[ Dunsterforce; Norper Force; Palestine ] A substantial and illuminating correspondence concerning his experiences in Egypt/Palestine, and with "secret" missions, Dunsterforce and Norper Forc.

Captain C.W. Townsend
Publication details: 
[Egypt/Palestine] 1915-17; [ Dunsterforce & Norper Force ] 1918-20.
SKU: 20370


PART ONE: Dunsterforce and other missions, 1918-20:Correspondence of Captain C. W. Townsend, while on active service with Dunsterforce and Norperforce, 1918-1920A secret mission in Mesopotamia, the day-to-day existence of a British Intelligence officer among Cossacks, Tartars and Armenians during the breakup of the Russian Empire and Russian Civil War, a whirlwind romance to the daughter of a White Russian colonel, the award of the order of St Vladimir by grateful anti-Bolsheviks, the brutal killing by Bolsheviks of two officers of the British Military Mission in South Russia, these and other incidents are described by Captain C. W. Townsend in this vivid and informative correspondence of seventy long letters - eleven to his family and fifty-nine, in excellent French, to his fiancée/wife - almost all written while on active service - a handful with Dunsterforce in Mesopotamia (a 'special mission' largely involving Australians and other colonials), and the greater part in the Caucasus as an intelligence officer with its successor Norperforce. Written over twenty turbulent months (January 1918 to August 1920) by a well-educated, intelligent and passionate individual, describing his day-to-day activities and privations, and giving an assessment of the dire military and political situation, with reference to the Charge at Huj; the Siege of Tsaritsyn; the buildup to the Khaibalikend massacre; a meeting with the Armenian freedom-fighter Andranik; 'the wedding feast of a great Persian Sheikh', Khaz'al bin Jabir bin Merdaw al-Ka'bi; and with reference to individuals including the White Russian general A. G. Shkuro, the Gilani revolutionary Mirza Kuchik Khan.The frankness of the present correspondence, coming from an intelligence officer on active service, is surprising, and would certainly have been the subject of reprimand had it come to light. The present letters have no known equivalent in the archival material of the period. Biographical details of the author are understandably sketchy. Cecil William Townsend was the son of William Townsend, rector of Bawdrip near Bridgwater, Somerset, and was educated at Denstone College, Staffordshire. He appears to have been well connected (there is a reference in a letter to his mother to his receiving a letter from 'Lady FitzG'). There are several references to him in the school magazine 'The Denstonian', together with a photograph of him in uniform. In April 1910 the magazine reports that Townsend has been 'playing the part of Tony Lumpkin in the Oxford University Dramatic Society' (he would go on to a career in the theatre), but it is unclear what was his exact involvement with the University. Whatever his educational status, he was certainly a good linguist by the time the present letters were written, his skills in French and Russian being central to his intelligence work. In September 1915 'The Denstonian' reports that 'C. W. Townsend is a lieutenant in the Warwickshire Yeomanry, and has gone out with the ist S. Midland Mounted Brigade to the Mediterranean somewhere.' Three months later (December 1915) the magazine specifies Townsend's destination as Serbia. It is clear from the letters that Townsend was an accomplished horseman, a skill vital to his work with Norperforce. (In a letter to his father he states that he was in the Australian Mounted Division before joining Dunsterforce at the beginning of 1918, and at the end of the previous year he took part with the Warwickshire Yeomanry in the celebrated cavalry charge at Huj.)As the present correspondence begins, at the start of 1918, Townsend has completed a cavalry course and been transferred to the 'very weird but intensely interesting' Dunsterforce, a 'special mission' in northern Persia and the south Caucasus, with the purpose, as Townsend puts it, of 'training irregular troops, cavalry and infantry, both Persians and Kurds', 'doing Intelligence work, famine relief work, road making, fighting - against the Turks, and against the famous army of KUTCHIK KHAN, the Persian Jungle tribesman'. (For more on Dunsterforce see the 1920 memoirs of its commander Sir L. C. Dunsterville, 'The Adventures of Dunsterforce'.) Within a few months Townsend is promoted from Lieutenant to acting Captain. By March 1919, when he reviews 'that special mission' in a letter to his father, Dunsterforce has been disbanded, and he is among those who have chosen to stay on with its successor, the North Persia Force of Sir William Montgomery Thomson (1877-1963). Townsend would continue to serve under Thomson when a few months later (May 1919) he took over the British forces in the South Caucasus. The greater part of the letters in the present correspondence are written while on active service with the British Military Mission in South Russia, and Townsend gives a vivid account of the breakup of the former Russian Empire, the murderous enmity between the various ethnic groups (part of his mission being 'settling troubles between Armenian and musulmen, murders, small massacres, hold-ups, etc etc') and the failure of the British intervention against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War.The personal element provides a second strand to the correspondence, with Townsend marrying Élène Vladimirovna Kitère [also Kitter or Kiter] within six months of meeting her at the end of 1918. The marriage takes place as the couple travel back to England, following the death of Townsend's father's death in May 1919, and Townsend's wife remains with his family in England when he travels back to the Caucasus that October. By this time the marriage is unravelling in bitterness and acrimony, with the curious result that Townsend's subsequent letters to her are filled with even greater detail regarding his activities working 'with a liaison group with the Russian armies'. He travels ceaselessly, interviewing locals and 'writing up full daily diary of the military events, battles & biographies, Secret Service information strength of forces, notes of railways water and land transport, historical, races, economical, financial, political, etc etc.'. His letters reflect a growing disillusionment, a fanatical hatred of the 'Red Terror', and the antisemitism popular among the Whites and their allies. Of particular interest is the apparently unrecorded murder by the Bolsheviks of 'Two British Officers lost at ROSTOV' in the early months of 1920, who were 'stripped of nearly all their clothing, then the Reds broke their arms, marched them 30 versts, [i.e. ten miles] then they had their Heads bashed in'. As the correspondence breaks off in May 1920, Townsend is serving with the British Military Mission in Sevastopol, complaining of ceaseless work with no prospect of leave. A month earlier he has told his mother that he is 'at G.H.Q. THEODOSIA in the Crimea […] at General Staff, H.Q. in charge of the counter-espionage department of Intelligence'. (The London Gazette has previously noted (1 August 1919) the 'relinquishment of the temp. rank of Capt.' by 'Lt. C. W. Townsend, War. Yeo., T.F.')The seventy letters present here are in good condition, with light signs of age and wear. Several envelopes are present with the letters, providing evidence of location. The present description is divided into two parts. First, the eleven letters from Townsend to his family, then his fifty-nine letters to his wife.A. Letters from Townsend to his family, 1918 to 1920.Eleven letters totaling 64pp., in formats ranging from folio to 12mo. Dating from between 16 January 1918 and 19 August 1920.Four of the letters relate to Dunsterforce. Writing to his father over twelve pages between 16 January to 27 February 1918, Townsend describes his activities with the Warwickshire Yeomanry during the celebrated Charge at Huj (8 November 1917) and in its aftermath, his cavalry training course at Zeitoun in Egypt, and his transfer to Dunsterforce, which he describes as a 'very weird but intensely interesting expedition'. On 15 March 1918, while on the mission, he describes 'the wedding feast of a great Persian Sheikh, more important than the Shah', in fact the man who turned down the offer of the throne of Kuwait, Khaz'al bin Jabir bin Merdaw al-Ka'bi (1863-1936). On 18 May 1918 he gives some news of his travels in gruelling conditions, with 'mosquitoes and flies, tarantulas, scorpions, fleas, lice, dogs, small snakes'. Writing on 29 March 1919 he gives an extended review of Dunsterforce - 'that special mission, which had such an unhappy career, and ending' - with a description of his comrades, and an overview of their mission, and with reference to the Gilani revolutionary Mirza Kuchik Khan (1880-1921).ONE: To his father. In three sections: beginning on 16 January 1918 (no place); then 19 January 1918, Cairo; and lastly '27. February 1918. On board H.M. Troopship [blank], Far Eastern water'. 