Our research


When Tommy Came Marching Home




A Nurse's Diary


I Believe the war is over

Letter from Alfred Forbes Johnson to Essie, 11th November 1918

I believe the war is over. You will know for certain by the time you get this. I don’t think I shall see any more shelling and I am not at all sorry.




Flags out

Olive’s diary: 11th November Armistice proclaimed

Flags out here at 11.30. Florence ran in to tell us. A little upset to think my dear boy not here to see it! [referring to Major Edmund Street DSO, killed in 1916] Convoy arrived early. I began work in a full hospital.

Men excited playing every instrument they could & cheering like made things. Work hard. Concert by Kettles lot, most hideous row. F came and helped a little. Gave up A ward to Miss Bannister


We hear the news

James Sansom: 12th November 1918 We move on from Ascq to follow up Jerry who is retreating fast and keep marching through Lille Tournai and other places until we reach the village of Frasnes lez Buissenal when we hear the Armistice was signed yesterday


Liberated Civilians

November 14th 1918 Letter from Alfred Forbes Johnson to Essie.

We are in a village where there are liberated French civilians. I was talking to one of them yesterday. They have certainly had a difficult time


Fancy Dress

Olive’s diary Nov 15th 1918

All preparing for this foolish fancy dress ball on the 20th. Griffiths said I looked after him like a King! He carried my coal home singing Welsh songs. Slate quarry worker from Llanllyfni in North Wales


Fancy Dress

Olive’s diary 20th November 1918

Fancy dress affair at Beaucroft Hospital. I remained on duty and put in 16 hot water bottles and got supper. The dresses were far beyond my expectation. Nurse Howell in an old costume got 1st prize, Florence helped her to dress. Stubbs as a London cabby got the men’s 1st prize.


German Folk Songs


Small Concert

Olive Harcourt’s diary Friday 22nd November 1918

I sang at a small concert. After being on duty since 2 was tired. Had some supper with the staff. Sang Jess MacFarlane, Comin’ thro’ the Rye and to lute Die Sennerin and Nur einval noch. Hewitt gave me his picture, so humbly, by the kitchen sink

pictured: Jones, with crutches, Spiers behind chair, Hewitt in chair. Jones, Welsh took French leave on the way home. Spiers bad foot case, superior man


Letter from Ambrose Pinney

Wonderful letter from Capt Ambrose Pinney to Lady Mary - life in France and Belgium, the comedy of smuggling prisoners taken after 11am, the Belgians greeting British with bouquets and Germans with bricks

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.


Happy Days

Olive Harcourt’s diary 30.11.18 Nurse Howell came in late for one & a half hours. Thinks Beaucroft will be shut soon. William Fletcher writes: Happy Days. It is with the greatest pleasure that I write these few lines.

Thank you ever so much for all your kindness shown to me during my stay at Beaucroft

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Using this blog

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

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 created as simple text files are dropped into a folder on the webserver without the need for complicated formatting making it easy to upload material quickly.

We’re always happy to share more details about our work - email us using the link at the bottom of the page and we’ll get back to you.

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