Airship

The airship sailing close over Lady Mary in Beaminster on Armistice day was from the Royal Naval Air Station at nearby Toller Porcorum.

SSZ 45 was one of 2 based there to patrol the waters of Lyme Bay for U-boats. On June 10 she watched an airship pass close over Chideock along with seaplanes and a “great firing” from the planes and a destroyer attacking a U-boat.

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Letter from Ambrose Pinney

Namur, November 1918

My Dear Lady Monkswell, How very nice of you to write to me. It was a great moment when the Hun finally caved in, and since then the situation has not been without a humour of its own.

By mistake we captured some Hun prisoners after 11am. Various regiments wired in as to what was to be done with them. GHQ said that they were to be released at once and followed it up with a number of worries as to why their orders had not been obeyed.

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Would Love to have known you

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A Memorial Book

Letter I have received from the Commons about setting up a Memorial Book to remember those members of both houses, their sons and grandsons, who have died in the conflict

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Cosmo Gordon

Friday 29th November 1918 Lady Monkswell: In dog cart to Mrs Pinney’s, she most cheerful: walked back. German Admiral asks to fly his dishonoured flag. Not so, says Admiral Beatty. Letter from Cosmo Gordon from Russian Hospital in S. Audley Street where I had written to him, dear fellow.

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Old Blockade

Old Blockade - by a boy at Dartmouth

Observe how doth the British Navy

Baulk the Bavarian of his gravy

While the fat Boche from Köln to Munick

Cannot expand to fill his tunic.

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Foch's sayings

Lady Mary's diary: Monday 2nd Dec 1918

Everyday, news so interesting and good we hardly know ourselves. From Clemenceau’s speech at the Fr Embassy. At a critical stage Foch said: “I can’t hold can I, then I’ll attack.”

Another famous saying: [by Foch] “I shall fight in front of Amiens, I shall fight in Amiens, I shall fight behind Amiens.”

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US ships in Weymouth

Weds 4th Dec 1918 Margaret [my sister in law] took me to Maiden Newton to see Robert [my son] at Weymouth 1-5.30pm. Met us at station, my emotion. Looking just the same but head still shattered. Has given his health for his country - may he be blessed.

Very nice walk along sea walk. All manner of ships going in and out of the mist. Portland, the S. Coast. Much intimate talk. Dear Little Lorna more lovely than ever, those dark eyes. Was kind to me and pleased with my doll. Pleasant tea.

picture: Weymouth Seafront 1918, courtesy Dorset History Centre

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Presidential escort

Weds 4th Dec 1918 American officer tumbled into our 1st class as we started back. We at once entered into conversation. US big ships had arrived that pm. Pale, strong American face, blue uniform. Had just come from Rosyth could hardly find words to express his contempt of Hun fleet and mortification at not having been able to fight. Says fleet was in filthy state and bad repair.

Admiration of Ad. Beatty. Displeased at President W coming over to Paris; is to meet him, escort at Brest on Monday. This young man brought home to me America’s presence.

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Christmas card

A Christmas card from Ambrose Pinney - “With Heartiest Greetings for Christmas and the coming Year”

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Sir Robert's letter

Weds Dec 11th 1918

Nice letter from Sir Robert Williams in reply to my congratulations: unopposed election, W Dorset.

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Lloyd George

Lady Mary's diary 12.12.1918

Rather seedy. How seldom am I kept indoors, thank God. Lloyd George’s excellent Election speeches. The net is closing round the Kaiser (at Amerongen, Holland)

Germany quite unrepentent. Frances [niece] has been nearly distracted but remains sane. Cosmo [her husband] can get abt on crutches in hospital South Audley St.

Friday 13th December 1918 I paid my last subs to the Belgian refugees. We have had them here since Jan 25 1915. No one loves the Belgians. Arranged Christmas cards, presents etc.

