14 August 1914

The British Expeditionary Force was still moving up to join the French Fifth Army near the Belgian border, and in London today the weather was ‘grilling hot’ (Mark Bostridge, The Fateful Year).  That evening George Calderon wrote to Clara Calderon in Hampshire:

My dear Mother,

Just a line before I go to bed, which I shall be doing about half-past nine.  Not much time for anything, and pretty tired of a night.  Get up about 5.30, read military books; breakfast at 8; go off early, usually with a bit of shopping to do, a knife or a compass or something to buy.  Drill all the morning in the beautiful garden of Lincoln’s Inn, among the Chancery lawyers: the rest of the battalion in the Temple Garden and Gray’s Inn.

In the afternoon, more drill, and lectures on the grass under the trees.  Tea, and then signalling, and back home for dinner; a little bit of reading and then bed.

Waiting for news from the War Office; our Colonel has recommended me for a commission, and in a few days I hope to know the result.  Till then, rather unsettled.

We had expected to be sent to a camp; but nothing is heard of it.  No uniform even yet; we go about in knickerbockers or flannel suits and leather belts.

Last Sunday we had a capital day prancing like goats among the bracken in Richmond Park, attacking a hill.

I wonder you don’t all want to be up in London, when history is being made at such a pace — to keep level with the latest news.

Kittie sits patching me shirts and sewing blankets, meditating Red Cross and what not…

Clearly Calderon was training hard.  He had probably ‘cultivated’ the Colonel, who may have been not much younger than himself and certainly his social equal, as this was his method of getting what he wanted in subsequent regiments.  But the military reality of the situation in the Inns of Court O.T.C. seems indicated by what they were wearing (Kittie called it ‘a reach-me-down out of the general pile!’).

Next Entry: Writer’s self-block?

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About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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