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
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.
Floods and deluges of rain – servants’ houses all flooded out and one washed right down. I am so pleased at having my proper pay of Rs.2100 a month that life seems quite different. My arrears are also Rs.1200 which enables me to pay all my debts at the shops. What a huge war this is. Bay writes from Belgium, others from France, Watts from Mesopotamia and Egypt, Irwin from East Africa, Cunliffe in West Africa, Bob and Wattie are in Salonica and here are we on the Afghan frontier. Bennett writes from Persia.
*Rs = Rupees
Yesterday we had news of the great Naval Battle off Jutland with the Germans – a victory for us, but dearly paid for. Our losses in ships and men were very large, probably larger than the Germans, but they bolted home and left us masters of the Sea, so they can hardly claim it, but they will, as a victory. We had thorough bad luck throughout. Then we have news of the most dramatic incident in the War, the sinking of The Hampshire with Lord Kitchener and Staff on board en route for Russia – no survivors. It is sad. Kitchener is not irreplaceable, but it is a great feather in the German cap.
Keep your tails up! We lost a Battleship yesterday, mined in the Mediterranean, a submarine the day before, and to-day we get news (long expected as far as I am concerned) of Townshend surrender to the Turks at Kut el Amara with 9000 men! 9000 men doesn’t matter tuppence and very few white, but the whole thing will be greatly magnified and be a heavy blow to our prestige in the East, it may even bring the Afghans down on top of us, as they have long been hanging on the brink – however, it’s all God’s will and certainly our nation with its pre-war concentration on trade and rubbish, and utter neglect of its army, does not deserve to win this war.
Left Green 3.36 p.m. to Paddington, Galfrid on the same train – nice boy and looking very well. Arrived 4, Ilchester Gardens at 9.0 p.m. Galfrid’s box lost. Dora and Bettie here and my dear Leo looking cheerful and nice.
Newton Abbott to see Mr. Bayliss about Galfrid. Soldiers looking smart and quite decent officers. Daisie is working herself to death packing, with an awful influenza cold and a bad toe.