The Channel Islands Monthly Review

Channel Islands Review cover 001When, with the expected takeover of the German troops during the beginning of the Second World War, much of the population of the Channels Islands was evacuated to mainland Britain, Channel Island Societies were established here to serve the needs of the exiles. In time, the Channel Island Monthly Review was established, making it possible for both the exiled and the stay-at-home Islanders to communicate with each other.

Published by the Stockport and District Channel Islands Society from 1940, this A5 sized digest of news proved a godsend, especially to the evacuees. It reported events in the Islands, the activities (whist drives, outings, and talks) of all the various Channel Island Societies in the UK, letters from those who stayed behind, and lists of those Islanders who had been deported to German internment camps. The magazine also carried Births, Marriages and Death notices, adverts and personal enquiries.

For instance, the issue for May 1943 carried a feature describing the still unresolved difficulties faced by the exiles, who were:

‘…struggling under financial or domestic anxieties; the husband without the wife; the wife without the husband ; the mothers with their young children, just existing on the Unemployed Assistance Board allowance; the billeted relying entirely on the goodwill of their billetors; the children, now over school age, who are seeking employment; and the school children themselves…’ Continue reading

Frances Mundy-Castle: a neglected poet

Democrats Chapbook cover 001The identity of the ‘ quiet woman‘ who wrote A Democrat’s Chapbook (1942), a hundred page long commentary in free verse on the events of the Second World War up to the time when America joined the Allied forces, was only revealed when Anne Powell included two passages from it in her anthology of female war poetry, Shadows of War (1999 ). However, those who had read her volume of Georgian verse entitled Songs from the Sussex Downs ( 1915), a copy of which was found in the collection of Wilfred Owen, might have recognised the style as that of ‘Peggy Whitehouse’, whose Mary By the Sea also appeared under this name in 1946. All three books were the work of Mrs Frances Mundy –Castle (1875 – 1959).

Thanks to her son Alistair, we now know a little more about Mrs Mundy-Castle. We know, for instance, that she came from a wealthy family and that at the age of sixteen she published a volume of her poems. She then married Mr Mundy-Castle, who managed a local brickworks, and the family settled down at Cage Farm, an early eighteenth century house on the eastern outskirts of Tonbridge. Here she seems to have held a sort of salon for local writers and artists, among whom was the cult artist and writer Denton Welch, who lived a mile or so away and was friends with her daughter Rosemary. In his later years, according to his biographer, she was ‘a frequent target of his malicious humour ‘, despite the fact that it was she who had given him the idea of writing his first book. Continue reading

George Sims and espionage

img_2750Found in a thriller by George Sims (1923 -1999) an interesting letter about the book. Sims was a successful and much admired dealer in rare books, something of a poet and a novelist with several of his books being about the book trade (bibliomysteries.) This book Who is Cato? (Macmillan, London 1981) actually has an art dealer, one William Marshall (rich but disillusioned), as its hero. He becomes involved in espionage through his connection to  ‘Intelligence’ in WW2 and finds himself working against the KGB many years later while on holiday in Majorca…

The letter from Sims to a woman friend, who ran a bookshop, is on headed notepaper from his cottage ‘Peacocks’ in Hurst, Berkshire. It reads:

Many thanks for your helpful cheering letter. I was glad to have it. Probably I’ve told you that when Cato was published we were in America and our daughter phoned to say that there had been a mysterious burglary at our cottage in which nothing was taken. When I came back I was puzzled as to how an entry was made into our cottage and my office; nothing was missing not even some £10 notes in the office drawer… exactly like the burglary which took place at William Marshall’s cottage near Hambleden!!

Obviously someone thought I knew more than I did. I was to blame as I had signed the official secrets document when I was at the SCU, and there was quite a deal of fact mixed with the fiction. Love George.

