25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment

  

Diary of Edgar PHILLIPS
 


A partial extract from the diary of Edgar Phillips. For more see Wendy Henningsson's website.
 


DIARY - 1919

MAY

6. Pretty busy all morning at office, Welcome thunderstorm. much cooler. Footer with Gurkhas won 2 - 1 didn't play. Discontinued issue of permits. Hear rumours of mob. for frontier.(40th sigs) [Signals] Dunera party arrived by Motor Mail 8pm. 1 hours notice. Pottering about until 9 pm.

7. As R.T.O. is leaving tomorrow for Meerut, Major Gardiner will take over R.T.0. Finished letter to Peggy. Dhar & Nain Khud parties arr'd.

8. R.T.O. handed over to Maj. Gardiner. Chakki camp arrived. Lieut.Gurkhas took over R.T.O. All rest camp parties entrained for Amritsar.

9. From Dalhousie M.G.C. arrived 9 am and entrained again at 7pm for Lahore. Posted newspapers (riots) to Len. While waiting for Mrs Livermore at station wire came calling us back. Handing over R.T.O. office to Officer Gurkhas (Balhams, Ravenslea) & packing & settling a/c. Entrained at 11pm.

10. Left PATHANKOTE. left P. station at 4.15am. arrived Amritsar 8.30 am. Drove to to Middle schools in "pressed" tongas. Arranging exchange of kit & getting straight. Letters from RLVP & Ida. 2 mags & letters from Mother. Went on circuit Horse guard (signal Reg) 12 men.5.30pm.first duty.

11. AMRITSAR Came off circuit guard. Received months pay Rs 45. Hear regd. parcel sent to Pathankote (art materials) All journeys taken in tonga commandered by military. Wrote letter to Len re Amritsar. night in bed.

12. Received exchange kit. Too hot to do anything. On station guard 12 men at 5.30 Played chess on platform with Morsman. Night out.

13. Came off station guard 6.30. Reading all morning. Wrote to Ida. Posted letters to Ida & Len with Londoner. Night in bed.

14. Commenced cartoon Londoner. Whizz! Mounted main guard schools 6.30 night out.

15. Working on cartoons for Londoner. Whizz! and 'Cushy job'. Came off guard at 6.30pm. Pictures at 9pm. Night in bed.

16. Commenced putting up two fans. Morsman chess lost two games. Pa Cornery chess lost. On circuit House picket. Played Morsman & Miles chess. won & lost. Night out.

17. Came off picket 7am. thereby missing route march. Finish "Whizz" in signals room all morning. Still tinkering with fans. Played Morsman chess all afternoon.Pictures Harda Singh's good. 2 dramas 1 farce comedy. night in bed.

18. Church parade. 7.15. Returned all round civil lines for amusement. Paraded for cholera inoc. but v. used just before me. To be done tomorrow. Played 3 games chess with Morsman, won all 3. Inlying picket, night out.

19. Rumours of an early move. Kit (service) by 2. M. & Swinnerten [?]. Chess all afternoon 1-2 Mors. & Corney. Commenced letter Dad. 6pm for swim at Kalsa college. Sikhs challenged us to race. Banana flavour drink at club. Night in bed.

20. Detailed for instruction. 'Scouting' under Mr Mosely 6-6.45 8-9. 10.00 Lecture by Maj Stafford Afghanistan wars. Sent letter to Dad with Londoner (March) 9pp. Wrote P'kote re parcel. Inlying picket . Lost chess to Morsman. Night out.

21. Continued 'scouting' as before but under Lysart. Expect to move 4 days. Notice to pack surplus kit & prepare to move (to Peshawar)? Sent Londoner with note Ethel. Packing all afternoon. 4.30 paraded for fatigue. Motor comp. transferring ammo & stores from Fort to station (prisoner & wife) 9.30pm arrived back. Handed in lumas & blankets. Surplus kit to be in stores tomorrow.

22. Leaving Amritsar for service. At 6.30 kit in stores. 7.30 loaded kits in bullock wagons & escorted to station 9. & back. 12. drove to Hall Gate for 6 films. Saw burnt buildings. Batt. orders: Batt moves to Peshawar on field service. chess with Morsman. D 111 men left for Jullundur. 3.45. Arranged for swim Kalsa college but instead . Loaded stores at Alexandra 5pm escorted & unloaded at station & loaded in wagons. Back at 8.cold water douch lovely.

