The Norfolk Regiment in Mesopotamia

After a well deserved rest (and undertaking more research) our Mesopotamian correspondent is back with the further experiences of the Norfolk Regiment’s officers during their captivity in Mesopotamia. 

Captivity in Turkey: from the diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Cecil Lodge

Part 3: 1918

This is a continuation of the postings of 16 November, 2016, 26 May, 2017 and 16 June, 1917. Some entries have been omitted if they are unduly repetitious, or where they contain financial details other than about pay or refer to private family matters. The diaries are held in the archives of the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.

After being transferred from captivity at Yozgad (Yozgat), Lodge had arrived at Afion Kara Hissar (Afyonkarahisar) on 1st November 1817. It is at this place that his diaries continue.

The book into which F.C. Lodge transcribed his written journal
Source: Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum

 

1st January, 1918

Rain during the night, with snow in the morning – dull.

2nd January, 1918

Paid Julius 12 liras for messing – dull.

3rd, 4th, 5th January, 1918

All dull days, and more snow on Friday night [4th-5th].

6th January, 1918

Brighter and freezing 11° [F.]. Recd. 5 liras Embassy Money. Letter from Robert Berry d/ 27 Oct and post card from M. [his wife, Margaret] d/ 25 Oct.

7th January, 1918

Posted letter 63 to M. – Capt. Berry – Mrs Kerr

10 officers p of w arrived early this morning from Palestine Front. One of them, Gardiner, had been in our first Bn. We moved into a new house today. I have now a small room to myself. Still bitterly cold 18° [F.] of frost.

8th January, 1918

Freezing hard 7° of frost during the night. Thomas lies with us now.

9th January, 1918

They have stopped our bread ration from gov. [government] supply. We now have to buy it in the bazaar at 8½ ps [piastres] a loaf instead of 2½. A splendid thaw, it is now quite mild.

10th, 11th, 12th January, 1918

Milder. We hear that they are going to reduce our pay. This will make living all the harder – even now it’s impossible to exist on what we get.; this has been supplemented by private income.

Made 2 beds – one for L/Cp Swift and the other for Wigger.[their orderlies]

Wrote letter 64 to M – and to Genl Mariott & Richardson.

13th, 14th, 15th January, 1918

Fine bright weather with frosts ar night & early morning. Philpot R.F.C. Who arrived here sick with dysentery, died and was buried today.

16th January, 1918

We had 3 shocks of an earthquake during breakfast – 3 at dinner & 2 during the night. Some were strong & shook our house considerably.

Post card d/ 12th Nov. from M.

17th January, 1918

Fine & sharp. Letter from Robert [his 3-year-old son] d/ 13th Dec.

18th, 19th, January, 1918

Both days bright & frosty.

Two letters from M. 89 & 91 d/ 9th 14th Nov.

Letter from Mother 31st Oct.2 letters from Ethel d/ 28 Sept 6th Nov.

Letter from Mrs. Bryans [his mother-in-law] d/ 28 Sept

Co. Wilson, Father Mullen, & Foster left after dinner for Stamboul [Constantinople / Istanbul] all are unfit & hope to be discharged.

20th January, 1918

Misty & raw. Another mail in.

2 letters & 1 p.c. from M d/ 4 Oct. 24 Nov., et al

21st January, 1918

Still misty and beastly cold. Wrote 65 [to M]. Also to Mother & Mrs. Bryans [his mother-in-law]

22nd, 23rd, 24th January, 1918

All misty days, except on Tues. the sun came out after lunch.

25th January, 1918

Misty cold. Stace R.E. Came to live with us in Col. Wilson’s place

2 letters from M. 77 & 84 d/28th Sept. & 21st Oct, et al

26th January, 1918

Began to snow again this morning – it is milder.

27th January, 1918

Bright intervals, milder: but walking in the street very muddy.