The S.CU. ‘Special Communications Units’ were outstations of S.I.S (‘Special Intelligence Services’) involved mostly with radio communications. They were disbanded in 1946. Sims, known to be irascible, appears quite philosophic about this incident. His books are collected, especially the bibliomysteries, also his excellent and still mouthwatering catalogues

Guernsey – a WW2 Press Diary

img_2725Found – a small  44-page wire-stitched newsprint pamphlet (no date or printer specified) entitled “PRESS” DIARY of Island Life during the German Occupation 1940-1945. Probably printed in Guernsey in late 1945. It records life under German occupation  in Guernsey through short news items. It is much concerned with the many changing rules and proclamations by the Germans regarding cars, tobacco, potatoes, curfews,  penalties for plunder of unoccupied premises (death) also it  records local crime, entertainment and privations. Cigarette rations were down to 20 cigarettes a week and 2 oz of tobacco. Many notices are brief – ‘’Rat Destruction committee advertise for dogs and ferrets.’  ‘Owners of private cars ordered to report.’ ‘Potato Board report that shortage of potatoes is due to hoarding.’ ‘First case against cyclists for riding abreast. Fined 2/6 each.’ ‘Germans order collections of old bicycle tyres, and tubes, rags, old paper, feathers, rubber, bones, leather and unbroken glass bottles’ ‘Appeal for old felt hats for making into slippers.’

Ships arriving with supplies are noted including  the one ton of delicacies- milk, chocolate, cheese and sweets donated to the island’s children by the Swiss International Red Cross in April 1941. The  Guille-Allès Library of Guernsey allowed residents 2 books at a time (raised from one.) There were many burglaries and break-ins reported and several profiteers and black marketers arrested and fined. One man arrested for breaking into a house and stealing and assaulting a woman received 12 strokes of the whip and 5 years in prison, a few were summarily shot. Continue reading

World War 1 – the last hours

image1This short piece was sent in by by an anonymous jotwatcher, for which much thanks.  It shows a typed military communique about the end of hostilities in World War 1 that was kept by his  great, great grandfather and handed down through the family. It reads:

After telling the troops, my great great grandfather folded up this piece of paper and put it in his pocket nearly 100 years ago. It’s been handed down since. It marks the end of the First World War:

Translation:
1) Hostilities shall cease along the entire front at 1100 hrs on November 11th (French time)
2) Until further orders, troops shall not move forward of the line seized by this hour and date. Report exactly the position of the line. 
3) All communication with the enemy is forbidden until receipt of instructions by the army commander.

A real piece of history! Now raising a massive gin and tonic to those who gave their tomorrow for me to enjoy my today and I’m surrounded by people I love. Don’t forget to remember. 

The Land Girl

IMG_1510Found at the London 2016 May Ephemera Fair – an issue of this magazine – THE LAND GIRL. (NO. 7. VOLUME 2, OCTOBER 1941.) This was issued by the Women’s Land Army The first article  is an encouraging piece aimed at the new Land Girl, who possibly for the first time, will be meeting other girls from far flung parts of Britain and  the British Commonwealth.

On Being Strange.

At this time of year many members of the Land Army are working far from their  homes. In particular, girls who are threshing and potato lifting have come long distances, and many others have undertaken particular jobs in counties they have never visited before.

This offers a grand opportunity to break down prejudices which have survived from the times (little more than a hundred years ago) when it took many days of laborious travel to traverse this island and the vast majority of people never left their own county throughout their lives. But prejudice dies hard, and in many counties people who have lived in them for less than ten years are still called “foreigners.”

It is the right spirit which makes girls volunteer to go where they are most needed – once they have got there it is very important that they should stay, for they are needed, and a failure to stick it out means a great deal of trouble and wasted time and money, neither of which can be afforded nowadays. Home-sickness is almost inevitable, but it does not last, and a determination to be interested in new places and different people will help it to pass quickly. Continue reading

‘The sewer of this vile book’ : one man’s rage against a poetry anthology.

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Today, a hundred years on, most historians find it difficult to justify the carnage that was the Great War. Back in 1919, many were morally divided on the issue. One man who saw the fight against German brutality as a wholly justified, glorious crusade, was the poet and playwright Henry Newman Howard (1861 – 1929). On reading The Paths of Glory, an anthology of anti-war poetry, he sent a scathing letter to its pacifist editor, Bertram Lloyd. A typewritten copy of this letter was recently found, tucked in with a batch of press cuttings relating to the offending book, in a copy of it , which may have been Lloyd’s own, that ended up the library of Maria Assumpta College, Kensington and was subsequently de-accessioned into the secondhand book trade.

Here in full is Howard’s letter to Lloyd:

29 Jan 1919

25, Charlbury Road,

Oxford.

Sir,

Your’ anthology ‘of War Poems is a crime. I grieve that the publishing house fathered by noble John Ruskin should be Sponsors to this execrable publication. Never again will I purchase a book bearing the stamp fouled by the guilt of this sinister booklet. Other books there are one recalls as foul things. Il Principe, possibly John Davidson’s Testament; Nietzsche—these last, like the German Empire, died mad of their guilty thoughts. Your book, garbage from end to end—if not in the individual poems, assuredly in their bringing together—carries the sickly unction of a spurious humanitarianism.

