Category Archives: 1914

All diary entries written in 1914.

31 December 1914; Thursday

Not much to do at work. Tom brought his gramophone over at night. I received 5/61 Christmas bonus. Charlie at work from 5.35 train until about midnight. Went to the Watch service2 with Ernie and Joe after finishing the letter to New Zealand. Mr Chadwick and Joe Speed spoke and Mr Mullens prayed. Pretty good service. I had walk round the town. Walked through Garrison Field with Joe.


  1. Five shillings and six pence: = 27½p. 

  2. “Watch service”: the Methodist “watch-night” service, usually starting at 11.30 pm, to see the New Year in. 

  3. It was ALL’s habit to write “THE END”, or some variation thereof, on the last day of each diary. 

29 December 1914; Tuesday

At work as usual. Not much to do. Ernie, Hilda and baby arrived in the afternoon from Boldon. Charlie received notice to go to Seaham Harbour and had to go in the afternoon. He arrived home at about 11.30 and had to be out again at 8 o’clock in the morning. He said the office was rotten and they were in an awful mess. I had a walk round the town by myself and was a good bit dissatisfied with Charlie having to go away now.

27 December 1914; Sunday

Missed chapel in the morning through being late and went to Roker instead. Saw the trenches and the new gun. At Sunday School in the afternoon and got on pretty well. My turn at children’s service and managed best I have done for a long time. Sang two carols at night. A Mr Joe Barnes sang solos. Had short walk round. Willie Carr and †Aunt Jimmy† to tea. Wet night, didn’t go far.

26 December 1914; Saturday

Slept in until about 10 o’clock. Went up town with Charlie. Bought a little clockwork Zeppelin. Ernie, Hilda and the baby in to tea. I went up the town after calling at Whittakers. We had a walk through the town and then went up Durham Road way. Didn’t leave the town until about 10 o’clock. A big crowd of soldiers in town. Report to hand that the Invincible & Inflexible were the British ships in the South Atlantic fight1.

  1. Possibly a reference to the events recorded on 9th December

25 December 1914; Friday

[Christmas day – see footnote1.]

Had walk round town with Father before dinner. Had roast pork and onions for dinner. Ernie came in for dinner and stayed a short while. I set him up to the station. We were rather too soon and walked about town talking. Played the piano and played a few games amongst ourselves at night. Went to bed about mid night. British Air Raid on Cuxhaven 2 by 7 aviators. 4 machines lost but all the men safe.

  1. While ALL routinely included brief notes on War events in his diary entries, often writing them on the date they had happened and not necessarily on the date he became aware of them, he never made any reference to the ‘Christmas truce‘. Histories of WW1 which mention a truce generally say that any such events, with or without impromptu games of football or exchanges of gifts, were localised, informal and strongly deprecated by Army commanders. ALL’s silence may be interpreted either as confirming that censorship of news about truces, if not complete, was fairly successful, or as suggesting that if anything was known about them, it was not considered significant in Britain at the time. The former seems the more likely explanation. 

  2. The Cuxhaven Raid was a British ship-based air-raid on the German naval forces at Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914. 

24 December 1914; Thursday

[Christmas eve – See footnote1.]

At work as usual. Mill stopped at 6 o’clock a.m. We finished in good time and Tom Fagin† brought his gramophone across and played it until nearly 6 o’clock. I went up town at night and posted some Christmas cards. Called at station for Ernie but he didn’t arrive. Went up town later and called at Wiseman’s both in going and coming. Joe’s face swollen very much and he can’t go out. Bought Gertie a music case. And read a lot of The Manxman2 and went to bed about 1 o’clock. Charlie out tonight. Ernie arrived at Boldon with Hilda and the baby.

  1. ALL didn’t mention, and presumably hadn’t heard of, the first German bomb dropped on British soil on Christmas Eve, 1914. A single German aircraft (which appears to have got away unscathed), dropped a bomb which fell in a garden near Taswell Street in Dover, where there is now a blue plaque on the wall reading “Near this spot on Christmas Eve 1914 fell the first aerial bomb ever to be dropped on the United Kingdom.” 

  2. ALL had started to read this book a few days earlier, on 22 December. See The Manxman and Arthur Linfoot’s Library