Monday, 11 May 2009

Chumbi Valley, Sunday 8-05-1904

My dear Delia

We have been very excited to hear the news from Gyantsee during the last two days. First the night attack on the Mission whilst all the troops except 200 Pioneers were away reconnoitring, in which 200 Tibetans were again killed and our casualties - two men killed - and this morning we heard of the fight of Colonel Branden's Column - his was the column away from Gyantsee at the time of the night attack - with the death of poor Captain Bath, our first officer killed.

We have very little definite news here - only a note from the General to the Regiment, the 32nd Pioneers, 12/1ed 14 mules carrying this two months Parcel Post - so the poor garrison at G have no luxuries of any kind. I told you the Battery had gone from here to G last Sunday and now we are waiting for the Royal Fusiliers and the rest of the Battery and other Reinforcements to arrive before we advance - about June 12th so the General here says.

I am having a nice slack time of it here - I find the new Mess run by the 32nd Pioneers here very comfortable and very good feeding - we even indulge occasionally in a Whisky and glass of Port so I can't complain, can I. However on the advance, messing is precarious and everyone has to look after themselves so this morning I ordered up from the stores in Calcutta about R50/- worth of stores as Emergency Rations unless I find myself messing alone. One never knows - I thought my hospital would have kept with the Battery and yet there it was ordered off at a moment's notice and the Hospital left behind to bring up the rest of the European troops. This time I am to take up the whole of my Hospital which will be much nicer. Another Section of a British Field Hospital has been ordered up but we are to go on again and the other hospital takes our place here.

I heard from Bertie 3 days ago - but only a line saying he had no luck and including a letter from you - not the copy about Willie. I will send off by return a cheque for £5 for your birthday present. Many Many Happy returns of the day. I hope you will have a very Happy birthday and mind you get a nice present for yourself and you and Tim have a "bust up" somewhere - a Theatre or a Dinner at the "Carlton" or elsewhere. This is not for the household expenses - have noted what you have spent of dear Mothers money and won't forget it. Much love dear Delia I am very fit and well.

Your affectionate brother Cecil.

PS: I am sending three very poor photos taken by a novice; I will send good ones from Gyantsee later.

Chumbi Valley Monday 2-05-1904

My dear Delia

We have arrived back here once more and I can scarcely tell you how grand it is to be stationary and in a warmer clime. The continual "pitching tents" and "starting" days, every day for days together is no joke - especially under the conditions we have been experiencing. I think I wrote to you from Tuna on Sunday last and I hope you will receive it by the mail leaving last Saturday. A couple of days ago I packed up a box of loot I procured on the advance to Gyantsee. Some I picked up myself and some I bought from the native troops who had fewer qualms of despoiling the dead than I had. The larger objects - such as guns and sword - I will have to bring home myself, I think - as even the carriage of the small box cost 10/ 6d. I have labelled everything so that you may see what they are. The earrings I bought for RS 15/- but I expect the pearl is worth this - excluding the turquoise stone. You might send something to No19 as a memento from me. I am glad you were so pleased with the photos. I will send a few more this week. I've received all your letters safely but of course very late, as we had practically no post on the way to Gyantsee. There is no definite plans as to how long we remain here before our next advance the government has not sanctioned our advance to Lhassa yet. We have heard that we shall remain about a month however. You must tell my correspondents - like Miss Bull and May Stevenson, etc - that it has been impossible to answer their letters yet but I hope to very shortly. The Curios I have sent are mostly of little value as the Tibetans are so poor that they don't own anything worth more than a few rupees - however as they came from Tibet this itself renders them unique. Will you enquire from Holt whether they have received any dividends from my shares lately - as except for one paper for £5 sent to me for my signature, I have heard nothing from them - and I am wondering if you must produce my shares on my behalf - in other words apply for the bonus or interest personally - before the different companies send the half yearly bonuses. Also is my Insurance Premium paid. How much balance have I in their hands. If you are anywhere near Whitehall I wish you would look in and interview them. Much love dear Delia, I hope the Youngsters are flourishing. I am very fit and well though I regret to say that I had to send down my servant to India as the advance to Gyantsee absolutely broke him up.

Your affectionate brother Cecile.

PS: The £5 14/- 6d was from the French Exploration Co.