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Monday 14 to Sunday 20 October 1918


Monday 14 to Sunday 20 October 1918

Throughout mid-October, diplomatic notes were exchanged between Germany and the United States in an effort to obtain an armistice. President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Allies would only deal with a democratic Germany and took a jaundiced view of von Baden’s token promise to move the country towards parliamentary democracy. Germany was bitterly divided on the issue between those on the left who demanded the Kaiser’s abdication and those on the right who would not hear of it. Frustrated by Chancellor von Baden’s hesitation and yet another lukewarm note from Wilson, General Ludendorff, who had insisted on opening the armistice negotiations, now changed his mind, and hostilities between Germany and the Allies continued. While the First World War dragged through its final weeks, people across the globe were faced with a battle against an entirely different enemy: the influenza pandemic known as the Spanish flu. Mrs Armstrong and her two youngest daughters were caught unawares by the disease while on a shopping spree in London.

Monday 14 October

jess__diary_cameoTom didn’t feel well, so stayed in bed all day. Muz & I went out to shop, & kept coming backwards and forwards to see her, & bring her food. I got a best hat. We came in earliesh [sic], & wrote letters, & went to bed at about ten.

“A best hat”

Tuesday 15 October

jess__diary_cameoTom in bed all day. Muz & I went out to shop. I felt awful, & so cold & giddy, & rather fainty. We kept coming backwards & forwards to Tom all day. In the evening went to see Mary Lloyd, & we got the luggage, & talked to her for a bit. Wrote letters when we came in & bed about 10-30. I still feel awful, so think I must have flu too!

Wednesday 16 October

jess__diary_cameoTom & I both stayed in bed all day, Heppie got up from Clodagh at about twelve, & Muz met her at the station. She & Muz went out some of the time. I was dreadfully hot, & felt awful. Heppie sat up with us all night, & gave us things in the night. My temperature was over 104, Tom’s about the same. We didn’t sleep at all, & I was “thinking” rubbish! & wanting the air to be made of wool, so as it would be easier to breathe!!

Thursday 17 October

jess__diary_cameoMy temperature still 104. Muz in bed with it too, & temp. of 101. Heppie telephoned to Maggy, to ask her about a doctor, & Dr: Barcroft came. Heppie stayed up with us all night, but we didn’t sleep at all, & I was still “thinking” rubbish!

Friday 18 October

jess__diary_cameoDr. B. came in the morning. Muz still in bed. Ione & Tim came to see us, & shouted in through the door, they arrived up from Bradgate last night. We were all feeling horrid all day, & Heppie stayed up with us all night, & gave us things in the night.

Cheering at Lille

Saturday 19 October

jess__diary_cameoTim crosses over to France today, & Ione comes back to Fleming’s tonight. Dr: B. came in the morning, & he says Tom has got a wee touch on her lung, & is to be poulticed etc: she was rather bad all day. Muz got up, & really far too soon, although her temp has gone down. Dr: B. came again in the evening. Muz & Heppie were up again all night, & none of us slept. Tom has been reaching [sic, retching] a lot. Muz & I were feeling sick too.

Sunday 20 October

jess__diary_cameoDr: B. came in the morning & again in the evening. Tom still bad & reaching [sic] & has to be poulticed. Muz slept a bit through the day, & H. went out to shop. They were both up all night, & each slept a bit at different times. Ione came round to see us.

A child with influenza

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