9th August 1914
My dearest wife
I will write a few lines this evening, to which I can add a little tomorrow morning after the post is in and before I start for London at 10.40. My present intention is to stay Monday night at the flat and return here next day. Cyril and I went to Dover yesterday and had lunch at the Haywards. We were not able to see much as the town is under military government and sentries are posted to prevent people getting to many points of interest. We saw from the Haywards’ drawing room (upstairs) the big sailing vessel which we had seen a day or two before passing here; before she reached Dover she was pounced upon by one of the many gunboats on the watch and brought in, while we were at lunch 1.0 we heard a gun fired to hold up some small vessel which was brought also into the harbour. Later in the day we saw four or five battleships a good way off Hythe. This afternoon we went for a walk up the east cliff and saw an aeroplane coming along the coastline from Dover, then there was a procession of six destroyers or something of that sort coming from Dover. These patrol the channel during the night and return to Dover after daylight. The secret of the despatch of the expeditionary force is well kept, it is certain that troops are going daily but where from or where to nobody knows. I don’t think any have embarked at Dover. One’s impression is that troops might go to Belgium but we shall probably hear soon, coming back this evening we were able to buy a Sunday issue of The Times with the gratifying intelligence of a French victory in Alsace. We had seen a telegram to that effect earlier. These are posted from time to time at the Town Hall. The Germans are certainly getting harder knocks at present than they expected and it does not look as if they are going to rush France as in 1870. Still, the crucial time has yet to come when the huge armies clash. Cyril will probably go to Oxford on Tuesday or Wednesday to enrol on the Officers Training Corps. He and I went to Mr Gardiner’s church today and heard him preach. What a suitable psalm was the 46th, also the second lesson.
The Flat, 10th August 1914
I meant to have continued my letter in the train but the SER does not run smoothly enough. I have just had lunch, found Arthur and Mary both well. Cyril will stay here tomorrow night on his way to Oxford. Mela comes here on Thursday. My advice is that you stay where you are till Monday and then we will meet again at Badsey. I hope the others (except Ethel) will stay on a bit at Newport if Jack can remain and I think now that Mary will have Mela it would be a pity for Kath to rush back to London. There is not likely to be any distress at present that cannot be dealt with in the ordinary way. I enclose a cutting from today’s Morning Post. On arrival at Victoria, I met a fine Scotch regiment marching to the station. Thank May for her letter. I wrote Brailsford an open postcard saying I trusted the young men of Badsey would rally to the flag of their country etc etc and saying what our boys were doing. I thought Elijah would read, mark and learn. So far things are going well for our allies.
Much love to all, your affectionate husband
An article entitled, “England’s Answer”.
CANADA: An expeditionary force of more than 20,000 men. The cruisers “Niobe” and “Rainbow” for Admiralty use. A hospital ship from women of the Dominion. 98 million pounds of flour.
AUSTRALIA: An expeditionary force of 20,000 men. Australian Navy placed under the control of the Admiralty.
NEW ZEALAND: A force of 8,000 men, to be kept up to full strength during the war. The Dominion’s Naval force at the disposition of the Admiralty.
[These offers received and accepted from the Dominions within less than a week after the declaration of war suggest the republication of Mr Rudyad Kipling’s well-known poem.]
Truly Ye come of The Blood …