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Monday 20 to Sunday 26 September 1915

Monday 20 to Sunday 26 September 1915


Monday 20 to Sunday 26 September 1915

While the stalemate in Gallipoli continued, in Britain families braced themselves for the first proper wartime budget, which was announced on 21 September 1915. It increased income tax by 40%, raised duties on tea, sugar, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, chicory, dried fruit, petrol and patent medicines, and added a charge of 9 pence for the first 12 words in private telegrams. An import duty of 33% affected manufactured articles including motor-cars, motor-cycles, cinema films, clocks and watches, musical instruments, plate-glass and hats. The Times noted on 23 September 1915 that ‘When all the circumstances are taken into account, we cannot recall any act of any Government which has been received at once by the public with such significant general approval as that accorded to the heaviest taxing budget in our history.’

Monday 20 September

jess__diary_cameoCleared breakfast, & laid lunch etc. Ida1 went home yesterday, & didn’t get back till lunch time, so we had to do everything. Mrs Marlowe & Violet; & Kitty came for lunch. Afterwards Markie, Ione & Tom went to the Metropole, & Kitty & Violet stayed for tea. I walked home with Kitty afterwards. There is a rumour that we have got through the narrows.2 Markie was to have gone back to the Front tonight, but heard the boat wasn’t going because of mines. But they all dined at the Metropole. Muz, Emmie, Ione, Mme de Marotte , Miss Ames & Mr Lyng, & Markie went down to see about the boat at 8-30, & he went after all. I went to bed at about ten. The others got back at about 11-30.

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. Left at 10 o’c. Rode up to 87 & 80th Bde Hd Qrs. Went round 88th Bde with the Gen & Gen Cayley. Found some good machine gun positions in communication trench near Dublin house. Spent the afternoon paving my floor. A Battalion of the Newfoundlanders arrived. One company went into the line leaving here at 7 pm.

Tuesday 21 September

Thomas Ellis, 8th Baron Howard de Walden

Thomas Ellis, 8th Baron Howard de Walden

jess__diary_cameoDid the breakfast & lunch things, then wrote to Pat & Algie. Emmie had lunch with Mme de Marotte, Ione stayed in bed all day. Emmie went by the 4-30 train, & we went up to see her off, then Muz went & had tea with Mrs Edwards , & Heppie, Tom & I went to Jenner , & then went down the town, & shopped, & brought back a lot of sugar, as the budget comes out tomorrow! Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatches are in the paper today. Went to bed at about ten. Muz wrote letters. Got a letter from Zooie sending me 10/- for my birthday.

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. Glorious day. Gen went to a conference at Corps at 10 o’c. Went up to K.O.S.B’s Hd qrs & then went all along the front line. Picked up horses at the 88th Bde Hd Qrs. Took a lot of photos. Spent all afternoon fixing my roof. Got long letter from Ione. Howard de Walden came to dinner. 86 Bde due to arrive.

Wednesday 22 September

Captain Leslie St. Clair Cheape

Captain Leslie St. Clair Cheape

jess__diary_cameoTom & I went down the town, & did some shopping. The new budget came out today, sugar & tea have gone up & petrol; & telegrams are to be 9d instead of 6d, & no ½ post. After lunch I brushed Duskey, & put Keatings3 on her, & did out her house. Muz & Ione did some calls. After tea I took Duskey out in the garden, & then Mrs Edwards came back with Muz, & we walked home with her. She & Mrs Lucas were settling to have a sewing party, to make sand bags. Muz went to the Garretts with Mrs Lucas afterwards. I gave Duskey her supper. Wrote to Zooie & Poppy after dinner, & went to bed at about eleven.

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. Left here at 9.15 with the Gen & Col Fuller. Went to Reserve Nulla & saw Gen Perceval. Then went on round right sub section. Went a short way down 53 Div trenches. Got back soon after 1 o’c. Hardress had got back. Leslie Cheape came to lunch. Wrote letters in the afternoon. Started making dug out for stores. Rather cold in the evening. Dug at the stables with the Gen & Hardress.

pat-cameoLetter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong

Sept 22.

My dear wee Mus.

Hardress got back this morning from Athens & has brought a regular truck load of stores. I have got some of my cyclists hard at work making a store house to put them in. No King’s Messenger letter from you this week. But I had an enormous mail from you last week & expect I will probably hear from you again to-morrow. I’m sending you a little parcel by King’s Messenger. Will you get them fixed for me & send them back by the same method. I sent you another parcel of 6 rolls in an old shirt a few days ago I hope it arrives safely.

