Yesterday the Mohmands put up a half-hearted fight, my Brigade remained in Reserve on the wire, but I rode forward to the 2nd Brigade on the downs and saw little. The Durham Light Infantry lost about 10 men. The aeroplanes were very interesting and the enemy didn’t like them at all. Another man caught on the wire – a holy youth of 18, who armed himself only with two Korans which were not effectual against the 2000 volts.
Enemy keeps gathering and dispersing – they can make no plan of attack with this wire arrangement. Caught the first victim last night, I was glad to get a victim to show it worked properly, – a fine, brave fellow. His companions made no effort to rescue him as they had learnt that anyone who touches the corpse gets killed himself. The whole thing varies with different people, some can stand more electricity than others. The other day a man was caught on the wire by accident, the one who went to rescue him was killed by the current passing through the first man, who was not killed, but lost one arm. The Division came out to-day and the Chief Commissioner.
Saw a good deal of the enemy skipping about on the hills and it looks as if they’d fight in a day or two. I did not fire at them as I want them to gather and put up one real good fight, then the affair will subside, probably, for at least a year. The Division have been very good so far, in allowing me to run my own show, and I have Duncan, the best of Brigade Majors.
Back to Shabkadr. Nothing doing. The enemy are afraid of my live wire and have not yet tried it. It kills two or 3 inoffensive wild cats, dogs and jackals every day – it is hard on them.
A gruesome morning looking at the dead bodies of the Mohmands shot last night by the Kings and the 15th Sikhs.
They got through the King’s wire last night between posts 21 and 22 and fired a salvo at me in the fort at 11 p.m. It was very plucky of them and very well done and I sent them a message to say “well done!” When the live wire [electric fence] is up I’m afraid they’ll get killed. I inspected No. 3 section riding round the front line in the morning. We ran the gauntlet rather, as our horses attracted the snipers, shots were near us, but neither I nor Short nor Duncan, who were riding with me, were hit. A mule driver caught one of the bullets that missed me and was hit in the head.
My lucky month of birth and marriage. Nothing doing except on the right of the line, where the Guides exchange shots with about 50 of the enemy at long range. There are probably about 500 of them gathered there, but not ready to attack. The position is really impregnable. It overlooks the right bank of the Swat river and is very picturesque. I chose sites for 3 picquets here over the frontier in the Burhan Khel country and they are naturally mad about it and swear revenge. The line had to go forward there to protect the weir in the river below.
All wire completed. All very quiet so far. The Division, the Cavalry Brigade, the 2nd Brigade and all artillery and cavalry from my lot have been taken away, which leaves me very thin, but they fear disturbances in the Khyber and I must try my best to hold this 17 miles with 5 battalions 1 Battery and 50 Sabres.
I’ve got wireless, aeroplanes, howitzers and motors, all quite up to date. Last night a little firing. This morning Cavalry patrol fired on from the downs, no casualties. It is fearfully hot and the mosquitos rage and the dust stifles. Duncan of the 9th Gurkhas is my Brigade Major, Waller of the 72nd, Staff Captain, Rich, 35th Sikhs (I.A.R.O.* Bombay Port Trust) Orderly Officer.