7 letters from M. & 1 containing snapshots of the kiddies, etc., et al

Julius had a splendid batch of clothing parcels: he gave me a blanket, 2 shirts, 2 towels, 3 pr. of socks, 2 pr. pyjamas & a pair of shoes.

28th January, 1918

Bright & frosty. The 4 Frenchmen who were sent to Stamboul for exchange all returned this morning.

Wrote 66 to M – Evelyn – Mrs Daunt.

29th January, 1918

Parcels given out this morning – I got 8.

  1. Old green suit
  2. Gumboots, shirts, socks, medicines, tie
  3. 1lb. 3 Nunns tobacco & pipe.

4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Food Fortnum & Mason

These arrived in the nick of time, & were most welcome. A shell from Cecilia [his daughter, twin to Robert]. Went to watch a rugger match.

30th January, 1918

Fine & bright, only a slight frost.

Received money for a £10 cheque I had signed some weeks ago. It was paid through the American Express Coy – really a German company*, I only got 1128 ps a pretty good swindle considering the real rate of exchange. Had tea with Trelson [?] R.F.C.

* It is hard to understand why Lodge should think this, since American Express was founded in New York in 1850 and had its headquarters in Manhattan.

The British government appointed American Express its official agent at the beginning of World War I. They were to deliver letters, money and relief parcels to British prisoners of war. Their employees went into camps to cash drafts for both British and French prisoners and arranged for them to receive money from home. Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Express

31st January, 1918

Bright. Prices of foodstuffs, etc. [all prices are in piastres per oke unless otherwise stated]

Beef 45 ps, Mutton 50 ps, Bread 8½ ps, Potatoes 14 ps, Carrots 6 ps, Onions 14 ps, Turnips 6 ps, Artichokes 6, Wood 100 ps per donkey load about 30 okes, Eggs 3½ to 2.30 ps, Afion oil 12 liras a tin, Flour 25 ps, Fat 120 ps, Tea best 4000 ps, Tea inferior 2000 ps, Coffee 1000 ps, Sugar 300 ps

3rd February, 1918

Bright intervals, wind still E. Footner came to lunch.

Pay for Jan. this has been reduced to 767 ps. 25 paras.

9th February, 1918

Went to the bazaar with Thomas: saw a carpet price 30 Liras. I think the owner will come down : am to see nine carpets next Sat.

10th February, 1918

Fine, wind still east. Goad came to lunch. Post card d/ 20 Sept. and letter d/ 25th Sept from Mother. Anniversary of my wedding day (5 yrs.)*

* Major F.C. Lodge (Norfolk regiment married Norah Margaret Bryans at Bellary, India on this date in 1913.

15th February, 1918

They have put [? 9 men] more into our house: this makes it uncomfortably crowded & we have to give up our mess room and have meals in the laundry. Why they will make us as uncomfortable as they can I don’t know.

16th February, 1918

Went into the bazaar & bought an oke of pecnicsh* for 70 ps.

* There isn’t any reference to this commodity in English, Anglo-Indian, or Turkish.

17th February, 1918

Fine & mild. Had tea with Comdr. Fabre. Heard that Ukrania* had made peace. Two of our latest arrivals, Stewart & Brook, both youngsters, were taken to hospital suffering from typhus.

* Ukraine, at the time in conflict with the Russian Bolsheviks following the revolution of October 1917, made a separate peace with the Central Powers on 9 February, 1918 during the discussions at Brest-Litovsk.

18th February, 1918

A little rain early, mild. Letter 70 to M

20th February, 1918

7 Liras Embassy money

24th February, 1918

The last few days have been very cold, wind from the north. It is miserable in the house as one has  nowhere to go for warmth. We dine in greatcoats.

25th February, 1918

Ground covered with snow – still snowing. 71 to M. Letter to Father.

Mail in: Postcard d/ 7th Dec & letter d/ 8th Dec from M

                 ditto    d/ 4th Jan      ditto  d/ 4th Jan from M

              Letter    d/ 8th Dec from Dorothy enclosing 6 photos of kiddies

27th February, 1918

Recd. Pay for Feb: 693 ps – Snowing

28th February, 1918

Bright day with warm sun.

