Alexander Pepys’ War Diary – June 1914

JUNE 1914

From my study window I can glimpse the sea in the estuary beyond the marsh.  It is glistening as the evening sunlight plays on its surface.  June has been hot.  Rain has held off letting us enjoy our runs in the country in my Vauxhall tourer.  But sailing our ketch has resulted in flapping sails as light winds have prevailed.

Work in the Ministry has accelerated especially in my section because of international events.  This was before a report came in the other day of the murder of the Austrian Emperor’s heir.  We have been liaising with the railway companies to upgrade the plans for the movements of our military and naval personnel and supplies.  This has required many meetings as, naturally, the companies want to charge for providing these:  simultaneously they do not want the movements to interfere with their schedules for carrying their passengers and for the goods trains.

Our Minister is of the ‘old school’.  He prefers to ride his favourite horse whenever he can and keeps him in the Barracks – so he can leave the House and exercise him when not required there.  Fortunately the Opposition is quite docile about his Ministry’ activities so he is rarely taken to task.  I have prepared only seventeen written answers to Parliamentary Questions since Christmas.

After the report about the murder, a day later the news came that the Arch-Duke’s wife was also shot.  Strange how her death was first seen by our contacts in Austria as unimportant to report. What will be the fall-out of these events I cannot say – but disturbing as we know the Balkans. Phoned Gunter to hear his view on the murders, very non-committal – unlike his normal effusive self.

The wife returned from her choir practice: good idea to teach her to drive – it avoids me having to always take and fetch her.  After drinks we retired to bed.