We're half-way through the month, half of which Wells and the curate have spent confined to their Sheen prison. Today we join Wells as he continues to observe the mining operation the Martians have set up in the pit.
In London, Morant has pulled together a team to capture a heat ray. However, on their return they will be ambushed by a group of civilians who claim to be from the 4th Coy. Coldstream Guards.
Today, Toni’s diary reminds us that even the strong have moments of fear. And once again, her writing foreshadows changes to come.
East of London, Lieutenant Carver and his scratch unit arrive at Tilbury to find the Ferry tied up at the quay and covered with corpses. While further West, Lieutenant Dullanty (4th Coy. Coldstream Guards) arrives at Greenwich without having been spotted by the Martians.
Since the establishment of the #Gascoyne-Cecil-Line on 9 June the army had been hard at work establishing a mined line a mile-wide along GWR’s mainline east of London. Today the defences are tested as the Martian’s attack Swindon. The Martian’s flying-machine flying numerous sorties for the first time.
In a bid to prevent the line from collapsing, Lt Dullanty, now based at Greenwich, is ordered to destroy the Martian’s flying base on Primrose Hill.
In London, Morant, having lost the heat-ray to the Coldstream Guards’ Special Operation Coy, has to explain to Marie Curie that he also lost her husband, Pierre.
And once again Toni’s diary reminds us that all of us have value. Society sometimes discards the old. In fact, this was a theme during the Martian invasion. The old and infirm were left behind. But without Sir John and the other ‘oldies’ in Queen Anne’s Mansions, there would have been no wireless communications, and very limited supplies of the gas masks required to survive the black smoke.
Photograph: Public Domain, Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, The Story of A Soldier's Life, Westminster, 1903
The infamous ‘Circus Massacre’ is well known to historians, and Toni’s view of what occurred is blunt. However, with historians now estimating that 1.25 million people remained in London throughout the War, the Massacre could have been predicted.
Today, Commander Carver, his 30 men plus field-gun, enter Ripley, just outside Woking where they encounter Persephone who escorts them to meet Maxim, her grandfather. Maxim explains his belief that the tower the Martians have erected is much more than a simple beacon and explains how he plans to destroy it from the air.
Still confined to the house in Sheen, Wells is forced to knock the Curate out when he draws the attention of the Martians with his prayers.
'The War of the Worlds - in real time'
Photograph: 'Hiram Maxim's 1894 Flying Machine' - In Public Domain
Wells finally emerges from the house he had been confined for 11 days, to the sound of — silence.
In London, Toni’s diary continues to demonstrate the determination and organisational skills of the suffragists. And once again, we see Elizabeth Cadbury’s exemplary leadership qualities demonstrated.
Elsewhere in the greatest city on Earth, Morant records that one of the men who had taken the heat-ray off him had turned up with the news that Pierre Curie had been trying to get the heat ray to work at a lab in Oxford when it exploded, killing him instantly.
Outside the city, Commander Carver and Maxim finish their plans for a combined attack against the Martians in the Woking Pit, an attack that will be undertaken from both the air, and ground.
And we consider the report on an examination of the Martian’s machines recovered by Lieutenant Dullanty, undertaken at Roche Wood under the direction of Sir J Dullanty (the Lieutenant’s father). And discuss an explanation for why the Martian’s only launched a restricted number of capsules.
Note: In referring to London as the greatest city on Earth I am simply channelling Wells. Paris is of course is the greatest city on Earth, or perhaps Venice - and even if it isn't it is definitely the prettiest, or is that the wettist ;-)
Illustration: 'Death of the Curate' Illustration by Henrique Alvim Corrêa, from the 1906 Belgium (French language) edition of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds", 1906 - WikiMedia.org.
From a historical perspective, we are beginning to see that determination, organisation, and competence, lead to results that have far reaching consequences. As does the opposite.
We continue to see the @NUWSS’ organisational abilities with outposts now in regular contact now via radio. In her diary Toni notes the increasing difficulty of moving through London because of the Red Weed which has clogged London’s waterways and caused the Thames to break its banks.
In Woking we witness the determined assault on the Martian’s pit, while in London Morant delivers the eulogy for Pierre Currie at a small commemoration service held in the undercroft at Westminster.
Photograph: Crypt Chapel (Chapel of St Mary Undercroft), Westminster, taken in 1905
Wells continues to slowly build up his strength prior to leaving from the house he has now been confined to for 13 days.
Toni’s diary chronicles an epic journey from Queen Anne’s Mansions to Bryanston Square in the quest for more equipment and medicines. She and Grace Stewart undertook the journey alone. In normal days, a round trip of 6.5km would take about an hour and a half. This journey took an entire day.
Elsewhere in London, Morant continues to pester Marie Curie to provide him with weapons, even as the flood of refugees passing along the escape routes he and Brown established appears endless.