12 October 1914

From the Château […] we went on to what they were pleased to call a ‘billet’ in the country, but it was only a bivouack, except for myself, who, having a cold, slept in the kitchen on straw. The others under the haystack and in the field by the picketed horses. I speak of our squadron.  The Brigade was scattered through the farms of a rustic stretch of country.

Dick Sutton, not far away in D Squadron of 1st Life Guards, describes in his diary how they set off at eight in the morning towards Izegem, twelve miles south, ‘certain we should meet patrols of the enemy’, but they did not. Presumably the Blues were following. They passed through Izegem and Sutton’s squadron was ordered to take up a defensive position near Lendelede, three miles away. It did so, but at dusk the Life Guards were ordered four miles back up the road, to Rumbeke. George, it seems, was spared all this.

‘Ypres was strategically vital. It was the last geographical object protecting the Allied ports at Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer. The loss of these ports would have denied the shortest logistical supply route to Allied forces on the Western Front and would have had decisive strategic consequences.’ (Wikipedia, ‘First Battle of Ypres’)

Next entry: Blood is spilt


About Patrick Miles

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