Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 83

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[Page 83]

the usual cigarettes the General Staff have evinced a very strong desire not to have them actually up at the front through the fear they will go back and tell the truth about the true state of affairs. Somerset succeeding in getting through by ignoring the instructions. He was received very coldly on the Arcadian but feigning stupidity he was finally allowed to stay until it was time for him to return and learnt a great deal about what was going on. He said 'anyone who looks as stupid as I do has a fair chance'. But Stanley Wilson was held up at Athens and was not allowed to proceed any further. In consecquence he was perfectly furiously and was vigorously denouncing everyone. In fact it does seem a short sighted policy not to trust your own messengers and thus to arouse their antagonism as they have it in their power to do a great deal of harm at home. However as I have often noticed the workings of the military mind are very hard to define. Wilson told me he ad seen Lord Methuen who had cabled to him saying 'do not let Ashmead Bartlett say a word about the expedition as he is a Jeramiah. I do not know what were the pecularities of that prohpet but on enquiry I learn he was a pessimist. I have never been a pessimist provided things are carried out in the right way. But I am more than ever convinced we can never get through working on our present lines. The Calodien is an old boat built thirty years ago but for all that not too uncomfortable. The two Kings Messengers insisted upon my sitting down to put togther a memorandum on the Military situation whieh I proceeded to do but took equal care that neither of them should have a copy.

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