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Title: A Kut Prisoner
Author: Bishop, H. C. W.
Language: English
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A KUT PRISONER

On Active Service Series


[Illustration: KASTAMUNI]

[Illustration: THE CASTLE ROCK (KASTAMUNI)]


A KUT PRISONER

by

H. C. W. BISHOP

London: John Lane, The Bodley Head
New York: John Lane Company. MCMXX

Printed by the Anchor Press Ltd., Tiptree, Essex, England.



  TO THE MEMORY OF ALL THOSE BRITISH
  AND INDIAN OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE
  KUT GARRISON WHO HAVE SUFFERED AND
  DIED IN CAPTIVITY THIS BOOK IS
  REVERENTLY DEDICATED



INTRODUCTION


The experiences related in the following pages are simply the individual
fortunes of a subaltern of the Indian Army Reserve of Officers who had
his first taste of fighting at the battle of Ctesiphon, and was
afterwards taken prisoner by the Turks with the rest of the Kut
Garrison, ultimately succeeding in escaping from Asia Minor. It is not
intended to generalize in any way, since an individual, unless of
exalted rank, sees as a rule only his own small environment and cannot
pretend to speak for the majority of his comrades.

The book is published in the hope that it may prove of interest to the
many relatives and friends of the Kut prisoners.

Acknowledgments are due to Messrs. Blackwood, the _Times of India_, and
the _Pioneer_ for their kind permission to republish those chapters
which originally appeared in these papers.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                    PAGE

     I.  CTESIPHON                             1

    II.  KUT                                  14

   III.  FROM KUT TO KASTAMUNI                34

    IV.  LIFE IN KASTAMUNI                    80

     V.  ESCAPE FROM KASTAMUNI               104

    VI.  THE FIRST NIGHT                     115

   VII.  ON THE HILLS                        126

  VIII.  SLOW PROGRESS                       135

    IX.  BLUFFING THE PEASANTS               147

     X.  REACHING THE COAST                  158

    XI.  RECAPTURED                          166

   XII.  RESCUED                             174

  XIII.  IN HIDING WITH THE TURKS            184

   XIV.  CONTINUED DELAYS                    194

    XV.  THREE DAYS ON THE BLACK SEA         208

   XVI.  THE CRIMEA AND HOME                 219

  XVII.  FRIENDS IN CAPTIVITY                230

          APPENDIX A                         235

          APPENDIX B                         238

          APPENDIX C                         242

          APPENDIX D                         244



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  KASTAMUNI                               _Frontispiece_

  THE CASTLE ROCK, KASTAMUNI                    "

                                          TO FACE PAGE

  ELMEY BEY                                         48

  MAP USED ON JOURNEY TO THE BLACK SEA             126

  MAP SHOWING ROUTE OF ESCAPE                      180

  BIHGAR BEY                                       196

  BOAT IN WHICH THE PARTY CROSSED THE BLACK SEA    210

  MAP OF BLACK SEA                                 214

  ALUPKA                                           220

  ALUPKA BATHS                                     220

  YALTA                                            224

  THE THREE OFFICERS AND THREE OF THEIR RESCUERS   226

  THE THREE OFFICERS AND THE AKHARDASH             228



A KUT PRISONER

CHAPTER I

CTESIPHON


In India, in the early days of the war, a newly gazetted subaltern of
the Indian Army Reserve of Officers was sent for a month's preliminary
training to one of the few remaining British regular battalions.
Afterwards he was attached to an Indian Regiment, and, if fortunate,
went on service with the same battalion. A great number, however, were
sent off to join other units in the field. In this way I found myself
arriving in Basra on October 2nd, 1915, with a draft for a regiment[1]
of whom I had known nothing a few days before leaving India. However,
the "Nobody's Child" feeling was very soon a thing of the past, and I
was welcomed by a mess full of the best comrades any fellow could
desire.

[1] The 66th Punjabis.

The battle of Es-Sinn had just taken place, and the 6th Division under
General Townshend were then following the Turks up the Tigris above Kut.
Our own fortune appeared to be to remain in Basra as part of the
garrison; but, much to every one's delight, different news came a week
or two later and on the 25th October we set off up stream, hoping to get
right through to the front but with some fear that we might be kept at
Amara.

In those days travelling up the Tigris took a long time, and we spent a
fortnight in reaching Azizie, a journey which can now be accomplished
mostly by rail in two days.

The regiment was accommodated on two of the river steamers, each having
two big barges lashed alongside. The current is considerable and the
heavily weighted steamer could only advance very slowly. In many places
the river becomes very narrow, especially between Kurna and Amara, and
much time was spent in bumping into sand-banks and struggling to get
clear.

We made short halts at Kurna, Amara, and Kut, the latter striking one as
a horribly dusty and dirty little Arab town. Every night we used to tie
up to the bank, as navigation by night was too risky with so little
water in the river. On the last stretch to Azizie, we were warned to be
on the alert for Arab snipers, and great preparations were made
accordingly. A few shots were fired next morning, but nothing more than
one Arab in the distance was seen. Other boats and convoys coming up had
a much more lively time from raiding parties of the local tribes.

Azizie was reached in the afternoon, and presented a scene of the
greatest activity. The village itself consisted of only a few mud huts,
but for some distance along the dusty bank of the river General
Townshend's force was concentrated. Nothing could be a greater contrast
to the deserted stretches of country through which we had passed than
the bustle and life of a force about to advance.

A few days later--on Monday, November 15th--the whole of the 6th
Division and attached troops were on the march for Bagdad, the first
stage being El Kutunie, some seven miles only. Here three days were
spent and the final preparations completed. There was a little sniping
at night from the further bank of the river, but this was quickly dealt
with by the _Firefly_, the first of the new monitors to come into
commission on the river.

Great excitement prevailed on the night of the 18th when it was
suddenly reported that the whole Turkish Force, which considerably
outnumbered our own, was on the march to attack us and was expected to
arrive and commence hostilities before morning. We spent a very
industrious night, digging feverishly and wondering when the enemy would
turn up.

Morning arrived, to find many trenches but no sign of the Turks, and we
later found that the previous reports had been entirely misleading.
However, fresh orders were soon received, and not long after daybreak
the whole force was off again, split into various columns whose mission
was to encompass and annihilate the Turkish advance troops at Zeur,
about ten miles further on. However, the enemy eluded us, as he had done
previously, and got away just in time. After doing several miles across
country in attack formation, always expecting to hear firing beginning
in front, we found we had arrived in the position the Turks had just
vacated.

Next day a short march brought us to Lajj, a small hamlet on the river
which was to be our jumping-off place for the forthcoming battle, and,
as we believed, triumphal march on to Bagdad. All except the minimum of
kit had been left at Azizie, whence it was to follow by steamer to
Bagdad as soon as might be.

Before leaving Azizie, the general had given all senior officers some
idea of the problem we had to tackle, and they realized it would be no
walk-over. The rest of us, fortunately, thought only of a repetition of
the former successes, and that we should enjoy a cheerful Christmas in
Bagdad.

Detailed maps had been issued, not only of the Turks' position at
Ctesiphon, but also of Bagdad and the methods to be adopted to push the
enemy through and out of the city.

At Lajj we were about nine miles from the Arch of Ctesiphon, built by
Chosroes I. in the 6th cent. B.C. and round which battles had been
fought from time immemorial. From the top of a sand-dune near general
headquarters, the magnificent ruin was clearly visible standing up gaunt
and alone above the flat plain. The Turks' position surrounded the Arch
and stretched back on both banks of the river.

We bivouacked one night at Lajj and at nine o'clock the following
evening--Sunday, November 21st--the final advance began.

Our plan was to surround and defeat the Turks on the left bank, where
the greater part of their forces lay, and to drive them back on the
Tigris or Diala River.

The force was split into four columns, which were to attack from
different angles, the "Flying" column being deputed to complete the
victory by dashing on to Bagdad and seizing the Bagdad end of the
Samarra Railway.

At midnight we reached our station on some sand-hills about four to five
miles due east of the Arch, which we could see very clearly as soon as
it became light. It was a bitterly cold night and after digging in we
lay down to get what sleep we could before dawn broke.

The attack was to be begun by the columns further north, who had had a
longer march and were further round the Turkish flank.

There appeared to be considerable delay on their part, and it was an
hour after the advertised time when our advance began. In the meantime a
troop of Turkish cavalry had come out on a reconnaissance, but had
thought better of coming up as far as our sand-hills and, after
hesitating, retired unmolested by us.

As we debouched from the high ground, we could see masses of Turks,
apparently retiring in orderly formation towards their second line or
still further, and the thought occurred that they were not going to wait
even for us to attack. Actually, however, these were troops from the
other side of the river being hastily brought across to strengthen the
Turkish reserves opposite to us.

Our particular destination was a point marked V. P. on our map, and
understood to be the "Vital Point" of the Turkish line. It fell quickly
to our attack, but was not carried at a light cost, and, still worse,
was not so all-essential to the Turkish resistance as it should have
been. Our advance was held up on the Turkish second line and,
unfortunately, we were not powerful or numerous enough to break this
also. The Turks had a fine position and their trenches were sighted with
the greatest skill. Aided by the mirage effect, it was almost impossible
to discern these trenches until right upon them; we, on the other hand,
were out in the open plain, which was as flat as a billiard table and
offered no cover of any sort. The Turkish front line was protected with
barbed wire, and had they been provided with more machine-guns and been
prepared to see things out a little longer, we should have fared very
badly. As it was, we lost heavily in taking V. P. and the adjacent
trench lines, and were too crippled to do much more.

In the afternoon the Turks counterattacked; but our guns were too much
for them, and they gained nothing.

Evening found a confused force bivouacked round V. P. There were
dreadful gaps in all ranks. About midnight I found my way back to my own
battalion, to discover the colonel and M. O., the only two officers
still carrying on. One other subaltern besides myself had been posted
away from the regiment during the day, but, of the rest, only two were
left out of ten who had gone into action with the battalion that
morning. Other regiments were in much the same state, and it was evident
that we had suffered terribly and had not completely smashed the enemy.
Later on we heard that our casualties had reached a total of nearly
5,000, while the Turks were said to have lost twice this figure.

The next morning we took up our position along the Turks' old front
line, and no more fighting took place until the afternoon, when the
Turks came back once more. Attacks followed during the night and
prospects were considered anything but rosy for us by those in
authority. However, the Turks had had enough, and by next morning were
again out of range.

It was imperative for us now to get closer to the river for water, and
accordingly the remnant of the force concentrated in the angle of the
"High Wall," an ancient relic of the old wall of Ctesiphon, now a high
bank, forming a right angle, each arm being about a quarter of a mile
long. During the day the wounded were evacuated, being taken back to
Lajj on A. T. carts. It was a pitiable sight seeing these poor fellows
go. These were the days before the Mesopotamian Commission--springless
carts were all that were available and a number of wounded must have
been literally bumped to death over those eight rough miles back to
Lajj. The memory of those jolting carts with their grimy battered loads
of tortured humanity is one not soon to be forgotten.

The night passed in peace, but the following afternoon the Turks were
seen advancing in several columns, and we were given orders to pack up
at once. Soon after dark we were ready, but it seemed an age until the
head of the column got clear away and our own brigade, who were in rear,
could move. Meanwhile the Turks were expected to arrive on the scene at
any minute, and everything appeared gloomy in the extreme. Ammunition
which could not be removed had been hastily buried. Large fires were lit
to help our departure and endeavour to deceive the enemy. Cheerful
prospects of rearguard actions all night over unknown country seemed all
that was in store for us. However, fortune was with us again; the Turks
hesitated once more and we were not attacked at all during the night.
After a weary march through thick dust and sand, we reached Lajj in the
early hours of the morning, and were greeted by a heavy downpour, which,
fortunately, stopped just before we were quite soaked through.

Digging was again the order as soon as it was light, and arrangements
were made to give the Turks a very hot reception if they intended to
come on at once.

The following day digging continued, but in the afternoon we were again
told to get under way, as the Turks apparently were close upon us.

A long all-night march, only varied by Arab sniping, brought us back to
Azizie the following forenoon. Here digging began once more, and it was
not at first known if we should remain here and see it out or go back
further right down to Kut, some 58 miles. The latter course was decided
on next day and, having collected what little of our old kit we could
still find, we set off once again southwards, and bivouacked by the
river near Umm El Tubul, eleven miles further on.

At eight in the evening, we were just congratulating ourselves on having
at last a snug spot for a night's rest, when firing began and our
pickets were soon driven in. However, the enemy did not make the
expected attack during the night--which we spent in a nullah awaiting
him.

As soon as it was light, we could see a large Turkish camp, not much
more than a mile distant. The first orders were that we should go out
and attack; so we lined up for this purpose. Just as we were ready,
fresh orders arrived, and we retired to the nullah while our guns opened
with rapid fire on the Turkish camp. Meanwhile, there was great bustle
in our rear, where the transport was being hurriedly got away for a
further march towards Kut.

We were told later on that the Turks thought they had only come up
against a weak rearguard and were correspondingly dismayed by our
gun-fire. They were said to have had 2,000 casualties on this day.
However, they pushed on and we had to retire. Previous to this, Turkish
shells had been coming over, but not doing very much damage.

The old gun-boat, the _Comet_, and also the _Firefly_, were both put out
of action while waiting to cover our retreat, and had to be abandoned to
the enemy.

By midday we had shaken off the advancing Turks, having done many miles
across country which seemed to grow camel thorn in every direction. This
shrub is most unpleasant to march through in shorts, and many were the
torn knees in consequence.

A few hours on the ground late that night gave us a little rest; but it
was too cold to sleep, and we were soon sitting up round fires of
brushwood which the men had lighted. Many of us had had no food since
daybreak, and had to fall back on our emergency rations where these were
still in existence.

Next morning we were off once more, and after another long, wearisome
day reached a camp only a very few miles from Kut itself, having done
over 40 miles in the last 36 hours.

Kut was entered the following morning, December 3rd, but it was not
decided till some hours later what position we should take up.

During the next two days we could walk about above ground without
molestation, but snipers arrived all too soon, and by Monday, December
6th, Kut was entirely surrounded and the siege had begun.



CHAPTER II

KUT


If the Turks had hurried up, they would have come upon us without
properly dug trenches and we should have been taken at a great
disadvantage. As it was, however, by the time they did arrive, we were
dug in and had a good front line trench, although most of the support
and communication trenches still had to be dug. After the first two or
three days, all trench work had to be done at night, as conditions by
daylight were not healthy.

Life was not particularly pleasant during any part of the siege, and for
the first few days we who were outside Kut had no dug-outs, all energy
being spent on getting the front line firing trench ready. This would
have been no hardship but for the fact that we had arrived back in Kut
with a biting north wind, causing several degrees of frost at night, and
an ice-covered bucket for one's ablutions in the morning.

Throughout the siege, the Tigris formed our only water supply, this
being carried in at night in kerosine tins by the regimental bheesties.
Drinking water was purified with alum, which got rid of most of the
sediment. Tigris is a poor drink at any time and seems particularly
nasty when spoiling good whisky.

On Monday, December 6th, the cavalry brigade left at daybreak and were
the last people to get away from Kut. Many wounded and sick had been
sent down stream during the day or two previously, the lighter cases
being left in the hospital at Kut to recover and rejoin.

In those early days, no one thought of a siege lasting more than a
month, the general being reputed to be counting on relief by the New
Year.

Meanwhile, the Turks had been very busy: not only had they been digging
at a furious pace opposite to us and sapping up closer and closer, but
they had also sent considerable forces further on down-stream, to near
Shaik Saad, to oppose the Relieving Force which was there concentrating.

The night after the cavalry brigade had gone out, the boat bridge over
which they had passed to the right bank was demolished under the noses
of the enemy.

This gallant feat was performed by Lieut. Matthews, R.E., and Lieut.
Sweet, who volunteered for the job. Both men, we hoped, would receive
the V.C. By the greatest good fortune, the Turks were entirely
surprised, and the bridge was blown up before they realized what was
happening or could offer any resistance. Both officers received the
D.S.O.

The story of the siege has been told in detail by others, and it is not
intended here to attempt it. One saw only one's own small corner, and
never knew what to believe of all the rumours and scandal in which a
besieged town seems to be particularly prolific.

After the first fortnight, a regular routine was started. The 16th
Brigade took alternate turns with the 30th along the main trench line,
while the 17th garrisoned the Fort, and the 18th looked after the town
itself and Woolpress village.

Meanwhile the medical people had been busy moving from their hospital
tents to the covered-in bazaar, which was now converted into wards.

For the first few days, the men were given extra rations to recuperate
them after the wearying retreat and for the strenuous trench-digging in
progress. It was not until January 10th that we were cut down to
two-thirds full rations.

The first Turkish shells arrived on December 5th, but did little harm.
Throughout the siege, we had much cause to be thankful for the very
large proportion of "duds" amongst all classes of Turkish shell.
Fortunately, also, they had no high explosives, or Kut would have been a
heap of ruins in no time.

The mud of Mesopotamia deserves mention in this connection. It is as
disagreeable as but rather more glutinous than most other brands of the
same substance, and when baked dry by the sun is singularly impenetrable
to rifle bullets. All the rules found in military pocket-books were
quite upset by it, some eight inches of the best variety being quite
enough to stop any bullet. For the same reason, trench digging in some
places was very slow and tedious work, as the ground at that time was
dry and hard, seeming more like cast iron than anything else.

During the early part of the siege, regiments in the 16th and 30th
Brigades, on being relieved in the front line, returned to a bivouac in
Kut and did some hours' digging on the way, the operation being carried
out at night. The following night was as a rule allowed us in peace,
but for the next three or six nights, until again relieved, one was
generally out digging or in "support" to some part of the line, so that
"being relieved" did not mean much rest for anybody. The bivouac had a
further disadvantage in that we had as many casualties here as in the
front line. Dropping bullets would come in at odd moments from all
directions, and it was impossible to keep clear of them. Some
unfortunate was laid out nearly every day in this way.

The Turks never once tried to shell our front line, but spent all their
attentions on the town and the Fort. A tremendous "hate" preceded their
attack on the latter on Christmas Eve. They succeeded in blowing a
breach in the mud wall of the Fort in the north-east bastion, and
afterwards assaulted with great dash. Fighting was extremely fierce and
the Turks lost very heavily from our machine-guns. There was much hand
bombing, this being the only occasion during the siege when fighting at
close quarters took place.

After gaining a footing through the breach into our trenches, the Turks
were dislodged, but came on again later, and at midnight, December
24th, were still in possession of the north-east bastion. However, they
thought better of it, and by the morning of December 25th had all
disappeared again. As a result of this fighting, we had about 400
casualties, while the Turks were said to have lost 2,000. Be that as it
may, they never made another attack on our lines.

Khalil Pasha, the Turkish commander, was said afterwards to have told
one of the British generals that he was just preparing another
tremendous attack at the end of January, meaning to smash his way into
Kut at any cost, when the floods intervened, and drove him back over
half a mile, while we had also to return to the "middle" line--our
second line trench some 300 yards behind the first. He stated that he
was prepared to lose 10,000 in the attempt.

Christmas Day passed peacefully, much to our satisfaction, and from now
onwards there was great speculation as to the day of relief. We knew
that General Aylmer's force was to start during the first days of
January, and it was predicted that by January 9th or 10th the siege
would be over.

By the first week in January, all fresh meat was finished, but for a
time we had "bully."

The Relieving Force suffered its first serious check at Shaik Saad and
never arrived, as we had hoped. There was nothing to be done but to
carry on and wait till next time. The weather now was cold and wet and
the trenches often knee deep in mud and water. Kut itself was in a
filthy state, the streets being a sea of mud after every downpour. The
Tigris was steadily rising throughout January and by the 20th was near
the top of the bund running along the bank. Heavy rain on this day and
the next, together with the rise in the river, was responsible for
flooding out the Turks' front line. They managed, however, to turn the
water over towards us, with the result that we, also, were drowned out
of the corresponding part of our line, the effect of this being that
there was now a good distance between the new front lines. For two days
we could walk about in the open, and were much interested in seeing the
old Turkish trenches, and taking all possible firewood in the shape of
old ammunition boxes from their loopholes. We found that one of their
saps was only forty yards from our trench, and many were the bombs they
had thrown which just fell short.

The most interesting relics were numbers of pamphlets tied to sticks
and bits of earth and thrown towards our line. These were effusions
printed in various languages by the Indian National Society, Chicago,[2]
and contained much startling information. The Sepoys were informed that
no British were now left in several N.W. Frontier districts, and were
recommended, as brave soldiers, to murder their British officers and
join the Turks. The Sultan was represented as being ready to give land
to every one who would respond to this invitation. As regards Gallipoli,
it was stated that Sir Ian Hamilton had been wounded and that Lord
Kitchener had run away in the night, taking the British troops with him
and leaving the Indians, who thereupon murdered their officers and
joined the Turks.

[2] See Appendix B.

Very few, if any, of these leaflets reached the Sepoys, and, as far as
we could see, left them unmoved.

After two days' freedom above ground, a reconnaissance was sent out to
locate the Turkish outposts. This had the immediate effect of starting
great activity in the Turkish pickets some 1,200 yards from our line,
and from that day onwards snipers were always busy. Even so, life was
very much pleasanter than when the enemy was within 100 yards.

By January 13th we were down to half rations, and by January 23rd were
still further reduced. On the 26th, the general issued a long
_communiqué_, telling us of how the Relieving Force had been
unsuccessful so far, having had heavy losses and very bad weather to
contend against. He announced that there were 84 days' more ample
rations without counting the 3,000 animals.

Actually the siege went on for another 94 days, but the rations were
scarcely ample, even including the horse meat. However, at the time, it
seemed that there was nothing to worry about, especially as the general
said he was confident of being relieved during the first half of
February.

With the beginning of February, we started eating horse, mule and camel.
There were very few camels, but they were said to be quite good eating.
For the rest, mule is very much to be preferred to horse. There were
also the heavy battery bullocks, but these were not numerous, and were
very thin already.

All the eggs and milk obtainable from Arabs in the town were supposed to
go to the hospitals, but it was always said they did not receive nearly
as much as they should have done.

During January and February, one could buy several things from Arabs in
the bazaar, i.e., tea, dried beans, atta and "kabobs" or small hot
chapatties, cooked in grease. The tea must all originally have come from
the S. & T. All the Arabs in Kut wore Army socks very early in the
siege. In fact, it would be harder to find a race of more expert thieves
anywhere on the globe.

Towards the middle of February, the Turks began sending over an
aeroplane to bomb us. The pilot was a German, and knew his business too
well. After his first trip, machine guns were rigged up to welcome him
the next time he came and the sappers mounted a 13-pounder to fire as an
anti-aircraft gun.

Considering the difficulties involved and the absence of all special
sighting arrangements this gun made some very fair shooting. But the
only effect of all these efforts was to make Fritz, the pilot, fly
higher and approach the town from a different direction. The first time
he came very little damage was done; then one day a bomb demolished an
Arab house, killing a number of women and children, and a second fell on
the British hospital, where no less than 32 sick and wounded men were
killed outright or horribly injured. The padre--the Rev. H.
Spooner--told me afterwards that no sight he had witnessed at Ctesiphon
could be compared to that hospital ward. Presumably Fritz was aiming at
the ordnance yard next door or some of the guns on the river bank only a
little further on. Had there been more room and good buildings in Kut,
it would no doubt have been possible to put the hospital in a safer
spot, but, as it was, no other building was available. Fritz always
succeeded in eluding our aeroplanes from the Relieving Force. He had so
little distance to go home, whereas they had to come up 20 miles or
more.

Two main observation posts were maintained, one above general
headquarters in the town, and the other in the Fort. There was great
rivalry between the two, and on one occasion, a large flock of sheep was
definitely reported in the town as a considerable force of the enemy
moving to the rear. The Fort maintained they were sheep and neither
would give in.

We could see every day long strings of camels on the horizon, carrying
rations for the Turks from their base at Shamrán above Kut down to
their forces at Sanaiyat and Magassis.

The usual book of words about camels informs the reader that they are
liable to slip and split themselves up if allowed to travel over wet or
slippery ground. In Mesopotamia, however, the camel seems not to worry
at all when going over land submerged by floods, and carrying on
generally under all conditions. He is a much wilder specimen than the
usual Indian camel, and our experience before Ctesiphon was that he
would only lie down if one of his forelegs was folded and bound up, and
he was then hit on the head with a thick stick.

A feature of Kut which will not be forgotten was the little chapel which
our padre rigged up in one of the few remaining upper rooms of the
battered Serai. This building was in an exposed position on the river
bank and suffered more than any other from the Turkish shells. The padre
himself was indefatigable, doing everything he possibly could in the
hospitals in addition to his other duties.

Almost every day one or more of our aeroplanes came over Kut, and some
things were dropped, but how we wished they would drop us some letters.
We knew there must be a great accumulation of mails at Amara and it
seemed so easy to arrange it. As it was, some bags of letters were
dropped for the staff and even the S. & T. but, as usual, the regimental
officers came off worst. We wanted news from home more than anything
else, and, as it turned out, most of us never heard a word from our
people till we had reached Anatolia the following July after an interval
of eight months.

Fortunately, we could get messages sent out by the wireless, and once a
month a telegram was despatched to the depots in India, saying that all
were well, or something equally brief but satisfactory to our friends at
home.

Another great blessing afforded by the wireless was the publication of a
short summary of Reuter's telegrams, which gave us something else to
talk of other than the everlasting questions of food and the date of
relief. In particular, the taking of Erzerum by the Russians cheered us
up, and made us hope that the Russian force approaching Bagdad from
Persia would be equally successful.

In fact, at one time the betting was said to be in favour of the Russian
general, Baratoff, relieving us from the north, before our friends
down-stream.

With the arrival of March, every one was full of excitement over the
coming great effort of the relieving force, which was prophesied to take
place on the 4th, but was actually the 8th.

Many schemes were prepared by which we were to co-operate, so that after
the Turks had been started off rearwards by General Aylmer, we might
hasten their departure. In most of these plans one brigade would have to
play the leading rôle, and probably come in for a pretty hot time unless
the Turks had become quite demoralised; much speculation arose,
therefore, as to which brigade would be given this post of honour.

March 8th came and went and we realized that another gallant attempt had
failed. The bombardment could be clearly heard, and at night it was easy
to see the shells bursting. During the attack on the Dujailah Redoubt
our friends were only seven to eight miles from us, and we could hear
their rifle and machine gun-fire.

This failure was a great disappointment and we realized what it must
have cost in casualties. There was only one thing for us to do, namely,
carry on; so the rations were reduced again and life went on in its, by
this time, mechanical round. All were still confident of being
relieved, and when it became known that General Gorringe had taken over
command down stream we felt sure something decisive would happen and
that he would get through, if anyone could.

After every unsuccessful attempt, a Turkish envoy promptly arrived with
a white flag and requested us politely to surrender. He was as
courteously and consistently refused.

Rations were now down to 10 oz. of bread, this being half atta and half
barley. The dates were finished and the small stocks of mess stores
which had been carefully eked out were nearly finished. Still we had jam
and tea and the mule wasn't at all bad. Some saccharine dropped by
aeroplane gave us something sweet, and was a great blessing.

The efforts to get the Indians to eat meat at the end of February had
failed. They declared that every village pundit would be against them on
their return to India and that, in consequence, no one would give them
their daughters to marry.

Everything possible to help religious scruples was done, and special
permission obtained from the Imám at Delhi and other religious
authorities; but it was no use, and not until the second week in April,
when they were literally starving, did the Indian troops begin eating
horse. No doubt, if they had done so earlier, we could have held out for
some few days longer, but it is doubtful whether this would have
sufficed for our relief.

After March 8th, all horses not wanted for food were shot to save their
keep, and many a good animal was sacrificed in this way.

By the 19th, the bread ration was only 1/2 lb., while the Indians were
getting 10 oz. meal. The small quantity of food began now to tell on the
strength of all ranks, and cases of bad enteritis--so-called--were
common, these resulting in many deaths during the last days of the
siege.

It is really wonderful what an amount of satisfaction can be derived,
under such conditions, from simply imagining a first-class meal, and I
remember one day, in my dug-out, having a great time going through a
long menu and choosing everything I should like best.

When the grass began to grow towards the end of March, we gathered what
the Sepoys called ság or anything we could make a sort of spinach with.
It was like eating wet hay, but, undoubtedly, kept scurvy down, and if
well soaked in vinegar was not so bad.

In Woolpress they managed to get a little fish from the river, fishing
by night.

Our activities after March 8th were directed to keeping out the floods.
Two big bunds were made, one inside the other, round Kut. The Arabs in
the town were forced to work on the inner one and thus saved the troops,
who were weak enough as it was already with making the outer bund.

By the end of March we had a splendid bund across the middle line
capable of keeping out nearly three feet of water; this being 4 ft. 6
in. high and about 20 ft. thick at the base, all the soil having to be
excavated from pits in front. The sappers had told us that our mess
dug-out was just about the lowest spot round Kut and would be the first
place to be flooded; however, when the floods really came, we found we
were two feet higher up than the regiment a little further along the
line. It was hard work making these bunds, and all the men not otherwise
on duty were out every night. The bund also had to form the firing
parapet, and with barbed wire entanglements in the "borrow" pits in
front and again beyond we were well protected from any attack, not to
mention the floods which would have made an advance by the enemy almost
impossible.