23. Amritsar to Peshawar. 2nd anniversary of leaving for Wazeristan. Reveil1e' 5am. Kits packed & sent to station. Clearing up schools. Parcel of art materials arrived in sorry condition. Re-packed & left with Sgt Barrow to take to Jullundur.

23. Left schools at 2 ock. and entrained at 3 & left Amritsar at 4. Ice & sodas. Arrived Lahore 6.30. Left 9.30pm. made char from engine & tablets. Turned in 9.30pm. Passed 2 hospital trains.Khubber - Afghans sue for Peace. Deputation to arrive Peshawar soon.

24. slept well & awoke 7.30. Made more char. Arrived in Gujer 9.15. Breakfast of char, bully mutton. bread & butter. Arrd Pindi 12 ock Dinner. Burhan looked very different. Serai Khah (Taxilla) Campbellpur - tea 5 Attock 6 Nowshera 7 Peshawar 9.15. Noted Chowkidar levies from village guarding live M.H. musket. slept on platform.

25. Reveille' 4.30 kits ready 5 am. 6 left station arrived Race Course l1/2m near Fort. Unloading 2.M. store. till 10.30. other fatigue in morning. Not allowed to wash before 6 pm. Had to erect bathhouse. Expect draft of
600 'Demobs' from Bombay (fom Mespot) to arrive tomorrow. Heard later they had jibbed at Pindi. Detailed for City picket in morning.

26. Reveille' 4.30. Kits ready & breakfast at 5. Paraded for picket 5.15. Fearful rush wasted and hung about until 7.30 before we moved. Arriving at Mackeson Mundi (Police) 8.30. Took over from Queens RMS. 25 men. We 11 strong 5 for duties Guard. Afterwards reinforced by 12 men in evening. 8 NCO's 4 men 2 L/cp on guards. Warned against 'Pughal Pathans' in neighbourhood. Rifle strapped to wrist. Watched procession of Pathans Afghans Afridis Mohmands etc. Bought sandals Rs 3. wore them on sentry at night. Realised position of post in centre of city containing 5 000 Afghans and rifles number unknown.

27. MACKESON MUNDI Peshawar. Took group on verandah. Gave film to be de'loped & returned same evening. Wrote letter to Mother. Copied map of Peshawar city. Came off guard 13 hrs. Mail arrived no letter for me. Object of picket post. To quell disorder and assist the police. Orders to move back to race course to go into barracks. Mail arrived no letters.

28. 1/1 Kents relieved us at 10am Arrived race course at 12. (Photo of Bijari gate). 4.30 ordered to be in readiness to move. 5 Packed kit & commenced striking tents and loading camel & mule transport. At this work until 11.20. 11.45 Left Race course for station. Soon as arrived detailed for Motor escort to Kohat. 2 hours fatigue loading Ry wagons.

29. Sleep of exhaustion covered with grime sweat & dust. Awake 4.30. Sloosh at the pump. Kits in lorries at 8.30. Left Peshawar 9.15. Halt 11. Arrived at entrance to Kohat pass 11.30. Heard cars fired on. Vigilance ordered. Battlefields. Tribes in pass armed mostly. All kinds of guns. Females very comely regular European (Spanish) clean looking. Black & red mostly clothed. 'Are we downhearted ' from village boys! Top of pass our car jibbed. Coming down other side lorry with wheel over khud.1500 ft almost sheer! Kohat 3,30 Plums Milk aeroplanes.

30. Left Kohat 11.30. 26 miles non stop to Hangu. Pleasant sites for camp. In orchard between rail and road. Buckshee plums & mulberries as much as wanted. Native troops came through by open train (photo). Getting ready to move 4.30 Moved & 6.30 marched with artillery 8 miles taking 5 hours. Arrived Jtogh 11.30. Char bus. Told to be ready to move 3.30 next morning. 2 hours sleep.

