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Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale

27th April 1914

Walter: Bit of commotion up by the Serpentine… you remember when we walked up there Lily?

Lily: Of course I do! They had a show there today and some suffragettes swam out to the boats and cut them loose. Mabel says she wished she’d done it too but I don’t know. I don’t see how it’s going to help. Like when Mary thingamajig attacked that beautiful painting - all that happened then was that I couldn’t go to the museums without a chaperone.

Walter: Just be safe, Lil. These women will get their way one way or another I’m sure.

Mabel: Mary Richardson! And of course it’s going to help! I told you what Mrs Pankhurst said: people think it’s “hysteria” that “takes the shape of irresponsible breaking of windows, burning of letters, general inconvenience” but if we can’t vote then how else are we going to get people to listen? We’ll let them know what we think ‘rationally’ when we can vote. #votesforwomen

To find our more about the Suffragettes go to

25th April 1914

Walter: FA Cup Final at Crystal Palace today. Put a bet on down the drill hall bar last night. My money’s on Liverpool to beat Burnley. At least these fellows have got a good view eh?

Fred: Bad luck pal, 1-0 to Burnley. Jim said Arthur Metcalfe had a clean shot at goal for Liverpool but got the wind up him and missed the ball altogether!

Mary: Your father says the King was there, is he having me on Walter? He says it’s the first time we’ve had a monarch at a football final. Imagine, a king amongst the common folk!

Walter: That’s right, Ma. He even gave the trophy to Tommy Boyle. Seems a good sport.

To find out more about the FA Cup final go to

23rd April 1914

Walter: All alright, Fred? Ed went past your house, said he could hear you cursing!

Fred: I been practising doing up me puttees Walt. I don’t know how you gets them so neat every time. I spent half an hour trying to do it proper, turning the air blue the whole time, and gave up.

Walter: You have to just do it slow, you can’t rush it.

Fred: If I went any slower it would take me an hour every time I wore me uniform!

21st April 1914

Lily: What a day! Walter, we’ve sold out of parasols in Arding and Hobbs. Three days of good weather and everybody goes barmy on the crumpet. Mabel had a hilarious time trying to fit all them ladies for frocks.

Mabel: Funny for you! I had Mrs Reed breathing down my neck all day, not to mention when I came a cropper over the measuring tape.

Lily: I’ve never seen anything so funny. You should audition for the Keystone Cops!

To see some of the antics of the Keystone Cops visit

17th April 1914

Fred: See you for a game of darts this evening?

Walter: Great. Can’t afford a beer anywhere outside the drill hall canteen at the minute so I’ll see you up there. Would like to get in a game of shove ha’penny too.

To see more about shove ha'penny go to'penny

16th April 1914

Walter: Ma, the Express says one day all of London will be ‘electrified’. You can bet it won’t be for years, but imagine not having to get knocked about in the dark when you don’t fancy wasting a candle! No oil lamps neither, no fancy gas lamps – not even gas lights in the streets. Heaven knows what Mr East will do for a job if there’s no lamplighters no more. I should think it would be great at home though – they said they could even use it for heating and ‘domestic purposes’.

Mary: What will they think of next? I don’t know about this electricity.

Walter: I know Ma, but think what they means about ‘domestic purposes’ – imagine if it could help with washday! I know you’d like that.

Mary: Well that would be a treat. If it could light the copper for me in the morning and save me lifting all them buckets of water then I’m all for it. Perhaps your ‘electricity’ could make me a cup of tea while it’s at it…

For more information on the domestic lives of women visit
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15th April 1914

Walter: Just heard about the train crash near Edinburgh. Sad day for the railway boys.

Lily: What happened?

Walter: The Flying Scotchman hit a goods train and went off the rails. The driver and fireman was killed and passengers hurt.

Lily: That’s rotten news. I worry about you working with them machines... Fast, loud, horrible things. Almost as dangerous as aeroplanes, I reckon.