1st March, 1918

We have been here 4 months today. Bright and warm in the sun, hard frost during the night.

P.Card 103 d 18th Dec: & letter 106 d/ 30th Dec: from M.

Letter d/ 18th Dec: from Evelyn.

2nd March, 1918

Bought a rug in the bazaar for 14 liras: my room now looks more comfortable now. Nice warm day.

3rd March, 1918

Springlike.

Photograph taken at Afion Kara Hissar – Lt. Col Lodge is third from the right
Source: Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum

4th March, 1918

Still nice and mild, though the wind is from the N.W. Snow nearly off the hills. 72 to M. Father. & Dorothy

8th March, 1918

Parcels –  I got 5: there might have been 6, but one had no contents. (A pound of tea – 2 thick shirts – socks , sponge – The Koran & Apocrypha from Robert. & 2 other books.)

11th March, 1918

My regimental birthday. Dull and cold. 73 to M …

14th March, 1918

The past few days have been dull, today there have been some bright intervals. About 40 Russian officers arrived early this morning from a camp up the line: they are housed in our street: our exercising ground is now a bit crowded

16th,17th March, 1918

Both days dull & cold. Rec’d 7 liras Emby. Money Sunday [17th]. Admiral Kirkoff* (Russian) came to tea with Lethbridge, a very nice man.

* Kirkoff, nor any reasonable permutation of the name, does not appear on the list of flag officers of the Imperial Russian Navy 1914-1918.

18th March, 1918

Dull & cold. Wrote 74 to M. Ethel. Robert Berry.

A large flight of storks came over this morning from the South.

19th March, 1918

Lovely fine day. Went down to football after lunch, on our return we heard that we leave for Broussa [Brusa, Bursa] at 2 am., rather quick work. Was packed and ready by 1.30 pm.

Letter 75 to M. saying I was leaving for Broussa. Left our house 1 am,, picked up Davie & Broke Smith at No. 2 camp. We were put into two 3rd. Cls. compartments, 5 to each, very hard and narrow seats where we spent the night. The Comdt. who has been summoned to Stambul accompanied us.

20th March, 1918

Left Afion [by train] 12.20 pm. & arrived Eski-Cheir [Eskişehir] 8.20 pm. Had food in the same old restaurant [Lodge had been at Eski-Cheir on 31st October, 1917 on his journey from Yozgad via Angors [Ankara]. Spent another night in our hard seated carriage, though we asked the Comdt. to allow us to sleep in the waiting room, he would not do so, saying that we were leaving at 2 am.

21st March, 1918

Glad when dawn came. Saw a man lying on platform evidently dying. It turned out that he had been looting carriages and had been practically kicked to death by Germans, a somewhat drastic proceeding. He died. Had an excellent breakfast at the old Bavarian woman’s shop. Left Eski-Cheir 12.30 pm. arrived Biledjik [Bilecik] at 6.10 pm. Hence we hung about until 9 pm. when we got into 4 aribas and drove uphill for about an hour to the village and put up at a khan, fairly clean. Our Comdt left without saying good bye to anybody, a thoroughly gentlemanly thing to do.

22nd March, 1918

Slept well, not troubled by bugs. Spent a quiet day: took a stroll after tea.

23rd March, 1918

Wet day. Left in 9 aribas about 9.45 am. Lethbridge & I had 6 in ours including most of our kit, it was horribly crowded: we got rid of one after first halt. Still raining. Arrived Yenishir [Yenişehir] before dusk and put up at a khan, fairly clean, though we had been warned not to use the beds. Had food at an eating house kept by a Maltese. Slept badly owing to a stuffy cold and a bad head.

