Tag Archives: Current affairs

Arthur Linfoot often noted newsworthy events not directly related to the war.

6 February 1917; Tuesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Busy all day as usual. Finished about 7 o’clock. Had a man very ill with pleurisy and had him taken over to the building.

Billy Truman got other three leave cards with another at the billet last thing.

Heard that President Wilson1 had withdrawn his ambassador and that Count Bernstorff2 had been given his passport. A lot of talk of war between USA and Germany.

  1. President Woodrow Wilson broke off diplomatic relations with Germany on 3rd February 1917 following the latter’s decision to re-introduce a policy of unrestricted U-boat warfare two days earlier; see yesterday’s diary entry. The text of President Wilson’s speech to Congress announcing this development is available here

  2. Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff (14 November 1862 – 6 October 1939) was a German politician and the ambassador to the United States from 1908 to 1917. 

5 February 1917; Monday

Up as usual. Busy all day. Billy Truman received orders to go on leave and cleared off after dinner. I took over his tent for a short time and then Harvey came up to it.

Heard of the Germans’ submarine scheme1 and war demands of America.

  1. Germany had resumed unrestricted submarine warfare on 1st February. Unrestricted submarine warfare had previously been Germany’s policy, but this policy had been quietly discontinued in late 1915 following the aftermath of the sinking of the Lusitania

19 December 1916; Tuesday

Up about 7 o’clock. Busy all day. Went off to Y M at night. Mr Lloyd George [entry apparently uncompleted.] 1

  1. David Lloyd George had become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom a few days earlier, on 6 December 1916, following the resignation of Herbert Asquith. It is possible that ALL had intended to write a note to this effect, or to comment on some act or decision by Lloyd George subsequent to his appointment as PM. 

20 May 1916; Saturday

On Main Gate Guard from 9.15. Managed pretty well. Had a lot to do at night especially. Leishman helped me through and I put on the guard room clock at 2 o’clock1.

Daylight Saving Bill came into force at midnight2.

  1. See note below re daylight saving. “I put on the guard room clock” presumably means “I advanced the guard room clock by one hour.” 2 A.M. was the time at which the hour officially changed. 

  2. Daylight saving time was introduced in Britain by the Summer Time Act 1916 and was implemented in 1916 as GMT plus one hour and Dublin Mean Time plus one hour (Dublin time was 25 minutes behind London at this time). For 1916, DST extended from 21 May to 1 October. 

25 April 1916; Tuesday

On parade in the morning. Bank holiday1 in the afternoon and allowed out. Walked into town with Leishman. Had a drop tea at the Y.M. Went to Inwoods’ for belts. Arranged to go to Victoria Hall concert. I met Mrs Inwood and Franchie in the car and went down together. Pretty good concert. After concert big rush for cars2. Mrs Inwood, Green and Leishman got in and left Franchie and I outside. We walked up to the Town Hall before we could get one. Stayed to Inwoods’ to supper. A man got *3 knocked down by a car and I helped to pick him up. Mr Inwood wrote out the paper of the Dublin Rebellion4.

Lowestoft5 Naval Raid.

  1. Actually the preceding day, 24 April, was the Easter Monday Bank Holiday. 

  2. “Cars”: Meaning tram-cars, as usual. 

  3. “Shorthand looks like “regiment”; ALL interrupted while writing – “. . man from regiment knocked down . .”? 

  4. “Wrote out the paper…”: Possibly the Proclamation of the Irish Republic

  5. Lowestoft: this was intended to be a very big operation, and was timed to coincide with the Dublin Easter Rising, the Irish rebels having asked for German supporting action. Very briefly: 8 Zeppelins bombed Norwich, Lincoln, Harwich and Ipswich on 24 April, then a strong German naval force arrived off East Anglia, and by bombarding Lowestoft and Yarmouth hoped to draw divided Royal Navy forces to be attacked and beaten separately; the Germans correctly believed that the High Seas Fleet was widely divided, part of it trying to carry out a similar plan on the German coast, but some British ships had returned after colliding in fog, and were not where the Germans expected. The German leading battleship hit a mine, and all in all the whole operation was greatly disrupted and achieved nothing. 

15 November 1915; Monday

Up about 7.30. Frosty morning and we couldn’t get washed before breakfast. Busy all day with rations and town in the afternoon as usual. Scottish R.A M C got 3 hours notice to get to York. More women cooks in. Wrote to Charlie at night. Received letter from George Crawford. Spent at bit time in the Y.M.         Winston Churchill resigned1.

  1. Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, took most of the blame for the failed Gallipoli initiative. Having been a professional soldier before entering Parliament, he later went for a time to France as a battalion commander. 

6 July 1915; Tuesday

Slept in and didn’t get up until after 8 o’clock. Walked along Kil Kel [sic] Braes1 in the morning and read Mr McKenna2 on the new War Loan. Spent the afternoon on the sea front and read a bit of Everyman3. Bought a teddy bear for Moira and some other presents for home. Met Ernie at night and spent the night with the photographs.

  1. See footnote on 29 June

  2. See footnote on 22 June

  3. Everyman: See Everyman and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

22 June 1915; Tuesday

At work as usual. Called in the town at dinner time at Hills’ to see about a new typewriter ribbon. Called at Stewarts’ at night to get jacket altered. Played, and Charlie sang. Wrote up diary and shop books. Had walk with Joe.

Father bought some chickens. Mr McKenna1 introduced his new finance bill. Lemberg2 in danger.

  1. “Mr McKenna”: Reginald McKenna, 1863 – 1953, MP 1895 – 1918, Home Sec. 1911 – 15, Ch. Of Exch. 1915 – 16; issued second War Loan June 1915, at higher rate of interest than first (which was made convertible to second); this is said to have committed the UK to higher rates of interest than elsewhere, not only throughout WW1 but during the inter-­war Depression. The “McKenna Duties” of 33⅓% on luxury imports, “to finance WW1”, lasted until 1953. McKenna married a niece of Gertrude Jekyll. He was Chairman of the Midland Bank (now owned by HSBC) after 1918. 

  2. Lemberg: the Ukrainian city of Lviv (Ukrainian: Львів, Polish: Lwów, Russian: Lvov, Latin: Leopolis, or German: Lemberg). The battle of Lemberg, 20-22 June 1915, was a short-lived Russian attempt to defend the great fortress of Lemberg against advancing German and Austrian troops during the aftermath of the great German victory at Gorlice-Tarnow

5 June 1915; Saturday

Busy as usual, finished about 2 o’clock. Had walk into town in the afternoon and bought a tie with Mother’s money for Charlie.

Russian Flag Day. Mr Churchill made a speech at Dundee1.

Had walk with Willie at night and a soldier stopped us in town and asked us if we thought of enlisting.

  1. The text of Churchill’s speech, seemingly defending his role in the Dardanelles, is available at WinstonChurchill.org