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an escort of Egyptian Camel Corps with him whilst he effected his repairs, which he did in a couple of hours. At about 4 P.M. we came in sight of the Deraa - Damascus line near Horeiyik (about fifteen miles north of Deraa), and and found to our surprise and delight that it was not held. Our demolitions of ten days before had evidently been repaired, as a train, going southwards to Deraa, could be seen as we approached the Whilst the column hurried across, L., P., S., H., Y., and I, and a number of Arab officers, "planted" and exploded as many "tulips" as we could, and out the telegraph wires. Then we trotted on and rejoined the column, which was heading for Namir El Hawa. We reached that place at dusk and left again as soon as the moon was up, at 10.15. Quite close to Namir El Hawa is the military road from Palestine through Deraa to Damasous, and reports reached us that our friends of the day before the retreating Ammon garrison -were at Deraa. Consequently, we had some exciting moments immediately before and after we oressed it. We crossed at a point close to the village of Sheik Miskin, which did not belie its name, for it consisted of two score or so of wretched hovels each side of a narrow lane, down which camels and mules could only proceed in single file. Reckoning the time it would take the column to get through, P., Y.,
and I "barraked" our camels in the yard of a small farm, whilst one of the servants made us some 00008 - sustenance which was very welcome after 8 march of twenty hours, broken only by two halts of two hours. The village lane was also the village drain, and more than once a camel slipped and fell, thus further delaying the column. The inhabitants, gaunt and suspicious, watched from their doorways, unable apparently to determine whether we were British, Turk, or Arab raiders from the desert. Not one of them addressed a word to any one in the column, whilst in the column itself Arab and French alike, usually so loquacious, glided by muffled ghostly figures in the moonlight. Once a Ruweilah patrol rode up to tell us that the redoubtable Nuri Shalan, their tribal leader, tribal leader, had not yet located the Ammon Turks, but that he was working south of us with the double object of protecting us and "snaffling" more prisoners if he could. Nuri Shalan took Ghazala Station that night, whilst Auda, another tribal leader, took Ezra Station.
From Sheik Miskin we proceeded another three miles, where we halted at 3 A. M. for four hours' rest. When I awoke, just before 7 in bright sunlight, I became aware of an enormous, spectacled, paunchy figure, the most obvious Boche that I ever saw, standing by my stony coach in the charge of an Arab soldier, and pro
testing about something in German. He was one of a small band of Austrian and German officers and N.C.O.'s whose cars had either broken down or been appropriated by the fleeing Turks, and who in consequence had fallen easy victims to the Ruweilah cavalry, who had just rejoined us with their night's haul.
I soon understood the reason of his protest, as either the Turks or the Ruweilah had deprived him and his fellowprisoners of their boots, and, in some cases, of their coats. However, as I had neither the power to get back his boots nor understand his language, I sent him to the French battery commander, who could speak German. He provided him with a camel to ride and some food to eat, and afterwards explained to me that, whilst he would willingly kill any Boche, this man was an officer and a prisoner in distress, so he felt he must help him, adding dramatically, "Moi, je suis un officier français, c'est assez." I accepted the implied rebuke for my want of magnanimity, but pointed out that our only spare camels were carrying very sick Turkish prisoners, who would probably have died by the roadside otherwise. I only got the reply, "Ah, mais c'est un officier," which shows the difference between the Continental point of view and ours where officers and men are coneerned.
At 7.30 that morning we trekked again, reaching Sheik Saad, a big, rather pleasant village on a hill, surrounded
by fig and olive groves, at 9, and there got an aeroplane message to the effect that a Turkish force of about 5000 men was just outside Deraa on the north, trekking up the Damascus road, and that the advance - guard of a British Cavalry Division was entering the plain west of Deraa, which is roughly fourteen miles from Sheik Saad. As soon as he received the information, General Nuri, with half the column and two French guns, set out to intercept the Turks, and, if possible, delay their advance until the British cavalry came up. Tired as they were, Arab and French alike marched off with alacrity, and came on the rearguard of the force in question near the village of Tafas, where they fought for two or three hours, finally capturing the village and three hundred prisoners. Whilst the main body got through, it is probable that the loss of their rearguard effected the complete and final demoralisation of this Turkish force, who split up the same day into small fugitive parties, continually harried by Arab horse, in their flight towards Damasous.