12pp., 12mo. He begins with a reference to two previous letters (not present), and continues with a description of his activities with the Warwickshire Yeomen in the aftermath of the Battle of Huj (8 November 1917): 'At last we are relieved in the front line, after 2 months there. We spent Christmas and the New Year up in the mountains, and each of the festivities was pouring rain, hail, some snow and bitter cold. Our houses were a mile or two back, in charge of the "Number Threes", 1 man to 4 horses. They fared almost worse than we did as they were down on the plains, and were ferried out, up to their breasts in water if not up to their hocks in mud. Our Christmas day itself, they were moving camp from one swamp to a drier spot, but got hung up in the flooded "wadys" (rivers, only in spate after the heavy rains) and men and horses had to swim, literally for their lives. Some men of the transport were nearly drowned, and several horses, and some donkeys were lost altogether, and after the floods had gone down and we were on our way down from the hills we saw where their carcasses had simply been swept bodily by the floods. I was adjutant all through our period of holding the line in the mountains so (with the colonel), I had my little mare, up in the mountains with me all the time, and I was very glad. We advanced our line several times in the mountains during the 2 months we were there, but had no very bloody operations, as we had in the earlier weeks of the stunt. Holding a line of rocky ridges where there was no track, even for mules, and even on foot it was very precipitous, was a change after our cavalry rushes of the earlier part of the stunt, and our extraordinary mobility (as it seems now), operating at one place one day, and the next, appearing at a new place 50 miles away.' He continues: 'Well we are back 9 days' trek behind the line now, resting - you know what that means, no rest at all, but re-fitting, making up deficiencies in saddlery and equipment, mending saddlery - no joke after 3 months of the wear and tear it had had, in the wet season. Getting reinforcements and re-mounts, new clothing, and the thousand and one things that have to be done after operations - (and the scale on which we had been involved) - I said 9 days' trek, that accounts for your not hearing from me during the past fortnight or so.'He has managed to get letters to his father, 'or Mother, or G[eraldine]., M[argery]., or P[auline]., pretty regularly during the stunt, but I don't know how many of them were posted. I got them off in all sorts of weird ways, giving them to returning Ration Convoys, Artillery Field Observation Officers, boys going down the line to hospital, sick or slightly wounded.'He is 'in rags', 'waiting impatiently for the shirts Mother is so good in sending'. He describes the clothes he has been reduced to, adding: 'I was not any worse than most of my brother officers […] making up with Turkish stuff, especially gloves, socks, etc. You never saw such a band of skallywags as we were - all in slouch hats of some form or another, if we had not found metal shrapnel helmets / which we all wear now by the way, I am glad to say. If our Capt. Valentine who led one squadron in our charge at HUJ, [Rudolf Valentine, who was awarded the Military Cross] had had one on, he might have been spared his life. He died of wounds. Our other officers wounded are doing well, but our brigade officers killed and wounded are heavy. In the regiment Valentine was the only one to lose his life, as the wounded ones were fairly slight, but we lost some awful good men killed, and a lot of them. Capt. Valentine was wounded in the lung and thigh the same minute almost as I was in the second Gaza stunt […] Yes we are down from the hills now, and getting settled in a standing camp, for refitting and training and I hope, polo, football, tent pegging, sports, Race meetings, Horse shows, boxing, Christmas feed for the men, and last but not least Concerts.' He describes the 'Xmas feed (£150 worth of Turkeys and plum puddings from up the Nile, got by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant)'. He will miss this as he hopes to be in Cairo: 'With one period of rest, also begins courses at the School of Insinuation, Zeitoun (near Heliopolis, Cairo), Machine Gun, Hotchkiss, Signals, Bombs, Gas, General, Stokes Gun, Lewis Gun, Topographical, etc etc. Most of the offices in the Regiment, not wounded, have been to two, three, and even four of these specializing course since we have been in Egypt. I have only been to one, - Hotchkiss Gun. The Colonel promised me the Senior Officers Cavalry Course several times, but something always happened, I was assistant adjutant, or acting adjutant, or Intelligence Officer at the time, or something, and was unable to go. But I am promised the Cavalry Course this time by the Colonel, as Drake (wounded) is back and doing adjutant now […] So I hope to leave to-morrow or the next day on a Cavalry Course at Zeitoun.'Following the second part of the letter, in which Townsend writes Cairo and its entertainments, with reference to the course and 'the Holy Land operation'), he writes from the troopship, on 27 February, stating that he describes his transfer to Dunsterforce. He had completed his '4 weeks Cavalry Course at Cairo, and was granted 8 days leave to Luxor and Assouan, and I had planned a delightful trip, but the very day before I proposed going I was searched for all over Cairo, as it was the day of the breaking up of the Cavalry School, and reported at Gen. Hqrs, Cairo, and had exactly 7 hours notice (at 11 a.m.) to leave on the 6.15 train from Cairo Stn. for Suez, and embark next morning. It was some rush, in fact I only just had time to buy special kit, pack up my base kit, deposit one kit bag at Cox's Kit Stores, say good bye to a few people, and dine on the train down to Suez, where I arrived about 11.30 p.m. and went straight on board. […] I am off on a very weird but intensely interesting expedition, of which there is absolutely no knowing how it may end, nor when I may come back. […] I am writing in a bunk (the ship is very crowded) […] By the way in case my last letter to Mother goes West (or rather doesn't), my address is, Captain C. W. T. (Warwick Yeomanry), - put the Regt. in brackets, in case they might send it to the Regt. without reading the rest - DUNSTERFORCE, Mesopotamia Exped. Force. I am the only one in this outfit from the Australian Mtd. Division, and there is only one other from the Desert Mounted Corps, an Australian Major from the 7th Light Horse. So we are the only two friends who knew one another from before. […] we were told we might not get any mail for 6 or 8 months! […] often I shall be in furthest war theater frm the old country.'TWO: To his mother. 15 March 1918; no place. 3pp., 4to. Written in pencil, with postscript in ink giving his address as 'Captain C. W. Townsend | Warwick Yeomanry | Dunsterforce | Mespot. Exped Force.' In good condition, lightly aged. The letter begins: 'My dear Mother, I hope by now you have received my cable, sent from here on Monday 4 March. After quite an interesting stay at BASRAH we are now moving up country. I can give you no news.' After discussing objects he has requested, he describes Mesopotamia as 'a wonderful country in many ways', and describes the current weather. He is 'disappointed that we did not call at Bombay, still we had a very interesting trip. Didn't stay long at Aiden, but coaled at a little Persian island in the gulf which was interesting.' Since their arrival, fifteen of them 'had the loan of a steam launch, and went 15 miles down the River from Basrah, to the wedding feast of a great Persian Sheikh, more important than the Shah, with some hundred thousand a year. It was the wedding festivals lasting a week or so of his favorite (son of his favorite wife). It was the most interesting oriental stunt I have ever seen. This Sheikh (of Mohammerah) [Khaz'al bin Jabir bin Merdaw al-Ka'bi (1863-1936), who in 1920 would turn down the throne of Kuwait] you can see the country he is absolute ruler over on the map - has 131 unofficial wives, 46 official, and 5, to whom he has been properly married in state. He paraded a lot of his favorite sons before us, and they certainly were marvelous strapping fellows. […] 120 guests all told. The Persian band played God save the King in such a way that we had to roar with laughter. He did the dinner for us in Western manner, 8 course, but most of the other things were truly oriental. […] the whole palace, (covering an area greater than Blenheim) was all decorated with thousands of flags, and 100s of thousands of electric light bulbs'. There is a fireworks display, and draws a crude picture of the type of field gun that was fired. 'After the fireworks we had a dancing show, (Khan Khan), there were 2 dancing boys (with the most wonderful hair I've ever seen, we thought they were girls until we were told) and 3 dancing girls one a Persian from Tehran, the second an Arab, from Baghdad, and the last a Syrian (speaking French) from Beyrout'. He deals with personal news ('Had a letter from Lady FitzG. Of course told you in my last letter, did I not, that I am now a Captain.'), expressing pleasure at the arrival of 'the parcel with 2 shirts, helmet 1 pr socks, 1 pr wooly [sic] gloves, 3 chewing gum, thread and C's wax, 2 screw cap bottles Horlick's milk, combination knife spoon, fork'. Concluding with his own news he writes: 'We've had some very heavy tropical rain and thunder here and everything was in flood for a long time, and mud a foot deep. It was hottest down at Aden, we could hardly breathe on board. Most interesting was the Arabian gulf, South of the Persian Gulf, the nights were marvelously [sic] calm and moonlight, the sea like a mill pond, and the most wonderful phospheresence [sic] I've ever seen. The long waving ripple from the stern was like a long white Hasting magnesium ribbon and one could see the fish darting about under the surface of the water like luminous balls.'THREE: To his mother. 18 May 1918; place not stated. 