24th March, 1918

Lovely morning. left at 9 am. – only 4 in our ariba, including driver. So we were very comfortable. Excellent road, best seen in Turkey, and almost level for the greater part of the way. Mount Olimpus* on our left hand, covered with snow, we skirted it during the journey. Much warmer here, almond and may trees in full blossom. A slight rise, and then a long descent into the Broussa valley. Arrived at our house about 5 pm., and American Girl school. I’ve got a splendid view to the N.E. from my room, which I share with Julius. A number of Muhamedan Ind: [Indian] officers live in next house. Slept on verandah.

* Lodge may be mistaken. Aside from the Mount Olympus in Greece, there is another in mountain named Olympos in Turkey, but located in south-western Anatolia.

25th March, 1918

Spent day getting things unpacked & may bed up.

26th March, 1918

Went into the bazaar at 10 am with Thomas. On our way back called at house where the Genls. live. Saw Delamain, Greer, Wilso, Chitty, Annersley, Parr, Hibbert, all very well.

NB Brusa was regarded as the best place of captivity in Turkey (apart from Istanbul, where General Townshend was held), and was occupied mostly by senior officers.

27th March, 1918

Wrote 76 to M also letter to Mother.

Paid Lethbridge 130 ps for various items including Swift’s wages for Feb: We have decided to pay him a lira a month each.

31st March, 1918

Easter Sunday. Fine. Went to Presbyterian service at 11 am. conducted by Mr. Drew. It was very nice hearing English girls voices again. There are some people here by name of Scudamore, cousins of those I met at Belgaum [India]. Saw Tod, who is looking very pulled down. Stayed to H.C. [Holy Communion]. The church is some way from our house. Julius and I had tea with Wilson.

1st April, 2018

Fine. Went into the bazaar in the morning & for a walk with Harward in the afternoon. Had tea with him.

4th April, 1918

PC 79 to M. Thick mist this morning. Bought ½ oke cheese 85 ps.

6th April, 1918

Dull & raw. Good mail. [2 post cards and 3 letters from M. – Margaret, his wife. 2 post cards from his mother, a letter from Ethel, and a letter from Robert Berry]. Wrote 80 to M & letter to Frank.

7th April, 1918

Had tea with Genl. Delamain.

16th April, 1918

Good mail. [3 postcards and 3 letters from M, the earliest dated 19th November 1917 and the most recent dated 20th February 1918].

19th April, 1918

Fine & hot. 83 letter to M. Julius and I walked on upper road for a couple of hours: splendid views: we thought we saw the sea to the west. trees coming into leaf rapidly. Nightingales hard at it singing. Thomas left for general’s house. I have taken his small room.

27th April, 1918

Mail in. [4 post cards and 2 letters from M., including a photo of their twins, and a letter from Holt & Co., his bankers, with his pay statement for December.]

Town flagged to commemorate Sultan’s accession*.

* Mehmed V. Reşâd who became sultan on 27th April, 1909

30th April, 1918

Begin my 3rd year of captivity today.

Prices. Butter 340 ps per oke  Fish 80 ps per oke  Figs 70 ps per oke  Cheese 180 ps  Sugar 220 ps

5th May, 1918

Beautiful morning. Leir Bey arrived yesterday, I hope he may have some good news for us. Col. Lethbridge is going to see him this morning.

87 post card to M.

8th May, 1916

Leir Bey had nothing startling to tell us: they had done very little at the conference in Berne from all accounts. Three years today since I left England. Pay for March & April 1500 ps odd. I got actually 14 Liras paid me 92 ps being deducted for bread & 6 for stamps. Had tea with Genl. Hamilton.

11th May, 1918

Julius and I went for a jolly walk on a path along the hillside, it ran amongst vineyards & there were quantities of wild flowers.

Mail in [5 post cards and 2 letters from M.]

Letter 88 to M. pc to Ethel

14th May, 1918

Lovely weather, very hot. Got into Khaki for the first time this year.

25th May, 1918

Very hot. Letter 35 d/ 12th April from M: 2 books recd.

Received a parcel today from Mrs. Bryans – containing jam, potted meat, soup, curry powder, etc: 92 to M. pc. to Mrs. Bryans.

