Saturday, 29 September 2007

1914 Mobilisation.

John spent the spring and summer of 1914 at Cambridge. His diary shows him that he travelled to Aldershot on the 9th of April, and returning on the 14th Easter Tuesday. Quite possibly this was a T. A. training camp.

A practise mobilisation had taken place on the 14th of March, but it had been just routine training, and as his university term only ended two days later, he may have missed it anyway, as it doesn't appear in his diary.

On Whitsun Bank Holiday, 1st of June he took his Tripos, with term finishing on the 3rd. Like so many others during that hot summer he had no idea of the horror that would befall them all. His diary is full of events like the Royal Horticultural Societies Holland House Show, and garden parties. On the 6th of July he left for a holiday in Guernsey and Sark.

On the 28th of June 1914 Gavril Princep had assassinated Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo.

By Sunday the 2nd of August John had returned, and riding his Bough motorcycle he had set out for Perham Down Camp on Salisbury Plain where that years summer camp for the Queen's Westminster Rifles was being held.

2 Sun - 8 aft Trin. Camp to 16th
11.30 arrived Perham Down Camp by motorcycle 1200 Battalion arrived.
8.30 news of invasion of France. Message start mobilisation. Struck Camp.

At the news of the invasion cheer after cheer was heard from every camp.[1]

The battalion had only left Paddington Station that morning, August 2nd, 1914 for Salisbury Plain.
Rumours had been around for several days that war might be imminent, even before they had left London.

By 9.30 pm. orders were received that the entire 2nd London Division was to return to London. Major Waley Cohen the 2nd in command was acting as railway transport officer.

John records:-

3 Mon, Bank Holiday. Left Camp 1.30 AM. 10 O'clock dismissed from Headquarters. King & Queen cheered at Palace by night crowd.[2]

The Battalion had returned by train to Paddington Station arriving in the early hours of Bank Monday Monday, August 3rd. On the following day, the 4th of August war was declared on Germany, and orders to mobilise were issued.

On the following morning the official telegram ordering John Baber to report to the mobilisation centre arrived.

To Lieut Baber 9 Phillimore
Gdns Kensington to
Mobilize 8 am Endowed Schools
Officer Commanding
Queens West's

[1] Henriques, page 1.
[2] J Baber's short diary no 1.

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