25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment

Letter of 27 Mar 1917

Waziristan Campaign 1917

Private H. Parker

2 Platoon, A Company,

1/25th London Regiment.


Waziristan Diary Waziristan letter 20 Aug 1917

c/o GPO

27th March 1917  

My Dear Mother & Grannie,  

Thank you very much for your two letters dated 14th & 21st Feb., also papers.  

We are going to Jullunder on Friday 30th & are doing nothing now except prepare to move. The rest of the Division have already gone.  

I went with a party to Peshawer to see the Kyber Pass last Thursday & had a very good time. We put up at the King’s Liverpool ’s barracks at Peshawer. On Friday morning we started off in Tongas to the Kyber, the entrance to which was 9 miles away. At Jamrud we had to stop & get passes for the Pass. Here there is a big fort & we were able to go all over it. Tonga – a light two wheeled cart for four, in use in India [from Hindi : tanga]  

There is a fine road all the way through the Pass, and it is surrounded by the Hindu Kush mountains which are very bleak & rocky. We saw a lot of hillsmen & they were quite friendly. They were armed with old rifles & plenty of ammunition, also knives. The knives were the only things they were willing to sell us. It was remarkable what a lot of army stuff they have got, jerseys, rifles, oil bottles etc., no doubt all stolen. They were quite friendly, being Friday, but if we went any other day we should have to fight our way, & if you are caught woe betide you. A soldier fighting them always keeps a bullet for himself in case he gets captured.  

The most interesting sight was the camel caravan, from Afghanistan with merchandise for India . We saw several caravans each about 3 miles long. The people with them were fair and some with Jewish looking faces. They wore patchwork robes & sheepskin coats. There wasn’t a modern thing about them and you could imagine you were living 5000 years ago. These caravans are escorted through the pass by the ‘Kyber Rifles’, who are ‘Afridis’, recruited from another part of the frontier, and are up to all the tricks of the Kyber tribes. They are quite loyal whilst they are our soldiers, but when they leave the army they are as bad as the rest.  

We slept the following night in Peshawer & returning here the next morning. I went round Pershawer in a tonga . It is a beautiful place, being one big garden, every street except the bazaar smells of flowers. I saw a lot of English roses even growing by the side of the road. I also went to the pictures but did not think much of them. It was a very nice holiday after this wretched hole, which we shall be glad to see the back of.  

Last week it was boiling hot & now it is quite cold again. Last night we had a terrific thunderstorm and a deluge of rain. I am sorry to see that you are getting such a severe winter at home & I hope you all keep pretty free from colds.  

I received another letter from Maggie this mail. I am afraid I owe the girls a lot of letters, but I must make it up when we get into barracks. I am glad they are doing well, but I really think they might give Maggie a little more time off. But still she must be thankful to be working near home & not in London .  

I am sorry to hear that dear Grannie does not improve much. I am afraid the weather is bad for her also Grannie at Aldbury (Hertfordshire). Please tell Grannie at Aldbury that I thought of her on her birthday but it was too late then to write.  

I am pleased to say I am keeping quite well.  

With my fondest love & kisses to you all. I am. Your loving Son & Grandson

I forgot to say I got as far as Ali Musjid 11 miles into the Kyber Pass. I am sending you another “Londoner”. This will make the 5th one I have sent you, please keep them safe as I may have them bound when I get home.

Notes :-
Original letter of 5 pages.
Each page was rubber stamped with the badge logo of the ‘ County of London Cyclists ’. No part was censured.

Waziristan Diary Waziristan letter 20 Aug 1917