All through April the water slowly percolated up and the dug-outs and
trenches had to be continually raised, until by the end of the month we
were nearly up to ground level. The river rose to its highest level
during April, but fortunately news was received, by wireless, from a
British officer with the Russians at Lake Urmia, of the various floods,
so that we were more or less prepared. Actually we had never much more
than 2 ft. 6 in. outside our bund, which held well. Had we been driven
back inside the inner bund, the whole force would have been cooped up in
a very small area and any shelling would have been bound to take a large
toll.

For the last ten days there was no tobacco left. People were smoking
used-up tea-leaves, orange leaves, liquorice, and even grass. Whatever
smoking tea-leaves may be like for the smoker, it is exceedingly
unpleasant for everybody else, especially in a dug-out.

Throughout the April fighting we followed each _communiqué_ from General
Gorringe with the greatest anxiety, watching his shells bursting over
the Turkish lines by night and always hoping on until after the _Julnar_
had failed to get through.

The men were not told anything about this attempt, but the 30th Brigade
made ready to cover the unloading, in the event of the gallant ship
winning through. She was to be beached by the Fort the same night and
unloaded before the Turks could bring their guns to bear on her next
morning. I remember listening to the firing as she slowly made her way
up-stream; star-shells and flares went up and lit up the scene and she
met with a terrible reception.

Then, after a time, all firing ceased and we realized that this splendid
attempt had failed. According to one member of the crew, all went well
until they reached Magassis, where they struck a cable which gave way,
but a second one immediately afterwards stopped them. Commander Firman,
the naval officer in charge, thought this was a sand-bank and left his
protection on the bridge to shout to them to take a sounding. He was
killed on the spot. Cowley, the well-known skipper of the ship, then
took charge but they could not get past the obstruction, and he himself
was soon very severely wounded by a shell, from which he died when taken
ashore.

Eventually this magnificent attempt had to be given up. It was a most
heroic effort and, had it been possible to steam faster, would probably
have been successful. As it was, the ship was very heavily laden with a
month's supplies for the garrison on board and could only do five or six
knots against the very strong current. Even so, we still fondly hoped
that General Gorringe might achieve the impossible at the last minute;
but it was not to be.

The last few days we lived on the emergency and reserve rations which
each regiment had in its keeping, and the food dropped by aeroplanes
from the Relieving Force. These brought us white flour, some sugar and a
little chocolate. The bread ration, however, was only 4 oz. or just one
good slice a day each.

We were all very weak and there was a great deal of sickness. Enteritis,
which seemed not very different from cholera, was prevalent and affected
nearly everybody to some extent. Not infrequently a Tommy going into Kut
from the front line would suddenly collapse, often not to recover. I
remember feeling rather disappointed that I did not look thinner, and
one felt one ought to be a dreadful scarecrow really to have done the
siege justice.



CHAPTER III

FROM KUT TO KASTAMUNI


On April 29th, Kut surrendered, and it was with sad feelings that we
watched two Turkish battalions marching in at midday. The bitter thought
that they should have worsted us in the end, together with the knowledge
of the useless sacrifice of life by our friends down-stream, was present
to all; but there was also a great feeling of relief that the siege was
now over, and we had not realized until this moment how severe the
strain had been.

We believed the Turks would treat all ranks well, as up to that moment
they had always fought and behaved like gentlemen. Khalil Pasha, the
Turkish general, had said we should be treated as his "honoured guests,"
and, since at that time we had not had much experience of Turkish
promises, we were inclined to think all would be well, although we knew
the Turks themselves were short of supplies and had great difficulty in
feeding their troops down-stream.

Orders came round telling us to destroy everything that could be of use
to the enemy, only a few rifles being kept in case of trouble with Arabs
in the town before the Turks arrived. Field-glasses, revolvers, maps,
and diaries all had to be destroyed and saddlery burnt. It seemed a
crime to be sacrificing so much that was valuable, but this was better
than helping the enemy in any way. The last works of destruction had
only just been completed when the Turkish troops arrived, and great was
their disgust at finding all the guns destroyed, and nothing worth
taking but a few rifles.

Some of us had kept our swords, thinking that they would be returned to
us in traditional style, only to find them collected by the first
Turkish subaltern or N.C.O. who set eyes on them. Those who were wiser
had thrown theirs in the river or buried them, and we all wished we had
done the same. Later on, we heard that the officers' swords from Kut had
been displayed as an interesting exhibit in some museum at
Constantinople.

The departure from Kut began that evening, one steamer taking a full
load up to Shamrán, the Turkish base camp, some eight miles up-stream.
We had still to depend on the remnants of our own rations for that day
and the next, but fortunately they just sufficed.

Next day, as we moved up towards the old Serai, near which the steamers
were moored, we had to pass a palm grove which had been occupied by some
Turkish soldiers. These men were systematically looting any kit which
was being carried past, and to which they had taken a fancy. A good deal
was lost in this way. The Turkish officers seemed powerless to stop it,
the culprits merely walking away until the officer had departed.

The steamer made two or three more trips that day, but it was announced
at noon that all those left must march, their kit alone going on the
steamer. How they managed that march in a starving condition they only
know who did it, but when the steamer reached Shamrán on its last trip
at midnight they had all come in and been regaled with Turkish ration
biscuits. An amusing incident occurred during this march. An Indian
sweeper--the humblest of all regimental followers--was trudging along
behind his regiment carrying some of the articles of his trade, when
they passed some Turkish gun-pits where there were several German
officers standing. On seeing them the sweeper made obeisance with the
deepest of salaams; whereupon the Germans promptly stood to attention,
clicked their heels and saluted.

During the following days, we made ourselves as comfortable as possible
at Shamrán, and, fortunately, got other food in addition to the Turkish
biscuits. These biscuits need only be once seen or eaten never to be
forgotten. They are of a dark-brown colour, unless mouldy, about six
inches in diameter and an inch thick in the centre, and made from a very
coarse meal, which must contain anything except wheat. They are even
harder than the hardest of our own army biscuits.

The Turks had allowed us to bring with us what tents we had in Kut, and,
although we had to leave them behind at Shamrán, they were of the
greatest comfort to us during the week which we spent there.

A launch arrived from the relieving force, bringing with it barges laden
with food, including a number of mess stores and gifts. These we
eventually got possession of, although the Turks would not allow them to
be landed at our camp, but took them up-stream some distance, where we
expected they would take a systematic toll of everything. Turkish
soldiers and Arabs brought in dates, a few oranges, and a syrup made
from dates, which they sold at excessive prices.

Bathing was allowed in the river, and some enthusiasts who still had
fishing tackle spent a considerable time on the bank, but without much
success.

One day, General Townshend passed up-stream in a launch accompanied by
two or three of his staff _en route_ to Bagdad. All ranks rushed to the
bank to give him a parting cheer, which one felt meant that all knew he
had done his best for us throughout.

With the end of the siege one had expected all the worst features of the
last few weeks to disappear, but the heavy mortality from enteritis
continued at Shamrán. It was especially heavy amongst the British ranks,
in many cases being aggravated by a too suddenly increased diet, of
which the Turkish biscuits formed a large part.

A few days after our arrival, it was announced that the men would all
have to march up, while officers would be taken up in batches by the
steamers. The first party to leave contained the generals and staff, and
most of the officers from British units. The following day the men were
to march. Our doctors insisted on a very thorough examination, as a
large proportion of the men were unable to march. The Turks would not,
however, accept the British doctors' decisions, and reduced the unfit to
a much smaller number.

The result was that large numbers fell out after the first day, and had
to be taken on board the _Julnar_, which was bringing up a number of men
from the Kut hospitals whom the Turks considered not ill enough to be
exchanged. We were all convinced that had it not been for German
counsels at Constantinople some arrangement for our return on _parole_
to India might have been made.

The men were told to take one blanket or greatcoat each, as well as
their haversacks and water-bottles. They had no transport whatever, and
our hearts misgave us as we watched them go. The column wound slowly out
of the camp with many checks, and it was over an hour before they were
clear; all seemed to be carrying big loads, and many things must have
been thrown away or sold before they reached Bagdad. The Turks were only
too anxious to buy, when they could not steal any clothing, boots, or
equipment, their own clothing and equipment being at a very low ebb
after months of service in Mesopotamia, to say nothing of the long march
down from Asia Minor. Many had no boots, and were just wearing sandals
of goat-skin, such as they are accustomed to use in the country
districts of Anatolia.

When the men had departed, the camp seemed very forlorn; about 150
British and Indian officers were left, while the hospital tents
contained many sick of all ranks.

Two days later, on May 10th, the second party of officers left on the
steamer _Khalifa_, which had on board a few German gunners returning to
Bagdad and a good number of Turkish officers. The journey took three
days; on the second day we passed the _Julnar_. She was covered with
bullet-marks, showing through what a severe fire she had forced her way.
Now she was loaded with sick from Kut. We waved to those on board, but
were not near enough to speak to them.

Our steamer used to tie up to the bank for a short while twice a day, in
the morning and evening, enabling us to get a hurried bathe and a little
change from the cramped space on the deck, where we spent the rest of
the time.

The third day we passed the battlefield of Ctesiphon, full of memories
of the victory which had proved so disastrous six months before. We
halted for the night not far from the Arch, and were greeted by the
local Arabs, who danced and fired off ancient rifles and pistols in the
air in derision at our captivity. The women also contributed their share
by making a peculiar kind of trilling sound. How we hoped they might
soon be singing in a very different fashion when our troops should
advance again and take Bagdad.

We reached Bagdad the next morning. As we slowly paddled up the river,
we could see the Red Crescent flag floating from almost every good house
on the river sides; hospitals seemed to be everywhere, and we realized
what awful casualties the Relieving Force had inflicted on the Turks.

For some miles before Bagdad is reached, the river is fringed with palm
groves, gardens, and cultivated land. When we left Kut the river was
within a few feet of the highest ground, but here the banks were very
much higher.

We were landed at the old British Residency, and, after a little delay,
were formed up in order of seniority and marched off along what appeared
to be the main road. It was evidently arranged as a triumphal procession
to impress the inhabitants. At length, after a march of two miles,
passing through the covered-in bazaar, where the shade was most
welcome, we emerged on the north side of the town, and reached our
destination at the Cavalry Barracks. We had been promised furnished
quarters, but found bare floors and empty rooms; the building formed a
large quadrangle, and was empty of all troops when we arrived. A little
later our orderlies and servants appeared, bringing our kit from the
steamer. On leaving Shamrán colonels were allowed to take two orderlies
or Indian servants, other officers being allowed one each.

Fortunately, just before we left, some money in Turkish gold had been
sent up by the Relieving Force by aeroplane, and thus all ranks had a
little cash.

When the second party reached Bagdad, the first party had already
departed for Mosul, and rumours arose about the journey, people saying
at first that we should have carriages from the railhead at Samarra,
then that only donkeys would be available, while others thought we
should be lucky to get anything.

While at the barracks we were given a month's pay by the Turkish
authorities, on what proved to be for senior officers a very generous
scale, the greatest mercy being that half the amount was paid in gold.
Had this not been done, we should have been in a truly sorry plight on
the long journeys by road across the desert, since no Arab would look at
Turkish notes, and insisted on being paid in hard cash.

At this time, the Russian force under General Baratoff had made a sudden
advance through the Pusht-i-Kuh mountains and reached Khanikin, 90 miles
north-east of Bagdad; the Turks were therefore very anxious to get us
away, while some of the under-strappers, evidently thinking the Russians
would reach Bagdad, began to talk in a very different strain, pretending
that they had really been pro-British all the time.

Very few people succeeded in getting out of the barracks, but two or
three officers, duly escorted, managed to get a gharry, and drove
straight to the American consul, who arranged to give them money, and
did everything he could for them. He said he expected to see many of us,
and went on to tell them exactly what he thought of the campaign up to
date. He was very pessimistic over the future treatment of the British
troops, and declared that had we known what would happen to them we
would have cut our way out of Kut at whatever cost. We hoped this was
exaggeration, and that things would not turn out as badly as he
expected; but events proved only too truly how entirely his fears were
justified. Hopelessly inadequate rations, no transport, no medical
arrangements for the sick who fell out, and utter incapability of all
Turkish authorities, constitute one of the blackest crimes committed
during any war.

It is only right to add that whenever we met German officers they did
all they could to help us, more than one saying they considered that we
and they were civilized people in a land of barbarians.

Two days after reaching Bagdad we were paraded in the hot sun in the
afternoon and marched off to the station, passing over the bridge of
boats and through the Shia quarter of the city, which lies on the right
bank of the river. We were all only too glad to get away from the
insanitary conditions which are inseparable from all Turkish buildings.

After a wait of two hours at the station, we were packed into a train
which started about six o'clock. A few miles north of Bagdad we passed
the Great Mosque at Kazmain, its golden domes and minarets shining in
the setting sun. The train proceeded at a good rate; everything in
connection with the railway was naturally German, and of a substantial
description. The length of line then completed to the railhead at
Samaria was 80 miles, passing through slightly undulating country the
whole way. This had been finished by the Germans before the war broke
out.

Most of us were weary, and many preferred lying on the floor of the
corridors or vestibules at the end of the cars, to sitting straight up
in the cramped compartments. We made several halts, and it was near
midnight when we arrived. Our guards, a few gendarmes, seemed to have no
idea where we were going, or what was to be done with us. Eventually we
were told to leave our kit, which was to be brought along later, and
were guided down towards the river. After walking a mile, we found
ourselves in a small Arab village on the river bank, and were conducted
into a courtyard some 40 yards square, where we were told we were to
stay. There was a rough shelter round three sides, formed by brushwood
supported on a rough wooden framework; this promised a certain amount of
shade, and we were all glad to be in the open air rather than in another
barrack building. There were no signs of any transport fetching our kit,
so the most enterprising managed to procure two trollies, and trundled
them up to the station along a narrow-gauge line. The Turks used this
line for taking stores, ammunition, etc., to the railway, from the rafts
on which they were floated down from Mosul. By dawn, nearly all the kit
had been collected, and we had settled down as best we could.

There was a certain amount of food obtainable from Arab vendors, and as
we had our Indian servants, and a few things left from stores received
at Shamrán, we were fairly comfortable. As usual, no one seemed to know
how long we were to be there, before our journey by road across the
desert began. Fortunately, we were not guarded very strictly, and were
allowed to go outside the courtyard, and down to the river to bathe; the
current here was very strong, and only the most powerful swimmers could
make any headway against it, and that only for a few yards.

The town of Samarra was on the other bank, and some little height above
the land on our side. It stands back from the river, and contains a fine
mosque, with a golden dome. The inhabitants cross the river in
gufahs--the large round coracles which are used all down the Tigris.
Owing to the current a start always has to be made very much higher
up-stream than the point where it is desired to land on the other side.

During the three or four days which we spent at Samarra, a large
quantity of German gun-ammunition arrived by raft from up-stream, and
was carried by Arabs up the bank to the trollies. These rafts carry big
loads; they are formed by a skeleton frame of wood on which is placed
brushwood, the frame being supported by inflated skins which are tied to
it. On reaching the end of a journey, the skins are deflated and sent
back up the river to be used again. As there are rapids between Samarra
and Bagdad, it was not possible to float the rafts right down to Bagdad,
and consequently everything had to be transhipped to the railway. One
night some large motors arrived, and went on at once by road towards
Bagdad. Reports immediately circulated that Enver Pasha had arrived; but
this cannot have been true.

We had now learnt who our commandant on the journey was to be. He was a
yuzbashi or captain, by name Elmey Bey, a little man with an enormous
moustache, which made him look very fierce. He knew a very little
French, and could therefore be approached without an interpreter. We
did not really appreciate him until later. One morning he escorted a few
of us over to the town; there was nothing to be seen except the mosque,
and we were not allowed to look at this even from the gateway, much less
to enter the courtyard.

[Illustration: ELMEY BEY

_(From a Water-colour Drawing by Lt. Browne)_]

After making a few purchases, we went into an Arab café and partook of
coffee and tea flavoured with citron. Elmey Bey would not let us pay for
anything, and we thought it most hospitable of him. He said he would
accept our hospitality another day. However, he eventually left the café
without paying anything, and apparently the proprietor was really our
unwilling host.

The town seemed very deserted, many of the inhabitants being over on the
other side, selling anything they could to the first batch of troops,
who had reached Samarra that morning by rail, and were now camped in the
open a little way above us. We were not allowed to go to see them, but
one or two managed to get messages through, and an Indian clerk
belonging to my regiment came to see us. He looked thin, and had
evidently had a hard time. He said that on the way to Bagdad the guards
had flogged men who fell out, to see if they were really ill, and that
conditions as regards rations were pretty bad generally. None of our
men, however, had succumbed so far, and, as many of the regiment had
been anything but fit to start with, we hoped they would be able to
stand it. We gave him a few little things in the way of eatables before
he went back.

The next day, we were told we were going to march; and the question of
transport became all-important. At first the Turks said there would be
two animals--donkeys, mules, or ponies--to each officer; this seemed
much too good to be true, and when the time came there was barely one
animal to every officer. These had all been forcibly commandeered from
the villagers round, and a good many were taken back again on the sly by
their owners before we could get hold of them. Others were taken by the
gendarmes who formed our guard, while several were too small to be of
use, or were hopelessly lame. By the time we had got our kit packed, we
had left for riding one reasonably large donkey and a diminutive beast
between the six officers and seven Indian servants in our mess.

We started at sunset in a dust-storm. Fortunately it did not last long,
and we got along without mishap till about eleven o'clock, when a heavy
rainstorm came on. All through the night, and especially after every
halt, we had been urged on by our Arab escort shouting "Yallah, yallah!"
This really means "O God!" but is used by the Arabs for "Get on and
hurry up." How we came to loathe that cry! About two in the morning, we
reached some water; luckily, in the dark, we could not see what we were
drinking. We must have done fifteen to twenty miles; and, as most of us
had not marched any distance for months, we were only too glad to fall
asleep for a few hours. At dawn we were again on the move, having had
some trouble in finding our own animals again; the wise had marked
theirs with copying pencil, and this method was generally resorted to
afterwards.

We went on with halts of a few minutes every hour, and got down to the
river again at midday. It was now pretty hot, and we were told we should
arrive at Tekrit, a small Arab town, in one hour. Throughout Turkey and
Mesopotamia distances are measured by hours; a good working plan is to
add on 50 per cent. to the average of what one is told, as no two men
will ever say the same; if journeying by night it is safer to double it.

That last hour to Tekrit was one of the worst we had; actually it was
nearer two hours. There was a blazing sun, and we were very tired. The
road left the river and went up a hill, then down and up again. On each
rise we expected to see the town, but it was dreadfully slow in
appearing. From some distance off we were met by Arab boys and women
selling eggs, raisins, sour curds, and chapatties. Finally, we were
taken through the place down to the river edge, a sort of dirty, stony
beach, where we were told to camp; we had covered 30 to 35 miles in the
last nineteen hours, and most of us had marched almost the whole
distance.

There was a small Arab café which we were allowed to use, but otherwise
there was no shade. Arabs sauntered about our bivouac, and were anything
but friendly; the place was filthy, and we were far from feeling
cheerful.

Some of the houses of the town stand up on a rocky crag above the river.
Tekrit is a very old place, and at one time there was a bridge over the
river here. It was laid waste by the Mongols and the people butchered.
Before we left, we were all wishing that some such fate might be in
store for the present inhabitants.

Some of us bathed, but the water was very shallow and dirty. Arabs could
be seen swimming across the river supported on inflated skins, in
exactly the same way as Xenophon has described their forefathers doing
2,000 years ago.

That afternoon we tried to arrange to hire extra animals, as we felt
that we could never get along if the succeeding marches were so severe.
A good many animals were forthcoming, mostly mules and large donkeys.
The usual terms were to be one pound in gold, paid in advance, and a
second on arrival at Mosul. The following evening, just before starting,
the owners demanded the whole two pounds in advance; there was nothing
for it but to comply, the reason undoubtedly being that the commandant
of the town and Elmey Bey both desired to have their share before
starting, as otherwise they would not see any of it. A long delay ensued
before we got off, and it was getting dark before we were clear of the
town.

The march that night was uneventful, and we halted for a few hours
before dawn near the river, continuing our way as soon as it got light.
We passed a few Arab encampments, formed of dark tents, where the nomads
come at certain seasons to cultivate the surrounding land, together with
their flocks of sheep and goats. Not a single house, or even mud-hut,
was to be seen. Our next halt, which we reached in the middle of the
morning, was a serai standing by itself on a low ridge. It was built on
the usual square pattern, and contained a well, which however, was not
of very much use, as the water was unfit for drinking; drinking water
had all to be carried from the river, over a mile away.

Elmey Bey, or "Phil May," as we christened him, had by this time shown
how anxious he was to help us, by doing nothing at all to assist us
either in buying provisions or keeping prices down. Our escort consisted
of a few Arab gendarmes, and, on arrival at any village or encampment,
they would make the people put up their prices, and insist on taking the
difference as commission themselves; whenever they could manage it they
prevented all country people from approaching us until their own demands
had been satisfied.

Phil May rode the whole way, and would hurry on and be comfortably
asleep in his camp bed by the time we reached the end of the march. If
worried sufficiently by the senior officers, he would occasionally go to
the extent of abusing one or more of the gendarmes, and administer the
usual punishment adopted by all officers in the Turkish army--slapping
the face of the culprit. It says a good deal for the discipline of the
Turkish soldier that a sergeant will stand up like a lamb and have his
face smacked by the veriest nincompoop of an officer.

Leaving the serai again the following morning, we did a short march of
some six or seven miles only, down to the river. This was to be a very
strenuous day, for that evening we were to start on the long waterless
march about which we had heard so much. It was said to be 40 miles, that
we should halt during the next day, and not reach water till the morning
after, thus doing two all-night marches. Most people had bought
goatskins, tied up to hold water, from the local Arabs. Most of them
leaked more or less rapidly, the new skins being much the worst, and all
gave the water a very strong flavour.

We got away about 5 p.m., and nothing special happened till about 11
o'clock, when suddenly the escort became wildly excited, and dashed up
and down; we were halted and told there were hostile Arabs about; the
gendarmes fired off a few shots into the air, but nothing more occurred.
All we could find to account for the disturbance was that one officer
had lost his donkey, which had got loose and gone careering off to the
side of the road. As it was a dark night, this may very likely have
alarmed one or two of the gendarmes, who did not strike us as being men
of valour.

Two hours later we halted, and, after a sketchy supper, soon got to
sleep. In the morning, instead of remaining where we were for the day,
as we had expected, we had to move on once more to the tune of "Yallah,
yallah." After three hours or so we reached some low sand-hills, and
amongst these found an unexpected stream, where we proceeded to camp.
This stream, like so many more in this part of the world, was not pure
water, but contained salts of various descriptions, said by the Turks to
make the water bad for drinking. We drank steadily from this and other
similar streams; and, luckily, for the most part, felt no ill effects.

That evening, we were again upon the road, our destination being
Shilgat, a small Turkish post on the Tigris, which we were meeting once
more. We arrived eventually about midnight, after a very wearisome
march, and after a long wait were herded into the courtyard of the
Turkish fort. When the kit had been sorted out, we were very soon
asleep, the usual precautions being taken to see that boots were hidden
under one's valise, or tied up in some way to prevent theft. As the
Turkish troops were always badly off for footgear, boots were the
articles most often stolen, and several pairs had disappeared in this
way before we reached our journey's end. All were thoroughly tired out,
and it had been decided that we would insist on a rest the following
day. Great was our wrath, therefore, to find ourselves awakened again at
dawn, and told we must move at once to another place. Phil May came in
for more abuse, and lost his temper promptly. We settled down,
eventually, in another enclosure not far away, where we had more room.
Later on, we succeeded in our efforts to get a whole day's rest.

In ancient times Shilgat was Assur, the first capital of the Assyrian
Empire. Archæologists had evidently been at work here; all the
foundations of the old city had been laid bare; it had covered a
considerable area, and had been built largely of marble. Situated on a
high promontory overlooking the Tigris and the flat plains beyond, the
old town must have been an imposing sight from all the surrounding
country. Now, only the foundations remain, and no carving or
inscriptions are to be seen.

Next day, we were off once more across flat, uninteresting country,
keeping close to the river. At the start, there was considerable delay
owing to donkeys getting bogged in a creek which we had to cross. After
a midday halt for a couple of hours, we continued our weary way, and
finally bivouacked for the night on the bank of the river.

The following day's march proved one of the most unpleasant of the whole
journey. After an early start, we soon reached a Turkish post, where a
long delay occurred while our orderlies drew rations. At this place
there were small bitumen works, these being the first signs of any
modern industry which we had seen since leaving Bagdad. A little farther
on, the track rose to higher ground, and we left the river away on our
right. It began to get hot towards midday, and a warm wind got up,
bringing clouds of dust to meet us. At length, in the afternoon, we
reached a Turkish post, where after much altercation we were refused an
entrance, and had to retrace our steps to a somewhat sulphurous stream a
little way back, where we camped for the night.

The country all round at this time of year is covered with long thin
grass, and in many places there are quantities of wild flowers, scarlet
poppies being very conspicuous.

In order to defeat the gendarmes, we had by now formed a kind of trade
union for buying eggs from villagers. On approaching each place, it was
decided how much should be paid for eggs, these being more in demand
than any other kind of food. In the Bagdad district the Persian kron is
the usual unit: a kron is equivalent to fourpence or two Turkish
piastres; farther north the piastre, or qrush, is used. The cheapest
rate we obtained for eggs was eight for a piastre, or four a penny,
whereas when the gendarmes had their own way we had to pay a penny for
each.

Our next march took us to Hamàmali, a place on the river, and containing
an old bath, as its name implies. There are bitumen springs entering the
river here, but they are not strong enough to render the water unfit for
drinking. Supplies were very plentiful--eggs, raisins, bread, and dates
being the most sought after. After a few hours' rest and a bathe in the
river, we started off again in the evening, looking forward to a real
rest on reaching Mosul the next day. We bivouacked beside the road, and
were moving at an early hour next morning. The road wound up and down
over low hills, and some attempt had been made to metal the surface and
build good bridges, showing that we were getting near to an important
place. As we reached the top of one ridge, a full view of the Tigris
valley burst upon us, Mosul lying straight ahead of us, while farther to
the right across the river lay the ruins of old Nineveh. In the
immediate foreground, the course of the river was marked by green
cultivated land and low woods, while away, in the distance, rose the
dark mountains of Kurdistan.

On approaching the town more closely, one noticed a great difference in
the mosques, as compared with Bagdad. Here the minarets were of plain
stone-work, and were not capped by gorgeous golden domes or brilliant
blue tile-work.

We were marched into a large building, formed on the usual Turkish
pattern of a hollow square. This seemed to be chiefly used as a prison.
We were given three or four empty rooms on the upper story. Water was
scarce, and had to be brought in by hand. In other respects, the
building had all the filthy characteristics inseparable from the Turk.

Soon after arriving, we were given Red Crescent post-cards to send home,
and these turned out to be the first news our friends in England
received from us. For food we were allowed to go out to restaurants in
the town. One of these, run by a Frenchman, was a great joy to us, after
the scratch meals which we had been forced to be content with for so
long. We had covered the 175 miles from Samarra to Mosul in just under
ten days, and had it not been for the extra animals hired at Tekrit we
should scarcely have managed this. As it was, most people could ride for
an hour and walk for an hour alternately, though some were not so
fortunate.

We were promised many things in Mosul, amongst others that we should be
allowed to go to bathe in the river. This was never allowed in the end,
although we went in parties to the bazaar, where we laid in stocks of
flour, rice, and raisins, for the journey on to Ras-el-Ain. We were told
that very few supplies were obtainable on the road until we reached
Nisibin, 120 miles away.

At Samarra, we had left behind a few officers who had not sufficiently
recovered from the effects of the siege to proceed at once on the road
journey. At Shilgat, we picked up one officer left by the first party,
and left one or two of our own servants behind. All these we hoped would
recover enough to come on with the troops or subsequent parties of
officers. At Mosul, we found one of our doctors left behind by the first
party, and attending to an officer who was down with enteric.

After a rest of two days at Mosul, we started off on June 1 for the 200
miles to the railhead at Ras-el-Ain. Our transport was now composed
chiefly of carts, and a few extra carts were hired by paying in advance
as before. There was the usual uncertainty as to how many marches it
would take us, and how many hours we should be on the road the first
day. We were now going almost due west, and would not see our old friend
the Tigris again.

In response to our complaints to the commandant at Mosul of the way in
which our Arab escort had behaved, these men were changed for Turkish
soldiers, who gave us less trouble. Our party was accompanied by three
magnificent Arab horses, which were being taken to Constantinople for
Enver Pasha. The Mosul district has been the finest horse-breeding
country in Asia from the earliest times; indeed, it would be hard to
imagine a country better suited for the purpose than the rolling grassy
plains stretching away on both sides of the river.

After leaving the Tigris, we did not see a single tree for a hundred
miles, and there was very little water of any description. The first
night we spent by some dirty pools after a march of more than twenty
miles. The carts were not as restful as might be imagined, since they
had no springs, and every few minutes the Jehu would urge his steeds
into a canter to catch up distance lost on the cart in front, or merely
to try to get ahead of it. The harness was largely composed of string
and rope, which often gave way, thus occasioning a long rattle for all
on board before the former place in the procession was regained. Some of
the horses had most appalling sores: they are evidently worked till they
drop, and receive the harshest treatment from the drivers. The boys
driving our carts were Kurds, wild, quick-tempered, and reckless.

