1918 – January 6

Sailed off into the great unknown at 2 p.m. on the “Baroda”, leaving poor Daisie forlorn at the Carlton Hotel. She returns to Peshawar to-night. None of my Staff were able to catch the boat and I have only Sergeant Watson, my Head Clerk with me. I am on a Special Mission, vastly important and interesting. God give me strength, courage and intelligence to carry it through to a successful issue. I am to be a temporary Major General and to have the full Staff of a Division. Topham of the 15th Sikhs is my A.D.C. Colonel Arnold of the 26th Cavalry commands the ship.

1916 – October 16

Broke up Subhan Khwar camp and dispersed my force into 4 Sections, 4 little armies 3½ miles apart, self-contained under their own C.O’s. No.1 Section, 12th Pioneers, Major Hooker; No.2 Section, 15th Sikhs, Col. Gordon;, No.3 Section, King’s, Major Hyslop; No.4 Section 72 Punjabis, Col. Prentis. Each force 1 battn. inf. ½  Squadron Cav. Section of Mountain Battery, ½ Co. R.E. Section of Hospital. So now I have nothing to do.

Went in for Miss Campbell’s wedding to Learoyd, the 21st Lancers, a well run wedding and Susanna made a sweet bridesmaid and was not silly or shy. There were 7 Generals in a row! Stayed the night and returned to Shabkadr fort where my headquarters are, on Tuesday afternoon. Enemy fired desperately at the fort for an hour, from 9 to 10, but hit nothing.

1916 – October 6

We have certainly reached bed-rock in the line of officers, if not men: all imbecile and incapable. The 15th Sikhs are all good, the 72nd have 2 good officers, the 12th one, the Kings half-a-dozen, the S & T.* none. One has to pull along somehow. Duncan and I went to Abazai in armoured car and crossed the frontier to select sites for block-houses – got back at 3.30 after 7 hours in the sun.

*S&T: Supply and Transport

1916 – October 3

House shut up and everything locked away so ate my breakfast at 6.30 a.m. with my fingers – 3 poached eggs! Column marched at 8.30 a.m., punctually arrived Nagoman camp 12, noon. Very hot, but only one case of heat-stroke. Troops are Kings Regt., 72 Punjabis, 15th Sikhs, 12th Pioneers90th Batt. Field Artillery, 24th Batt. Mountain Artillery, 2 Squadrons, 30th Lancers, No. 1 Co. Sappers and Miners. Transport very bad, a bad class of mule, badly trained, badly fed, in bad condition, gear bad, personnel bad, officers useless. I would not care to have to undertake anything very desperate with this lot. It’s not their fault – everything of the best has been sent to the big front.