1917 – March 11

Good news, the Capture of Baghdad. Friday, Saturday I took out the Devon regiment for their test, but they broke down, so I brought them home from bivouac – these new Territorial Battalions cannot be expected to take so high a strain.

Click here to read the official despatch by Sir Frederick Maude, detailing operations from December 1916 to March 1917, culminating in the Capture of Baghdad. Maude effectively laid much groundwork for Dunsterville’s later actions from the end of 1917.

1916 – September 27

Susanna went to a fancy dress tea-party at the Thomases’ yesterday. She looked very smart as a General in summer white Mess uniform. The Mohmands have begun raiding again and the Flying Column has been sent out, as General Davies is commanding for me in my absence there seems no need for me to return unless things get more serious. Our aeroplanes flew over the Mohmand country yesterday and I am anxious to hear the result.

1916 – August 16

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

1916 – May 3

My meeting of the Church of England’s Men’s Society on Tuesdays is rather interesting – there are some good fellows among the men and some humbugs. We got the news of Townshend surrendering at Kut el Amara yesterday with 6000 native [Indian] and 3000 white [British] troops. Not important as regards loss of men, but will stir up Mahomedan excitement in India, Persia and Cabul – however we’ll take whatever comes. Our muddleheaded pacific nation that despised its soldiers in peace time deserves these blows and the poor soldiers suffer.

Daisie tries keeping pets with miserable results. First 2 sparrows – cat got one, then another sparrow enlisted, mysteriously disappeared, and the third died. Then a dove, Daisie took the dove for a walk in the garden and it was carried off by a kite, now 2 quails and we’ll see what happens.

1916 – May 1

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.