The second day brought us to a camp beside a stream of pure sweet water,
a welcome change after all the dirty pools and salt-laden springs which
we had experienced. The following day, after a halt near some dirty
springs at noon, we started on another long waterless trek in the late
afternoon. We went on steadily all night, passing a large prairie fire.
These fires are started to burn up the old long grass and make way for
the fresh growth. They extend for miles, and at night are a fine sight,
with heavy clouds of smoke hanging above.

We halted for two hours about two in the morning, and then got under way
once more. About nine o'clock we came to a good stream and towards
midday reached our camp at Demir Kapo. Here, there was a small river
which yielded a number of fish. We saw a few Germans, and a German
wireless section was camped near. We bathed in the stream, and were very
glad to rest for the remainder of the day and the following morning.

Two more marches brought us to Nisibin. The country after leaving Mosul
had been almost uninhabited, but here there were small villages dotted
about. On getting nearer to them, we found that they were deserted; our
guards told us they were Armenian villages, and that the people had all
been killed earlier in the war. We passed a great many of these awful
testimonies to the barbarity of Turkish politics.

Away on our right, as we approached Nisibin, could be seen Mardin, a
city built on a rock overlooking the plains, and forming, as it were, a
look-out from the southern fringe of the Taurus Mountains. As to how
far Mardin also was a city of the dead, it was impossible to tell.
Before the war, the main Armenian population had extended from this
district over a belt of land running north-eastwards up to Erzerum and
Van.

At Nisibin, we camped near the river, and had a full day's rest. This
place saw as much fighting as any spot in Mesopotamia in the old days,
having been the frontier station between Rome and Parthia. There are not
many relics of the past to be seen at the present day, but close to our
bivouac stood four old pillars, bearing transverse stones which had
formed part of the Roman Forum. They stood out forlornly in a field on
high ground, and, as might be expected, supported a stork's nest. These
birds often build a new nest on the top of one or more old ones: they
are very common in Mesopotamia, and several were seen in Bagdad.

The following evening saw us moving on again, and the day after we
halted at midday at Tel Erman. At this point, there is a road branching
away to the north of the route we had followed and leading up to
Diarbekr. The Turks were moving a good many troops at this time up to
the Caucasus fronts, through Diarbekr, to meet the Russian pressure. We
found a large camel convoy just beyond the village; since leaving Mosul
we had met no troops or convoys destined for Bagdad or the Persian
front; everything for Mesopotamia appeared to go down the Euphrates on
rafts, this being the quickest way.

Tel Erman lived in our memories as being the first place where we had
obtained any fruit since leaving Bagdad three weeks before. Some small
cherries and apricots were to be had and were eagerly bought up.

During the evening's march, we passed a regiment of Turkish cavalry,
who, for Turks, seemed to be wonderfully well equipped. The average Turk
never looks happy on a horse, but these fellows made a better show than
usual. As we approached the railhead at Ras-el-Ain, signs of activity
increased, and there were more dead horses at the roadside, showing that
the traffic was heavier.

The last day's march was one of the worst; during the morning stage the
sun was hot, there was no breeze, and quantities of sand-flies assailed
us. Towards midday, we reached a big Turkish camp, where there were a
good many men and stores in course of transit eastwards. Here we rested
until late in the afternoon, when our final march to Ras-el-Ain began.
The last few miles were accomplished at a good pace to a sustained
whistling accompaniment, ranging over most of the popular songs of the
last few years.

Every one thought that our troubles were over, as we were now on a
railway, and whatever might happen would not have to walk any farther.
These hopes were dispelled a few days later, when we heard of the two
breaks in the line across the Taurus Mountains, which had not yet been
completed, thus necessitating two more trips by road.

We bivouacked in the open by the station, and early in the morning were
told to get ready at once to go by the next train. An hour later, it
appeared that we were not going till the following day. By this time we
had ceased to pay much attention to Turkish orders, unless we saw that
actual preparations were being made to carry them out. In the afternoon,
the Turks took away all Hindu orderlies and servants, and informed us
that all the doctors in our party, except one, were to stay here to look
after the Indian troops on their arrival, as the latter were going to be
put to work on continuing the railway farther east towards Nisibin. We
were very sorry for our medical friends, since their prospects looked
anything but cheerful. Local food supplied from the country round
seemed almost non-existent, and the shops in the village had very
little.

By the time we reached Ras-el-Ain, we had completed 200 miles from Mosul
in ten days. Most of us had walked half the distance, and bumped in
carts over the other half. We had kept tolerably cheerful, apart from a
few inveterate grousers; altogether we had survived wonderfully well,
and had fared infinitely better than the troops from Kut, who were
marching along in our tracks a few days behind us.

From Ras-el-Ain we started for Aleppo the next morning, the journey
taking nearly twelve hours. The only interesting place through which we
passed was Jerrablus, the ancient Carchemish, where the line crosses the
Euphrates by a fine bridge. There was not much sign of activity on the
river banks, but before we left the station a complete train loaded with
German motor-lorries had arrived, and after a few minutes continued its
way eastwards.

On reaching Aleppo, in the evening, the orderlies and servants were
marched off by themselves, and after loading our kit on to carts we were
driven away in gharries from the station. This seemed to be almost the
height of luxury, and we thought that at last we had reached a place
where we should be really well treated. The gharries took us to various
small hotels, but when once inside we were not allowed to go out again.
The Turks said that our kit would be delivered at once; some people
waited up hoping for the arrival of their valises, but the wiser seized
what bedding there was obtainable in the hotel, and laying it on a
veranda made the best of a bad job, and went to sleep.

In the morning, we were not allowed out to get any food. The hotel
sharks refused to let boys come up with rolls, but tried to sell to us
themselves at double the prices. However, we eventually got hold of a
boy who threw up rolls from the street below to our veranda, and thus
outwitted our enemies.

All efforts to get out for breakfast, or to fetch our kit, proved
unavailing, until about midday we were allowed to go a few yards down
the street to where our kit had all been thrown inside a gateway the
night before. Fortunately, although a good many valises had evidently
been opened, very little had been stolen.

It was not until four o'clock in the afternoon that we were finally
allowed out in parties to a restaurant not a hundred yards away. While
we were shut in, we had seen Phil May in the road and shouted to him;
but, although he could see very well what we wanted, he never took the
trouble to come into the hotel, much less to help us.

The next day passed in much the same fashion, except that we were
allowed out at midday, and no one was sorry when we were marched off
back to the station early the following morning. Here we met the
orderlies, who had fared much worse than we had. The first night they
had been packed into a small room in some filthy barracks, and had
suffered severely from the verminous pests which flourish in every
Turkish building.

A railway journey of a few hours brought us to Islahie, which was then
the railhead for the journey over the Anti-Taurus range.

There were some Austrian troops in Aleppo, and we now began to meet many
more Germans. Turkish training-camps were much in evidence at the
stations we passed after leaving Aleppo, and a good deal of material was
going south on the railway. Most of this was going to Egypt to assist in
the attack which ended so disastrously for the Turks.

We spent the night at Islahie under some rough tent shelters. All our
clothes had been fumigated in a steam waggon specially designed for the
purpose.

The following morning we noticed a crowd of men, women, and children
moving off along the road and looking very wretched. Our guards said
that these were Armenians who had been working on the line, but were
being taken away to make room for our troops, who would be set to work
in their place; they also added that these Armenians would be marched
off into a waterless spot in the hills, and kept there till they died.

We left our camp in the evening, travelling the first part of the way in
carts, over one of the most bumpy roads ever seen. After a halt at the
foot of the pass, we marched up, starting at midnight. There was a fine
moon, and the scenery as we climbed higher became very grand. The road
appeared to be only lately completed, and was probably due to German
energy. As we neared the summit three or four bodies were seen lying in
the ditch beside the road; these were evidently some of the Armenians we
had seen starting off that morning. After descending the farther side,
we bivouacked under trees in a pretty spot, and on the slope opposite
saw the Armenians. Soon after they left and we did not see anything more
of them. That evening we continued our way downhill, meeting several
batches of sturdy Turkish youths who had just been called up and were
on their way to training-camps near Aleppo. We were descending rapidly,
and our drivers maintained a headlong gallop, with the result that two
carts were completely overturned, but fortunately with no ill effects to
the passengers. We finally bivouacked not far from the railhead, and
reached the station of Mamouré early the following morning.

The railway journey across the plain, through Adana, took some six
hours, bringing us to Kulek Boghaz, a station within five miles of
Tarsus. From this point the road journey over the main Taurus range
began. All supplies were being brought over by German motor-lorries, and
everything was being run by a German commandant. During the night
several helmets were stolen and probably found their way to German
soldiers, who either had no sun helmets or very inferior ones. The
commandant did his best to recover them, but without success. He told us
that we should leave the next morning at 9 o'clock. Punctually to the
minute, a dozen motor-lorries rolled up, and we were soon speeding along
the road towards the mountains. The road had been cut up dreadfully by
the heavy traffic, so that we were jolted about almost as badly as we
had been in the Turkish carts. The scenery grew finer as we ascended,
until half-way we reached an open space amongst the hills, which the
Germans had made the headquarters of their motor service, and christened
"Camp Taurus." Here were enormous repair tents, one for each make of
car, with living quarters and offices all of a most complete and
elaborate type. After a halt here, we continued our way, still rising
slowly until we entered the Cilician Gates, where the road just finds
room to pass through a narrow rocky gorge. On the farther side, the
descent begins at once, and is very steep in places. The road here was
being repaired by bands of forced labourers, and had a much better
surface.

As we neared the railway again, at Bozanti, we noticed a few British
prisoners. These were naval men taken in the Dardanelles. They said they
were being paid, and apparently had not much to complain about. We were
not allowed to stop and speak to them, and can only hope that they fared
better than our own troops who were put to work shortly afterwards on
the neighbouring sections of the line through the Taurus.

At Bozanti, we were able to buy a few stores, some of which were British
and had been left behind at Gallipoli when we evacuated the peninsula.
With only a short wait, we were packed like sardines into a train, and
the next stage of the journey began.

The next morning we reached Konia, and were told to leave the train, but
not to take our kit out, as the train was stopping for some time. The
local commandant arrived, and proved to be the best Turkish officer we
had met. Under his direction, we were taken to a hospital building,
where there were two large rooms containing rough beds. These were a
great delight after sleeping on the ground for weeks. The commandant, a
little later, decided that we should be allowed to remain here until the
next day, so that we might have a rest. If we had relied on Phil May,
our kit would have all gone on in the afternoon to Constantinople, but
luckily we just managed to rescue it in time.

The greatest delight of Konia, from our point of view, was an hotel near
the station, to which we were allowed to go for meals. This was run by a
Frenchwoman, who was kindness itself, and could not do enough for us.
Few of us will forget the delights of her omelets or the hot baths in a
real long bath, the first we had seen since leaving India.

The journey next day was more comfortable, as we had more room. After
spending another night in the train, we arrived in the morning at Afion
Kara Hissar, where a good number of Gallipoli prisoners were interned.
In the evening, we reached Eski Chehir, the junction for the Angora
line. Here all our Mohammedan servants were taken from us. We were
conducted a little way into the town to the houses where a number of
Indian Mohammedan officers, who had come along with the first party,
were living. They seemed to have fared pretty well, and certainly had
very good quarters. They were very glad to see us, and we anxiously
inquired after their experiences by the way.

Up to this point we had fondly imagined that Angora would be the end of
our journey, but just before starting in the evening we were told that
another ten days by road lay in front of us after reaching Angora. We
were packed tight in the train, and rumbled on slowly through the night,
arriving at Angora at eleven o'clock next day. Our kit was left to be
brought in carts, while we were marched through the town to a big
building over a mile beyond. This had been built as an Agricultural
College, but latterly used as a Military School. Here we found the
first party of officers, whom we had last seen at Shamrán camp. They
seemed to have had a much more unpleasant journey than we had; whether
it was because they had most of the staff officers amongst them, or had
adopted the plan of telling every Turk and interpreter exactly what they
thought of them, certain it is that they were not enjoying life, and
when we arrived had not been allowed outside the building for two whole
days.

We had bidden farewell to Phil May with great delight at Eski Chehir,
and had since then been in charge of a much pleasanter officer. Thanks
to his efforts, we succeeded in getting permission to stay out of doors
to cook and to go down to a neighbouring stream to bathe in the evening.
We felt that the first party really owed us a great debt of gratitude in
thus providing them with an opportunity of washing and getting a little
fresh air.

All our orderlies had been marched off from the station to some dirty
Turkish barracks, so that we were entirely dependent on our own culinary
efforts. Two days after our arrival, the first party left in carts for
Yozgad, a distance of 100 miles due east on the road to Sivas and
Erzerum. We remained for a week, being only allowed to go into the town
once to make purchases. The journey to Kastamuni began under the best
conditions. The weather was perfect, and as we were well over 2,000 feet
above sea-level the sun was never too hot at midday. Also, we had a new
commandant, who did what he could to help us. The distance in front of
us was 140 miles, and we expected to take fully a week.

The road led through countless orchards for the first few miles, and
then on into more open country. Cherries and small apricots abounded,
and supplies in general were plentiful; a very different state of
affairs existed a year later, when prices had doubled and trebled, and
in many cases advanced very much more. We reached a small village the
first evening, and our commandant appeared much surprised that we should
prefer to sleep in the open rather than in the very doubtful shelters
attached to the local rest-house.

The following day we reached Kalejik, a picturesque little place with
the ruins of an old castle perched on a rocky pinnacle in the centre of
the town. Some such ruin seems to keep watch over all Turkish towns. We
had already seen similar old forts perched on hills at Afion Kara
Hissar and Angora.

Next morning, most of our carts were taken away, and we were given
donkeys instead. A small moke cannot keep pace with a cart, and it is an
open question whether riding the animal with a loading saddle is less
fatiguing than walking along and driving it in front of one. Provided
all one's kit had been put on a cart, the easiest way was often to let
the moke go where it liked, and walk on oneself without it.

Two days from Kalejik brought us to Changri, a prettily situated little
place, which came suddenly into view, as we rounded a bend in the road,
after traversing a very desolate and uninteresting stretch of country
all day. We bivouacked under some trees by a stream, which, however, was
not fit to drink from. The local commandant and Town Council paid us a
visit. We were allowed to visit the bazaar, and generally made ourselves
comfortable.

In the morning, we were given more carts again, much to our delight, and
continued our way northward. The road now began to cross some high
ridges. On one of these we passed a police post, and a halt was made
while our commandant stalked a few sitting pigeons with his shot-gun,
eventually securing one after a great deal of trouble. Beyond
sand-grouse, between Bagdad and Mosul, we had seen very little game of
any sort since we left Kut.

We camped by a stream, after a very steep and bumpy descent from a high
ridge. It is extraordinary what treatment the light Turkish transport
carts can stand without anything giving way.

Our next march led us up a very long ascent, and proved the most
enjoyable day of our whole journey. After ascending some distance, the
road entered pine woods, and reminded us very strongly of roads near
different hill stations in India. We halted at midday very near the top
of the pass, which must be close on 4,000 feet, while the mountains on
either side rise to another 2,000 feet. The views were glorious, and we
wished it might have been possible to stay longer in such scenery. By
evening, we had dropped down a long distance on the other side and were
nearly out of the woods again when we halted for our last bivouac.

We were now within ten miles of Kastamuni, and by eleven o'clock next
morning, July 5th, were in sight of the place. The old castle, standing
on its rocky crest, was the first sight which greeted us as we looked
down into the valley from the top of the ridge along which we had come.
The town, spreading up and down the valley round the base of the castle
rock, seemed very much larger than any Turkish town we had seen since
leaving Aleppo. The valley was green with cultivated fields and trees,
while the hillsides were bare and brown.

We were halted just outside the town, while a number of local gendarmes
formed up on each side of the road. After a long wait, we thus
progressed in state into the town and through the bazaar to our
quarters, which proved to be houses from which the former Greek
inhabitants had been ejected. In the end, although somewhat crowded, we
found ourselves each with a bed, bedding, and a little other furniture.
Most of us had not slept in a bed for eight months or more, apart
perhaps from a few days in hospital, and all we desired at the moment
was one long rest.

During the last week, which had been by far the pleasantest of the whole
trek, we had averaged twenty miles a day. Our journey altogether had
been nearly 1,700 miles, and was probably the longest distance across
country any prisoners of war have had to travel to the place of their
confinement.



CHAPTER IV

LIFE IN KASTAMUNI

_July 1916--August 1917_


On arrival in Kastamuni, we were divided into two groups, one being
accommodated in a large building, formerly a Greek school, with one or
two adjacent houses, and the other in a number of houses in a street
lower down the hill. Both places were on the edge of the town in the
Greek quarter. The schoolhouse was perched high up and commanded a
splendid view across the town in the valley towards the hills, beyond
which lay the Black Sea--only some 40 miles away.

The houses were built up on a wooden frame-work, the bricks being thrown
in to fill up the intervening spaces in a most casual manner. The best
houses were covered with stucco; but, however good in appearance, each
house in Turkey has its own numerous population of small inhabitants. An
Austrian lady whom we met assured us that her house was the only one in
the town free from these pests, and we could well believe it.

The town itself is shut in by the valley and presents a confused jumble
of houses, with almost innumerable mosques, and in the centre one or two
large Government buildings. The mosques are not particularly beautiful,
there being no golden domes or blue tilework. The most pretentious have
plain grey stone minarets, while the smaller ones have to be content
with little steeples of wood. During Ramazan a ring of lights is kept
burning at night round each minaret, and gives the town a strange
appearance, as these are the only lights showing, there being no such
thing as street lamps, and very few lights in private houses--with
kerosine at a prohibitive price.

After the weary march from Kut, we were only too delighted to get into
our new quarters, and sleeping in a bed again was a luxury not soon to
be forgotten. A restaurant had been arranged, and we found a very good
meal ready for us soon after arrival. Unfortunately, this was much the
best repast we obtained from the contractor, and when it came to
arranging a daily messing scheme we had to be content with a very
moderate programme. However, every one had got so tired of scraping
along, cooking and foraging for themselves on the journey up, that any
sort of plan by which some one else would do the work was not to be
refused, even if we were to be done over it.

During the summer of 1916, food in the town was comparatively cheap,
eggs being a halfpenny each or less, and good white flour about sixpence
a pound. Fruit was to be had in prolific quantities, the cherries being
especially good. But no one takes any trouble to cultivate fruit in this
part of Turkey. There are grapes, melons, peaches, apples and pears in
great profusion, but all of the commonest kind. Had the country any
communications worth the name, no doubt it would be different, but, as
it is, the Turk is content with what grows by itself and does not need
any special attention. The local taste in over-ripe and bad pears was
most surprising. For weeks one would see baskets of rotting pears in the
bazaar on market days and the country people enjoying them.

The ruined castle on its rocky pinnacle must have dated back to very
early times; it is now used as a "look-out" station and has three
ancient guns, which are fired as an alarm in case of fire and at other
moments of importance, such as the first sight of the new moon at the
end of Ramazan. The greatest wonder to us was that the whole town had
not been burnt down long ago, since all the bazaar houses were wooden
and dry as tinder. The fire brigade consisted of one prehistoric manual
pump which was carried about on the shoulders of five or six youths,
with a scratch collection of hose and buckets. On one occasion a major
of the S. & T. Corps was so overcome with laughter on seeing this
apparition that the commandant, feeling much insulted, had him confined
to the house for a fortnight.

This was our first commandant, a very ignorant specimen, who, so report
said, had been a farmer in the Caucasus. He was a most depressing sight
at all times. Most Turkish officers only shave on Thursdays, and he was
no exception to the rule. His trousers invariably swept the ground; he
always wore goloshes several sizes too large and an old overcoat. He
would shuffle about with his hands in his pockets, his shoulders hunched
up, looking the picture of misery. Yet, notwithstanding his apparent
dejection, he was making quite a good thing out of us, as we found out
later on. The restaurant contractor was paying him about £30 a month,
and, between them, they were charging us rent for our quarters, which
was quite contrary to all rules. Another little source of income was
making us each pay for a 5-piastre receipt stamp for our monthly pay
instead of a 2-1/2d.

This commandant knew no language except Turkish, and consequently an
interpreter was needed on all occasions. At the start this was a Greek,
who made great protestations of his friendliness to us; but we very soon
found him to be a double-faced blackguard doing his best to make a good
thing out of us by arranging for commissions with the shopkeepers with
whom we dealt.

Fortunately for us, early in 1917, a Turkish colonel--Zeur Bey, from
Constantinople--arrived unexpectedly on a visit of inspection, with the
result that the commandant was promptly dismissed and matters regarding
overcharges for house rent put right. The commandant was said to have
been seen on his knees before the colonel imploring forgiveness. This at
all events was the story of Sherif Bey, the second in command, who was
by way of being very anxious to do all he could for us. On our march
from Angora to Kastamuni he had certainly done his best for us, but
later on we were forced to distrust him.

Turkish officers, as a rule, have very good manners and promise one
almost anything without the least idea of ever keeping their word. They
speak French with a very good accent, which makes one give them credit
for knowing a great deal more of that language than is usually the case.
It is quite impossible to describe the uniforms worn by officers, as one
so seldom sees two dressed alike. All material being so scarce and
expensive, uniforms were made from almost anything, and there being no
such person as a provost-marshal no one could interfere. Consequently,
one saw some officers dressed in a highly picturesque style, looking as
if they had just been taking a part in "The Chocolate Soldier" or "The
Balkan Princess," and others whom one could only recognize from
shopkeepers by their badges of rank.

The Greek interpreter was the first one of the original staff to depart.
After him, two very much better fellows were sent us. One of these was a
young Turk named Remzi, who had been a naval cadet in Constantinople
when the war broke out--and still cherished the fond hope of one day
being an officer in the British Navy, for which he had the most profound
veneration. Unfortunately, in trying to help us, he wrote to
Constantinople; got into trouble with his seniors, and was sent away.
We were thus left with the second man, an Armenian, who was always
called "Napoleon" from his likeness to the Great Man. Napoleon was very
cautious, but, considering the difficulty of his own position, he did us
very well.

After our first commandant had disappeared, his successor arrived in the
shape of a very small, but very stout and cheery little man, named
Fattah Bey. He proved to be a very good fellow and things were soon
running much more pleasantly. A great point in his favour was that he
spoke German, and we were thus able to dispense with an interpreter.
Capt. H., of the I.A.R.O., took charge of him on most occasions, and
after we had had him a few weeks he was becoming quite pro-British.

The greatest events in our life were undoubtedly the arrival of a mail
or parcels. The letters we received in July 1916, soon after our
arrival, were the first news most of us had had from our friends at home
since before the siege began in Kut nearly eight months earlier. On an
average, letters came through every ten days or so, the quickest time
taken from home, via Switzerland, Vienna and Constantinople, being 25
days. Parcels travelled by the same route, but were very much longer in
making their appearance. At first they arrived in three to four months,
but gradually took longer and longer, until finally they were eight and
nine months on the way. The reason for this delay was to be found in
Vienna, where all parcels were transhipped, and apparently thrown into a
depot until such time as the Austrian officials decided to send a few
more on. Any big operations on the Italian front had the immediate
effect of stopping all parcels and sometimes letters as well. There were
exceedingly few cases of anything having been actually stolen and, up to
a certain date, officers had received nearly all parcels sent from home.

Soon after our arrival, we received a number of gifts through the
American Embassy in Constantinople, who were at that time looking after
our interests. These consisted of thin cotton things for the summer,
and, when wearable, were of considerable use. Unfortunately, they were
much too small, and it was a very lucky man who could wear the trousers
he was given. Later on, more clothes arrived, these being thick winter
garments which, although not providing the same amount of amusement,
fitted us better and were a great godsend, since it was not until the
New Year that people began to receive the clothes they wanted from home.

The winter in Kastamuni and, in fact, over most of Asia Minor can be
very severe; but it is a dry and healthy cold. In February 1917, we had
well over 20 degrees of frost for days, and during the following winter
the temperature at Changri went down to 6 degrees below zero. Indeed, it
would have been hard to find a better climate than Kastamuni, which was
2,500 feet above the sea. The rainfall there was very small and confined
almost entirely to March and April. The summer temperature was very much
the same as in England, but drier.

As one gets nearer to the Black Sea coast, the rainfall increases and
the vegetation gets thicker. Between Angora and Changri there are wide
stretches of almost desert land. At Kastamuni we had pine woods and
shrubs on the hills, while all the valleys were extensively irrigated.
On the Black Sea coast itself the climate is much milder in winter and
there are thick woods of beech, oak and fir with heavy undergrowth.

Apart from the kitchen, which always has a huge open chimney, there were
no fireplaces of the ordinary kind in the houses. All heating in winter
is done by stoves of sheet iron with a chimney leading out through the
nearest wall. These stoves, fed with wood, give out a tremendous heat
for a short time, but it is very hard to maintain anything approaching
an even temperature. Wood was plentiful during the winter of 1916-17,
and we used to buy it in the form of whole logs. These we had sawn up by
two Armenians into short lengths, which we then split with an axe. This
gave us a good deal of exercise during the cold winter mornings.
Unfortunately, the next year, wood had become scarce and much more
expensive and all prisoners suffered considerably in consequence. A good
deal of charcoal is used for cooking, but we saw no coal being used in
the district, even the railway up to Angora being largely dependent on
wood.

After a few months at the restaurant, the contractor began to put up
prices and most of us demurred. This finally led to the majority going
on strike and deciding to mess themselves, as we were allowed to by the
rules. The old commandant, however, and the contractor, had no idea of
accepting the alternative if they could possibly help it. Consequently,
we were first forbidden to cook in the kitchens of our own houses, for
fear we should set the chimneys and the houses on fire. To get over
this, we made fireplaces in the back gardens or yards behind the houses.
Other little pin-pricks of the same kind were tried, but we finally got
our own way, and found that our mess bills were reduced to nearly a half
what they had been before. We had a number of British orderlies with us,
who did our cooking and waited on us. To start with, there was some
difficulty in getting a separate room as a dining-room for each mess,
but eventually we settled down and furnished on an economical plan, our
carpenters making benches, tables, etc.

The restaurant contractor was so disgusted at our strike that he closed
down altogether for two or three days, thus throwing out into the cold
the few who had remained faithful to him on any conditions rather than
do their own catering. There was, somewhat naturally, a good deal of
ill-feeling between the two parties in consequence, and it took time to
die out. In the end, the restaurant supporters had to start a mess of
their own and came into line with the rest of us.

We were allowed a fair amount of liberty, although at the start things
did not look promising, the old commandant telling us we should be only
able to go one short walk a week. Actually we were allowed in the road
for a hundred yards or so outside our houses and could go to the bazaar
or Turkish bath any day by getting a sentry to go with us.

The Hamáms, or Turkish baths, of which there are a great many, are not
the elaborately furnished places one sees at home, but consist of two
vaulted chambers, supplied with vapour. Round the side are ledges on
which one sits, and stone basins with a supply of hot and cold water.
After being stewed in the hottest chamber for a quarter of an hour, one
passes out to the outer room, where an aged attendant is generally ready
to operate with buckets of cold water. Next one proceeds to the
dressing-rooms and reclines comfortably swathed in towels, while Turkish
coffee is brought round. After the first few months, sugar became so
expensive that it was no longer provided, and the coffee seemed very
poor in consequence. Altogether, in a place where one had plenty of time
to spare, the Hamám provided a very pleasant way of spending a morning.

The Turks used to put up numbers of rules for our benefit. These were
written out in the best English the interpreter could achieve, which was
never very clear. As a rule, we did not pay very much attention to
them, and they, on the other hand, never seemed to care either. The rule
was on the board, and, if any officious officer was to come round from
Constantinople, he could always be shown it, and assured it was strictly
obeyed.

On one occasion a notice was suddenly put up, informing us that all
lights henceforth must be put out at 9.30 p.m. It was thought advisable
to do so the first night; the second night, the time was about 9.45; and
after that we continued to go to bed when we pleased, and were never
bothered any more about it.

Owing to the tremendously high price of kerosine, Daylight Saving soon
came into force, and saved us a great deal.

The sentries, on the whole, were a very good-natured lot and would never
have worried us with restrictions as far as they themselves were
concerned. They were mostly old men who had served in previous wars and,
until called up, were living on their own small farms. One of the best
of them was "Johnnie Walker," a little man who had a most extraordinary
stride and could walk any of us to a standstill. We always tried to get
him when going for a long walk, knowing that from personal motives he
would never stop us going a good distance. Another favourite was
"Ginger," a very harmless old fellow with sandy whiskers. As one went
past, he would lean over and whisper confidentially: "Ginger
fennah?"--Is Ginger a bad fellow? Every now and then they went to their
homes on leave and came back with a few pounds of butter or a bag of
wheatmeal, which they sold to us without much difficulty.

On our arrival, the only weapons the guard possessed were ancient
pinfire rifles, firing a huge lump of lead. Each man had exactly two
rounds in his possession. Later on some rather younger men came, armed
with captured Russian rifles.

We soon managed to hire a field for football. It was very stony and by
no means level, but, nevertheless, was a great acquisition. As a rule,
each group of houses used it three days a week. To start with, we only
had a Soccer case and no bladder. We stuffed the case with grass and
played a very modified form of Rugger, where collaring was disallowed on
account of the stones, and punting and place kicking forbidden in order
to preserve the life of the ball. After some weeks we got some proper
footballs from Constantinople, and others came eventually from home. We
played matches against the other group of houses, Regulars _v._
Irregulars, and every other thing we could think of. Soccer Sixes caused
much excitement and a local firm of bookmakers, who came into existence
for the occasion, did a large business.