4pp., 12mo. He has received her two parcels of foreign-language textbooks, and requests more. He describes his anxieties over his 'back mail', which he hopes arrived for him after he left Suez, and 'went all the way "up the line" to my regiment, Jordan Valley, perhaps found Regiment in middle of a stunt'. She will not be receiving regular mail from him in the coming months: 'Reasons, transport, mountain passes etc, and official reasons.' At that moment, 'and for the last 2 months, we've been experiencing a phenomenal heat, of which I never saw the like in Egypt, Sinai or Palestine. Thick spine protectors necessary whenever you stay outside, and mosquitoes and flies, tarantulas, scorpions, fleas, lice, dogs, small snakes, also worse than in Egypt or Palestine […] My time, now, and for the past 3 months, except when we've been on the move, on long treks - has been in giving endless language lessons - quite like the old days. I was at it most of the day in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf, and on the wonderful Tigris. | I stayed some time in Ashar & Basra, also at Amara, and at Kut-el-Amara, was most interested in the marvellous ruin of Stesiphon, [sic] and spent many weeks in Baghdad […] Quite distinct new types, after Palestine, especially the Jews, in costume, custom and everything. They seem most distinctly planted here as a distinct race, almost as a nation, than anywhere where I've seen Jews. They seem quite to themselves, their own laws, etc etc. […] By the way, we were flooded right out once at Baghdad'. The two things he misses are his mare and his 'old servant Wooton. We do everything for ourselves at present, cook our own food, with the help of one boy to 3 officers. In fact all through, it is very rough at present, the roughest, I've ever had, no more yeomanry fads and fancies, and I already look back to my regiment with great love and respect.'FOUR: ALS to his mother. 8 February 1919; Yevlak [i.e. Yevlakh, Azerbaijan]. 6pp., 12mo. He has 'a few minutes on the station', and is writing her 'a few lines before proceeding by automobile to SHUSHA, a town about 150 miles from the Railroad, in the mountains, 5000 feet up, to the South East of Tiflis'. He is being sent there 'on a British mission to the Armenians and Mussulmen, to quiet trouble and other things'. He 'travelled up from Baku' the previous night, 'with Colonel KITTER, the father of my fiancée, who is now in Tiflis.' They had a 'very interesting journey'. 'SHUSHA is a place right up in the mountains miles away from anywhere, and very cold, but better weather than Baku, just now, I believe.' He is still unable to tell her when he is to return home, 'And then I don't know whether it will be "on leave" from military service, or pending de-mobilisation'. He is happy to be able to write regularly, and looks forward to their meeting. 'What a lot we shall have to talk about, when I arrive. It's lucky I've kept a fairly full diary of my war service, it will refresh my memory, as one's memory suffers considerably with years of service in the desert. One becomes quite a bedouin - a simple native nomad, whose chief concern, I always to-night's supper or to-night's bed, where will it be? - or the morrow's battle shall I get through it? Am I prepared for a sudden end - […] Yes, looking back on it, it's a terrible ordeal, and it has certainly taken very many years out of my life.' He hopes she is not 'worried, or hurt over my betrothing myself (to use an old word, for want of a better one) to a Russian girl. You know that my heart has always been very deep in Russia, and the fact that poor Russia is undergoing, or recovering from a terrible illness just now, and coming through a very severe crisis, - only increases my love for her'. Her father, 'like many Russian Colonels and Generals of the loyal old Russian army, just now', is 'left absolutely or at any rate temporarily penniless, without any pay of any sort, from any government.' The British are, in his view, 'bearing the brunt of a great part of the old government's liabilities', and 'cannot guarantee the support of all the Russian officers of the Old Army'. He asks her to bear with him, acknowledging that he has been 'unlucky in all my ventures before the war, somehow owing to my "rolling stone" kind of nature'. His Russian studies are progressing, and he would like to get in touch with Professor Bernard Pares. He describes the worsening state of financial affairs in 'this poor beleaguered country', 'made worse for us, by taking us off Indian pay and a concession in the form of a preferential rate of exchange from rupees to Roubles (previously Russian Krans)'. He asks her to write to 'one of my closest friends in the Regiment when I left it', 'Capt. R. P. PRANKHERD' [in fact 'Prankerd'], whose address in Tunbridge Wells he gives (Prankerd had died in combat in the last months of the First World War).FIVE: To his father. 27 February 1919. 'GERUSI, | S. of SHUSHA, | Eastern ARMENIA | Southern Caucasus.' 9pp., 12mo. Letters should still be sent to him via 'THOMSON'S FORCE, BAKU', 'but they take a very long time to reach me now, as I am way up in the S. Caucasus mountains, 5000 feet up, and 5 days' journey on horseback, (or in a phaeton) from the BAKU, ELIZAVETPOL, TIFLIS, main line.' He was sent out 'very suddenly: I had about 3 hours' notice to leave BAKU (as usual) came by train to EULAKH station, thence by automobile to SHUSHA, a biggish town in Russian Armenia, ½ the population Armenian, and ½ Tartar or musulman. The British Mission there is settling trouble between Armenians and musulmen. Politics all the time, and being entertained one night by Armenians, the next night by Tartars, their confirmed enemies.' He finds the work 'pleasant', but only likes 'the other musulman races of the Caucasus, such as KABARDI, Circassians, Tschentsi, Ingushi, Osetini, etc.' He 'only stayed at SHUSHA one night, and was sent on to GERUSI, an Armenian town about 40 miles further South West, about the same height.' He went on horseback 'with despatches and money', and was '6 days in the mountains, practically cut off by the first real snow blizzard I've ever experienced. He had an Armenian doctor ('of ANDRONIK's force') with him, and 'only just made a little musulman village by night fall, where we got warm, got the samovar going, slept the night, and got plenty of fleas.' The following two or three days were 'roughish', and he 'certainly thought all was up' and that they would never reach the next village. On arrival they were 'handsomely entertained by various Armenian head men, with vodka and red wine, and sucking pig, and good juniper wood fires'. He had 'a royal time at GERUSI, and was entertained by ANDRONIK the great Armenian general [sic, for Andranik Ozanian, commonly known as Andranik (1865-1927)] […] a man whose presence always holds one in awe, and its marvellous how his people love him.' He returned to Shusha 'on one of Andronik's best horses with a cavalry escort, and have seldom seen more wonderful mountain scenery even in Switzerland'. After four or five days in Shusha he was sent back to Gerusi 'as permanent British, or rather Allied Representative, and here I am, all alone, with not another Britisher within 40 miles'. In Shusha he sent a long letter to his 'fiançee [sic] at Tiflis, which I sent through a URAL Cossack officer in the service of the AZERBAIDJAN (Tartar) Republic, and was entertained by rich Armenians and Tartars, most nights'. He travelled to Gerusi 'in a phaeton this time', taking 'short cuts on foot up mountain gorges and rushing watercourses, leaving the phaeton to wend its way around the zigzagging pass'. He continues: 'Well, its very lonely of course here in this outlandish place, GERUSI. The officer who was here before me, was the first Britisher who had ever been here, so you can imagine the reception he had. Colossal feasts and orgies, nothing but being entertained. It is a phenomenal task, not getting hopelessly drunk on these occasions, as of course they are terrible people for orgies, and drinking local vodka and red wine.' He turns to the 'sad and terrible side to it': 'thousands of Armenian and musulman refugees in the surrounding mountains, homeless, without clothing, and without food. One of my numerous jobs here is famine-relief, feeding some thousands of refugees, millions of roubles is being spent on it.' His 'other jobs' were 'settling troubles between Armenian and musulmen, murders, small massacres, hold-ups, etc etc, and general inter-Armenian and musulman politics, as the 2 races are intermingled all over these mountains, and their traditional hatred of one another and vendetta, dates back hundreds of years.' He is also 'acting as liaison between the great Armenian General and patriot, ANDRONIK, with his army - and British Headquarters, BAKU.' Most of his time is 'spent in long rides on good Caucasian ponies, for miles over the mountains to outlying Armenian or musulman villages, where one of course gets very well received, and most hospitably, by the various head men, or musulman chiefs, in fact one is welcomed with flags, and cheering, and the traditional bread and salt, very often followed by the inevitable feast or rather orgie, where some 20 or 30 persons are generally pleasant, and there is a toast master and innumerable toasts.' He praises 'what Great Russia did in the Caucasus, in the days before her illness came on […] especially in the way of road-making, building model villages up in the mountains, and erecting stone houses in native villages'. He describes his 'own work', it being 'the first occasion since Persia in June, July, that I have ever had as much as 3, 4 and 5 hours a day' to himself.' He discusses Russian books he needs for his studies, explaining that 'in this Revolution and war-ridden one [sic] can buy absolutely nothing bar food. One has to be up to all sorts of stunts, for clothing toilet necessities, etc.' He lists some of his 'other urgent needs' (a pipe, chewing gum, and a 'V. P. Kodak', and thinks back longingly to his 'little Australian mare which I left with the regiment in Palestine'. He apologises for his letters being 'long and labored [sic] conversations: I am talking, not writing, as this is the only opportunity I have of carrying on conversations in English, just as my fiançee is the only opportunity I have of talking French, as she speaks French the same as she does Russian'. He ends with enquiries after family news.SIX: To his father. 