Diary from siege of Kut
IWM 76/115/1

2nd Feb[ruary] - 12th February (inclusive)

(handwritten in ink) H.S.


Unable to write up diary for some days now. On 2nd I had another attack of Colic and stopped in bed all day except to take Holy Communion which one Soldier attended as he was out from Hospital and had to go back to the trenches at once. He was looking terribly ill and thin - no clothes but what he stood up in - not even an overcoat. Major Lodge came in from the Fort & had a long break and several others came to have a chat also. Bitterly Cold. Read a good deal. The next day (3rd) was able to get up and go out. Bought several things from late Colonel Courtenay's & Capt[ain] Begg's Sale. At 5.30 Johnston (R[oyal] A[rtillery]) & I were just starting for a stroll when shells came over and as we were well in the danger zone we postponed our walk to a more favourable day! On 4th poor Captain Alexander IMS. att[ache]d to 1/7th Gurkhas got shot straight through the head. He moved out of the 1st line trenches as all was quiet when a stray bullet got him. It was about the only one fired for about an hour. He leaves a young wife and 2 small children - an especially sad case as he was very poorly off. An aeroplane of ours was up today. It dropped some cig[arette]s for the Norfolks. We expected great news of our Relief, but no not yet! But the following appeared on the notice Board from The Viceroy to General Aylmer -: viz
"Please transmit following message from me to General Townshend. The bravery & endurance with which you and the troops under your command have resisted the attacks of the enemy have excited the admiration of all and I am confident resistance will be maintained until help reaches you in the near future. India thinks of you and your troops all the time."
On 5th we had more heavy shell fire - several came close by (the Serai) us - one man had a "Windy Lizzy" 3 yards from where he was sitting but it never exploded. It was carefully removed next day and plumped in River. I read Evening Prayers about every 3rd day in Officers Hospital - but its very hard to supply all needs. On 7th took Evensong in Gen[eral] Hosp[ital] which was very jolly & the hymns were splendidly sung. On 8th I took Holy Communion there for the poor wounded and administered the Sacrament to 14 of them. On Sunday 6th there were 28 Communicants and 22 at Evensong. Heavily shelled again on Sunday Evening bet[ween] 4 & 5pm. This is most annoying as it prevents people coming to Evensong. Shells were very near to 5in[ch] guns falling right between gunpits. Have been given tobacco & Cig[arette]s lately and...

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