Monday, 8 December 2008

Camp Silligore, Darjeeling, 30.11.1903

My Dear Bertie,

As you see by the above, we have started. On Friday I received an urgent order from General Leach, Commanding Presidency Division to go and see him. He asked me if the hospital was mobilised and when I say "yes" and ready to start, he told me to start on Sunday and so here I arrived early this morning and shall probably be going on again on Wednesday, as my transport won't be ready by tomorrow.

I am trying to buy a good pony here a Buhtara pony is the best I hear. I bought saddlery for it in Calcutta as there was scarcely time to send mine from Rioaka. I have got a Pardibery saddle from a man who served out in South Africa with plenty of Ds on it to carry loot if we can pick up any. My baggage has increased from 80 lbs. to about 300 lbs. but expect I shall be able to take it on - there is about a pound of English stores in it.

One had heard a lot about Silligore being used as a base to mobilise but when I arrived here there was only a wing of the 44th Ghurkhas remaining, all the rest had gone on to Runypo. I believe there had been a scare, of all events we were to have remained here until the 15th PRXX but suddenly all the troops got orders to move and I believe that the objective is Gnatong - to draw off some 14,000 Tibetans who have been prowling around Khumbajong where the Mission is. The Guns from Tutagh and Maxim Battery left here five days ago - so as I am to go with them I must buck up and catch them up somewhere probably at Runypo (Rangpo).

Tuesday 1st December

I have just bought a Bhutara pony for R150/- a rough but probably very useful animal. I raced him against another before buying and he went very well. We start tomorrow at 7am as my 75 mules have arrived today. Your revolver had not turned up before leaving Calcutta so I wrote yesterday to the Manager General Post Office Calcutta to redirect the parcel back to you when it arrives. I remembered those things that you asked me to get at Calcutta but directly after you wrote you went up to Simla so I thought you would be able to get them yourself.

I had a nice letter from Grandmama thanking me for the £10 a few days ago. I sent her a Rainfora shawl, which Amy asked me to get for her. I think it is a good one as I paid 16/- for it. It is not very cold yet but I believe three marches away it is extremely cold. I am taking Pincher - my dog with me - You remember I told you, he is very like your Stuffy - most aggressive to everyone but his master.

I hope you are flourishing at ‘Rasakee’, tell me how the ponies are going next time you write, I was sorry to hear that Kitty had gone lame. I am very fit and hope to have a good time away. It will be a great change for me, as I have never had a time like this. At Barrackpore I was having a lot of work as Colonel Barratt went on leave and left me to run the show. Civil surgery and everything. Well so long and best of luck. You might send this on to Delia when read.

Your Affectionate Brother

Cecil W Mainprise.

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