29 March 1919. 'Latest Address. THOMSON'S FORCE. BAKU. | via BATUM. Sat. 29. March 1919.' (In the body of the letter he gives 'Address Capt. C. W. Townsend, (Warwick Yeomanry), THOMSON'S FORCE, BAKU, Russia, via BATOUM'.) 4pp., folio. An extremely long letter: 258 lines in pencil in a very close tight hand. Covering topics including Dunsterforce and Bolshevism. Townsend begins with details of previous letters, explaining that after 'mail communications were opened through Batum and Constantinople' he had intended to write regularly, but 'during the last month, I have not only been so busy that I have not had a moment to write (being the only British Officer and British Representative in a huge area, right away from railroads)'. He has also 'spent a great part of the time, riding from morning till evening with practically no kit, - when of course writing is next to impossible, and messengers between me and Headquarters, have been of necessity, few and far between'. He never got a chance to see 'the BAGHDAD photograph', as his party 'left Baghdad before it was finished. A description of the 'special mission' of Dunsterforce follows. 'It will be an interesting photograph in many ways, as in that special mission, (which had such an unhappy career, and ending, all of which I shall be able to relate to you, when the long-looked-forward-to home coming is realized), were British Officers, English, Scottish & Irish, all picked from different units in France, for their good soldiering records, as well as representatives from the Palestine, Salonica, and Mesopotamian fronts, but the majority were colonials, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, S. Africans, and about 20 Rufficers of the Guards and Hussar Regiments of the Old Russian Army, and 1 Persifficer in the British Service'. He continues: 'We were a very good crowd and many good time we had on the boat coming out, and on the long, long, trail on foot, and mount through a great part of Mesopotamia, and over some 1000 miles of differnarts of Persia, doing Intelligence work, famine relief work, road making, fg - against the Turks, and against the famous army of KUTCHIK KHAN, the Persian Jungle tribesman, [the Gilani nationalist and revolutionary Mirza Kuchik Khan (1880-1921)] who all the time attacked and attempted raids on our line of communication, sniping at Ford Cars on the mountain forest road and carrying out organised raids on posts and garrisons. | And from time to time training irregular troops, cavalry and infantry, both Persians and Kurds (I saw a good bit of KURDISTAN), and even JELUS, ASSYRIANS, and ARMENIANS - from URMIEH.' While Dunsterforce is 'all very interesting to look back upon', the force 'had a terribly rough time, many more hardships and deprivation, than I ever went through with any regiment in Palestine, though there of course one had considerably more fighting. Then again in Palestine, when I was with my regiment, there is the REGIMENT and the Regiment's Colonel and officers to back one up, but when one is a detached officer, attached to first one staff and then another, first one force then another, first put on to one job, then on to another, - one is nobody's child, no one stick's [sic] up for one, no one know's one's record all through, there is no one to look after one's seniority and promotion. It is very hard luck. Several of my junior officers in my regiment were majors 6 months ago - as I have just heard, whereas they threatened or have actually taken away all Dunsterforce captaincies. We don't know anything about our rank or pay or anything out here'. He complains about the silence of his bank - Cox's' of Charing Cross - to whom he has sent 'drafts on the Imperial Bank of Persia […] (from HAMADAN, KAZUIN, and RESHT)'. He discusses money matters and his studies of the Persian and Russian languages, with the books he needs and has received. He complains of not having received 'the Vest Pocket Kodak, which apparently was sent off to me over twelve months ago, nor the second two shirts which Mother had made for me'. He is 'very much in need of the shirts, as it is awfully hard to get stuff out here, govt. ordnance stores are few and far between, and to get a shirt locally, costs 1000 Roubles (owing to the Revolution). And it is even more bad luck about the camera, having the first one stolen, and the second lost in transit, as one has opportunities in the marvellous atmostphere out here, the marvellous and scenery, the extraordinary places of interest and things of interest, more interesting than any country I've ever been in - which I shall never have again. […] And the glorious opportunities all through the Palestine campaign, the Holy Land, all through Mesopotamia, and especially Persia. Yes, its sheer bad luck.' He is 'longing' for letters from his father 'by the Batoum route, dated after the Armistice'. Having learnt of his father's 'financial loss' he has given instructions to his bank to pay over half his balance ('I am supposed to be on Indian pay since the 17th August'). He discusses exchange rates, commenting: 'conditions out here and in Russia generally are worse than anywhere, living being twelve times the cost it was in pre-revolution times, and Old Russian Army Officers, and Russian officials, (real Russians) being left without a kopeck, some serving voluntarily in the various loyal units which are fighting the Bolsheviks, either on no pay at all, just for their food, or on very low pay, others are even stranded and are starving. Russian generals have even been selling matches and cigarettes on the streets of Tiflis. That is the result of Red Revolution and Bolshevism, and a poor hopeless GOD-forsaken country, being overrun by Germans and Turks, Bolsheviks and other extremist hordes, nobody anybody's child, no government to look to for help or for pay due, for months and even years together. And the Revolutionists, and German Cruelty, and Turco-Armenian Troubles, and troubles between every other antagonistic and hungry race, come massacres, and murders, burnings and layings waste, famine and disease, - and the result of all this of course, is RED BOLSHEVISM (Anarchy) in the most poor and ignorant. That is what this poor dear country has been going through. We are in the midst of it, straightening things up, restoring communications, restoring order, stopping local fighting, clearing out the Turks (that is now finished of course), settling differences between antagonistic races; and last and most important I suppose, in conjunction with the Americans, feeding some 300,000 homeless refugees, whose homes are mostly burnt, they are without clothes, without food, without help, and have died by thousands and thousands, from famine and disease - the special brand of TYPHUS, which kills them off like flies.' He has 'riden [sic] over certain parts of the country', and has 'seen these refugees (Turkish Armenians and Mussulmen), some 1500 have come and collected in front of the Court House, when they heard the British Representative had arrived in the village, and have given their petition for help from the British.' He believes conditions to be improving. 'When I came through Persia, I thought it was bad enough, seeing corpses all along the road, and lying in the streets of the Towns (HAMADAN and KIRMANSHAH), and seeing living skeletons which were worse still, little children and old men, naked, with just tight skin stretched over the bones of their arms and legs, no flesh at all - all simply due to a bad year, bad harvest, and communications cut off with the outside world owing to the war, and due perhaps to the passage of strange armies, but due mostly I think to a country where their rich do not help their poor, even though they are dying of starvation, and the British and Americans have to come and do it for them.' The country 'has simply been ravished in one direction by wholesale massacres (by Armenians and Mussulmen alike) in another by foreign hordes, and again in other directions by Bolshevism'. He has been 'reading a few post-armistice papers', and asks: 'Are we (all the Allies together) going to help Russia or not? Are we going to fight BOLSHEVISM or not? We should carry on the war, and kill BOLSHEVISM thoroughly and quickly, with all the force we have at our disposal - before it is too late. Otherwise it may spread and then we shall know abot it, and regret our policy, and I think it will be about time the world came to an end. I'm afraid Western Europe does not wholly realize that BOLSHEVISM is not Russia, but the result of, 1) discontent and famine brought on by the Revolution, 2) a few fanatic extreme socialist mob leaders, 3) a mass of undeveloped and ignorant hungry peasants, who are told that bolshevism is the only master which will get them food eventually, 4) a tyrannical discipline, or Terrorism, enforced by Prussian militarists, or from the example set by Prussian militarists, by which the mob has no alternative but to bend under the Bolshevik yoke, and fight in the Bolshevik armies, and 5) the chief of all, the stiffening of their masses, and in fact the cause of all the trouble, - Germans, including ex-prisoners, but chiefly the Germanism which has been undermining and strangling Russia, bit by bit, ever since the days of Katherine the Great, the originator of the Pan-German idea, which they have been trying to push forward ever since'. He returns to the question of finance, having 'saved a good bit of money while in Persia', and then states that he will probably 'be out here for an indefinite period (before coming home, either on leave, or for demobilization)', and due to 'the absolute impossibility of getting anything at all out here in the way of instruction books', he asks him to send 'those books, which I cabled to you for from HAMADAN, via TEHRAN and the Indo-European Telegraph, as long ago as last June, 1918', these being 'most necessary for me for my present study, with my career in view'. He gives details of four Russian language text books he requires. He ends with the news that he is 'way up in mountain fastnesses, miles and miles from anywhere, alone, and smoking either local plant which is abominable, or minute installments of English Tobacco giving [sic] by some kind person, who is luckier than I, being out here with his regiment, who looks after him, and gets him up canteen stores, gets to his mails, and that sort of thing.' He is 'nobody's child at present, as far as the British Govt. is concerned. However we must hope for the best, and be thankful for food, and the respect we get from everyone out here as being representatives of the victorious allies - from Russians, Persians, Tartars, Georgians, Cossacks, Circassians, Tchechentzi, Kabardi, Ingushi, Lesgines, Assetines, Turkomen, Armenians, and all the other races and peoples which are mixed up together out here.'SEVEN: To his mother. 