31. Loaded & transport S &T carts. Escort. Delayed by ponies falling. Left Jtogh after cup of char 5.15. 17 miles march to next camp. Whole column on road. Miles of mules camels lorries S & T carts, artillery & detachments. Difficult to keep touch. After 14 miles feeling tired & rested. Struggled on 11/2 miles. No shade. Under culvert no water. with Clarke exhausted. Picked up by lorry & arrived Doaba 3.30. 10 hrs on road. Too exhausted to eat or assist building perimeter. Slept off & on. swim!

JUNE

1. Column left 5. last stage in relief of "Thal Fort". 11 miles. Enemy encountered 4 miles out. Pressed back to ridge overlooking Fort S.Ridge with 3 000 Afghans assaulted successfully by 1500 Punjabi snoopers(?) Londons first line reserve. Artillery shelled retreating Afghans. Also strong body on N. of Fort driven off. Afghans in full flight. Thal relieved after week's siege and 5 days. bombardment aeroplanes gunned located camp at 10Oft. Ingram & Conolly wounded at Fort. Perimeter built finished 6. B.M. stew. First since Peshawar. Set out for swim. Turn back too far. Flopped out.

2. Detained. Famished & delirious & wandering about.4 plates of stew and biscuits. Firing still going on. Sleep from 11.30 to 7.30. Awoke refreshed. Artillery shelling village. Combined A.& H sent down to Doaba 9.30 British Doaba Hospital good. Bifti & rest. Reported Afghans in full flight over border. Big camp located left almost intact. Stafford arrived & 39 Heat cases of Londons & Borders. More stew. Grand! Down to return tomorrow to unit.

3. DOABA Hospital back to Thal. Struck off return party. At last moment managed to get in party to return. Hospital train at 9.30. Wind up over snipers. Thal (2750) 3 forts. signs of bombardment. Garrison of Gurkhas & signals looking 'bit' 300 tins petro1 2 lorries & tons of bhusa (?) fired by shells. At camp again. Sentry group. No water for washing. Canteen arrived & obtained char. Sent letter Mother. To remove tomorrow to selected site. Troops returned from Afghan camp. Shell case badges bugle & other spoils.

4. June. Struck camp 5 - 5.30. Breakfast 6. Battle over map!! (?). Moved at 9. 2 miles N of Thal Fort. Rasul Post. Police fort. Stream running through. Occupied by Afghans 4 days. Shelled. Hospital & Missionaries knocked about. Evidence of siege everywhere. Water picket. Grub getting good. Glorious bathe in evening. On sentry group at 11.15. Stand to. Guns to parapet. Raid by tribe expected. Lewis gun shot a sheep. Qui vive till 5.30 next morning. Heard after that order to stand to 4 days old. Few words by Gen Dyer. (see June 5)

5. Paraded sick for pill. Given C because of previous attendance. Received 1 letter Mother. Exempted duties. but put on inlying picket. Waterpit day. Grub splendid for these conditions. Aft. sat under bridge with feet in water. wrote up diary. Lovely bathe. Gen Dyer said that we had accomplished object. When before Thal we numbered less 3 000! The enemy was estimated at 19 000 Afg. & tribes. Offered fair battle but bunked. Armistice signed & he would let us rest and take us to a nice place he knew of. 'Parachenal"?

6. Rasul Post Thal. Feeling a good deal better. Sent off on 'wood scrounge' to fort. live shell. Swim in river. Outlying picket on hill N. First turn. GOod rest away from dust. signs of battle.

7. Rotten cold coming on. Off outlying picket 7.45. Bkfast. Inoc. Cholera 8.O. Building up perimeter 8.15 to 10. Caught fish in plate trap. Mess tin full. All afternoon at river. Wouldn't trust swim. Inlying picket at 8pm.

8. Fearful head. feeling anyhow. Water picket at river. Reveille to 8.30. 2 letters CAS & DAd. (retirement) Read overseas mirror. Borders left to return. Dust storm in afternoon. Expect to move Tuesday. Feeling better. Sentry group 8.30 pm.

9. Stand to 3.30 am. Dismissed 5.30. Still feeling umpty. Diarhorrea all afternoon. Stewed groat custard & jam lovely. Went to sickbay after tea. Detained in hospital.