29th May, 1918

Received 3 parcels 2 from F& Mason [Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly] containing custard powder, milk, and one from M. which had been tampered with, it only had a pair of socks & a pair of pants, tin of cocoa. These parcels must have been sent off about 14 months ago.

2nd June, 1918

Received Embassy money – March 7 Liras, April 7 Liras, May 18 Liras.

Also 1304 ps per Cox & Co. for a £10 remittance

Paid Cpl. Swift 1 Lira wages for May 1918.

Tea with Genl. Mellis. Recd. 4 parcels with food: one from F & Mason & 3 from Red Cross (standard parcel)

….

22nd June, 1918

Very hot again, it was 93° yesterday, followed by a stifling night.

Wrote 97 letter to M.

25th June, 1918

Wrote p.c. 98 to M. asking for a pair of marching boots. Cooler today.

1st July, 1918

Thunderstorm which cooled the air, heavy rain about 8 am. Wrote letters to Mother & Robert Berry & p.c. to Ethel. Embassy Money for June 18 Liras recd., of which Broke Smith took 8 for messing. Rumour that Enver has been shot*.

* In fact, Enver Pasha [İsmail Enver Paşa] was killed on 4 August, 1922

5th July, 1918

Vaccinated this morning. Letter 1 to M. [Lodge commenced renumbering his letters to Margaret after he had reached 100. His first letters are dated November 1916.]

8th July, 1918

… Pay for June 742½ ps less 98 for bread  2½ stamps

13th July, 1918

General Hamilton came to tea. Recd. 1384 ps for £10 per Holt & Co. [Lodge’s bankers]

17th July, 1918

Letters. Marg:    12th March No. 24

             Evelyn   19th March

             Marg:     24 March No. 27

               =//=      5 April

26th July, 1918

Letter 5 to M. Got a pair of Embassy boots

The August and September entries in the diary continue the themes established in June and July: the weather, letters and post cards sent and received, the arrival of parcels, and tea with other officers.

18th September, 1918

Mail in, 52 d/7 June & 54 d/ 11 June also photos of M & kiddies …

P.C. d/ 23 April fr: Mother. We were introduced to the new Commandant this morning. After lunch we received orders that walks were suspended until further orders. No reason given. Presumably on account of escapes from Stamboul, which place is about 8 hours journey from here. So suppose they hold us responsible. The Berne Conference conditions re. p.of w. [prisoners of war] absolutely ignored.

20th September, 1918

N.* did a bunk. Recd. Liras 18 from Embassy.

* Lodge gives no further clues to the identity of ‘N’, for obvious reasons.

….

30th September, 1918

Prices. [Lodge quotes commodity prices in sterling and imperial units, having used bazaar prices and Turkish units previously.]

Beef 3/10d per lb.  Goat 5/2d per lb. Mutton 7/8 per lb.  Potatoes 10d.  Flour 3/10d.  Suet 9/8d.  Sugar 22/4d.  Butter 19/4d.  Soap  10/4d.  Cheese 10/4d.  Charcoal  6½d.  Tea 6½d.  Coffee 38/8d.  Eggs 7½d.  Candles 2/5d. each  Oil 17/- per quart bottle

18th October, 1918

A representative from the Dutch legation arrived yesterday: he came to tea with us. He brought a good number of parcels. His name is Meuten.

Sent a p.c. of Broussa to Mother…

A French souvenir post card of Broussa (Bursa), of the period

21st October, 1918

We went for a very jolly picnic to a small pine wood, about 4 miles out along the upper road. We left at about 9.30 and got back at 5.45 pm. The Scudamores were there, also Meuten of the Dutch Legation to whom we owe a debt of thanks. It was a hot day with a haze, so couldn’t see far.

23rd October, 1918

Recd: pay for Sept: yesterday. Genl. Sir C. Mellis, Genl. Evans, Col. Wilson R.E., Capt Halford [R.N. or R.M.] & Freewood RE left this morning for Sangsun [Samsun].

