1918 – August 27

Arrived in Baku 3.30 p.m. Bob [Keyworth] came on board to report. I am sorry that during my absence the Turks have made a successful attack on our very weak right and have captured the Mud volcano – our losses being 3 officers and 70 men of the [7th] N. Staffords killed, and 11 officers and 35 men wounded. The attack was a very determined one and had Baku troops been there I’m afraid Baku would have been taken. The odds were 4 to one and we had no artillery support and the Armenian infantry sent to support refused to go. 

As it is, the risk of the town being taken is so great that I dare not keep this Diary by me any more, so I have decided to send it by post to Mc.Murray at Hamadan. 

* Click here to see a (somewhat fuzzy) map of the battle lines of what became known as the Battle of Baku. More about the 7th N Staffs can be read here, although be warned, the website is irritatingly advert-y.

Pencilled note:
“The book was sent and I had to keep further records in a separate notebook.
“End of War Diary B, Begin C.”

1918 – May 31

Goodbye to Hamadan for a time and perhaps for ever. To-morrow we go to Kasvin – which is hotter, but more central for my work, as the Turks are coming down the Tabriz Road. I got the first of my four aeroplanes to-day, and my eight armoured cars will soon be here – and 1000 infantry are coming up in Ford vans, so we shall soon be getting to work. Dined with the Mc.Murrays farewell party.

1914 – September 12

Reached Coulommiers 5 a.m., raining still and very cold, giving out rations all day, such filth and mud and a dead horse just outside my truck. These funny old motor buses from London still continue to advertise in the French lanes “N.W.R. Go to Scotland for the best holiday – G.W.R., Cornish Riviera, etc. etc.” Five French aeroplanes just passed over in the direction of the enemy. Not a very happy night last night, a lot to do, very cold and very wet, bad cold and cough, tummy ache and violent tooth-ache in my Newton Abbott tooth. Heavy firing going on so I suppose the poor Germans are catching it again. A special message from the Kaiser was intercepted ordering his troops to “annihilate the British Force”. It takes some doing. Talked with German wounded Hussars, Artillery, Uhlans, Infantry, all very happy. Their one idea is to have a trip to England. I received over a lot of German rifles, ammunition, fuses, and detonators. The latter I thought too dangerous to have in my carriage, so I exploded them – Rain all day, mud and slush, a smell of filth and dead bodies and disinfectants and a busy hospital with amputations – all the nasty side of war. The Germans were through this town a few days ago and there is little left. How upside down the world is. Think of all the surplus women, and then these thousands of the best of men dead and left to rot in the fields. The world in which one lives has nothing to do with the world one knew – This is another existence. One’s brain is entirely engrossed with the work and sleep and when one wakes the work recommences. I seem to have no connection with the other lucky Dunsterville who had the best of wives and 3 splendid children.