14th January 1918 Monday
Time off for Douglas in Perth, Edinburgh and London
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“Everybody was in great form at home, and the time soon sped by with visits to friends, theatres, etc., and a flying visit to Perth where I attended a concert and dance at the War Hospital.
Great crowds were to be seen daily at the Mound, where ‘Julian’, the Tank, was collecting money for the War. Army bands played all day, and great men (such as A.J. Balfour) spoke at intervals from the top of the Tank. Aeroplanes flew overhead, and everybody got very excited.
Mother and I left Edinburgh for London at 10 a.m. on the 14th January, 1918. It was a long and crowded train drawn by three engines. We put up at Morley’s Hotel, in Trafalgar Square. Next day Mother and I lunched at Gatti’s, and then saw the pantomime, ‘Aladdin’ at Drury Lane – an excellent show, with Stanley Lupino, and Robert Hale in the cast.
At night I dined with Col. Campbell at the Savoy Hotel. He was in great form, and gave me a wonderful dinner. Afterwards he took me to see a revue “Cheep”, which was very good.”
If you have been following our diary you will remember that on 16th December 1916 Douglas was summoned for duty at Perth Military Hospital and he stayed there until 8th February 1917 when he was sorry to leave.
Julian the Tank was one of 6 Mk iv male tanks despatched to towns and cities throughout the UK in an attempt to raise funds through donations and the purchase of War Bonds. This was against the backdrop of the introduction (apart from the abortive attempt by Haig at the Somme in 1916) of Tanks at Cambrai, only a few weeks previously to great effect.
It was a massively successful exercise and raised enormous sums of money in a very short time. Former Prime Minister and current Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour and others stood on top of the tank and gave impassioned speeches. During the week on display at the Mound in Edinburgh £4,764,639 was raised. Glasgow raised over £14 million! In today’s money the amount raised in Edinburgh is approximately £380 million. Julian the Tank was named after General Julian Byng.
Douglas had previously dined at Gatti’s in September 1917.
“Cheep” had opened at the Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand on 26 April 1917 and ran for 483 performances. As the Vaudeville is just across the road from the Savoy Hotel we are assuming that it was still at this theatre when Douglas saw it in January 1918 but if anyone knows different please let us know.
We hope to add more to this post soon once some computer issues have been sorted out.