Eve Marriott’s WW1 Diary 1914 – September


1st September

Played tennis here. R is not very good. The Aunts of course hovered round all day. Went to a Home Nursing lecture in the evening.

On this day in 1914, German troops captured both Craonne and Siossons.


2nd September

Meant to go to Sheringham and packed everything in the morning, but not having a wire from Margery or a letter, I decided to stop another day. Robin went away. Mother went over to see CN.


3rd September

Went to Sheringham by the 2:5 train from Ullesthorpe. Travelled into Leicester with Esther Willoughby who had been to Claybrooke for two nights to see CN. Got to Sheringham about 6.30 and was met at the station by Margery and a friend of Jimmy’s called Stewart Ritson who M seemed to expect me to have hear about before, but I never had. We walked up to Edgebrook and found Edie and Jack there and a little girl of about 14 called Frances Friedel, daughter of the old music master who was there years ago when we were there. Jimmy is out somewhere in France with his motor bicycle, he is a corporal attached to the R.E. and goes about looking after the telephone wires. He seems to have been most clever about the way to get the job, as before the war he asked some friend at the War Office what would be the best way to get a job with the Army, and he said motor bicycles were in demand, so Jimmy calmly wrote to the War Office and asked what he could do, and they said they would write again if there was a war, and sure enough, when war broke out they sent for him at once and he found quite by chance that he was under Geoff Godfrey Fausset.


4th September

Margery and I started off soon after breakfast to go to Catton for the day to see Harry M, who has got a house there now. We went by train to Norwich (where the station yard was full of soldiers and recruits in plain clothes drill) and then took a hansom and drove out to Catton about 3 miles on, where I saw some posters of the Eastern Daily which said “British Gun Boat Sunk” in large letters, and remarked to M that I hoped it was not Jim Mansfield’s ship, not of course really expecting it to be the same. However, when we arrived at Catton Kitty opened the door and told us that it was “The Speedy” and that she had had an awful fright as Nurse had rushed at her with the paper saying that she was sunk, to look and saw that only two or three were drowned. Since then, Jim himself had rung them up on the telephone and was talking to Kate the moment we arrived. He said he was none the worse but had had a bad shaking and hoped to turn up there sometime in the course of the day. We hoped we might see him, as we stayed till 5 o’clock, but he never came and we only passed them on our way to the station in a cab. The Besants and Mrs Walter and Andy Patterson came over while we were there. Phyllis Burt was there too.

On this day in 1914, the Battle of the Grand Couronné began.


5th September

After all the excitement of yesterday we hoped for a quiet day. I thought of bathing and we got as far as going to look at the sea, but no further. There seemed to be lots of people about still. Edie went out in the afternoon and Margery, Mrs Ritson and I had tea together in the shelter in the garden. Just after we had finished, a telegram was brought to Margery, who read it and then said “I don’t think there is an answer” and began walking towards the house. Mrs R had just remarked “Every telegram seems alarming in these days” when M called me and I followed her and found her looking at the telegram in rather a puzzled way, and she said “I suppose it is silly of me to think that this means Charlie’s going to France”, and gave it to me. I thought it could mean nothing else, but it was rather vague and said he was leaving Newcastle for Southampton, and leaving there at 12 tomorrow. Sent another wire to ask his address at T, and decided to say nothing to J and Edie for the present. Made M rest and went down to see Dr Sumpter to arrange for C to ring me up on the telephone and enquire about trains. In the middle of dinner another wire came and M had to change, and she and Jack drove into Norwich in a car to catch a very bad midnight train arriving in London at 3 am!

On this day in 1914, the Retreat from Mons ended and the Battle of the Ourcq began.


