrel’s feet. Went back for lunch.

Russian Black Sea fleet shelled the forts on the Bosporus.

Turkish Minister of War sent British and French subjects into the danger zone at Gallipoli.


Monday 3rd May

Went down to the Cottage Hospital for a change and spent a very busy morning as there was an operation on a little girl at 8.00 who had to have a boil lanced. Afterwards went to the VAD hospital and saw Mother and Sister Britton and heard that they had had a truly awful morning as there had been a fearful row the night before owing to Jock having gone out after the place was supposed to be shut up and he wandered down the Bitteswell Road until he met an attractive damsel whom he asked to come for a walk with him and told her how he had got out of the hospital. Unluckily for him it was Evans’ maid, who went home and told them all about it so, of course, Miss E told Sister and poor old Jock was fairly ‘had’. This morning seems mainly to have been spent in low spirits for all the men and especially poor Jock who has got to go which is really too sad. Went home and in the afternoon four of the men (Adcock, Bollington, Pears and Jeffrey) came up here and spent the afternoon with the little boys who played bowls and clock golf with them.

Submarine E14 sank a Turkish gunboat in the Sea of Marmora.

Italy denounced the Triple Alliance.

Advertisement in American papers stated that ships flying the British flag were liable to destruction in the war zone.


Tuesday 4th May

Went down to the hospital at 7.00. Unearthly hour, never again. 6 all well except Watts, who is still in bed and seems thoroughly worn out & no wonder. Took his temperature and saw that the place was cleared out before Sister came, then watched the dressings being done then bandaged Watts’ feet. After that there was nothing to do for some time and afterwards saying a sad farewell to Jock who left us under a cloud to the great distress of everyone, I think. I stopped for some time talking to Watts who really has had the most thrilling experiences. Mr Taylor was there too and we both listened enthralled for ages while he went on in his gentle way in broad Norfolk. I think he said he had once been reported ‘killed’, once ‘missing’ and twice ‘wounded and missing’. Once he was 15 days cut off from all the others surrounded by Germans with a small group of men, but they fought on and were eventually found by our own people, who had quite given them up. Went back for lunch and had a thoroughly lazy afternoon in the garden. Esther came home.

Second Battle of Ypres: French advanced between Lizerne and Het Sas, while Germans captured Zonnebeke, Wetshoek and Zevenkote.


Wednesday 5th May

Had a nice peaceful day at home which I thoroughly enjoyed. Esther and boys played tennis. It was very hot.

German submarine U-20 sank ‘Earl of Lathom’, a sailing vessel carrying bacon and potatoes from Limerick to Liverpool.


Thursday 6th May

E & Mother went to the hospital in the morning but I stayed quietly at home. Very hot again.

Second Battle of Ypres: British recovered some trenches on Hill 60.

Steamship ‘Centurion’ torpedoed and sunk in St George’s Channel by German U-20.


Friday 7th May

Had another day off. Mother and I drove over to Brownsover and saw Solties B. Leigh. She took us round the garden which really is lovely now. There was a very pretty girl there who is I think one of Harts. She comes from South Africa and had never been in England before this, or not since she was a child. It was very hot. A tremendous thunderstorm came while we were there and it simply poured with rain for ages. Got home to find we had had hardly any at all which was annoying.

Cunard ocean liner RMS ‘Lusitania’ torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-20. 1,198 lives lost.


Saturday 8th May

Went on duty at the hospital in the afternoon. Dorothy Goodacre was there and she came in after a bit. Had a great breakthrough with Watts. As we got there Mrs Derwent who was just going off said he was very bad and in great pain and had done nothing and was altogether in a very bad way, so we were rather alarmed, very. I took him his medicine at 2.00 and he certainly looked very miserable indeed and would hardly answer me at all, so I started a little conversation with Bollington also in the same ward in bed and two more men which Watts presently joined in, so then I began talking to him about patience which we had played the other day and soon he was up and cheerful again and began teaching me card tricks and bucked up so well that at tea time he had 2 cakes, having previously refused all food with a wan smile.

Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (Ypres) began

Death in action of Lieutenant Geoffrey Phillip Legard of 2nd Battalion

Northumberland Fusiliers (commemorated on Menin Gate, Ypres). [See entries for 15th and 30th May.]