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Group Captain F.C. “Griff” Griffiths and the Maquis

71wD8UA294LFound loosely inserted in his book Winged Hours this account by Group Captain F.C. “Griff” Griffiths (1913-1996) of his time in France with the Maquis and his attempts after the war to trace members of the French Resistance who had helped him escape. In April 1943, Frank Griffiths, then a Squadron Leader, was posted to No. 138 Special Duty Squadron to take part in SOE ‘drops’ taking men and supplies to resistance organisations in occupied Europe. On the night of the 14/15 August 1943 his Halifax aircraft serial JD180 was brought down when flying low over Annecy (near the French/Swiss border) by small arms fire from an Italian Alpini corporal. He was one of two survivors and escaped his Italian captors and was subsequently sheltered by the Maquis and eventually escaped over the border to Switzerland, returning to England around Christmas 1943. The problem with tracing his brave saviours after the war was that none of them had used their real names…

PYRENEAN PICNIC

One of the sad things about Escaping/Evading experiences is that to protect our helpers we did not wish to know their real names or to remember addresses. We thus failed to make contact with many of them after the war.

For over 43 years I endeavoured to trace a helper with whom I had formed a strong rapport. All I knew of him was that his name was “Antoine” (obviously a nom de guerre) and that his French was difficult to understand because he was a Catalan.

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Collecting Spanish Civil War literature

(Merci, Surbouquin)

An excerpt slightly  abbreviated, from Student Magazine issue (January 1963.) Quite prophetic as almost all the books mentioned in it are now valuable, especially the Orwell. Edmond Romilly's Boadilla is almost unobtainable as a first edition and copies of his scurrilous magazine Out of Bounds are thin on the ground. Frederick Grubb, who was a friend of radio pundit Fred Hunter -whose estate of books we bought, was a poet and literary critic much admired in the 1960s.

ENGLISH LITERATURE AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
 
They clung like burrs to the long expresses that lurch
Through the unjust lands, through the night, through the alpine tunnel;
They floated over the oceans;
They walked the passes: they came to present their lives.
 
W.H. Auden: Spain.

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William Loring, academic, soldier and first Warden of Goldsmiths

Found among  the papers of the long defunct literary agency Michael Hayes of Cromwell Road S.W.5  - parts of a manuscript memoir by one L.R. Reeve of Newton Abbot, South Devon. Mr Reeve was attempting to get the book (Among those Present: Very Exceptional People) published, but on the evidence of the unused stamp Hayes never replied and  L. R. Reeve published the book himself through the esteemed vanity publisher Stockwell two years later in 1974.

L R Reeve had in a long life met or observed a remarkable selection of famous persons. He  presents 'vignettes' of 110 persons from all grades of society (many minor or even unknown) they include Winston Churchill, Dorothy Sayers,  H H Asquith, John Buchan, the cricketer Jack Hobbs, J.B. Priestley, H.G. Wells, Marconi, E.M. Forster, Duchess of Atholl, Marie Stopes, Oliver Lodge and Cecil Sharp -- 'it is unnecessary to explain that  many I have known have not known me. All of them I have seen, most of them I have heard, and some of them have sought information, even advice from me."

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The A.A. Gunner’s creed

A.A. RAF team in Normandy.
Many thanks Histomil
Found in The Journal of the Royal Air Force Volume 15, no. 2 Autumn, 1935. pp 229-230 The A.A. Gunner's Creed, by H. W. H. The journal preface the creed by stating "…the origin of this creed is unknown, and the Editor publishes it hoping that he is not infringing any copyright" - a sentiment we also echo. HWH shows considerable wit and was probably a formidable gunner. A.A., as every WWII buff knows, stands for 'Anti-Aircraft.'

Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary to hold the A.A. Faith.

Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall miss the target everlastingly.

And the A.A. Faith is this: that we worship Calibration and the Mean of Three Height Readings.

Neither confounding the Height-takers: nor cavilling at their marvellous discrepancies.

For there is one Height of the Mirror, another of the Altimeter: and another of the U.B.2.

And yet there are not three Heights; but one Height.

