Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
10 October 1916

ISHOBEL ROSS,

26-year-old cook with the Scottish Women's Hospital Unit supporting Britain's Serbian allies in Macedonia, writes in her diary:

"An enemy plane over the camp today. Bits of shrapnel from the anti- aircraft guns were falling all around us in the camp. Dr Bennett came back from Salonika and after the service tonight she told us of the funeral [of Olive Smith, a nurse who had died of malaria]. There was a Serbian guard of honour, and several emblems of flowers. Among them was one from the the 3rd Serbian Army tied up in red, white and blue ribbon on which was written: `In memory of a generous English friend who gave her life for us.' She was buried between two British soldiers. Dr Bennett read the oration that Captain Stephanovitch gave over Smithy's coffin first in English and then in Serbian. They are words I always want to remember: `Friends, it is a sad duty which I have to perform, to say the last adieu to a friend of our people, to say it in the names of all those whom she came to help and for whom she suffered death. Through unselfish devotion and pity for our pains and sufferings, she came to us from her great country, she came to soften the hard fate of a small and most unhappy people, and she shared it to the last.'"

10 October 1829

SIR ROBERT PEEL

(pictured), the Home Secretary, writes to John Wilson Croker on the subject of Metropolitan Police pay:

"I am very far from being prepared to admit that the improvement of the situation of a common police constable by giving him more money, would increase the efficiency of the establishment. I have above 2,000 applications for the appointment at the present rate of pay. Every man who has been dismissed or has resigned has, with scarcely an exception, petitioned for reinstatement. I must first consider what class of man I want; and secondly, will the rate of pay maintain the respectability of that class?

No doubt three shillings a day will not give me all the virtues under heaven, but I do not want them. Angels would be far above my work. Looking at the duties I want performed, I am not sure whether (all considerations of of expense being put out of the question) three or four shillings a day will not ensure their performance in a much better manner than 10 or 12 would. I have refused to employ gentlemen - commissioned officers, for instance - as superintendents and inspectors, because I am certain they would be above their work."

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