WEEK 124: NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE
Monday 6 to Sunday 12 November 1916
As the First World War continued, the Church came under increased criticism for its perceived inability to rise to meet the spiritual needs of the nation and its experience of war. To respond to the challenge, the Archbishop of Canterbury launched an initiative in the autumn of 1916 known as the National Mission of Repentance and Hope. The purpose of the mission was to revive religious practice in Britain and to restore the moral and spiritual authority of the Church. Although primarily a home front initiative, chaplains also preached to soldiers in the trenches in the winter of 1916-1917. The mission received considerable publicity but failed to catch the mood of the nation in an increasingly secularised world. However, the Mission did have at least one positive outcome by opening the door for a greater role for women as lay preachers in the Church.
Monday 6 November
We were all up early, as Jimmy was going at 9-30, got sandwiches ready etc, & Zooie went down with him. I gave out things etc1, & then gave Dus a bath, & was just in the middle of it, when Zooie & Jimmy arrived back! They don’t think the boat will be going over again today, as it has been such awful weather, & all the mines will be loose. He had to keep telephoning but it’s not to go till 8-45 in the morning. Jimmy took Muz, Zooie & Heppie for a drive in a car, & then they came down to have tea at the Dew Drop2. I had gone down early & done some shopping on the way. We were very busy. I was head waitress. They waited to come back with me, & then Muz & I went to see Colonel Thurburn about Lord Roberts’ Memorial, & didn’t get back till late. Helped Heppie to get dinner ready & sat in the morning room afterwards, then went to bed at about twelve.
Tuesday 7 November
We were up early, as Jimmy had to go at 8-45, so it meant starting early. Got breakfast ready etc. They weren’t sure if the boat would go over or not, but in the end it did, at 12-30. We were in rather a fright, as we had heard that one boat wasn’t safe to go over on a rough day, but that they had to send it, as they wanted men, but we heard at about seven, that it had got over at 1-30. I did washing up etc, & got things ready for lunch. Ione went down the town in the morning, & got a very bad pain, so she lay down, & Muz gave her castor oil. After lunch I did more washing up & tidying & left out things etc. Muz & Zooie knitted. I wrote to Algie for the first time as a married man! Helped Heppie with dinner, Colin came for dinner. Then we had baths, & went to bed at about 12.
Wednesday 8 November
Gave out things etc, & cooked the lunch, & washed up etc. Colin came for lunch. Heppie worked in the garden. After lunch Ione took Muz, Zooie, Tom & I up to Moore Barracks in the car, & we visited our ward, – which I am reporting on now – & then Zooie gave us all tea in the café in Hythe. When we came back home, & (sic) got Colin, & then went for another lovely run, just to the Barrier between here & Dover. We saw the searchlight working. Colin played his flute to us after dinner, & we went to bed at about 11-30. Colin goes tomorrow, & sails for India next week.
My dear wee Mus.
The General got back from Paris to-day & seems to have enjoyed himself thoroughly. It has done him a world of good. I have been really busy all day arranging for the General inspection to-morrow. He is going to inspect two Battns (Percy’s and Col Hall’s). After the inspection he is going to see their practice the attack. I’ve worked out a scheme for them. I’ve had to run it all on my own as my General only got back to-day. However I have shown him the scheme & he seems quite pleased with it & says it’s alright. I hope it all goes off alright to-morrow. It is rather complicated in many ways particularly the artillery part of it. We practiced each Battn this morning & it all went off quite well. I’ve been out all this afternoon making out the trenches & putting up flags. We are going to attack a 600 yds front, it was a little difficult to get a good bit of ground. I’ll enclose the programme in this as it may interest you & will show you how it’s done. The whole of the 2nd Cav Div came through here to-day. I saw a lot of people I knew, it was rather fun. Richardson came in to see me, & introduced me to Willie Styles & Bower-Ismay. They both seem good sorts. I wonder will Percy go & see you I do hope he does. I’d like you to get to know him better.
