July 1914: Echoes of War (2)

LAH Bulkeley with his son on his last leave.
LAH Bulkeley with his son on his last leave.

LAH Bulkeley Norwegian Diary p.2
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Because it was raining we returned to the boat, but they were hosing the deck & turned the hose onto the gangway just as we were intending to cross it. Sat for about half an hour on a wet seat & watched a drunken Norwegian sailor going through much dumb-play on a seat opposite us to an empty bottle. (I only saw one other man worse for drink on this tour 11p.m. Left Bergen.

FRIDAY. Breakfast at Odda (Hardanger) which is quite spoilt by carbide works. A long drive but well worthwhile along a lake to Laatefos in a stolkjaer with L. I succeeded in putting my foot through my oilsilk coat & placed it hors-de-combat. Water-falls galore, the Buarbrae glacier across the lake. A driver upset two Scotch ladies on the level the daughter’s fall was broken by falling on her mother: being Scotch they made light of it. The mother, “the lady with the hat”, was never seen without it on her head & “presumably”, as Miss Baxter said, “slept in it”. With intermittent cold thunder showers we steamed down the Hardanger to Noreimsund; it was this part of the journey that L. became acquainted with Miss B.1 After dinner we landed at 8 p.m. L. bore me company and remarked that a lady in a cerise sweater coat seemed disappointed that he was with me & did not take her ashore, & hurriedly sought her mother to do so. We went to a waterfall & took shelter, after paying 30ore, on a seat underneath it from heavy rain; we then climbed above it to find oak-fern in luxuriance everywhere.

SATURDAY. After touching at Bergen 7.am. (I was still abed) we steamed round to Sogne Fjorde where were numerous cruisers, battleships, gunboats & motor-boats of the Kaiser’s fleet. At the head of the Fjord we had a splendid view of an arm of the Jostedalsbrae, though rather obscured by the smoke of a German battleship (2nd class). In the afternoon, we saw the Hohenzollerne Kaiser depart (news of war between Austria & Servia had just arrived).2 We dined and again L. bore me company, but for the last time on an evening expedition, a little way along the Fjord where we sat watching3 the German cruisers & gunboats preparing for their departure.

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  1. Later to become his wife, and mother to Bobby Bulkeley, and so Robin, Felicity and Rosemary’s grandmother. []
  2. The date was 25th July, tension had been rising since assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June, yet the Imperial German High Seas Fleet was on exercises in Norway first off Skagen and then in the Norwegian fjords on 25th July. The Austrian ultimatum to Serbia expired on 25th and the fleet (with the German Kaiser aboard) set sail for home. Reference works date this return to the 26th so presumably what LAH saw was some units moving ahead of the main body of the fleet. Though several details of the Kaiser’s decision to take the fleet back to Germany seem dabatable in the historical accounts the dates do not seem in question. []
  3. In the typescript the word “SUNDAY” obscures “t watchi”ng but since the heading SUNDAY appears correctly at the head of the next page I make this reconstruction. []

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