The First World War created 160,000 widows and 300,000 orphans. Of the men who survived the war and returned home from the frontlines, many were mentally or physically devastated. Some half a million had one or more of their limbs amputated, or suffered other serious damage to their arms, legs, head or eyes. Equally debilitating were mental problems caused by shell shock. Few were able to talk openly about their wartime experiences. The most severely affected lost their ability to see, hear, or move but had no physical damage that would explain the symptoms. Others developed a stammer, lost their appetite, withdrew from society, or were unable to sleep. Those who did sleep kept reliving their experiences in violent dreams night after night. Ten years after the war, an estimated 66,000 men continued to receive treatment for their condition. Yet men did not have to be physically or mentally incapacitated to find it difficult to adjust to life after war. Many had to start their lives all over again but struggled to reconnect with their wives, bond with children born in their absence, or to find work as the great war machine ground to a halt and created mass unemployment. Disillusionment led to strikes, protest marches, and bitter disillusionment towards those in positions of power.
Monday 25 November
We were up about 5 A.M. & Mrs Wadley came to take us to the station, & we had great work with all the luggage. It was black dark till we got almost in to Malvern. Before we left I went round to see Wipers, Ione went to Flemings when we got in, as she has people for tea so I took the load of luggage. Tom was up & dressed when I arrived, but had a bad head, but it seemed to get better, & I took her for 2 walks up the passage. In the aft: Muz & I went out on a bus, & did some shopping, & back for tea. Tidied up things for the night, & bed about 10-30. Tom looks better, but as if she had been too hot, but tonight her temp: is 96.6. Muz went to bed, & H stayed up the first part of the night. It was awful leaving Danemoor this morning without Fattie, or without her being there to see us off.
Tuesday 26 November
Tom still feeling sick. She got up & dressed & sat in her chair, & then we went for a walk about the passages. We telephoned to Sir T. to come, as she wanted to ask about Tom’s eyes, as the right one looks quite crooked, & Muz wanted to know, before we start tomorrow. I tidied up etc: & H. went out. Ione didn’t come round all day, as she was jimmying.1Jack & Mrs Isacke came to this hotel today, & Jack came up after tea, & he Tom & I walked up & down the passage for a bit. Sir T. couldn’t come today but he rang us up in the evening, & said Tom’s eyes are alright, it was only weakness. I tidied up etc, & then Muz & I packed, & then Muz had a bath, & I sat with her, then went to bed, & H packed, & Muz & I had dinner on my bed.
Wednesday 27 November
We were up early & finished the packing etc. I went out to get the milk, & see about trains etc. Jack is going to help me with the luggage. Ione came round before ten, & she & I got the luggage down. Muz got Tom down in a chair, & we met her in the hall, & Jack wheeled her out to the train. We had an awful lot of luggage, but got it in alright! Mrs I & her friend came to see us off, Ione saw us off, & then went back. Jack came in the train with us to London Bridge, & brought us chocolates. We had a 1st class carriage reserved, so were very comfy. Tom was well & cheery all the way. We had two cabs to meet us, & the others went to Miss A. at 44 Castle Hill Avenue, & I took the luggage to Clodagh, then walked over to them. Tom had had a huge tea! I read to her later, & she went to bed about seven. It is dreadful coming back here again without my Dus:. I want her every minute, & don’t know how I am going to do without her. We went to bed at about ten.
“Jack wheeled her out to the train”
Thursday 28 November
Muz brought me in my breakfast, but I was half dressed. Tom got up about eleven, & sat on the sofa in the other room, all day, she seems much better, except for her eyes. H. went out, & we three wrote letters, & then Muz & H went over to C. to get things. It rained all day, so I didn’t go out. After lunch H went out, & I read to Muz & Tom, & then they both went to sleep. After tea, I read again, till dinner time. Tom was sick after dinner, & she went to bed at about 7-30, Muz went to bed too, & was very tired. I went to bed at about 8-30. It’s a fortnight tonight since Fattie died.
Friday 29 November
Tom stayed in bed late, & got up when Muz & I were out. She was sick this morning, & doesn’t seem quite so well today. Her right eye is very crooked, but they are still very weak, but it is awful to see them like this. Muz & I went over to C. in the morning, & unpacked thing etc: I read to Muz & Tom nearly all afternoon. H went over to C. Tom went to bed about 6-30, very tired. Muz & I sat & talked after dinner, & she wrote to Sir T, & I posted it. Muz went to bed about 9-30, & then I wrote letters, & went to bed about 11-30.