1918 – July 19

Interviews and interviews with all the Staff Branches. My object is to persuade them to let me take on the Urmieh situation and save 80,000 Christians from being massacred.* Very hot but pleasant to see real civilisation and drink soda and other good things. Romantic sleeping on a marble floor on banks of Tigris with moon reflected on water – electric punkah. 

* This is a reference to what is now known as the Armenian Genocide or Armenian Holocaust; the Ottoman government set about a systematic extermination of ethnic Armenians starting in 1915. Assyrians were also massacred in the Urmia region; historians consider the various genocides against non-Ottomans in this region as part of the whole Armenian Genocide. These peoples were already being targeted as a result of their Christianity – the prevailing religion being Muslim – but it is hard to ascertain from the brief reading I have done whether their religion or their being non-Ottoman was the key motivation behind their slaughter.

1918 – January 19

Owing to the secrecy of my arrangements, I am called the Commander of the “Hush, Hush Army”.  I blossomed into a Major-General yesterday – as it was obviously foreseen Daisie had made the holes for the new resplendent stars. After fixing up all plans to start, I get a wire to say that Enzeli, my destination on the Caspian Sea, has been seized by some horrid fellows called Jangalis (a very suggestive name) who are intensely anti-British and are in the pay of Germans. It will have to be plot and counter-plot.

These long journeys are full of dramatic change. I am just waiting to jump off into darkness and eternity for a space, with a fair hope of emerging on the far side, and here I have a pantomime with string band and as I stand on the verandah at night, the romantic Tigris flowing as it has flowed for many thousand years, and the moon-light on the water, and everything good the world holds except Daisie to share the beauty and romance of it – but women have no romance!

1918 – January 18

Arrived Baghdad 8 a.m., breakfast with Sir P. Cox. Staying with the Commander-in-Chief, Sir William Marshall, met Stuart Wortley, Q.M.G. (possibly this man?) and several other old friends. I have a tough job in front of me – it is difficult to get through Persia with things as they are, and arriving at Tiflis safely, there may still be great obstacles to overcome. This is a beautiful house on the banks of the Tigris, and it is romantic to hear the waters of the ancient river lapping on the bank below my window.

In the forward journey there is the risk of traps by tribesmen, or German and Turkish plots. In Tiflis, German paid assassins or truculent politicians. But God is with us always and I thank him for an intensely happy life with my beloved wife, even if it terminates at 53.

Tiflis = Tblisi, capital of Georgia