She became very attached to the injured, calling them her ‘soldier sons’, and even ferried those who were mobile to Stourhead for days out.
In her diary, Lady Hoare writes: ‘Many of the men told us later they’d had the happiest times, at Stourhead, of all their times, since they returned from the French-front.’
On Christmas Eve 1917 Alda received the news that her son had died from wounds sustained in battle. ‘Tearless, I on the seat in window of South Lawn, where so oft from childhood till…he last left us, I watching him, I knelt and prayed for his soul oh God, for strength to us, in our shattered lives. He was 29 last 30th July,' she wrote.
Alda never got over her son’s death, keeping his room just as he had left it.