We could always rely on getting out somewhere every day. During the
early summer we had splendid walks two days a week over the hills in the
mornings. These long walks did not suit everybody, and a gentle form of
meandering had to be organized for the "slugs." On one celebrated
occasion, we walked out about five miles, taking our lunch, and had a
very cheery picnic, but this was never allowed again, and in July 1917
all long walks were suddenly stopped, and we were barely allowed outside
the boundaries of the town.

For news of the outer world, we were dependent upon the local telegrams,
which the best Turkish scholars used to translate, and also upon the
"Hilal," a German-run paper, printed in Constantinople. This paper, of
which we used to receive the French Edition, had been started for
propaganda purposes at the beginning of the war. The news was,
naturally, very one-sided, but, reading between the lines, one could
tell fairly well what was the position on the Western Front. In
addition, we had maps, and could follow the places mentioned, when, as
during the Somme offensive, the Germans, "according to our preconceived
plan," took up a position some miles in rear of their last. A serial
story which ran for some time in this paper was called "L'évadé de
Tsingtau," and gave the adventures of a German, who having escaped from
Tsingtau after the Japanese had taken it, reached America, was caught
while trying to cross to Germany, spent some time in Donnington Hall,
but finally succeeded in escaping, and swam off from near Tilbury to a
Dutch ship lying in the river, thus getting clear away. Whether true or
not, it made a wonderful story.

News carefully camouflaged in our letters from home invariably arrived
safely; in fact, the Turks never troubled to censor anything in the
letters we received. On the other hand, every now and then some
officious creature in Constantinople would systematically cut up our
long letters, which we were allowed to write twice a month, and only
send on the first two and last two lines.

There were always plenty of rumours amongst the Greek shopkeepers in the
bazaar. For instance, we were told the British had taken Bagdad long
before they did, and our troops in Palestine were always said to be
within three or four marches of Aleppo; the Russians were just outside
Sivas, and Trieste had been taken by the Italians. The Turks themselves
never believed these stories, and, in fact, even when the armistice was
signed, many of them in country districts had not heard that Bagdad was
in our possession. They received no letters from their friends at the
front, no casualty lists were published, and the only news that seemed
to reach them by post was a few letters from Turks we had taken to Burma
as prisoners, who seemed to be very happy and contented.

The country people never showed any "hate" against us, but the
authorities used to make this an excuse for curtailing our walks, saying
how fanatical the village people were in the neighbourhood.

Apart from football matches, we employed ourselves in various ways.
There were soon two or three well-established firms of carpenters, who
did a great deal of work and made a lot of furniture. Others took to
cobbling, and had plenty to do to keep our boots in order. A good many
studied various languages, but Turkish was not very popular, as no one
expected ever to want it again when once they had left the country.

We had quite a good library, and books came through without much trouble
in parcels from home.

A long series of lectures were held during the winter, every one who
could do so lecturing to the rest of us. It is wonderful what a
comprehensive programme can be formed when one is really put to it.

Another intellectual effort was a debating society; but this did not
have a very long life.

Our greatest achievement was undoubtedly the band. This was started in
the spring of 1917, under the auspices of our new commandant, who was
very keen about it. At first there were only two or three violins which
had been discovered in the bazaar, then others were found, also some
clarionets; drums and banjos were soon made, and, finally--greatest
triumph of all--two 'cellos and a double bass were manufactured by our
most progressive firm of carpenters. Altogether, the band numbered about
sixteen. At the start they had no music, and Lieut. Parsons, R.F.A., who
conducted, had to score the parts for a number of pieces, most of which
were wonderfully successful. Later on, music came from home, and
concerts were given twice a week.

We even had a little dancing on one or two occasions, and one day the
commandant brought two or three Greek and Armenian ladies. This was such
a success that he became very excited and declared "Next veek plenty
lady kom." Life seemed to be improving all round, but it was too good to
last, and suddenly everything was stopped. The commandant got into hot
water with the other Turkish authorities in the town, who had probably
reported him behind his back to Constantinople. Our walks were suddenly
curtailed and no long walks allowed. Had the little man been able to
stand up for himself, things would have been much better, but he was
much too scared to take a strong line, and a few days later departed for
Eski-Chehir to take the place of the commandant there, who, in turn, was
to come to Kastamuni.

During the winter of 1916, prices began to rise rapidly in the bazaar
and this went on all through 1917, until in 1918 all prisoners had great
difficulty in getting food, even in the new camps, which were said to be
better off in this respect than Kastamuni.

When we first arrived, there was a small amount of silver money in
circulation, the smallest notes which were just being introduced being
20 and 5 piastres--3s. 4d. and 10d. in ordinary times. Not long
afterwards, these were followed by 2-1/2 and 1 piastre notes, which
carried pictures of the Dardanelles and Kut on the back, Kut being quite
unrecognizable. For smaller change recourse had to be taken to stamps
and by midsummer of 1917 no coins of any sort were to be seen.

Money came through to us in various ways, but the best exchange we could
get was by cashing undated cheques with the Greek shopkeepers in the
town, who gave us 160 piastres to the pound, whereas through the Dutch
Embassy we could only get 140, the exchange rate before the war being
112. The shopkeepers would not be able to cash these cheques till the
end of the war, and it says something for the reputation of a British
cheque that they would accept them on such conditions. They undoubtedly
regarded such cheques as being a very much safer asset than the Turkish
paper money, which was the only alternative, and, at the end of the war,
would very likely be suddenly repudiated by a paternal Government.

We were paid by the Turks at the rate they pay their own officers, the
equivalent of this being deducted from our accounts by the War Office.

On the way up from Kut we were given one month's pay in Bagdad, which
for senior officers was on a comparatively generous scale. However, on
reaching Kastamuni, these unfortunates were told that the Bagdad rates
were quite wrong, and they were now to pay up the difference; this took
several months in many cases.

Happily for us, soon after our arrival, the Red Cross came to our
assistance, working through the American Embassy in Constantinople. They
gave us £T.3 a month, which, with a subaltern's allowance of £T.7 as pay
from the Turks, made it just possible to carry on.

As food got more expensive, the Red Cross increased their allowance to
£T.5 a month, and had finally to increase this still further.

In May and June 1917, some additional orderlies arrived; these men had
been in other camps up till then, and were not all Kut prisoners, some
having been taken in the Dardanelles and others in Egypt. They brought
dreadful stories of the treatment of the troops during the first few
months, and it became clear that at least two-thirds of the Kut garrison
were already dead. The last news they had heard was that all fit
prisoners were being sent back to the North of Syria to work on the
railway there. As conditions were very bad in that district when we came
through in 1916, no one can say what those who returned a year later had
to go through. This area was considered as one under military
operations, and was, therefore, excluded from the agreement finally come
to by which the Dutch Embassy in Constantinople was to inspect the
various camps.

Unfortunately, some of these new orderlies contracted typhus on their
way to Kastamuni, at one of the dirty halting-places, and three
succumbed. They were buried beside three officers whom we had already
laid to rest, in a little cemetery at the top of the hill overlooking
the town, near the slope where the Greeks and Armenians are buried.
Wooden crosses were at first put up over the graves, but these were at
once torn up and stolen by the Turkish peasants. We then obtained heavy
slabs of stone, on which a cross was carved and the names cut. A wall
was built round the little spot, a number of officers going up every
morning and working hard until it was completed. Now that no British
prisoners are left in Kastamuni, one hopes that the little cemetery will
be allowed to remain undisturbed on the bare hillside.

During the summer of 1917, a number of officers were in favour of
getting the Turks to move the camp from Kastamuni to some place nearer
to the railway, as it was thought that it would then be easier to obtain
supplies of wood and fuel during the coming winter. It is doubtful if
this would have been the case, but an official request was sent to
Constantinople. Towards the end of July 1917, our liberties were
considerably curtailed for no apparent reason, and after the escape of
our party, on August 8th, very severe restrictions were imposed.

Nowhere in Turkey could life in 1917-18 be considered amenable, since
food was so short in all districts. This, combined with the depreciation
in the paper money, kept prices very high and made messing a great
problem; if parcels could have got through more quickly from home it
would have made a big difference.

At the end of September, the first batch of officers was moved to
Changri, and the remainder followed early in October. At Changri
accommodation was provided in a dirty Turkish barrack, which, besides
needing very extensive cleansing, required much glass in the windows.
Shortly afterwards, two-thirds of the officers left for Gedos, a small
place about a hundred miles east of Smyrna, where they were placed on
parole, and given liberty to go where they pleased unguarded. The
remainder stayed for some months at Changri, where they had managed to
make themselves fairly comfortable, although only allowed to go out to a
neighbouring field for exercise. Later, however, they were sent to
Yozgad, the camp to which the first half of the Kut officers had
originally been sent.



CHAPTER V

ESCAPE FROM KASTAMUNI


Returning to events in Kastamuni, in November 1916 a little more housing
accommodation had become available for us, and as a result I found
myself sharing a good room with Keeling, a lieutenant in the I.A.R.O.
One evening, soon afterwards, I asked him if he would make an effort
with me to reach the Russians if, as we hoped, they should advance
further west from their lines, which were then running due south to
Erzinjan from a point a little way west of Trebizond. He replied that he
had long been thinking of it, and had made a start towards preparing for
such an effort by carefully preserving two 1 lb. tins of chocolate which
he had received from home!

At that time such a journey meant a distance of 300 miles across country
from Kastamuni, and we considered it quite hopeless in view of the
mountainous country to be passed. It was also obvious that any attempt
to get a long distance across country would stand a much better chance
if made in the summer time. It would be impossible to carry enough food
and we should have to fall back on such crops, fruit and vegetables as
might be ripe and obtainable. We thought April or May would be the
earliest possible month. Another alternative was to get to the coast,
only 38 miles as the crow flies, and then to steal a boat. This
necessitated having one man in the party who knew how to sail a boat,
and added a big risk in the very fact of having to launch a boat
secretly and get away from a coast which as far as we could hear was
well guarded.

The general opinion was that it was quite hopeless to try to get away.
This belief was shared by the senior officers and, under pressure from
the Turkish commandant, most people gave their parole not to try to
escape under present conditions. About ten of us refused: some because
they believed such an act was definitely against Army rules, and the
others, like ourselves, because they hoped for a chance to get away and
considered that they were justified in taking such a chance if it seemed
to offer any possibility of success. Pressure was brought to bear upon
us by the Turks to change our views; but we remained firm. We were told
our liberty would be curtailed; we would be put in a separate house by
ourselves; while the others were to get additional liberty. What
actually happened was exactly nothing, and we all went on precisely as
before. It appeared to be merely a dodge on the part of the Turks to
save themselves trouble and responsibility. From time to time, owing to
various good reasons, many others withdrew their parole, and by the date
we departed--August 8th, 1917--nearly half the officers must have
followed suit.

In the meanwhile K. and I had been trying to collect information and had
been sounding a few other officers. It was very hard to get anything
which was at all trustworthy: some reports said there were no boats on
the coast, others that a boat could probably be obtained. One Greek told
us that it would be impossible to get through to the Russian lines, as
the people east of Samsun were so wild and savage. This man was making
plenty of money out of us in his professional capacity, and evidently
did not wish any disturbances between us and the Turks to imperil his
tranquillity and source of gain. We were not therefore much influenced
by his fears.

Maps were a necessity, and the only one we had was on a scale of 32
miles to an inch. I made tracings of this, so as to have duplicate
copies, but the scale was too small to be of much use beyond showing the
general trend of the country. I also succeeded in making a compass of a
rough description by fixing a dial to some magnetic needles and
suspending it with a thread. Fortunately, however, a little later, we
discovered a shop in the town where we could buy some cheap but
tolerably serviceable compasses, and secured several of these, taking
care that the sentry with us did not see what we were buying. The best
map we had seen was hanging up in our commandant's office. This was a
German one and to a scale of about seven miles to an inch. No
opportunity occurred, unfortunately, of being able to copy it. It showed
us, however, a large number of farms and villages sprinkled over the
countryside. The Russians had advanced no further, and the only plan at
all feasible seemed to be to get a boat on the coast and make for
Trebizond.

As the summer began our discussions took a more practical shape, and we
got in touch with people who were in a position to know something
trustworthy. One of those we approached was an interned Ally. Under
various pretexts I succeeded in getting a sentry to come with me to his
house, which was strictly against the rules, saying I wanted to buy a
guitar. On arrival he produced the guitar, and while pretending to try
it we discussed the possibility of getting away. He considered that it
would be possible to get a boat on the coast at Ineboli and suggested
sending someone he could trust to find out how things stood and if
possible to make arrangements. Conversation was not too easy, as his
knowledge of English was very sketchy and I knew nothing of his
language; also the sentry was present, so that everything had to appear
to be about the guitar and no names of places mentioned aloud. A little
money and cigarettes to the sentry ensured his not talking later about
where we had been, and I endeavoured to get the same man on the next
occasion. One day at this house I met a fellow countryman who as a
civilian had been interned at Constantinople. For some reason the Turks
had become more suspicious and he had been packed off to Kastamuni. He
gave me some useful information about the state of the country further
east, but was not at all hopeful of our getting through. I did not see
him again, as he was naturally very loth to be seen speaking to any of
us, as that would mean his being sent out to live in one of the small
villages away from every vestige of civilization. Meanwhile K. had been
interviewing one or two people whom we thought might be trusted. For
this purpose an appointment was generally made at the Hamám, or Turkish
bath. We were allowed to go to these baths, of which there were a large
number in the town, whenever we liked, and, as the sentry always stayed
in the entrance hall, one could speak freely to anyone inside. On the
whole these Allies recommended us not to make any attempt, one saying
that had it been possible he himself would of course have gone long ago.
Actually, they were afraid of trying anything of the sort or being in
any way implicated by us.

We discussed the proposal of my friend with some of the others and
decided to try his suggestion. Accordingly ten of us collected about 50
liras--one lira equals 18s. 6d. nominally--which was handed to him. He
in turn was to arrange with a Greek who was going to the coast and
promised to bring back the information we needed. After some delay he
finally departed, and, as we had feared, never turned up again.

Some of those who had subscribed considered any attempt without
previously obtaining a boat to be hopeless and, when the Greek never
returned, the number who were keen to go was reduced to half a dozen.
Much discussion followed as to the size of the party, whether there
should be two parties and who should go in which, and what routes should
be followed. Eventually only four of us prepared to start, the others
promising to give us all the support they could. Our party now consisted
of Captains R. J. Tipton, R.F.C., R. T. Sweet, 2/7th Ghurkas, Lieut. E.
H. Keeling, and myself, both of the I.A.R.O. "Tip" had been taken in
Egypt, while we three had all been in Kut.

There were two possible ways of getting out of the camp, or rather away
from the street in which we lived, and either seemed fairly easy to
arrange.

In order to get our provisions ready, we had to take one or two of the
British orderlies into our confidence. We decided after much scheming
that we would take 20 lb. of food each, consisting of 11 lb. of
biscuits, 2-1/2 lb. of cheese, 2-1/2 lb. of smoked meat, 1-3/4 lb. of
chocolate, 1-1/2 lb. of Horlick's Malted Milk and the remainder of soup
squares, cocoa and sugar, with a box of tea tabloids. The biscuits were
made of good white flour, for which we had at that time to pay an
exorbitant price as it was almost unobtainable; butter and sugar, which
were also appallingly expensive, were added. Some were made with
raisins, all being baked as hard as possible to save weight. These, with
raisins, proved much the most popular subsequently. Our mess cook,
Gunner Prosser, R.F.A., made most of the biscuits and was very keen to
do all he could to help us. In order to keep things dark we told as few
people as possible, but several people must have suspected us before we
finally took our departure. The all-important question of the food to be
carried caused much discussion before the final schedule was drawn up.
Some were for taking one solid lump of duff instead of biscuits, but the
latter won the day as containing less water and being therefore of more
value weight for weight. K. had a profound belief in Horlick's Malted
Milk, which was fully justified by our subsequent experience. For some
days prior to our departure a notice on the board, which was used by
people who wished to exchange contents of parcels from home, informed
all and sundry that Lt. K. could offer a very large variety of articles,
ranging from honey to socks, in exchange for Malted Milk. This resulted
in most of our supply being obtained. The question of meat was
difficult, as tinned stuff received from home was too heavy and there
was nothing to be got in the bazaar but smoked mutton, which was not
very appetizing. Eventually, we decided on the mutton. We had a good
many soup squares of different kinds, but on the journey we wished we
had had more cocoa instead. We decided to pack as much food as possible
in small bags, for which some puggaree cloth came in handy, and an old
pillow-case made a good receptacle for the biscuits. K. spent a long
time sewing up small bags and in generally thinking out and preparing
for all eventualities.

In the event of our being forced to buy food, we had decided that our
only chance was to pretend we were Germans, since the country people,
while seeing we were not Turks, would be too ignorant to know any
difference between Briton and Hun. This also fell in well with our plan
of going in uniform. To make things more secure we forged a passport.
This was written out by Captain Rich, 120th Infantry, who knew Turkish
fairly well, and purported to be a letter from the Army commander at
Angora to Hauptmann Hermann von Below, who, with three German orderlies,
was said to be travelling on a surveying expedition. It was requested
that the utmost facilities should be given him in his work. The name of
the Army commander we had managed to obtain correctly, and this was
signed in a different hand and ink. A seal was also appended, as is
usual in all Turkish documents, and suitably smudged so that the name
which did not correspond with the signature might be illegible.

A volume dealing with woodcraft was perused by K., who discovered that
the ordinary type of rock lichen was a highly nutritious food and, also,
that nearly all forms of toad-stool were equally useful. We hoped not to
need such emergency rations and, fortunately, never got to that stage in
our subsequent adventures. Over and above the 20 lb. of food we
estimated that each one would need to carry 10 lb. more in kit and
equipment, the former comprising a spare pair of socks, a "woolly" and
vest or something similar, and the latter a haversack and waterbottle,
matches, knife, spoon and soap. In addition we carried a sail, about 40
feet of light rope, a light axe head, two canteens, a safety razor,
housewife, nails and thread for repairing boots, maps, and compasses.
These were divided up into equal weights between the four of us. The
sail was rather a work of art. It was made in two pieces from a bed
sheet, the lining of two Wolseley valises and a couple of towels. With
the help of a sailor friend, Lieut. Nicholson, R.N.R., we roped it all
round. It measured about 10 ft. by 7 ft. 6 in., and weighed complete
about 7 lb. The idea was that, having discovered a boat and if need be
hewn down a small tree for a mast, we would paddle off from the coast
and put up the sail as quickly as possible after sewing the two pieces
together. Tip was to be our navigator, as he had done a good deal of
sailing in pre-war days.

As Sweet was the only man with a rucksack, we three had to make our own.
This meant a good deal of laborious sewing. My own was laid on the
foundation of a khaki drill bag originally received in Mesopotamia with
gifts from the ladies of Bombay; this was reinforced with an old pair of
braces and the necessary webbing sewn on. It proved a most useful
article and stood the journey wonderfully well, although getting
somewhat soiled in appearance.



CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST NIGHT


It was not the easiest thing in the world to hold our meetings,
accomplish our sewing and complete the sail without being interrupted by
other people or giving the show away. Our excuses for keeping many
people out of our room must have seemed rather thin on many occasions,
and certainly gave rise to suspicion in one quarter. One day the
interpreter Napoleon came to the door, but luckily suspected nothing and
departed. Napoleon had been of great service to us after the wretched
Greek interpreter we had had on our arrival, and we hoped our departure
would not get him into trouble. We instructed our orderly to endeavour
to put Napoleon off the track the morning after we had gone. The rule
was that we had to report to him at ten in the morning as well as at
night. Very often people omitted to do so, but in that case he generally
wandered round quietly until he had seen they were still present. Our
confederates amongst the officers promised to say we had all gone up the
hill to work at the cemetery to which a party went every day, to
complete the building of a wall round the graves of the three officers
and three men whom we had there laid to rest.

In addition, we left a letter supposed to be written by Sweet to me,
talking of our proposed route and saying that he agreed we had much
better go towards Sivas, and giving a number of villages _en route_.
This was supposed to be destroyed, and was to be found by accident by
our orderly in a crumpled condition when and not until our escape was
fully realized by the Turks. Our exit was to be made from a side door
into an alley leading off the main street. This door was nailed up, but,
like so many things in Turkey, it was done in a very slip-shod fashion
with two boards having only two nails through each. To reach the door,
entrance had to be obtained to a back garden, and this meant passing
through another door which was padlocked every evening. Investigation
proved that, though the padlock seemed sound, the staple might very
easily be withdrawn and replaced afterwards. Six officers helped us
enormously on the night we actually started. They were Major Corbett
and Captain Raynor, 48th Pioneers, Captain R. Lowndes, R.G.A., Lieuts.
Dooley, Cawley-Smith and Galloway, all I.A.R.O. Three opened the doors
while another drowned their efforts by doing some violent bed repairing
in a front room, this necessitating much hammering. The others kept a
look-out on the sentries in the road or engaged them in amiable
conversation in their best Turkish.

It had been difficult to decide which night to start. We had no tables
giving the time the moon would rise and wanted to arrange to have a good
hour of darkness after getting out. Finally we decided to start on
Wednesday night, August 8th, at 10 p.m. Sweet, who lived in the other
group of houses, arranged to come to dinner in our mess, being invited
by Captain Martin, I.M.S., who not only assisted us in selecting our
food but placed his room at our disposal for storing our kit and
assembling in just before starting. Our plan was to wait behind the door
in the alley until our mess cook, Prosser, should come and tap on the
further side to show that all was clear. This man was in the habit of
often going out after dark into the town disguised in an old coat, a
fez, and a sham beard which he had himself made out of goat-skins. His
usual practice was to put the fez and beard on in the road and walk
straight up past the sentries. On the night in question he got out in
some such way and reconnoitred the route we should have to take to get
out of the town on to the hill. Luckily we were on the edge of the town
and a climb of two or three hundred yards through houses would take us
out on to a Mohammedan graveyard on the hillside. As we were waiting
silently in the dark behind the door, somebody gave a kerosine tin a
kick, and the resulting clatter seemed bound to bring some one down upon
us. However, nothing happened; but a moment or two later we heard a
heavy tread going slowly up the alley.

Our friends, watching, reported that this was the sergeant of the guard
and we began to feel anxious. After another minute a tap came on the
door. Our orderly had seen the sergeant safely into a small mosque round
the corner, and everything was clear. We hurried out in single file,
endeavouring to be quite silent but seeming to make an awful noise. I
was wearing a pair of rope sole shoes and carrying my boots while the
others had put old socks over their boots. In spite of our anything but
noiseless departure we were not noticed. We scrambled up the hill and
five minutes later were under cover in the graveyard. Here we put our
rucksacks and coats on properly and prepared for an all-night trek. In
order to look less like officers and more like local scallywags we had
turned our coats inside out and also carried our packs in a blanket over
one shoulder. We had decided to wear old khaki, so as to be able to
prove we were really British if necessary in case of accidents or bad
luck. After taking us a little further, our orderly friend shook hands
with us all round, and with a quiet word of farewell and thanks for his
invaluable assistance we set off on our adventure.

We had to make a detour round the north of the town across the main
valley to get out to the hills on the east. It was a clear, starry
night, but even so it was extraordinarily difficult to recognize the
hillsides which we knew quite well by daylight. Hardly had we gone a
quarter of a mile before a dog began to bark on the main road a little
way off. Later on, we did not pay much attention to dogs, as we
generally started at least one every night by walking near a village or
too close to houses; but this animal, being the first and so near to the
town, was anything but pleasant to listen to. We scrambled down a steep
bank across a nullah and up a gully running into a hill which we had to
climb. The main nullah we had just crossed ran down towards the road
passing the magazine, where by day there was always a guard. However,
the dog soon ceased his complaint and quietness reigned. We were already
beginning to feel the weights of our packs and, as the night was warm
and our direction led up the stony, pathless side of a steep hill, we
soon had to call a halt. In fact, although we did not admit it to each
other, these moments were really almost the worst of our whole trip and
each secretly thought what an idiot he had been ever to start. Having
started, however, there was nothing for it but to continue and after a
few minutes' rest we trudged on. A little further brought us out on the
top, where we were annoyed to find that the moon was already well up,
whereas we had reckoned on at least another half-hour of darkness.

During the last few days, we had carefully timed the moon's rising, and
endeavoured to foretell the time for the night of our venture from
comparisons with last year's almanac, which was all we had to go upon.

On the top of the hill, we could just make out the big square of the
Turkish barracks lying down in the valley, a building which we had
passed almost every day during the last year on our way to the football
ground or on walks. Sweet wanted to give it a much wider berth than I
had intended, and in consequence we were longer in getting down to the
Ineboli road which had to be crossed. What was our horror when we did
approach it to hear the creaking of country carts coming up towards the
town. They seemed to be nearly opposite to us and, as there was little
cover and the moon bright, the only thing to do was to lie down in the
ditch where we were and hope the carts would pass. We waited some time,
but yet more carts seemed to be approaching and the drivers of others
had halted almost opposite to us. There was nothing for it but to turn
back and try again lower down the road. After creeping back a little way
on all fours, we made a circle and came out into an open field, heading
once more for the road. Here we were dismayed to hear yet another cart
coming. There was no cover this time, not even a ditch, so we had to
make a dash for it. This succeeded, and we were across the road and some
little distance into a field of high crops on the far side before the
carts passed. These carts were evidently coming into the town for the
following day's market, but we had not counted on meeting any at all.
We were now in the centre of the valley, and after crossing the stream
made our way over some more fields to the Sinope road which we crossed
without further adventure.

We had now reached open country, and after another half-mile rested
again. We were all feeling a bit done up and thought we had taken too
much kit. On starting again, we found that so far we were on the right
track, but from now onwards we were going on a line we had not been on
before even by day, and we regretted afterwards we had not for this
first night kept straight on down the main Sinope road, along which we
could have made good going, although it did not lead due east, which was
the direction we had planned. There were guard houses at intervals on
this road, but I knew it for the first ten miles, having driven out with
my colonel once when he was allowed a carriage to go fishing, this being
a special favour which ceased to be granted as soon as the commandant of
the town got to hear about it.

After several miles of up and down going, we reached the first river we
had to cross. Along each side were irrigated maize-fields, but,
fortunately, we managed to get through these and over the stream without
coming to any houses or dogs, although there were villages and farms
quite close. Another ascent met us on the further side and we plodded
slowly on. The country was mostly open pasture and plough-land and there
were few trees except those beside the streams in the valleys.
Eventually, we got to the top of the ridge and a little later found
ourselves overlooking another deep valley with a stream running a
thousand feet below us. After a steep scramble down, we reached the
water and called a halt. A tin of tongue presented by some one at the
last minute was opened and eagerly consumed. It was now about 3 a.m. and
we had not much more than another hour and a half to two hours before
daylight, when we had to be safely under cover. On leaving the stream,
we found we were not far from a hamlet, and roused the attentions of
another dog. However, we plodded on once more. We could now see woods in
the distance but, before reaching them, had some difficult country to
cross. Tip and K. were feeling very done up and, as there were signs of
dawn and other dogs taking up the hue and cry, we began to feel a bit
anxious. These dogs seemed to be approaching from a village; but we just
managed to get away from them, although it seemed that they must rouse
the whole countryside. During our next halt of a few minutes, we heard
a cart coming along from the village, and, evidently, the peasants were
already starting on the toil of another long harvest day, even though it
was only just beginning to get light. Sweet and I had gone on, and on
looking back could see no signs of the others. We went back a little way
and luckily found them. We had just scrambled up a steep hill and were
all fairly well done up. A little further took us to a pine wood, where
we decided to lie up for the day. We lay just inside while the cart we
had heard approached and passed on up the track we had just left. Then
we turned and went into the wood, only to find, however, that sheep
tracks ran everywhere and that the wood itself only extended two hundred
yards to the top of the ridge where there were open fields--also, what
was worse still, no part of the wood was really thick or offered good
cover. Still, now it was too late to go on even if we had had the
energy, and the only thing to do was to stay and make the best of it and
trust to luck. We looked to each side, but the sheep-tracks were almost
as thick in all directions. This meant that at any time, but
particularly in the evening, we might expect a flock to come along and
that would also mean a man or a boy and a dog.

It was, indeed, fortunate for our peace of mind during this first day
that we did not know how soon our departure had been discovered.
Actually, this was found out within two hours of our leaving, Sweet's
absence being first ascertained by Sherif Bey, who simply snorted with
rage and fury. What had happened was that our orderly was very nearly
caught while trying to return to his quarters: he had to run for it, and
in so doing lost one of his shoes. He got in safely, however, and had at
once to destroy the other shoe. A few minutes later the Turkish guard
came round, searching for the odd shoe, and listened carefully to the
breathing and heart-beats of every orderly to see which one had been
running. Luckily, however, our friend Prosser had had just long enough
to compose himself in bed and was not detected.



