Although Pat had been assigned as troop leader to the A Squadron of the 18th Royal Hussars, the issue was not fully settled and a degree of uncertainty hung over his future. He did however participate in the inspection of the regiment by its Colonel in Chief, Queen Mary, on 13 August. Eventually, Brigadier General Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle, Commander of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, agreed to ‘smuggle’ Pat out as a permanent orderly officer. On the morning of 15 August, the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, made up of men from the cavalry regiments of 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards, 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers and 18th (Queen Mary’s Own) Hussars proceeded overseas. Having waved Pat goodbye at Tidworth, Ione and Mrs Armstrong returned to Folkestone, while Jess made her way to Cantreyn to join her sister Tom.
Mrs Barry went away by an early train, & Mr. went up to London too. We wrote letters & read in the morning & walked about, it was lovely & hot. We went over to see Pat, after luncheon, but found he was on the range, so we drove out there (we had hired a car) & sat & talked to him. We brought our tea with us, & had it in the car. He introduced us to Capt. Gibbs (in the 10th). Then we went & looked at all his horses in his troop, they are much nicer looking horses than the other troops. Mrs Barrett came & had dinner with us, at about nine, Pat didn’t come back. We walked home with her at about 10-30.
‘Leave tomorrow morning’
It was today we changed houses going over to the big building. Ione is now in Mr Osborne’s room & Jess & I in Mr Piggot Moody’s as they are gone to their Regts. Mrs Barry & Mr P have gone up to London to try & get him a job as he is wild to get out & his Regt is in India 7th H1. We went over to see Pat at Tidworth after luncheon & followed him to the range where he had tea with us in the car met Mr Gibbs (in the 10th) looked at all the horses in Pat’s troops & rest of 18th we left Pat there & went back to the school Mrs Barrett came at 9 to dine with us. We walked home with her afterwards & then went to bed.
I heard from Ione this morning that you were likely to leave soon, but I do hope & trust not for the war. You would love it but what about all of us poor things. It is a dreadful time. But if you go I wish you every good luck, & a safe return, I will pray morning, noon, & night that you will come home without a scratch. They are buying up horses in the town & all round the country & collecting them in the show grounds. They are giving good prices for horses that are suitable. They take them out of the vans & carts also traps & carriages & leave the people to get home as they best can. Up to this none of ours have gone, but they are coming to-day – they have been looking at the cob that Bobby drives to the train. I hope she does not go. Mildred is with the Coopers but comes back on Friday.
Good-bye my dearest Maurice come back safe.
wishing you every luck, and much love from yr loving Disi.
Thursday 13 August
Arrival arrangements for Queen Mary’s visit
Wrote letters, then had lunch early, as Pat wired to say that the Queen was coming down, to inspect the Regiment. Miss Wardell came with us, & we hired the yellow car. Mr Stewart rode his motorbike, but broke down in the way so we took him on. We got awfully good places, & saw everything beautifully, & took a lot of photographs. Pat is in A Squadron, & is leader of his troop. He came back here in the car with us, & after tea we lay out on the tennis mound, & talked. Miss Wardell & Mr Stewart went & fished. Pat went at about 10-30, & rode home on “Howkins” & led “Melody”
Netheravon House, Salisbury
Evelyn Wardell and Mr Stewart with Ione and Mrs Armstrong
We got a wire from Pat to say the Queen was coming to inspect 18th H he was then in A Squadron, but all is uncertain about him in a way but he is determined to go out somehow, not to wait till his Rgt comes home. we went over to see the inspection & it was all very nice to see, but one felt a lump in one’s throat somehow all the time. When it was over Pat came back with us in the car to Ablington3 & after tea we lay out in the garden & talked. Evelyn & Mr Stewart went off to fish I think with the idea of leaving us alone. Pat left us again at 10-30 & we feel he must go any day now.
Friday 14 August
Expeditionary Force Cavalry Division Standing Orders by General Allenby
After breakfast, Muz & I walked up to Netheravon, & went to church, there was only one other person there. Duskey came in & walked about, but she was awfully good! Ione & Evelyn came in later. It was awfully hot all day. We sat out in the garden, & Muz went off with Evelyn. We went over in the car, at about four to see Pat, & he said the 18th couldn’t take him, so Muz went to General de Lisle, & he is going to take him. We will have to say he is going as Permanint [sic] orderly officer, but really extra A.D.C. We had tea with the de Lisles4. When we got back Evelyn had gone to London. Pat came for dinner & afterwards he, Muz, Ione, Mr Stuart & I motored back to Tidworth & left Pat. It thundered & rained most of the time.