Sat 14th December 1918 General Election - I hope Lloyd George and his coalition will get a large majority. Sir Rt Williams returned unopposed in W Dorset so whether I may vote (being Peeress) I have not discovered.

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Ladies voting

17th December 1918

Letter from my sister Emily in Scotland, how she went and voted for Parliament for the first time in history with six other Skipness ladies, all crammed on the car.

To Grammar School prize giving in the hall by Colonel Colfox. Sat next to Mrs C (her broken heart, son died) Mr Kitson in Chair. 100 girls and boys gave a performance after the speeches. (Dr Skinner good, Col C pretty good.) “La Belle au bois dormant” Sleeping Beauty in amazing French.

Almost a miracle; also a lovely dance with tulle veils. Mary Andress very pretty and graceful. Her parents immediately behind me, bursting with pride. Very nice show. The whole village there.

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Christmas Day 1918

Celebration service 11 of the clock, some 200 faithful present. “Oh thou that bringest good tidings” my overpowering emotion, actually pouring tears.

I had invited Mr Earle of Mapperton, he is just returned from France (Chaplain).

Gave us a wonderful account of what he saw. He arrived out there precisely at the turn of the tide and followed the retreating Germans the whole time. The number of machine guns they threw away - incalculable. The destruction of everything. The Australians, desperate fighters but absolute savages and disobedient. His services were crowded and enthusiastic. He slept in a cellar while his tent - Church - was destroyed by a direct hit. He used to sit and watch our airmen bringing down enemy aircraft. What a show. He comes back a different man.

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President at Palace

Lady Mary's diary 26.12.18

Ethel and Collingwood looking well and happy. President Wilson is met by King George and taken to Buckingham Palace, this brilliant day. I walked up to Hackthorne, nearly four miles.

To Mrs Partridges clever acting in the evening. “1 Contrasts: 2 Backward Child: 3 Don’t let the Lady go.” Hall packed. I congratulated Mrs Partridge and walked up the hill and saw a most magnificent sunset. “The heavens declare the Glory of God.”

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Election Declared

Lady Mary's diary 28.12.18

The Elections declared Saturday night. An astonishing majority for Coalition ie Lloyd George. Asquith and his party out. Pacifists out.

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The Year the World Changed part 1

1918 - the year the world changed from the diaries of Lady Mary Monkswell of Beaminster

Part 1 Prisoners in Beaminster - U-boat off Chideock - and the great blackberry pick

In 1918 the year the world changed, Lady Mary is played by Margie Barbour with other voices by Alastair Nisbet. The podcast is a ScreenPLAY production for the project Voices from 1918, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Coming up in part two: Railway strikers in Dorchester, dinner with a Dorset MP and Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria out of the war.

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A New World

Tuesday 31st December I am too near it at present to estimate what we have lost and gained by the Great War. We know that a new world has opened. There is not one of us that has not suffered agonies. All our soldiers - in the family - have returned except dear and clever James Usborne. His body lies near Arras.

Monday 30 December

Ethel and Colingwood drove with us to meet at Hook (Cattistock Hounds) We saw them throw off and heard “the music”. Within 300 yards of home, Ethel discovered she had lost her precious beautiful wrist watch. In great agitation we returned the four miles and there in the mud in the lane we found it, quite clean and uninjured - a small miracle!

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Fancy Dress

Lady Mary's diary 1.1.1919

Went to village Fancy Dress Ball in hall. Met my friends, tradesmen and cook disguised beyond recognition. Danced Lancers with Mr Kit in uniform. Much amused. (public much pleased) Read précis for this last awful and wonderful year. Victory and Peace.

Jan 2nd 1919 To Mrs Pinney’s party at hall. Children of all ages from Mr Kit (75) with whom I danced Pas-de-quatre; some 50 of them, also Lady Peto, Pinney and her children. Gertrude in blue looking pretty, most of them in white w floating hair. Berlin threatened by Bolshivism “the Chickens indeed coming home to roost.”

