Monday, 20 April 2009

Salu, 3 days march from Gyantsee 17-04-1904

My dear Delia,

I wrote to you and Beatrice two days after the fight of Guru and yesterday I also wrote a long letter to Bertie to be forwarded to you. Directly I had written it and sent it off, I received a letter from him saying he was going to Kashmir on the 11th so I am afraid this will delay my letter reaching you.

We are now ten days march from Chumbi and three days from Gyantsee. Yesterday our Mounted Infantry went to reconnoitre a village - were fired upon but no casualties incurred. We returned the Tibetan fire killing four and wounding five so we heard this morning. We expected some fighting today but the Tibetans have fled at our approach and are now said to be waiting for us 15 miles away. So we may expect some resistance the day after tomorrow.

The marching is very trying. Rising in the chilly morning at 6 am - marching 12-16 miles with transport which requires continual urging on - and then after arrival in camp having to pitch tents and make oneself comfortable. Again food is somewhat scarce and the lack of wood for fire does add to ones discomfort. However we take it all as a matter of course. No one grumbles.

I hope we don't get much more fighting as the Tibetans have absolutely no chance against us and we - the doctors - have all the trouble of looking after their wounded. In Bertie's letter I told him how both my patients, the press correspondent whose hand I amputated - and Major Dunlop - were progressing exceedingly well. I am thinking of "billing" the Daily Mail for £50 for looking after their Correspondent.

The country is now quite level between the hills and it seems as if we were marching along a huge water bed some 3-4 miles broad. We march in four columns and though I don't know our exact numbers we look a tremendous imposing force due to the number of followers, some 9,000, and innumerable mules and yaks as transportation. Though of fighting men I don't think we number more than 1,000 at the greatest estimates.

I am so sorry your nice parcel of luxuries - socks etc - has not reached me. I expect now I shall not get it until we return to Tuna - when I don't know. Several other parcels on the road I have also missed. Letters I have got quite safely - there is not sufficient transport to allow for parcel post. I hope you got my letters written yesterday to Bertie - 3 sheets - as it brings all news up to date -also the one describing the fight at Guru. However you will see all the news in the papers and I have kept up my diary.

Many thanks for all your mail letters which I have received safely - also the newspapers, the last about Barts Hospital and Mr Lowcey's death. I will not comment upon your letters as it only fills space and is not interesting to you. I received Daisy Bull's second letter - please tell her much love dear Delia.

Your affectionate brother

Cecil Mainprise.

No comments:

Post a Comment