6th September

Went to see Edie who was having breakfast in bed as usual and was inclined to weep and be very miserable, poor thing. She had had a letter to say her mother was very ill, among other worries. Calmed her as best I could and then walked to church at Beeston with Mr R. It was a lovely hot day and we dawdled and went the wrong way once and were rather late. Frances F came too, she is rather tiresome I think. Edie came down to lunch and was rather more cheerful. Afterwards Mr R and I walked as far as “Pretty Corner” and then sat in the heather for ages and basked in the sun. He is a nice boy and very amusing in a quiet way, not at all Jimmy’s style and I cannot think how he comes to be a friend of his, nor can he apparently. Jimmy’s humour is the kind that laughs when you sit on your knitting needle, but Ritson is really funny, rather in L Baumer’s style, in fact he reminds me of him very much sometimes. He also plays delightfully. He cannot enlist or do anything sporting of that sort because he has a weak heart, which is rather bad luck. When we got back to Edgebrook we found Mrs Macfarlane and a friend and Mr Wyndham Cremer at tea, the latter is most attractive, rather like Dick Turton.

On this day in 1914, the Battle of the Marne began.


7th September

Bathed with Francis, it was lovely, the sea being quite calm and not at all cold. In the afternoon I went for a long walk along the seashore with Mr Ritson. We took off our shoes and stockings and went a good way barefoot. It was a lovely day. Edie heard from Jack that Charlie did not leave on Sunday after all but was still at Southampton, so they would stop until he went away.


8th September

A lovely hot day. Bathed again. In the afternoon I hired a bicycle and SR took Ralph’s and we bicycled over to Blakeney. There were masses of the most lovely blackberries on all the hedges. We first went to look at the church, which has had a lot more done to it since I saw it last. Then we went to try and find the Pearts, but were told that Mrs P was out. I then thought I would have a hunt for the Murdocks, but as we were going their way met Mrs Peart and various relations of hers who were just going down to the links. She introduced us to her sister and a niece and a brother-in-law, and we then all bicycled down to the links together and had tea outside the clubhouse, just like old times except that there were no Scotts or Tillards about. Mr Peart, Dr Cooke and Mr Agnew turned up later having been playing golf, and Mrs Cooke just before we came away. It was ripping seeing even a few Blakeney faces again. It appears the Murdocks left yesterday. There seem very few people about. Got back rather before 5. Margery and Jack turned up by train about 7. M quite cheerful and full of tales about the people in the hotel at Southampton.

On this day in 1914, the Battle of the Drina began and Austria invaded Serbia for the second time.


9th September

Bathed. Beryl Packard came.

On this day in 1914, the German troops began to retreat from the Battle of the Marne.


10th September

Beryl went away.


11th September

S Ritson and I started composing a long letter to Charlie in the style of Florence L Barclay, authoress of “The Rosary”, “Broken Halo” and other works. Though I shouldn’t say it, it really was rather a masterpiece. SR did most of it, while I found bits out of the book for him. I only hope Charles will laugh over it as much as the author and authoress did.


12th September

Played golf with Jack on some new links which Mr Cremer has made. There are only nine holes at present and rather rough, but will be very good very soon I should say. Jack played with two clubs by way of a handicap and beat me about 3 holes, which was tiresome of him. I did not play so very badly but was rather unlucky. Mr Ritson caddied for me and I believe took a few photographs.

On this day in 1914, the Battle of the Grand Couronné ended and the Battle of the Aisne began.


13th September

Walked to church with Mr Ritson and came back in a car with Margery. Mr Cremer and Mr Ketton came to lunch. The former is said to have a mad wife, which is a sad story. I remember seeing her when she was most sane and a jolly looking woman, though not so attractive as he is. Norma Macfarlane came in soon after lunch with knitting. S Ritson and I went for a walk round by Pretty Corner. Finished Charlie’s letter, which really is a masterpiece I think.


14th September

Went down to the sea with Margery and SR and watched the bathing but did not bathe myself. Mr Ritson left at about 12.30 and MF and I went down to see him off. He had to run most of the way as we were so late, and we followed more slowly and only just got there in time to say goodbye. M and I went down to have a last look at the sea after tea when it was getting dark. There was a lovely sky. We leant over the sea wall to admire the view, but a sentry immediately came up and said no-one must lean over the wall, so we had to move on. The whole seafront is full of soldiers as soon as it begins to get dark, so I suppose they are taking a few precautions, though you don’t notice them much.