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1918 The Year the World Changed part 2

1918 - the year the world changed from the diaries of Lady Mary Monkswell of Beaminster

Part 2 Railway strikers in Dorchester, dinner with a Dorset MP and Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria out of the war.

In 1918 the year the world changed, Lady Mary is played by Margie Barbour with other voices by Alastair Nisbet. The podcast is a ScreenPLAY production for the project Voices from 1918, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Coming up in part three: Part three: The sacrifices of war and relief of Armistice. A new world has opened

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1918 The Year the World Changed part 3

1918 - the year the world changed from the diaries of Lady Mary Monkswell of Beaminster

Part 3 Part three: The sacrifices of war and relief of Armistice. A new world has opened.

In 1918 the year the world changed, Lady Mary is played by Margie Barbour with other voices by Alastair Nisbet. The podcast is a ScreenPLAY production for the project Voices from 1918, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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Dr Daniel

4th Jan 1919 Rain and snow.

This worst day of the winter I met old Dr Daniel (he has been in bed w. an influenza cold lately) I said “Oh Doctor are you wise to be out?” He replied with a cunning smile: My dear lady, If I stay indoors today, what shall I do when I am old ?” Dr D is 82 !

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Saw Navy surrender

Tues 7th Jan 1919

Sailor Sidney Pomeroy came to see me: he was at Rosyth and Scapa Flow and saw the German Navy surrender. He helped search a big German warship, armed with a revolver and gas mask ready.

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Agnes Phillimore

Weds 8th Jan 1919 - Letter from Agnes Phillimore inviting me to Carn House for the opening of parliament. She writes: “I don’t know when it will be or how we are to dress. We intend going but there will be a great rush for places.”

[Mary's friend Agnes is wife of High Court Judge and Peer, Walter Phillimore and mother of Godfrey who had just been released from a German prisoner of war camp and wrote a book about his experiences.]

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Fancy Dress

Sat 11 Jan 1919

Small fancy dress party Doreen J’s, she in Egyptian dress, BVJ as cook. I took the great trouble of getting into my Queen Katherine of Aragon black velvet dress, tiara and veil. DVJ’s eyes gleaming green, excited. Supper and games

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A Capital good hour

Lady Mary’s diary: Jan 16th 1919

To Maiden Newton to meet Robert. He looking much better. Fine walk with him thro’ Parnham, we sheltered in stable, up hill to Netherbury - saw the splendid golden sunset and talked about the Victory, the family, little Lorna. A capital good hour. Rt in little dressing room: quite comfortable. So nice to have him sitting here. My heart lightened.

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The Dark Lane

Lady Mary’s diary: Friday 17th January 1919

Had a fine walk with Robert, the dark lane, Warren Hide. The view as beautiful and more strange than on a Summer day: 11 to 1. Have not been up there for months.

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Using this blog

Explore Voices from 1918 by day, month or person here on the blog or on our five Twitter feeds: @Voicesfrom1918 @LadyMonkswell @MarieStopes1918 @JamesSansom230 and @OliveHarcourt.

We have also recorded three audio podcasts entitled The year the World Changed by Mary Monkswell

Voices from 1918 has been developed by artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet in partnership with Wimborne Community Theatre, Dorset History Centre and the Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to all who have helped us with this project: Maria Gayton and staff at Dorset History Centre where we found Lady Mary Monkswell’s diaries; Joan Cocozza, ward of nursing auxiliary Olive Harcourt; Portland Museum where we found James Sansom’s diaries; the British Library and Wellcome Libraries; Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne and Gill Horitz from Wimborne Community Theatre.

We’ve used a new simpler type of blogging system which we beta tested for indie developer Janis Rondorf of Instacks software.

Posts are created as simple text files with a few lines of Markup instructions. These are dropped into a folder on the webserver and the post is added without the need for individual formatting or logging in. This made it easy to upload lots of posts quite quickly.

We’re always happy to share more details about anything - just email us using the link at the bottom of the page

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