1914 – December 26

Cold and drizzly. This War goes on and on and is very exasperating. We must have patience. Old Joffre has heaps of men, he must be going to strike a blow somewhere, but where and when? I should like to say in the Alsace direction and soon. If only Italy would join in. Up in Flanders the Germans are so entrenched and have such depths of barbed wire that advance is almost impossible.

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1914 – December 19

The Germans have bombarded Scarborough and Whitby and at last some of the English people will be able to begin to think. They think it is a dreadful thing, a few villas and a hotel or two knocked about and an odd hundred people damaged. It will help them to realize that the whole of Belgium and North of France is like that. One old bounder who was wounded by a fragment of shell said the fright had turned his hair white.

My last Xmas in England was in 1883, 37 years ago, and I was looking forward to this one with all the beloved children, but it is not to be alas!

1914 – December 15

Daisie left by the 5 p.m. express for Paris, where she will meet Dollie [one of Daisie’s two sisters]. There is a chance of her getting hospital work here at last with a Mrs. Gardner – on Dec. 28th. Am dining to-night with Fernie where I shall meet Mrs. G. and talk it over. It has been a rainy week. The war drags on, the only bright spot being our sinking of the small but good German squadron off the Falkland Islands. One has hardly any hopes of anything dramatic It is just a question of who fires first. There is no doubt of eventual victory for us but when? I have always said the active war would end on May 15th, we shall see.

1914 – December 10

Thank goodness we have sunk in the Pacific the Gneisenau, Scharahorst, Leipzig and Nuremberg, who sunk our Monmouth and Good Hope. Beastly rainy day. I had such a time my last trip up the line. Left Havre 5 p.m. Dec. 6th by Passenger to Rouen. Supply Train with Cazalet to Abbeville, arrived pouring rain 1 p.m. 2 hours talk with Freeland. Then on to Boulogne with slow train – reached there 9.30 all shut, no dinner. An hour with Hilliard. Then Supply Train to St. Omer, Tuesday morning an hour’s interview with Gen. [John Henry] Twiss, Director of Railways – then caught slow train to Calais, thence slow train through Boulogne to Abbeville, an hour’s interview with Freeland 7.30 p.m., caught an empty supply train to Rouen, slept with 6 Tommies in a truck and got covered with bacon grease. Wed. morning block on line outside Rouen, pulled kit out, walked down line to gare du Nord, caught a train to Rue Verte and walked thence to gare Rive Droite and caught Paris express to Havre, arriving 11.30 a.m. Got the only decent meal I had had on board this train and it was a great treat, clean and good, coffee and rolls. To-day pouring rain. Daisie leaves on Tuesday and I shall go to Rouen.

1914 – December 6

On the whole, since that cold spell early in Nov., the weather has been very good. Occasional gales and rain but mostly fine. We are not abolished after all and are going stronger than ever. I am going up to Abbeville to-day to see the Director of Railways [General Twiss] and consult officers. Eyre of the Life Guards has been cashiered for being drunk, and Newcomen has gone home with D.T., a lively lot! The old 20th seem to be doing well in the Persian Gulf with Ducat killed and Mc.Cleverty, St. John, Fordham, Burn-Murdoch and Saxton wounded – I shall be interested to know what it was all about.