Tafas is a village inhabited by Arab fellaheen, and the Turks, on the plea that some of the inhabitants sympathised with General Nuri's force, committed some abominable atrocities, even bayoneting children in arms, before the village was taken.
Meanwhile, the rest of us at Sheik Saad spent a strenuous morning and afternoon in preparing, with the aid of the
prisoners, a landing - ground for aeroplanes, a 'plane which had come from Palestine having asked us, by means of a dropped message, to do this.
The Turks, as a result of their days and nights of fighting, marching, and harassing anxiety, on a minimum of food and water, were nearly exhausted, and at first refused to work at all, some of them lying down and calling on their Arab guards to shoot them and end their miseries,-a very foolish young Arab officer, who was in charge of the escort, did not improve matters by his threats and bluster; but at last Y. found a Turkish sergeant who spoke Arabic, and ordered him to "fall in" the prisoners and tell them that the stones had got to be cleared, and that, as soon as they had been, the whole working-party would be given water and food and rest. Meanwhile, Y. told the Arab officer he could remove his escort, since none of the Turks looked like wanting to run away.
This action had the desired effect, and the Turks worked quite well under their own N.C.O.'s. When, after after the task had been completed, they were drawn up preparatory to marching back to the spot in a small stone-fenced paddock in the village, where their fellows were under guard, they paid us the rare compliment of asking us, through the aforesaid N.C.O., if they could be allowed to entrust us with their cash, since they understood we were English. Some of them had quite considerable sums of
money on them, and were greatly relieved when Y. promised them that, while he could not himself look after their money, he would see that it was not taken from them.
While a cynic might observe that this inoident showed rather a knowledge of Arab dishonesty than a trust in British honesty, I found in it only another striking example of the worth that all natives of the Near East attach to an Englishman's honour, which is the priceless asset that has counteracted so many of our blunders and mistakes.
When we returned to the bivouac at Sheik Saad, late that afternoon, the vietors at Tafas, tired and battle-stained, had just marched in. Furiously indignant at the atrocities committed by the Turks, some of them were for shooting, in retaliation, the prisoners who had been taken; but better counsels prevailed, and instead a camel was killed and its meat cooked for the famished Turks, and water and bread were given to them. I can see the whole soene as I write. In the centre of the bivouac, in an olive grove, were the Arab headquarters and the tents of the Sherifs, and, in the midst of them, a large carpet was spread, on which sat the Arab leaders, military and civil, the French officers, and ourselves; hovering on the outskirts were a number of local Arabs, Druses from up-country, emissaries from Damascus, and hangerson, who had multiplied like magic in the last twenty-four
hours, all anxious to get a word with L. or one of the Arab leaders. Thickly clustered in and about the village and the grove were the different units, regular and irregular, of the column-a kaleidoscopic mass of manycoloured humanity, talking excitedly, singing their ageold songs, or cooking their evening meal. Among them, wandering regardless of aocepted rules of army sanitation, were horses, camels, mules, sheep, cattle, many looted from the Turks, and strewn everywhere were Turk ish arms and equipment. A stone's throw from our conference, in a small village field, squatted the Turkish prisoners, the Germans and Austrians a little apart, and retaining some traces of dignity, which were wholly lacking in the Turks. At each corner of the field four machine guns, their noses grimly pointed at the prisoners, kept watch and ward. The sun was just setting, and the wind soughed through the olive groves in the village; whilst from afar, Mount Hermon looked down on a scene, so often repeated in these lands in the last 4000 years, of conquerors and conquered an invincible General, a virile people from desert or mountain or steppe, 500 years of empire, then a crash, a smashing defeat for the one-time universal conquerors, a fresh dominion on the ruins of the old, and the same process repeated. I wondered that evening how many conquering peoples Sheik
Saad, an ancient village, built like so many Syrian villages from the remains of a still more ancient village, had seen come and go,-Amorites, Israelites, Egyptians, Hittites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks; and how many gods and prophets had been worshipped beneath its walls-Christ, Baal, Jupiter, Zeus, Mahomet, with what result, one asked oneself? Was there less misery, poverty, vice, or crime in this beautiful and, in many respects, fertile land than there was 3000 years ago? Only the glorious colour-scheme of sky and earth, our victories of that day, and the fact that I had just read in a six-weeks'old paper, dropped by a friendly airman, a speech by President Wilson explaining how the League of Nations was going finally to eradicate the disputes of suffering humanity, prevented me from feeling quite depressed.
