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In all the wonderful British article. The latter, however, Saga of exploit by land and does not olaim a greater persea and air that'Blaokwood's' sonal knowledge of the oamhas colleoted these last five paign than that afforded to years with an almost uncanny him, as a special correspondent, instinct for what would be by a visit, and he was not in read and reread, not only at faot with the Arab foroes at home, but in countless well- all, as he is oareful to explain worn copies in trench, swamp, in his brilliant lecture, in the desert, and bunk on every last stage of the campaign of land and sea front, there has which I am about to write. been no account of one of the This stage, though less picmost Elizabethan of all the turesque than some of Colonel great and small adventures of Lawrence's single-handed exthe War—the fight with the ploits in 1916-17, was, from a Arabs against the Turks. Nor military point of view, the is this peculiar, for, so far as most important of all, and I know, no authoritative or ending, as it did, in a smashfirst - hand account has yet ing blow at the Turks' life-line appeared of that enterprise, of communications, materially gave that contained in official contributed to the completedespatches, supplemented by a negs of Lord Allenby's 18-19th series of artioles in a London September, 1918, attaok. newspaper, which only supplied That I am able, however the outline and ohronology of unworthy my pen, to give the oampaign, and, of course, an account of what ooourred, Mr Lowell Thomas's leoture based on diaries kept at the and subsequent magazine time, is due to the faot that
VOL, CCVII. —NO. MCCLV.
I had less responsibility than Nights and Flights' has hinted any of the British personnel at the queer mentality of these with the Northern Arab Army, partioular embusqués,
who and consequently more time made Egypt a byword during for seeing and noting the the War, and have, unhappily, amazing sequence of events. to some extent given the im
Going siok at the end of pression at home that soldiering 1917, just at the close of in the M.E.F. or E.E.F. was Allenby's first great offensive, soft job—the true facts being I left the land of Canaan, that real soldiering in either after eight strenuous months' foroe, even in the days after oampaigning, for the command Gallipoli and before the adof a depot near Cairo. There vande, was as hard as it was I spent the first three months anywhere, except in France, of 1918, and, after a period of whilst anreal soldiering was leave in England, returned to more disgraceful than it was take up a similar post at anywhere, even in England. Ismailia, where my duties, in Having always had a peculiar addition to commanding a dread of being oonfounded with certain unit,
unit, included, for these gentry, I grasped eagerly reasons as obscure to me thon at the chance, which occurred as they are now, the post of in July 1918, of being detached aoting as Port Admiral. This for two months from my batcomio - opera combination of talion for service under "Hedmilitary and maritime duties jaz operations” in Arabia, and would in itself have made life about the middle of August I delightful at Ismailia; but also embarked at Suez on a trawler there was fishing, bathing, the for Akaba. The trawler, which pursuit of foxes, sometimes was one of the regular
transwith hounds, but more often, I ports” between Suez and Akblush to confess, with broken aba, provided neither eating, polo-sticks and langes, and two sleeping, nor oabin accommodadays a week polo, in whioh no tion for its passengers on their less a person than the redoubt- forty-eight hours' journey. One able author of the Geebung took one's rations with him, Polo Club' took part, most and if one was an officer, one's appropriately, oonsidering the servant cooked them at the nature of the game and of the crew's stove, Other ranks ponies at Ismailia.
managed somehow, and officers All this was pleasant enough, and men spread their blankets but it was not the War, how- and kit at night on deck any. ever much the gentlemen who where where there was room began, continued, and ended to stretoh out. On this par. the oampaign in Cairo, varying ticular boat, which was about it by a short exoursion on the size of a Thames launch, somebody's staff to Mudros or there were two British officers, Tonedos during Gallipoli daye, about eight British other ranks, may have thought it was. The and thirty Garkhas in addition brilliant author of Eastern to freight and crew, and it was
the Red Sea in August. Not- not bear the emblem of the withstanding, every one ap- Cross, so hateful to Moslems), peared quite cheerful and and no ambulance waggon. by no means uncomfortable, But if the few soore officers though what would have hap- and men-British, Indian, and pened had any one been seized Egyptian, who were attached with sudden illness, suoh as ap- to the Arab foroes were withpendioitis or dysentery, in view out the value of these different of the fact that the ship was aids to this world and the next, innocent of doctor, medical they enjoyed the advantage of orderly, or drugs, I do not being without a single General know. Apart from the pleasur- or Staff officer in the ordinary able anticipation of seeing the sense of the word, or A.P.M or Arab movement in being, the military policeman, and of reason why I was cheerful —and never having to do guards or I fanoy it applied to the others bother about Army, Corps, also—was that, for the first Division, or Brigade Orders, time singe the war, I was on a since, as Bagehot said of the ship and a sea where one could British Constitution, “il n'exshow lights all night on deck iste point.” if one wished, eat when one To me, at any rate, with liked, and sleep when one memories of Cape Helles as an liked, and where there were no infantry soldier, and who had, ships' orders, no life-belts to during the war, more than one wear, no alarm parades, and experience of service in a unit practioally no danger, since within the command of the old mines and submarines were pioture - postoard, red - faoed, alike unknown in the Red Sea, white-haired type of General, or at any rate in that part of eternally considering ways and it.
