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Monday 17 to Sunday 29 June 1918

WEEKS 208-209: CHASED DRAGONFLIES ON THE WAY

Monday 17 to Sunday 29 June 1918

By June 1918 it was becoming evident that America’s entry into the war was changing the tide in favour of the Allied forces. As a consequence, when the Irish question was debated in the House of Lords on 20 June, it was unanimously agreed to abandon conscription in Ireland. This also meant the abandonment of the plans for home rule, which strengthened support for the Sinn Féin party and its campaign for Irish independence. Not everyone in Ireland was overjoyed with the news. The Irish Recruiting Council organized a campaign of voluntary enlistment and appealed to Irishmen by reminding them that “This island is but the cradle of a greater Ireland that lies beyond the seas. That greater Ireland overseas from Adelaide to Brisbane, from San Francisco to New York, is heart and soul behind the men in Flanders. Our countrymen the world over stand aghast at our inaction, and their friendship is growing cold. This is no hour for truck or bargain … If all who love liberty and truth and honour will range themselves by our side, our Irish heroes, with new strength and hope, will quickly restore the name of Ireland to its honoured place among the nations of the world.” While the rift between Ireland and Britain was deepening, a contrasting move was gaining force globally. The devastation caused by the First World War had generated strong public support for the concept of an international organization to prevent further wars. In Great Britain, the first official report into the matter was drafted under the initiative of Lord Robert Cecil early in 1918, and on 26 June 1918 the House of Lords agreed to the principle of a League of Nations, later to be known as the United Nations.

Monday 17 June

jess__diary_cameoWe drove in to Malvern, & met Mike at the Post Office. Then did shopping, & went to the library. Heppie didn’t come in with us. After lunch I went & lay down, & went to sleep, & Muz brought up my tea, & afterwards, she, Ione & I walked to Roxboroughs,1 to get eggs. We got a lovely dragonfly.

Tuesday 18 June

jess__diary_cameoI stayed in bed all day, & had a tummy ache. Read for a bit. It rained nearly all day. Muz took the dogs out. Harry Tufton is to be married today, Muz sent him a wire. After tea Muz, Ione &Tom wrote out a list of who to ask to the wedding. Mrs Curteis wired to say that Reenie was getting on well.

Press cutting describing Harry Tufton’s wedding

“Harry Tufton is to be married today”

Wednesday 19 June

jess__diary_cameo Stayed in bed all day, & read some of the time. Tom went for a ride on her bike, Heppie sewed, & Ione worked at her trousseau. Muz took the dogs for a walk.

Thursday 20 June

jess__diary_cameoWent up the lane, & caught some moths, fed the caterpillars etc. Sewed Ione’s chemise in the morning, & a pair of breeches in the afternoon. Came up to bed early, & afterwards stayed up till after twelve, packing my things.

Letter from Lady Margaret Proby, Elton Hall, Peterborough, to Mrs Armstrong

“Dearest Rosie”

Dearest RosieI got back all well and safe and our talk was such a pleasure took look back on: – I have set Mary to talk to Tyers (whose address I enclose) & when I hear from her will write to you again; when you can put yourself into direct communication with him. – Granville will be Ione’s trustee if you would like it: but he wd. like you to have a man of business on with him – & I am sure if Douglas acted in the same capacity he wd. wish it too. A lay trustee such as either would be requires a legal adviser & backing when decisions have to be made. I have written to ask Dick about the Banns and the Church expenses & details & when Douglas gets down on Saturday. I will ask him about the Pin Money – so that you shall have replies as complete as I can get them in a very few days. I left Droitwich the day after I saw you & spent Sunday with Jocelyn at Eton: I went to the Memorial tablet outside Chapel and read your Pat’s name: and I had an opportunity of telling Mr Hare of our talks of him and the wonderful words in the letters: he remembered him: – Granville goes before a Board on Wednesday: his foot is better but the wound not healed. God bless you & your children darling Rosie.

Yours affectionately.

Maggy Proby.

W. F. Tyers 27 Polygon Mews, Burwood Place, London W.(2)

Friday 21 June

jess__diary_cameoFinished packing. Ione & Tom went to the dressmaker. I put my boxes on the bike, but didn’t go in the end. Went for a walk with Muz & the dogs. After lunch Muz put me to bed, & I lay down till after tea. After dinner I mended in bed, & went to bed at about 10-30. Ione & Tom rode the bikes in to Malvern this afternoon, to do some shopping. Muz heard from Reenie today, she says her throat is still very sore. She is going to Seaford about the end of next week.

