1916 – December 29

Devons’ Pantomime very good – Yesterday we had ten South Devon men* to tea. One of them, Stoneman (now at Sidmouth), was at our wedding. The Christmas week, with its revels and drunkenness is nearly over, thank goodness! – we have such a weird way of celebrating the birth of our Saviour. The women by balls and parties, with nice decolletée dresses, and the men by drinking too much. Poor old humans, we are comic or tragic – I don’t know which.

* In researching this, I came across this link here, which suggests the men could be either from the 1/5th (Prince of Wales’s) Battalion or the 2/6th Battalion. If anyone has any firmer ideas, I would very much appreciate knowing a bit more.

1916 – December 17

The world seems very small!! On October 15th 1914, I wrote in my diary in France: “Braisne is being shelled, where I was on Sept. 18th and Oct. 3rd, and two old ladies have fled from there, I am taking them down with me to Paris.” To-day I get a letter from Captain Elliott. from North Wales and he says: “They had a most interesting old French lady with them, Mademoiselle Menesson…. in this War she was at Braisne on the Aisne, and had French, German and British alternately billeted on her, finally they started bombarding and she fled to England, this was on Oct. 15th 1914, she says that at 7 p.m. that evening at Mont Notre Dame, she was assisted by an Indian Army Colonel, “bel homme, distingué, d’une grande taille,” [good-looking man, distinguished, very tall] who was “chef de train”, could it have been yourself? Anyhow she quite fell in love with him and tells everyone she meets of her wonderful Colonel who had come all the way from India to be a train conductor – the said Colonel was most attractive, fed her on the best bully beef, opening the tin with his own fair hands, etc. etc.” It is very interesting.

1916 – December 6

Left in car with Duncan at 2 p.m. for Attock, arrived about 4.30. All 3 Brigadiers, myself, Woodyatt* and Beynon, live and mess together.

* An interesting article (pdf format) can be found here, about the general movements of troops and actions around the North West Frontier, referencing Woodyatt and Dunsterville. Published in a Supplement to the London Gazette, from 4th July 1916.


1916 – December 2

Dined with the new Commander-in-Chief, Sir Charles Monro* and left by the midnight train, arrived Peshawar.

* From the article linked above, to Sir Charles Monro, is the following: “In October the same year [1916] he was sent to India as regional Commander-in-Chief where he organised resources for despatch to the various fronts of the war as necessary and brought the efficiency of the Indian army to a new height.”