Sunday 9th May

A nice day but much colder. Esther and I walked over to Bitteswell and had tea with the Youngs. Met several of the soldiers on the way back who told us that two doctors had come over from Leicester to inspect the hospital this afternoon. By some miracle all the men except Bollington (he was supposed to be indoors) were to be found, so it seems to have come off quite well.

Allied Spring Offensive began: Battle of Aubers Ridge.

Second Battle of Artois began

Death in action of Captain Townsend Powell of 2nd Battalion Northants. Regiment (commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium). [See entry for 15th May.]

Death from wounds of Lieutenant Reginald John Legard of 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorks. Regiment (buried at Merville, France). [See entries for 15th & 19th May.]


10th May

Went down to the Wycliffe hospital and had a fairly busy morning on Watts’ hands with some success.

Naval convention signed between Great Britain, France and Italy.

Anti-German demonstrations in London and Liverpool caused by the sinking of the “Lusitania”.


Tuesday 11th May

Went to the hospital again.

Second Battle of Ypres: Germans bombarded Ypres-Menin road.


Wednesday 12th May

Messed about at home in the morning and went down to the hospital at 1.30 to 5.0. It was a nasty wet day. They were washing the wards which made it most uncomfortable. Watts played the piano for a time while Bollington performed on the harmonium at the same time so we had a nice cheerful noise and they really were very funny. Watts had a small air gun which he was shooting with and I had two shots and hit the ball the first time, and then he squeezed up the paper into a little bunch and I hit it again. He is a frightfully good shot himself and wins cups and things apparently. I found a telegraph post absolutely riddled with shot having been used as a target.

H.M.S. “Goliath” torpedoed.

Report of Bryce Committee (“Committee on Alleged German Outrages”) published.

More anti-Germans riots in England.


Thursday 13th May

A perfectly beastly day and raining hard. I drove down to the hospital for lunch and stayed there for the afternoon. D. Goodacre was on duty too. She is rather a fool in some ways but means well. Bonnington’s brother, a rather superior person, came over from Sheffield for the day to see him and stayed to tea. Watts put my thimble on a screen and smashed it to smithereens – a pretty good effort as it was a tiny target. He was not the least penitent about it.

King George V struck the names of seven German and Austrian royals from the roll of Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (Ypres) ended.

H.M.S. “Goliath” sunk by Turkish destroyer in the Dardanelles.


Friday 14th May

Stopped at home and did nothing particular. After tea we went down to the hospital meaning Uncle P(eter) to sing to the soldiers and none of them were to be found, although they were supposed to have been told by Adcock, so we came back. We also heard that they had refused to go to Mrs Watsons at the last minute after saying that they would originally. They are the limit really.

Second Battle of Ypres: French and Belgians advanced near Het Sas and Steenstraate.

Article in the “Times” on the shortage of munitions: headline “Need for shells: British attacks checked: Limited supply the cause: A Lesson From France”.

Internment of enemy aliens in Great Britain began.


Saturday 15th May

Went down to the Cottage hospital and washed a little girl and dressed Bollington who is going on alright but cannot use his arm at all of course. Did many other odd jobs and got back in time for lunch. Uncle Peter left at 1.00. Mother returned about then. They had a rather worrying morning at the other hospital which ended in a bad headache. It now appears that Watts is deeply offended at something Dorothy said to him and refuses to do anything and she is to go back to Leicester! What foul babies they are. Esther heard from Muriel this morning that Geoffrey is missing. It really is almost too foul to be true. Also Reggie Legard is wounded and Townsend Powell killed. What a life we lead. Digby came home looking very well but no Fred. We had hoped he might turn up, but I am afraid this must mean he has gone or just going.

Battle of Festubert began.

Lord Fisher (First Sea Lord of Great Britain) tendered his resignation


Sunday 16th May

A nasty cold day. Went to Church. In the evening Fred suddenly turned up, having driven out in a car from Leicester. He arrived about 3 and left again with Digby at 8. They spent most of the afternoon birds nesting but he says he really is going off in a few days so I expect this really is “goodbye”.

Battle of Festubert: British advance continued.

Zeppelin raid on Calais.


Monday 17th May

Mother went down to the hospital. Found a whole lot of new men had arrived yesterday so that we are now quite full up at the Wycliffe as there are 17. She said they seemed a nice quiet lot and looked as if they would be giving us no trouble.

Zeppelin raids on Dunkirk and Ramsgate.

News reached Gallipoli that a German submarine had successfully passed through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean.


