Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen
BLANKENBURG 1/11 MARK bei BERLIN
Monday July 1st. At last a real fine warm day. Tennis started 8 a.m. – 2 letters one from DD one from Charlie. 2 parcels, 1 Red Cross, containing very little, & a clothing parcel, the other shoe turned up all right, am gradually getting together some kit. Played golf in the morning, Sipi & I beat Hatfield & Evans 3 & 2. Played tennis at 2.30 p.m. for an hour & didn’t get as blown as I thought I should, in shoes from Canteen with linoleum soles (11/50 M) were rather uncomfy. Hatfield has lent me a pair of grey flannels with a red stripe down them, it is a treat to get out of breeches & boots. Felt like a schoolboy after tennis going to Canteen for Ersatz Beer & a bag of cherries! Had cold shower bath before tea – washing came back from Berlin, looking very nice but evidently more cleaning process than washing with soap.
Tuesday July 2nd. Promised to be a fine day but it was raining before 1 p.m. Managed to get a 2 mile walk in the park before lunch, & we tried to play golf after lunch but were driven in by rain which continued on & off all day. Handicaps for tennis tournament are out (singles) I am ‘scratch’ lowest -30 highest +30. There are 24 entries & we have got a “Pari Mutual” started on it.
Wednesday July 3rd. Cloudy day. Worked at French & played golf. Sipi & self v Hatfield & Pughe Evans, they beat us on the last green. Very hot & thundery weather in afternoon, sat out in garden, French officers went for a walk, those who went with them came back very hot, am glad I didn’t go – more rain after dinner. No tennis again today, courts too wet.
Thursday July 4th. Hot bath 7.50 a.m. Fine morning & cooler breeze. Tennis Tournament started at 12.30 p.m. & went on incessantly until 7.30 p.m. 3 letters today, one from Gina, Col Neish & Hercules Tailyour whom I haven’t heard of for years. He was taken prisoner in Aug /14 & is now at Scheveningen Holland. Sat in Garden during the morning, & had a game of golf with Farmer after tea, beat him on the 19th green, after being dormy 4. Quite a breeze today but still thundery & oppressive.
Friday July 5th. Cold dull day. 3 parcels from Fortnum & Mason, A & N, & Walter Barnard. At last got a respectable cap with Badges. Excellent selection food, but marmalade & Eschoffier Sauce in F & M’s parcel broken. A & N parcel dated 25 May F & M’s evidently 3 May. Fear my bread parcels dating back from 7 June will be bad. Evans’ bread from Copenhagen dated 22 June was quite good, no mould but dry. Played 2 sets tennis with Farmer & beat him 6.2 &6.1. As a little practice before Tournament in afternoon. Played George in Tournament 2.30 p.m. & beat him 6.4 both sets. Rather a pat ball kind of game. I had to give him 15 one game & 30 the next. Cold shower bath after very refreshing. Sipiagni in bed with touch of flue & very sorry for himself.
Saturday July 6th. Another parcel food one from Lazenby, all excellent things & arrived well packed. Bad night. I could not get to sleep till 2.45 a.m., result was not at all inclined to take my hot bath at 8 a.m. Tennis tournament continued I played Williams at 12 p.m. & finished the 3 sets at 1.20 p.m. Had to give him ½ 30 & managed to win after a very close game – 6-4 – 2-6 – 8-6 were the games – Was very stiff after the games in spite of hot bath after it.
Cold drizzling rain at times, played Farmer golf after tea, & beat him on the 18th green – Sipiagni better this evening & taking nourishment.
Sunday July 7th. Fine but windy. Wrote to DD in the morning. Played Norton in Tournament after lunch – he gave me ½ 15 & beat me – 7/5, 2/6 & 6/8. A very even game which lasted 2 hours – Youth & better training told in the end. Both feet blistered from the Canteen shoes with linoleum soles & am very stiff. Sat in garden in sun but sheltered from the wind after tea. 2 British (Norton & Hatfield) & 2 Frenchmen left in for Semi-finals. My roses are now in full bloom in the window & look very well, but they soon lose their beautiful Salmon colour after coming fully out & turn into a rather common pale pink.
