HERTS Yeomanry doings as far as they concerned T. Holland-Hibbert from 1st May 1915 to 4th August 1915

Mar 1 [May 1]

Horses picketed in the square men in filthy barracks full of bed bugs, I slept with blankets of mine on the bed. Back to Abbassia1 having accomplished nothing as far as we knew.

Mar 4 [May 4]

Bucks, Berks and Dorsets arrived. We all set upon them to sell them polo ponies. Evelyn Rothschild gave £50 for one of W.H.H2.’s! Some famous polo players arrived Humdale and Cheape. Leonard Avery10 Bucks doctor. Some sort of fever amongst the horses.

May 15

Archie Clayton3 always picking at me now crabbed my seat and hands. Interesting thing is that photographs show me sort of squashed down on the saddle & really I dont think I rode nearly as well as I thought I did till polo put me in a better position. So Archie was probably right as he nearly always was! We had been doing routine drills & a good deal of just exercise.

W Holland-Hibbert at head of part of his troop

W Holland-Hibbert at head of part of his troop

May 17

Sword drill seems to have become important & reenforcement officer Critchley4 arrived with all the latest sword drill. He was on WHH’s horse in front of WHH’s troop facing the Sargeant and showing what to do. His horse began getting inch by inch nearer the Sargeant until touch horse, when there was a fearful scream & the officer fell off backwards!

Very hot weather. Afternoons spent sleeping. Routine drilling, sword drill, revolver.

Polo nearly every evening. The heat did not seem to matter for that!

June 9

Got leave for Summer Palace Hotel Alexandria. Beautiful bathing, Sea warm.

June 11

Visited Worcs Yeo, saw some friends

Jume 13

Hired a boat and went out of harbour. Not much fun as it was still.

June 14

Back to Helipolis.5


Parade 5.45, in by 7.15. !07 in shade. 113 in Cairo.


Hugh6s wife had arrived. He appeared late, not shaved, on parade.

17 [27?]

Seems to have been a lot of galloping drill and charges.

July 2.

Rev 1.45. Free day with Lotes, Derbys. Visited Kursaal7 in evening. Performers kept well away from the stage box which contained uproarious Yeo officers headed by Teddy Drake8.

July 14

W.H.H2 was given sick leave for home. He’d had a heart attack.

July 12

Get leave to go with V9 to Port Said before her departure.


WHH2 arrived.


Boat sailed. Saw them off. Felt very unfair that I had to stop.  W2 go. Went back, bathed & saw the ship go over the horizon. Went up the de Lesips (S16) [?] pier with Jack Wigan & Niven. Jack had been asked to take over the Bucks Yeo as their Col Genville had been sacked. He was told he need not make up his mind at once. They called him back as he left the room and said “If you take on the job you need not be circumcised” Got back to barracks more miserable than words can say.


Church parade with sword on for first time. Trouble began to brew up about me having bought a cast pony (£6.10) Apparently an officer is not allowed to. I didn’t bid but Shakir did and the under bidder (a native) said his bid for £7 was not taken by auctioneer.

July 28

Helipolis5 hotel filling up with wounded.

Forgot to record that V9 did some work there. Not enough beds. Orange crates made into beds. Terrible to hear the hospital trains coming in on the siding. Wounded still with emergency dressing on full of maggots.

Rumours of move.

Aug 2

Rumours so much that we went to Heurents in Cairo to order men stores! Hugh & Archie. Cant think how anybody knew what to order.

Aug 4

Told off for police job in Cairo – Australian huts. Bal-el-Hadid barracks with 28 men. Spencer-Smith head M.P. A room at 9 Boulac. My first job was with a Mrs Richards who had been refused a licence to sell lemonade. Also had to go round various hotels to look for malingerers. Got bitten on the thigh when riding off, by Cuppy stallion pony.


1 On the outskirts of Cairo.

2 2nd Lieutenant Wilfred Holland- Hibbert (4th January 1893 – 18th February 1961) who was Thurston’s brother.  Served 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry August 1914 – July 1915 (A Squadron – Egypt); 3rd/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry September 1915 – March 1916); and in Staff Appointment March 1916 – April 1918 (ADC to Viceroy of India and Temporary Captain 17th March 1916)

3 Temporary Major Archibald Charles William Clayton (24th October 1867 – 1944), Captain.  Served 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry September 1914 – October 1915 (A Squadron Egypt; Dardanelles.  Temporary Major while commanding squadron 28th August 1914); and November 1916 – April 1919 (D Squadron – Mesopotamia.  Commanding squadron.  Despatches twice.)

4 2nd Lieutenant Harry Fordham Critchley (19th September 1891- ?)  Served 2nd/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry March – June 1915; 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry  July 1915 – May 1917 (B Squadron – Egypt; Western Desert; France); and Labour Corps June 1917 – June 1919 (Acting Captain while commanding P.o.W. company 1st June 1917 – 27th June 1919)

5 Heliopolis was an ancient city eventually covered with sand. A new development was created on top of the ancient site in 1905. It was originally outside Cairo but has since merged with the capital city.

6 Major Hugh James Wyld, (16th April1880 – ?)   Appointed Major to command A Squadron 25th August 1913. Served 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry August 1914 – May 1916 (commanding A Squadron – Egypt; Dardanelles; Western Desert)

7 Kursaal – Music hall in Cairo.

8 Captain John Hughes Drake (23rd August 1883 – 28th September 1970) Served 1st/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry August 1914 – July 1915 (B Squadron – Egypt) and January – September 1916 (B Squadron – Western Desert; France Temporary Major to command squadron 1st january 1916)  and in Staff Appointments July – December 1915 (Assistant Military Landing Officer Mudros 18th July 1915. Despatches) and others

9 Viola Mary (nee Clutterbuck), Thurstan’s wife

10 probably Leonard Avery an Australian doctor born in Queensland around 1871 but in 1911 living with his wife and three children at 19a Charles Street, Hanover Square, London.

HALS reference: D/EYO/2/131

This page was added on 30/06/2016.

Comments about this page

  • I think the quote should read ” . . . riding off, by Guppy stallion pony.” not Cuppy pony. Guppy being army slang for Egyptian and shortened to Guppy.

    By andrew FrencA (01/01/2021)
  • Not “Humdale” but Hurndale (his name was actually spelt Hurndall and he was the adjutant of the Berks Yeo)

    I believe the Teddy Drake referred to in the diary at the Kursaall was more likely to be Lieut E.T.T. Drake of the Berks Yeomanry. The RC padre of the division noted, “I never struck a more jovial set than the Berks. Their mess was the liveliest and noisiest in all the Division. Fun and chaff and ragging approached the limits at times, but never really exceeded it”

    By Andrew French (19/05/2018)

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