Pat’s dugout with a tarpaulin roof

Pat’s dugout with a tarpaulin roof

There isn’t much doing here at present, things are very quiet. I had quite a busy day yesterday. I went the whole way round the front line left here about 10 o’c & got back just after 2 o’c. Then in the afternoon I rearranged my roof. I had to strip it all off, alter the poles. Then I covered it with rabbit netting & put the tarpaulin back. It’s a grand job now & as firm as a rock. Ought to keep out any amount of rain. I think it will be warmer than this for the cold weather. It will be alright as long as there isn’t a very strong south wind & then it may blow off or flap a bit but all the strong cold winds come from the North & I’m well protected against that. The flies all got in again while I was doing it & I haven’t been able to get them out again yet so they are rather troubled this afternoon. I’m hoping to hear soon from the Boss & Tony about the horses. I’ll get the Boss to take some photos of them for me. I’m very pleased about them as I think it’s a good investment. Well wee Mus I think I have told you all the news for to-day. Best love to you all.

Your loving Pat.

pat-cameoLetter from Pat Armstrong to Jess Armstrong

My dear wee Jess.

Ever so many thanks for your long letter of Aug 5. It was awfully nice of you to remember my birthday & to send me such a nice box of peppermints [and] caramels. Thank you ever so much for them wee Jess. Everybody loved them. I’m so glad the house is getting on so well. What fun you all must have with it. I hope Mus has got carpets for all the rooms by now. I can’t get a cheque book out of Cox yet. He has taken ages to send it, then I’ll send her a cheque for the carpets. You must take some photographs of it for me & send them out. Oh! Talking of photos, will you get me some copies of the ones of Ypres & any of about the same time of people in trenches. Then will you also send me 2 copies of any photos I have sent from here. I’m longing to see them. I’ve been hoping you’d send some out but none have arrived yet. If that shop at Folkestone are too slow will you send them to the London Stereoscopic Coy. They are very good & quick. It’s so disappointing to take a photo & then have to wait from 2 to 4 months before seeing it. I sent Mus two parcels of photos this week. One of six & one by the King’s Messenger of 2 rolls.

Sentries in trenches

Sentries in trenches

There is very little doing out here at present. A battalion of Newfoundlanders rolled up a few days ago & are attached to us. Quite a good lot they are. I have had great walks round the trenches the last few days. I went the whole way round the front line on Tuesday took me about 4 hrs. Then I had a long walk with the General yesterday. We wandered all over the place. I’ve been in camp all to-day working like a navy fixing the roof of our mess & making a store house to put things in. Hardress arrived back from Athens yesterday with masses of stuff, so we are well set up now. My parcels have been arriving very regularly lately form Harrods, which just makes all the difference. The weather is a lot cooler now & it makes us all feel very much fitter. It was really quite cold last night. The wind is so cold. My dug out is a great affair now since I paved the floor & altered the roof. It ought to be very nice & cosy & warm for the winter. I hope to get some door posts put up to-morrow & to get a door of sorts in in a few days. Well wee Jess, I must go & cast an eye on my lambs & see that they are working alright. I find that they don’t go half the pace when I’m away. They are a grand lot but some of ‘em are new & want watching. Best love wee girl & thank you again ever so much for the sweets.

Yours ever Pat.

Thursday 23 September

jess__diary_cameoMuz, Ione & I went off at about ten in the car to Dover, to lunch with Kathleen, & see the King inspecting the ships. We saw him awfully well, & there were quite a lot in the Harbour. Her husband was in the show. Then we had lunch, & sat & talked, then she came back here with us for tea. We gave Mrs Fitzgerald a lift back from the town. Muz & Ione went to see Kathleen off, & then Kitty & a friend & the Brazilian girl came. Then Muz came back, & we walked home with Kitty. There are notices up that you can’t drive along the Front, after dark, as there are no lights now.

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. The Gen, Col Fuller & Hardress went round left of line starting at Jefferson’s post.4 Went down to the Beach to try & get some nails. Spent the rest of the morning fixing the roof of the mess. Made dug out for stores & built up front of dug out for Williams. Heseltine came to lunch.

