There is no documentary evidence for what George did between 17 and 23 December 1914, when he and Kittie left for what she described as ‘a delightful Christmas at Foxwold [Brasted, Kent] with the Pyms’. But we can be pretty sure that he used the time to plot his return to combatant service. Sir Coote Hedley, who was high up at the War Office (see ‘The Godfather in War’, 26 August) doubtless advised him on how to break through the red tape, although Hedley believed that George would be best employed in Intelligence.
Another contact George may have used was Henry Newbolt, whom he had known since about 1898 and was politically close to. On 6 December 1914 Newbolt’s twenty-one-year-old son Francis wrote to George describing the regiment he, Francis, was now a member of, as the ‘magnificent’ Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Francis had not yet been on active service with them, but they had been fighting on the Western Front since Mons and had particularly distinguished themselves at the Battle of Nonnebosschen Wood, Ypres, on 11 November. His father had probably been instrumental in getting him a place in this regiment. This may be significant for George’s own military destiny.
As well as working on military matters, between 17 and 23 December 1914 Calderon may have been putting some of his literary manuscripts in order, particularly those of his ballets for Fokine, his study of early Slav religions, and Tahiti.
Next entry: Another big ‘Cauldron’