On Friday I took out the C.O’s for a Staff tour, slept the night in Urmur* canal bungalow and rode home on Saturday – it was interesting and not very hot. Life is an appalling turmoil just now of military engagements and social functions – look forward to a little peace and quiet in the hot weather. War news is good – 13,000 prisoners and 168 guns taken between Arras and Lens.
* Possibly Urmar Tanda
At last the mail in, and at last a letter from Leo, but sad to say it was to the effect that he had had to leave Haileybury. I have planned out no career for him and do not desire any form of worldly success, I want him to be happy as a Christian gentleman, and that is always possible to the humblest of us.
April 9th [continuation]
Dinner with the Viceroy. Daisie sat on his left and I had the normal 5 minutes talk with her after dinner. It was quite a nice evening and their Excellencies were pleasant to talk to. Daisie’s curtseys were magnificent and her dress quite the smartest.
Cold and showery, we would almost have liked a fire in the evening. Col. Austin-Smith*, Surgeon to the Viceroy, came to tea, he married Ettie Shewell, my second cousin. A very nice fellow and lots to say. We had lunch with the Rennies.
The garden is wonderful – no one has ever seen such masses of roses. The new turf looks very smart. The Nemesias are over, also stocks and mimulus just going, but pansies are still beautiful and most of the others are not far beyond their prime.
* Possibly Austen Smith
Garden Party at Government House. Daisie and I asked to the select tea-party which was very stiff and I got a very dull tea – Lady Chelmsford was not in an interesting mood and she talked to Sir F. Campbell all the time – I had fragments of conversation with the daughter, Joan, who had just been up in an aeroplane.
The Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford arrived. I lined the roads with my Brigade, so did not have to do the meeting on the platform past. Then 6 p.m. at Government House delivery of address.
Beautiful weather, garden lovely and roses just coming out. We returned from Akora on Thursday – it was very enjoyable though it rained most of the time. The battle-field was well depicted and we had 22 guns turned on to a 500 yard front with quick fire and high explosive. We sat in dug-outs about 300 yards this side of the enemy’s trenches and had a splendid view – several short bursts of shrapnel and one Tommy in my dugout hit and very sorry for himself – Generals Johnson and Dyer had bad falls from their horses and a whole gun-team were wounded – none killed, by a H.E. burst at the muzzle. – there were 21 Generals at the show, mostly spectators, and I, as O.C., 1st. Brigade had the best part of the show to run. Several new Major Generals made and I am next on the list – Daisie thinks it will stop dead now and I shall never get it. I want it to give me the extra £100 a year pension, but as regards pay I am just as well off with £100 a year for paid A.D.C. to the King, which ceases when I become a Major General.
Rained all day and yesterday. Flowers beautiful, especially Nemesia, Pansy, Cineraria and Carnations. To-morrow I go to the Artillery Camp at Akora for manoeuvres.