6 May 1919; 'GERUSI, (80 miles S. of SHUSHA) | ELIZAVETPOL Govt. | S. Caucasus.' 2pp., 12mo. The letter begins: 'Its terribly difficult for me to write to you to-night. A Despatch rider brought me a telegram last night from the British Staff at SHUSHA, with the sad news of dear Father's death. […] The cable arrived at Head Quarters in BAKU, which is my base so to speak. From there the Chief of Staff wired it to the Chief of the British Military Mission in SHUSH, (which is my advanced base), and from there it was sent to me by despatch rider.' He is certain to be granted permission to return home. 'There is bound to be an officer here, and it just happens that this time is very critical, and the situation fairly serious here. I only hope and trust I shall be relieved in a day or two, then there will be the long journey to Baku, and from there I shall leave for Tiflis and Batoum as soon as ever I have collected what belongings I have, together. But most of my kit and stuff is in Tiflis at my fiancée's house, so I shall only be a night at Bacou [sic], unless they keep me longer at Headquarters. […] I shall come via Italy, Marseilles, Paris, Folkestone, London. […] At present I can do nothing but anxiously wait to be relieved here. My communications with SHUSHA even are few and far between. I am right up (6,000 feet) in desolate mountains, with 50 miles of lonely and bad roads between here and SHUSHA.'EIGHT: To his 'Mum'. 30 October 1919; 'On board S.S. Transport "Gloucester Castle" (Hospital Ship). In port, Salonica' (on cancelled letterhead of the 'British Officers' Club and Rest House'). 6pp., 4to (one leaf) and 12mo (two leaves). Having written 'cards & letters every day' since leaving London, he hopes she has received some of them. He has asked 'Helen' (his new wife) to pass on his news. He came 'fairly quickly through France and Italy, but ever officer agreed that it was the worst - by far and away the worst, and most discomforting journey by land or sea since the beginning of the war'. He describes in detail the 'scandalous' affair, with officers passing 'three nights running sitting up in an overcrowded, cold yet stuffy 1st or 3rd class compartment', with inadequate food and drink, and being 'parted from our luggage from Modane/Franco-Italian frontier, Mont Céris', and with corrupt Italian practices (including 'a mere mockery' of 'registration') over their baggage. From Taranto he had 'decided to refuse point blank to leave for Russia or Constantinople without my kit, and so had several others […] I had decided that if my kit didn't turn up in time for the last British boat, I would stay on, and if they wouldn't give me permission to go on an Italian ship, they could arrest me, or I would go back to Marseilles and sail from there. We made a tremendous fuss about it and I think they "got the wind up, properly," and set the Telegraphs and Telephones going furiously, all up the Italian railroads, as far as Turin. And the result was, thank Goodness, that our kit turned up by goods train, only tour days after our arrival, and here I am on baord, not having lost so very much time in transit. […] Much as I enjoyed Italy, especially Rome, and much as I like the Italian naval officers, of whom I met a lot at Batoun last June, and the Italian upper classes, I must say that the feeling in Italy, and the actions and attitude of the people towards the rest of the Allies, especially Britain and France - could not be worse. They all imagine that they, and they alone, won the war.' He comments astutely that the Italians, who are 'furious with the Peace Conference', 'want all sorts of places and islands in the Yougo-Slav State, and the country of the Slovenes, in Dalmatia, and in fact all down the coast of the Balkan Peninsular - which are quite another race, Slavs, Southern Slavs, with different religion, different traditions, quite wrong geographically - which is absolutely contrary to the principles set forth by Wilson (good principles), contrary to the League of Nations principles, and simply re-opening the way for Prussian despotism to come down and stir up trouble in the Balkans, which it has been doing since time immemorial, […] The feeling in Italy now, is anti British and French, and back to pro-German, pro-dual monarchy and pro-Prussianism. I went into this fairly thoroughly while I was in Italy, and have had time to think it out and consult maps. […] Italy is undoubtedly looking for trouble, and led by a fanatic poet, mediaeval in his imperialistic ideas, D'ANNUNZIO'. The ship is 'calling at Salonica […] to drop and take up officers. We hope to be in Constantinople not later than Sunday. […] I go to NOVOROSSISK in the Black Sea, or TAGANROG, in the Sea of Azoff, on the Don, just north of the Black Sea, from there, perhaps eventually to Moscow. Who knows?'[The next letter describes conditions in Tsaritsyn (subsequently Stalingrad and now Volgograd) during the Battle of Tsaritsyn. The city had come under Soviet control in November 1917. In June 1919 the White Armed Forces of South Russia under the command of General Denikin captured the city. The Battle of Tsaritsyn raged from July 1919 until January 1920, when the city fell to the Bolsheviks.]NINE: To his sister Geraldine. 15 December 1919; Tsaritsyn [now Volgograd]. 10pp., 12mo. He describes how, since his 'departure from TAGANROG […] life has been one long really rough and un-nerving time. I've certainly undergone a strain equal to anything in the war, either in Palestine, Persia, Mesopot or Caucasus […] The greater part of the time I've been travelling over war-railways in cattle trucks shunted and jolted, trying to keep warm in an arctic old, with or without a stove as the case may be.' He has 'got families of lice', but hopes not to get typhus. 'We are existing on pins & needles as we may have to hop it at any moment. The Bolsheviks are heavily re-inforced (from Kolchak's front and from elsewhere, and are also using Lettish, Esthonian [sic] and Chinese mercinaries), and are attacking on every front, KHARKOV and PATAVA have fallen, and KIEV is surrounded. We are saved for the moment by the Volga, the Bolsheviks are in great force to the North of us and to the SE of us, and to the E. the Bolsheviks are on one side of the Volga, and we are on the other, but the Northern reaches of the Volga are frozen over, and the Bolsheviks have even constructed a wooden bridge over the ice for transport.' When the Volga freezes at Traritsyn it will be time to 'hop it'. They are keeping 'working materials at the house, ready to run like stink! | The town is heavily bombarded nearly every day, and sometimes its quite unsafe to walk in the streets. We have only had one shell in one mission house, so owe are lucky, […] One officer was killed and one wounded a day or two ago, and some of the streets are badly broken up. One has to take a lot of risk out here, one is up against them from all sides. But all British officers carry rifles when travelling, and I always sleep with my revolver under my pillow, one has to. […] Life here would seem to be two or three hundred years ago, or in the Terror, of the French revolution. Spies and other Bolshevik offenders are hung here publicly at the corners of the street, practically every day. Five a day. One passes casually and sees them dangling to the high cross bars of the main telegraph poles, sometimes with placards up of their offences, such as transmitting our military wires to the Bolsheviks (spies amongst our telegraph operators). | The Volga opposite us is […] at present, uncrossable, thank the Lord. Everything is at famine prices of course. Lunch in the one café in the place, costs 250 to 300 roubles. British Military exchange 400 to the £.' He feels recurring pain from his 'wounded arm' and is 'very, very busy. […] My work is interesting of course, including writing up full daily diary of the military events, battles & biographies, Secret Service information strength of forces, notes of railways water and land transport, historical, races, economical, financial, political, etc etc.' He goes to the front fairly frequently, and interviews 'endless Russian staff and people. The last time I went to the front in our coach to the nearest point & the railway, a few miles away then road round the defensive position. There was no hot fighting though. The steppe all snow covered and frozen hard, and strewn with corpses of horses and camels. By the way, the camels used as transport animals, look so funny out here in the snow, and 10 degrees of frost, and sometimes much more. […] We saw some gruesome sights as well, almost as gruesome as when I saw dogs tearing human corpses to pieces in the open streets, when the famine was on in Hamadan, Persia. This time we saw the corpse of a dead horse lying in the snow, swollen like a baloon, [sic] and it seemed to be moving and was all red and bloody, then when we rode round it, we saw a huge scavanger dog inside its stomach, wrestling and tugging at the flesh, shooting its bloody nose into the putrid meat like a battering-ram and having a high old time.' The last third of the letter responds to his sister's latest letter to him, and includes an apology that 'Helen has been giving so much trouble over money matters' ('But Mother doesn't understand her, which makes matters worse'). He concludes by explaining that his time is 'terribly limited. In fact one puts in very often 14 or 15 hours a day - including going to the front' (he had previously explained that his only recreation was '2 hours after supper when 4 of us occasionally play bridge to rest our brains from the office work, etc.').TEN: To his mother. 