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki seventy years on–a naval officer’s visit to Japan in 1946/1947

To mark the terrible events of seventy years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, here are some postcards bought by my late father while visiting Japan, late in 1946 or early in 1947, as a commander in the Royal Navy. They were found interleaved in the first volume of a two volume guide book entitled We Japanese, first published in December 1934 and June 1937,by H.S.K Yamaguchi, the managing director of the exclusive Fujiya Hotel at Miyanoshita, situated in the mountainous region of Hakone, eighty miles SW of Tokyo.

The first and second volumes of this four hundred page guide to ‘many of the customs, manners, ceremonies, festivals, arts and crafts of the Japanese’ were reprinted in October and December respectively. A third and final volume appeared in 1949. My father probably bought his copies while staying at the hotel, which was established in 1878 by a member of the Yamaguchi family, and today advertises itself as the oldest ‘Western-style’ hotel in Japan. He wouldn’t have met the guide’s author, who had made great improvements to his hotel in the thirties, because he had died in 1944, but he might have rubbed shoulders with some of its famous guests. During the war one of these was the loathsome ‘Butcher of Warsaw’, Joseph Meisinger, but he had been captured by the Allies in September 1945. At other times celebrities staying at this exclusive hotel included Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Charlie Chaplin, and the Emperor of Japan himself. In 1978 Yoko Ono took John Lennon here.

Today, at £133 pp per night, the Fujiya Hotel no doubt trades on its exclusive reputation, but it is still cheaper than a less famous rival nearby. If you do decide to visit it, the receptionist may let you consult the final issue (1950) of the guide to Japan that my father bought nearly seventy years ago. [RMH]

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Salvage (1942)

A piece of  ephemera from Dad's Army days in Kent during WW2 (1942). A sheet of mimeographed paper typed both sides from the Tenterden 'Salvage Officer,' one G.D. Forder. Possibly such leaflets were from a national template, although no record of this leaflet is forthcoming. Bones were much wanted (even if gnawed by a dog) - these could be used in making glycerine (for high explosives) also candles and soap.
 Salvage has now become recycling and generally they don't refuse bones but no longer solicit them.

Tenterden Rural District Council

Hillside
5 East Hill
Tenterden Kent.
6th May, 1942.

G. D. Forder,
Salvage
Officer.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Salvage.

Salvage is vitally important.
Shipping is limited an many supplies formally drawn from the Far East and other countries have been cut off. So we must utilise to the utmost every bit of material which can possibly be got at home.

Local Authorities everywhere have been urged to arrange for its collection. Their resources of man power and equipment are fully taxed, and other overtaxed, and need to be supplemented by voluntary help.

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The Tragedy of Copped Hall

The effects of the First World War were wide and long lasting, not just for those who were directly involved in it, one way or another , but for the architectural heritage of Britain. The deaths of so many sons of the upper class meant that estates that had been run so successfully up to 1914 were plunged into uncertainty. Great mansions were sold off or demolished. A different fate befell one great house and its astonishing gardens in Essex, as some clippings found among the papers of the late Peter Haining, who must have passed the site regularly on his route to and from his Essex home, tell.

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Wilfred Owen – ‘A Cribber’?

Has it ever been acknowledged that the memorable and now iconic line of Wilfred Owen- ‘the pity of war’ is actually the title of a novel from 1906, that happened to be written by his close friend and fellow soldier-combatant Conal O’Riordan?!

The Pity of War. F. Norreys Connell ( i.e. Conal O’Riordan) 1906. Henry J Glaisher, London.

[Sent in by ATSJ - for which thanks]

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Japanese Rupees in Burma 1944

Fell out of a book - this curious souvenir of what is now known as The Burma Campaign - which raged from 1941 to 1945 with the Japanese in the ascendant much of this time. The tide was turned (with heavy losses on both sides) in early 1945 and Mountbatten staged an elaborate victory parade, at which he took the salute in Rangoon on 15 June of that year. This took place despite the fact that thousands of Japanese were still fighting hard behind British lines - as they tried desperately to escape across the Sittang river into Thailand, losing heavily as they went. This 100 Rupee note printed by the Japanese was issued under their 'puppet government' lead by Dr Ba Maw in early 1944.

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The Meaning of the Missiles

The Meaning of the Missiles---a Cold War warning from American peace organisations.

