Monthly Archives: October 2014

31 October 1914; Saturday

Finished at the office in good time. Went to Porteous and had a second tooth stopped. It took all the afternoon nearly. It rained heavily at night. Went to the Teachers Training Centre, and afterwards bicycled called for Willie Whittaker but didn’t go far. Came back home and played chess for a few minutes.

Wayman finished1.

Hospital Steamer Rohilla2 ashore at Whitby. About 70 lives lost. Newcastle lifeboat took off 50 people. British casualty list to date 57,000 on land.

  1. The diary entry for 2 December 1914 mentions a Billy Wayman who had recently left the Paper Works. It appears that 31 October was his last day of employment there. This Billy may possibly be the “Willie” who received his notice on 29 October to “finish on Saturday first”. 

  2. His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Rohilla: 7114 tons, built for the British India Steam Navigation Company in 1906 (Rohilla means an Afghan tribesman); ran aground 4.00am on 30 October in gale and blackout, at Whitby Rock just S. of Whitby; carried no rockets (for breeches buoy), but out of 229 aboard 144 were rescued (including one Titanic survivor) by land-­based rockets and lifeboats from as far away as Tyneside. 

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 Aitken read from a letter from Mr Lawson asking that he should <arrange> for some of us to join the army1. I explained my position to Mr Scott. A lot of stir and excitement about it. Finished soon. Went to the King’s Theatre at night with Joe to see Hamlet played by Mr Alexander Morton’s company. We were in the gallery. It was very good. Didn’t get out until late.

  1. Mr Lawson was evidently a Director of the Hendon Paper Works Company; his absence from a Directors’ meeting is noted on 15 December. Mr Aitken appears to have taken Mr Lawson’s request to heart as he was giving employees their notice and encouraging them to enlist only 2 or 3 days later

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.