1916 – May 3

My meeting of the Church of England’s Men’s Society on Tuesdays is rather interesting – there are some good fellows among the men and some humbugs. We got the news of Townshend surrendering at Kut el Amara yesterday with 6000 native [Indian] and 3000 white [British] troops. Not important as regards loss of men, but will stir up Mahomedan excitement in India, Persia and Cabul – however we’ll take whatever comes. Our muddleheaded pacific nation that despised its soldiers in peace time deserves these blows and the poor soldiers suffer.

Daisie tries keeping pets with miserable results. First 2 sparrows – cat got one, then another sparrow enlisted, mysteriously disappeared, and the third died. Then a dove, Daisie took the dove for a walk in the garden and it was carried off by a kite, now 2 quails and we’ll see what happens.

1916 – May 1

Keep your tails up! We lost a Battleship yesterday, mined in the Mediterranean, a submarine the day before, and to-day we get news (long expected as far as I am concerned) of Townshend surrender to the Turks at Kut el Amara with 9000 men! 9000 men doesn’t matter tuppence and very few white, but the whole thing will be greatly magnified and be a heavy blow to our prestige in the East, it may even bring the Afghans down on top of us, as they have long been hanging on the brink – however, it’s all God’s will and certainly our nation with its pre-war concentration on trade and rubbish, and utter neglect of its army, does not deserve to win this war.

1916 – April 27

This is being a wonderful year so far. Heavy rain yesterday and black clouds now, quite cold and no idea of thin suits or punkahs – it is most abnormal. The War shows no sign of flagging, goes on just killing, killing, killing. I suppose it will end some day. Good news yesterday, the vile traitor, Roger Casement*, tried to land in Ireland with arms and was captured – everybody except Roger is very pleased. Am going up to Landi Kotal to-morrow to have a peep at Afghanistan.

I have given both the boys a good start in stamp-collecting and I hope they’ll take an interest in it and not swop valuable stamps for tame rabbits or white mice.

* Roger Casement was knighted in 1911 for his humanitarian work; yet, having been born in County Dublin, was a sympathiser of Irish nationalism due to the British oppression of the Irish. He was captured leaving a U-boat in April 1916, having tried to muster support from the German government for an uprising in Ireland. Despite his failure, the Uprising went ahead, on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, in Dublin. While the uprising was crushed, it ultimately led to Ireland being granted Home Rule and paved the way for Eire (southern Ireland) to become independent of the United Kingdom. 

Some doubts exist over the circulation of diaries purporting to show Casement as gay, which of course was a grave crime in 1916. These diaries removed any sympathy to his plight and he was executed for treason on 29 June of that year. 

1916 – April 20

Given up smokes and drinks for Lent, no great hard-ship – one just feels the lack of a smoke as a baby does the lack of a dummy teat. Financial situation is acuter than ever – one despairs of ever getting straight. Each month I calculate on same improvement and then my schemes are blown to the winds by some unforeseen calamity. Just got straight when Government demands a refund of £20, another month again Govt. bills me £11 for Daisie’s meals a year ago on board ship. Then forage for horse etc. Rs. 90 in another month, then an unexpected bill from Gadney for £7 and so on and so on – it seems hopeless to try and keep ones head above water. I sent home £410 during the past year for the boys’ schooling and for Insurance Premiums, the latter are a great drag on one, but if I had died earlier they would have helped Daisie out of a mess so now I can’t complain if the Company wins a bit over it. The garden is still beautiful. Nemesia, Cineraria, Rannuculus, Violets, Anemone, Larkspur, stock, Frizia, Arums, just over. We have now Dianthus, Roses, Nemophila, Pansy, Snapdragon, Daisies, Geranium, Pelargonium, Poppy, Wallflower, Aster, Carnation, Petunia, and a few Arums for the vases. Phlox, Verbena, sweet peas just going. Iris just gone.