Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Kanyma, two marches from Gyantsee 23-06-1904

My dear Delia,

Arrived here last night and we are all waiting here for one day as a "flying column" was sent out at dawn this morning to drive the enemy from the position they are said to occupy 30 miles from here but not on our direct road, The halt is very acceptable and we are all having a good rest and repairing damages generally.

This is my birthday so I informed the Mess Secretary who in my honour had sausages for breakfast, a great luxury as we have had nothing but mutton that has walked all the way with us and on arrival in camp has been promptly killed for our dinner and taken cold for breakfast - oh the toughness of it, our teeth ache for hours afterwards. There have been no vegetables for weeks so mutton and bread have formed our usual dinner. However the march up has been better than the last advance as it has been warmer though the troops who have just arrived here say Tibet is indeed a desolate country and they have seen quite enough of it already.

I have dropped 24 sick men out of the Fusiliers and the Battery - on the way up already - at the different posts. We are a fairly strong force and I don't think we shall have much difficulty getting in to Gyantsee the day after tomorrow. I have been very fit on the march though for the first few days we had nothing but rain every day. My new pony carries me well and is a good bargain at Rupees 150 only.
This post - Kanyma - was attacked about a fortnight ago by the Tibetans who killed one Sepoy and wounded 5 others. We inflicted 150 casualties upon them, there are two of the wounded enemy here in hospital, one shot in six places but doing wonderfully well.

I have got some nice views taken by Captain Moore - transportation officer - on our last advance here. I will try and send them off today, also the copy of the William's will which I was very glad to see. I received some letters from Bertie yesterday - I will enclose his own - he has been very lucky with his shooting. I can't help thinking today of my trip up the river two years ago with you Tim, Miss Bull - what a grand day we had. Give my love to Miss Bull! O I wonder when I am to enjoy any comfort again - even a good meal would be a treat - how I should like to be able to spend a few sovereigns in the Piccadilly.

I find my beard protects my face a lot against the wind. Some of the new arrivals can hardly see out of their eyes and their face is so swollen and cracked. We old Tibetans tell them that now it is mid summer and what would they have thought if they had been here in the middle of winter. We have now a Padre attached to the force and this morning at 8 am he held Communion Service which I attended. I regret to say that only two others besides myself celebrated communion - one the General's ADC, Captain Bignold and a half caste Clerk. As it has been announced in orders - I think certainly more should have attended. The Padre, Reverend C Cole has come from Darjeeling and lives with the Gunners and myself - Bennnet who gives me any photos has been at Gyantsee - as you know - and he has got a lot for me so when I arrive I will send them off. I was very glad to make use of your raisins and chocolates on the way up. I still have some of the meat lozenges which I am keeping for an emergency, Much love Dear Delia.

Don't worry about me. I don't know - nor does the General even - what we shall find when we get to Gyantsee as it all depends on the enemy in the fort.

Your Affectionate Brother


PS For the last five marches - my hospital has carried the General in a dandy as his stomach has been out of order and he has had much vomiting - but now he is better again - and a rather ignominious march for him, isn't it.

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