10. Out of hospital. Not too grand disordered stomach. Dinner - custard & 2 figs. lux. Read account of Thal operations in C&M June 6th. Went over to shady nullah in afternoon. First swim for three days. Orders to prepare to move at short notice.

11. Att C. feeling trifle better. Damaged police wallah brought in. All afternoon under trees in valley. Bivi praying. Extra picket on graves. Storm broke at 4pm. again at 8 pm. Arranged tent for wet. Rumour of Cholera in Thal. will prevent us leaving.

12. M & D feeling better. Orders at 5 to be packed at 6 to move. Water duty. Backaching job. Loading transports. Marched station. 8 ock on guard over co. First turn. Last swim in river.

13. June. Thal to Kohet. Nr. Hangu. Fort. Lockhart & Darzai Heights. Gordons. Up at 4. Tea BM & B. Entrained 6. Left Thal 6.45. open carriages with roof. 1 pint water. Made tea from engine with tablet. Tins of milk conc. Stopped at Jtgh & took on rest of stores. Sussex at Hangu following. Saw King & Basely. Arrived Kohat 2.15. Unloaded & loaded Broad gauge. Heard of raid on Kohat by tribesmen. Gurkhas stables. Entrained at 5.30 left 6pm. Tea 8.30. Turned in at 9. , Tin of pears at Kohat & peaches for tea 5.30.

14. Nowshera. Awakened at 2.30 am. at Nowshera. Unloading & packing carts. Mug of tea. 3.30. "D" Co to Barracks for unloading. Stores & ammo. Unloading until 6.30. Tea & cakes. very tired & hungry. No bedstead Got down to it. Awoke for refreshment & slept again. Med Insp chol.7pm Sussex arrived slept all day. Expect to be here 10 days then to Gharial.

15. Med. Insp. 7 am. Waited for Gen Renyon to inspect to 6.30 didn't arrive. 124o registered in barrack verandah. These afternoons are genera [general?] Med inspection 6. To YMCA in evening, fruit, custard, blancmange & lemonade!

16. Earthquake shock 15 mins after midnight. Medical inspec. 6 am. Mess orderly To YM to write letter to Mother. Cly spent on 'uncleaned' (?) asleep if possible. Cannot beat it. 126o recorded max. 98o min. Hottest day - bar none. Rifle insp. bath. Good supper at YM. Photog. wanted charge 8 & 10 as per spool develop. Iced drink. Blind Charlie.

17. Earthquake recorded at Pindi. Digging sump at 0. Mess 6.15 - 7.45. On rifle guard. To YM walked back with Kennet. MGC. Iced drink at Fazal ahmed.

18. mess orderly. Slept great part of the day. Rifles moved to other bungalow. To YMCA good supper. After cinema The 'Outsider' 6p Metro good. 8 as. Emma Wehlan.

19. Mess orderly. To YM. Letter to Dad commenced. Varied discussion all afternoon with Bennett. authors, illustrators. To YM. Lecture on E. African Company. by YMCA Lantern.

20. Mess orderly. Fatigues in morning. Mesop. draft arrived from Karachi Devons. Very weary all day and in consequ. slept a great part of it. To YM. Fruit & blancmange & to Dairy. After to Kabul river. Pleasant. To Pictures. Emma of Storks nest. 5p metro. Mary Miles Hunter. good. 

21. Physical drill. Finished letter to Dad.YM for ditto & Kabul river.

22. Church Parade 6.30. Most tired again. Reading & sleeping. To YM & Bazaar. Films given in. To Cabul River Gardens. Reflections.

23. Physical drill. Recd 1 letter Peggy. To YM all morning, writing Peggy. 'Tower of Ivory' from Library. on factory picket.18 man 1hr each.

24. June. Letters from Len (3) Mother & EC. Walk with Mitton. Bridge of boats. 2 snaps. after to gardens to read letters & on to Ym for drink. 2 spools spoilt by photographer. Played for Battn v. Devons lost 2 - 1. Pictures. Metro 5p "Red white & blue blood.'

25. To Cabul river Gardens. Milk & soda. Commenced letter to Len. Infamous "Dog & stick" along Kabul R. 5.30 - 7.30. Route march back passing YM on way. Dismissed at Barracks. Pictures Metro "The Trail of the Shadow" 6 parts. Emma Wehlan.

