Monday, 10 November 2014


Two weeks after Mabel's arrival in England she arranged a visit to see Agar at Bustard Camp. After a harrowing days' drive in a hired car with Porter she arrived at Agar's tent to find he wasn't there. 

Salisbury Plain,
Thursday, 10th November 1914
My dear Mabel,
I wired you today and have engaged a room in a cottage in Salisbury. We take our meals in an old 14th Century pub where Mrs. bell is laid up. I wired to bring a chain for one hind wheel which can be put on if you find the car will not get over the downs – all cars carry one.
Thine Agar.
Directions: On reaching Bustard Village ask for Princess Patricia’s Regiment, north of the village ½ mile over the down, the going is a bit poached, but every car makes it, so don’t get out till you get to my tent or you will get lost.
My dear Mabel,
The C.O. sent for me this morning, he had just received an order from Head Quarters that the Senior Captain of this Regiment had to be left behind as a base officer, taking over 100 men left and waiting for 500 extra men from Canada. He was very nice about it and said he regretted it very much. I offered to drop my rank and go as a subaltern or do anything rather than remain behind and go to Bustard. He has now gone to see the General and try to persuade him to allow one of the other Captains to take my place. You can only have a small idea what this means to me and I am wretched. McKinery has also put in an official report that the C.O. can’t get along without me and adding that (at my request) I am no good at detail. I wired you not to come. I should be too unhappy, so please don’t. I will wire you if there is any lucky change.

Agar did finally appear after having been detained on the shooting range and was able to join Mabel at the Old George Hotel in Salisbury by 11 pm. That had given Mabel enough time to look around and see that Agar had not been exaggerating in his description of the camp. She found the conditions completely appalling. 

"There is simply no place for the meant to get dry. They route-march through the pouring rain, and come back to leaky tents, twelve to fifteen men in each....The cooking is done out in the open, with a blanket hung up on the windward side of the stove. The men have no messy nets, a big black pot of food is deposited in front of each ten, out of which they dig their respective portions....(The horses) are most miserable, tethered in the awful wind and rain with no protection whatsoever. They are said to be dying at the rate of thirty a day."