The Battle for Didcot
13-Jun 00:01 – Sunday
Despite the loss of 3 tripods the Martians have continued a cautious push northward, reaching the outskirts of Didcot today.
In London Toni explains how the leaders of the suffragists survived the Martian black smoke, and mentions the ‘Red Weed’ for the first time. While Morant dispatches foraging parties to supplement dwindling food stocks. HMS Majestic, flagship of the Channel Squadron reports sighting a flying disc circling over the fleet.
By the end of the day, due to the number of civilians killed during the Martian’s attack on Didcot, the army has decided to evacuate all non-combatants within 10 miles of the Line further north.
13-Jun 08:30 @HGWells #Curate #Sheen
Wells, and the Curate are now enduring their 5th day in the house in Sheen. They spend their time observing the Martians working around the 5th cylinder. One of the great fighting-machines, still empty of its occupant, stands stiffly, silhouetted against the sky on the far side of the pit.
13-Jun 09:00 @BreakerMorant #DogsCatsAndRats
On my mother’s advice, foraging parties have been directed to catch dogs, cats and rats to supplement food stocks. We hunt with bow and arrows and used the trapping techniques Brown had taught me. Not a popular move, but only the foraging party needs to know where the meat is coming from.
13-Jun 09:30 @BreakerMorant #DogsCatsRatsAndPotatoes
Found a big store of potatoes and flour down at the docks.
13-Jun 10:00 @LtJRDullanty
TO: JAMES DULLANTY
BE AWARE THAT LT KILVANEY REPORTS THAT NUM 3 AND 4 PLATOONS WERE CAUGHT IN AN AMBUSH AND HAVE RETREATED TOWARDS WEYBRIDGE.
13-Jun 10:15 @LtJRDullanty
ANY FURTHER WORD ON THE MARTIAN’S FLYING MACHINE STOP
13-Jun 10:30 @LtJRDullanty
TO: JAMES DULLANTY
13-Jun 11:35 #BattleForDidcot
With the decision on the 9th to establish the Gascoyne-Cecil-Line, Didcot’s junction on the routes to London, Bristol, Oxford and to Southampton made the town of strategic importance to military logistics. Recognising this the army quickly set about reinforcing the town, and establishing a Central Ordinance Facility in the town.
However, the CinC Field Marshal Wolseley was not the only one to recognise Didcot’s importance and on the 13th the Martians attempted a raid in force. Luckily over half the units in Didcot had been issued with the Mark 1 Gas-mask the previous day and with the automatic mines that had already been emplaced across the Midland counties were able to hold, although civilian casualties have been variously been estimated at between 50%-75%.
13-Jun 14:30 @BreakerMorant #DogsCatsRatsAndPotatoes
Foodstores at Borough Road is now looking better.
13-Jun 16:58 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 13 June 1897, 16:58 GMT:
We have set off for Woking, intending to cross the Thames at Tilbury. I am in command of a cobbled-together mounted force of 25 men, drawn from the late Thunder Child’s marine detail, Lieutenant Mann’s Horse Guards, and a dozen stragglers from other commands. I plan to travel at night to keep from being discovered.
13-Jun 17:00 @HGWells #Curate #Sheen
Wells later reports hearing the firing of large guns in the distance, which would likely to have been the army’s frantic defence of Didcot.
13-Jun 17:15 @LtJRDullanty #PersonalDiary #Tilbury
Sentries report the sound of large guns to the west-northwest, somewhere beyond London.
13-Jun 19:00 @AdmiralKerr
From the personal log of Admiral Sir Walter Kerr, C in C, Channel Squadron, aboard HMS Majestic, 13 June 1897, 19:00 GMT:
No response to our messages from Lieutenant Commander Carver. More disturbing was the appearance of a flying disc that circled over the fleet, out of reach of our guns. I have heard rumours the Martians have the secret of flight. I wish Carver Godspeed with greater urgency.
13-Jun 20:09 @ToniWantsToVote
@lizcadbury and I went out scouting for @NUWSS posts. Only focused on those we know are on higher ground. #sadness #blacksmoke
@graceharwood and @sirjohntheengineer have been experimenting with #blacksmoke residue. No results so far.
@millifawcett is alive! So #thankful #secondstoriessavelives #hillssavelives #survivalstories #inspiring
We have found small pockets of #survivors who managed to get to #higherground of some kind.
Planned regular #infodrops at central points. #whereisthegovernment #wemustorganiseagain #survivors #Ihavehope
Weird spots of #redweed popping up all over #London. Is it from #Mars? #isthatwhyitsred
13-Jun 21:00 #BattleForDidcot
Rebuffed, the Martians pulled backed to regroup. Recognising that even a successful assault would only result in them then to having force the defences constructed along the Thames, they pivoted west, and with the obvious intention of avoiding the Thames defences, began to prepare for an attempt to break the line at Swindon.
13-Jun 22:00 @LtJRDullanty #PersonalDiary #Tilbury
Received confirmation that the army beat off an attack on Didcot today. Apparently the Gas-masks proved crucial in allowing the army to hold. I didn’t envy them having to wear the things, today was unpleasantly hot. I have ordered the unit to practice wearing their masks for at least five hours a day.
13-Jun 22:01 @LtJRDullanty #LondonWeather
(NOTE: records indicate a maximum of 25C – https://www.extremeweatherwatch.com/cities/london-on/year-1897)
13-Jun 22:02 @LtJRDullanty #PersonalDiary
Civilian deaths were high in the attack on Didcot, and all civilians within 10 miles of the Line, and not directly employed in a role vital to defence are being evacuated.