16 June 1915

Unless you are from a military background, you might not realise that soldiers on active service strive to report back to Battalion HQ at home, or how much other regiments exchange information from the battlefield with each other at home, or to what extent those at Battalion HQ feed information to their comrades’ families left in Britain, and vice versa.

Kittie had obviously been in touch with the 9th Battalion Ox and Bucks still stationed in England, because today she received a letter from Captain Arthur Maxwell Labouchere, the adjutant with whom George had been particularly friendly at Fort Brockhurst (for a photograph of him see my post of 10 April 2015). However, twelve days after the 3rd Battle of Krithia the 9th Battalion Ox and Bucks had evidently heard very little about its four/five officers including George who had left Devonport for the Dardanelles on 13 May:

Bovington Camp
WOOL
Wareham

Dear Mrs Calderon

I am so sorry to hear George is wounded and sincerely hope it is slight. I think it is a most favourable sign that he is classed among the list of ‘wounded’. We heard today that Capt. Hogan also was ‘wounded’ but no details are yet to hand. It is bad luck for George to get caught so soon again with all his splendid enthusiasm; and I am sorry for you to have to go through this anxious time again. No-one here, who knew George, is not deeply touched by the news, for he took everyone’s heart by storm. I will let you know immediately, if any news should reach us about him.

Yours very sincerely

Maxwell Labouchere

Bovington Camp in Dorset had been an infantry training area since 1899. Wool is a village between Dorchester and Wareham.

It will be remembered that Captain Hogan had commanded D Company of the 1st KOSB, which on 4 June was in the delayed second wave of attack. This did not get mown down but went on to capture its objectives. In the first wave, the twenty-five-year old Captain James Grogan, who commanded B Company containing George’s platoon, is said to have reached the first Turkish trench, been seen firing his revolver from its parapet, but then been killed by a Turkish ‘bomb’, i.e. hand grenade of German manufacture.

Was Kittie cheered, or depressed by this letter? Evidently Battalion HQ had been informed that Hogan was ‘wounded’, or received the news from him personally, but it had not known that George was ‘wounded’. Why not? What was the difference?

Next entry: Fast developments

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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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