1917 – April 15

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

1917 – March 30

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.

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.

1917 – March 8

The great Fête in Mrs. Blakeway’s garden for the Red Cross. Daisie has a stall of home produce, helped by Miss Durell, and Susanna dances with the lot of other pretty little girls – she enjoys it immensely. To-morrow she goes to the Longdens at Kohat for a week. I am out bivouacking to-morrow taking the 2/6 Devons for their test.