6 April 1920; 'Port of THEODOSIA, Eastern CRIMEA | Black Sea.' 6pp., 4to. Unsigned, but apparently complete. He has been 'cut off for over 2 months and could get nothing through. Since a week after Christmas, just before the fall of TSHRITSIN, it has been one long endless strain, - to health, mind, morale, and body.' He has been living 'in cattle trucks' and 'nearly got captured twice'. 'How we got away from TSARITSIN nobody knows! […] During the whole of the war, one never took such risks, or underwent such hardships.' He finally arrived 'at EKATERINODAR', where he was 'attached to Gen. HOLMAN's Staff (Intelligence of course)'. He was to be sent out, as 'sole British representative', with General SCHKURO's "Wolf" Squadron, into the hills, in an attempt to get in the rear of the Bolshevik Armies, and try and save the situation'. His role was 'chiefly as a representative of the British Mission for the moral effect on his Cossacks, but the raid never came off, so I did not go […] Gen. SCHKURO, [Andrei Grigoriyevich Shkuro (1887-1947)] who is a wild, dashing, Cossack leader, was too late in starting, and the situation was already bad. The Bolsheviks forced us out of EKATERINODAR, and I came down to NOVOROSSISK on Gen. HOLMAN's staff train. Then came the terrible evacuation of NOVOROSSISK. The British got 30,000 Volunteer Army troops away, and more than twice that number of women and children. Afterwards the Bolsheviks played all over the quays with Machine guns and mowed down thousands indiscriminately[,] many Volunteer Army, and DON Cossacks who could not be got away committed suicide on the quays. Looting was rampant. The Bolsheviks are shooting the wives and families complete of any man of the Volunteer Army who held any rank whatever, from one stripe upwards.' He describes his 'worst time ever', living in a truck in 'bitter biting cold' ('When we used to wake up in the morning. 'We were 7 trucks with the whole of my liaison group. About 6 officers, 8 men and 6 Cossack grooms, 12 horses (without forage)'. He 'saved the situation', shooting 58 pigeons with 'the little .22 automatic Remington Rifle which I had in my bag'.'Two British Officers, Captains, were lost in the ROSTOV affair. They were on duty at wire defences somewhere near ROSTOV on the DON. The Bolsheviks got them, and I suppose they had not time to shoot themselves. We had to get our revolvers ready once up the line near TSARITSIN, and practically abandoned our kit. Started destroying papers etc. […] A civil war, where there is a Red Terror, and Jews is different from other wars. And where you are representatives of H.M. Government, and out to help, not necessarily to fight, it is different too. […] The Two British Officers lost at ROSTOV, were stripped of nearly all their clothing, then the Reds broke their arms, marched them 30 versts, [i.e. ten miles] then they had their Heads bashed in. This is all now confirmed - officially. The information is correct. […] The Red Terror are fighting against the World, they will not finish in Russia. Now, they have beaten Russia, all but the poor little CRIMEA, […] The Red Terror, (Bolsheviks, foreign and Russian fanatics, Geneva Revolutionists) are out to ill all the upper classes. In the armies, officers are non-commissioned officers. And any civilians - the landed proprietors, gentry, nobility, Intellegentsia, [sic] anyone of standing, anyone educated, anyone with money. It is a battle against civilization itself. They are supported by the Jews. Their commissars are jews. These Jews are out to kill Russians - revenge for the past. Merciless revenge.' He writes forcefully about the spread of the 'Red Terror' through 'part of the old Russian empire' and neighbouring states, before continuing: 'I was talking about our privations up the line. One also had work to do. Tremendous amount of work. In the days in the cattle truck, I sometimes worked 14 hours a day. Going to different parts of the front. Endless interviewing. Helping. Writing war diary every day. Endless reports. I have twice in the coldest spell we had, worked up to 6 a.m., feeding the stove every few minutes'. He asserts that 'Russia can never die', and that 'Our work will not be forgotten'. He has 'worked hard' and 'been commended (I tell this only to you, as I have had so little recognition in this war, - nothing certainly before - since I left my regiment) But this time I have been commended and highly commended by Gen. Holman [Sir Herbert Campbell Holman (1869-1949), final Commander of the British Military Mission in South Russia], by Col. Rowlandson [Charles St John Rowlandson], Brigadier General of the General Staff (Intelligence), by Col. Bingham, Gen. Staff Officer II of Intelligence. By Col. Ross Hudson, my splendid Chief up the line, and by the Russians. I have just had a bit of good news to-night. The following in Mission Routine Orders. "Orders by General PERCY, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. Commanding Brit. Military Mission, South Russia. Following awards have been made by the Commander in Chief Armed Forces of South Russia (Gen. DENIKIN), for gallantry in the Field and Devotion to duty, Subject to approval of His Majesty's Govt. provisional permission is given to accept and wear the decorations so awarded. St. VLADIMIR, 4th Class. Lieut. a/Capt. C. W. Townsend War. Yeo. Date of Armed Forces of South Russia Order, 23.3.20 (Old Style).' He complains that he has been 'treated awfully badly by the War Office', still being paid as a lieutenant, although his 'present Chief, Colonel MACKESEY has put in a strong recommendation for my proper rank of captain with pay and allowances', He is 'out of cheques', and complains of the resulting difficulties, including the fact that 'Armenian & Jewish speculators, who cash cheques for officers, attempt to change the date, make the sum larger, etc.' He ends with the news that he is 'working terribly hard at G.H.Q. THEODOSIA in the Crimea. I am now not with a liaison group with the Russian armies, but at General Staff, H.Q. in charge of the counter-espionage department of Intelligence. It is interesting work, but long hours. No time for letter writing. I am writing this long after midnight. [ends here, without signature]'ELEVEN: To 'Helen'. 18 August 1920; Military Hospital, Netley, Hants (on cancelled letterhead of the British Officers' Rest House, Constantinople). 2pp., 4to. He has been 'a month (nearly) on the hospital ship "GLENGORM CASTLE" coming from Constantinople. We stopped at ALEXANDRIA, MALTA and GIBRALTAR, but were in quarantine. I was a "stretcher case" at Constantinople, when I went on the ship, but the voyage did wonders, and now I am absolutely fit. […] we have to undergo three bacteriological tests before we are "free," […] to make sure that we are absolutely clear of the dysentery germs. […] There were three deaths on the hospital ship (all buried at sea)'. He apologises for not having written since leaving Sevastopol, and ends by stating that if the first test proves negative the medical officer has told him that he can 'get up to London' to see her.B. Letters from Townsend to his fiancée/wife 'Élène Vladimirovna Kitère', 1919-192059 letters, totalling 219pp., in various formats from folio to 12mo; on an assortment of papers (including graph paper), reflecting Townsend's pressured circumstances. The first letter written from 'Bacou' (i.e. Baku, now the Azerbaijan capital), 3 February 1919; and the last from Sevastopol ('Mission Militaire de la Grande Bretagne'), 10 May 1920. The correspondence is divided into two sections: the first dates from between February and May 1919, and the second from between October 1919 and May 1920. Letters from the first section are dated from locations including Baku, Goris ['Gerusi'], Shusha (several on letterhead of the British Mission there), Tiflis, Taganrog. The addresses in the second section are given in Cyrillic script, but Townsend's whereabouts can be established from the English letters. The second section begins with eight letters written while Townsend is returning from England in October 1919: from Boulogne (one, on letterhead of the British Officers Club and Rest House); Rome (one, on letterhead of the Grand Continental Hotel); Taranto (three, on letterheads of E. F. C., Officers Rest House and Mess); the S.S. Gloucester Castle, Salonica; and Constantinople (on letterhead of the British Officers' Rest House there). A letter from 'Guérusi' [Goris], 1 May 1919, is accompanied by a passport; also present is a photograph of a man in fatiguesd (evidently Townsend) on a horse in a wasteland.Many of the earlier letters are accompanied by their envelopes, addressed to her at