1918 – September 10

Days are very busy. To-day I saw Lt. Maurice of the French Army about certain secret matters connected with the oil-fields, then Captain Noel about some mills that want shuttles from England to increase supply, we to purchase increased supply and exchange for grain in ports where cash is not accepted – we get back to barter in these days, also about Noel’s plans for the N. Caucasus where Pike has been killed and I propose Noel takes his place. Then Mr. Clarke Head of the Food Control about food supplies for population here, 300,000. Then Gendre the Social Revolutionary about his plots, then Araratiantz the Armenian about Armenian Army Reform, then Chardigny about wiring present situation to Paris – then Ragozin about his plans, Albizzi about the Russian armed cars. In the evening 5 p.m. a Georgian Prince re Tartar affairs and hopes. Then a Committee meeting at the War Minister, Bogratuni, reorganization. Then Captain Colmanautz, re the situation in Erivan, Major Conrans en route to Bicherakov with instructions, Colonel Rawlinson re destruction of bridges.

1918 – April 23

O Babel, Babel! An Armenian doctor (member of Baku Committee) came to see me, I took him down to the office. On the road I met a Turkish naval officer coming to surrender. I went into the office and found Lt. Sokolov of the Russian Navy waiting to see me, also Lt. Poidebard of the French Army [most likely to be this man]. In the hall was waiting a Persian Gendarme officer we are going to use as a spy – and also a Greek merchant, who came with information which he gave through the medium of Hindustani, our only common language.

At last we got a mail with Daisie’s letters up to March 21st. Poor Daisie! what a terrible time she has been having – Living with the Starrs and Dr. Starr murdered at night by Pathans, poor fellow. He was stabbed in 5 places by men and lasted till the afternoon, when he died.

* Dunsterville was a renowned polyglot, speaking English, French, German, Russian, various Indian languages (such as Pushtu and Hindustani) and Arabic. It was his multilingualism which was a key reason why he was chosen for this mission.

1914 – September 6

Daisie will be thinking of me in Church this morning. I have had only one letter from her so far, when shall I get the rest and where are they? It is the sudden change of advanced Base from Amiens to Rouen, Rouen to Le Mans, and now again. In the last truck of the train, sleeping among boxes of bacon and huge cheeses – too cold to keep the doors wide open and the smell of cheese and bacon is appalling. Kind people bring nice things for us to eat and drink at the stations. I always get out and explain that we are not glorious, have killed no Germans and are not likely to and that we only take food up to the soldiers. Arrived at Orléans 10.30 a.m. No English officer here but the French Commission Militaire told me to take the train on to Villeneuve. Left at 11.30 a.m. Very hot and the flies attracted by the cheese are frightful. Arrived Juvisy 5 p.m. It is quite weird to find Paris entirely protected by British troops, no wonder they give us buns and tea and kiss their hands. But for us the Germans would have been in Paris before now. As it is they have shifted off to the East on to Châlons, to fight the main French Army, and on our left is another French Army while we cover Paris itself and all the suburbs are full of our men and trains. Imagine London protected by a French Army! At Juvisy passed a train of 60 sick horses going to the Base. No food for men or horses so I gave the men rations and took hay for the horses from a French train. Arrived Villeneuve 11 p.m. My train had to be remade into 3 portions for Melun, Brunoy, and Lieu-saint.

France-towns