Friday, 13 November 2009

C/o of WA Ravenkill Esq Caranpera, November 12 1904

My Dear Delia,

At last I have time and opportunity to again write to you. I can't remember when I last wrote to you but I think it must have been from Chumbi so I had better begin from there. We left on October 22nd and had a fairly good nine days march to Selling arrived on the 30th. The worst march was the one over the Talap Pass which was covered with snow. I had the greatest difficulty in getting my Enteric Fever cases carried - in fact near the top I had to get him carried and put him on a mule with two men holding him on either side. We did not get in to camp at Gnatong until 6pm and we had started at 7am.

Next day we left the snow and coming down 5000 feet got in to almost tropical vegetation and fine scenery. We now began to feel the heat rather and had to begin marching at 6am which meant getting up at 4am. At Kalinpang we came across sfddsf again for the first time and one of the Gunners and I dined at the Forrest Officers bungalow that evening and met some ladies. In our beards and stained khaki uniforms we must have looked awful ruffians but we had a most cordial reception everywhere.

On arriving at Siligore I found orders for me and my hospital to entrain at 2 am the next morning so I spent the remainder of the day handing over my ambulance mules to the Commissariat, paying off my Tibetan Doolie bearers and getting rid of my sick. At Silinger Railway Station we finely enjoyed our meals at the refreshment place and as we were about 30-40 officers together we had a great dinner that evening.

We entrained at 11 am in a siding and travelled all next day arriving at Calcutta at 7am on November 1st. We found carts awaiting us to take our baggage to the camping ground at the station hospital Calcutta, After reporting my arrival and seeing my tent pitched I have breakfast with one of my RAMC fellows stationed there and drove to Kings where I picked up some boxes of coats and kits and drove to the Grand Hotel and took rooms. I found several of the officers returning from Tibet already there and we had a most jovial time altogether. I spent a week there altogether going up to the hospital every morning and "demobilising" and spending the rest of the day gadding about. I called on my old Mess there the 2nd Q0 Rajput LF and dined with them on guest night on Friday. I also dined out with an old gunner pal of mine and his wife - old Dover pals - and with some of my own Fellows did 4 theatres and did no end of shopping - so my time was pretty well occupied.

The last 4 days I had to tackle my heavy kit - get rid of some - send some around to Bombay to await the transport, and some to go with me. I found this a very big job and thought I should never finish it. I finally demobilised the dear old Hospital on November the 7th and took round flying "Fox" my pony to the Auction rooms to be sold as a Lhassa Winner. He was to have been sold on Thursday last but I have not heard the result yet.

On Wednesday evening the night - I and four other fellows travelled up here by the Punjab Mail leaving at 9.30pm and arrived here on Thursday at 5pm and received a most cordial reception from Ravenhill an old Fatahyaah pal of mine. I am having a nice rest here now. Last night I met Major and Mrs Hawkins, you remember old pals of mine at the Club - and we all retired after Tennis to the Club for oysters - being Friday Oyster Night!!! I ate 2 and a half dozen - so had nothing to complain about. Tonight Mr Ravenskill and I are dining with them and I am going to take them to an amateur performance at the theatre here. This afternoon we play tennis again. I shall probably leave for Talahyaah on Monday or Tuesday the 14/15th and stay four to five days there go on to Raoakee to see B. Mrs Young is staying at Fatahaya on a visit and I will luckily see her too.Captain and Mrs Young for the last year have been living at Simla.

No letters from you for the last fortnight as they have been unable to catch up with me but I shall get them at Raoakee as I expect this was the only permanent address I could leave at Calcutta. However I hope you are all well and going strong. I sent you a group of the officers of the Lhassa column taken by Claude White - it is not very good, it was taken at Lhassa. Well much love to all and I am finally enjoying my holiday and living like a Fighting Cock. I enquired about my Gyantsee parcels at the dead letter office at Calcutta but got no satisfaction on the way down all the parcels were lost for weeks in an open shed - got thoroughly rotted by the rain and practically destroyed labels addresses everything and now nothing can be deciphered. I expect there will be an enquiry as some officers spent R90 to R100 on postage alone. I spent R30. But the P.O. says it was the General's fault because he wouldn't provide Transport.

Your affectionate brother

Cecil Mainprise


1 comment:

  1. I dont know if this is a way of contacting the real auther of the blog but if so I may have information that may help and photos.