21 December 1914; Monday

Busy at work all day. Read part of “The Manxman” 1 by Hall Caine. Played a bit. A good deal of Christmas excitement about.


  1. The Manxman“: one of (Sir Thomas Henry) Hall Caine’s most popular novels. H.C. (1853­‐1931) was born in Runcorn, was secretary to D G Rossetti, and adopted the Isle of Man after DGR’s death; very popular novelist and literary figure in his day. 

20 December 1914; Sunday

At chapel at night and at School as usual. Walked round the streets first thing because I was too late for chapel. A bit trouble at night through Miss Bigwood taking it into her head to assist the carol singers without consulting the choir. We sang “And the Glory” rotten†. Mr Mullins preached in the morning and a stranger at night because Mr Chadwick was ill again.

16 December 1914; Wednesday

Hartlepools, Whitby, Scarbro’ & Redcar1 bombarded by German cruiser squadron. Heavy loss of life, especially in the Hartlepools and a great amount of damage done2. Our destroyer flotilla engaged them but they got away3. The first news was received through a telephone message from Hartlepool. A good deal of excitement.


  1. “[The] Hartlepools” was a commonly used name for the conurbation formed of the old town of Hartlepool and the newer West Hartlepool. “Scarbro'” was and remains a common abbreviation of Scarborough. Curiously, few if any other contemporary accounts mention Redcar at all although it is close to the coast between Hartlepool and Whitby and could quite conceivably have been a target. 

  2. See Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby at Wikipedia. The attack caused 137 fatalities and 592 casualties. Sunderland was lucky to escape this and any subsequent bombardment. The shelling of Scarborough is the subject of Osbert Sitwell’s 1926 novel ‘Before the Bombardment’. 

  3. “… they got away.”: While the raid caused public outrage towards the German navy for its apparent targeting of civilians, there was also a significant backlash against the Royal Navy for its failure to prevent the raid. 

14 December 1914; Monday

Pretty busy at work. Stayed back a short time at night and completed stock sheets. Played piano at night for Charlie and tried some new songs over. Got on pretty well. Finer day, but still stormy. Received news that submarine B.11 had blown up Turkish shipMessudiyeh1 in the Dardanelles. Lieutenant Commander† Norman D Holbrook2. He passed under 5 chains of mines to do it.


  1. “Messudiyeh”: Actually the Ottoman ironclad Mesudiye, correctly noted to have been sunk by HMS B11 

  2. Norman D Holbrook: ALL’s shorthand appears to have Lt. “Commander”, but he was only a Lieutenant; awarded first naval VC of WW1 for this.