26. To River Gardens in morning with Bennett. Vain 'imaginings'. Conceived the idea that we that we Mitton & Bennett might take holiday at Nain Tal in July. To River Gardens again in evening. Books we have read and back by way of YM.

27.Sent letter to Len. After to Bazaar. Ordered shirt. Slept all after noon. Footer for Battn v. Sussex last 1-0 -Penalty. To YM Solus [?]

28. Appointed Mass orderly. Discovered Peshawar films lost. Left probably at Ym 23rd. Found again. On Rifle guard.

29. Rifle guard. Off guard 7,15. Stroll to River Gardens.

30. Mess orderly again. Protested. Sgt Jones & Cpl Corney indiff. To SM re roster. Shirt from tailors. Rotten day. Vague. News of Peace signing came through. Not impressed. Stroll to River Gardens. Very depressed. All British films. Rotten. Walter Melville Shop soiled. Came out & stayed out in interval.

JULY 

1. Couldn't take order to Parade P.T. seriously. Consequently was late & blown up for it.Remarked it never occurred to me there might be parade. Prints from Photog. 16p Rs2. Caned Ned all day. To YM & River Profound organised discussions with Bennett. Subjects touched Mus Com or Leg stage. Landscape or portrait? Greater art Music or painting. Finished disc. about midnight.

2. 1 hour P.T. Reading Room. 115o Writing all afternoon Mother. Reading Room. Hear of weeks leave to Hill station 10% at a time. Dog & stick cancelled in favour of Football match Sussex v Queens. After to River. continued discussions.

3. Newspaper rep. Reliefs sent in July & August. To Gardens. Reading Beloved vagabond. Heard Sussex were told they would be going home in six weeks. Sleep most of afternoon. Reading room. Phonog. selections Charmed with 'Someday I'll make you love me'. To River. Tried to put above melody to words. ignominiously failed. To Pictures Metro 5p
The Avenging Trail. Snow-lumbering. July 4. Route march 6am to 7.30. across river past sewage farm and cemetry. Phew! Received pay = Rs 100. To get photographs - not done. - - Rs 100 no. fc/70 90818. To river. Pictures "Top Dog" by Fergus Hume "Waterdew" - 6 parts. Extra good. surprised English could turn such an one out.

5. Finished reading "Beloved Vagabond" Reading room in afternoon. To photog. and after to river.

6. Church parade. No Peace Thanksgiving owing to papers not arriving. Commenced letter to EC and posted. Mail due. Sussex had theirs. Socialistic discourse at River gardens.

7. P.T. Tomaso's Fortune from library. Letter to CAS in answer to his of May. No sleep during day and felt the worse for it. Not in mood for conversation at River Gardens. No pictures this evening or next because Mountebanks.

8. B. Mess orderly. Papers state 20 000 troops despatched. Handed film to Corney for him to get prints. To be done Friday. A corker! Finished Tomaso. 2 hours sleep in afternoon. 1st leave party left for Murree. To gardens. Disinclined for serious conversation. In other words heartily "fed".

9. P.T. To River Garden and thence 2 miles along river bank. Photographs of gypsy-like tribe washing clothes. Doubtful of shutter acting. Returning by way of dairy. Soda and milk (no good). On nursing sisters guard. Supper of eggs & Nuthanroti Little sleep owing to heat and insects.

10. Ziska (Marie Corelli) from Library. Reading all morning. Reading and sleeping all afternoon. Hottest day for 3 weeks. Walker in Dock. Several cases of cholera. M.G. Sussex & RFA. Last supper outside barracks at dairy. Eggs. Now closed. Last evening at River praps. Now confined to Barracks.

11. Digging sump for wash-house. Bought Thal photos of Wakeman. Finished Ziska. Felt queer in evening. Finch in dock & others. cholera. No news of first 4 Battn arriving though due.

12. Continued digging. Mail. but no Letters for me. Mail week late. "Moonflower" (Amy J. Baker) from Library. S.African Veld. Reading all morning & part afternoon. Part sleep. Sudden drop in temp. Slight rain. To river. after to pictures. "A Soul's Crucifixion" (Broadwest) excellent. Coolness almost exhilerating. Felt lively.

