WEEK 221-222: MAY EVERY HAPPINESS COME TO THE BRIDE
Monday 16 to Sunday 29 September 1918
Ione Armstrong and Lindsay Everard’s wedding on 28 September 1918 was one of the great society events of the year. It took place in St Peter’s Church at Eaton Square, London, and was officiated by the Reverend Austin Henry Thompson and the Reverend Hiram Craven. Tommy and Jess acted as bridesmaids while the Earl of Eltham, nephew to Queen Mary, was Lindsay’s best man. Ione’s brother Pat was not forgotten during the festivities: his friend Frankie de Tuyll and Blanchie’s husband the Earl of St Germans were selected as ushers to honour his memory. The old Irish custom of distributing sprigs of white heather among the gathered guests to confer fortune and favour was also revived at the wedding, the little gifts being handed out by Tommy Armstrong and Major General de Lisle’s son Christian. The wedding reception was held at No. 2 Draycott Place, lent for the occasion by Sir Douglas and Margaret Proby, friends of the Armstrong family.
The events unfolding on the Western Front at the same time could not have formed a more dramatic contrast to the happy family occasion. On 26 September 1918, America and France launched a colossal attack along the entire length of the Western Front. Known as the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, its objective was to push the Germans out of the dense Argonne Forest and to capture the Sedan rail centre in order to cut off German access to France and Flanders. The attack involved 1.2 million American soldiers and was to last until the Armistice on 11 November 1918, with 122,000 casualties on the American side alone. Equally dramatic was the Battle of the Canal du Nord, an Allied offensive against German positions on the Western Front which began on 27 September and ended in overwhelming Allied victory on 1 October. No fewer than twelve Victoria Crosses were awarded to British and Commonwealth forces for actions during the battle. The third pivotal offensive launched at the end of September was the Battle of St Quentin Canal. Begun on 29 September, it involved British, Australian and American forces whose objective was to create a breach in the formidable Hindenburg Line which incorporated at its most vulnerable point a tunnel through which ran the St Quentin Canal. The Allied success was nothing short of spectacular: by 2 October a breach of some ten miles had been opened in the Hindenburg Line.
Just a line dear Rosalie (you darling warm hearted Irish thing, God bless you) for your kindness to me yesterday –
May every happiness come to the bride – I made a strange mistake coming in to the vestry, congratulating the bridesmaid. The light was in my eyes – When the bride came & spoke to me, I was bewildered & she may have noticed (but she may not!) I saw at once, that I had congratulated the bridesmaid! The bridesmaids are little ducks – & the one I congratulated on her marriage, will have had it forestalled, for I feel she will soon get married –
yrs ever very affect
I so enjoyed the wedding & meeting yr. brothers. The bride is a darling & so pretty.
Letter from Lindsay Everard, Crown Hotel, Lyndhurst, New Forest, to Mrs Armstrong
My dear Mrs Armstrong,
“Thank you for all your wonderful kindness”
I must write and thank you for all your wonderful kindness to me, and for all the trouble you have all taken over arranging our wedding. I thought it was a huge success from the point of view of the Guest, and was the happiest event of my life as far as I am concerned. Ione and I are simply devoted to each other and both feel that we are the happiest people on earth. I know that I have got the most perfect Girl in the world to look after, & the care of her will be my first thought during the whole of my life. Please tell Jess & Lisalie how awfully they both helped us: they just worked like slaves to make everything a success. No doubt when you have time you will send us our own list of people to write & thank. Will you also sending [sic] some wedding cake to some of my people in France
1. President, Officers Mess, Headquarters, 1st Life Guards B. E. 7. (8 people)
2. President, Officers Mess, “A” Company, 1st Life Guards B. E. 7 (10 people)
3. Corporal Major Butson, “A” Compnay, 1st Life guards B. E. 7 (for N.C.Os mess) (10 people)
4. Corporal Thompson, No 3 Section, “A” Company, 1st Life Guards B. E 7 (for my section) (30 men)
5. H. Morton Esq., Royal House Guards, B. E. 7 (1 only)
6. Miss Muriel Farrar, 7 A. N. Y, L’hopital de Passage, A.P.O 4, B. E. 7
This seems a lovely little place but it is pouring with rain today!!! Very best love to all.