her Tiflis address ('Mikhaïlovskaiya, 23. App. 1'); one of the later letters (13 December 1919) is addressed to 'Mrs. Cecil W. Townsend | c/o Mrs. Crowhurst | The Grove | Cossington | Bridgwater | Somerset. England.'Townsend's 59 letters to his wife, comprising more than two hundred pages of closely and neatly written text, are written in excellent French, over a period of little more than a year, and provide an invaluable first-hand account of the South Russian theatre of the Civil War during a crucial period in the conflict. Extended descriptions go into surprising detail - for an intelligence officer especially - regarding the day-to-day nature of Townsend's operations and the political situation on the ground. The personal element of the letters is highly-charged, with Townsend's initial idealism regarding his whirlwind romance giving way to disillusionment and bitterness. The father of Townsend's fiançée is a White Russian colonel from Tiflis named Kitter, who is also actively engaged against the Bolsheviks, and is on good terms with Townsend. Present with the correspondence is a French passport of Madame Leonora Kiter, dated 5 June 1915, with stamp of the French consulate in London. The holder is stated to have been born at 'Batoum (Russie)' on 1 March 1884, and is said to be staying with her two children and a servant at 45 Regents Park Road, London.The early letters are passionate in nature, and Townsend is at pains to indicate the seriousness with which he is entering into the state of matrimony. On 11 April 1919 he writes: 'Je n'ai jamais été si occupé depuis longtemps. Je vais d'un endroit à l'autre presque tous les jours. Je viens de revenir à Guérusi de Nakhschevan, Bazartchaï, Ciciane, et Karakilisseh, et demain je dois aller à 36 vertes au sud, pour tacher de faire la paix entre les Tartares et les arméniens. Aujoud'hui et hier il y a eu une grande bataille à Zéiva, une village qui malheureusement se trouve juste entre le territoire musulmane et la Territoire areménienne. Ce n'est pas très amusant. Il y a eu beaucoup de casualités déjà.' On 28 April 1919 he reports that he is leaving Shusha the following day at five in the morning, 'avec deux automobiles blindés, 6 autres automobiles, et trois membres de la mission americaine, (un docteur et deux dames)'. He also complains of his solitary existence 'a Guérusi, (ou plutôt dans les montagnes de Karabagh)'. The following day (29 April 1919) he states that the battles between the Armenians and Tartars in the region are continuing, adding: 'Sans doute, j'aurai des aventures, - mais comme ces gens m'agacent!' A few days later (2 May 1919) he writes that the other officers who came to Gerusi with him are leaving, and that 'Les communications d'ici à Choucha sont impossible à présent: je ne peux pas envoyer mes letters et rapports ni par les Tartares ni par les arméniens, parceque dans ce cas elles n'arrivent jamais; la route est très dangereuse à présent, infestée par des brigands, (il y a eu beaucoup de meutres et de massacres tout dernièrement); - et les automobiles et patrouilles viennent rarement. | Moi, je suis tout à fait seul ici. Au lieu du pauvre fidèle Williams, maintenant j'ai un jeune refugié Turc-arménien, un gosse de 12 ans. Nous avons trouvé une très bonne maison pour le quartier-general, avec un grand jardin, et des beaux cerisier tout autour. C'est juste au pied de la montagne.' He describes a feast that has been held in honour of the commandant of the English Mission at Shusha, and 'des histoires' with the Armenians over 'deux soeurs de la charité russes'. The following day (3 May 1919) he writes: 'He bien, Élène. On se connait maintenant presque 5 mois, et nous sommes fiançés depuis le 10 Janvier, presque 4 mois.' He is devastated on receiving news on 5 May 1919 of his father's death. Three days later (8 May 1919), in another twelve-page letter, he strikes a romantic and mystical tone, writing that since meeting her six months before she has been his 'ciel, à côté de ma mère et mon père, que j'adore et vénère'. On 14 May 1919 he writes of the arrival from Baku of General Shuttelworth, [sic, for Sir Digby Inglis Shuttleworth (1876-1948)] with 'CLIVELY (un anglais de Bacou qui parle le russe comme un russe - […]) et deux autres officiers', along with fourteen vehicles, thirty soldiers and two machineguns: 'C'est la première fois qu'on a vu des choses pareilles a Guérusi'. The following day he reports the general's departure, 'sans les trois arméniens qu'il a voulu arrêter'. He states the name of the organisation to which the men belong in Cyrillic, adding 'tu sais ce que ça veut dire': 'Au dernier moment les arméniens les ont pris, et les ont cachés dans une village hors de la ville. Les citoyens dans les rues ont été excité par des provocateurs, et quand je suis alle en automobile pour chercher les trois prisonniers, un [Cyrillic] m'a menacé avec une epée, et a crié, [Cyrillic]'. He states that an Armenian prince is staying in the town, and that if the prisoners are not surrendered, a state of war will exist between the Armenians and the allies, the British Mission will be withdrawn, and 'nos aeroplanes viendront bombarder Guérisi'. On 16 May he reports that the Armeniens have fired through the windows of the mission, and that he has dined with his only friends in the area, 'un russe de Siberie' and 'un Tartare russe de Kazan'. He suggests a solution for 'toutes ces histoires'. On 19 May 1919 he writes that before departing from Gerusi, the general promised him that he would be relieved by another officer from Baku. If the rumours he has heard, that the Italians are coming to the Caucasus, and that the English are to leave, are true, 'il faudra que tu parte avec moi, n'est ce pas?'On 11 November 1919, writing from Taganrog, he reports that four days previously, in bad weather, eleven tanks, intended for the front, were thrown in a storm from the quay into the sea: 'Ça veut dire que même si on les sauves ils seront beacoup abîmés par la mer, et par la force du saut dans la mere. On dit ici, que un seul "Tank" coûte £100,000 livres sterling!' He gives his address as 'Capt. C. W. Towsend (Warwick Yeomanry) | Intelligence. TSARITSYN, British Military Mission, South Russia. via Constantinople'. He describes the conditions, including diet, in the 'wagon he is working in, along with the career of one of the five officers with whom he is sharing it, a one-legged pilot and the former British representative in Siberia, 'le plus grand héros que j'ai rencontré pendant toute cette guerre'. He explains his coming role: 'faisant des copies de documents d'intelligence pour prendre a [Cyrillic]. Là-bas on fait la bataille a present, tres fort. Il y a des "tanks" anglais, et le plupart des mitrailleurs [Cyrillic] sont anglais. Je serai l'officier liaison [Cyrillic] entre l'armée russe (Aille droite de l'armée des cosaques du DON, et l'armée caucasienne du général [Cyrillic]'. On 17 November 'on m'a fait prendre la place d'un autre officier, comme interprete dans un conseil de guerre au quartier-général de la Mission. Cela a duré toute la matinée, et ce soire aussi. L'accusé fut un russe (de naissance) mais maintenant, et depuis le commencement de la guerre - un soldat dans l'armée anglaise. Les temoigne furent des officiers russes, et aussi des officiers français, de la Mission française ice. J'ai du traduire du russe, et du français, - très embêtant.' On 20 November 1919 he gives 'Les dernieres nouvelles du front', remarking on a strange situation with 'les servants des officiers que nous avons dans ce billet ici'. He also writes: 'Avant hier, dans les orders du jour, il y avait une nouvelle ordre, que tout officier anglais doit maintenant toujours porter un fusil, [Cyrillic], et 150 ronds de cartouches! Grâce à Dieu, que j'ai maintenant un servant qui va porter le mien, car j'ai assez à porter. Cette ordre c'est parceque tant d'officier ont été presque tués - pas des coups de fusil, de revolver, et même des bombes. Il y a des atentâts contres les officiers presque chaque jour, par des agents bolchéviques, surtout dans le voisinage de Kiebz. Deux ou trois officiers ont été tués seulement. Mail il y avait un capitaine de l'état-major, un specialiste de "Tanks", qui organisait toutes les écoles d'instructions pour les soldats russes, dans l'emploi des "Tanks" qui a du rentrer en angleterre, selon l'ordre du général. Il parait que les bolchévique lui avait markait absolument, et il n'était jamais en sureté, ni au front, ni ici […]'. On 28 November 1919 he complains of 'difficultés extraordinaire, - dans un sale wagon de marchandises ou je voyage avec un officier anglais (aviateur), et encore 14 soldats, ou plutôt mécaniciens aviatiques anglais […] nous avons un poèle au milieu (grâce à Dieu, puisqu'il fait très froid)'. Two days later (30 November 1919) he explains that his hands have been too cold for him to hold a pen to write with, and he laments: 'Quand je suis parti de toi a Londres je n'ai jamais pensé que je devrais subir des telles rigueurs et des telles privations, que je subis maintenant en Russie, dans le grand froid d'un hiver sur la Steppe.' He consoles himself with the thought that 'notre cause e[s]t la grander cause de la Russie, et une bonne cause. Et nous, les Anglais, sommes ici pour aider, et je crois qu'on aide beaucoup'. The letter degenerates into an antisemitic rant, including the claim that 'tous les commisars bolsheviques sont des juifs'. The letters from 1 December 1919 onwards reflect the worsening conditions, containing descriptions of the very grave military situation he is facing, and his own privations, with reference to the use of British aeroplanes and tanks, and his travelling in a railway carriage of the 'Corps anglais d'aviation'. A twelve-page letter on 11 December 1919 goes into detail about his recent work, and includes a telling of the incident with the dog. The letter reflects the worsening state of their relationship. He reproaches her for complaining about money, stating that he is not in Russia for his own pleasure, contrasting her position in England with that of the countesses, princesses and women of good families working at menial jobs for low wages. He describes the meagre meals being eaten around him, and takes her to task for requesting money from his sister, stating that he has no confidence in her regarding financial affairs. He accuses her of saying 'sâletés' about his mother, that not even a divorcee would have the courage to say to her husband. Four days later, on 15 December 1919, he describes how every day he has to write for official purposes a diary of the war in all its aspects, including 'les agents secrets des bolchéviques, les intrigues des allemands, les signaux militaires, la question des ouvriers et des paysans'. The situation is still critical, the Bolshevik forces previously in Siberia now being launched against them there. There is no bombardment as he writes: the silence is strange and feels like the calm before the storm. 