13 May 1915

If Kittie was still at Devonport, when she opened her curtains in the hotel this morning she would have seen that the Orsova had vanished.

At midnight last night, in George’s words of three days later, the huge ship ‘suddenly went off with all lights out (while I was asleep) at full speed with all the men with bare feet, lifebelts and loaded rifles pretending to be asleep on the deck, and half the officers alongside of them’. All they knew was that their immediate destination was the Mediterranean.

Kittie probably returned today to Mrs Seymour’s B&B at Brockhurst, a five-hour train journey. There she found George’s letter of 10 May waiting for her. She had to collect various things left by George, including some field glasses sent to him at Fort Brockhurst by Manolo Ordoño de Rosales that had arrived too late for him. On 14 May, most likely, she returned to Hampstead.

At the Dardanelles today the British pre-dreadnought Goliath was sunk by a Turkish torpedo boat in Morto Bay, off the French flank, with the loss of 570 men.

The Second Battle of Ypres was still raging and today Sir Richard Sutton (see my post of 25 October 1914 and others) was wounded for the second time. He wrote to his mother: ‘I hope the Germans do take Ypres; it is one vast stinking rubbish heap and only costs thousands of lives to hold, and is of no use whatever. It is such a triangle now in outline that those in the trenches holding it are shelled from three sides.’

Next entry: The bifurcator biffed


About Patrick Miles

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