Tuesday 18th May

E. and I bicycled over to see Yolande. She is very lonely, poor dear, as her “Ted” has gone out to Alexandria with the Warwickshire Yeomanry and is ill in hospital there. Heard the garden is perfectly lovely with heaps of rock plants. She told us that R. Hughes had got a man in the recreation department. Rather a good thing I should think. On the way back we saw Gass and I said goodbye to him as I thought he was going tomorrow. I feel sad and I said a fond farewell to Adcock, who was most friendly and said he was “going to track over to our place if he got a little farewell”. As a matter of fact none of them went at all on Saturday.

Battle of Festubert: British advanced to La Quinque Rue-Bethune road.

Lord Kitchener in the House of Lords insisted on the importance of an adequate supply of munitions.


Wednesday 19th May

I heard from Todd who said that Reggie was shot in the head and died about an hour later without recovering consciousness so he did not suffer at all. Heard from Aunt A who has gone to Heighington. I am afraid her letter does not sound as if there was much chance of Geoff being on leave as apparently he was wounded pretty badly. Still, one never knows. Capt. Scott was killed. Capt. Muriel & heaps of others were also killed when landing at Gallipoli Peninsula.

Age limit for British Army recruits fixed at 40. (Extended to 50 in 1918.)

Frederick Ernest Marriott (Eve’s half-brother) embarked for France with 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade.


Thursday 20th May

Went down to the hospital in the afternoon for the first time since the new 6 came. Rather alarming seeing so many new faces, but the old friends were a great support to me. Miss Alderson was the other nurse. Helped her to put a fomentation on a badly wounded hand belonging to a man called Hannan in the Somersetshire L. I. A splendid looking man who had been through the whole thing till a week ago about. He knew Lieutenant Watts and even the Pretyman boys. He looked a picture of health and seemed in the best of spirits so I suppose being a warrior suits his constitution. Watts and Bollington and two new men called Beverley and Leigh were all in the little ward. Most of them more or less asleep most of the evening. Yolande came in and I showed her round and introduced her to Bollington and she talked to him and Leigh. The others were asleep. Grace Topham looked in now and then.

Battle of Festubert continued with a slight British advance.


Friday 21st May

Rather wet. Heard that Fred had actually gone to France.


Saturday 22nd May

E. and Mother went to the hospital. Jim turned up unexpectedly, of course, in a taxi from Rugby. He looks very well and brown and smart in his new Flying Corps uniform, though he agrees with me that it would look better with a pair of wings embroidered on it! He seems to be getting on with it splendidly there and says they all think him quite an expert on all sorts of subjects he knows nothing about. He shot rooks in the afternoon and we played tennis after tea.

Gretna Green/Quintinshill rail disaster which involved five trains, killed a probable 226, injured 246 and remains the worst rail crash in the United Kingdom in terms of loss of life. Those killed were mainly soldiers. [See entry for 29th May]

Battle of Festubert: British advanced south of Quinque Rue.

German air raid on Paris.


Sunday 23rd May

Went to Church. Jim went off directly after lunch. It was very hot. I sat in the garden and read a book. Bobbie turned up in a car about 4 o’clock, but only stayed a very little while. He was full of remorse, of course.

Italy declared war against Austria.


Monday 24th May

Went down to the hospital at 1.30. Almost all the men were about the place. Bollington’s brother had come to see him again and came to tea and Holmes had a lady friend who had come down from London to see him; she had tea in the kitchen. She seemed a nice girl, but very plain. Mrs Pryce Taylor was on duty and was quite nice. Miss Fosberry hindered us both very much by coming in early at about 4.40 and got thoroughly in the way at tea time.

Battle of Bellewaerde Ridge (Ypres) (24th/25th).

Italian forces crossed Austrian frontier (midnight 24th/25th).


Tuesday 25th May

Went down to the hospital at 1.30. A quiet afternoon as so many of them were out. 4 went out with Grace and 4 were asked to tea at the Evans next door, and all went except Watts, who lost his nerve at the last moment and stayed behind after peeping through the hedge several times to see if the others had gone. He is very shy about going anywhere although he is so easy to talk to.

Close of 2nd Battles of Ypres

Battle of Festubert ended

H.M.S. “Triumph” torpedoed and sunk by submarine off the Dardanelles.