Letter 57 d/ 23 June from M.

1st November, 1918

Armistice with Turkey signed*. We heard this today. …

* This is the Armistice of Mudros (Mondros) between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire. It was agreed on 30 October, 1918, and came into effect at noon on 1 November, 1918.

2nd November, 1918

Julius and I dined with “The Club”. Col Howard, Johnson and McKenna.

4th November, 1918

For the first time since our capture we were allowed out without a posta*.

* a military guard

10th November, 1918

Received 18 Liras from Embassy – also 2000 ps from Cox & Co. No. 603?

12th November, 1918

Heard of the Armistice, everybody including the Turks were delighted. The Turk’s behaviour changed entirely, we were allowed  out without postas, in fact we were free.

15th November, 1918

Left Broussa in 3 trains for MUDANIA [Mudanya] on the Sea of Marmara. I left in the last train about 11.45 am. It was a horrible morning rain & very cold. Davie and I drove to the station in an ariba where we found a large crowd of Indian troops, and a few civilians who had come down to see us off. The 2nd train had not started. We arrived at Mudania about 2 pm. Found that there was no boat, so had to hunt for rooms. Having housed the Indian troops (about 1100) in the station buildings, Davie, Julius, Creighton and I got a good room with 4 beds all fairly clean. Heard we leave on 17th about noon. Dined at a restaurant where they gave us a passable dinner for 1 Lira.

16th November, 1918

Cooked our own breakfast in our room.

17th November, 1918

Davie and I walked to a point along the sea road after breakfast, from there we saw a large steamer coming in, she was our transport. When she got closer we saw she was painted in a queer way (camouflaged) this was the first time we had seem this kind of protection. It made an extraordinary difference to the ship’s outline. As it was blowing hard the steamer had to put out again and took shelter under the coastline of the bay. Later a destroyed No. 89 came in with Genl. Wilson & Staff. They landed at the small pier and we had a short chat with them. One of the Staff I had met before Col: Nickerson* V.C. RAMC, in South African days. Orders to embark early tomorrow morning. The destroyer returned to Stamboul during the afternoon. Two minesweepers came in the “Wivenhoe” & Lord Haldane.

* William Henry Snyder Nickerson, was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and received the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Wakkerstroom, Transvaal, South Africa on 20 April, 1900. He later became Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

18th November, 1918

Lovely morning. Began to embark at 8 am. in the two minesweepers. I went off at 10 on the Wivenhoe. The first man I spoke to was a Norfolk man, a Lowestoft smacksman. It was jolly hearing the old talk again. On board 10.30. Out transport is the KATOOMBA, Australian coaster of 11,000 tons. A cabin to myself.. Feeding excellent. Had a splendid hot bath – not before I wanted it. Left about 11.30 anchored for the night off Gallipoli.

19th November, 1918

Off again at 9 am.  Genl. Green R.A. broke his leg last night and had to be swung on board. Anchored of Chanak [Çanakkale] at 10.30 & landed stores. French destroyer and one of our monitors here. About lunch time we passed ACHI-BABA [Alçıtepe], SADAL BAR [Sedd el Bahr, Seddülbahir], Kum Kali [Kumkale]. We could see the communication & barbed wire & dugouts, also ruins of forts. The River Clive [S.S. River Clyde], the French battle ship Souffren* and another ship on the rocks, a pathetic sight. A Italian cruiser passed out ahead of us. Mine sweepers busy, heard a mine explode after getting out of the Dardanelles.

* Lodge is referring to the wreck of the battleship Bouvet, shelled, mined and sunk in the Dardanelles, 18 March, 1915, with the loss of 660 lives. The Suffren was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Portugal, 26 November, 1916.

