22 July 1915

On or about this day, Kittie received Percy Lubbock’s note of 13 July from Alexandria, enclosing the statement he had taken in hospital that day from the ‘wrong’ Sergeant-Major Allen of the 1st KOSB. Although Percy had dated it the same day as Mrs Ludolf’s statement from the ‘right’ Captain Allan (see my post of yesterday), we know from the postmark that Percy’s did not leave Alexandria until the 14th. I have never managed to find reliable data on the Web about how long wartime mail took to get from Alexandria to anywhere in England, but the Orsova, which took George to Alexandria in May, was actually a Royal Mail Ship, and that vessel’s progress, after making adjustments for it carrying mail rather than troops, suggests that eight days might have been the norm.

If by now Kittie knew the contents of the ‘right’ SM Allan’s statement (sent direct to Gertrude Bell), she must have found the ‘wrong’ SM Allen’s account exasperating. Percy himself was doubtful that SM Allen remembered George, and it was odd that Allen thought the action had taken place on 6 June, not the 4th. On the other hand, if Gertrude Bell had not yet seen fit to communicate the ‘right’ Allan’s statement, Kittie may have taken false comfort from the ‘wrong’ Allen’s assertion that he ‘could not understand why anybody should be missing on that day, [but] it would of course be possible that a man might overrun himself, get too far ahead, and be taken prisoner’…

Seven weeks after George had been killed in the Third Battle of Krithia, for Kittie certainty about his fate was as far away as ever.

Next entry: 23 July 1915

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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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