CHAPTER VII

ON THE HILLS


We made a breakfast from condensed milk and a small ration of biscuit
and some cheese. We dared not make a fire, as people were working on the
crops not very far away. After this we took it in turns to keep watch at
the top edge of the wood. From this point a fine view could be had
across the ridges back towards Kastamuni, although the town itself was
hidden in the valley. One track was clearly visible and it was along
this we expected to see signs of pursuit, if any; but there was nothing
to be seen. The morning was perfect, and the country spread away in the
sunshine back towards our old haunts. We appeared to have made at the
very least ten miles from Kastamuni as the crow flies, but actually had
marched much further owing to the detour round the town and our
cross-country up and down route since. Towards the east more and higher
hills could be seen, but we had to be careful of reconnoitring, as
there were flocks of sheep on the slopes not far away. All of us had
sundry adjustments to make in our kit, which we felt we must lighten to
enable us to make better going. My own costume consisted of an old and
thin British warm over either a thin shirt or vest with old riding
breeches and puttees. The others had regulation tunics, and Sweet was
highly respectable, his uniform being nearly new. In the event of our
posing as Germans we decided he must be the Herr Hauptmann, as in
addition to his better clothes he knew more Turkish than the rest of us.

[Illustration: MAP (SLIGHTLY REDUCED) USED ON JOURNEY TO BLACK SEA

_(From Sir Henry Sykes "History of Persia")_]

I set about a ruthless lightening of my coat by ripping out the lining,
cutting off the turned-back cuffs and all other small portions that
could be spared. We found it difficult to sleep, but felt good for
another effort as soon as it began to get dark. About three o'clock, we
relinquished our observation post, as all seemed quiet, and made another
meal. Hardly had we finished before a dog appeared at the edge of the
wood, and started barking as only Turkish dogs seem able to. A few
moments later the expected boy also turned up and stared down upon us
after quieting the dog. We thought this meant the village being roused
at once, and deputed Sweet to go and spin a big yarn of some sort to
the boy. He had scarcely got up before the boy vanished. The only thing
to do now was to pack up and be off at once. This did not take long, as
we had purposely remained ready to move at short notice. I abandoned in
a bush my rope sole shoes which I had carried so far, and did not regret
it, as they were some weight and very slippery to walk in. After
creeping along, just inside the wood at the top of the slope, for a
short distance, we found we were getting near a farm and could not go
further before dark. We could not see the boy, but one or two sheep-dogs
were visible not far off and matters did not look at all hopeful.
However, no hue and cry followed, and very likely the boy had been as
frightened of us as we of him, or he may have thought we were merely out
from Kastamuni for a walk--although we had never been nearly so far
before.

After waiting an hour at the edge of the wood, we saw the sheep
approaching and knew they must be returning towards the farm. We got
down the slope back into the wood and as much as possible off their
line. There was a little more cover here, but still it was rather thin,
and we could easily have been spotted by anyone looking for us. By and
by the sheep trooped past, but no dog came near us and once more we
breathed freely. To improve our prospects, it now began to cloud over
and we had some rain. A dark cloudy night for cross-country tramping was
anything but what we required; fortunately, it cleared later on,
although even then it was black enough until the moon got up. Before
starting again, the question of weight of kit had to be tackled and,
although loath to part with any of our food, we decided to discard about
two to three pounds each. For this sacrifice most of our cheese and meat
was condemned. It seemed likely that the former would not remain good
for very long, so that it was not much loss.

We decided to make a start before it got dark, and halt for food when we
reached the river which we judged must run in the deep valley we were
about to enter. Accordingly, we left the wood at 7.30 and set off across
the corn-fields. A very steep and stony descent followed, and by the
time we struck a road along the valley it was quite dark. We followed
this road a short distance until we saw a light in a house a little way
ahead. We then turned off and went straight down to the stream, where we
proceeded to drink at length and then bathe. During this bathe in the
dark, I lost my soap, which was a great calamity, and Tip his knife. We
dared not strike a light and had to be content to go on without. After a
light meal, we went on up-stream. There appeared to be a ceremony of
some sort going on at the house with a light, as there was a beating of
drums. We crossed the stream a little higher up, taking off our boots
and socks for the purpose. Luckily on the other bank we struck a track
leading up the further side of the valley, which was very steep at this
point. After climbing slowly up through brushwood in the dark for an
hour, we came to more open country. Here there were farms, but we
managed to avoid them successfully. The night had cleared sufficiently
for us to see the stars, and we were steering a course about due east. A
little further on, we got into a thick copse and had great difficulty in
finding any track. Eventually, we emerged on to a road running along the
ridge beyond which lay the next valley. After a short halt, we got under
way once more and made a good distance down the road and along a path we
found running down to the next valley.

We had to pass close through a farm and several houses, but luckily
there were no dogs. After reaching the next stream and ascending it
some way, we crossed over and found ourselves in a maize-field. We
gathered some cobs, which were not yet ripe but would do to cook. A few
yards further we saw a light in what appeared to be a sheep-pen. This we
found was the usual custom in the country. All flocks are collected near
the farm at night and a shepherd with a big resin torch sits up on
guard. It was now just beginning to get light in the east, so we turned
up the hill, and after a long and tiring climb found a tolerably safe
hiding-place in a pine wood, poor K. was very done up and the rest of us
not much better, except Sweet, who, physically, was the toughest of us
all. For nine hours we had been on the move, but we could not have done
more than eight miles in a straight line--though at the time we thought
it was much more. We lay down, and got two or three hours' sleep before
preparing our next meal. We decided we would risk making a fire, and
after hunting about for the most concealed spot boiled water in our
canteens and made cocoa. This with a ration of biscuit formed our meal;
in addition, we used to allow ourselves a very small bit of chocolate
and a little Horlick's milk. The latter by this time had coagulated into
one sticky lump, necessitating hard work with the point of a knife
before a fragment could be broken off. Luckily, the fire burned without
much smoke, and what little there was we endeavoured to mitigate by
fanning it in different directions. Not long after breakfast, we heard
two horsemen trotting along a road through the wood and apparently quite
close. We thought they were probably gendarmes looking for us; but they
passed on and did not pause to make investigations in our neighbourhood.
Another visitor also arrived, this being a man who was chopping wood,
and worked round our knoll for some distance, but never came within
sight. Nothing further happened, and we spent a quiet day under the
trees. The weather was perfect, and had we had a little more to eat we
should have enjoyed it immensely. At five o'clock we made a stew of the
maize with a little Oxo; and an hour later, after clearing up all traces
of our activities, set off eastwards through the wood.

We soon reached the edge of the wood, and found ourselves looking
southwards across a valley to a high range of hills. On the lower slopes
were several villages; but it was doubtful if people could see us,
especially as our khaki was an excellent camouflage for this country: in
fact, this had been a great recommendation to the proposal for marching
in uniform. However, we endeavoured to keep out of sight; and after
travelling across the high ground for a mile reached a spot whence we
could see the country eastwards and choose out our route for the coming
night. The main valley had turned somewhat, and now ran eastwards
through a rocky gorge which opened out beyond to a much greater width.
This seemed to be our best line, and we thought there would surely be a
track leading up the valley along the stream. At all events, our water
was finished, and it was urgent to fill up our bottles again as soon as
we could reach the river. We set off accordingly, but had not gone far
before some one reported a man coming up the road; we hid for some time,
and when all was clear went on again, only to find we were descending to
a field where women were still working, getting in the harvest. This
necessitated another wait; but as darkness was approaching the women
soon left the field. In order to help out our scanty stock of food and
make it go as far as possible, we were always on the look-out for any
food we could pick up in the fields, and decided to take toll of this
corn-field. The wheat was ripe and in a few minutes we all had a good
pocketful, meaning to make a really substantial meal of wheat porridge
next morning. By the time we reached a path near the bottom of the
valley it was quite dark. This track seemed to lead downwards towards
the river, and we followed it, expecting to get to the water any minute,
but by and by it began to ascend again and then to get rougher and
harder to find. This was very trying, as we all now wanted water badly,
and so we finally decided to try a rocky gully leading steeply
downwards. Sweet led the way, but, being too eager to get down, or
through bad luck, slipped and hurt his leg in falling over a rock. It
was very dark in the gully, and two candle ends which Sweet had brought
proved invaluable. After climbing and crawling down some way over rocks,
we were finally brought up by a sheer precipice falling 200 feet to the
river. Tired and disgusted, we sat down to rest, and had to make up our
minds to climb out the way we had come, and then either to go back
down-stream or climb right to the top of the valley and advance and get
down again higher up where the valley opened out. The latter course was
adopted and, Tip giving us a good lead, we slowly and, in Sweet's case,
painfully scrambled back. K. also had a bad time, as he was
short-sighted and in such a dark spot it was no easy matter to get
along.



CHAPTER VIII

SLOW PROGRESS


We all felt dreadfully tired as well as thirsty. The past two nights had
told on us; and without proper sleep and sufficient food we were not in
the best trim for a third night of mountaineering. After getting back to
the track, we had to climb up the side of the ravine, which was steep
and rocky. Resting every few yards, we eventually reached the top and
turned up-stream. The point where we had descended the gully must have
been in almost the narrowest part of the gorge, and we could see that we
should have to move some way along the crest before we could get down to
the water. We were still ascending, and after continuing a little
further decided to lie down till dawn, and then trust to getting down to
the river and hiding before the country people were about. It was
hopeless to try to get down again in the dark, even had we possessed the
strength. Thirsty as we were, we got off to sleep; and, when we woke,
found it was already beginning to get light. It had got much colder and
our thirst had accordingly diminished. I had lost my cap the night
before shortly before we camped, and now luckily managed to find it on
going back a little way. We pressed on and began to descend again. It
took us at least an hour down a very steep tree-clad slope. The stones
we set rolling seemed to make a dreadful noise, but actually must have
been drowned in the roar of the torrent below. As we neared the river,
we found we were quite close to a farm; but no one was about, and we got
down without trouble. How we drank, and what a relief it was to be
beside water again! After a wash, we set about getting a meal by
preparing our wheat. It took some time to get all the husks off the
grain and longer to boil it; but it was very good and filling. Our
biscuits had numbered originally about thirty-five each, so that as we
had reckoned on a journey of a fortnight to the coast we only allowed
ourselves two and a half per day. We made cocoa, in addition to the
porridge, and went to sleep under the bushes, feeling a great deal
better than we had done for some hours. Our camp was in a most ideal
spot. Below us, the river wound down through the gorge, while the steep
slopes on each side of the valley were covered with magnificent trees.
There were a great many hazel nuts, but these were not yet ripe or we
would have gathered a large number.

Later on, we produced our razor and, one by one, for the first time
since leaving Kastamuni, made ourselves presentable. I got out the
fishing line I had brought, but had no luck, chiefly owing to there
being no worms to be seen in the soil on the river bank. The preserved
meat seemed to have little attraction for the fish, of which there were
plenty, and our biscuits were too precious to be used up in any way as
bait.

We started off once more about 6.30, and after some rough going reached
the wide part of the valley where fields came down to the river. Here we
were soon brought to a stop by seeing people still at work. Retracing
our steps, we crossed the stream and started to ascend the northern side
of the valley, keeping roughly to our easterly direction. After a steep
ascent, we reached a fair track, along which we made good progress. Once
or twice we had to wait and hide owing to farm people being about; but
after it had got quite dark we got on again without interruption. On one
occasion we passed close to a farm. There was a resin-wood torch
burning in the yard, and just as we appeared a woman opened a window and
looked out; we expected her to see us, but possibly the glare from the
torch was too strong, for she took no notice. By midnight, we had
reached some high downland, where there seemed to be a large number of
farms. After lying down for a couple of hours, we started off again; but
soon lost all sign of our track. Continuing in our direction with the
help of the stars or compass, we suddenly found ourselves within range
of some village dogs. These brutes devoted their attention to us long
and loudly, and there was nothing for it but to get away across the
fields as fast as we could. After a little time, we found a track which
presently led into a pine wood. We trudged on through the trees for two
hours, the track keeping on the crest of the hill and bending round
gradually towards the north. This wood promised good cover for the next
day, and as we seemed to have reached its edge we decided to stop here
all day. We lay down until it grew light and then moved to the best spot
we could find. This day was Sunday, August 12th, and we can only have
achieved about 30 miles as the crow flies, although at the time we put
it at 40.

Having picked no corn the night before, we had to be content with our
small biscuit and meat ration which we carried, helped out with a
fragment of Horlick and chocolate. Tip had not been feeling well all
night and was now in considerable pain. He said porridge always laid him
out, and our brew, which was not very well boiled, had proved no
exception. As far as we could tell, it seemed to be appendicitis or
something very like it. We discussed gloomy possibilities of giving
ourselves up in the event of his not getting better; but he remained
determined to push on if he possibly could.

We reconnoitred our route for the coming night and set off again an hour
before dusk. From the hill on which we had camped we could see a road
leading in the direction we wanted, down a wide valley, and we
determined to keep to this for some distance at all events. After
forcing our way through brushwood to the foot of the hill, we were held
up by hearing carts approaching and had to hide until they had gone
past. We used this opportunity for a wash and to fill up our
water-bottles from a small stream; and then set off again, following the
carts down the road. After marching for an hour we reached some corn
stacks and collected more wheat. It took longer than when gathering it
in an open field, but in half an hour we had accumulated enough, and
again took the road. We had noticed that, further on, there seemed to be
a good number of houses in the valley on our right which we should have
to cross. Our direction now led down towards the river and the track
passed through a stack yard. We were going quietly forward, when
suddenly we were surprised by a number of dogs, which burst out upon us
in full chorus from behind a stack. An old man appeared immediately
afterwards and quieted the dogs, but luckily made no attempt to question
us, and we passed on in silence. At night we always wore fezes and hoped
thus to pass as Turks or Greeks.

A short distance further on, we crossed the stream and then were
delighted to discover a maize-field, where we gathered a few of the
biggest cobs we could find. A moment later some one discovered that
beans and marrows were growing on the ground beneath the maize, so we
helped ourselves to these also. The beans were of a dwarf French
variety, which seems to be the most popular kind throughout the
district. Thus provisioned, we set off up a wide valley leading up in
front of us.

Poor Tip was having a hard time, and as we had to cross several ploughed
fields before discovering any path, matters for him became much worse.
He could manage to get along all right on a smooth path, but rough going
gave him great pain. Fortunately, the road we now struck had quite a
fair surface and we made a good pace for the next two hours, assisted by
the moon. Finally, about 4 a.m., we lay down for an hour, until dawn,
near the side of the road. We found we had overslept ourselves on
waking, as it was broad daylight; so we had to hurry off up a small hill
and hide in the bushes. The country round seemed more deserted in this
part of the valley and we had got away from cultivated land. As we were
all now very done up, we decided to move down to the centre of the
valley, which looked as if it must possess a stream. There we intended
to hide for the rest of that day and the next. This we thought might
give Tip a chance to get right again. After resting two or three hours
on the hill, we scrambled down and eventually emerged in the main
valley. Just before we reached it we as nearly as possible walked into
two gendarmes, who were going up the valley road and crossed our path
about a hundred yards ahead of us. However, they did not see us and all
was still well. After crossing the main valley and stream, we found a
small gully on the further side which seemed to offer us good cover, as
well as having a small supply of water. As we crossed the river bed to
reach it we came in view of a man and two boys working on an irrigation
dam a little higher up. Luckily, they had their backs towards us and did
not notice anything. A little way up the gully, we found a sheltered
spot to camp in and prepared a meal, chiefly from the vegetables we had
gathered the night before. We made Tip as comfortable as possible, and
with the aid of hot compresses succeeded in making him feel easier.
Nothing occurred during the day, and, after another stew had been
consumed in the evening, we set about making ourselves comfortable for
the night. With the aid of fir branches we made a tolerably soft couch.
Tip, K. and I for purposes of additional warmth slept side by side under
the most substantial part of the sail, while Sweet, who preferred to be
on his own, rolled himself up in the lighter piece. We would have much
enjoyed a little more warmth at nights and, in spite of putting on the
few spare garments we each carried, we were always much too cold before
morning.

Our plan now was to follow the road up to the head of the valley and
then steer as straight as possible for the Geuk Irmak valley, along
which we knew ran the main road to Sinope. It was clear that we could
not make fast enough progress at the present rate ever to reach Baffra
before our provisions gave out; our boots, also, were getting badly worn
and much work was done in repairs at our various halts. Walking across
rough country at night had damaged them much more severely than we had
ever imagined could be the case.

The following day we spent in resting, cooking, and also shaving and
washing. As one or two people had passed along the road in the
afternoon, we did not like to make an early start and so waited until it
was growing dark. For the first mile the track remained fairly good;
then it forked, and we chose the left-hand branch as leading in the
direction we wanted most. It was now quite dark and the sky cloudy; but
what was much worse, the track got more and more indistinct as we slowly
emerged into open country and fields at the head of the valley. Several
times we had to halt and spread out to find the path; and then, at last,
when we did reach a cart track we almost walked right into a big farm.
After pausing to reconnoitre, we decided to try to skirt it on the
left, and had got half way round when a sheep-dog heard us and started
off at full blast. There was a shepherd sitting with a torch in one of
the farm buildings, but he took no notice. Shortly afterwards we found a
field of beans to which we helped ourselves, and then had to make a
diversion to avoid another house. This led us into a pinewood and we
were soon forced to give it up until morning, as we could see no way
through in the darkness. We lay down close together and got a few hours'
sleep before the first sign of daylight roused us to continue our
journey. We had to pass closer than we liked to a farm; but no one was
about yet and we got away on to a high ridge covered with brushwood.
After making our way for a short time along this, we halted and made
cocoa, which with a biscuit formed our breakfast. By this time our
biscuits had broken up into small fragments, so that we had to estimate
how many bits were equal to a whole biscuit. Our experiences of the
night before forced us to the conclusion that it was hopeless trying to
do a good march by night unless on a good track; and we, therefore,
decided to cut across a low cultivated stretch of land to the forest
covering the opposite ridge and continue by daylight until reaching the
Geuk Irmak. It was now about nine o'clock and the peasants were at work
in the fields almost all round us. There was no safe way of reaching the
woods opposite without exposing ourselves to view, and the only thing
was to do the best we could and use all the cover available. On getting
down to a stream from a steep hill, we found we were close to some women
and children. The latter saw us, but the women were too busy to notice
us and we reached cover in a nullah on the further side without any
alarm being raised. Our next encounter was with an old Turk. He saw us
just before we saw him and was off to ground in some cover before one
could say knife. Evidently, he was very much more startled at seeing us
than we were at seeing him. After this we were not seen by any other
people, and after skirting a harvest field got well into the forest. At
two o'clock we halted, and having slept for two hours made another stew
and prepared to go on till dark. We were in a big forest chiefly of huge
pines which were being cut in places for resin. Our direction was now
nearly due north, and every rise we topped would, we hoped, bring us in
view of the Geuk Irmak valley. As is generally the case, the longed-for
view was very slow in making its appearance, and we had to bivouac for
the night without reaching our goal. We had passed a small flour mill,
driven by a water wheel. Sweet had investigated it for flour, but it was
swept and garnished and absolutely empty.



CHAPTER IX

BLUFFING THE PEASANTS


Next morning we were off at the first streak of dawn, after a very cold
night. We were in a narrow valley, and look where we would we could not
find the track we had seen not long before halting the previous night.
The hills were too steep and wooded to make it possible to get along low
down by the stream, so there was no other course open except to start
climbing again in the hope of meeting the track at a higher level. This
we succeeded in doing after toiling up some distance. Following the
track, we emerged after a couple of miles on a hill overlooking the long
expected Geuk Irmak. It was too late in the morning and the
neighbourhood too populous to make further progress possible, so we
bivouacked close by in the wood and hoped to make good distance that
night along the main road in the valley. Starting an hour before dark,
we were forced to wait for a home-coming couple who were slowly
returning along the track we were intending to take. When they were
safely off the scene, we had to scramble down through the thickest copse
it was ever our misfortune to meet with, and by the time we had reached
the river it was quite dark. As on all such occasions, we took off our
boots and socks to cross and replaced them on the other side, only to
find soon after that there was another branch of the river which we had
not been able to see in the dark, so that the process had to be
repeated. Even then we were not over dry-shod, as there were now several
irrigated fields to be crossed before we could get to the road. Creeping
along the small bund dividing two fields, we endeavoured to keep on dry
ground; but were not very successful. Finally, we reached a big
irrigation nullah, which meant another wade. We were now, at last, on
the main road; but it had taken us two hours' hard going to get there,
which was a great disappointment. Soon after starting again, we met a
couple of men on ponies, driving cattle. At the time we were rather
separated; Tip and I escaped observation, but Sweet and K. were not so
lucky, for the men stopped and asked who they were. Sweet promptly said
"Germans" and gave a few details. The men, however, declared they were
prisoners, but did not seem disposed to make trouble, and moved on again
after a few minutes, much to Sweet's relief.

After another hour's trek, we felt too exhausted to go further, and lay
down, intending to do a little more at dawn. The mosquitoes were a great
pest in this valley and we had a very poor night's sleep. We had now
come down to a much lower elevation: Kastamuni was 2,500 feet above sea,
but this spot could scarcely be 1,000 feet. As soon as it grew light in
the morning we were off again along the road, after filling up our
water-bottles from the river and investigating another flour mill which
proved to be empty. Very soon we came to a picturesque old wooden bridge
spanning the stream and, after crossing this, decided to lie up for the
day on the hill-side above. The valley became wider at this point and
several hamlets and farms were to be seen; it therefore behoved us to
get under cover as quickly as possible, since the peasants are very
early astir. We found a good place and lit a fire. This was, perhaps,
rather rash, but we felt that it was worth risking a good deal to have
something hot to drink. As we had had no luck in getting vegetables the
night before, we had to be content with small rations. After an
uneventful sunny day, we moved down to the road in the evening, and
after filling our bottles with water from the river gathered some maize
and marrows from a field close by. We then set off down the road and
made very fair progress for the next three hours.

Loaded as we were with several extra pounds each of marrow, we got more
tired than would otherwise have been the case. Eventually, the road led
us into a village, and we had to walk straight past some people coming
towards us. They took no notice, however, and we went on. A little
further, there was a light in a flour mill, which was grinding away as
hard as it could go, being driven by a small water turbine. There seemed
to be no track by which we could avoid going right through the village,
and after retracing our steps once or twice we decided there was nothing
else for it. We tramped down the road past several old fellows who were
sitting outside a house and were probably interested in the activities
of the flour mill. Most likely, by grinding secretly at night, it is
possible to escape the Government's taxes on flour, but needless to say
we did not stop to make inquiries. The road seemed to take us nowhere.
After visiting one or two back yards and coming out in another place on
top of a house, we had eventually to retrace our steps past the old men
to the end of the village which we had first entered. How that road made
its way out we never discovered and, in consequence, lost a good deal of
time and distance.

After sleeping for a couple of hours in a graveyard, we set off with the
first streak of dawn to make a circuit round the south side of the
village, and reached a hill which promised safety for the day. It took
us a long time and many halts had to be made. We disposed of our marrows
by eating them raw, and decided that they were too heavy to be worth
carrying any distance in future. Finally, we reached a snug spot in
brushwood high up on the hill and made ourselves as comfortable as
circumstances would allow.

In the afternoon, I decided to go to the top of the hill to try to
locate our exact position in the valley. After a steep climb I got a
splendid view all round and discovered a convenient track for us to
follow as soon as it grew dark. A town was clearly visible a few miles
further on, and this I felt sure must be Duraghan, although the road
leading to it did not correspond with what was shown on our map.
However, we decided that it must be this place, as by our calculations
we reckoned we must have come every bit of the distance. Our disgust may
be imagined when on the following day we found the place was really
Boiabad, a town 30 miles short of Duraghan.

Just after getting back to our bivouac, it came on to pour, but luckily
we managed to get a fire going and a stew made just in time. However,
the result was that we started marching an hour later, soaked very
nearly to the skin, and with no prospect of being able to get dry in the
near future. We came close to the town, as it was getting dark, and
after crossing a stream had some discussion as to which road to take.
Finally, we selected a track which we thought must lead into the main
valley, where we were certain the main road would run on our side of the
river. As a matter of fact, it had crossed to the other side and we did
not meet it till next day. We continued along this track till midnight,
when we lay down for a little sleep; but it was too cold to be possible
in our wet things and in an hour we were up and off again. A few miles
further on, we found we were close to a village through which the track
ran and, joyful sight, there were several corn stacks close by. These
promised a warm shelter until dawn; but it was not to be. The usual
village dog had already heard us and although we remained stock still he
would not cease his frantic barking. One old peasant had already been
roused up and came slowly towards us. Our only course was to go straight
on; and we went right into the village, past several houses, through a
cow pen, over a hedge and so on to the moor beyond. Just as we got clear
some sportsmen let off a shot-gun. No pellets came near us and it was
probably only meant as a warning to robbers!

Luckily, we were not followed and got away over the hill, steering east.
After some distance we rested again, until morning should show us our
whereabouts. We were evidently some way from the river and a good height
up. As it began to get light, we moved off towards the river, hoping to
find a snug hiding-place near the water. No such luck was in store for
us, for just as we reached a slope overlooking the river we saw a small
village at our feet, and the village dogs saw us almost at the same
moment. Wearily we retraced our steps uphill, and when out of range of
the dogs held a council as to our future efforts. It was clear that
while walking by night we were covering very little distance, and that
at this rate the food we carried would be exhausted long before we
reached the sea. We decided, therefore, that our only hope lay in
bluffing the country people that we were Germans and buying food where
we could. Accordingly, we made for the first house we could see, where a
miserable peasant and two women were working. We explained that we were
Germans surveying, and produced our maps and passport in support of this
contention. They did not doubt us; but they had no food to sell and,
indeed, looked as poor and wretched as people well could. However, they
referred us to their master, who was the headman of the locality. We
crossed a few fields and were then met by this gentleman, to whom we
told the same story. He led us into his house and providing us with
seats gave orders for food to be prepared. In the meanwhile, Sweet
carried on a conversation to the best of his ability. It appeared that
our host was one Ahmed Chaoush (sergeant) who had been fighting against
us in Gallipoli but now had a year's sick leave. He took in our story,
but asked some awkward questions, such as why we carried no revolvers?
Sweet had to pretend not to understand and, luckily, Ahmed did not
become suspicious. We gathered from him that the town we had passed in
the night was Boiabad and that Duraghan was several hours' distance in
front of us. This was a cruel blow, and only showed us how much slower
we had been than we thought. In the meantime, the chaoush had produced
some small pears which were soon disposed of. Finally, after much
anxious speculation as to whether or no our host intended to give us a
meal, real signs of preparation appeared for that eagerly expected
event.

A few minutes later a small circular table was produced and several
dishes were brought in. These consisted of cucumber sliced up in milk,
small wads of boiled flour in milk, yoghourt or curdled milk and
chapatties--a feast such as we had hardly dared to hope for. Turkish
fashion, we sat round, each armed with a wooden spoon and dipped in the
same dish, emptying one after another. It is etiquette on such occasions
to wait until the next man has taken a spoonful so that all may get the
same number in the end, but I fear we were not always so scrupulous and
ate as fast as our usual habits would allow. When the table and dishes
had been cleared away, Ahmed was given a little English tobacco and told
it was the best German variety. Soon after we bid him a grateful
farewell, and, although he was unwilling to take anything, succeeded in
getting him to accept some money. We felt that to accept his
hospitality and humbug him without any payment would scarcely be playing
the game. He directed us towards our road, for which we had to descend
again to the main valley and cross the river. On the further side we
were delayed by a large irrigation nullah. When across this we found a
good many blackberries and some onions in a field. The latter we seized
upon with avidity, as being the first we had met with. There was some
doubt as to which of two roads we should take, but it was decided to
pursue one which some women had pointed out as the right road to
Duraghan. This led straight away from the river and began to climb
steeply. After a couple of hours, we had ascended some distance and
decided to bivouac till the afternoon. The sun was pretty hot, but we
were now high up and on top of a small hill from which the surrounding
ranges could be clearly seen. It was evident that we had not come in the
direction we had intended, but, on the other hand, we were now heading
direct for the sea. After some discussion and poring over the map, we
decided that our only real chance of reaching the sea lay in making a
bee-line across country as nearly as possible in a north-easterly
direction, buying food where we could and walking by day. If we had
gone on we should not only have had to skirt Duraghan by night, or make
a big detour by day, but the distance down to the sea would have been
very much greater. In addition, it would have been much hotter for
walking, with the extra hardship of mosquitoes at night.



CHAPTER X

REACHING THE COAST


We made it to be 30 miles in a straight line to the sea from the spot
where we now lay and hoped to do the distance in three days. After the
chaoush's hospitality at breakfast we scarcely felt inclined for another
meal till the afternoon, when we made tea, and then packed up, intending
to follow up a track beside a stream which flowed down from the range we
had now determined to cross. Descending our hill, we came to a small
village, and thought it would be just as well to see if we could
purchase any provisions before going further. We asked some children for
eggs, whereupon a Turkish matron of an unusually agreeable type came out
and after a little parleying brought us quite a royal supper. This
consisted mainly of an excellent tomato stew, chapatties, yoghourt and
fruit. Taking into account what we had accumulated from Ahmed Chaoush,
we had now got quite a good stock of chapatties. The amusement afforded
by bluffing these good people had considerably raised our spirits, but
all at once the good dame serving us staggered us completely by saying
casually she had seen us in Kastamuni. We assured her it must have been
other people, as we had no connection with Kastamuni and were real
Germans from Angora.

