A recent visit to The National Archives unearthed the following interesting sketches from Haig’s diary. The drawings are by Commandant E. Requin, a liaison officer between General Joffre and General d’Urbals’s HQ.
The first sketch shows Joffre himself and then a soldier of the 97th Regiment.
The next is two views of Private J Dalzell of “The New Army”
The final sketch shows a pipe-smoking French solder in his dress uniform.
Haig thought the sketch of Joffre was “excellent” and noted that Requin had been at Aldershot.
I came across this in Douglas Haig’s diary files at the National Archives on Saturday – it is described in the file index as the “Xmas card 1917” and is one of the more bizarre illustrations I have seen used as a Christmas card.
The “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” appears to have collected up twenty-two children who are busy in a range of activities – including the cherub releasing gas from the back of his miniature railway wagon; the road builder with his pickaxe; the forestry worker chopping down a tree and the inland water imp pulling his SRD jars across in a barrel.
The explanation behind the activities is that this was the Christmas card sent out by the Engineer-in-Chief – who can be seen on the left intently studying his dinner menu while his men labour on.
Now if anyone can explain what is going on in the background where a man in a striped jacket is following a zebra with an apple on its back…
While going through Haig’s typescript diaries for the period November 1917 to March 1918, I noticed that DH appeared to have a habit of setting out not only who attended his meetings but also how they sat as he took the trouble of sketching out the seating plans. Four examples are shown here. I have no idea why this meant so much to him, but he clearly felt it worth recording.
The 9th January 1918 meeting in Downing Street was where Lord Derby bet Lloyd George 100 cigars to 100 cigarettes that war would be over by next New Year. LG disagreed but Haig “thought the war would be over, because of the internal state of Germany.”
Source : WO 256/27, The National Archives
From – 2/Lt. A. P. F. Hamilton
To – The O.C. 3/1st N.M.D.C.C.
Report on patrol, 5/10/15
2/Lt. A. P. F. Hamilton and N.C.O.
The suspected house on HALL’s HILL, GRANTHAM, was carefully watched from all sides.
(1) A window facing West had an ill-fitting blind, but there was nothing suspicious observed from it.
(2) A hall window facing East, uncovered by a blind, was lit up by a powerful oil lamp; nothing suspicious was observed.
(signed) A. P. F. Hamilton, 2/Lt. O. i/c Patrol