On Easter Monday, an armed insurrection began in Dublin to end British rule in Ireland. Twelve hundred men and women seized key buildings in the city and Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the rebellion, read the proclamation of the Irish republic from the steps of the General Post Office. Reinforcements to quell the rebellion were sent from England and, in the combat which ensued, some 450 people were killed and more than 2,000 wounded, most of them civilians. Six days later, on 29 April, Pearse issued an order for unconditional surrender. The rising was widely condemned both in England and in Ireland however coupled with the continued postponement of Home Rule and the growing casualties of the First World War it led to a gradual increase in radical nationalism and the determination to achieve independence through political means.
Settled flowers some of the morning, then Mr Arnoldi came round, to get me to walk up to the station with him, he is going to Basingstoke for a week. Ione went to London by the 8-30, & is going down to Waverley Abbey Hospital to work for a week. After lunch Tom & K. went to skate, & I went to the Dew Drop tea room, & we were quite busy. Muz had people for bridge with Mrs K.Mrs Steele, Col. & Mrs Battiscombe, & Mrs Thurburn. Muz, K. & Tom went up to Mme de Marotte. Miss Steele told me my fortune! After dinner Mr Sutton rang us to say that there were Zeps over Dover, so to look out for them. So we went out on the front, but couldn’t see anything. Then we all Heppie & Tom too, went in to the dance at the Grand. Mr Falls & Mr Hull were the only men we knew, so we danced with them all the time. We went to bed at about 2 o’clock. Letter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong
Algie came to see me to-day but I was away in the trenches & missed him. Sickening wasn’t it. I had a real long day leaving about 10 o’c & not getting back till 3.30. It wasn’t raining which was something but I came back smothered from head to foot in mud. I wrote to you last night suggesting that you should go and see the Colonel. I think it might be a good thing. What do you think. His address is Queen Alexandra’s Hospital, Millfield Lane, Highgate. I think if you saw him you might be able to smooth things out a bit. At present they aren’t atall nice. I’m enclosing two letters I got from Algie as you may like to see them. I got a long letter from you this morning just before I went up to the line. Some of the photos are quite good aren’t they. Leave was stopped I hear on account of the Easter Holidays. Seems rather rot but that’s what Percy Hambro told Hardress, and he usually knows. How nice of Kathleen sending me an Easter egg. I must write and thank her but it’s difficult these times. I am glad you are getting more things for the house it will be awfully nice when it’s fully furnished. I must be off to bed now as it’s 11.30 and the light will be out in a few minutes. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Tuesday 25 April
Sir Roger Casement
I went down to the Rest Camp at 8-30, met Miss Hindley on the way & walked down with her. We hadn’t a soul in except the picket. Kitty, Miss Hindley & I sat out on the shore, & Duskey too. I came away just before twelve, & went to church for the 120 day [?] service. After lunch K. went to lie down, & I did the dinner table etc. Muz & Mrs K. went in a taxi to call. Mrs & Mr Barrowes came for tea, & Mme de Marotte. When they went Miss Carleton came. Then K. & I went out for a walk, & then she went in to lie down, & Muz, Mrs K, & I went down to try & get an evening paper, as we hear there have been riots in Dublin. Sir Roger Casement has been arrested for trying to get arms into Ireland, it happened last Thursday. We couldn’t get a paper anywhere. We went to bed at about eleven.
Wednesday 26 April
Muz’s birthday. I gave Muz £1, & Tom gave her three old silver spoons. Muz & I went down to the Rest Camp at 8. Mrs Paul took us down, we only had about 500 in, then she brought us back. I went up to the Grand to pay for Monday’s tickets then did some tidying. K. & I were going on the Hythe canal with Mme de Marotte, but K. had a bit of a cold. I went down the town & did the shopping & met Miss Phillips, & walked back with her. After lunch Mrs Boddam-Whetham, Mrs Tucker, & Mrs Glass came for tea, & played bridge till about seven. I watered the things in the conservatory, & then planted some things. After dinner Muz & I helped K. to pack, & got some of her things down. We went to bed at about twelve.
