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.
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
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.
*Indian Army Reserve Officers
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 Pioneers, 90th 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.
The Barbara Mullah has announced his intention of attacking us on Friday, so I have my moveable column ready, it consists of:-
1 D.Y.O. Lancers
No. 74 Howitzer Battery R.F.A.
No. 8 Mountain Battery
The King’s Liverpool Regiment
No.1 Co. Sappers and Miners.
A nice compact little force and ought to be strong enough to take on the whole of the Mohmands. The heat will be our worst enemy. I do not think it will come off as the other Mullahs do not seem to be caring much about it.
[An interesting article about the Moveable Column can be found here.]