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arrival of the Handley-Page, This was, I believe, the first so maoh vaster than any 'plane time that a Handley-Page had they had seen, coupled with crossed the enemy lives by the great news of the morn- daylight, but General Geoffrey ing, drove them frantio with Salmond is a man who always joy. We had all been living goes ahead, and he was ever
life of some strain and very friendly to us in Arabia. anxiety, not knowing what On the next day S., Y., the the morrow or indeed the Dootor, and I, and two arnext hour might bring forth, moured cars proceeded quite and the relief of knowing of early in the direction of the Allenby's viotory and what railway to blow up once again it meant was very real, the line between Mafrak and though I, knowing Li's plans, Nasib. K., with fifty Shereewas less certain that our fians and French workingtrials were than the party, under the redoubtable troops were. However, all of Sergeant M., preceded us, and us, officers and men, British, General Nuri himself and two Arabs, Frenoh, and camp- of the Frenoh guns brought followers, crowded round the ap the rear. A little machine. oar of the 'plane, cheering gun “nest” on the railway frantically, some of the less gave us some trouble, and a instructed being under the fierce band of Ruweilah irimpression that General B.'s regulars who tried to gallop spruoe red-tabbed figure (an it had to retire with some effeotive contrast to our pir. Casualties. However, a post ate crew of bearded, ragged on the railway was eventually humanity) was that of General established lower down, after Allenby himself. With dif. the guns had dispersed a small ficulty a way was cleared for Turkish foroo who were workhim, and a guard of French ing on the line, and sixtyganners placed round
placed round the four rails were blown up. We 'plane to guard it from the tried to “do in " a bridge also, “souvenir". hunters, — Arabs but the Turkish machine-guns, being as partial as American which were now worked by tourists to that partioular and Boohes, sent up specially from peculiar vice. After a briof Ammon to cope with us, precolloquy with L., and with vented as, and we had to make Prince Feisal, who had driven & run for it in one of the up in his Vauxhall oar from tenders, as the bullets were Azrak to meet the machine, “ripping" round the wheels General B. departed on his and radiator. On the followreturn journey amid more ing day L. and I, and an Arab frantio plaudits than ever, officer, with two armoured and then the buoeaneers re- oars, each with a crew of an turned to the cooking of their officer, a machine - gunner, a evening meal, and the discus- driver, and
spare driver, sion in their several languages started out before dawn to of the events of the day. try and demolish another piece
of line near Mafrak. It was the column was ordered to be now more important than ever ready to maroh at 1 P.M. on to make the gap in the railway the 25th. About half an hour south of Deras continuous, before this time information since it would facilitate the out- reached us that most of the ting-off of the Ammon Turkish Ammon Turkish garrison were IV th Army Division, who were plodding along the route of being pursued by a force of the railway, the line being the E.E.F., detached from Lord effeotually out, about four miles Allenby's main army.
