One Hundred Years Ago

One hundred years ago, on the night of 19th/20th October 1918, during the Battle of the Selle, part of the One Hundred Days Offensive, towards the end of World War One, the British Royal Engineers built bridges, under enemy fire, over the river Lys. (OSM)
My Grandfather, George Edward Lines, at the time an Acting Captain attached to the 497th (Kent) Field Company of the Royal Engineers was awarded the Military Cross for his actions on that day.
Although he was wounded 3 times during the war, he survived that engagement, although not everyone was so fortunate.  The preceding linked site has further information from the history of another Royal Engineer, who did not survive the battle, including a map, and an extract from the original report of the crossing.

Roger to Jennifer – nice dinners and no homework

My father, Roger Lines, wrote to his sister, Jennifer, probably about 1939. She had been at Croydon High School, and was evacuated to the home farm of Statfield Saye at the start of the war.

Dear Jennifer,
How I envy you on having nice dinner and no homework. Michael and I have been writing a play for Christmas which you are going to be in. It is very cold here and the wind is whistling through the trees and blowing down the leaves. Tim pinched his fingers in the coal tongs and started to scream with anger and then he started to cry & say “Those silly tongs !!”  Love from

Roger

This was probably  written in the autumn of 1939, as Jennifer was probably one of the girls who had been sent away to safe districts before the whole school moved. From the description on the school web site

When Miss Adams arrived to take over the leadership of the school, the Second World War had begun. She had just evacuated the Queen Mary High School from Liverpool and travelled to Croydon to find not 800 but 54 pupils, for many girls had been sent away to safe districts. Miss Adams had to act quickly to preserve the life of Croydon High evacuating part of the school to Eastbourne and part to Llandilo in Wales.

The play was probably “The Green Gang” – one of several Family Dramas written by my father (some with Uncle Michael). The programme can be seen on the Family Dramas post.

This letter was probably after the one in a previous post, from Roger to Jennifer in 1939.

The reverse of the letter has the tail end of a letter from my Grandmother to Jennifer, but unfortunately I do have the rest of that letter.

lot of time and trouble. Have you seen any warships ? We could see dozens of balloons from our drive this morning, but they disappeared later. They were over Croydon. I haven’t heard where Jean Brindley or Sheila are going to school, or seen them.

Rufie sends lots of licks and little gentle bites.

Lots of love from Mummie

Jean Brindley had been a friend of Jennifer’s since they were about nine, and they ended up going to teachers training college at Roehampton together. Jean was in the same house at Froebel as my mother, which is how my mother and Jennifer met.

Margaret Box letters from Bralo

One hundred years ago my Great Aunt, Margaret Box was in Greece at a rest camp, near the village of Bralo (Bralos, Brallos), toward the start of the time she spend towards the end of the First World War, nursing in Salonica and Serbia (see this post for further related articles). On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October 1918 she wrote to her parents, my Great Grandparents, with an update. First to her father, on Saturday 5th:

Sisters Rest Camp

?Rtea

Greece

Saturday

5.10.18

My Dear Father,

So far – so good ! We are sitting out on a veranda looking at the most wonderful view, the mountains are all round us and the water below is as smooth as a mirror.

What I miss more than anything is the green grass & I should just like a walk in the garden now. I suppose all the michaelmas daisies are coming out now & I wonder if the lilies are done yet.

I slept like a top in my little camp bed last night – we kept the door of  the tent open & the dawn at 6 o’c this morning was just fine. Our sitting room is a mud hut but all whitewashed inside with green windows and doors – we have curtains and tablecloths & an assortment of comfy chairs.

Our Orderly looks after us very well & gave us a fine breakfast not coffee & black bread – but a real English breakfast – fried bacon & tomatoes – a thing we have not tasted for a long time – he makes good tea too – the best I have had since leaving home.

Last night we had a game of whist before turning in to bed & sang songs. We are the only Sisters here at present & we are just enjoying it all on our own.

Please tell Mother the biscuits & chocolate have been most useful – there won’t be any left to hand over ! It has been almost impossible to get biscuits on the way – but chocolate was much more plentiful.

Very much love to all

Your loving Daughter

Margaret Box

 On the following day, continued on Monday 7th, she wrote to her mother:

Rest Camp

Bralo

Greece

Sunday

6.10.18

My dear Mother,

We have moved on from our last resting place – we were quite sorry in a way to leave there – it was a nice quiet little place. We are under canvas here & tomorrow we hope to do a day’s work to relieve the sisters a bit, they are all so busy.

This evening we went to church at 5.30 p.m. in a tent – it was such a nice simple service – the first time we have been able to go to church since coming out.

Last night Yesterday afternoon we had a terrific thunderstorm – we all sat out on the veranda & watched it, the lightning dashed about & the thunder echoed all round the mountains – it soon passed on & the sun came out & we saw the most beautiful rainbow with its reflection from end to end.  The lightning continued all evening jumping up from below the mountains opposite & running along the top.

7.10.18

I got up to 7 o’c breakfast this morning & have been working in the wards – we may stay here some time as there are so many men ill & so few sisters, it is quite strange to work again.

Is not the news splendid.

I have no idea when we shall get to our destination or where we shall find the hospitals !

Much love to all

Your loving Daughter

Margaret Box

Notes

Splendid news

I am not sure exactly what this would have been, but by October 1918 it was clear that the Allied forces were winning the war and that the end was in sight.