I enclose a letter from Irene. That explains why she didn’t understand about the saddle. She says she is going to write to Jess, I hope it is to say that she is going to stay with you. I will be rather offended if she doesn’t go. I do wish we were just friends & nothing more. I’d like her so awfully then but now I feel I’m tied & want to get out of it, but it’s hard to do without hurting her. But I think it’s a case of must. However we will see how it all works out. It is no good worrying about it for the present anyway. Will you keep all the letters I send you. She is a dear little girl but I don’t know that it would mean happiness, we are too much opposites. You must devise a plan to get me out of it, but it’s going to be a difficult thing to do. I do hope she goes to stay with you this week. Well wee Mus I have no more news. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Thursday 9 November
Muz, Zooie, Tom & I went down in the car to see Sir Thomas Snow, he was going over from leave. He came out to the gate to see us, & Mr Butler his A.D.C. But the boat wasn’t going, so they came to us for the night. We left Mr Santley [?] at the Grand, & then went & did the shopping, as they were getting their luggage, & coming on after us. Got the table laid etc. After lunch Muz, Zooie & Ione, took them for a drive in the car & didn’t get back till tea time. I laid the table & got tea ready etc. Capt & Mrs & Miss Wilson came, & the girl he has just got engaged to, Tom talked to them, she is rather a nice girl, but not pretty. After dinner we all played “Prawn eye”3, cheating etc, it was rather fun, & stopped at 11. Then Ione & I went down & did some washing up etc. Heppie cooked the dinner, & it was awfully nice. Lizzie4 came back after dinner. Went to bed at about one. Kitty took our shift up at the camp [?] this afternoon.
My dear wee Mus.
I hadn’t heard from you since Sunday when I got that very swift letter form you until to-day when I got three letters from you, of the 5th-6th-7th. Mother dear your letter for Irene just couldn’t be beat. I couldn’t improve on it if I thought for a week. However did you do it. Mus dear I can never thank you half enough for it. It is just too splendid for words, mine was crude compared to it. It just says enough & you’ve put it all so well & have used my words too which is so wonderful. I’m glad I sent you my letter as it gave you something to work on. Poor little girl she’ll mind but it’s much the best, it was rushed far too much. Your letter to Mrs Curtis was just splendid too. I have just written what you said to her. No I won’t breathe a word of doubt to a soul. Yes! I’ll stick to what I have written. I know Mrs Curtis will agree. The Girl won’t of course but nothing will make me change now. I’m not in love with her & it’s only a mistake being engaged, however nobody but you need know this.
It is simply grand wee Mus being able to write all this to you & to tell you just what I felt about it all. At the present moment I don’t feel I shall ever be in love with anybody. I feel I have so very little in common with the girl, she is a dear little girl but there is too much between us. I don’t think the riding really matters altogether but it’s everything. I’m afraid the more I see of her the more I’ll realise this, however I can’t tell till I get to know her much much better. I’m awfully disappointed at her not going to stay with you, she said she’d go to you a lot & spend week ends with you & it’s now five weeks & you have absolutely opened your arms to her & she has made no effort to respond. She hasn’t even told me you have asked her. I’d have expected her to say something like this. “Your family have asked me to go & stay, I’m so disappointed I can’t go because so – so”. But devil a word has she said. In one letter she says she has to write to Jess but that’s all. I have written rather ordinary letters of late. Just started Darling girl & ended yours ever — . I’m a little annoyed at her not making more of a push to go. However I’ll see next time I get home. I hope that will be about Xmas sometime. Quel Vie5, it’s a difficult affair mother dear & gives one a good lesson not to be too hot headed. If only I hadn’t proposed it would all have been so much better, but it’s done now so no use crying over spilt milk.
That letter of yours really is a masterpiece. That will put me safe now to do what I like. I won’t write again till I hear from her. I enclose two letters I got from her to-day. The inspection went with a great bang this morning. The General was quite pleased I think. At least he didn’t cast any adverse criticisms which means a lot. He had a smile on his face all the time & seemed very happy. It’s very late so I must go to bed. Best love dear wee Mus & thank you a thousand times for writing those letters for me.
Your loving Pat.
Friday 10 November
Ione was up early to light the stove etc, & then I came down & laid the table etc. After breakfast we went out in the garden, then they went at 10 to go over. Capt. Wilson goes over today too. Did some tidying & washing up etc. After lunch Muz, Zooie & I went to a meeting of the “National Mission of Repentance & Hope” 6 at the Grand, Mrs Swinton & Mrs Randal-Davidson spoke, then we had tea afterwards. Then we went to see Kitty, Dick is down here now. Then we all went to a service at 5-30, Canon Whyte-Thomson – the Vicar of Croydon was speaking, he is awfully like Mr Penrose, & spoke awfully nicely. We hurried back to have dinner, & then Muz, Zooie & I went to the Parish church to hear the Bishop of Dover.
My dear wee Mus.
It’s very late so only a brief line. I’ve had rather an amusing day to-day. The General & I went out about 9.30 and watched two of our Battns practising the attack. We stayed there till about 12 o’c & then went for a ride to look for a hare. We found one alright & had the hell of a good hunt. She ran straight for about a mile, the Gen was just in front of me when she ran into a wire entanglement & we lost her. However I galloped & found a gap & went on. I cast on a bit & found her again in some long grass & away we went again. the General was on a real good little horse but had lost a good deal of ground. However he eventually caught me up after about a mile and a half.