Monday July 8th. Fine day. Hatfield & Avensgas left in for final of tennis. An attempt to arrange another tea in Library after finals has I am glad to say failed. The golf course has been improved, greens & bunkers weeded – played Farmer who beat me 2 up & 1 to play.
My left heel is bruised after the tennis & I shall have to give my feet a rest for a day or two. Sat in garden after tea, nice & warm in the sun. Sipiagni was up for tea & dinner & appears to be better.
Tuesday July 9th. Hot bath 8 a.m. Very hot day, sat out in garden in the morning. Played golf with Hatfield before lunch. Final tennis tournament 2.30 p.m. Avensgas won 2 sets to one. Played another round of golf after tea with Farmer who beat me 2 & 1. Thunderstorm & rain at 6 p.m. just as we had finished.
Wednesday July 10th. Letter & postcard from DD. Parcel from Red Cross – food. Shall only get 61 days pay as Br. Gen. & then revert to Regt Rk. Must plan out accordingly – Had meeting of Room representatives & Secretaries various funds after Roll Call. Every fund appears to be separate, with no estimate of expenses etc. Hope to be able to get a general levy to include all games, library, gas etc & prevent as at present about 6 people collecting money at end of each month.
Very hot morning but slight rain in the afternoon. Played foursome golf after tea. Self & Farmer beat Hatfield & Sipiagni 7 & 6. Had some German Burgundy for dinner at 9.50 mks per bottle. Special brand kept by Lt. Burgkman who says there isn’t a great stock of it.
Thursday July 11th. Played tennis 9.45 – 10.30 a.m. 2 parcels arrived one Red Cross, one Copenhagen biscuits for week ending June 15th. 2 letters, one from DD, one from Betty, all well.
Slight touch of lumbago after tennis, shall have to go easy. Very hot day. Sat out in garden morning & afternoon. Played golf after tea.
Friday July 12th. Very hot day, sat out all morning & afternoon. Played golf with Farmer after tea & beat him 4 & 2. Have planned 3 more holes & must get sanction from Comdt to make them. This will give a 9 hole course & I think will improve it especially when grass is cut & course generally smartened up. Walked in Park after dinner with Sipi.
Saturday July 13th. Played tennis with Pughe Evans 9.45 – 10.30., beat him one set 7-5. Cool breeze today, more clouds about. Listened to new German Feldwebel playing piano in the Library – he is a perfect artist at it & has given concerts since 1889. Has played at Crystal Palace.
Played 4 sets tennis. Hatfield & self v Norton & Evans. 4/40 p.m. to 6/40 p.m. Bath just before dinner.
Sunday July 14th. Rained hard from 5 to 8.30 a.m. No tennis today Feldwebel playing again before lunch. Wrote DD short letter one postcard after lunch – Concert (piano) after supper quite a large audience 8.40 to 9.30 p.m.
Monday July 15th. Very hot day. Arranged to play tennis at 4.30 p.m. but heavy rain shower stopped tennis for day at 2.30 p.m. Marked out new 3 holes on golf course with Vick & Farmer & put up a bunker guarding No 1 green. With a load of sand & rolling course ought to improve.
Tuesday July 16th. Hot bath 8 a.m. One letter from DD dated May 15. Two Red Cross Food parcels dated May 15 & 22, both good ones. Still hot & some rain during the night – tennis started 12.30 p.m. I played 3.30 to 4.30 with Hatfield against Hibbard & Vick & beat them 2 sets. Had shower bath after tea. Very close & thundery all evening. The Feldwebel gave us another piano recital after dinner.
Wednesday July 17th. Letter from DD dated 28 May. Still very hot, a thick fog at 5 a.m. Played tennis with Hibbard at 10.30 to 11.30 – and again at 4.30 – 5.30 with Count D’Aymery. My shoes have given way, they have only lasted 3 weeks, shoes continue to be a difficulty until some arrive from home. If my black brogue shoes turn up I can turn the brown canvas ones into tennis shoes by taking off the heels.
