30 October 1914; Friday

George Crawford got to know he is to go next. Mr Aitken paid us each one in his room and informed us that there would probably be a reduction in our money, and gave Reggie Balls and George Crawford notice for a month. I stayed in at night and did a bit grammar. Stormy night.

29 October 1914; Thursday

X Wednesday X Mr Aitken took Willie into the room and gave his notice X
Finish on Saturday first. He tried to induce Willie to enlist. A good deal of excitement caused by this step. I had a slight cold so stayed at home at night and read and looked up some words.

Turkish battleships bombard Theodosia1 in Black Sea without formal declaration of War.

  1. Theodosia: in Russia, at the E. end of the Crimea. There was long-­standing rivalry between Russia and Turkey, both because of Russia’s ambitions to replace the crumbling Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, Romania and Bulgaria, and because Turkey, possessing the Dardamelles, still controlled access to the Black Sea and thus to the Crimea and southern Russia; indeed the failure of the Gallipoli expedition (1915) to open seaborne access to southern Russia was arguably a significant factor in the economic, and then political, collapse of Russia in 1917. 

27 October 1914; Tuesday

Kept pretty well busy at work. Still talk about the reduction in the staff. Joe and I went up to the YMCA to see about joining the Civilian Force, but there was a march out and a big crowd so we didn’t do anything. Went to the choir practice. Played one game at ping-­pong. Nothing fresh in the war news.

Russians drive back Austro-­German Army in Poland.

26 October 1914; Monday

Not much to do at work. Mr Atkins read from a letter from Mr Lawson asking that he should arrange for some of us to join the army. I explained my position to Mr Scott. A lot of spirit† and excitement about it. Finished soon. Went to the King’s Theatre at night with Joe to see Hamlet played by Mr Alexander Morton Byng. We were in the gallery. It was very good. Didn’t get out until late.

25 October 1914; Sunday

At chapel and School as usual. Managed pretty well in School. 2 new scholars. Wet afternoon and night and no walks. Marmie and Joe and Dorothy to tea at Willie and Lily’s. Got news that the Badger1 had rammed a German submarine off the Dutch coast.

  1. HMS Badger: a torpedo boat – only 990 tons – and this was said to be the first successful attack by an Allied ship on a German submarine (the U-19): Wikipedia says that this ramming occurred on 24 October. 

24 October 1914; Saturday

Finished early. Had a tooth stopped by Mr Porteous. Walked round town with Charlie. Went to the Teachers Training Centre at night. Called for Willie Whittaker with Charlie and walked round the town a bit.

Portugal brought into the War1 by the invasion of Angola, Portuguese West Africa, by the Germans.

  1. Portugal didn’t officially enter the war until 1916 but the events alluded to here did give rise to reports that it had. See for example The Independent on October 26 1914

23 October 1914; Friday

The rumours at work increasing. Went down to Wanless’s at night with Joe. Had walk round with Charlie. Mr Scott asked me what I thought of the words of the song “Fall in”1.

  1. Perhaps “Fall in and follow me”, from the song “The King’s Shilling”, subsequently used in the 1969 musical “Oh what a lovely war”; in view of poor trade at the Paper Mill, Mr Scott was presumably hoping to reduce staff costs – see 26 October. 

22 October 1914; Thursday

Still slack at work and talk of reducing the staff. Mr Scott talking to George Crawford about it. I went to Endeavour meeting at night and there were only a few there. Mr Kettle spoke. Sister Madge played. I played ping pong afterwards. Saw the fire engine going to a fire at Cooper, Bells’†, but it was soon out. A big fire at Robert Barrow’s† in the morning. Charlie saw it.