Just before leaving a man appeared who eyed us very suspiciously, and we
were glad to get away without waiting to make his acquaintance. We had
hardly gone a mile before an old man ran to meet us with his cap full of
apples. We seemed almost to be entering on a triumphal progress and were
tremendously amused. Several houses and a large village were passed
without event, but a little further on we found several men with mules
resting a short distance from the road. They called to us, and probably
wanted to continue their journey in our company, but it was sailing
nearer the wind than we cared for and, pretending we had to go on at
once, we did not stop to hear anything more from them. Just before dark
we passed through a very picturesque gorge, where the stream ran through
a deep narrow gateway between two enormous masses of rock, and beyond
this found a nook to sleep in for the night where we should be protected
from the wind. This had been a truly great day, and its success seemed
to confirm the wisdom of our new policy.

Early the following morning, we were once more pursuing our path, which
now became fainter and steeper as it rose towards the rocky ridge
towering above us. Towards eleven o'clock, we reached some poor houses
not far below the crest. Hoping to be able to purchase food, we stopped
and made inquiries, but all the chief people seemed to be away at some
market and there was nothing to be had. We continued on our way and
after another hour's tramp came to a cattle trough by the side of the
path. As there was water flowing here, we decided to halt till the
afternoon, and found a snug spot a few yards up the hill. In the
afternoon, after washing and shaving, we were nearly discovered by a man
who appeared to be a gendarme. He came riding down the path and stopped
to water his horse at the trough, but passed on without noticing
anything. Soon afterwards we were again marching, still upwards towards
the crest of the mountain ridge. We must have been now over 4,000 feet
up, and hoped when we reached the top we should actually see the sea.
An hour's trek took us to a poor village standing very high and,
probably, in winter almost always in the clouds. An ill-clad woman
informed us that she was a Greek who had only just arrived from
Kastamuni. She seemed to have a pretty clear notion as to what we really
were, but said nothing and, eventually, got us yoghourt and some
chapatties. Our direction was now about north-east and we were making
for Tel Kelik, a small place marked on the map, a little on the northern
side of the watershed. Most of the peasants seemed never to have heard
of it, and we had some difficulty in getting on to a path leading in the
right direction. As it grew dusk, we found ourselves in a second village
at almost the same elevation; there was no one about, but eventually a
man turned up who said he was on his way home to another village. The
village women in particular were most suspicious, declaring that there
was no food anywhere; and it was not until some little while later, when
the colour of our money had been clearly shown, that anything was
forthcoming. We had intended to spend the night in a village hut if
possible, as the only alternative was sleeping in the mist, which at
4,000 feet was a cold and dreary prospect. However, after some
parleying, we were led to what proved to be the travellers' rest hut.
Our story was absorbed with due interest, a large fire lighted and some
food brought in. We lay down on mats on the floor, rejoicing in the
warmth and, if undisturbed by smaller visitors, felt we should have a
really good night's rest. Several village worthies looked in during the
evening to see the Almans (Germans) and we hope were not disappointed. A
young soldier just returned on leave from Constantinople helped to
procure some butter and syrup for us. The latter is a poor substitute
for treacle and seems to be made from raisins. This reception in a
travellers' rest hut was the limit reached by our bluff; it gave us much
satisfaction to think how annoyed our Turkish friends in Kastamuni would
be to know of our being entertained in such a manner.

We had a splendid night, although lying on the floor, and in the morning
obtained a little more food and some butter through our soldier friend.
After a hasty meal we hurried off with our first acquaintance of the
previous night as guide to put us on the right road. We were soon at the
highest point of the range, although as yet the sea was not in view. A
little further on, after having bought a large knife from our friend,
we bade him good-bye with many expressions of gratitude. Tel Kelik was
now quite close, and it was fortunate that we were not compelled to
march through it, since we found later that there was a Turkish
detachment stationed in the village. Leaving the Tel Kelik valley, we
climbed the hill on our side and an hour later--at 9.30--were delighted
at finding the sea stretching out before us in the sunshine. It looked
about fifteen miles off, but the mere sight seemed to raise our spirits
marvellously, and we were, perhaps, almost as elated as Xenophon's men
when the same sea greeted their gaze at Trebizond. We were now in a
copse and decided to halt till evening. To celebrate the occasion, we
made a late breakfast of buttered eggs, the eggs having been bought at a
cottage we had passed during the morning. The next work in front of us
was to make something of the coarse flour which we had procured two days
previously from the Greek woman. Sweet got to work and, using some of
the butter and our last tin of condensed milk, turned out a very fine
dough. Baking was the chief difficulty and, after trying to make an
oven, in the end we had to be content with making small chapatties on
our diminutive frying-pan turned upside down and on the lid of a
canteen. The results were very satisfactory, although consisting largely
of fragments.

At four o'clock in the afternoon, we set off again and by dark had gone
a good distance, and, after finding a sheltered spot for the night,
collected a quantity of dead bracken to make ourselves as comfortable as
possible.

We were off again early next morning, and had a steep scramble down
through a wood, and eventually, to a stream at the bottom of a deep
valley. Here there were a number of blackberries which we took advantage
of, and then climbed the further side, coming out at last on the top and
finding nothing now lay between ourselves and the beach, which must have
been only three miles away at the nearest point. A moment later a
sailing boat was seen close in to the shore and two or three others soon
after. We were overjoyed at this, as it meant that boats were still
being used along the coast and that there was no truth in all the
stories we had heard in Kastamuni to the effect that no boats were now
plying. There was a small wooded hill projecting into the sea a little
west of where we now were, and from its summit there would be a good
view of the coast in each direction; on the other hand we knew we could
not be far from the town of Jerse, and going west meant getting still
nearer to it. Also, there were several farms and open country between us
and the hill, and we were now very anxious not to be seen at all if we
could help it. In the end, we decided to stay where we were for the day
and go straight down to the shore in front of us late in the afternoon.
The wood we were in was very thick and, try as we might, no good spot
for a halt could be found which would also give us a clear outlook on to
the coast and any boats sailing along it. We had to be content to do
without further observation of the sailing boats, and bivouacked amongst
the trees. Tea was made and a frugal meal of biscuits followed; our
cocoa was now all exhausted, and greatly did we wish we had brought more
of it in the place of some other things.



CHAPTER XI

RECAPTURED


In the afternoon, we sewed together the two halves of the sail and cut a
handle for our axe head so as to be as ready as possible in the event of
discovering a boat. After making a stew from some beans we had gathered
in a field on the hill that morning, we packed up and set off, full of
hope and excitement. The question of going across to the wooded hill
arose again when we got clear of the wood, but it was thrown out, and,
bitterly did we regret it next day. Turning down to the shore, we
crossed the road and, eventually, reached the beach just as it was
getting dark. There were one or two small houses just on our right above
the shingle, and we were reconnoitring carefully when a big rowing boat
was seen coming along close to the beach, rowed by some eight men. It
went a quarter of a mile further along, and the boat was then pulled up
by the men and others who appeared from the houses. It was too dark to
see what they were, but for some unknown reason we did not suspect that
they were men of a guard at this place, or connect the houses with a
place shown on one of our maps as being somewhere near here. We debated
whether to go along the coast when it was quite dark and reconnoitre, or
whether to wait for dawn. In any case, it seemed hopeless to think we
could push off the boat which had just been pulled up: it was far too
heavy and they had brought it up a long way. Finally, we decided to wait
till dawn and then go along and see what we could find.

As soon as it began to get light next morning, August 23rd, we were up;
our excitement was increased by seeing a small boat moored a little way
from the beach. This had mast and sail and was just the size of boat we
were hoping for. We crept quietly down to a track along the shingle.
Sweet was in front and reported seeing a peasant near the first house.
We walked quickly on finding that there were rather more tumble-down
houses than we had expected. However, it was too early for people to be
about and there seemed no reason to suspect danger. We were hurrying on
towards the boat we had seen, when we passed the end of a tumble-down
boat-house and, to our dismay, found a Turkish sentry standing just
inside. He stopped Sweet, while we three hurried on a little further.
Sweet told him we were Germans bound for Samsun, the next port along the
coast. However, the old man insisted on telling his chaoush or sergeant.
Meanwhile Sweet had rejoined us, but there was no chance of getting
away, as by this time three or four others of the guard had turned out.
The sergeant had us brought back to the guard-house, where the next
scene of the pantomime began. Sweet, as had been previously arranged,
was to play the part of a German officer, while we three were orderlies.
Accordingly, we carried his pack for him, jumped up and down and saluted
and, generally, behaved in a manner calculated to show our subservience.
Meanwhile, the chaoush who was in charge of the guard at this place--a
village called Kusafet--was evidently not at all sure of his ground, and
suggested we should go with him to Jerse. We replied we were going in
the opposite direction, and wanted a boat with which to reach Samsun.
The boat which had been moored off the beach had now been brought to
shore and was landing some stores for the guard. We spoke to the skipper
of this boat and, finding he came from Trebizond and knew a little
English, hoped he would be amenable to helping us. Our idea was that
having got on board for Samsun we could persuade him for a consideration
to take us on to Trebizond, which was in Russian hands.

He went upstairs to confer with the chaoush, but whether he gave us away
or not we were never quite sure. He came down advising us to go to Jerse
and see the commandant there. This man, he assured us, knew no English
or German, and was very ignorant and would believe our story. The
chaoush wanted to make us march to Jerse, but we refused and,
eventually, set off in the boat under the escort of the chaoush and two
other armed soldiers. Before leaving we had obtained some chapatties,
and a little raw fish which was better eating than we had expected. On
the way we suggested to the skipper that with the help of the crew we
could easily overpower the guard and then set sail east; but he would
not agree, and with the probability of the crew of five joining the
guard we should have stood no chance at all. Hugging the coast, we
reached Jerse in two hours, finding a small Turkish town built on a
slight promontory. On the way, we passed the wooded hill we had talked
about so often the day before. We should have been quite safe on this
hill and, what was more, should have seen two or three boats in which
we could probably have got away without much trouble. On reaching Jerse
we found ourselves moored beside a small patrol boat of the Turkish
navy, one of the crew of which said openly we were English. However,
Sweet had gone ashore with the chaoush, and we were left hoping for the
best, but fearing the game was up. Half an hour later we were summoned
to join Sweet, and were conducted with him to a police station. Here Tip
was made to speak on the 'phone to a German officer at Sinope. He could
think of nothing to say but "Sprechen sie Deutsch," to which the Teuton
eagerly responded at the other end. After shouting this down the 'phone
several times Tip threw down the receiver, declaring it was out of
order! Another man coming into the station declared he had seen two of
us at Kastamuni. We were then taken to the commandant of the town and
agreed it was useless to try to bluff any longer, since they believed us
to be English spies and it was only a matter of getting hold of any
German for our whole story to fall to the ground. We, therefore,
admitted that we had escaped from Kastamuni, saying we had been so long
prisoners that we wanted to get home. The commandant was one of the
best types of Turkish officer it had been our fortune to meet and was
most polite. We were searched, and our maps and compasses and diaries
taken, except from K., who managed to smuggle his map through. My
original compass, not being recognized as such, was not taken.

Sweet told us that on first landing he had seen the commandant of the
local _gendarmerie_, whom he had no difficulty in bluffing, as the
skipper had foretold. Sweet told him we were on our way to the Caucasus
to help in preparing a coming offensive for the Turks. He took all this
in and Sweet was congratulating himself that our troubles were over.
After giving Sweet coffee he said, no doubt, we would now like to be
going on our way to Samsun. Sweet agreed, and they were just coming back
to rejoin us when the Yuzbashi mentioned that there was a colonel who
was commandant of the town and that he would probably like to see Sweet
before he left. The fat was then in the fire. Sweet proffered our
passport, but the colonel was suspicious and a Turkish naval officer
whom he called in confirmed his ideas that we were British. The colonel
told us later that there were two mistakes in our passport, which
otherwise he evidently thought was quite good. He had our names and had
been warned of our escape some two or three days after we had left
Kastamuni.

The yuzbashi, finding how thoroughly he had been bluffed, was now
equally frantic in his wrath. We were said to be going off that day to
Sinope, and he was already preparing to handcuff us together in pairs.
Luckily, the colonel turned up in time to prevent this. Most of our
money was now taken and a receipt given to us for it. A little later we
were told we were not going that day and were given a better room in the
police station. The chaoush was very pleased with himself and told us he
was going to accompany us to Kastamuni. He, also, it appeared, had been
warned of our escape and, having passed through Kastamuni recently,
probably suspected us more quickly than he would otherwise have done.
The colonel came in to see us, and endeavoured to find out as much as he
could from us as to which way we had come and how we had got food, but
we told him very little. We got some food sent in and finally lay down
on the floor for the night. Tip was now suffering again from his
previous complaint, and we insisted that a doctor should be brought.
However, no one was forthcoming. Next morning we were allowed to go
into the bazaar to buy a few things needful, and on our return were told
to get ready to march at once. A small donkey was brought up and on this
we loaded our kit.

Tip was still feeling very poorly and had a bad time on the march. After
some eight miles, mostly along by the sea, we reached some Turkish
barracks which had evidently been only recently put up. They were wooden
buildings, but, fortunately, cleaner than might have been expected. We
were put into a small corner room in the officers' quarters and were
much amused to find that no less than three sentries were posted to
guard us; one outside the door, and one outside each window.

The officers consisted of a fat and surly yuzbashi and an Arab
lieutenant, a huge man who was most genial and friendly. He told us his
home was near Mosul, but he refused to believe that the British were in
Bagdad and evidently thought we were trying to bluff him, the ignorance
pervading all classes in Turkey as to what is happening in the outside
world being colossal.



CHAPTER XII

RESCUED


We had several visits from the Arab officers, and they very kindly gave
us a share of their food, which consisted chiefly of a vegetable stew.
The following morning we were given a bread ration for five days and
told to get ready at once. Tip was not fit to move, but they would not
listen to us and dragged him out. We found a small pony had been
brought, so Tip mounted this and we set off with a guard of a sergeant
and eight privates; our former friend, the chaoush from Kusafet, was not
coming with us after all and in his place we had a truculent
quick-tempered fellow who looked as if he would be anything but an
agreeable companion on the march. The men were evidently in the best of
spirits, a visit to Kastamuni being a great event for them. In addition,
they carried a good deal of tobacco, which they doubtless expected to
sell again at a large profit on arrival. A great deal of tobacco is
grown in the coast districts, more particularly near Samsun. We set off
at a very easy pace and after passing the German wireless station soon
had a halt. The guard had two donkeys which carried their kit, but the
chaoush would not hear of us putting our packs on them as well. After
another halt in a village, we reached a caravanserai early in the
afternoon, where the guard prepared their food, the man who owned the
donkeys acting as cook to the chaoush. This fellow had not even the
disreputable uniform which the average Turkish soldier possesses, but
was clothed in thin black stuff. His efforts produced boiled rice over
which a little melted butter was poured. This was taken to a raised
corner where he and the chaoush proceeded to shovel it into their mouths
from the same bowl, etiquette prescribing that the two parties should
take spoonfuls strictly in turn. An hour later we were off again, and
began to ascend the lower slopes of the mountains we had crossed a few
days previously. Now, however, we were on the so-called main road. It
was one of the worst roads it had been our lot ever to have seen, and we
were truly thankful we were not travelling in carts. Long stretches were
strewn with blocks of stone, which had been, apparently, left there
promiscuously by some contractor who had not finished his job, like so
many others in this country. An hour or two later, after ascending some
little distance, we stopped for the chaoush to get his pony shod. This
animal he had commandeered at a village we had passed through, and now
fancied himself to no small extent as a mounted man. After a long wait
the shoeing was at last accomplished and we set off once more. To our
delight the chaoush had also procured a second pony, and on this we were
allowed to load our packs. About eight o'clock we reached a small
village, where we were to spend the night; an empty log hut was found
and a fire made in the large open hearth. We were given one side of the
chief room while most of the guard slept on the rest of the floor. With
some eggs we had bought we made a very good supper and, thanks to the
fire, were as comfortable as the circumstances would allow. We were now
high up and it would have been very cold to bivouac in the open, as we
must have been surrounded by clouds during the night. Before going off
to sleep we considered the chances of escape. There would be little
chance after another day or two when we had got further from the sea and
were halting in larger villages, so that the present night seemed the
only practical time, should opportunity offer. However, we soon came to
the conclusion that it was quite impossible, as not only was there a
sentry in the narrow passage outside the door but one or two of the
askars in our room were told to keep awake in turns. The only exit was
the door, to reach which we should have to walk over several of our
guard.

First thing in the morning, August 27th, we were off again up the road.
It was a glorious day and nothing happened beyond the usual halts every
hour or so. We discussed our escapade once more, again deciding we had
had a good run for our money, but that we had not been cautious enough
when we did reach the coast. We went over afresh the various routes
possible and alterations in plans which we would have adopted with the
experience now gained. It was about nine o'clock and we had been on the
march fully two hours when suddenly with a cry of "Askar" shots rang out
from the nearside of the road. For a moment we were too startled to know
what to make of it. Then K. and I made a dive down the "khud" side, as
the open road seemed anything but the best place to stay in. The first
shot had bowled over the man in black who was riding a donkey in front.
We had been told so much at Kastamuni about the bandits infesting the
hills that we quite thought we might have fallen amongst a party of them
and that to be taken and held to ransom would be a worse fate than
returning for a few months to the civil prison at Kastamuni or Angora.

On going a little way down the hill I saw a man whom I at first thought
to be the chaoush, but as he beckoned to me saying "Venez, venez," I saw
that this was one of the new arrivals. He wanted me to go off down the
hill with him, but after descending a little way I explained there were
other officers on the road and I must go back to them. In the meantime,
he was very voluble and excited, but I could not gather who they were or
what had brought them. On arriving back on the road I found K. and Tip;
the fighting was now over, and three of the brigands were collecting the
askars' rifles and ammunition. The guard had put up no show at all and
the nine of them were all disarmed and standing like sheep within two
minutes, thanks almost entirely to the efforts of the three now
collecting their arms, since my friend had been too far down the bank to
have done much firing himself. The question now was whether we were to
go with these fellows. K. was all for going off at once, but Tip and I
hesitated as to the position we should be in, if caught again by the
Turks before getting away. Our new friends would, of course, have been
shot as outlaws, and we should very likely have shared the same fate. We
took them aside and at length made out that they were adherents of the
old Turk party and had no use whatever for Enver and his Government.
They said they had come specially to rescue us, and had a boat ready to
put off for either Trebizond of Sevastopol in three or four days' time.
After realizing this, a process which took some time, as our knowledge
of the language was very sketchy, we decided to throw in our fortunes
with our new friends, as it seemed a heaven-sent chance of getting out
of the country and almost too good to be true. We had seen nothing of
Sweet since the firing started and now began to shout for him and search
on each side of the road. Our new friends set the old guard on to look
for him, but not a sign of him could we see and no response came to our
calls. After searching and shouting for an hour, we finally had to give
it up, and leaving the guard in the road set off with our new
acquaintances, whom we will now style the "akhardash"--or comrades--as
that was the name they always used for themselves and their supporters.
As far as we could see, Sweet must have dashed away when the first shots
rang out, thinking no doubt that this was a splendid opportunity of
getting free again. It was very hard luck for him, especially as he had
all along been one of the keenest and most energetic of the party. The
old guard watched us go without emotion; they were apparently used to
surprises of this sort. The chaoush remarked that we should now go to
our homes, and we often wondered what happened to him when he got back
to the barracks and reported.

[Illustration: MAP (REDUCED) SHOWING ROUTE OF ESCAPE]

He would be sure to say his party had been greatly outnumbered and were
only disarmed after a prolonged resistance, but, nevertheless, he was
probably reduced to a private. Besides the man in black who had been
killed, two of the others had been wounded. Considering the rate at
which the akhardash started firing, at a range of only twenty yards or
so, the wonder is they did not hit many more; probably after inflicting
a few casualties to start with they afterwards fired high on purpose.
The guard, beyond firing one or two shots, seemed to have made no
resistance at all. They were completely surprised and totally unready
for such an occurrence. Tip had an unenviable experience. He was riding
his pony when the shooting began and had our rucksacks festooned round
his saddle and over his legs so that he could not dismount in a hurry
and found himself in a helpless position in a small storm of bullets.
Finally, he was dragged to the ground by the tallest of the akhardash,
who proceeded to kiss him with much fervour! This man, whose name was
Musa, became our great friend. He was a tall lithe fellow and was always
ready to do everything he possibly could for our comfort during the
following weeks. The leader, whom we always rather suspected of having
played the part of the Duke of Plaza Toro in the actual scrap, was one
Bihgar Bey, a most evil-looking gentleman. In fact none of the four at
the time we first saw them presented an appearance likely to inspire any
confidence, but resembled more the types one sees portrayed as those of
the greatest criminals. Bihgar Bey, we learnt later, was one of a dozen
implicated in the murder of Mahomed Shevket Pasha[3] some years
previously, but as he alone when caught was not in possession of arms
his sentence was only one of transportation, while all the others were
put to death. The other two were Keor, an old Armenian who looked as if
he had led a very hard life, and Kiarmil, a little man who had been a
sergeant-major in the Turkish forces during the late Balkan war. Their
looks, however, entirely belied them, as will be seen from our
subsequent experiences, when on all occasions they went out of their way
to lessen the hardships of our life in the woods. During the following
days we found that they had been able to pay a certain sum yearly to
avoid military service up to a few months previously, when all such
privileges had been cancelled. They had then been forced either to serve
or become outlaws, and had chosen the latter alternative. After living
in the woods supported by more law-abiding friends, of whom they seemed
to have a great number dotted about the country, they had decided to
leave for Russia, and made arrangements with a man in Sinope to embark
in his boat when all their party had been gathered and all arrangements
completed. In the meantime, a gendarme at Sinope, who was also of their
political views, had given them news of our recapture and march back to
Kastamuni. They determined thereupon to effect our rescue, and the
evening before had made a forced march of over twenty miles. At first,
we could not understand why they had taken on such an enterprise, seeing
that it could only hinder their own plans for getting away, and would
probably make it much more difficult for them to leave at all, as the
Turkish authorities would be sure to take a good deal of trouble to
prevent our getting out of the country; but they seemed to have a
profound contempt for any number of gendarmes and no doubt considered we
should form a good introduction for them to Russia. Whatever their
reasons, it was a very plucky act for four of them to take on a guard of
nine, although at the time when the man in black was bowled over it
seemed a horribly cold-blooded business.

[3] Grand Vizier, 1913.



CHAPTER XIII

IN HIDING WITH THE TURKS


Throughout the following weeks our new friends did all they could to
make us as comfortable as circumstances would permit, and we can never
be sufficiently grateful to them for thus enabling us to leave captivity
and reach home. They would never listen to any offers of payment, saying
they did not wish to be taken for men who had rescued us for money.

Going back to the morning of our first acquaintance, we left the guard
standing in the road while we, with all their ammunition and four of
their rifles, retraced our steps along the road towards the sea and then
branched off down a side track, finding a secure hiding-place in a thick
wood about a mile further on. We thought it might be as well to impress
the guard with the idea that we had been taken off by the "brigands"
against our will, and therefore got them to tie our hands together and
behaved as if we did not want to go with them at all. When out of
sight, we undid the cords and marched on again as really free men,
Bihgar Bey continually cheering us by saying, "Allons, enfants de la
patrie," which, considering his position as an outlaw, was distinctly
humorous. It was wonderful the inspiring effect the change from
captivity had upon Tip, who had been so seedy during the last few days;
now he began to recover rapidly and succeeded in marching all the
following night without any ill effects.

We had taken Sweet's kit with us, thinking we might meet him and that in
any case it would be of no use to leave it with the guard. After sorting
it out, we took one or two articles each and made our rescuers some
small presents from the remainder. Bihgar and Kiarmil went off to fill
our water-bottles and returned a little while later, after announcing
their approach by clapping their hands. This we found was the method
always adopted by the akhardash when meeting each other in woods or by
night.

It was arranged that two of them would accompany us down at nightfall to
a secure hiding-place, while the other two were to go in the opposite
direction to meet friends from Boiabad who were also joining the party
and, as far as we could make out, were bringing a good deal of money
with them. In the end, we set off about half-past seven under the
guidance of Keor, the old Armenian, while the other three set off again
towards Boiabad. They had told us that we should reach our hiding-place
in three hours, Bihgar Bey making our mouths water by describing it as a
place of milk and honey, where we would be provided with meat, butter,
eggs and cheese, all of which since we left Kastamuni had seemed the
greatest luxuries.

Keor started off at a trot down a path through the wood. He was carrying
his own rifle and one of our late guard's weapons, as well as four
bandoliers full of ammunition and a bag on his back. We three each
carried a rifle, but hoped there would be no more cold-blooded shooting
of the type that had effected our rescue. Keor's pace must have been
about five miles an hour, and we soon had to request him to go slower,
as I had a dicky knee which would be likely to give trouble going
downhill at a trot over a bad path with daylight almost gone. Our packs
with some of Sweet's kit were now a good weight, so that with a rifle in
addition we were well loaded. After being told that we should reach our
goal in three hours we felt fairly confident of attaining it in five,
especially as we kept up a good pace and the recognized halts were not
observed. Keor several times missed his way, but always found it in the
end. After a couple of hours we reached a river and wended our weary way
down its bed, first on one side, then crossing to the other side and
then back again. There was no path and we floundered along amongst the
boulders in the darkness. Whenever we halted, which was not often, Keor
always said it was now only one hour's march further.

About 3 a.m. we were going along a rough track beside the river bed when
suddenly my bad knee gave way and I took a complete toss, rifle and pack
going all over the place. There was nothing for it but to go on, so
tying up the knee with a puttee, I hobbled on--the others nobly helping
me by carrying my rifle. We were now all pretty well done and signs of
dawn began to show in the east. Keor was very anxious to get in, saying
there would be a great many gendarmes hereabouts the following day. At
length we left the river, climbed a small rise, and passed close to some
cottages, where the usual dogs soon started a chorus. This led to one or
two shots being fired, probably with the idea of scaring off robbers,
but, apparently, we were not actually seen. Finally, we dragged
ourselves up a steep track, and got to ground in a thick copse. We were
worn out; it was now a quarter-past five and we had done nine and a
quarter hours instead of the three we had been promised. Still, we were
free--and nothing else mattered. We put on what extra garments we had
and were very soon asleep.

A few hours later Keor disappeared and returned shortly afterwards with
what seemed to us a splendid breakfast: fried eggs, chapatties and
yoghourt. Apparently, we were close to the house of an akhardash, from
whom all this had been procured. Although some children came near us
during the day, we were not discovered, and remained quietly where we
were till nightfall. Then we tramped off once more, but only to halt at
a very short distance further on under some trees near a house, which
was probably the one our breakfast had come from. Here we were met by a
boy of fifteen, by name Aziz, who came to us through the trees with a
loaded rifle slung over his shoulder. Our friends always carried their
rifles with a round in the chamber, but with the bolt not pushed home.
We were continually expecting some accident to happen from this
practice, but luckily nothing did.

Of the rifles belonging to our four rescuers, two were short
Lee-Enfields which had been captured on the Gallipoli peninsula, and had
found their way to the bazaar in Constantinople, where they had been
retailed for £T.10 or nine pounds sterling: now, however, they assured
us that the price had gone up to £T.20. Musa had a Turkish Mauser, made
in Germany, while Keor possessed a Russian rifle. Aziz met us with an
old Greek weapon, but much to his delight was given one of the rifles
which had belonged to our guard. He was a very bright boy, and intensely
excited and jubilant over our rescue and the discomfiture of the guard.
In every case, the muzzle piece was removed so as to lighten the weapon,
a bayonet, apparently, not being considered worth carrying when fighting
gendarmes in the mountains. In addition to their rifles, some of our
friends carried Caucasian daggers. These are straight, with a very fine
sharp point and double-edged blade about fifteen inches long. They were
used for cutting brushwood, rigging up shelters in the woods, killing
sheep, or chopping up meat, as required. Whenever we halted, Keor used
to spend much loving care over his bandoliers of ammunition, seeing
that each round was clean and not too loose in its leather loop.

After a few minutes under the trees a woman brought us a frugal supper,
after which we set off accompanied by Aziz to find a hiding-place for
the following day. A short distance brought us to a small Turkish house
where a good deal of conversation took place between Keor, Aziz and the
owner. Finally, we were taken into a maize-field and camped under a tree
in the centre. The maize was seven or eight feet in height, so that we
were well concealed. Our host brought us some bedding, consisting of a
couple of old mattresses and quilts. During the following days we had a
pretty thorough experience of the delights of such bedding, and came to
the conclusion in the end that we should have been happier without any.
However, in the present case it was not so bad and we had a
comparatively undisturbed night. In the morning food was brought us by
our host, which consisted mostly of a vegetable stew and coarse bread.
The day was uneventful.

We spent another night in this field and moved on once more the
following evening. Keor declared it would only take us half an hour and
I trusted it might not be far, as my knee was not much better yet. It
amused us to think what a trio of crocks we seemed to be. Tip had been
ill off and on most of the time since we left Kastamuni. K. had been
very unwell that day and suffered a good deal on account of his short
sight; and I was dead lame. A few minutes after starting we met another
of the akhardash, a very good fellow named Kasim, and conversed with him
for a few minutes in the shade of a corn stack before proceeding.

It was a fine moonlight night, and we again passed the German wireless
station, which was now below us and between us and the sea. In not more
than an hour, we got close to the place appointed and after a long wait
were conducted to a spot which seemed very secure, as it was in the
centre of a thick copse with no houses near. Another youth turned up
here and, apparently, was the son of our new host. For the next three
days we stayed here, this boy bringing us food twice a day and telling
Keor all the local news. It was now we heard that Sweet had been retaken
or had had to give himself up and was being marched back to Kastamuni.
Later when Bihgar Bey and the others rejoined us they declared that
Sweet had gone back with an escort of no less than 60 gendarmes. The
idea of such a number being necessary tickled them immensely and they
evidently considered it a great compliment to the disturbance they had
caused, though they were genuinely sorry for Sweet and would have made
an effort to rescue him had it been possible.

