This Week’s War: 190


‘From 4:30 am German bombardments. One shell hit our dugout, another by the door, others near. Much gas, wore masks and shut gas curtain.’

Entry dated Wednesday 20th March 1918, diary of Olaf Stapledon [OS/A1/20].

This Week’s War: 189


‘We are awaiting the Boche onslaught: the latest date is March 25th. Meanwhile both sides practice raids and so far we have had much the best of the exchanges as our men are ready and able for the fight while the Boche is the very opposite.’

Letter sent to Percy Bates from a friend at the General Headquarters of the British Armies in France, dated 18th March 1918 [D641/2/1/6].

This Week’s War: 188


“Chaos in Russia. Germans pressing on despite peace agreement! Bolsheviks fighting for their life – imprisoning all who abhor their rule.”

Entry dated Monday 4th March 1918, Diary of John Bruce Glasier [GP/2/1/25].

New Accession: Gypsy Lore Society

We’re delighted by the recent acquisition of a collection of papers formerly belonging to Helen Murray, secretary to philologist and Gypsy Lore Society (GLS) member Bernard Gilliat-Smith (1883-1974).The collection largely comprises correspondence and photographs, including letters from notable GLS members such as Dora Yates, R. A. Scott Macfie and Henry James Francis, and is a welcome addition to our GLS archive.

The earliest letter is from R. A. Scott Macfie (GLS Honorary Secretary, 1907-1914) to Gilliat-Smith, written on the day of the outbreak of the First World War; as well as containing personal news and reference to his work, Macfie comments on the ‘danger of another Balkan war – or worse.’ Macfie would experience this danger first-hand as a Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in the Liverpool Scottish Regiment, receiving the Military Medal for gallantry in 1916.

Letter to Bernard Gilliat-Smith from R. A. Scott Macfie on the eve of war.

The new acquisition also contains this print of a c.1899 photograph of Macfie, gifted by Dora Yates to Gilliat-Smith on his birthday (sent, as Yates explained in an accompanying note, as ‘I have nothing better to offer him’).

Macfie (left) is pictured alongside a fellow employee from Messrs Macfie & Sons, the sugar refinery business which had been run by his family in Liverpool since 1838.

Dora Yates (GLS Honorary Secretary from 1935) was a prolific correspondent and we are pleased to add more of her letters to our large extant collection, offering as they do great insight into the work of the GLS and the various personalities within the society.     

Letter to Bernard Gilliat-Smith from Dora Yates in Romani (the rest of her letters are in English).

A full catalogue of this new collection will soon be available online under the reference number GLS ASC/7.

Romany, Traveller and Gypsy histories are currently popular themes for exhibitions across Europe: Rights and Romance: Representing Gypsy Lives features at the Brotherton Gallery, Leeds; “…don’t forget the photos, it’s very important…” The National Socialist Persecution of Central German Sinti and Roma in Prague (due to be displayed at the Liverpool Central Library in May 2018); and the Mondes tsiganes: La fabrique des images display at the Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration in Paris. The latter two exhibitions feature material from the GLS collections held within SC&A.

This Week’s War: 187


“Attended tactical exercise under the G.O.C. with infantry brigadiers and officers of various battalions. Enemy raided Portuguese.”

War Diary / Intelligence Summary of University of Liverpool graduate J. H. Forshaw, Captain and Adjutant of the 55th Divisional Royal Engineers, entry dated 2nd March 1918 [D113/1/2].

This Week’s War: 186


‘No! I have not had time to visit a Canteen or an eggs-and-chips place since I became post-corporal, but I get coffee and other refreshment in the morning while I am waiting for the mail to come up…’

Entry dated February 25th 1918, War Diary 1917 – 1919, by Aleyn Lyell Reade [ALR. A. 1. 2].

This Week’s War: 184


Wounded Soldiers’ Concerts

‘The second concert was held on February 9, Alderman M. H. Maxwell, J. P., presiding. The proceedings were an unqualified success. The star turn was Miss Ella Shields, whose songs were greatly appreciated by the wounded soldiers.’

Extract from Cunard staff magazine, February 1918 issue [D42/PR5/1].

This Week’s War: 183


‘Convoy left Braux-St-Remy and went back to Maricourt where the land is full of preparations for a guessed Boche offensive.’

Entry dated 2nd February 1918, diary of Olaf Stapledon [OS/A1/20].

This Week’s War: 182


“Yesterday, as I was taking the mail home (a limber, of course, actually carries the bags) I met Percy, and this time, as he was on foot, he recognized me and we stopped for a little talk. It is curious, in the deserted streets of a French town – we were just in the confines of Armentieres – for friends and neighbours to meet in this way…”

Entry dated January 23rd, 1918, War Diary 1917 – 1919, by Aleyn Lyell Reade [ALR. A. 1. 2].