Brittain, Vera, Diary, 4 August 1914

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
4 August 1914
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


in large black letters, ordering all army recruits to take up the colours & all Territorials to go to their headquarters. The meeting only lasted a few minutes as Mr Ellis & Mrs Ellinger immediately suggested that it should be postponed until such time as matters regarding the war were more settled as no one would have the heart to attend lectures or the money to set them up. I walked home with Mr Ellis & he told me that if E wanted to volunteer he could either ask Mr Heathcote what to do, or join the 2nd Manchesters, only they might possibly be ordered abroad. He also gave me the startling information that Mr Johnson, Mr Heathcote, Mr Saxby and Cyril Johnson have all volunteered for active service abroad, & they all go either to-morrow or Thursday. He said that Edward with this three camps’ training would be accepted anywhere & given a commission immediately. Edward whom we met by the gate has been reading the papers carefully & says that at present only the trained army & the Territorials are wanted & there is no demand for untrained volunteers. Though anxious to fight he says he will wait until he hears that people like himself are needed; he is of course very young & not over-experienced. I expect Maurice will do the same, though he is longing to fight. He & Edward went off to the Hippodrome; I really do not know how they could. Mrs. Ellinger, who does not seem to realize the danger of our situation at all & is no doubt perfectly well satisfied with everything so long as her pleasures are uninterrupted, asked me to go too, but I refused point blank.
I could not rest indoors so got Mother & Daddy to come out with me to look for further news. In the town the groups of people had increased, and suppressed excitement was everywhere in the air. There was a crowd round the Post Office; at first I thought they were attracted