1914 – September 29

Villeneuve 10.45 left at 12.45. Met a subaltern of the Horse-Guards who says that the Germans are out at last on the Sea*, perhaps at last we shall have at them. It makes one doubly anxious.

*The Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first sea battle of WW1, fought between the German and British navies on Sept 28th 1914, in the North Sea. 

1914 – September 28

Arrived Mont-Notre-Dame, 12.15 p.m. Such a pretty little place, I should like to bring Daisie here. Went up into the Church and prayed. The boom of the guns is inspiring. I hear the Cameron Highlanders had a sad loss yesterday*. The Colonel, Adjutant, 2 other officers and 29 men took shelter from the firing in a big cave. The cave fell in and they were all killed. In the quiet old Church which is half a ruin the thunder of the guns vibrated among the ancient pillars as I knelt there alone and it was quite weird. From the churchyard afterwards I could see the shells bursting on the high ground beyond the Aisne.

*First Battalion, Cameron Highlanders – read a little here

1914 – September 24

Villeneuve at 10.30 a.m. left at 4 p.m. Beautiful weather, but cold nights. When will this interminable battle of the Aisne come to an end? It is terribly long and makes one very anxious though I am never doubtful as to the final result and, please God, it will be decisive. Events have proved what a fine great sledge hammer machine the German Army was. It was quite able to take on France and Russia and defeat both if only England had not joined in and Austria had not proved so weak.

1914 – September 23

Arrived Fère-en-Tardenois 6 a.m. Went out to see Bay* and found him among all the aeroplanes. He afterwards came over to my carriage and had lunch with me. While in the Aeroplane camp a German Aeroplane came and we fired at it with a maxim, but it got away.

The French 5th Army Corps are marching through here towards the German right and the German was able to go off with this important information. Left F.T. at 3.30. p.m. Such a mixed crowd on board – wounded, sick, prisoners, kits of dead officers, lances, rifles, disabled guns, one which had been hit right on the nose and the whole shield and I suppose the whole gun detachment carried right away.

*For an explanation of who Bay is, see here
For a very illuminating article about the use of aviation in World War 1, go here

1914 – September 22

Cazalet’s train also came up and as we are to be here all day while they settle railheads according to the latest news from the front, we thought we would take a trip into Paris. Place de l’Opéra, Madeleine, Boulevards. It was a triumphal procession and we quite felt we owned Paris, everybody bowed and smiled and kissed their hands. Prayed for Daisie and the children in the Madeleine. Left Villeneuve 6.46 p.m.