Saturday 22 June

jess__diary_cameoAfter breakfast Tom & I went off to the Thrush meadow, to look for moths etc, we looked in the cowslip field too. We got three butterflies & two moths, & then came back & killed them, & then went on our bikes to the orchid field, but it was too windy to get anything there. Muz wrote letters in the morning. I wrote letters after lunch, then did up some roses to send to Reenie, & Muz & I went to the post, & then on to Mrs Bainbridge, to see about milk, & got eggs, & had tea late, & read for a bit afterwards. Went to bed at about ten, & Muz came up & talked in my room, while I was having my Bovril. It was rather cold all day, & a cold wind.

Advertising card promoting Bovril

An advertisement for Bovril

Sunday 23 June

jess__diary_cameoMuz, Tom & I went to church. After lunch Tom & I changed & went to meet the boys, across the fields, & to catch butterflies on the way, we only got two. Mike, Ivan Campbell, Redvers Coats, Ian Stuart, Geoffrey Colson, & another boy came, & we chased dragonflies on the way. After tea we played up-Jenkins. Ivan & the other boy went after tea, as they were dining out. The other three went at 7-30, & Mike stayed for dinner, as they didn’t have to get back till nine tonight. Tom rode some of the way back with him. Muz & Heppie went to meet her, & she led the other bike back.

Monday 24 June

jess__diary_cameoWe drove to Malvern in the morning, to shop, & got photos of Blanchie’s wedding. Met Mike. After lunch Tom & I went on her bike, & she stayed at the poppy field, & I went on to the dressmaker with Muz’s blouse, then got onions etc to bring back. Then we walked back. After tea Muz & I took the dogs for a walk, & they hunted in the blackthorn field, & we sat there till dinner time. After dinner I stuck some moths. Had a bath, & Muz came & sat in my room & talked, & went to bed at about eleven.

Black and white snapshot of Dusky and Wipers

Dusky and Wipers

Tuesday 25 June

jess__diary_cameoI mended, & darned all morning, Muz wrote letters, Ione sewed, & Tom had her hair washed. After lunch Tom & I went up to Bakers to get my bike, I rode her bike up, & she walked, & then we both rode back, & caught a butterfly on the way back. Then sewed at Ione’s chemise, & after tea went to the blackthorn field, with Muz & the dogs, & sat there, while they hunted. Then I sewed again, & finished the chemise. Muz sorted letters.

Wednesday 26 June

jess__diary_cameoSewed in the morning, & Tom caught moths, then we stuck them. In the afternoon Muz & I took the dogs to the blackthorn field, & we sat there, & the woman came & told us that they mustn’t hunt there! It is an awful nuisance, as it is so near. Then Muz & I went for a walk, & talked to a woman who had just come back from the Tufton Fete. After dinner Muz & I went out to catch moths at about eleven, & got three lovely ones.

Thursday 27 June

jess__diary_cameoMended some of the morning, Muz wrote letters, Ione sewed, Heppie worked at the mat, & Tom wrote letters. Then I worked at Ione’s last pair of breeches. I gave Duskey a dose. After lunch Tom & I went on our bikes, & she went in to Malvern, & I went to the dressmaker, & then hunted moths, & then rode on, to the Common to meet Tom coming back, & we hunted again on the way back, & got three dragonflies & one caterpillar, & one butterfly. After tea I went for a little walk with Muz, & then did more sewing.

Friday 28 June

jess__diary_cameoWrote letters, & cut papers etc. After lunch Muz & I lay down for a bit, & then Tom & I went on our bikes, to the dressmaker, & home by Hanley, it was a nice ride. Tom punctured on the way back, so took her bike up to Baker’s before she came back. I lay down for a bit, & Muz & Ione went for a bit of a walk, then I did some mending, & went to bed at about 9-30, & had cocoa in bed. Finished reading “Uncle Jack” by Walter Besant.4

Black and white photograph by Herbert Rose Barraud of Sir Walter Besant

Sir Walter Besant

Saturday 29 June

jess__diary_cameoDid some sewing for Ione. Muz wrote letters, & Ione & Tom wrote too, Heppie worked at the mat. Two of the chrysalises began to come out, & yellow tail, & a six spot burnett [sic], they are both lovely & our first ones. We drove in to Malvern after lunch, Heppie didn’t come, she worked at the mat. We did a lot of shopping, & got some white velveteen for a dress for me, & some charmeuse for Muz. We met Mike & Ian, coming in, & took Mike on, & he & Tom had buns at the Library & Tom went back with him, & talked to the other boys, we couldn’t find her anywhere, but she arrived at about six! We got a bottle for killing the moths. Muz came up & washed my feet, & then she sat on my bed, & I did hers!

Black and white snapshot of Tommy and Mrs Armstrong with Ivan Campbell, Redvers Coate (seated) and Francis Dalby

Tom and the boys


Footnotes

  1. David Roxburgh (1867-1949), a farmer at Danemoor Farm, Welland; his wife Josephine née Sanders (1865-1962) and their children John, Alexander, Hector, Walter and Josephine Roxburgh
  2. Uncle Jack, Etc. (1885), a collection of five novellas by Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901)

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