In his letter to Kittie yesterday, Calderon wrote: ‘We hear that cavalrymen on the Oise have put their horses by, and are standing in the trenches with the rest.’ This was true and highly revealing. After 9 September the German First and Second Armies had withdrawn from the Marne to extremely well prepared positions on the Chemin des Dames ridge above the Aisne-Oise rivers. They received reinforcements, dug in, and rained shells and machine-gun fire down on the French and British forces pursuing them. Cavalry deployment was almost impossible. The allies themselves had to take to the trenches. Although the B.E.F. had been reinforced by a third corps, it was losing 2000 men a day.
On 30 September 1914 George wrote to Kittie: ‘We didn’t have the big field day today; it’s for tomorrow. [We] go out at 8. a.m. and get in at 9 or so in the evening.’ This was an exercise drawing together all the 3rd Cavalry Division’s training and preparations since arriving on Salisbury Plain early in September. Evidently it was to be the last before the ‘off’. But no-one knew yet precisely when that was going to be.
Next entry: 1 October 1914