To cover the weekly cost of the war, the British government depended increasingly on the generosity of the general public. However, initial subscriptions for the National War Bonds issued in 1917 had been so disappointing that in November of that year the Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed George Sutton, chairman on the Amalgamated Press Ltd., to devise a publicity campaign that would entice people to contribute more. The mainstay of Sutton’s plan was intense and varied advertising, which played to a broad canvas of human passions such as duty, profit, security and patriotism. Advertisements not only appeared in newspapers and magazines but took the form of colourful posters in prominent locations and flyers dropped from aeroplanes for spectacular effect. The advertising campaign was boosted at regular intervals with themed weeks, each with its own special focus. During War Weapons Week on 8-13 April, towns were invited to collect enough subscriptions to cover the cost of a specific weapon of war, such as a battlecruiser in a large city, or a howitzer in a small village. During one of the many Tank Weeks, newly invented tanks were rolled into specifically selected towns or cities for people to see and admire. Sutton’s campaign enjoyed spectacular success: the War Bonds Week held on 4-9 March 1918 alone saw contributions soar to almost 139 million pounds.
Monday 4 March
Muz wrote letters, Tom & Heppie went into the town, & I darned all morning, after lunch Ione lay down, & I wrote letters all afternoon. After tea I cut wool for the mats, till dinner time. We went to bed at about ten, & Heppie came up with Muz, & rubbed her.
Tuesday 5 March
Rosie came up in the morning. Sorted out letters for Muz, & wrote things in them, all the letters about Pat, & Rosie is going to type them. Did them all morning. Ione lay down all afternoon, & Heppie walked to Broseley & got some china. Mr Willis came up, but didn’t stay for tea. After tea I worked at the mat, till dinner time. Heppie got back at about 7-30. Muz & I had a bath, & went to bed at about 10-30.
“Rosie is going to type them”
Wednesday 6 March
Blanchie Somerset’s engagement is in the paper today, to Lord St Germans. Ione wrote letters & Muz too, then Muz & I went in to the town. Ione & Tom went in after lunch, & Heppie after tea.
Thursday 7 March
Muz & Ione wrote letters. Tom & I went down to the Dingle. Ione went in to the town, to get the bicycle mended, & after luncheon she & I went in to Broseley, & had a lovely run, the man is sending some china out for Muz to see, some awfully pretty coffee cups. We got back at about five.
Friday 8 March
Worked at the mat all morning. Mrs Welch & Rosie came up, & Muz walked back with them, & Tom went in to meet her. Ione lay down after lunch, she was jimmying.1 Muz & I went up to Pipers, & then talked to Feutril [?]. After tea Muz, Tom & I went in to the town, we brought some pork & fish out with us. Went to bed at about ten, & Heppie brought Muz up later.
Saturday 9 March
Ione stayed in bed all day. Muz & I went in to town in the morning, & went to see the Welches. The War Loan has got up to £30,000 now, I put in £20, Muz £10, & Tom £20 into Janet’s collection. Tom & I went in again after lunch. There was an aeroplane over the town, dropping pamphlets, about the war loan, they looked awfully pretty coming down, in the sun. I went round to see Mrs Welch. I was awfully tired & [had] a sore throat when we go back, so didn’t do anything, & went to bed early, Muz didn’t come up till late.
National War Bonds Campaign
Sunday 10 March
Muz, Tom & I went to church. Ione stayed in bed all day. I had a horrid headache so lay on the sofa. Muz & Tom went for a walk. Then I read for a bit, & went to bed at about 9-30. Muz didn’t come up till late so I had to go down & get her to come up at about 12-30.
Monday 11 March
Ione & I stayed in bed all day. Muz thought that I had chickenpox! I read to Ione all day, & finished “The Motor Maid”.2 After lunch Heppie went to Ironbridge by train, to see some Coalport china, she got back after tea, & had got quite a lot. Davis sent some over today, we have got a whole blue — coffee set, & half a green one, they are awfully pretty.