Walter: You worry too much. It will be a long time before I work my way up to anything like Engine Driver. The most risky thing about being a Porter is dealing with all the people. They’re more dangerous than any train…

14th April 1914

Walter: Had the funniest night at training. We was on parade when Hopkins makes a bad joke about Bill getting the drinks in in the canteen after. Then Bill, he just can’t help it, he pipes up in his best Eliza Doolittle voice, “Not b****y likely!” Well we all fell about, and the CO went purple in the face. Poor old Bill couldn’t get away with it of course, they asked him if he fancied leaving the TF, and it were all he could do not to say it again! But he just said, “I should think I’ll stay then”. Poor chap…

Ma: You watch your language!

13th April 1914

Walter: She said it! Mrs Campbell swore on a West End stage and the censors didn’t do nothing about it. They say the audience laughed for more than a minute and the playwright walked out! I wish I’d seen it – I’ll bet all the lads will be talking about it in the drill hall tomorrow.

To read more about Pygmalion visit

12th April 1914

Walter: Happy Easter pals! The whole family dressed up for church this morning (or as much as Ma can ever get Ed to dress up) – I spent all yesterday shining the buttons on me best uniform. Now I plan to spend the day eating as much food as I can get away with. Rose is home, helping Ma in the kitchen, and I must say it smells grand. It’s little Annie’s birthday as well, so I might even help her to paint some eggs later… 7 years old already…

Mary Carter: Annie’s very excited now – she says you promised!

Lily: You did look handsome in your uniform Walt. Proud to be walking out with a TF boy.

To see some more traditional Easter cards visit

11th April 1914

Walter – with Lily Ann Howes: What a fine day out on Brighton beach! Even the weather held up for us. Nice to be on a train for once instead of portering. We had fun paddling in the sea and riding the donkeys, we even had ice-cream. I was pleased to get out of the city and away from the grime of Clapham Junction. We had such a grand time - it was a laugh seeing all the different people, from the chaps on the razzle-dazzle to the toffs in their bathing huts. All the girls looked lovely in their sailor suits – I never seen so many legs on show! Not that I was looking…

To find out more about seaside holidays in the early 1900s visit

9th April 1914

Lily: Have you heard about ‘The World, the Flesh and the Devil’ darling? It’s got a rotten title but they say it’s “A £10,000 Picture Play in Actual Colours”. Actual colours, Walt! They’re showing it in town tonight. Hope it comes to the Imperial.

Walter: You just want to see Rupert Harvey in full colour.

Lily: Don’t be jealous dear.

Walter: I’m just pulling your leg. I’ll take you to see it when I got some money. Gave most of me National winnings to Ma.

To find out more about the arrival of the first colour film go to

7th April 1914

Walter: Ma always manages to make wonderful meals from the Sunday leftovers. For lunch today: pig’s fry with rice pudding for afters. What I’d give not to have to go back to work this afternoon… Mary Carter, tell Annie to be a good little sister and save me some bread and dripping! Need my energy for training tonight.

To find out about the food of the time visit

4th April 1914

Walter: Well we have had a time of it - I never seen so many people. I was worried about taking Lily on a protest but it was alright, quite peaceful, and we all enjoyed ourselves despite the wet weather. #ballotsnotbullets

Charles: Good show Walt! Good to hear everyone’s on our side. Proud of you - maybe one day you’ll make a real soldier like your big brother…

Walter: You are a rum chap, just the other week we was doing field craft – if any war does come we’ll be as ready as you are.

3rd April 1914

Walter: Just spotted the new London ‘Wonderground’ map at Waterloo. Fred and I were having such a laugh at it that we nearly missed our train. Helps to take your mind off the overcrowding and cancellations anyway. Look out for our own Battersea Park at the bottom… and the boy getting eaten at London Zoo…

Fred: Glad they got the cricket victory in… and the French pilot, “Have I looped yet?” Ha! Poor giraffe though.

Rose: Funny to see Kennington Park Road on there – I cycle past the Oval every day on my way to the Infirmary.

To see the wonderground map close up visit

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Now available as a Paperback and on Kindle
Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale