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War Museum Contents

Museum of Family War Items

 Letters from 1985
relating to the archiving of the L. Rowntree diary

Link to Diary of Lawrence Rowntree in WW1

Link to some details of Lawrence Rowntree in WW1

For comparison: Link to Diary of Colin Rowntree in WW1

These letters can be downloaded as a WORD.doc


( until April 30th )
Home Farm Cottage
York YO6 4RH
April 24th 1985

Dear Lewis

Here is the MS. I spoke about and a few pieces of explanation.
My brother Laurie was a medical student at Kings ( Cambridge). He was in his first year 
when he went down to join the F.A.U. This was the natural form of service for someone of his background, and I don’t know that he ever thought out the pacifist issue very deeply, and probably didn’t need to, while the work he was doing was so hard and dangerous. When the Unit was reconstructed and he had gone to work in an English Hospital ( where he could, in a sense, have been said to be getting on with his training) he had to ask himself whether his beliefs were strong enough to justify him in doing something comparatively easy. It was, I know, a very difficult decision which needed a great deal of courage, but it ended in his enlisting. He became a sergeant, was wounded on the Somme, where he drove one of, the first tanks, given a commission, and killed at Paschendaele in November 1917.

The MS was written from a diary (which was incomplete ) a few months after the events it describes. I have an idea that it was written for my Grandfather who gave Laurie the Daimler he took to France.

I am afraid p. 13 is missing, but perhaps this does not matter very much.
I think the initials used in the MS will be familiar to anyone dealing with F.A.U. material – P.J.B. is of course P.N.B., who only took the “Noel" after his marriage.
I must have read the M.S. many years ago but was struck, this time by the directness of the descriptions and the maturity of the writing: Laurie was only 19 in 1914. Of course it is factual and a bit repetitive, but I think it has historical value and ought to go to Friends House with the other F.A.U. archives.

The impression of sheer physical exhaustion it gives - which is underplayed until the end of the account - I found very clear and memorable.

If you still agree with the suggestion after you have had time to look at the M.S., 1 should be most grateful if you could organize the typing and pass on the M.S., and one typescript to Friends House, and, if you would be so kind, let me have one copy to keep in the family. I think the writing is legible, but if there are any problems, I could probably find the answers

Thank you so much for your help and administration.
I hope you are have a little time for your own interests, and not filling your retirement with more things that make up a simple job.

Jean ( Rowntree )

1 Ouse Lea
Shipton Poad 
York Y03 6SA
9th July, 1985

Dear Chris,

Here is the typed-up master copy of Laurie Rowntree’s recollections of his time in the FAU for the period October 1914 - September 1915. I think it should be checked, especially because of his flowing capital letters which I did not find very easy in places, although I have checked the place names at the York Reference Library by looking at copies of the trench plans for the Ypres battle,

I would like to put on record how moved I was by this account and especially his description of fear which I found rather profound for a young man of 19, I think it should be made available to a wider audience.
Please let me know in due course whether it needs amending in any way.

Yours sincerely,

Freda ( Foster )

Lewis E Waddilove, C.B.E. J.P.


11th July 1985

Robin Guthrie ESq.
Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trusts 
Beverley Houses Shipton Rd

Dear Robin,

I have been through Freda's typescript. She has done very well; I have found only a dozen minor errors.
They are listed on the sheet enclosed giving page, paragraph and line. The corrections should not be difficult.
I suggest that six photocopies should be made at this stage. If you then care to let me have the original and the copies, I will consult Jean about distribution. My present view is that she will want either two or three; The Rowntree archive at Beverley House will want to keep one; the FAU archive at Friends House might have the original and one copy of the typescript. I would like one too! 
Perhaps the top copy should also be lodged in the Rowntree archive in case at any stage Jean wants a few more.
Subject to your views, I would put a proposal to Jean along these lines and then carry out her instructions. 
Let me know when the copies are ready and I will collect them and the manuscript from Beverley House.
Thank you for carrying this through; Jean will appreciate it very much.

Yours sincerely 

Lewis E Waddilove

P.S. I am leaving this on my way to the University as I am rather out of circulation until Thursday of next week.

Lewis E Waddilove, C.B.E. J.P.

26th July 1985

Jean W Rowntree,
Whole Farm,
Stoke - in- Oxney,
Dear Jean,

I have now received the typed version of your brother's diary. We are indebted to Robin Guthrie for having arranged this and to Freda Foster, formerly with the JRCT, for having typed the paper. If there are any errors in the text, then it is I who must accept responsibility.
I went through Freda's typescript and listed the changes that needed to be made. She has dealt with these and the paper should now be accurate.
I am enclosing two copies for your immediate interest and give below the suggestions that have emerged for the distribution of other copies and the care of the original. When you have considered these, you may like to let me have a note so that additional copies can be made and distributed, or you may prefer to leave this until you are in York in August and settle the matter then.
The top copy has been retained at Beverley House since additional copies should be made from the top copy rather than from a Photocopy.

I have four additional copies which can be sent either to you or to people whose names and addresses you send me.

I have retained the original manuscript. If you so wish, I can talk to the librarian at Friends House and see if this, perhaps with one typed copy, could be preserved with the other FAU papers in the archives.

It may be appropriate that the top copy, with one photocopy, should be added to the "Rowntree archive" at Beverley House. This would ensure that further copies could be made as needed, and a working copy would also be available to those who consult the archive.

I have sent a copy of this letter to Robin Guthrie; we will await your instructions for any immediate action or otherwise to await the opportunity for discussion later in August.

Yours sincerely 

Lewis E Waddilove.

Wittersham 813

30th July 1985.

Dear Lewis

Many thanks for your letter and the enclosures. I think the typist has done an excellent job, and I am sure that text is accurate. Please thank everyone concerned for their help and all the careful work that has gone into it. 
On the points you raise.

1. Agreed.
2. I will talk to my immediate family about the 4 additional copies and let you later about possible destinations for them. It may take a little tine, as it involves Australia but I don’t expect there is any urgency. I have been thinking about people, outside the family who might possibly have been interested, but all the F.A.U members concerned (Richard Barrow and Noel Baker) are now dead, so it really comes down to the next generation of relations, or to Historians of Quakerism at that period. There is, however, one of these whom I have recently met, whom I know would like to have a copy, this is Tom Kennedy, Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, who has recently been doing a years Research at Haverford. I enclose, for interest, the draft of his projected book, which he discussed with me in great detail a few weeks ago. I would be grateful if I could have it back eventually. The diary has obvious bearing on his chapter VII. His address is - Dept of History, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 72701, USA. Tom Kennedy also met Roger Wilson when he was in England this month, and you probably know about him already. 

3. I think your suggestion about Friends House is a good one. 

I think it would be appropriate to put one copy in the Rowntree Archive. In this case, I imagine you will attach a brief explanation, in which the following points may be useful: 

a) That the writer was a medical student at Cambridge and 19 years of age when he wrote it
b) That it was probably written for J.R. ( Joseph Rowntree) who had given Laurie his Daimler for use in the F.A.U. 
( I remember being told that he had done so willingly, but had asked Laurie to get my Grandmothers approval as well. Laurie had a bad quarter of an hour with her, as it was a new car which she much valued, but he succeeded in the end. My sister remembers his coming back from the interview looking spent.)

One further point: I am trying to sort various family relics of every sort, and recently came across two photographs of my brother in the F.A.U. uniform taken, I think, when he was on leave early in 1915. Would one of these be of interest to the M.S. If it goes into the Archive?

I hope this covers the points you raise , and I rather doubt if there is anything further to discuss, though I shall be available at Brandsby from August 22nd to Sept 10th if anything else crops up.
Yours sincerely 
Jean ( Rowntree) 

P.S. If it is possible to post a copy of the diary direct to Tom Kennedy, could it be accompanied by a brief note saying that it was sent at my suggestion? That it is a copy of the diary written by my brother that I mentioned in the course of our recent discussions.

Lewis E Waddilove, C.B.E. J.P.


9th Aug, 1985

Robin Guthrie ESq.
Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trusts 
Beverley Houses Shipton Rd

Dear Robin,
The Diary

I have now heard from the Librarian at Friends House; he is very glad to add the diary to the FAU archive. He is writing to thank Jean.

The whole matter can now be completed; I am enclosing the following which will complete your archive and also provide a record of how the copies have been distributed:

1. You have taken a copy of Jean's letter to me of 24th April.
2. I enclose a copy of her letter dated 30th July; you will note her wish to convey her thanks to those at Beverley House who have dealt with the manuscript.
3. I am sending:
a) a second copy of the typescript for your own archive which already contains the “top” copy the details which recording the action
b) the “top” copy and a photocopy of the background note I have prepared form the details which Jean has sent to me
c) a copy of my letter to Jean recording the action I have taken.

4. To the Friends House Library I have sent the original manuscript, a copy of the typescript, and two copies of the background note.

So far as I can see, there is no more to be done unless Jean asks for further copies to be distributed following her family correspondence. Having sent the copy to Professor Kennedy (see Jean's letter of 30th July), I have only one copy here which I hope to retain. So if there are further requests, I shall have to ask you to use your top copy to produce more.

Yours Sincerely

Lewis E. Waddilove