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.

17 October 1914; Saturday

Very slack at work. Finished at 1 o’clock. Walked up town in the afternoon with Father and then went to Porteous and Got last tooth out. Went up town again at night and saw them bring in some wounded. About 100 wounded arrive & more taken to the infirmary and Children’s Hospital. All the district military divisions† and ambulance men were engaged and a lot of soldiers and policemen kept back a large crowd who cheered loudly the first arrivals.

News last thing that 4 German destroyers had been sunk off the Dutch Coast1. Capt. Fox got his own back2.

  1. This was the Battle off Texel, a naval battle off the coast of the Dutch island of Texel where a British squadron consisting of one light cruiser and four destroyers on a routine patrol encountered the remnants of the German 7th Half Flotilla of torpedo boats, which was en route to the British coast on a mission to lay minefields. The British forces attacked and sank the entire German flotilla of four torpedo boats. 

  2. Captain Cecil Fox led the British squadron in HMS Undaunted

16 October 1914; Friday

Busy all day. Directors’ meeting. I had a few letters and managed them all right. Very late for dinner.

Got news that the “Hawke”1 had been sunk by a submarine off Scotland with heavy loss of life. Went up town at night to see Belgian wounded come in, but not arrived. Wrote to Ernie.

  1. HMS Hawke was an old cruiser (launched 1891), on patrol in the North Sea with sister ship Theseus, at which submarine U9 aimed a torpedo, which missed Theseus and hit Hawke; 524 out of 594 crew were lost. In 1911 Hawke had had the distinction of having her bow sheared off in a collision in the Solent with RMS Olympic, sister ship of the Titanic, slightly smaller but at that date still the largest liner afloat.