Thursday July 18th. Thunderstorm hanging about from 2.30 a.m. broke over village about 8.30 a.m. Quite sufficiently close to be unpleasant. 2 letters, 1 from Betty, 1 from Aunt Alice. Biscuits parcel from Copenhagen dated June 7th. Very hot all day. Looked to official correspondence from Van der Zyde – 2 boxes of H & P biscuits have arrived & have been put with Common box. The 60 emergency parcels will also form a reserve when they arrive & are to be kept for a new captured officers, or men transferred who have delayed in getting their parcels. Very hot all day.
Friday July 19th. Bad night, did not get to sleep till after 2 p.m. Mosquitoes very troublesome. Letter from Oldfield, parcel clothing, mackintosh cigars etc. Played tennis 2.30 – 3.30 p.m. with Hatfield against Pughe Evans & Norton. 1 set all. Golf 3 ball match. Hatfield, Farmer & self 5.15 to 6.40 p.m. Feldwebel played again at 8 p.m.
Saturday July 20th. 2 letters from DD dated 27 May & 18 June & 1 from Gina dated 26 May. Played Hibbard singles 10.30 – 11.30 a.m. & beat him 6-2 – 6-3 and again at 4.30 p.m. & beat him 9.7.
The Feldwebel & Count Kirkoff on “cello” gave recital at 6.30 p.m. Some French orderlies went to Frankfurt on Oder prior to going back to France. They have been prisoners since 1914.Cunningham has rigged up a stick with sponge steeped in Toothache Mixture (Camphor) over my bed as a preventative for mosquitoes!
Still very hot, luckily the baths are going all day. Had a hot bath @ 8 a.m. & 2 cold shower baths after tennis today.
Sunday July 21. Letter from Gertie. Played tennis 10.30 – 11.30 a.m. Norton & I beat Hatfield & Hibbard. At 12 noon attended Belgian Room at invitation of Lippens to drink health of Belgian nation on the Independence Day. Self & Hibbard represented British. D’Amery French. All Belgian officers in full kit were present. Russian Generals excused themselves on account of news of Czar’s assassination.
Wrote DD in the afternoon & tried a walk in the Park after tea, but rain drove us in. Difficulty in finding a British Orderly to take on work on tennis court.
Monday July 22nd. Food parcel Red X dated 27 May & Pitman Shorthand Dictionary, French Dictionary, Prayer Bk from DD. Wet morning. Worked hard & wrote out suggestions re formation of Sports Club etc. At present everything is separate. Heavy rain & hail after lunch. Got some exercise (1 hour) after tea. Hatfield sick with Tummy. Siprani also has tummy ache. Rumour from Berlin that Russia has declared war on England!
Tuesday July 23rd. Another wet morning. Letter from Charlie. Biscuits from Copenhagen dated June 22. Worked on the new golf greens during the morning. Went with Robertson to our garden 2.30 – 4.30 p.m. There is a good stock of vegetables but requires some weeding, shall be quite glad to take it on when he goes away. A large Gotha aeroplane passed low over here about 5 p.m. just as we were going out to play golf, a foursome, Sipia & Hatfield against self & Farmer, we gave them a half but couldn’t manage it. Had trial shots at the new holes, think they will be quite good. The small load of sand has cost 25 Marks!! Not worth getting any more at this price. Feldwebel played to us after dinner. Count Kirkoff has sent me some sweet peas, pink ones, from his garden. Cunningham went to Berlin today & says it looks very empty. About 16 French & British officers went to Football field & found goal posts gone!
Wednesday July 24th. Another wet morning. Warned at Roll Call there is to be an Inspection at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Chief of Staff of Corps, & P of W Inspection Staff. Wet morning. Worked on golf course after tea, rolling greens & approaches. Kirkoff and Feldwebel played in the Library during the afternoon.
Thursday July 25th. Great excitement in Camp about 8 a.m. 15 French officers & Phillips (Mercantile Marine) escaped during night. Phillips d’Ayenery & 5 others were caught & back here by 9 a.m. Result we were locked into the courtyard until after Inspection at 3 p.m.