20th November, 1918

Arrived off Salonika [Salonica, Θεσσαλονίκη] about 9 am & anchored. The G.O.C. British Forces Genl. Milne & others came on board and inspected us about 2 pm. Col Parr & 2 miss Scudamores came to see us, they are on the Hospital Ship Gurka. We left for Taranto at 5 pm, strong wind. Changed my Turkish money 121 Liras & recd £78.2.11 in English notes.

23rd November, 1918

Wet, dull. Wrote to Mrs. Bryans. Arrived at Taranto after breakfast. Our ship, after disembarking us, goes to Egypt. The generals & full colonels left by the Rapide* 5.30 pm.

* A fast and comfortable train via Rome and Turin with connections to Paris. A hint of slight envy here from Lodge; he was only a half colonel.

24th November, 1918

Embarked in a lighter 6.30 am. Our camp was a sea of mud. We are housed in a hut with 30 beds, fairly comfy. The mess is a long way off which entails a long walk through a sea of mud. Bought some trousers, Burberry, Belt, cap at the ordnance stores, also a pair of gum boots. Letter No. 94 of Oct 30 from M.

25th November, 1918

Lethbridge and I dined with Genl. Crowe G.O.C. had a very jolly evening.

26th November, 1918

Fine, mud drying up.

27th November, 1918

Wet

28th November, 1918

Another batch of officers came in early on the Kaiser I. Hind* – Cramer Roberts among them.

* The Kaiser-i-Hind (Empress of India, in Hindi-Urdu) was a P. & O. liner launched in 1914 for the Bombay to Tilbury run via Suez and Gibraltar. At her fastest she could make the voyage in 18 days. She became a troop transport in 1917, and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was one of the officers who took passage in her at the end of the war.

RMS Kaiser-i-Hind
Source: http://www.pandosnco.co.uk

29th November, 1918

My Birthday. Left at 11 am. Lethbridge, Herbert & I in a compartment. Letters from M. 26 Oct 5 Nov:. Made very slow progress.

30th November, 1918

Slept fairly comfortably. Train running along the shores of the Adriatic.

1st December, 1918

Arrived Angona [Ancona] about 8 am, cold, still close to the sea. Passed through snow, beastly cold.

Got to Fienza [Faenza] 7 pm. Scot Harden* who was with me at Bickford’s (crammer**) is Comdt. he took me up to camp in his motor, had a good bath and dinner, Italian band played, and a Covent Garden singer performed – back to train 9.30 pm.

* Lt. Col. Harry Spencer Scott-Harden. ‘We arrived at Faenza on the 13th, and we will always cherish a kindly remembrance of this well-arranged rest camp, and the Staff in charge there. The greatest credit is due to the Commandant, Colonel Scott Harden, for having made a veritable garden in the wilderness, and arranged everything for the comfort and well-being of the tired and travel-stained soldier passing through his capable hands’; Lt. Col. J.H. Patterson D.S.O.; With the Judaeans in the Palestine Campaign; 1922

**A school where pupils where pupils were intensively tutored for an a specific examination, e.g. Sandhurst, Woolwich entrance.

2nd December, 1918

Frosty, misty, and thoroughly beastly. Got to Parma at noon.

3rd December, 1918

Passed through Mt. Cenis tunnel [Mont Cenis Tunnel / Fréjus Rail Tunnel between Italy and France] 9 am took 27 minutes. Déjeuner at the Hotel Savoy Modana [Modane]. Left again at 11 am. Got to Lyon [Lyons] B_____ about 8.30 and on to St Germain’s where we stayed the night.

4th December, 1918

Left at 8.30 am.

5th December, 1918

Dull morning, passed Versailles at 8 am. Many indications of fighting just before we reached Amiens. A long tedious journey from here to Calais where we arrived at 2 am. Rotten night.

6th December, 1918

Staying at Terminus Hotel – sent a wire to Talbot Square.