If the cease fire in Eastern Ukraine fails and the US government votes to arm the Ukraine forces, some experts predict that this dangerous escalation could create a situation similar in its ramifications to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

This 'Survival Leaflet no 6', which was issued in 1958/59 by three American peace organisations, possibly  directed by Quaker pacifists, but acting in concert, seems deliberately alarmist in its predictions of a push button nuclear war in which American cities are atomised by Soviet H bombs and cities in the Soviet Union are destroyed by rockets from European installations under the control of the Pentagon. But this destruction was quite feasible in 1957, when, according to the leaflet there were 'precise plans to erect in Europe some fourteen rocket positions in each of which will be emplaced perhaps fifteen missiles.'

The antidote to such warmongering, according to the authors of this pamphlet, is love and pragmatism overcoming political ideology. Public opinion in favour of a build up of missiles must be changed and the way to do this was for American lovers of peace to write to their representatives, talk to those in positions of power, organise local meetings and distribute copies of this leaflet, which cost $1 for 50. [RR]

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Fascists “Uppish” Again (Tom Driberg)

Found - this cutting from the Oxford Mail - Thursday 4th February 1943 detailing an incident straight out of Foyle's War. While World War II was raging, back in England pro-Nazi 'hooligans' were getting 'uppish.' A good demonstration of fair play and free speech - but 'much to be deplored.' Tom Driberg, now the subject of several biographies, was an openly gay, Communist sympathiser and a lifetime opponent of fascism. Churchill said 'he is the sort of person who gives sodomy a bad name..' Peter Wright of Spycatcher fame said he was a double agent...

Tom Driberg

Fascists "Uppish" Again - M. P.

Mr. Driberg (Ind., Maldon) asked the Home Secretary in the Commons today if he was aware that an organisation which advocated peace by negotiation with Hilter, and distributes pro-Nazi, anti-parliamentary and anti-Semitic propaganda, was proposing to hold a public meeting at a London theatre in the near future, and whether he would take steps to prevent the holding of such a meeting as likely to provoke a breach of the peace.

Mr. Morrison said that while watch was being kept on the activities of this organisation, his present information did not suggest that this meeting was likely to attract so much public interest that serious disorder was to be apprehended, and it would be premature for him to decide at this early date whether there were ground to prohibit the meeting, under Regulation 39E.

Mr. Driberg: Will you bear in mind that only last night there was a deplorable exhibition of hooliganism at Finsbury, where a memorial of Lenin was broken up and tarred and placarded with Fascist slogans?
Will you bear in mind that these people do seem to be getting rather uppish again and require a sharp check?

Mr. Morrison: I will certainly look into that incident to which you refer. If true, it is much to be deplored.

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A real match for the Axis

Found, if I recall, among bric-a-brac, in a job lot at an auction in the east of England, is this ‘striking’ packet of matches, only three of which have been used. As there are a number of US air bases in this part of the world, it may have once belonged to an airman who eventually settled here. Presumably, the date of manufacture by The Match Corporation of America in Chicago would be sometime between 1941 and 1945 and it is certainly possible that the US Air Force brought over to England large numbers of such packets for the use of their staff.

Advertising propaganda urging patriots to buy War Bonds dates back to the First World War, but I haven’t yet discovered any satirical British advertising on everyday objects, such as matches or cigarette packets, that dates from a hundred years ago . If any Jot 101 readers know of some, we would welcome further information. [RMH]

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Antonia Kelly World War 2 poet

Found - an album of poems among books and ephemera from the St. Clair Erskine family - sons of Lord Rosslyn (1869-1939) whose Calcot Park and Hunger Hill visitors book we covered recently. These were written by Antonia Mary Kelly (1920? - 1965) of Irish descent and the daughter of Admiral Sir John Donald Kelly. She married David Simon St. Clair-Erskine in 1948 and divorced him in 1958. They had one son. There is  a small amount information about her online, mostly garnered from gossip columns and peerage sites. In 1938 at the age of 18 she launched a warship (destroyer) called 'The Kelly' and she seems, on the evidence of these poems, to have worked at the Foreign Office during World War 2. There is a photo of her (below) on her wedding day in The Sketch 1948; she wore hyacinths in her hair, the best man was the Hon W.K. Davison and the priest was Father J. Bevan (indicating a Roman Catholic service) at the Brompton Oratory.

Her poems written between 1933 and 1947 are mostly highly competent, some are passionate love poems. Many are amusing or satirical and some quite worldly for a young woman of the time - at 16 she wrote these 'Lines Written during a Meagre & Modernist Dinner Party' :

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