8 September 1914; Tuesday

Not much to do at work. Finished in good time. Played a bit. Wrote up diary. Cold much better. Uncle Jack in at night and talked about the war. News from the front brighter. Report that Allies have checked German advance & threaten to turn their wings. A report from the Continent that there are 250000 [sic] Russians on French soil1. “Oceanic” wrecked off North of Scotland2. 70000 [sic] Indian troops dispatched to the front (9th)

  1. This was of course nonsense, no doubt related to the contemporary story that a reinforcing Russian army had been seen marching from the north of Scotland to the English Channel, identified as Russian because they “had snow on their boots.” See also The Truth at Last at Picture Postcards from the Great War. 

  2. Oceanic: White Star transatlantic liner, launched 1898, until 1901 the biggest ship afloat at 17,272 tons (the first ship to be longer than Brunel’s Great Eastern); thus well-­known and a matter of great prestige, she had carried 1,710 passengers and 349 crew. Converted to an armed merchant cruiser in 1914, she was sent to the North of Scotland to patrol the Shetland area, and ran aground on the Shaalds of Foula on the night of 7-­8 September, breaking up within two weeks. Curiously, the Wikipedia article says “The disaster was hushed up at the time”, but it clearly wasn’t.