13. Mess orderly. No Church Parade. Cool wind continues. Drew rations. Letter to Mother. Main Garrison Guard.

14. Finished Moonflower. Photos from Bukshi satisfactory. Off guard 7.15. Pictures. Lionel Phillips Waldurdaw. The man of the Moment by Eleanor Glyn. Very good 5 p.

15. Digging. Posted letter to Mother. From 9 ock fetched case of maps from Adjts. Sorting out & listing until 12. News that we move before 22 to Pindi. For Peace delegates? Perhaps returning here! To get watch glass - none. To river until late. Bennet unresposive to my attempts at conversation.

16. Rehearsal parade for Friday. Inspection by Benyon. Commenced letter to Len. afterwards destroyed. To pictures. Execrable. Danish film.Hunnish.

17. Second attempt to write to Len. Synopsis of book 'By this sign'. To River. Discussion on Books.

18. Inspection by Gen. Benyon. Finished letter to Len. On main Guard.

19.Finished 'Morals of Marcus' ? 1 Letter from Mother (St.Leonards) Relieved from Guard 8 pm. To pictures. 'The Woman in White' Thanhauser Florence la Badie. Rather good.

20. Mess orderly. Letter & mag. from Mother. Expected to move to Pindi this day. Commenced letter to Mother. Finished & posted. Capt Staff supposed to have had letter from Bombay that we should be going home 'very shortly'. To River Gardens. Returned early Bennet queer. Alright later.

21. Rainstorm of half hour at Reveille'. Rumoured we move tomorrow. Commenced letter to Paggy & posted. Letter from Len (Devon) To Gardens then on to YM To pictures 'The Promise' 5p Metro.

22. Phiz jerks. Arms drill. Slept from 10 until 4pm. Expected to go to Pindi this day.To YMCA. Converse Bennet Glanville Copers & Jumbo.

23. Leaving Nowshera. Moving tents to diff. bungalow. Expect to go to Pindi this day. Morning & afternoon in Reading room. Packed up ready for moving. On Ammo guard. Station 7pm Left Nowshera llpm. Turned in.

24. Arrival Rawal Pindi. Awoke at Pindi at 5. Kit rolled & guard. Left station 6.15. Severight as guide led us 3 miles out of way. Arrived barracks 8. Saturated. Told we would not be relieved until next day. 1 on 2 off. & 2 on 4 off. 2 cats. Guard of honour paraded 3.15 and returned 7pm . No delegates. GoC's qu. Schoolmistress in Tonga.

25. To our surprise Guard relieved 8.30.Too late to ask Sgt Hall to bring box of art stuff with kitbags from Jullundur. In afternoon first sketching for over 2 months. Soldiers home too crowded for supper. To Lyons cinema to see 'Souls Adrift' by Andrew Loutar. Read story in new magazine.

26. Physical drill 1/2 hour. Reading 'League of the Leopard' Bindless. morning & part afternoon. Also 1 hours sleep. Would have gone swimming no bikes.

27. Church Parade 6.30 7.30 in church. To write Dad. Commenced latter Dad. Went swimming at Ry Institute Baths. Fine cycle ride. Mussoree Arts ex. notice.

28. Mess Orderly. writing during morning & part of afternoon. a few sketches after. To Baths for good swim. Returned 7 pm.

29. Physical drill. The Surreys complained to Co Office against parades. Posted letter Dad re Arts shop. Posted letter Mussoorie Arts. Films to Wilson to be cleaned and print from each. Bought Blackbird Fountain pen. Warned to go to Nowshera to relieve Glanville. Rotten cold developing.

30. Bungalow orderly. Pencil copy of Mitton's sisters photo. Kit arrived. Great enjoyment sorting it out. Box of art stuff not arrived. Drafted out sketch "Chevrons" "Conversation" with Pizzey 21/2 hours.

31. By seeing S.M. got out of going to Nowshera. 'Arethusa' by M.Crawford ex library. Sent sketch "Chevrons" to T.I. To pictures 'The chorus lady" Lasky."Shetland Pony Farm" at Hythe . Curious tropical storm. Flickering violet lightning. Ran back 1 mile in heavy downpour.

(...)

 

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