Monthly Archives: March 2020

A photographic record – March 1918

Teresa Hulton (1890-1972)

On the 9th of March 1918 Teresa wrote to her future husband, Lord Berwick, who was working as a cipher clerk in Italy. Teresa was ‘on leave from the hospital but busy collecting supplies for the new recreation huts which the Florentine Committee is setting up in the 3rd Army. All the stuff has to be sent to Mogliano. Perhaps later on I shall go up there and see the results of our labours, and probably to Venice to arrange various matters about the house, but if the fighting were to begin again, I shall be wanted here. One sees a number of English officers here on leave. Is there any chance of your having leave? How nice it would be if you were to come for a few days. I always feel you to be a special friend.’

Lord and Lady Berwick in the Daily Mail May 16th 1925

Teresa and Lord Berwick shared a passion for history, including historical dress re-enactments. Here they are pictured after their marriage dressed in 18th century Venetian costume.

Lord Berwick replied telling her: ‘how much I hope I shall see you if you come to Venice. As you know we are not far away, and one can now get passes. I was there the other day for a few hours, but not having provided myself with a pass, I was looked on with some suspicion and requested to return by the next boat!

‘I am much touched by what you say in your letter, it is indeed a pleasure to feel that you put me in a special place among your friends. I have not a gift of making friends easily, it is so very rare that I make them quickly, and so I value the few friends I have all the higher… Hoping so much to see you, for it would be too sad were we not to meet while in Italy.’

Tom and Teresa young on Portico steps Monday before Easter 1920

Lord and Lady Berwick stood on the steps of Attingham together in 1920

Teresa arranged for Lord Berwick to meet her and her father in Venice but sadly this had to be rearranged due to a difficulty in getting Mr Hulton’s permit.

Teresa’s photograph albums betray an interest in recording the details of the war in Italy. One album is dated August 1918 to January 1919 and contains photographs related to the war. Teresa was given the album, although we are not sure by whom or what connection they had to her.

Aug 1918- Jan 1919 album

The cover of Teresa’s August 1918 to January 1919 photograph album

There are many photographs which portray the destruction that the war brought. Some photographs show the remains of the rest station at San Giovanni di Manzano where Teresa had worked earlier in the war. It is sad to see it raised to the ground after the efforts of the women who worked there.

San Giovanni rest station destroyed

This photograph of the destroyed soldiers’ rest station is annotated: ‘All that was left in 1918 of the Posto di Ristoro at San Giovanni di Manzano’

Other images show destruction in Asolo, Teresa’s birthplace. A crashed German military aeroplane had caused a lot of damage there.

plane crash asolo 1918

Damaged done to buildings in Asolo by a crashed plane in 1918

Other photos record the visit Teresa made to Fiume, now in Croatia, in January 1919. She was accompanied on the trip by Mrs Watkins who led the team of nurses that Teresa had joined. The area was still being disputed between Italy, Yugoslavia and Serbia in the aftermath of war. US President Woodrow Wilson acted as arbiter and suggested that Fiume might become the independent home for the League of Nations. From 1920 to 1924 Fiume became an independent free state. Fiume was annexed to Italy in 1924 but became part of Yugoslavia after the Second World War.

Mrs Watkins album 256

Fiume postage stamps in Mrs Watkins’s wartime album (c) Hamish Scott

In Fiume the ladies went to open a rest station for soldiers. Later in the same trip Teresa and Mrs Watkins were presented with the Croce di Guerra, an Italian war medal,  by General Caviglia.

Croce di Guerra 2

Teresa and Mrs Watkins being awarded medals for their war efforts

 

Lord Berwick (1877-1947)

Lord Berwick was doing cipher work at the headquarters of General Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, the 1st Viscount Plumer (1857-1932). Plumer had fought in Sudan and South Africa before the war. He led the Second Army in Flanders during the First World War, winning a victory against the Germans at the Battle of Messines in 1917. He was also involved in the German Spring Offensive and The Hundred Days Offensive.

Lord B card

An envelope addressed to Lord Berwick whilst he was working as a cipher clerk

In November 1917 Plumer was redeployed to command the British Expeditionary Force fighting in Italy, basing his headquarters at Vicenza. This was where the 8th Lord Berwick was stationed as a cipher clerk.

Plumer was affectionately known by his men as ‘old Plum’ or ‘Daddy Plumer.’

Click here to view a British Pathe film showing Viscount Plumer presenting long service medals to the Corps of Commissioners in 1929.

After the war, Plumer became Governor of Malta in 1919, and then High Commissioner of The British Mandate for Palestine in 1925. When he died in 1932 his ashes were buried at Westminster Abbey.

 

Attingham

The First World War was the last major conflict in which horse power was used on a large scale. Horses and mules for the Front were housed in the stables at Attingham, which were an especially busy place early in the war when animals were in most demand. After the war Lord Berwick was compensated £700 for damages to the stables at Cronkhill and Attingham.

Stables Courtyard Country Life 1921

The stables at Attingham photographed in 1921 for Country Life

On March the 21st 1918 Germany began a series of offensives to regain the ground lost during 1916 in the Battle of the Somme. The British army managed to retain control of Arras and Amiens, which had been the objectives of the Germans.