15th September

Left by a rather early train. M saw me off at the station. Had lunch and spent some hours in Leicester. Arrived home about teatime. Found old Edward Nevile staying there.


16th September

Mother was in bed with a headache most of the day. Old Edward Nevile went over to Claybrooke to see CN and spent most the the afternoon there.


17th September

A nasty wet day, rained all the morning. It cleared up a bit in the afternoon and we went blackberrying and got a tremendous lot.


18th September

Did nothing particular. Went to a Home Nursing class in the evening. Rowley and Michael went back to school.


19th September

Very cold. Did the church vases and went to see poor little Mrs Bosworth who is ill in bed. Mother went up to London for the day to meet Fred there and help him to buy clothes and things. Went after to see CN in the afternoon. She looks worse than when I was there last I think, but seems much more cheerful and inclined to talk. Looked in at the Boughton Leighs on my way back and found Mrs and Mona. Only stayed a few minutes however. Mother came back by the 4.25 having had a busy day mostly spent at the stores with Fred, who was in uniform and saluted by all the soldiers they met!!


20th September

Did nothing particular in the morning. Mr Hubble took the service in the afternoon and gave us one of his best sermons on the subject of Pilate, who he said was a fine character and was in a very difficult position and was more to be pitied than blamed. I have always had a sneaking sympathy with him myself, but I never expected to hear him defended from the pulpit.


22nd September

Home Nursing lecture.

On this day in 1914, the First Battle of Picardy and the First Battle of Albert began.


23rd September

Had a working party at the rectory.


24th September

Mother went over to Claybrooke to see CN who she found considerably worse. Kate Gilliat and Mrs Tyrrel came in to practise bandaging and making poultices.


25th September

Aunt Mary went over to Claybrooke to see CN and found her no better. They sent for another doctor, who is to come tomorrow. Also wired for Florence and Esther. Went to a Home Nursing lecture. Jim turned up much to our surprise at 10.30. We had to rummage in the kitchen for food.


26th September

Decorated the church, or rather helped mother by tying up about 10 bunches of oats. Florence Nevile suddenly turned up in a taxi on her way over to Claybrooke to see CN. She only stopped a very short time and sent back a note from Esther to say that she seemed no worse today.


27th September

Digby got a notice from the War Office appointing him to the 10th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. Father had a wire from Esther Willoughby to say that CN died last night quite quickly and rather suddenly, as they had thought her a little better yesterday afternoon. Bicycled over to lunch with the J Broughton Leighs and afterwards went on to see Esther and Florence who were waiting for Eddie to turn up. Stayed there a little and then went back to the BL’s to tea. When I got home I heard that Jim, who had gone back to Rugby on his way to Southampton, had met Eddy accidentally at the station and sent him back in our car, which was a wonderful piece of luck for him.

On this day in 1914, the Siege of Antwerp and the First Battle of Artois began.


29th September

Working party at the rectory. Esther and I went up there for a bit. We both came back a bit before the end because Esther Willoughby came over, so we went back to see her. Lecture in the evening as usual. Aunt Lucy came to stay for the funeral.


30th September

Went over to Claybrooke to CN’s funeral in a taxi with Mother and Father. Stopped at the Boughton Leigh’s and changed into a coat and skirt of Mrs BL’s, which was a bit wide and short for me but really fitted wonderfully well on the whole. Quite a lot of people were at the funeral, including old Edward and two of the Lincoln ones, Mrs Collinson and a brother, and all the aunts of course. Aunt Alice came back to us for the night and Aunt Anne stayed at the cottage. Had tea after the funeral at the old house, which I suppose we shall probably never enter again, and afterwards went back in the Goodacre’s car which they had lent for the occasion. HPM was there too.