GWL 30th January 1918

“……….The other day I picked up the most extraordinary paper called “Bibby’s Annual”.  A lot of papers by those spiritualistic gentlemen.  Rather quaint some of them.  One gave pictures of “thought forms”.  To me not very convincing.  A thing like an acorn with some leaves, is the thought form for self-sacrifice.  Looked at casually it is much more like someone’s idle scratchings on his blotting pad.  In another article the writer tells you just what happens after death.  He gives a picture of what you will look like when you are perfect.  It does not look attractive.

“Rather colder the last few days but nothing to speak of.  It really is wonderful weather for winter.  The flowers are beginning to come out.”

The Bibby Annual first appeared in 1906, but it replaced the Bibby’s Magazine of 1894, and the Bibby’s Quarterly, which ran from 1896 to 1905. All of these were the work of Joseph Bibby (1851-1940), one of the “Sons” of J. Bibby & Sons. He was a fervent Methodist and lay preacher. Although the publications were done in the name of the company, most of the editorial and content was of his personal interests. He always claimed that if he had not been born in a mill he would have become a journalist.

John Bibby

bibbys annual 1917

{next post 1st February}

GWL 28th January 1918

“Your letter of 12 Jan: & the St Dustan’s Magazine came to-day.  The magazine looks very interesting, but I have not had time yet to read it.  I most sincerely hope the operation on the kiddy’s eye will turn out all right.  She seems very young to start being chopped about.

“The weather here continues to be uncannily fine.  We had no rain to speak of last summer and hardly any this winter.  All the streams are extraordinarily low now.  I am bored to tears with that Bowerbank.  I had a letter from him yesterday.  It appears that he is in hospital at Hastings where his lady nurses!  A foreign cat of large dimensions has taken up its abode underneath the hut.  I spent about 2 hours to-night trying to shift him but failed hopelessly.  A gentleman called Mawson is occupying most of the Balkan News these days in talking about the Salonica that is to be.  Who cares 2 curses for the future of Salonica.”

The Bolshevik government severs diplomatic relationships with Rumania.

{next post 30th January}

GWL 25th January 1918

“To-day came your letter of 6th Jan:  I am doing my very best to get a bit of leave.  There seems to be a certain amount of difficulty in getting the understudy.  My malaria has really been very slight.  Apparently that Bowerbank has let me down.  I also sent Miss Meiklejohn’s shell case home by him.  I suppose the fool has lost that too or presented it to his lady.  Anyhow I have done with him completely now and he no longer belongs here.  I hope he is proud of himself and I hope his lady is too.  Lovely days now and not a bit cold.  The parcel of books and the magazine came to-day, too.  Thank you so much.  Jerry’s wife has done those illustrations quite well, hasn’t she?”  

On the 24th/25th Lt Gen The Hon Sir H A Lawrence replaced Lt Gen Sir L E Kiggell as Chief of General Staff,  British Expeditionary Force in France.

{next post 28th January}

GWL 23rd January 1918

“I dined out the other day with our padre at his hospital & met for the first time a lady doctor!  It was a wonderful experience.  They all mess with the officers.  One was very quaint.  Before dinner she had 2 large whiskeys & a gin & vermouth; after dinner she had a large cigar.  She is undoubtedly a female human being but I hardly think the term ‘woman’ applies to her.  She rather gives the same impression that you get when you watch a female male impersonator on the stage.  I believe she is very clever.  Another one recited extraordinarily well & told stories – a bit older than the first – I rather think you could class her as a woman.  The whole thing impressed me vastly.  Somehow I don’t think I should care to be doctored by a female.  Probably merely prejudice as they undoubtedly do know their job, while a good many men do not.”

1917 was the first year that women doctors were commissioned into the RAMC.  It was only just over 40 year since the establishment of the Royal Free Hospital in London, the first medical School to accept female medical students for clinical study.

{next post 25th January}

GWL 21st January 1918

“Your letter of the 31st Dec: came to-day; also a parcel dated 7 Nov:  How awfully distressing for poor old Adam and Tizzie.  I am so sorry for the kiddy.  Let’s hope the operation will put her all right.

“Just done a really good shoot, and am feeling rather bucked.  Also just heard that Peter has got the M.C. – so far a good day.  But on top of that comes the news that ‘Raglan’ has been put down.  I am afraid she could not have done much against ‘Goeben’ & ‘Breslau’.  Thank God they went on mines.  I remember those two coming into Malta on their way East, and a rare old row there was in Valletta – Malts all trying to knife the Boches.  Mists still hanging about.  Went a long walk yesterday about 8 miles – To-morrow I am going out to dinner and it is rather a long walk so we are getting into practice!”

On January 20th HMS Raglan was sunk off the Dardanelles in an engagement with Yavuz Sultan Selim (formerly SMS Goeben) and Midilli (formerly SMS Breslau) with the loss of 127 lives.  The two Turkish/German subsequently struck mines.  Breslau was sunk and Goeben beached.  Arthur had previously served on Raglan as a gunnery officer [see post 9th December 1915].

In the Regimental Diary dated January 23rd it was noted that 2nd Lt H R Power had been awarded the Military Cross but no further details given.

{next post 23rd January}


GWL 19th January 1918

“A lovely day.  We are getting funny sort of mists now, nearly all day.  The valleys are generally full of it and from our mountain you look down on a kind of sea.  To-morrow we are going out to tea!  Intense excitement.  The entente is prospering nicely.  They are a very good lot.  Did I tell you that the trousers have come?  If I did not they have – & perfectly good trousers they are & fit very well.  To-day, Saturday, mighty busy endeavouring to make my commando invest in War Savings Certificates.  One elderly gentleman wanted to know how many National War Bonds he could buy.  I told him, in all humility that my knowledge of finance was microscopic but that I rather imagined that it depended on how much money he had.  Whereat he rejoiced.  Having understood that the number which an individual could hold was limited.  For a whole evening I was an information bureau.  We filled in forms & scratched things out & had a great time.  We managed to collect about £120 which I think was pretty good.”

{next post 21st January}

GWL 16th January 1918

“So glad you are having a good holiday.  It must be very pleasant in the country.  I do hope you take all the holidays you can.  You must need them.  To-day came a very fine pair of trousers;  to my area content – Also your letter of Dec:29th.  Really the mails are bucking up.  Nothing amusing has happened here lately.  Gardening has slightly revived.  This evening we planted three rows of spuds.  I am afraid it is a waste of 63 perfectly good spuds.  However, who knows?  Thanks so much for enclosing those letters.

“Would you let me know monthly how much you invest of our funds in War Securities.  You see we have a competition in this army & I want to get as much down in the name of this School as I can!  I am going to buy a balloon & fly it with “Buy War Bonds” on it.”

Many countries in the War raised funds by issuing Bonds.  The British Government issued three Bonds bringing in a total of more than £3billion.  The last issue was in January 1917 at a 5% interest rate.  These loans weren’t finally repaid until 2015, nearly 100 years later.

war bonds

{next post 19th January}

The First World War seen through the letters of George Power