Our menu was rendered more attractive now by our being able to get a
little butter and some fruit. As we had to keep still all day, there was
little to do except speculate as to the composition of the next meal,
and with having only two meals a day there was a considerable interval
between these events. K. spent some time in making up his diary and
checking dates. Our friends could never make out what he was writing
about, and would say, "Here there are trees and mountains but whatever
can a man find to write about?" Indeed, they never could make K. out
very well. Tip was far the most popular; for one thing the fact that he
was an aviator roused their imagination, and in addition his good humour
under all circumstances made him a great favourite. They always
addressed him as Kaptan, but only called K. and me, by our surnames. The
want of tobacco in the early days had not affected K. and me, as we did
not smoke, but Tip had had to go very short; now, however, the
akhardash seemed to have inexhaustible supplies and were always ready
to roll cigarettes for Tip--an art which he never succeeded in
mastering. One day Keor informed us that some of the akhardash including
Aziz had raided the German wireless station the night before, killing
all the Germans and taking a lot of money. This was absolutely untrue,
but he seemed to believe it and had evidently been told the story by the
boy bringing our food.



CHAPTER XIV

CONTINUED DELAYS


On the afternoon of September 2nd, the third day in this wood, Bihgar
Bey and Musa arrived, and announced that the friends from Boiabad had
also come and that we should move on towards the sea. One of the
new-comers had arrived with them at our lair, this being a stout fellow
whom we always referred to as the Fat Boy: he was in fact the only pure
Turk amongst them, the others all being of Circassian extraction. As it
grew dark we moved off picking up some others of the akhardash shortly
afterwards, and took a line which would bring us towards the coast while
at the same time approaching Sinope. After some hours, it became evident
that they were not very sure of the way, with the result that in the
early hours of the morning they decided to stop where they were and
reach the appointed place the following evening. At dawn a countryman
stumbled upon a sentry guarding a path near which we lay. He was
thoroughly scared and was allowed to go, after having evidently sworn
never to tell of anything he had seen.

As morning dawned, rain came on and we moved under some bigger trees,
where Keor very soon had a shelter rigged up, cutting down ash saplings
with a dagger and using our sail as a cover. It was not a very efficient
protection, but better than nothing and luckily on this occasion the
rain did not last long. Next evening, under the guidance of a new
comrade, we were conducted a little way further, finally halting in a
maize-field until such time as some unwelcome guests had left our new
host. This was an old Greek as poor as he was dirty, but he had
evidently agreed to hide us until the boat was ready and we were much
indebted to him. Finally, the Turkish visitors left the old man and he
came to meet us. The first thing he did was to go off with one of the
akhardash and procure a sheep for us. We had not tasted any meat for
about ten days, and looked with great interest at the fine animal now
procured. The old man then brought us bedding, and we are not likely
ever to forget it. We remained in his care for nearly a week, and every
day seemed to increase the interest which these mattresses took in us.
At daylight, the old man cleared a space for us in a neighbouring
thicket, and we moved in there. All the others except Bihgar departed,
saying they were going to prepare food for the voyage. Left alone with
Bihgar the time hung somewhat heavily. He looked after us like a father
and by our calling him this he was highly delighted. He played picquet
with Tip, and did his best to learn a little English. The old Greek sent
a messenger into Sinope for us, and we thus got hold of a few small note
books and some playing cards, which helped to pass the time.

[Illustration: BIHGAR BEY]

After a few days in our first clearing, we moved to another, a short
distance off, this being considered rather safer. There were a good many
houses round about and people passed by a path running within 50 yards
of where we lay, so that we had to keep very quiet. After three or four
days here we began to get a little impatient, Bihgar Bey being somewhat
indefinite; but at last one night, after going off at dark to meet some
of the others, he came back and woke us up at midnight and told us to
hurry up, as we were off. We hoped we might get right down to the coast
and find the boat ready, but this was not to be. After a second meeting
under the tree in the maize-field and a farewell to the old Greek, we
set off down a lane and past some houses where the inevitable dog was
soon aroused. However, no one came out and we got out to a field near
the main road, where, after a wait of an hour, we were met by Kiarmil,
whom we had not seen since the first day. At this point, the others had
also met us and had with them a pony laden with bread and a little
cheese, which were to be our rations on the voyage. The party now
consisted of twelve of the akhardash and a boy with the pony, the latter
not intending to leave the country with us.

We learnt that they had had a long fight with the gendarmes the day
before, one being killed on each side. Apparently, the gendarmes had
rounded them up in a village where they were preparing the food which
they had now brought. There were, they said, 80 gendarmes, whereas they
had only eight! Anyhow, our guide of a few nights before, a swarthy,
powerful looking man, had been killed, but in the end they had succeeded
in getting away from the gendarmes or driving them off. The story,
naturally, lost nothing in the telling and we never quite knew what to
believe. At first, from their accounts, it sounded as if they had
deliberately invited a scrap, and it was some time before we found out
that they had been almost surrounded. They also brought the news that
hundreds of gendarmes were being sent to Sinope from Kastamuni, but as
there were never many at Kastamuni we were somewhat sceptical about this
also. Crossing the main road, we found we were close to the sea, and a
little further on entered a copse where we spent the rest of the night.
At dawn we went still further in, and sentries were posted. Meanwhile,
the pony boy had gone off on his steed to Sinope to interview the
boatman, and we waited till the afternoon, hoping that we might hear the
boat was coming to pick us up that night. Our hopes were dashed again
when the boy returned with the news that the boat and its proprietor
were not in Sinope, but had gone round the coast to the next port to the
west.

The akhardash decided it was too risky to stay where we were and,
therefore, we moved again at nightfall. After following the main road a
little way on towards Sinope we left it, climbing slowly and going
farther away from the sea. After some hours they found that they had
missed the way again, although we were close to our destination, which
was the inevitable akhardash's house. Making across some fields and
hedges, we gained a lane, but soon had to leave this, as carts were
heard coming along. Luckily, Turkish carts make their presence known
a long way off by their perpetual creaking, so that we were all
safely under cover by the time they passed. A certain amount of
misunderstanding now arose, Bihgar not seeing eye to eye with another of
the akhardash who knew best our whereabouts, with the result that we
nearly split up into two or more groups in the darkness.

However, we eventually all got together again, and reached the house of
our new host or rather the field surrounding it. He came to meet us and
escorted us to a wood close by. Here we slept till dawn and then moved
farther into the trees. This old man was evidently a more influential
"comrade" than most of those we had met so far. His house was a good
deal larger than the average and he was treated with great respect.
Another more humble supporter also appeared, and between the two we were
provided with food. Late in the day, the old man departed for Sinope,
and our hopes again ran high that he would be successful in arranging
for the boat. Disappointment was once more in store for us on his return
about six o'clock. The leading three or four conferred apart with him,
and it was not until afterwards that we were told that the Turks were so
bent on preventing us leaving the country that they had had all boats
pulled up, masts and sails taken out and guarded, and that no boat was
allowed to put to sea from Sinope to eastwards of Kusafet, the place
where we had been recaptured. The akhardash said that, this being the
case, we must try elsewhere, and they proposed to march off towards
Iyenjak, a little town about 30 miles westwards, where the restrictions
imposed at Sinope would probably not be in force and where they hoped to
get another boat. They said if this failed they would then go east
towards Samsun, a distance of fully 100 miles across rough mountainous
country.

We were beginning to wonder if they ever would get afloat. On August
27th, when they had rescued us, they declared everything would be ready
in three or four days. It was now September and our early sailing seemed
more unlikely than ever. In addition to this our boots were nearly worn
out, and physically we were not in particularly good condition. It
looked as if they would have a much better chance of getting off without
us, so we decided to offer to go off on our own and leave them free. We
explained that it was a hanging matter for them if caught, whereas it
only meant a few months in prison for us. They realized this only too
clearly, but would not hear of our leaving them for an instant, and
declared they would get a boat, however much it might cost.

Kiarmil, upon whose person all the wealth of the party had been
concealed in various places when it was thought we were about to embark,
now began to disgorge his treasure and divide it up again. Musa appeared
to be by far the richest of the party and seemed to be quite a country
gentleman. He told us he would lose his house, cattle and land worth
thousands of pounds. These would all be confiscated by the Turkish
authorities, but he confidently hoped with the next change of Government
to return to the country and get it all back again with a little more
besides. Some of the others were in a similar situation in a lesser
degree. They had succeeded in changing most of their money into Russian
notes which had somehow found their way into Sinope and Jerse, and these
transactions had delayed their preparations a good deal.

After a supper which included a little meat and was therefore noteworthy
in itself, we set off again on the march, but found we had left behind
one of our party who had had fever. At the start, we made good progress
along a road, but then turned off to follow a river down the valley. To
find the track was not always easy. Many fences had to be partially
demolished to allow the pony to get through, and no effort was ever made
to repair the damage or conceal our tracks. After crossing a good deal
of cultivated land, we reached the river bed and began the type of march
we knew so well, crossing continually from one side to the other,
stumbling along over boulders and rocks. About three o'clock in the
morning, we reached a thicket in a lonely part of the valley where the
sides had narrowed considerably. They decided to halt here till the next
night, much to our relief. Cross-country marching by night is never a
very easy mode of progression, but when an attempt is made to use a
stony river bed as a road it becomes a prolonged torture.

No incident marked the following day, and just before dark we were off
once more. As dawn was breaking we reached the neighbourhood of yet
another akhardash's house and went into hiding in thick brushwood which
was soaking with dew. Just as we had got settled down, Bihgar for some
reason decided that we three would be safer elsewhere, and much to our
disgust hustled us off to an equally wet spot in a thicket on the
opposite side of the road. He was always prone to worry and fuss a great
deal more than the others, and later on in the day, in a rash moment, I
expostulated with him, going through a little pantomime to show how he
had acted in the morning. The effect was startling and a great deal more
than I had bargained for. He began by fervently kissing my hand,
declaring he was our servant and that everything he did was for our
benefit. I hastened to stop the flood of protest and affection which I
had unwittingly let loose, but it was some time before he was calm
again.

That evening we moved on, having been fed during the day by the local
akhardash. We were now under the command of the fellow we termed the Fat
Boy, Bihgar having gone off with some of the others to interview another
friend regarding a boat. This man never worried at all, and would shout
to men on guard over the crops as if he were a countryman returning home
late. The fires all over the countryside at night in this district were
used for scaring wild pig from the maize and other crops. In nearly
every field would be a small perch for a man, who would keep a blaze
going beside him and make various noises to scare off the intruders.
Most of them had old guns of some sort and frequently a shot would be
heard. The subject of pig formed a perpetual joke; the akhardash, as
Mussulmans, declaring it was not good to eat, whereas we always offered
to show them how good it was if they would bring us one. Another source
of never-ending merriment was the prophecy that Tip would be taken
prisoner when flying in France and again be sent to Kastamuni.

Towards midnight we reached a big wood and, under the guidance of a new
supporter, found a sheltered spot beneath lofty trees. The character of
the country had altered a good deal since we had reached the coast. Here
the rainfall was evidently a great deal heavier than it was at Kastamuni
and the climate milder, with the result that all sorts of trees abounded
and the vegetation was much thicker. This was the first spot considered
safe enough by our friends for a fire and they soon had a fine blaze
going. We lay down in the warmth and were quickly asleep. Our comfort
was short-lived, however, as it began to rain heavily. A small oil silk
sheet which had belonged to Sweet kept me dry for a time, but it soon
became necessary to move, as the fire had nearly gone out and another
had been started further away. Tip evinced a wonderful power of being
able to sleep when lying in a puddle and soaked through. The akhardash
were experts at fire-lighting, under all circumstances, and skilfully
arranged the logs to protect the inside of the blaze from the rain.

In the afternoon we moved on under the guidance of two sturdy lads, one
of whom with the aid of an axe cut a way for us through the brushwood
and made a track up the steep hill, along which the pony struggled
heroically. On reaching higher ground we found a path and followed this
a little further to a water trough, near which we camped, another fire
being lighted at once. Our guide of the night before turned out to be a
Turkish soldier on leave, but he showed little surprise on finding out
who we were. The other lads had also been in the Army and, as far as we
could make out, had been sent to their homes on account of the shortage
of rations in Constantinople. They bore us no ill will and evidently
thought that the Gallipoli campaign showed them to be the better
soldiers of the two. They knew nothing about our having taken Bagdad and
were quite ignorant of all other war news. The following day was fine
at intervals, generally just long enough to allow of our drying our
clothes before it began again. Our diet had been limited to coarse
Turkish bread, of a most indigestible and half-baked variety, with
potatoes and meat which we cooked by toasting small pieces on long
sticks; but now the bread ran out and for two days we lived almost
entirely on potatoes. The erstwhile soldiers also brought us a number of
small pears. For washing we had the trough, but while the rain continued
and for some time after each shower a small stream flowed down beside
our camp.

The next event of interest was the arrival of a visitor who brought with
him a sheep. We were told that this man had been employed in the
_gendarmerie_, but was now also leaving for Russia and intended to sail
in ten days' time. He suddenly wanted our party to postpone their
departure, so that he might join us, but this was not agreed to. To show
his good faith, he had brought the sheep as a present and no time was
lost in turning it into mutton. A long pole was cut and supported
horizontally on two Y pieces driven into the ground beside the fire. The
sheep's carcase was scientifically balanced and tied to the pole and the
roasting process then began, the pole being slowly turned in the
supports. We made use of our canteens and anything else we could get
hold of to catch the dripping: butter had been scarce and any substitute
was greatly in demand. Our experience in this connection was that coarse
indigestible bread became much less harmful when any butter could be had
to eat with it.



CHAPTER XV

THREE DAYS ON THE BLACK SEA


There had been a certain amount of going and coming amongst the
akhardash during the days we spent in this wood, but on September 19th
Bihgar Bey arrived and declared everything was arranged. A boat said to
be quite new had been purchased for 400 liras. This sum had been paid in
hard cash, gold and silver, a fact of more interest than might appear
since at this time not a single coin of any description was to be seen
in the bazaars in Turkey. Notes had been issued down to 1 piastre and
below this postage stamps were used. We again offered to contribute a
share to the cost of the boat, but they would not hear of it. Nearly all
of them had some gold coins, English sovereigns being as numerous as
Turkish lira pieces. The following day, September 20th, our gendarme
friend again appeared, bringing another sheep, which was cooked without
delay in the same manner as the first. We were to leave that evening at
six o'clock, go down to the coast and embark the following evening. At
last everything seemed to have been definitely arranged and our spirits
rose accordingly.

A dark night march followed over some bad going and as we got lower down
we entered the inevitable river bed. This lasted for an hour only and we
then climbed a hill and found ourselves in a small copse immediately
above the sea.

Since our recapture at the coast we reckoned we had covered about 150
miles, while our trek from Kastamuni to the coast must have been about
200 miles.

In the morning the pony boy was sent along to interview the boat owner,
and on his return we were told the boat was to come along at dark and we
were to embark at eleven o'clock. The day passed uneventfully, and there
was nothing to be done but to lie still and hope that no misfortune
would upset the scheme at the last moment. On these occasions the
akhardash posted one or more sentries round our hiding-place and great
care was taken to make no noise. As it grew dark Bihgar told us to go to
sleep and said he would awaken us when the boat came. No sign of the
boat had been seen and they were evidently much worried. It looked as
if even now something had gone wrong. The pony boy was despatched again,
and returned hours later to say that the boat had left as arranged.

Meanwhile, we had gone to sleep and did not wake until dawn. An awful
presentiment seized us that another failure had occurred. However, as it
grew light, the sentries who had not seen the boat the night before
discovered it a quarter of a mile away across a stream with a fire lit
on the beach above it. This had, apparently, been the signal, but for
some reason had not been seen. No time was now lost in getting down to
the boat. The pony boy galloped off, presumably to his home, and we
trust never aroused the suspicions of the authorities. The sacks
containing the bread for the voyage were carried down and put on board,
and a kerosine tin and keg from the boat taken to the stream to provide
the water supply. Meanwhile, others had been ballasting the boat with
boulders from the beach. Just as the water was being brought back to the
boat an old sentry emerged from a tumble-down house on the beach, which
our friends had, apparently, thought to be deserted. He had scarcely
taken in the situation before he was disarmed and tied up near the
house. His Mauser rifle and ammunition were all taken from him, and in
exchange he was left with an old Greek rifle, but without a round to put
in it. The last of the party pushing off the boat leaped on board, and
with thankful hearts we felt we really were off at last. Our vessel was
the usual type of coastal fishing boat, with a single big sail. She was
about twenty-four feet long and between two or three tons displacement,
but, whereas we had been expecting a new boat, we now found a very old
one with mast and rigging that looked anything but trustworthy, the only
sign of any recent attention being a little fresh paint here and there.
However, we had left Turkey and had a boat and that was all we wanted.
The question of navigation and handling the boat we left to start with
to the akhardash, of whom several said they were accustomed to sailing
and knew all about it; but we relied on Tip's experience to help us
along if our other friends failed.

[Illustration: BOAT IN WHICH THE PARTY CROSSED THE BLACK SEA]

The first thing that engaged our attention, when the boat had been
pushed off, was another vessel of the same type which was very slowly
making its way close in along the coast and was now quite near to us.
The result of a short palaver amongst the akhardash was that they rowed
quietly up to this boat, not a rifle showing and all except the four
rowers sitting down as quiet as mice. On getting up to the new-comer
they all jumped up and levelled their rifles at the unfortunate crew in
true pirate style. The crew had no course left but to accept any orders
they were given, and after a few minutes' violent yelling and
gesticulation their captain and one other were transferred to our boat,
while Musa and the Fat Boy took their places in the other. Both boats
now sailed off in company. There was a good breeze from the east and
they had decided to make for Sevastopol; but it soon became evident that
they had little idea of the direction as a course N.E. was taken,
whereas Sevastopol lay rather to the west of the point at which we left
the coast. Other diversions, however, put questions of direction in the
background for some time. To start with, the spar in our boat very
nearly broke in two and had to be lowered and patched with two small
pieces of wood and some old nails, a makeshift which gave little promise
of being a permanent remedy. This was not accomplished without a
tremendous hullabaloo, in which Bihgar played a prominent part. Arms
were waving and all seemed to be yelling instructions to all the others.

During the process the end of the rope suspending the spar ran through
the pulley at the top of the mast, and it became necessary to get it
back again somehow. The captured captain of the second boat made a noble
effort, swarming up the mast and holding on to the shrouds like a
monkey; but the boat was rocking about a good deal and after several
vain attempts he had to give it up. This necessitated the mast being
unshipped and causing more frantic excitement, especially when the
moment arrived to put it up again. But, in the end, the feat was
successfully accomplished and both boats sailed off in company. The
breeze was strong and the sea choppy. Several of the akhardash at once
became _hors de combat_ and remained nearly motionless at the bottom of
the boat for the next three days. It was a glorious morning, and, as we
watched the coast receding, we were more than repaid for all the
discomfort of the last few weeks. The Sinope headland stood out away on
our right, and it was not till late in the afternoon that we were out of
sight of the mountains. A small boat crossed our course soon after
starting, but there were no signs of any pursuit or commotion on shore.
We wondered what stories of our doings would reach our friends in
Kastamuni, and were pretty sure that the Turks would tell them we had
come to an unhappy end at the hands of the "brigands."

We now attempted to get our friends to steer a course more nearly north
instead of north-east; but they would not do so, as they were in a
terrible state of apprehension lest they should reach Rumanian territory
occupied by Germans. K. produced our chart--the largest map of the Black
Sea we had been able to find at Kastamuni--but it was only some three or
four inches long and coming as it did from an "Ancient Atlas" showed the
Greek colonies in 500 B.C. and nothing more modern. We were not sure of
the exact position of Sevastopol but did not allow our friends to know.
Whatever was urged had no effect and the course remained N.E.

[Illustration: MAP (ACTUAL SIZE) OF THE BLACK SEA]

When dark came on, it soon became evident that neither our captured
mariners nor the akhardash had the least idea of steering by the stars;
and, finally, about midnight, Tip discovered we were going about due
east. We thought it was high time we took charge, and therefore arranged
to take watches, one of us sitting up beside the steersman and keeping
the direction a little west of north. The boat had no cabin, but the
stern was decked across and we were allowed to keep this to ourselves.
All the first day there had been a good breeze, but it became much
feebler at night. With dawn the wind grew stronger again, and we were
making a good pace in company with the second boat when, at nine
o'clock, signals of distress from her were noticed. She was about 300
yards from us at the time and it was impossible to make out what had
happened. Pandemonium at once reigned on board and we thought by the
commotion that our companion must be sinking. After much shouting, our
sail was lowered, the oars got out and the vessel slowly brought up to
our comrade in distress, only to find that the latter had broken her
rudder. Much shouting now took place on both sides. Any thought of
steering with an oar was never entertained and they decided to abandon
one boat. As the captured second boat was so much the better of the two,
an attempt was made to substitute our rudder in her, but without
success. The result was that she was abandoned after transferring her
crew, sail and spar, and part of her cargo to our boat. We were now
packed very tightly, having a total of nineteen on board. Some of the
ballast had been thrown overboard, but not enough to compensate for the
additional load. Had we realized at the time that the second boat had a
valuable cargo of kerosine, the price of which was fabulous in Turkey,
we should have made some attempt to salve her or, at all events, have
set her on fire. This information was not divulged till afterwards, but
even so it is doubtful if she would not have sunk before drifting ashore
or being discovered by another boat.

All went well, despite the crowd, until about midday, when the wind
dropped altogether and rowing had to be resorted to. The boat was
arranged for four oars and it was in this capacity that the captured
crew proved of the greatest service. They were relieved at intervals by
some of the akhardash. We calculated our speed when rowing at about two
miles an hour, whereas for the first 24 hours it must have been at least
double this. I plotted our course as nearly as possible on the
diminutive map, and it was annoying to see how much further on we should
have been had we started in the right direction the day before.

Our rations were the coarse bread, together with a little honey and
butter which we had preserved for some days; but as neither of the
latter could be said to be good they were not of much value. Some of our
Horlick's milk was still left, and this helped matters along.

The morning of the third day broke with windless serenity and rowing
went on uninterruptedly. The sky was perfectly clear, but at midday we
noticed some very small clouds straight ahead which seemed stationary.
We held on our course, trusting that the clouds meant land. At 6 o'clock
that morning, as far as we could make out from the chart, we were at
least seventy miles from the nearest point of the Crimea.

During the afternoon the question of rations and water was discussed,
and we decided that if land was not in sight the next morning to take
over all the remaining bread and water and distribute it ourselves, as
the akhardash had not the least idea of rationing and used to eat and
drink as the inclination prompted them. We had not liked to interfere
before, but now it was a matter of necessity.

The sun set in a glorious blaze, and just at this moment there was a
commotion at the forward end of the boat and the word went round that
land was sighted. It was anything but clear, but we took the word of the
sailors for it and every one became much excited. Just before this
event, Keor had made a fire in the bottom of the boat, making a hearth
with some of the stone ballast and using some floor boards and any other
bits of wood he could find as fuel. On this was cooked some meal which
had been brought in from the abandoned boat; sea water was used to boil
it and a very useful sort of porridge resulted.



CHAPTER XVI

THE CRIMEA AND HOME


At dawn on the fourth day, September 25th, the land was very clear and
we could see a lofty headland which ran steeply down to the sea. An hour
or two later, we could make out houses and then it became clear that we
were approaching some seaside resort. All through the previous two days,
after we had taken charge of the steering, the akhardash had continually
inquired whether the "road" was "good" and they were now more than
satisfied that we knew the best way over the sea. Fortune had been with
us, in giving us fine weather and clear skies by day and night;
otherwise we might have reached a very different destination. Rowing on
steadily, it was soon clear that the place was quite extensive and
probably much frequented. Several large buildings could be seen and
something which looked like a pier or jetty, to which we now steered. It
was not until one o'clock that we finally reached this spot and landed,
to find ourselves opposite the baths.

For days we had talked of the delights of a good hot bath and now we had
come straight to the very place. We were met by a Swiss who was bathing.
He hurried off to dress, but before he could return we were accosted by
several other people, notably a retired Russian general and an American
diplomat who lent us clothes and escorted us to the baths. After getting
really clean once more, we were taken to a _pension_ and made the guests
of the hospitable Russian ladies to whom it belonged. They told us the
place was called Alupka and was one of the most popular seaside places
in Russia. Meanwhile the akhardash had been escorted into the town. In
the morning they had begun to don their bandoliers and handle their
rifles, but we persuaded them that they would be looked upon in a more
friendly manner on landing if they abandoned these weapons.

[Illustration: ALUPKA]

It had taken us 78 hours to cross the 180 miles of sea, but actually we
must have sailed well over 200 miles. We found that, comparing our
position on the third morning with the spot we had marked on the map, we
were only some twenty miles out, which, as amateur navigators, we
considered quite good work.

At the _pension_ we were given lunch, and wine was produced in our
honour by our new friends. We shall never forget their kindness, and the
extraordinary feeling of being amongst all the amenities of civilization
once more after two years under other conditions. In the afternoon, we
were taken to the municipal office and there interviewed by a very
business-like and intelligent lady who seemed to combine the duties of
commissioner of police and most other municipal departments. Our friends
told us that there was some difficulty in establishing our identity,
since the commandant of the town--who a few months earlier before the
Revolution had been an actor--was very suspicious and inclined to
believe we were really Germans. In fact, some splendid stories were
going about. According to one, a boat-load of Turks under the command of
three German officers had attacked the town, one of the Germans being
wounded. Tip had been to see a doctor and this no doubt lent colour to
the idea. At all events, the commandant told off a sentry to shadow us
about wherever we went.

The akhardash, we found, had been accommodated in the central police
building, where they had been given plenty of food and seemed to be
receiving visitors. We bought them some fruit and tried to cheer them
up, as they had imagined they would be received with triumphal
rejoicings and were somewhat crestfallen at being treated more like
prisoners. Our first object was to get in touch with the nearest British
consul, so as to put their case before him and get matters explained to
the Russian authorities; but no one seemed to know where the nearest
consul was to be found. We got telegrams sent off to our people at home
addressed to the Embassy at Petrograd. It was hopeless at this time to
try to get private telegrams through, and for mails from home we found
they were even worse off here than we had been in Kastamuni. It was
strange, indeed, being in a spick and span town, with well made roads
and everything clean and up-to-date, after the filthy dilapidation which
characterizes everything in connection with the Turk.

[Illustration: THE ALUPKA BATHS]

Some people we met seemed rather annoyed that we had not struck a mine,
as they assured us there was a large minefield through which we had
passed. We discovered, later, this was quite wrong, but in any case our
boat was of much too shallow draft to be in much danger. Others told us
that we were fortunate to land where we did, as had we gone a little
further east we should have come to the estates of some of the Grand
Dukes who at that time were interned under armed guards, with orders to
prevent anyone approaching from land or sea! We were told that every one
was on rations and that food was getting scarce. One of the most
striking contrasts to Turkey was the magnificent fruit on sale, grapes,
pears and peaches, all evidently cultivated with great skill.

As we emerged from our interview with the lady commissioner, we were
summoned to halt in order to be cinematographed by the representatives
of some Moscow firm. All the educated people we met in Russia were
kindness itself to us and made our journey through the country very
pleasant. It was pathetic to be asked, as we were, to tell people in
England that not every one in Russia is bad and worthless. All classes,
we found, had welcomed the Revolution when it started, thinking a new
and brighter era had dawned; but it very soon became clear that the
pendulum was swinging much too far in the other direction, and no one
would dare to prophesy what might happen next. Fortunately for us, there
was no actual internal fighting taking place at the time and we got
through the country without trouble.

The following day we left Alupka by motor for Yalta, a port a little
further east. The road led past some of the Grand Dukes' estates and
Livadia, the Tsar's Crimean palace. The scenery all along was
magnificent, the pine-clad hillsides sloping steeply down to the blue,
with white houses or palaces. Yalta itself was one of the most charming
spots it had been our good fortune to see, and is easily equal in beauty
to any of the Riviera resorts. From here we were to travel by night by a
transport back past Alupka, reaching Sevastopol on the following
morning, but before leaving a surprise was in store for us. As we had
some time to wait, we went into an hotel, with the officer conducting
us, for tea. This, however, we found was the headquarters of the local
committee of soldiers and workmen, and a few minutes later we were asked
to go into their meeting hall to receive their congratulations. This
promised to be rather awkward, as we knew no word of Russian; but
fortunately a schoolmaster who knew French was introduced to us. As we
entered the room, the soldiers and sailors present all clapped
vigorously. There were about 30 or 40 present and it was necessary, as
on every possible occasion in Russia, to shake hands all round. The
schoolmaster then gave a harrowing account of our imprisonment in
Turkey and told them how we had eventually escaped and reached Russia.
He appeared to say that we had been manacled in chains and endured the
worst possible fortune as prisoners. After a suitable expression of
thanks conveyed through the schoolmaster, we shook hands again all round
and returned to our tea. This was our only actual meeting with a
revolutionary committee, and we are bound to say they seemed to have no
love for the Turk or any wish to leave their Allies in the lurch by
concluding a separate peace.