Thursday 27 April
Mrs K.& K. went off by the 8-30 train, then Muz, Tom & I went by the 9-15 to Maidstone, we travelled with Mrs Bardford. When we got to Maidstone Nitter wasn’t there, so we taxied out, & just missed her, so came back, & then found her at the station. We lunched there & shopped, then taxied out to Nitter’s nursing home & sat in the garden, then Tom & I went to pick primroses, but it began to thunder so we came back, as it was raining. Afterwards Tom & I played croquet with two of the people. We had dinner there, salad, cheese & bread as it is Nitter’s diet. Then we came back by the eight train, & got back at about 10-30. It is a very pretty little place. We heard the cuckoo for the first time, it is rather funny, as we heard it this day, last year too.
Letter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong
My dear wee Mus.
“Things aren’t atall comfortable”
I have been very bad about writing these last few days but it seems so hard to find the time. When one’s not writing or reading correspondence one is being rung up on the telephone. Quite strenuous times really, but things are all in running order now & work ought to decrease a bit. I got a letter from you this morning of the 26th. I hope you had fun going to see Kate Baird, nice of her paying your journey wasn’t it. The General, Hardress & I went down to Rouen yesterday. Quite fun it was. We left here just before 7 o’c. & got there about 10.30. Had quite a busy morning & left again after lunch getting back here about 6 o’c. It was a glorious warm day, it was rather nice getting away for a whole day like that. We have been having lovely weather these last few days, the trenches are drying up splendidly. I had a ride before breakfast then was in the office all morning & went out about 4 o’c this afternoon. I went & saw Percy & we walked up to the trenches together. He was in great form but is very hard worked. He is always asking for Tommy and says he has written to her. He is awfully comic describing the way you got through the barrier at the station to go and see him off. He seems to have enjoyed his time with you very much. He’s a great lad. I wish we had him here at the Div. I got Kathleen’s Easter egg awfully nice of her to send it wasn’t it. About seeing the Colonel I should suggest your going straight there. Say you were up in London & wanted to see him & talk things over. Don’t put it off too long as I’d like to get everything settled up amicably. At present things aren’t atall comfortable. I got such a nice letter from old Brock a few days ago. I’ll answer it & then send it to you. I also heard from Mrs Ward-Jackson. She was awfully upset as poor old Jack had just died. Sad isn’t it. But he had a very happy life with her. I will answer her letter & send it to you too. The light will be out in a minute so I’ll go to bed & try to write again to-morrow. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Friday 28 April
I went down to the Rest Camp at nine, but nobody came in, so Miss Duke & I lay out on the sands & afterwards I threw stones [?] for Duskey & Golly to go in to the sea. Then an officer man, who is with the picket, came & talked for a bit. Muz & Kitty came down at 12-30, so I stayed on, & Lady Cohen came & sat at the store, with us, then they all went home except Muz & I. On our way back we went to tea with the Arnoldis. Then I went to Kitty & we came home. Did some tidying & went to bed at about 11-30.
Saturday 29 April
Settled flowers, then planted some we brought back yesterday. Then Muz & I went down to the Rest Camp at 12-30 till four. There was nothing to do, so we wrote letters etc. We can’t send wires to Ireland, & no mails are going either with all the disturbance in Dublin. We came back & had tea with Kitty then walked up to Moore Barracks Hospital to visit the ward, then went to another ward to see a man who had been moved. Then Muz went straight down to the club, & I put Duskey to bed & went down too. Ione came back unexpectedly by the five train, but goes back on Monday. Harry at Hothfield as his father is back. We were very busy at the club, & didn’t get back till late. Went to bed at about 12. Got a post card from Corporal Anderson written on 25th.
The Easter Rising
Sunday 30 April
Mended & tidied all morning. After lunch Di Montgomery came, she has just been seeing Archie off, & is going to stay the night. Tom & I went round to Kitty, & we sat out up the field, & played with Presh. Came back & settled Di’s room, Muz had done most of it. Mme de Marotte, Mrs Cleghorn, Miss Phillips & Kitty came round later. Ione had supper with Miss Phillips, & Kitty & Di came to the club with us. Di played Tom’s violin for the men. Mrs Cleghorn came down later. Kut surrendered to the Turks yesterday. A lot of officers have been killed & wounded in Dublin. 7 officers killed 21 wounded. We showed Di some of the house when we got back, & went to bed at 11-30, when we had got her breakfast tray ready etc.
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