Friday 24 September

jess__diary_cameoDid some tidying in my room. Poppy sent me £10 for my birthday. After lunch Muz lay down, & I brushed Tom’s hair, & took the tangles out. It took nearly three hours! Heppie went to an auction. Ione went to the Tango tea. After tea I wrote to Poppy, & did more tidying. Muz & Ione washed their hairs. Went to bed at about ten. It is in the evening papers tonight, that Greece is mobilizing.5

Tom’s hair!

Tom’s hair!

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. Rode up to Reserve Nulla with the Gen saw 1st London Regt & Lancaster Fusiliers who were making terraces. Took the sand bags away from the front of my dug out & built up with stone. Walked up to 86th Bde Hd Qrs in evening. Saw Mr Carley [?] & got some nails.

Saturday 25 September

jess__diary_cameoMy birthday. Muz gave me the ring, Ione 2/-, & Tom 2/- & Heppie sweets. I went round to Mrs Edwards & then up to the Grand to see Mlle Jean about singing at the club. Then went with Muz & Heppie to look at things for an auction on Monday. After lunch I started making the curtains for my room. Ione went to the Tango Tea, Muz did some tidying in her room. Ione went to the dance. Mr Arnoldi sent to say good-bye, as he goes to the Front tomorrow. I went to the club at seven, but not many people. Nicola was there. Heppie gave me my diner, & we went to bed at about 11-30. The sea is all full of oil today, as we have sunk some oil boat, so the people bathing got covered with it & tar! Saw an air ship.

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. Very cold early. Spent from 8.30 to 12 o’c with the cyclists making their terraces. Then walked up to 86 & 88 Bde Hd Qrs worked from 2-6. A very big job. Got 7 letters from Mus & one from Brock. Got door made for my dug out.

86th Brigade Headquarters

86th Brigade Headquarters

Blanche_cameoLetter from Blanchie Somerset, Badminton, Gloucestershire, to Pat Armstrong

Pat dear

I’m afraid I haven’t written to you for ages, but you must forgive me. The cubbing has begun but I haven’t been out very often yet. Tempe & Silver Wing are awfully useful & the men love them both. I took Tempe some sugar the other day & he took it out of my mouth too beautifully. He was so gentle. I am awfully weary tonight as have been out coursing all the afternoon, we didn’t kill anything as our 4 dogs weren’t very fit but we had 3 awfully good courses. I’ve been offered a horse (only I can’t remember its name) that ran 3rd in the National to hunt this season but I can’t make up my mind if I want it or not. To be quite honest, I think I’ve got quite enough to ride this season but it would be rather nice to have him – wouldn’t it? I’m not quite certain of your address darling, but I hope this will find you. I must stop now as have no more news. Tons of love dear.

Yr Blanchie

Sunday 26 September

jess__diary_cameoMuz, Tom & I went to church, & went out on the Front afterwards, I talked to Kitty, & Muz to Mrs Seymour. Then we walked home with Mrs Seymour & her niece. After lunch I worked on my curtains, Ione went to the band, Muz darned & Heppie worked at the carpet. At seven I went to the club, but we had hardly anyone in, & sold cigarettes all the time, & looked at papers, & tore things out. Muz sat with me while I had my dinner & we went to bed at about seven. It was lovely & warm all day. Saw an oil ship!

pat_diary_cameoSuvla. Church at 9.30. Cyclists went on with their terraces. Got my window put in & frame of door made. Went down to R. E.6 [—] & got some small mesh wire. Got wall built up in the afternoon. Covered door & put it up. Good news from France.


  1. A domestic servant
  2. The rumour about the British forces breaking through the Dardanelles Narrows was false
  3. Keating’s Insect Powder
  4. A hill named Sivritepe near the British frontline, renamed Jephson’s Post by the Allies after Major John Noble Jephson of the 6th Royal Munster Fusiliers who was mortally wounded capturing the position on 15 August 1915 and died of his wounds on 29 August 1915.
  5. Eleftherios Venizelos, who had been re-appointed Prime Minister of Greece on 10 August 1915, was in favour of supporting the Allies and on 23 September 1915 the Greek government ordered precautionary mobilisation of its troops. However, King Constantine I of Greece refused to support the policy and Venizelos resigned as Prime Minister on 5 October. It was not until July 1917 that Greece joined the war and came out on the side of the Allies
  6. Royal Engineers

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