[Illustration: YALTA]

The transports steamed only at night and kept close into the coast for
fear of possible submarines; so that the chances of our being picked up
by one on our way over had been very remote.

The akhardash travelled with us to Sevastopol, and on arrival there we
met the British Naval Representative, Commander Sage, R.N., who looked
after us for the next few days. As he spoke Russian fluently and was in
touch with all the highest authorities, we had no trouble of any sort.
The akhardash were handed over to the Russian Staff authorities, who
provided them with good quarters on a ship in the harbour. We three
lived with Commander Sage on an auxiliary cruiser, the _Almaz_, which
had previously been used as a private yacht by the Grand Dukes. The
akhardash had for some time wished that we should all be photographed
together and we, too, were anxious to have such mementoes of our time
with them. The Russian Staff very kindly arranged it and we had two
groups taken, one with our original rescuers with their rifles and
bandoliers, and one with all the others included. Unfortunately Keor,
the old Armenian, was ill in hospital and could not be present. As some
days had elapsed before the photos were taken, our friends had obtained
new clothing and hats and, therefore, did not present the picturesque
appearance to which we had become accustomed. As regards some recompense
for all their services, we could not get them to accept anything more
than what they had spent on our food during all the time we were with
them, but the Russians paid them the exact sum they had given for the
boat, so that they were not out of pocket on that account. As souvenirs,
they had given us each one of their long Caucasian daggers, and we in
return got wrist watches for them and a suitably inscribed cigarette
case for Bihgar Bey. We left them in good hands and have often wondered
since what has been their fortune. No men could have acted more pluckily
in rescuing us in the first place, or taken more trouble over our
comfort and welfare during the weeks we spent with them in the hills and
woods; and never shall we forget how much we owe them.

[Illustration: THE THREE OFFICERS AND THREE OF THEIR RESCUERS]

After some days in Sevastopol, we said good-bye to them and went round
to Odessa on the _Almaz_, where we made arrangements with the British
consul for our journey home. At Odessa we were entertained at a most
convivial dinner by the British and American Club. Like all dinners in
Russia, it proved prolific in speeches, a start being made with the
King's health, in the middle of the fish course, by an enthusiastic
American. From these speeches we learnt how whole-heartedly the great
American nation had entered the struggle and the efforts they were
making in Russia, more especially with regard to improving the railways.
Coming out of the obscurity of Turkey, these things were new to us,
although by reading between the lines of the Turkish papers we had been
able to get a fair idea of the general position on the actual battle
fronts. Another speaker told a pitiful story of the position in Rumania
and of the appalling lack of medical stores and awful ravages of disease
in the Army. A visit to the races and opera helped to pass two very
enjoyable days before saying good-bye to Commander Sage and our new
friends, and leaving for Mogileff, the then headquarters on the Russian
front to which we had been summoned by the British Mission.

On our way we passed through Kieff, a magnificent town, peopled very
largely by Poles. Here we met some forlorn British gunners who did not
know what was to be their fate, but were soon, I trust, back in England.
After a day in Mogileff we went on to Petrograd. Travelling even at this
time was very comfortable on the Russian lines, for those with passes
such as we possessed, except for the temperature of the carriages. In
some it was impossible to open any window. The result was that we all
got heavy colds, although during the past six weeks we had kept fit
while sleeping out in the open and occasionally getting soaked through.

Petrograd was cold, wet, and dreary, and we spent our time in rushing
about between the various departments before we could get passports and
tickets through to Bergen. We, eventually, accomplished this by hard
work in three days, and were then told we were fortunate not to have
been kept at it for a week. It was necessary to borrow mufti to travel
through Sweden and Norway. Clothes in Russia were practically
unobtainable, but, fortunately for us, two naval officers at the
Embassy came to our rescue by most generously giving us the necessary
garments. We were also indebted to the Red Cross Depot at the Embassy
for other assistance in the way of clothes.

[Illustration: THE THREE OFFICERS AND THE AKHARDASH]

Tip and I left on October 14th, and after an interesting trip through
Sweden and Norway reached Aberdeen ten days later.

K., on the other hand, returned to the Black Sea. It had been hoped, and
we had done our best to arrange, that an attempt should be made with the
assistance of the akhardash to release some of the other officers at
Kastamuni. Unfortunately this plan never materialized: for one thing our
friends were moved further inland from Kastamuni before any attempt
could be made, and when everything was settled on our side the Bolshevik
rising had commenced and brought all plans to a standstill. K. reached
England two months later, after having made a trip over to the Turkish
coast in a Russian destroyer, and worked in every conceivable way to
bring off the scheme for the rescue of the other officers. His
persistent but unsuccessful efforts bring the account of our adventures
to a close.



CHAPTER XVII

FRIENDS IN CAPTIVITY


This story would not be complete without recording the deaths of Captain
R. J. Tipton, R.F.C., and Captain R. T. Sweet, D.S.O., 2/7th Ghurka
Rifles.

Tipton, after very few days at home, reported again for duty and would
not rest content until he had obtained leave to fly and fight over the
German lines. For this purpose he had refused his majority. On March 9th
he was severely wounded in a fight with a Hun whom he brought down. With
great courage and skill he brought his own machine back and landed
safely, but the injury he had received proved fatal and he died three
days later.

Tipton thus went back to fight at the earliest possible moment, feeling
it his duty to the other officers left behind in Turkey, who were bound
to be suffering for our escape. Although the youngest of our party, he
was our leader on the long journey to the coast; and to his unfailing
good humour and tact we owed much more than we realized at the time.
Although in pain for many days, he kept cheerfully on and would never
give in.

Few men have been more beloved by all with whom they came in contact,
and his gallant death has left a wide blank in the affections of all who
had the privilege to know him.

Sweet, whose gallantry at Kut had earned him the D.S.O., was imprisoned
at Angora, after being brought back from the coast, and exhibited to the
other officers at Kastamuni for a few minutes on the way. He shouted to
them to take a few days' provisions and try their luck, that it was
quite easy to get away, and that he meant to start again the first
chance he had. In reply they cheered him, much to the disgust of the
Turks.

After two dreadful months in the civil prison at Angora, he was taken to
the officers' camp at Yozgad, a place 4,000 feet above the sea amongst
the hills, in the very centre of Asia Minor. Here he remained till a few
weeks before the armistice with Turkey was announced, when he fell a
victim to the influenza scourge and died of pneumonia.

In our escape Sweet was always the most indefatigable, and on many an
occasion spurred us on when we three had no energy left. His knowledge
of Turkish was invaluable and enabled us successfully to bluff our way
along during the days when we were posing as Germans. It was only the
merest accident that parted him from us when the akhardash arrived, and
it is hard to feel that so small a thing should have ultimately resulted
in the death of such a brave officer.

The first officers who died in Kastamuni were Lieutenants Reynolds, of
the 103rd L.I., and Lock, of the I.A.R.O., attached 104th Rifles.
Reynolds had been unwell during most of the journey up and, undoubtedly,
had not got over the hardships of the siege; he succumbed within a few
days of our arrival. Lock, who had been an indigo planter in Bihar, went
down with peritonitis very shortly afterwards. Both officers had done
well in Kut and were greatly liked by all who knew them. Their death in
a strange country, after the worst of our troubles seemed to be over,
was all the sadder to think of.

The third officer who died was Commander Crabtree, R.N.R., of the S.Y.
_Zaida_, which struck a mine while patrolling the Adana coast. He,
along with three other officers from the same ship, was sent on to
Kastamuni. At Angora he was ill, but the Turks considered him fit enough
to travel, and sent him on in a springless country cart over the 140
miles of rough road to Kastamuni. Riding in a cart over this road is bad
enough for a fit man, but in his case it must have simply jolted him to
death. At all events, he arrived dying, and never regained
consciousness.

Another sad death occurred amongst the officers after they had been
moved to Changri from Kastamuni. On Christmas Day, 1917, Major Corbett,
48th Pioneers, died suddenly from an aneurism of the heart after some
strenuous tobogganing, which had been allowed as a special concession.

Major Corbett was one of those officers who assisted our party to escape
and would himself have come with us had he considered there was any
small chance of success. To the camp at Kastamuni he was invaluable as
staff officer to the lower group of houses, always energetic and cheery
and turning his hand to something. Carpentry formed his chief occupation
when not playing games.

He was one of those men whom we felt we simply could not do without, and
his loss may well be imagined in the camp at Changri, where conditions
had been rough and painful in the extreme.



APPENDIX A

_GARRISON OF KUT_


HEADQUARTERS

MAJOR-GEN. C. V. TOWNSHEND, G.O.C.

                            { 2nd Dorsets.
  16th Infantry Brigade,    { 66th Punjabis.
   MAJ.-GEN. DELAMAIN.      { 104th Rifles.
                            { 117th Mahrattas.

                            { Oxford and Bucks L.I.
  17th Infantry Brigade,    { 22nd Punjabis.
     GEN. HOGHTON.          { 103rd Infantry.
                            { 119th Infantry.

                            { 2nd Norfolks.
  18th Infantry Brigade,    { 120th Infantry.
     GEN. HAMILTON.         { 110th Infantry.
                            { 7th Rajputs.

                            { 2 Coys. Royal West Kents.
                            { 3 Coys. 4th Hants T.F.
  30th Infantry Brigade,    { 2/7th Ghurka Rifles.
    MAJ.-GEN. MELLIS.       { 24th Punjabis.
                            { 67th Punjabis.
                            { 76th Punjabis.


DIVISIONAL TROOPS

  17th Coy., S. & M.
  34th (Poona) Signalling Co.
  Sirmoor Sappers (Imperial Service).
  1 Squadron 7th Hariana Lancers.
  48th Pioneers.
  63rd, 76th, 82nd Batteries, R.F.A. 18 guns, 18 pdr.
  104th Battery, R.G.A. 2 4" guns.
  84th Battery, R.G.A. 4 5" guns.
  Volunteer Battery. 4 15 pdr. guns.
  "S" Battery, R.H.A., left behind 2 14 pdr. guns.

  Naval Detachment. 4 4.7" pdr. guns.

  H.M.S. _Samarra_: 2 3 pdr. guns; 1 13 pdr. gun.
  Machine Gun Battery (6 guns).
    Supply and Transport, including Jeypore
  Transport Train, Wireless, Royal Flying Corps,
  Depot and other details.


MEDICAL SERVICE

  One British General Hospital.
  One Indian General Hospital.
  3 Field Ambulances.


  _Strength of garrison at_      _Strength on_
  _beginning of siege._         _surrender._

  British Officers         301       277
  British Rank and File  2,851     2,592
  Indian Officers          225       204
  Indian Rank and File   8,230     6,988
  Indian Followers       3,530     3,248
                        ------    ------
              Total     15,137    13,309
                        ======    ======

  Losses: Killed and died of wounds, 1,025.
  Died of disease, and missing, 803.
  Arab population of Kut (?) 3,700.
  Animals (horses and mules) before killing for food, 3,000.



APPENDIX B


Copy of translation of pamphlets thrown over from Turkish trenches
towards our line during the earlier part of the siege and picked up
between the two old lines when these had been evacuated on Jan. 21st.

    OH DEAR INDIAN BRETHREN,

    You understand the fact well that God has created this war for the
    sake of setting India free from the hands of the cruel English. That
    is the reason why all the Rajahs and Nawabs with the help of Brave
    Indian soldiers are at present creating disturbances in all parts of
    India and are forcing the English out of the country. Consequently
    not a single Englishman is to be seen in the N.W. Frontier of India
    districts of Saad, Chakdara, Mohmand and Kohat. Brave Indian
    soldiers have killed several of their officers at Singapore,
    Secunderabad and Meerut cantonments. Many of the Indian soldiers
    have on several occasions joined our allies the Turks, Germans, and
    Austrians of which you must have heard.

    O heroes! our friends the Turks, Germans and Austrians are trying
    merely for the freedom of our country (India) from the English and
    you being Indians are fighting against them thus causing delay. On
    seeing your degraded position one feels severely ashamed (lit.
    'blood in the eyes') that you have not got fed up of their
    disgraceful conduct and hatred towards you.

    You should remember how cruelly were Maharajah Ranjit Singh of the
    Punjab and Sultan Tipu treated by the English govt., and now when
    our beloved country is being released from their cruel clutches you
    should not delay the freedom of your country and try to restore
    happiness to the souls of your forefathers as you come from the same
    heroic generation to which the brave soldiers of the Dardanelles and
    Egypt belong.

    You must have heard about the recent fighting in the Dardanelles
    when Lord Hamilton was wounded and Lord Kitchener cowardly ran away
    at night taking with him only the British soldiers from the
    Dardanelles siege and leaving behind the Indian soldiers who on
    seeing this murdered all their officers and joined the Turks.

    Nearly everywhere we find that our Indian soldiers are leaving the
    British. Is it not a pity that you still go on assisting them? Just
    consider that these and we have left our homes and country and are
    fighting only for rupees fifteen or twenty; a subaltern 20 or 25
    years old is drawing a handsome amount as salary from Indian money
    while our old Risaldar and Subadar majors are paid nothing like
    him--and even a British soldier does not salute them. Is that all
    the respect and share of wealth for the sake of which we should let
    them enjoy our country?

    For instance see how many of you Indian soldiers were killed and
    wounded during the battle of Ctesiphon and there is nobody to look
    after the families of your deceased and wounded brothers. Just
    compare the pay a British soldier draws with that which you get.
    Brethren hurry up, the British Kingdom is going to ruins now.
    Bulgaria gave them several defeats, Ireland and the Transvaal are
    out of their possessions of which perhaps you already know.

    H.M. the Sultan's brave Turkish forces which were engaged at the
    Bulgar frontier before are now coming over this side in lacs for the
    purpose of setting India at liberty.

    We were forced by the British to leave our beloved country for good
    and had to live in America, but on hearing the news of our country
    being freed from English hands we came here via Germany and found
    our Indian brethren fighting against H.M. Sultan.

    Other nations are trying to restore us freedom from the British, but
    it appears we do not like to be freed from slavery, hence we are
    fighting against our friends the Turks.

    Brethren, what is done, that is done, and now you should murder all
    your officers and come over to join H.M. Sultan's Army like our
    brave Indian soldiers did in Egypt and the Dardanelles. All the
    officers of this force and Arabs have received orders from the
    Sultan that any Indian soldier, irrespective of any caste, a Sikh,
    Rajput, Mahratta, Gurkha, Pathan, Shiah or Syed, who come to join
    the Turks should be granted a handsome pay and land for cultivation
    if they like to settle in the Sultan's territory. So you must not
    miss the chance of murdering your officers and joining the Turks,
    helping them to restore your freedom.

    Dated _28th December, 1915_.

    Printed and distributed by the Indian National Society.

    Translated from originals in Urdu and Pushtu or Punjabi.



APPENDIX C


Comparison of rations issued in Kut at the middle of April, 1916, with
full service rations.


BRITISH

  _Normal Field Service._                      _In Kut._

  Bread, 1-1/4 lb.                       4 oz. (from April 17th).
  Fresh meat, 1-1/4 lb.                  1-1/4-1-1/2 lb. (horse and
                                           mule).
  Potatoes and vegetables, 1/2 lb.       Nil. (except ság).
  Bacon, 3 oz.                           Nil.
  (or butter 1-1/2 oz. twice a week).
  Tea, 5/8 oz.                           Nil.
  Sugar, 3 oz.                           Nil.
  Salt, 1/2 oz.                          Nil.
  Jam, 4 oz.                             Nil.
  Cheese, 3 oz.                          Nil.
  Ginger, ----                           1/3 oz.


INDIAN

  _Normal Field Service._                      _In Kut._

  Atta (wheat meal), 1-1/2 lb.           4 oz. (barley meal).
  Ghi, 2 oz.                             1/2 oz.
  Dal, 4 oz.                             Nil.
  Meat, 4 oz.                            9 oz. (horse).
  Gur, 1 oz.                             Nil.
  Potatoes, 2 oz.                        Nil.
  Tea, 1/3 oz.                           Nil.
  Ginger, 1/3 oz.      }
  Chillies, 1/6 oz.    }
  Turmeric, 1/6 oz.    }               1/8 oz.
  Garlic, 1/6 oz.      }
  Salt, 1/2 oz.        }



APPENDIX D

RATIONS AT END OF SIEGE


All except meat and ginger dropped by aeroplane.

        _British._                         _Indian._

  Bread, 3 oz.                        Indian atta, 3 oz.
  Sugar, 1 oz.                        Gur, 1/2 oz.
  Chocolate, 1/2 oz.                  Dal, 1 oz.
  Meat, 1-1/2 lb. (horse or mule).    Salt, 1/8 oz.
                                      Ginger, 1/8 oz.
                                      Meat, 9 oz. (horse).



JOHN LANE'S "ON ACTIVE SERVICE" SERIES.

Now that the Great War is definitely over it is necessary to get it
adequately chronicled. Of necessity we must have comprehensive surveys
of the war, formal histories in many volumes; but the real history of
the great conflict is to be found not so much in these, as in the vital
pieces of descriptive literature which our fighting men have struck off,
often while the drama was being enacted before their eyes. It is with
the object of getting together a really vivid and actual record of the
world conflict, which will be of service not only to ourselves, but to
our children, that the "ON ACTIVE SERVICE" Series has been formed. It
consists of a number of volumes, uniform in format and production, which
have been selected as being representative of particular aspects or
phases of the war, written by soldiers, sailors and others who have
witnessed or actually participated in what they describe. Here, in these
personal experiences of our men, is an enduring record of the last four
or five years; a record which, more surely than any formal histories,
will carry forward the memory of those tragic but glorious days.


_THE FOLLOWING VOLUMES HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUBLISHED_

DOVER DURING THE DARK DAYS. By a "Dug-out" (LT. COMM. STANLEY COXON,
R.N.V.R. Author of "And That Reminds Me.") With contributions by other
officers of the DOVER PATROL. Crown 8vo. 7/- net.

    This book lifts the veil which was so closely drawn over the
    operations of the Navy during war-time. It gives accounts of many
    engagements and scraps with the enemy, written by actual
    participants, and forms a valuable contribution to the history of
    our navy during the most momentous years of its existence.

    "_The real thing._"--_Daily Express._

    "_Makes good reading._"--_Times._

    "_Spirited and exciting._"--_Yorkshire Observer._

    "_The book has many fine pages in it._"--_Evening News._

TEMPORARY CRUSADERS. By CECIL SUMMERS, author of "Temporary Heroes."
Crown 8vo. 4/- net.

    A further volume by the author of the very successful "Temporary
    Heroes," describing his experiences in France, Palestine, Egypt and
    Italy.

    "_A cheery, chatty chronicle. The author has a keen eye for the
    humour of circumstance and a most beguiling way._"--_Morning Post._

    "_Bright and exhilarating. It is sure to be read widely._"--_Scotsman._

    "_Even more hearty and sincere than the successful 'Temporary
    Heroes.'_"--_Liverpool Courier._

THE BOY WITH THE GUNS. By the late LIEUT. G. W. TAYLOR. Edited by his
sister MRS. ROGER COOKSON. With an introduction by SIR JAMES
CRICHTON-BROWNE. With Illustrations and Maps. Crown 8vo. 5/- net.

    This is a vividly realistic account of the work done and hardships
    endured by our Royal Field Artillery in the war, and of their
    "hair-breadth 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach" in France and
    Flanders, by one who went through them all and made the supreme
    sacrifice.

PUSHING WATER. By R.N.V. (LIEUT. ERIC DAWSON.) Crown 8vo. 4/- net.

    "Pushing Water" reveals a phase of warfare of which the world knows
    little or nothing. It is the story of the "Movy" of
    submarine-hunting and mine sweeping in perilous seas, of duties
    faithfully accomplished, without expectation of fame or reward. As a
    sidelight on a branch of the Navy's activities it has a good deal of
    interest, but the book would recommend itself on the score of its
    quiet humour and abundant anecdote alone.

    "_This entertaining book ... a vivid picture of existence on a
    'Movy.'_"--_Sunday Times._

    "_An animated narrative._"--_Scotsman._

    "_Described with real humour ... decidedly
    interesting._"--_Birmingham Post._

A HANDFUL OF AUSSEYS. By C. HAMPTON THORP, A.I.F., with a foreword by
General Sir William Birdwood, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., K.C.M.G., etc., and an
Introductory Poem by Robert Bridges, Poet Laureate. With Illustrations
by James F. Scott. Crown 8vo. 7/- net.

    "A Handful of Ausseys" is the only book from the pen of an
    Australian soldier which deals intimately with the troopship voyage
    between the Commonwealth and England, and the more detailed side of
    the Soldier's life in England before he goes across the Channel.

    "_Well justifies its place among war books, for it is well written,
    graphic and amusing, and full of facts and anecdotes.... The
    illustrations are rather telling and rather original._"--_Times._

    "_Among the good war pictures of the present war, the description of
    this draft's moving up to the firing line deserves to find a
    pleasant place._"--_Bookman._

    "_Racily describes with much good humour and amusing anecdote the
    daily experiences of an Australian reinforcement ... these bright
    and spirited pages._"--_Scotsman._

THREE CHEVRONS. By "OREX" (MAJOR H. F. BIDDER, D.S.O.) Crown 8vo. 5/-
net.

    An absolutely authentic, cool record of what the author saw on the
    Flanders front from Christmas, 1914, to June, 1917. It contains the
    experiences of a clear-sighted conscientious officer who keeps as
    close as possible to fact and maintains his detached judicial point
    of view. A book which both the military man and public generally
    will appreciate for its freshness and candour.

    "_'Orex' has made a singularly successful contribution to war
    literature by the direct method of honesty, modesty and simplicity.
    His book is a pleasant surprise.... He expresses it all in an
    individuality of great charm, the charm of literary unconsciousness
    and quiet restraint.... In every respect a good book._"--_Daily
    News._

    "_Simply and attractively written, and quite worth its place in the
    ON ACTIVE SERVICE Series._"--_Times._

SOME SOLDIERS AND LITTLE MAMMA. By HELEN BOULNOIS. Crown 8vo. 5/-
net.

    "_A book of singular interest.... Remarkable for its sidelights, on
    what may be called the domestic phases of the war._"--_Daily
    Graphic._

THE SILENCE OF COLONEL BRAMBLE. By ANDRE MAUROIS. Translated from the
French. Second Edition. Crown 8vo. 5/- net.

    This remarkably amusing account of an English regimental mess by a
    French officer who was attached as an interpreter, has had an
    immense vogue in France, and its appeal to English readers will
    without doubt be equally wide.

    "_Those who do not already know the book in French, will lose
    nothing of its charm in English form.... The humours of the mess
    room are inimitable.... The whole thing is real, alive, sympathetic.
    There is not a false touch in all its delicate glancing
    wit._"--_Daily Telegraph._

    "_An excellent translation.... A gay and daring translation.... I
    laughed over its audacious humour._"--_JAMES DOUGLAS in The Star._

FIELD AMBULANCE SKETCHES. By a Corporal. Crown 8vo. 4/- net.

    These sketches by a stretcher-bearer are extraordinarily clear and
    actual. "Behind a Raid" is a wonderfully vivid piece of work; the
    reader lives every second of these thrilling hours, and the whole
    scene is touched in masterly style. The other pages are equally
    fine. To the civilian they bring home the actualities of War; while
    soldiers of every class will enjoy them in their fine truthfulness.

SAPPER DOROTHY LAWRENCE: The only English Woman Soldier. Late Royal
Engineers, 51st Division, 179th Tunnelling Company, B.E.F. With
Portraits. Crown 8vo. 5/- net.

    Miss Dorothy Lawrence enjoys the distinction of having been the only
    British woman soldier, and in this book she sets out her varied
    experiences, first in Paris, where she did the necessary drills, and
    finally "up the line."

A KUT PRISONER. By H. C. W. BISHOP. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. 6/- net.

    More exciting than any fictitious story of adventure the main part
    of this book is occupied by the story of the author's escape, in
    company with three other British officers, from Kastamuni in Asia
    Minor. MR. BISHOP was captured at the fall of Kut, and his narrative
    includes a description of the appalling long march from Kut to
    Kastamuni, during which such a large proportion of our men succumbed
    to their sufferings which were wilfully aggravated by their
    captors.

WITH THE CHINKS. By Lieut. DARYL KLEIN. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.
6/6 net.

    The author of "With the Chinks" was a civilian in China who
    volunteered as an officer for the training of Chinese coolies who
    were brought to France to form Labour Brigades to work behind the
    lines. The characters of his charges are sketched with considerable
    skill, and the voyage via Canada and the Panama Canal to France is
    picturesquely described. The book forms a unique and interesting
    page in the voluminous History of the War.


_THE FOLLOWING ARE IN IMMEDIATE PREPARATION:_

TALES OF A TROOPER. By A. CLUTHA MACKENZIE. Crown 8vo.

    These tales convey in the most living manner the experiences and
    sensations of a typical Anzac en route to the war, then landed at
    Gallipoli, and finally "knocked out" in the terrible battle for the
    ridge.

A PRISONER IN TURKEY. By JOHN STILL, author of "Poems in Captivity,"
etc. Crown 8vo.

    The author of this remarkable book was largely instrumental in
    conveying to the British Government, by messages, in an ingenious
    code of his own invention, sent at considerable personal risk, very
    valuable information regarding the treatment of British Prisoners in
    Turkey. In this book, which is an account of over three years'
    imprisonment in Turkish hands, at Constantinople and at Afion Kara
    Hissar, Mr. STILL gives a very forceful and vivid, but restrained
    account of the trials, sufferings and dangers through which he and
    his fellow prisoners passed during their long captivity.

WARD TALES. By E. CHIVERS DAVIES. Crown 8vo.

    In this capital little record of V.A.D. work in a hospital Miss
    Davies combines very cleverly two points of view--the Nurses' and
    Hospital Staff's, and the Tommies'. The author has humour, insight,
    sympathy, and a very quick eye for a situation, and in the course of
    her sketches she synthesizes the atmosphere and outlook of a big
    Military Hospital, especially as it appears to a V.A.D. Soldiers,
    and others, will delight in the truthful and entertaining pictures
    of this admirable little book, as will all who have served, and are
    serving, in hospital.

BEHIND BOSCHE BARS. By E. WARBURTON. Crown 8vo.

    A cleverly written description of a young English officer's
    internment as a prisoner of war in Germany. As his experiences were
    thoroughly typical of the later treatment by the Germans of officer
    prisoners, his account forms a very valuable record of this aspect
    of the war. The writer gives the Germans credit for some kind acts,
    while laughing at them for their stiffness, pedantry and stupidity.
    He conveys a strongly actual picture of the whole body of prisoners
    in every camp--their ways of life, outlook, habits and feelings.

WITH THE SERBS IN MACEDONIA. By DOUGLAS WALSHE. Illustrated. Crown
8vo.

    This is a very bright account of war experiences in Macedonia, by an
    A.S.C. officer, who has the gift of making his scenes _living_
    scenes. Mr. WALSHE'S narrative is very human, and he gives us an
    excellent bird's eye view of the country, and the tangle of races
    inhabiting it.

FOUR MONTHS IN ITALY IN WAR-TIME. By BEATRICE THOMSON. Crown 8vo.

    This book gives a remarkably clear idea of hospital life, and also
    of Italian character and ways. It is a fine record of service, and
    in its quiet restrained humanity it is a chronicle which deserves to
    be widely read. The author served for several months in a war
    hospital in France, and her sketches of her patients' characters and
    her record of their talk and behaviour give us the real Italy.

WITH THE CAVALRY IN THE WEST. By J. D. DELIUS. Illustrated. Crown 8vo.

    While we have had many books describing the work of the Infantry and
    Artillery in the war, very little has been written about the part
    played by our Cavalrymen. The fact that their operations were
    restricted by the conditions of modern warfare does not, however,
    detract in the least from the interest of CAPTAIN DELIUS' book, for
    it is a book of happy anecdote and amusing description, rather than
    of the more repulsive side of war.

FROM THE SOMME TO THE RHINE. By MAJOR A. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT. Crown 8vo.

    This is a valuable narrative of the last phase of the Great War. The
    author, who has the literary talent of his family has used his
    opportunities as an Intelligence Officer to great advantage, and his
    narrative is very clear, very picturesque and very human. He has
    seized the salient details of what he is describing, and his
    sincerity combined with his artistic gift, makes a moving, life-like
    picture.

  JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD,
  VIGO STREET, LONDON, W.1.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Illustrations have been moved near the relevant section of the text.

Inconsistent hyphenation and use of separate words have been retained for:

   down stream/downstream
   Eski Chehir/Eski-Chehir
   framework/frame-work
   goatskins/goat skins
   half way/half-way
   hillside/hill-side
   machine guns/machine-guns
   sheep tracks/sheep-tracks
   some one/someone
   tilework/tile-work
   trench digging/trench-digging
   up stream/up-stream
   up to date/up-to-date
   used up/used-up

Inconsistencies in italicization and capitalization have been retained.

The following minor typographical corrections were made:

   Period added after "line" on Page 20
   Space added before "the" on Page 54
   "Poor" changed to "poor" on Page 131
   Period removed after "Tip" on Page 185
   "A pparently" changed to "Apparently" on Page 188
   "pro cured" changed to "procured" on Page 195
   "andfind" changed to "and find" on Page 196
   "Bighar" changed to "Bihgar" on the illustration following Page
      196
   Period added after "Mellis" and "Maj.-Gen. Mellis." centered on
      Page 235
   "in in" changed to "in" on Page 249
   Period added after "Mackenzie" on Page 250





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