An hour later Y., P., and I were entertaining the French battery commander to dinnera function followed by speeches, some toasts, and an ineffective rendering of the "Marseillaise."
Sleep that night was not easy, tired as we were. That almost sacred respect for other people's "lines," which distinguishes the British Army, was not honoured in the column. People walked and rode through where Y., P., and I and the Egyptian Camel Corps were bivouacked throughout the night. About midnight an outgoing mounted patrol of Ruweilah came
through our lines, knocking Corps, with our little band of over our camp - table, and sick Turkish prisoners, whom narrowly missing my head, we had literally succoured -one horse, in fact, brushed from the wayside, proceeded against the outside of the in a the in a more leisurely fashion, camel - saddle, whose inside stopping en route at about formed my pillow; a little 8.30 for breakfast. Whilst we later we heard a man shouting were thus halted, the German out something in the loud Austrian, and Turkish prissing-song voice that, in the eners, with their Arab guards, East, may mean a call to also en route to Deraa, passed prayer or to massacre. Y. us. A sorrowful, brokenthought he distinguished an looking throng of men, whose incitement among the man's obvious dejection made me, words to go and kill the little sympathy as I had for Turkish prisoners, and jumped them, feel almost ashamed of up to get a closer hearing; the contrast between us, enjoyit was merely, however, a ing an excellent breakfast, verbal advertisement to the served by well-disciplined, effect that the speaker had noiseless, attentive, Egyptian a captured Turkish camel, soldier - orderlies, and them. which he would sell to the Such thoughts, however, did highest bidder. Why he should not trouble Ahmed, my Turkish have chosen 12.30 A.M. to make prisoner-servant, who, equipped this announcement, I don't now with a Turkish rifle and know, except that the whole other articles taken from column was infected with the yesterday's loot, and visibly sort of excitement that char- fatter and more prosperous as aoterised even the calm British a result of his ten days' "capsix weeks later, on Armistice tivity," was sitting propped Day; indeed, the column was up against a camel-saddle, restless all night, and I was which, when off a camel on quite glad when at 3 A.M. we the ground, makes an admirstarted on our travels again able "back rest," smoking for Deraa. with evident relish one of the daily "ration" of cigarettes which I allowed him. He regarded his fellow-countrymen with obvious contempt, ignoring the remarks that one or two of them called out to him, and, pointing to the Boches, said to one of the Egyptian soldiers "Allemani" in tones of deep disgust. Ahmed, who was a real "oharacter," was rapidly becoming a most useful servant, and would have been more useful still, but for his
The worst torture in life is not to be allowed to sleep when one is dog-tired, and no one could sleep for more than ten minutes at a stretch in Sheik Saad that eventful night. Information had come during the night that the British cavalry would enter Deraa some time during the next day, and the Sherifs and L. hurried off there, with an escort, to meet them. P. and I and the Egyptian Camel