Wednesday 26th May

Went down to the hospital at 8.30 till 1.30. A lovely day, very hot. I settled to ask 4 of them to tea with us, so invited Watts and Nash, never thinking they would come as they never go anywhere if they can help it, but to my great surprise they both said they would and Watts asked if Bollington who is a great friend of his could come too. Of course, I said “Yes!” and also asked Price who is a very nice gunner and has been an officer’s servant for a long time. I meant to ask Sorrel, but he had gone away to see his wife and had not returned. Nash’s only objection was “What about them poor arrivals that is coming this afternoon? Who is going to look after them and show them the ways of the place if we all go out?” – “arrivals” being 3 new soldiers expected to arrive here! Of course everyone said he was the last person who ought to be left to teach them all manner of wickedness! Mother drove down in the car and loaded up Watts & Bollington while Price & Nash walked, arriving about 4.30. We had tea in the covert and made a bonfire there & afterwards they played a rather curious tennis and bowls in the garden and we took them round the garden and showed them a few nests & etc & they were quite “up”, I think. It really was a triumph for W & N.

Italian Government announced blockade of Austro-Hungarian coast.

British battle squadron concentrated at Malta prior to joining Italian fleet in Adriatic.

Zeppelin raid at Southend.


Thursday 27th May

Had a day off at the hospital. Esther went down in the morning. In the afternoon we drove over to Ullesthorpe and played tennis at Mrs Pemberton’s. It was frightfully cold driving and dreadfully windy there, so it was not much of a day for tennis really, but they had a lot of people there, Mrs Clarke, Mr & Mrs Belcher, Dr Rogers & Edie Sedgewick and Dr Stokes. I played first with Cecil against Edie and Robin P and also against the winning team and we were badly beaten & then after tea I played with Robin against Mr Clarke & Mrs B and we won. Mrs Arnold Watson came so I talked to her about our solicitors and told her a story that quite amazed her.

H.M.S. “Majestic” sunk by submarine at Dardanelles. 49 sailors went down with the ship.

Winston Churchill resigned his post as First Lord of the Admiralty, having been largely blamed for British failures during the Dardanelles Campaign.

British minelayer “Princess Irene” destroyed by internal explosion in Sheerness harbour.


Friday 28th May

Got down to the hospital and 8.00 and had a busy morning. Tested the big ward and helped with the dressings & watched Price & Reynolds the guardsman being massaged. Had a wire from Capt Fagge about 12 o’clock saying there were several Northumberland Fusiliers at the Northern Hospital so I got off early and rushed home and went into Leicester at once to see them. Was rather delayed by meeting a lot of the Leicester Yeomanry and various other regiments coming from the memorial service, but got to the hospital about 4 and was allowed in after waving my telegram at several people. There were five men but they took a lot of finding as they were scattered about all over the place in different wards, but at last I managed to see them all, but got no information out of any of them, except that they had been in a battle on Monday in which all the companies of the Regiment seem to have been killed or wounded except their own. I only talked to one other man, a nice little Welsh man, who gave me a French bullet. Got back very tired at 7 o’clock.

Arthur Balfour appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, in place of Churchill.

French advance in the “Labyrinth” (north of Arras).


Saturday 29th May

Had lunch early & drove down to the hospital where I found Mother just going off. Miss Evans was on duty as well as me and we had a nice peaceful afternoon. Washed bandages and had a most interesting conversation with MacWilliams who is in bed still in the long ward with a swollen face which rather spoils his beauty, but he told me heaps of exciting stories, most of which I managed to understand, I think. His regiment is the 9th Argyll Sutherland Highlanders and territorial one and they seem to have suffered dreadfully lately and lost nearly all their officers and men, so they were sent back to the base after Mac W’s was wounded and the 4 remaining officers sent home on leave & 3 of them were killed in the Gretna Green rail accident and one injured. Mac W’s brother was killed quite close to his home in the trench by a bullet which ricocheted & hit him in the head. He is a little dear. All but one were in to tea so we had a lot to do to get it ready. I had a little tea up in the small ward and gave tea to Les, the Canadian boy, Batty Bollington. The two latter have been getting on really very well.


Sunday 30th May

Heard from Aunt Alice that they have heard officially that Geoffrey is killed, which is really too foul.

Western Front: Germans attack at Hooge.

Italians make progress in Trentino.

Severe fighting in Cameroons.


Monday 31st May

No entry by Eve.

First German airship raid on London; several hours of bombing left 5 dead and 35 injured.