Tuesday 12 March
I darned & cut papers all morning. Muz & Tom went in to town, & Ione wrote letters, Heppie worked at Ione’s dress. I wrote letters in the afternoon, & again after tea. Muz wrote letters & then sorted things to pack, then I packed the china, & we all went to bed at about 9-30.
Wednesday 13 March
Ione wrote letters, & Muz, Tom & I went in to the town, & did some shopping, & got some meat for Janet to send to her mother. Went round to see the Welches. After lunch Muz & I packed our things, & I got all mine sorted. Muz & I went down to Bayliss, & got some flowers, to send to Arras, & I packed them up, & Heppie took them in to post. We sent Miss Forbes a tie case as a wedding present.
Thursday 14 March
Go to Welland. Went round to say good bye to Mrs Feutril & Mrs Bayliss. We left by the 12 train, & Muz & I walked on, & did some shopping, & met Rosie. Heppie walked down too, & the others drove with the luggage. They came down to see us off. We changed at Hartlebury, & again at Worcester, but Ione didn’t change there, as she went on to London. We got to Malvern at about three, & got two taxis, as we had a lot of small luggage too. Ivydene is a dear wee cottage. We had tea, then I put Duskey to bed, & Heppie & Muz went for a walk, & I did all our unpacking & got it nearly all done & put away. We went to bed at about nine. Ione is to be in London for about a fortnight, & see Harry, who is back with a broken arm.
Letter from Leila de Lisle, 40 Beaufort Gardens, SW1, to Mrs Armstrong
My dear Rosalie
You will I ken be interested to hear that Beau has got command of the 13th Corps & went off to them 3 days ago – I am pleased as I am sure he deserves it – but he is very sad at leaving the 29th. He had a great send off & was so pleased. Oh, how I wish Pat was with him now to keep him with all this new & difficult work. I have had a horrid chill & in bed for 2 days – overtired I think – but am better to day. I like the house so nice & find it very comfy & am beginning to feel settled – Let me ken the address of your wee cottage when you go there.
Best love Leila.
13th Corps is in Gen Horne’s Army – near where 19th was last spring I think.
Friday 15 March
Muz & I tidied away some of the china etc in the sitting room, & tidied the books in the other room. Then Muz wrote letters. After lunch I wrote letters, & after tea I went to bed as I was cold, & couldn’t get rid of my sore throat, & headache. Muz & Heppie went to the post office, they took Duskey, but she came back, & Mrs Reynolds put her to bed! Tom stayed in bed all day. Muz & Heppie brought up our dinners, & Muz sat with me for a bit. I had bundles of clothes on, but couldn’t get really warm! Heppie brought Muz up to bed later after doing her feet.
Saturday 16 March
Tom & I stayed in bed all day. I had a horrid sore throat. After lunch Muz & Heppie walked to the station, & went in to Malvern by train, & did some shopping. They didn’t get back till after seven, & Muz was rather tired, she brought Tom & me a blouse each. I read for a bit, & finished “The Truants”.3 Muz brushed my hair, & settled me off to bed, & when she came up to bed, she creepied me, as my head was so sore.
The author of The Truants
Sunday 17 March
Tom & I stayed in bed all morning. I wrote letters all morning, & Tom read, then she wrote after lunch, & I read. Muz wrote letters, & they stayed in the house all day, it rained a bit. Finished reading “A Red Red Rose”.
The Motor Maid (1910), a novel by the husband-and-wife team Charles and Alice Muriel Williamson telling the story of a young woman who travels around Europe as a maid to a haughty couple and falls in love with their chauffeur ⇑
The Truants (1904), a novel by Alfred Edward Woodley Mason (1865-1948) who is best remembered for his novel The Four Feathers and for his fictional creation of the French detective Inspector Hanaud who is said to have served as a template for Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot ⇑
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