C of S III Army Corps & Inspector P of W Camps inspected Camp at 3 p.m. They shook hands with me & asked if I was comfortable, saying that this was the best Camp. C of S speaks English well. He addressed officers after I had left parade & said it was a pity to try & escape from here as it was so comfortable!
Played golf, 3 ball match, self Farmer & Hatfield after Inspection, & won 14 points to H’s 10 ½ , F 8. Still some showers & no tennis. Red X parcel dated June 8 arrived today.
Friday July 26th. Tennis started at 8 a.m. D’Ayemery, Phillips & Co plus Castier left camp about 10.15 a.m. We had a chance of saying goodbye to them, don’t suppose they will come back here again. Played tennis at 11.30, and again at 4.30 p.m. A game of golf with H at 6 p.m. Vick & Farmer looking on the new greens & have put down some sand. 2 of them are still too sloping & must be altered. Hibbert & Bitz dined, so we had some Hock cup.
Saturday July 27th. Heavy rain again during night & tennis courts not fit to play on. At luncheon Sipiagni was warned to be ready to leave at 5 p.m. He was furious & went straight to bed but finally after Traube had seen him decided to go to Kirtrin where they say Russian Officers are being collected. We all walked him to the Station, very sorry to lose him, but he will probably get back to Russia soon where & under what circumstances remains to be seen. Cashavaio, his faithful servant remains with us, as cook & orderly. Played golf after dinner. A Russian General Johnson left this morning as well. Many rumours in Camp from doing away with Camp altogether to 20 new English Officers arriving – also Camp to become a Senior Officers’ Camp & all young officers to go elsewhere.
German Engineers digging for the tunnel in garden this afternoon, all very amused. I saw the room where it was commenced. A very neat piece of work, all the spoil from the tunnel packed carefully away & boarded up with bed boards.
Rumours that most of the others have been caught.
Sunday July 28th. Wrote letter & postcard to DD. Fine morning but more heavy rain & thunder at 2 p.m. just as tennis courts were drying up. Walked in park with George for an hour after tea. A new Russian officer has come back here, one Colonel Lillier, he was C of S of Russian Army Corps. Speaks French. Awescas has returned & is alone in No 13 Room.
Monday July 29th. Two letters from DD dated June 20 & 28. 2 parcels, one from Morels, badly damaged, & arrived in a sack. One clothing containing cigars, badges of rank, powders, shoes & sock. Sewed on my new tabs & badges and am at last dressed correctly. Walk at 2 p.m. went along Berlin Rd, through Pankow & back by the Berlin City allotments, some of them are quite good flower, fruit & vegetable gardens with tiny houses. Got back at 3.40 p.m. I walked with Lippens.
Played golf after tea. Cool cloudy day but no rain.
Tuesday July 30th. Two letters from DD dated 12 & 14 June & one from Mrs. B.F. Cold dull day. Worked at my French Grammar in morning. Comdt Mozin Senior Belgian Officer came to see me about my proposals for forming one sports club, they agree but think Library & gas fund must be kept separate. Castier who came back & 1 other French officer left for another camp ‘en route’ for Switzerland. About 18 of us went to football field at 2 p.m. & had a small game of soccer. About 40 German children flocked to the field on our arrival, & were given some chocolate to scramble for, this appears to be a very popular game for them.
Wednesday July 31st. Woke up about 6 a.m. feeling very sick but recovered after Mullin’s exercises & cold bath! Found Sipi back again at breakfast, having travelled all night. Still cold & dull, sat out & worked at French, & had usual 3 ball golf match before lunch. At 2 p.m. went for long walk through outskirts of Pankow, suburb of Berlin, inhabitants seem quite friendly; do not admire German Architecture. Got back 4.20 p.m. to find new Australian officer Ranson in Camp (No 3 Room) in Phillips’ place. He & Col Lillier dined with us. Ranson has been P of W 2 years & expects to go to Holland shortly.
Paris & 3 other French Officers returned & in No 13 Room.