means for bringing the modern The conditions that amateur soldier, officer, and man trawler epitomised the whole (whom that particular type of contrast of life as a soldier in old - army General hated and Arabia with that prevailing despised) up or down (aooordon every other front where ing to how you regard it) to there were British troops. Of the level of Meerut in '95 or the elaborate safeguards for Chatham in '90, Arabia was the physioal, mental, and moral gloriously suggestive of playing welfare of the British soldier truant from school, or breaking that existed elsewhere, there every rule at bridge without were few, if any. No ohaplain reproof. Indeed, it was the in all the country, only two or wonderful schoolboy sense of three dootors, but two "hospi- fighting, as man, the human tals," and they in each case animal, should fight, untram. comprised in a single tent; no melled by the rules and regulaY.M.C.A. (indeed, we never tions of his seniors who do not mentioned the word "Christian" fight, in great open spaces, in Arabia, and even our hos- sometimes close to his enemy, pital tent and equipment did but always with the desert
around for thought and breath- 80 for Prince Feisul or General ing space, under leaders whose Nari Said, or any of the other very names were legendary, leaders, capture would certainly
, almost in far-off England, for have meant death, and probably skill and daring, which appealed torture as well, for they were to all of us, officers and men, titular and actual rebels. When who did the humbler jobs in I read of Prince Feisul being Arabia.
desoribed by his detractors in Think, O reader, who know the European press, at the only Franoe or Mesopotamia or time of the Paris Conference, Salonika, of a foroe, all of whose as an adventurer," I thought men were combatants, all of that, intended in disparagewhose component parts were ment, no term better fitted the under fire at some time or other, Prince, for no man of that comat whose only base (Akaba) the pany of delegates adventured handful of officers were not only more of his personal safety for in almost hourly danger owing patriotio reasons from 1914 to to the froliosomo habit of the 1918 than Prince Feisal. His looal natives in firing off their share in smashing empires was rifles at any handy objeot, taken not in White Houses or which was often a British tent, War Cabinets, but in the field, but who themselves would go where his personal courage, off on mysterious and often high birth, and boundless sense perilous "stunts” for two or of daty rallied thousands of three days at a time into the Arabg to the cause of smashing neighbouring country, whiob, the Turkish Empire. though nominally friendly to Arrived at Akaba, my berPrince Feisal and his allies, vant and I, having donned honoured that friendship fre- the kefia, or Arab turban, quently more in the breach which all British personnel than the observanoe. Think wore, proceeded in a Ford what a sense of irritation it oar for Abu Lisal, the headgaves one, when coming baok quarters of the Northern Arab on leave, to find no line of com- Army. The position at that
, munications or administrative time, the middle of August services with supercilious and 1918, in Arabia was broadly superior Staff officers, and fat, this: & Turkish Corps was not over-polite N.C.O.'s, who besieged in Medina, and did one knew had never done and not in effect surrender antil would never do an honest day's after the Armistice. From soldiering under fire if they this place northwards the could help it. Moreover, one Hedjaz railway was hopelessly felt all the time that the Arabsmashed by successive Arab army were true partners in a raids and demolition parties game of honourable and real as far as Maan. There had adventure, Prince Feisul, for been during the summer a few example, was the true type of isolated Turkish posts on this "Gentleman_Adventurer” of portion of the line, but the old. As for Drake or Raleigh, last of them, Mudawara, had
fallen early in August after near Akaba) to attempt to an attaok by a detachment of turn the Turkish left flank the Imperial Camel Corps by attacking Ammon, and specially lent
lent to the Arab they never dreamt that it foroes by Lord Allenby for would be used, as this narrathe purpose.
The faot that tive will show it was subse. British troops, mounted on quently used, to attack the oamels, could suddenly appear Turkish line of communicain Arabia in this fashion, hav- tions yet farther north behind ing marched overland across Ammon; and no doubt they the Sinai Desert and hills, was
also knew that the bandful an unpleasant surprise for the of British armoured cars, GurTurks, since it indirectly men- khas, French Colonial gunners, aced their Palestine line (facing and Egyptian Camel Corps General Allenby), which ex
with the Arabs at Abu Lisal tonded in a continuous trench and Akaba had all to be line from the sea to the Jordan, brought by sea from Egypt and thence by a patrol, strong- to Akaba, and then maintained point, and outpost line to Es over difficult roads, with Salt and Ammon, in the land transport organisation which, of Moab, which, it will be though as efficient as it could remembered, Lord Allenby Allenby be under the ciroumstances,
, had failed to take in the fell deplorably short of requirespring of 1918, and where ments in animals, for the reason there was a Turkish Division that they could not be obtained. or more. Beyond Es Salt and But the arrival of an Imperial Ammon eastwards there was Camel Corps Column of seano proteotion for the Turks soned British troops overland except a few posts on the Hed- from the Suez Canal, whence jaz railway, and the natural the column started, should proteotion of the desert, which have warned them of the posstretches right away to Meso- sible dangers to their left flank, potamia. The Turks, probably, if such a column was to attack knew accurately enough the Es Salt and Ammon from the strength of the small Arab desert side simultaneously with regular army in and around an attack by Allenby's Cavalry Abu Lisal, which was mainly Corps (always a souroe of dread engaged in investing Maan, to the Turks, whose own cavalry whose Tarkish garrison de- was deplorable) from the Jor. olined to surrender, although dan side. Yet they took no communioation between it and precautions as result
of Ammon, by means of the Hed- Mudawara, though it must jaz railway, had, owing to have been apparent that not constant raids, virtually ceased. only Ammon and Es Salt, but They knew that the Arab the whole east flank of their army did not possess suf- Palestine army, were in danger, ficient rifles, guns, or aero
On the Hedjaz railway south planos (there was small of Damasous was a town and British Flying detachment station, Deraa, wbere was a