away, heading for Deras. Sure However, on this occasion, enough, a few minutes later we owing to a gun and a machine- saw a huge cloud of yellow dust gan post, we failed to reach slowly rising on the horizon, the railway. We had to back and later still one could distinout of action, and the cars guish through glasses a strag. sustained some minor damage glivg mélange of men, horses, from bullets, and, so far as I guns, vehicles, and a few motorknow, we killed no Turks; cars making their way slowly moreover, with that brutal and painfully along the raillove that the Englishman has way. At å rough estimate for killing something before there seemed to be 3000 or breakfast, we tried to murder 4000 men in this echelon. The a gazelle or two on the way only attempt at military formaback by parsuing and maobine- tion on the part of this pitiable gunning a herd, and again remnant of a once - powerful failed to soore a hit. I have force, which had inficted, I never seen any buok go guoh believe, nearly 3000 casualties & pace. Indeed they entirely on the two British foroes sent outstripped us, and at last to try and take Ammon and vanished into a mirage. Es Salt in the previous March
We reached Um El Surab and April, was a sort of eavalry about midday, and the column screen on its right flapk, supleft again for El Umteive that ported by a couple of guns. afternoon. It had been decided When about three miles from that the oars were to return to El Umteiye this soreen altered Akaba, whilst the rest of the its direction, so that it was British Mission on camels or heading straight for us. The mules, and the Egyptian Camel armoured cars were just about Corps and Gurkhas, who had to start on their long return. never got farther than Azrak journey to Akaba, but their on their return journey to leader could not resist a chance Akaba, were to go north with of having a go at enemy the Shereefians and Frenob, cavalry on a terrain which with a view to hampering the favoured the oars. The result Turkish retreat north
was several empty Turkish Deraa, and, if possible, blook- saddles and a quick retreat ing its way to its objective by the screen ” back to the until the British arrived. main body. We had fully
In pursuance of this objeot, expected that we were going
to be attaoked. Even in the These days constituted the state that this remnant from crisis of the career of the Ammon was in, such an engage- column. We had surmounted ment would have been a serious difficulties and dangers inmatter for us, as we were out. numerable—in the early days, numbered at least by two to one of discovery by the Turks bein men and guns, whilst, pre- fore we got to our objective; sumably, further Turkish forces in later days, of being surhad now arrived in Deraa from prised and surrounded, and the retreating main body of the all the time of being out Turkish Palestine Army. The of water, ammunition, and danger to us on that oooasion rations, or of loss of conand during the next two days fidence by the Arab regulars was that a division or more of and irregulars in the enterthe Turkish army, less dis- prise. Now, with safety ab. integrated than its fellows, solutely assured if we chose might find us on its main to hide ourselves at Um El track northwards and consider Surab or anywhere off the it ad visable to delay its retreat main line of retreat and wait sufficiently long to surround for the British to come up, and smash us up. Such a fate General Nuri and L. deliber. had overtaken & small mixed ately but rightly decided to foroe, composed partly of take the risk,
risk, of what Arabs, which in 1917 had at- amounted to annihilation, by tempted to delay the Turkish fastening on the rear flanks retreat from Beersheba suffi. of the Turks to worry and oiently long to enable the delay them and take all the Australian oavalry to come prisoners possible — annihilaup and out the Turks off. tion, booause there were still It is, however, only fair 10,000 to 12,000 Turks at
Colonel Newoombe, who least, with guns, between us oommanded this foroe (and and the British; whilst our whose amazing adventures as column at the moment, toa prisoner in Constantinople gether with irregulars, numare related in 'Eastern Nights bered a bare 1000 and four and Flights'), to observe that little mountain-gans. he was fighting an enemy far
After the skirmish between less demoralised than the Turks the armoured cars and the were on this occasion. There Turkish cavalry, the main was, however, a good deal of body of the Turkish force oonrisk to be ran by the column, tinued its way northwards to and I am of opinion that we Deraa, whilst we also trekked owed maoh in those few days, north wards on a parallel route before we finally effected a three or four miles away for junotion with the British, to El Taiyibe. Just before we the good generalship displayed started, some of the Ruweilah by General Nuri, baoked by L.'s horse brought in 200 or 300 advice and genius for thinking Turkish prisoners, who had ahead of nine people out of ten. straggled behind the foroe, to
VOL. CCVII. —NO. MCCLVI.
