19th March 1919 Wednesday

A Chat with Ironside

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“On the following day General Ironsides (sic) inspected our Hospital and was very pleased with everything. He had quite a long conversation with me regarding Edinburgh and Elie. One of his staff officers had a beautiful fur coat on. One could not help wondering how many bottles of whisky he had given for it!”

General Ironside

At this time although things must have been fairly relaxed for Douglas on Solombola Island, few recent entries in the diary might have indicated that not a lot was happening. General Ironside however was kept busy. March was spent with what for the General must have been a plate spinning time with trouble on the Pinega Front and also on the Railway Front. Rumours were rife that Seletskoe and Yametskoe had fallen which turned out to be mere gossip with no foundation.

Colonel Lucas the French Commandant whom Douglas first mentioned on the 4th of November 1918 and again on the 17th and 19th of that month, had his command ended on the 17th March. Ironside tells the story best in his account, (not always accurate as we’ve seen earlier).

“…On the 17thMarch he made an effort to visit his right column. It was the first time he had ventured to leave the railway. On his return he ran into an enemy attack which was being launched on the French post at Bolshoe Ozerky. His driver took fright and tipped him out in the snow. He wandered about for twenty-four hours in the forest, until he was happily picked up by a patrol and brought into the railway. Both his hands were badly frost-bitten and he had to report sick. I gave his staff officer Major Aarchen, two days in command but he proved himself incapable of taking charge. On a personal wire from a British staff officer I then decided to take over the command myself.”

Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here

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