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Monday 19 to Sunday 25 February 1917


Monday 19 to Sunday 25 February 1917

On 17 February, Pat Armstrong travelled to Hesdin to commence a six-week course in its staff school in spite of his misgivings about his capacity to deal with exams and long hours of indoor work. He was also disappointed to discover that his friend Gordon Elton, who he had hoped would join him in Hesdin, had not been accepted on the course. On his first Sunday, Pat managed to pay a quick visit to his sister Ione who had moved from Étaples to work in a canteen in Boulogne. Meanwhile in Folkestone, Mrs Armstrong and her daughters had lost the last of their domestic servants and were struggling to manage on their own, taking turns to do housework and hiring soldiers to dig the back garden.

Monday 19 February

jess__diary_cameoHeppie got up & did the calling, then I cleaned the fireplaces etc, & got lunch ready. Muz & Heppie planted some shrubs in the front garden. I wrote letters, then went to the Dew Drop,1 but they weren’t expecting me till next Monday, so I came back, & did some shopping on the way, & left some invitations. Muz, & Heppie were still working at the shrubs, they look awfully nice. Col. Holmes sent three men in this afternoon to dig the back garden, 6d an hour. They did quite a lot. Went with more notes, then did the fires & got dinner, & the hot bottles etc.

Tuesday 20 February

jess__diary_cameoMuz & I got up to do the calling, & light fires etc. Then Muz & Heppie worked in the garden. The men came & worked for a bit too, but it rained, so they stopped. Wrote letters, then cooked the lunch, & went with some notes. Then Muz & I changed, & went to Adyar,2 as Muz is hostess, & Viva, Mrs Steele & Mrs Murray. We stayed on rather late, & Viva brought us back. Then changed & got dinner ready, & brought up bottles etc, & went to bed at about 10-30.

pat-cameoLetter from Pat Armstrong to Ione Armstrong

Dear old Girl.

Let me know if you have gone to Boulogne & I’ll try to come down and see you on Sunday if possible. I can’t promise as a lot of work may crop up between now & then & I may not be able to get away but I will if I can. Of course transport is difficult but I’ll arrange that if possible. This is a great place but there’s lots of work. There are some awfully nice fellows here & it’s rather fun. I expect we’ll get more & more work as the days go on. How are you enjoying life? I hope you are fit again. Best love old thing.

Yrs ever Pat.

[Written in the bottom left hand corner in Ione’s hand is the note: “This only arrived today & he came yesterday!!”]

Ione and Pat

Wednesday 21 February

jess__diary_cameoMuz & I got up to do the calling etc. Then took Dus for a run, & put her in the garage. The men worked in the garden all day. After lunch went to the Dew Drop, but weren’t very busy. They talk of shutting in the middle of April. When I got back, Heppie said that Muz had gone to meet me, so I went down again, but didn’t meet her, so came back, & found her here, she had been to church. I took Dus: with me. Got dinner & brought up bottles etc, & washed up, & we went to bed at about 11-30.

Thursday 22 February

jess__diary_cameoHeppie did the calling, etc. & I lit the fire, & took Dus. for a run, then turned out the smoking room, did the hall, mine & Muz’s room, the two landings & the stairs, & dusted the morning room. Heppie lit the fires, & got tea. I only just got changed before the people came. Jean Ritchie, Capt. Toynbee, Mr [blank], Mrs Price-Davis, & Col & Mrs Murray came for tea, & we had it in the morning room, then went into the ballroom, I cleared away tea, & then we came back & played “Kuhan Kan”3 & “Prawn Eye”.4 Then we took Mrs P-D. home, & Col. Murray took us back. Heppie got dinner, & I lit Muz’s fire, & afterwards brought up bottles etc.

Telegram from Irene Wills to Mrs Armstrong, Clodagh, Folkestone

Should so love come & stay the starting work in town would it be convenient have me March 5th Irene Barrowby Grange Grantham. [Written on the reverse is a note in Mrs Armstrong’s hand which reads “Regret I’d sent you this wish we could have had her now but no use putting off going away if we are going!”]

Letter from J. C. Cording & Co. Ltd. Waterproofers and Specialists in Waterproof Boots, 19 Piccadilly, London W, to Pat Armstrong

Dear Sir,

We thank you for your letter of the 7th inst. with enclosure of cheque £5.10.0. and we note that the waterproof Overalls sent you on 17th November were being returned to us. We would point out, however, that up to the time of writing these have not yet come to hand. Assuring you of our best attention at all times.

We are, Sir, your obedient Servants,

J. C. Cording & Co. Limited.

“Your obedient servants”

Friday 23 February

jess__diary_cameoTidied in the house all morning, & after lunch Muz & I went to the hospitals, & didn’t get back till rather late. Went to bed at about 10-30. Muz & I did the calling.

Saturday 24 February

jess__diary_cameoMuz & I did the calling etc. Then I did some tidying. After lunch I went down to the Dew Drop & we were very busy. Violet Marlowe came to see us, so Muz brought her down for tea. Tom was in bed nearly all day. Took Dus: for a run, when I got back, afterwards washed up etc, & we went to bed at about 11-30. Ione is now doing canteen work at Boulogne.

Sunday 25 February

jess__diary_cameoMuz & I went to early service, then Muz got breakfast etc, & I did the fire. Then cleared away, & laid lunch, & did the fireplaces etc, then tidied & sat in the smoking room, & made a cap for Ione. Tom stayed in bed all morning. After lunch Muz & I went for a walk, & went into the Grand to write letters, & then went to tea with the Allens, & stayed rather late. Then gave Dus: a run, & Muz & I went to the club at seven, Miss Walter came up this morning, & asked us to. We weren’t very busy, & got back at about 10-30. Heppie had been doing cinders all day, & had a lovely bath for us, so went to bed at about 12-30. I telephoned5 in the night, & felt sick.

Jess and Dusky


  1. 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.
  2. Adyar was the name of a property on Shorncliffe Road, Folkestone, acquired by the Folkestone Theosophical Society in June 1914 for lectures and at-homes.
  3. Probably Koum Kan, a two-deck card game resembling gin rummy
  4. This was a card game
  5. A euphemism for vomiting

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