The diary is now ended. It began in 1915:

Margaret and I left Woodmansterne on Saturday morning by motor on the 8th May, 1915 for Liverpool Street Stn., where Ethel, Oliver & Cyril met us. The special (P&O) left about 10.30, Oliver & Cyril came down to Tilbury with me, but were not allowed aboard. I shared a cabin on the P&O Arabia with a major Rumbold of the East Surrey’s he was going out to be attached to the Norf. Regt. On board were about 26 officers going out to Mesopotamia including Day, Boosey, Russell, Cooke, Ritchie – the last 3 from our 3rd Bt., all were going out to join my Battn. the 2nd Norfolk Regiment. There were also on board a number of colonial nursing sisters going to Malta which was then a receiving station for wounded from Galipoli [sic].

Had an eventful start, as a German submarine had a go at us somewhere off the Scilly Islands, but missed us. … No further incidents during the voyage.

The ship then called at Gibraltar, Malta, and proceeded by night to Port Said, without lights to avoid German submarines, and then at once through the Suez Canal where Lodge observed the defences on both banks. He then lists the officers on board the Arabia:

  • Self [Lodge, the officer commanding on the Arabia]: wounded at Ctesiphon
  • Major Fraser: died at Basra. Dorset Regt
  • Major Rumbold: killed at Ctesiphon – attd. [attached] Norfolk Regt
  • Major Sweetman: d of w [died of wounds] after Ctesiphon – attd. Dorset Regt
  • Capt Leckie: attd. Norf Regt killed at Ess-Sinn
  • Capt Spry: sev[erely] wounded Ess-Sinn
  • Capt Mortimer: killed Ctesiphon – attd. Dorset Regt
  • Capt Fry: killed Kut el Amara – attd. Dorset Regt
  • Capt Meldon: severely wounded Ctesiphon – attd. Oxford & Bucks
  • Capt Webber: sev. wounded Ctesiphon – attd. Oxford & Bucks
  • Capt Bolders: wounded Ctesiphon – attd. Dorset Regt
  • Capt Hind: killed Ctesiphon
  • Lt Boosey: Norfolk Regt – killed Ctesiphon
  • Lt Richie: Norfolk Regt – killed Ctesiphon
  • Lt Russell: Norfolk Regt – killed Ctesiphon
  • Lt Cox: wounded & lost a leg
  • Lt. Cooke: attd. Norfolk Regt – wounded Ess-Sinn & Ctesiphon
  • Lt. Clifton: attd. Norfolk Regt – wounded at Kut el Amara
  • Capt. Miller: attd. Dorset Regt – wounded at Ctesiphon

 

  • Major Day: Norfolk Regt – sick to England
  • Lt. Price: Dorset Regt. – sick to England
  • Capt Rubie attd. Norfolk Regiment – Staff
  • Capt Melville-Lee attd. Norfolk Regt – Staff
  • Lt Hall: Staff to Basra, sick
  • Lt Cole: to Basra, sick

 

  • Total of 26 of whom
  • 9 killed  9 wounded
  • 1 died  4 invalided
  • 3 Staff

The voyage continued…

From Port Said eastwards we were able to have lights which made it much more cheerful. Called in at Aden but did not go ashore. Arrived at Bombay early on the 28th May, 1915. Nobody seemed to expect us and, after reporting our arrival took some rooms at the Taj Mahal [Hotel]. Day and I went to St. George’s hospital and saw Marshall who had been badly knocked about at Shaiba and Farebrother hit in the spine – he died soon after arrival in England.

Day and I went to see Marshall and Frere off in hospital ship to England. Rumbold came with me to Colaba Hospl. to see if any of our wounded were there – only 6 left, the others have either been sent home or to Poona & Belgaum. … The hotel was filled today with Australian doctors & nurses & staff for 1000 beds; they came in P&O Mooltan, they go to France I think.

Got our orders for Persian Gulf – Day & I drove to docks about 8.30 a.m. 6th June. We embarked all the officers who came with me and few details, returning escorts of Turkish prisoners, at 9 a.m. on board B.I. [British India Steam Navigation Co,] Longwa: [I] am O.C. troops.

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