Upstairs, Downstairs
The war years 2

And women shall not weep... Both upstairs and downstairs wave their men off to war at Charing Cross in autumn 1915.

Like many others who were unaware of what they were getting into, Edward enlisted in the first few days of the war. He and Daisy were later married during one of Edward's leaves. Severely shell-shocked, Edward returned to Eaton Place, and was invalided out of the remainder of the war.

Dim-witted kitchen maid Ruby would not have made the ideal soldier. Mrs Bridges suggested sending Ruby to cook for the kaiser and observed: "We'd soon win the war then!"

Copying other member of downstairs staff who had gone off to help with the war effort, Ruby signed on to make munitions. Her experience away from 165 was brief – she was caught in the huge explosion on 19th January 1917 when around 50 tons of TNT exploded in the factory in which she was working in Silvertown. The result was 73 people killed and over 400 injured. Lucky to escape unharmed, she returned to Eaton Place (her skin stained yellow from the chemicals) and the safety of Mr Hudson's and Mrs Bridges' care.

David Langton (Richard): "I think the sadness, the dreadful sadness of Richard was the fact that his son was really no good at all. Except for the war, he kept making mistakes, kept getting it wrong. Of course, this was good theatrical stuff. I think if I'd been a young man, I would much rather have had his part than mine. If you can't play a part like that, you can't do anything! There's everything to get hold of."

Richard helps the war-battered James up to his room in Missing Believed Killed.

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