Jess & I went to church at Netheravon Duskie came in too frightfully hot day. Got a wire from Pat telling us to come there as he couldn’t come to us, so we went over & had tea with the de Lisles, Pat wasn’t able to go with 18th H & so General de Lisle is risking “being hung at the War Office” as he puts it & going to smuggle him out somehow. I like them both so much. It seems fully certain now that Pat goes tomorrow, he came back with us to dine at Ablington, after dinner (in a thunderstorm) we went back with him to Tidworth to leave him there & heard all are going tomorrow
Tidworth. Brigade parade. Gen de Lisle addressed the Bde. Was sent for the office at 1 o’c & told that Lawrence had been given a commission so I was to take 1st reinforcement. Saw Grace & Rattle who helped me. Then saw Gen de Lisle who said he would take me as permanent orderly officer. Mus came & saw him in the afternoon & we had tea there. Went back & dined at Ablington House
Letter from Peter Cox, Tilston, Portinscale Road, Putney, S.W., to Jess Armstrong:
[…] The war certainly is terrible. – but I expect it will be worse – before it’s better – you must feel anxious about your brother but you are awfully lucky to hear from you [sic] – Allan has volunteered for foreign service with the H.A.C.5 He was refused 4 times on account of his heart but he was determined to get in somewhere – I feel a bit anxious as of course he has an awfully bad heart – I wonder if the 60th have gone – I imagine. Do you think “Bertie” will distinguish himself?? You must be delighted at having your own car – now there will be no excuse for not coming to see us – I do wish you would “pop” in some day. How is Ione’s tennis getting on – I have played a lot this summer but ever yet don’t fee equal to another tournament – a beating like that has one good effect – it makes you “buck up” a bit. The golf of course is going strong & I feel keener than ever. Did I see Miss Hare’s marriage in the paper – did you go? What news of “Algie” and alltheothers you never mention them! Isn’t this sad news about the Russians going through I guess there will be something doing pretty quick now. […]
Saturday 15 August
Went over to Tidworth at about 9-30, & went with Pat to see the horses boxed. The three squadrons of the 18th went at one, six & 8-30 this morning, & Pat’s train went at 10-30. Major Barrett is going as staff Captain, Captain Hamilton-Grace as Brigadier Major, & Mr Phipps-Hornby as A.D.C. so Pat is going with people he likes. Even the station master didn’t know where the trains were going to, they are keeping everything so private. But we think they go from Southampton to Havre. It rained hard all day, so the 9th who had to go from Amesbury, must have got soaked. It is lovely Pat going like that, as it will make all the difference.
We went over to Tidworth arriving 8-30. Pat took us to see the horses boxed 3 squadrons of 18th H had left at 1 o’c 6 o’c & 8-20 this morning Pat leaves at 10-30 with staff, we saw them off very cheery all were, Pat & Geoff in charge of a luncheon basket! General Smith-Dorrien & others came to see them all off & we thought Pat might be hauled out of train at last moment, but he got away successfully, & we saw them all go to we think Havre from Southampton, but no one knows where the train goes to. It rained hard all day. The 9th Lancers went off from Amesbury today too, we got back at 11-30. Mrs Vaughan & Evelyn came back tonight.
Tidworth. Train left 10.45. Raining & rather a miserable morning. Loaded horses without any trouble. Mus, Ione & Jess saw me off. Got down to Southampton about 12 o’c. Found boat wasn’t in. Tied all our horses together on the warf & waited wires [?]. Rained hard all day. Welchman arrived about 12 o’c. Started loading at 1 o’c. Most of horses had to be put on in slings. Nothing was ready & boat was filthy dirty. Saw Jack Porter. We all went down & dined at the Dolphin Hotel.
Sunday 16 August
Welchman. Got going about 4.30 am. Slept on sofa in saloon with Rattle. Boat perfectly dreadful. But everybody was very cheerful & horses seemed well. Had lovely smooth crossing. Landed at Bulogne [sic] about 5.30. Stayed about while horses were being unloaded. Went up the rest camp in a car with the General, dined in tents. Baggage not in. was bitterly cold
Here we are in the middle of the channel. We are not going where I told you but to another place where we have often talked of spending a day at. We got down to Southampton about 12 o’c yesterday but the boat didn’t get in till about 2 o’c. When she did arrive there was nothing ready so we couldn’t start boxing the horses till late. We worked away all day & eventually they all got on. We left about 4.30 this morning & are due about 4 this afternoon. We don’t know what is going to happen when we arrive. You were all simply splendid yesterday I know how horrid it was for you far worse for you than for me. But it’s got to be, so wee Mus you mustn’t worry. I know that you’ll know if anything happens to me. I’m afraid I will hardly be able to write at all as I don’t think they will let us send letters as they might give away where we were [sic]. We have got 1 sqdrs of the 9th Lancers on board. An awful good lot. I saw the Carbs7 last night. Sam was in great form. I like the General awfully he is most awfully kind. The horses all seem to be doing well. “Howkins” is off his feed a bit & has run up a lot but I hope he will get alright again as soon as we get on shore. The other two are feeding well & don’t seem to mind a bit. I hope we have an easy time for them for a week or so and then they ought to be pretty fit. We had a great dinner in the Dolphin last night. I picked this paper from there. Will you let me know when I am square at Cox’s then after than you can have any money that comes in. Be sure you take it if you want it as I’m afraid things will be very expensive for you.