gether with a number of trang- almost invariably refer to the port oarts drawn by miserable contemptuous attitude of Britemaciated ponies, & mass of ish soldiers during the War as sores and galls. Even in the a cause of that hatred, but omit Near East, whose inhabitants, to add that it is less the conirrespective of race or religion, tempt of the strong for the show oallous indifference weak, than the contempt of a to the sufferings of animals, people, whose great virtue is the Turks are notorious for fair-mindedness, for races who their bad treatment of their do not know the meaning of beasts of burden; but these par- fair play. I say “a people " ticular animals made one siok advisedly, for the British troops to look at them, acoustomed as on these fronts were of all one was to ill-treated dumb orea- olasses and professions, and tures. Their condition could not one in a thousand would only have been partly due to in normal times have seen the retreat, for they must have these countries or contrasted been starved and misused for the British system with the months. It is sad to think traditional systems that prehow little the near proximityvail there. The result may of the birthplace of three great have far-reaching consequences religions has affooted man- for us and for the East. kind's attitude in these coun- Our way, on the afternoon tries towards the weak, either in question, lay almost entirely, animal or human. Theoretio- directly we loft El Umteiye, ally, so far as other human over flat cultivated ground, beings are concerned, I am from which the harvest of well aware that Moslems, Jews, maize had been gathered. In or Christians in the Near East front and on our left flank, are supposed to help the poor, some of them within sight of ailing, or unfortunate among the enemy and keeping a sharp their own people, but I have watch on his movements, were seen precious little evidence of parties of Ruweilah in twos it.
I have always believed and threes, the vivid colours that the ingrained tendenoy of of their cloaks showing op natives of the Near East and against the khaki-coloured Levant to kiok and ill-treat earth. Behind oame General anything weaker than them. Nuri and his staff, with the selves was one of the reasons Shereefian colours held proudly why the average British soldier, aloft by & oamelman, acoomespecially of the rank and file, panied by L. and his wiry, 80 despised, even though his businesslike, Arabescort of contempt was tolerant, most of piokod men; next oame the Arab the races with which he came regulars, riding their camels into contaot on the different like townsfolk and not with fronts in the Noar and Middle the graceful ease of the desertEast. Apologists for the ap- born men; then the French parent hatred of Egyptian gunners, the officers on mules, Nationalists for British the men on camels, and the
guns also on mules; and next spare oamels that we had, the Egyptian Camel Corps and whilst the French had done Gurkhas with P. (their com- the same for others. The mander), S., H., Y., and myself, difficulty of feeding prisoners with our servants and baggage inoreased each day from now (which was not excessive), the onwards, and
the conveywhole “outfit" on oamels, saveing of the siok and wounded for Y., who bestrode a mule. I among them
almost had two days before applied ansurmountable, though the to General Nuri for a Turkish Arabs, to do them justice, prisoner to act as my servant, did their best. As their numas I was tired of being without bers inoreased to an extent one, and having to sponge on which rendered them upmanmy friends for meals. I was ageable, Sherif Nasser allotted . big buoolio Turk, ranged a system of entrusting by name Abmed, who was them in batches to the chiefs fairly intelligent and very of the villages on our road, willing and honest. He could who gave a receipt for them, not speak Arabio, but I com- and were promised a reward munioated my wishes to him for their future delivery in through a Kardish Arab sol- good condition. dier, whom Y. and I shared' On we went across the plain, as a groom. I provided Ahmed undisturbed gave by the visit of each day with three or four a British 'plane, which dropped cigarettes, as well as with
as with a message to tell L. the latest rations from my own allot. position of Allenby's pursuing ment, and managed to get him troops, and then departed. a blanket, a water-bottle, and From time to time we could a knife, since when he oame to see on the horizon the dust of me he had nothing but the the Turkish foroe, and in rear (very inadequate) olothes that of them two distinct columns he stood ap in. Perched on of
of smoke, apparently from top of the baggage-camel that stations on the railway which carried my few personal effects, they had burnt. his lot was cast in a consider- At dusk we reached El ably more pleasant place than Taiyibe, where we halted until that of his compatriots, who, dawn, and then pushed on weary, foot-sore, and hollow. again, the Arab irregulars eyed, their infantry uniforms, having spent the night in which always reminded me of sniping at the retreating British paupers' dress, increas. Turks, attacking their pioing their dolorous appearanoe, quets, and making some more trudged along in rear of the prisoners. column. P. and I had dis- At dawn next morning we tributed bread and tomatoes continued our mareh, and oame among the weaker of these on an Australian airman, whose prisoners, and we had put a machine had been shot through few poor devils, who were too the radiator, and who had exhausted to walk, on the made a foroed landing. We left