'Les bolchéviques peuvent venir la nuit, et ils ont jurés de faire toutes espèces d'atrocités aux anglais quand ils les attrapperont.' On 22 December 1919 the 'situation est très pénible maintenant'. He explains that he has been left 'commandant de la mission': a difficult position for him and a great responsibility, with three other British officers, three Russian officers and nine British soldiers. 'Les bolchéviques sont tout autour de nous, et des grandes forces sont lançes contre nous sur tous les fronts.' Their lines of communication are at risk of being cut at two places, and the town is subject to daily bombardments. In his next letter, on 17 January 1920, he states that he has been very lucky, despite having an injured and bandaged hand for the last three weeks. He and his men have retreated, and this has involved the loss for the previous eleven days of 'toutes mes documents, mes rapports, et mes papiers secrêts et importants et toutes mes baggages'. They are at present on the 'ancienne ligne du DON […] sur la mer caspienne'. He has never known a more difficult and dangerous time, not even during the Great War, and has not known where the next danger will come from. 'Ce matin, nous étions 4 officiers dans mon wagon de marchandrie, tachant de se chauffer devant le poêle'. Writing from the British Military Mission in Sevastopol on 13 April 1920 he apologises for not writing for six weeks: he is ill and his work is ceaseless. In the last letter of all, from the same place on 10 May 1920, he writes of his frustration at not being able to return to England or send her a telegram. Although the Crimea is quiet, no English officer is allowed to return home 'avant qu'on a fini avec lui'.PART TWO: Townsend in Egypt and Palestine, 1915-17[ C.W. Townsend; First World War in Egypt and Palestine ]Forty + Autograph Letters Signed to his Mother and Father, 1915-1917, 150 (one hundred and Fifty) plus pages, vast majority closely-written with good content, 12mo, 8vo, and cr.8vo. Many with original envelopes.Note: a. Townsend joined Dunsterforce in January 1918. See description of his Letters from that experience above. b. Townsend found the Charge at Huj exhilarating. See quotation at end.A. 19156 Letters, 9 October 1915-15 November 1915, from Holkham, Gibraltar, 'Somewhere in the Mediterranean', 'Mediterranean near Malta', 'British M.E. Force', Mondros [ Mudros] West, Isle of Lemnos, Aegean.Subjects and Points: [HOLKHAM] prospect of Egypt and Gallipoli; medical exam; requirements of books (an avaricious reader in all situations but also needing specialist works like dictionaries for putative future use with French Exped. Fce); [ship & GIB] troop entertainment "very French"); Warwick Yeomanry personnel; wrestling; deck games [ In the Med.] submarine threat; weather; mixed nation crew ("a dangerous lot"); sights from the ship (Algiers etc); boxing; good morale; [MEF] "Scotian" (ship"; description of Lemnos ("advance base for the Gallipoli peninsula"; tooth problem treated eventually at No.3 Australian General Hospital; food; thinks Salonika bound; asks for as many books an possible; correspondence; his Russian friends; "Everything is mismanaged on our part of this war"; critical of "expensive" lifestyle.B. 191615 plus letters, 16 January 1916- 28 November 1916, from Salhieh Camp (Egypt), Port Said, Suez Canal, Choubra Hospital (Cairo, Bae Army Post, Hospital (Alexandria), Field Post Office.Subjects and Points: ailments; aristocratic comrades; trying to join the 'ranks'; fed-upness; anticipating action 'in a week or so'; Major Emmet described; Egyptian climate; censorship; his reading; effects of sand; pencil drawing of tropical bell tent; contrast of his experience with newspaper reports; requirements (tobacco, shaving soap, pocket Kodak, etc); escorting 100 camels; Port Said on errand; servant wounded (incident described); own illness, convalescence; the nature of promotion; [14.7.16] dysentery; description of convalescent home (former Suez Canal Co building) and pleasant surroundings and facilities; contrast to Cairo, heat and mosquitoes; high praise of the 'colonial' (Australian) nursing staff "bright - interesting, gentle, talk a lot if you want then to, friendly and wide, plenty of experience, and what hard workers"; illnesses in hospital listed "and the siters work like Trojans there, they were wonderful. Yes, the Australian soldier, especially the Light Horse and the Australian sisters are magnificent"; reading in hospital; damage to goods sent; ; requirements; visit to Egyptian Museum; nearly got job in Mespot; discussion of Conrad's novels; and other books; [next letter] fellow patient, the Duke of Westminster; talk of other people in regiment; horses; "My troop has done a lot of escorting to camel transport on the Sinai Peninsula"; Roman and Greek remains; the Bedouin (discussed briefly) - 30000 on Sinai); archaeology; Alexandria; missed the 'big battle at ROMANI and KATIA"; statistics and other information about dead and wounded; enteric; books; missing fighting near Canal; regimental complement; thoughts of transfer resisted; pencil plan/drawing of bivouack and surroundings; describes his 'rounds' and getting lost; visits Russian battleship; watch broken; [5.11.16] "we are now in the A.N.Z.A.C. Mtd Division"; "The air sees more big fights than the desert"; describes the remote outpost he and comrades occupy; appreciation of the novels of H.G. Wells; slight injury; "Exciting times just now".c.18 Letters, 25 January 1917 - 23 November 1917, plus telegram about wound and hospital, NO place names except hospital ones, envelopes postmarked Field Post Office or Base Army Post.Subjects and Points: [25.1.17] RAFA, "the best stunt we've ever had, a great battle; ; response to home news; the Padre Rev. Etherington - encomium, his activity on troopship Braemar Castle, heroic riding, [Padre's]tending of wounded and dead at Rafa - a 'Friar Tuck'; Arabs rob graves and would murder downed airmen for valuables; there are different sorts of Arabs, who differ from the Turks who 'respect the Red Cross and are gentlemen besides' - gives example of civilised act by Turks; dislike of the 'boche'; stories of the heroic army dog 'GOOCHY' - 'His great triumph was the RAFA battle' - two-page encomium; meeting with acquaintance, Percival Heywood (commanding Staffordshire Yeomanry); rugby against 2nd Regt. Australian Light Horse, Australians too good for them; description/discussion of the 'RAFA fight' (9 June 1917) [long gap]; Reports on health from hospital in Alexandria; social activity; his old school; praise of French artists and American short story writers; possible promotion; injustice of some promotions; reading in hospital; (inc. plot of 'Lord Jim"); plays, operas and books; 'Chaliapine will not play this season because of the state of Russia'; ;literary chat; out of hospital; light duty; Russian friends depressed by Revolution; poor organisation of the British Army, brief discussion; resents public schoolboy officers; "I'm longing for another show"; expects to win the War; loss of friends' lives (100 +); [7.8.17] filthy camp and vile 'messing'; application for 'a Russian job' for which he is well qualified; "I'd give anything to go there with some mission or Jewish Regiment"; requests pyjamas; [10.9.17] long trek with regiment; promoted to Lieutenant; injured arm not yet right; requests clothing, tobacco, coffee, Horlicks, chewing gum, thread, etc, etc; repeats requests in letters because ruomour of lost mail.[23 Nov. 1917][Charge at Huj, 'last British Cavalry charge']He discusses his situation in the 'rocky mountains', frozen. [He's in Palestine, on the Sinai Peninsula]. The countryside is attractive ('promised land'). He is escorting one of his troopers to hospital, giving him an opportunity to write and send a letter. "We've had the most extraordinary escapes, how some of us are alive is a miracle. Feel I never lived, if it can be called living - till now. But it seems another and a brute life altogether sometimes. One becomes another being in these moments. It's extraordinary what we've ben through. I expect you have vague outline of it in the papers by now."[4 Dec. 1917]"I am writing you a short note actually on the front line, behind sheltering rock 'sangars', we have been on a stunt for several days, and our casualties have not been great yet, luckily, as the previous stunt [Charge at Huj] brought us down to under half strength. I expect you heard of our charge and the big guns our regiment captured"; ................................................. COMPLETE DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE ON APPLICATION.