Geisha was awfully beat & wouldn’t gallop a yard. The old hare then ran close to some men drilling & turned right-handed. The Gen was quite close to her & I was about 50 yds behind. He was so close that he didn’t keep his eyes strained on her, she went down a bit of a slope & we lost her. It was very sickening. It was his first time & he didn’t realise the necessity of keeping a close eye on her. We searched about for her but couldn’t spot her. However it was a good hunt.
The General loved it. He goes like the devil & will be awfully good now that he’s got the hang of it. I got back here about 1.15 & saddled up Melody & got away again about 1.30 and dashed over to the Flying Squadron where I had fixed up a flight. I went up at 3 & went over Les Baps and round about. It was a glorious day & I saw everything splendidly. I had a great view of Le Translay. I came down about 4 o’c & then came back here. A great day but I wish we had killed the hare. I know what a huntsman feels now when he doesn’t kill his fox after a big hunt. My lamp is going out & it’s time for bed. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Saturday 11 November
Muz, Zooie & I went to the 11-30 service to hear Canon White-Thompson then we went down to do some shopping. After lunch Ione took Muz & Mrs Phillips down to York House Hospital7, & Zooie & I went to get a list of names at Manor House8. Then we went to attend National Mission meeting at St Nicholas. Mrs Randall-Davidson – the Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife – spoke, & Mrs Steele & Mrs Boddam-Whetham were hostesses. Then we went straight down to the club from there, as Canon White-Thompson was to speak to the soldiers, they all liked it. Then we stayed on, & were quite busy went to bed at about 11-30.
My dear wee Mus.
I got your letter of the 9th to-day. Yes! I’ll stick to what I have written. Your letter was simply splendid wee Mus. No it doesn’t worry me. But all the same I’d like to be free. She writes me awfully nice letters but they’re dull. If only we really were friends & not engaged it would be so much better but there it is & I’ll get out of it somehow if I want to. I like her awfully but know so awfully little of her. I wish I could see you & talk it all over, it will all be very difficult when next I come on leave. Percy thinks I’m devoted to her. It’s great his getting engaged isn’t it. What do you think of his girl. I’m awfully annoyed the way Irene doesn’t go & stay with you or even mention in her letters that you have asked her. There is something wrong about that. I got three letters from her to-day & two photographs. They aren’t very good. I’ll enclose her letters in this. I won’t write again till I hear from her in answer to that letter you wrote for me.
Percy is awfully happy & delighted with his affair. I wish I was but I’m not really. I feel so uncertain about it. Sometimes I think I’m fond of her & at others I don’t. I know for a fact I’m not in love atall. It’s a queer world mother dear & I’ve made a big mistake hurrying things so much. I don’t see how I’m going to come out of it without a good deal of mud sticking to me. The family of course will be very annoyed. But there it is it may all work out right in the end. I like to be not engaged & then get to know her as a friend for some time but it’s going to be difficult to do. Your letters are so splendid you always tell me just what to do. I enclose her letters in this.
We had a great hunt to-day & killed a hare after about 2¼ miles. Percy, the Gen, Boy & I were out. I was riding Melody & nobody saw the way she went. She left them standing still. She is an absolute marvel. She came in & ate up her feed & looks as if she had only had an ordinary day’s exercise. I’m sure she’d win pt to pts at home. She is every bit as fast as “Grey Plover“9 . I have a bandage on my hand so it’s hard to write. I have got a little sore place so I have tied it up to-night with some hot water on it. I must be off to bed now as it’s after 12 o’c. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Sunday 12 November
Muz, Zooie, Ione, Tom, Hugh & Jack & I went down to church in Sandgate to hear Rev. P. M. Bowman preach & stayed on for second service. Hugh came back for lunch, & afterwards I went out for a walk with Mrs Phillips & Presh. At 6-30 we all went to hear Canon White-Thompson again. We went straight from there to the club, but we weren’t very busy. We gave the men a lot of tickets last night, to go, & hear the Bishop of Dover preach at the men’s service.
- The Armstrong family were contributing to the war effort by providing food to soldiers residing in Folkestone ⇑
- The Dew Drop Inn at Bouverie Road West, which had been established by four Folkestone-based Canadian women. The proceeds of the tearoom were devoted to charities ⇑
- A card game ⇑
- A domestic servant in the Armstrong household ⇑
- (Fr.) What a life ⇑
- The launch of the National Mission was marked in Folkestone with a series of meetings and church services between 11 and 14 November 1916⇑
- York House in Folkestone was a nursing home which had been turned into a hospital at the start of the First World War⇑
- Manor House Hospital, where the Armstrongs had volunteered their services ⇑
- Grey Plover had been Roger Wakefield’s horse ⇑