The Diaries of Elinor Ritchie, 1914
Audio footage of extracts from the diaries
Read by Jennifer Ayto
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August 4, 1914
The most tremendous day of our lives….. Beatrix returned from a miserably anxious holiday on the Thames. War means cessation of all income for them ….
The khaki uniform begins already in the streets. Beatrix decided it would be best to make a common household with us and save kitchen, fire, lighting etc. Prices going up … people are buying up all they can but the papers are severe on this. Humphrey dined at Downing Street – the P M very calm. …
Algy has been rejected as a Territorial on account of his sight …
Algy at breakfast told me Captain Graham with whom he dined last night has settled the question of his volunteering as he explained how difficult the use of a rifle would be with short sight. This set my mind at rest for him and Humphrey.
Letter from Beatrix … I had the great shock of reading that dearest Algy went to Hertford yesterday and enlisted as a trooper in the Hertford Yeomanry and sails for Egypt on Sunday.
Algernon intended to volunteer for Home Defence but the yeomanry were to release regular soldiers from Egypt.
Telegram from Lady Villiers that they were leaving Ostend for France …
Beatrix returned … radiant at having fixed all her plans for joining Algy in Cairo in about ten days.
Humphrey guarded Buckingham Palace with his special corps of Special Constables.
Monday December 28
Beatrix set off for Port Said via Paris and Marseilles.