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Title: The Escaping Club
Author: Evans, A. J.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Publishers       New York

Copyright 1922 by

All Rights Reserved






  CHAP.                                          PAGE

      I. CAPTURE                                    3

     II. GUTERSLOH AND CLAUSTHAL                   12

    III. THE FIRST EVASION                         21

     IV. WHAT HAPPENED TO KICQ                     26

      V. THE FRONTIER                              35

     VI. PAYING THE PIPER                          48

    VII. REMOVAL TO A STRAFE CAMP                  56

   VIII. FORT 9, INGOLSTADT                        67

     IX. CAPTORS AND CAPTIVES                      87

      X. ATTEMPTS TO ESCAPE                       103

     XI. AN ESCAPE WITH MEDLICOTT                 127


   XIII. A TUNNEL SCHEME                          149

    XIV. THE BOJAH CASE                           163

     XV. THE LAST OF FORT 9                       172

    XVI. WE ESCAPE                                182

   XVII. THROUGH BAVARIA BY NIGHT                 199


    XIX. FREEDOM                                  230


      I. ARABS, TURKS, AND GERMANS                241

     II. ONE MORE RUN                             257

    III. TO AFION _via_ CONSTANTINOPLE            284

     IV. THE ROUND TOUR CONCLUDED                 300



  SKETCH-MAP OF CLAUSTHAL                          20

  SKETCH-MAP OF FORT 9, INGOLSTADT                102







For over three months No. 3 Squadron had been occupied daily in ranging
the heavy guns which night after night crept into their allotted
positions in front of Albert. On July 1st 1916 the Somme offensive
opened with gas and smoke and a bombardment of unprecedented severity.
To the pilots and observers in an artillery squadron the beginning of
this battle brought a certain relief, for we were rather tired of flying
up and down, being shot at continually by fairly accurate and remarkably
well hidden anti-aircraft batteries, while we registered endless guns on
uninteresting points. On the German side of the trenches, before the
battle, the country seemed almost peaceful and deserted. Anti-aircraft
shells arrived and burst in large numbers, coming apparently from
nowhere, for it was almost rare to see a flash on the German side; if
one did, it was probably a dummy flash; and of movement, except for a
few trains in the distance, there was none. Only an expert observer
would know that the thin straight line was a light railway; that the
white lines were paths made by the ration parties and reliefs following
the dead ground when they came up at night; that the almost invisible
line was a sunken pipe line for bringing water to the trenches, and that
the shading which crept and thickened along the German reserve trenches
showed that the German working parties were active at night if invisible
in the day time. For the shading spelt barbed wire.

Only about half a dozen times during those three months did I have the
luck to catch a German battery firing. When that happened one ceased the
ranging work and called up something really heavy, for preference a
nine-inch howitzer battery, which pulverised the Hun.

When the battle had started the counter-battery work became our main
task. It was wonderfully exciting and interesting. Nothing can give a
more solid feeling of satisfaction than when, after seeing the shells
from the battery you are directing fall closer and closer to the target,
you finally see a great explosion in a German gun-pit, and with a clear
conscience can signal "O.K." During the battle we were much less worried
by the anti-aircraft than we had been before. For some had been knocked
out, some had retreated, and some had run out of ammunition, and in any
case there were so many British planes to shoot at that they could not
give to any one their undivided attention.

Up to July 16th, and possibly later, for I was captured on that day,
German aeroplanes were remarkably scarce, and never interfered with us
at our work. If one wished to find a German plane, it was necessary to
go ten miles over the German lines, and alone. Even under these
conditions the Germans avoided a fight if they could.

Shortly after the beginning of the battle, Long, my observer, and I
were given a special job. We went up only at the direct orders of our
Brigadier and did a continuous series of short reconnaissances as far
over the lines as Bapaume and as far south as Cambrai. We had several
fights, of which only the last, on July 14th, when we shot down our
opponent after a manoeuvring fight lasting about ten minutes, has a
direct bearing on our capture. The end of this fight came when, for
perhaps twenty seconds, we flew side by side, and at the same time as
Long shot down our opponent, he riddled us with bullets, and I was very
lucky to get home without the machine catching fire. My machine was too
bad to be repaired, and they sent me a second one from the Aviation
Park. This seemed a splendid machine, and I can only attribute the
failure of the engine, which led to our capture, to a bullet in the
magneto or petrol tank, probably the former. Whatever the cause, on July
16th, during an early morning reconnaissance, the engine suddenly
stopped dead at 4000 feet. We must have been just N.E. of Bapaume, ten
miles over the line, at the time, and I turned her head for home and did
all I could; but there is very little one can do if the engine stops.
After coming down a couple of thousand feet I began to look about for a
landing-place away from houses and near a wood if possible, and told
Long to get out matches. Just at that moment the fiery rocket battery
near the one sausage balloon, which remained to the Germans after the
anti-balloon offensive of July 4th, opened fire on us, and I had to
dodge to avoid the rockets. By the time they had stopped firing at us we
were about 500 feet from the ground, and I heard a good deal of rifle
fire, apparently at us. As my engine showed no signs of coming to life
again, I picked out an open field where I thought we should have time to
set fire to the machine in comfort before the Germans came up. I was
only up about 200 feet or less when I found we were landing almost on
top of a German battery, of whose existence I had had no idea. I don't
think the position of this battery was known to our people, but I may be
wrong, as I temporarily lost my bearings while dodging those infernal
rockets. As soldiers from the battery could be seen running out with
rifles in their hands towards the spot where we obviously had to land,
and as I much doubted whether we should have time to fire the machine, I
determined when I was about 50 feet from the ground to crash the machine
on landing. This I managed pretty successfully by ramming her nose into
the ground instead of holding her off, and we had a bad crash.

I found myself hanging upside down by my belt. I was a bit shaken but
unhurt, and got out quickly. Long was staggering about in a very dazed
condition near the machine, and the Germans were about 50 yards away. I
got a matchbox from him and crawled under the machine again, but found,
firstly, that I could not reach the petrol tap, and in spite of the
machine being upside down, there was no petrol dripping anywhere; and,
secondly, that Long in his dazed condition had handed me a box without
any matches in it. The Germans were now about 25 yards off, and I
thought of trying to set the thing on fire with the Lewis gun and tracer
bullets, but I could not find the gun. I think Long must have thrown it
overboard as we came down. We were then surrounded by soldiers--they
were a filthy crowd, but showed no signs of unpleasantness. An officer,
whose face I disliked, came up, and, saluting very correctly, asked me
to hand over all my papers and maps. Rather than be searched, I turned
out my own and Long's pockets for him. In doing so, I found to my horror
that I had my diary on me! Why, I can't think, as I was always most
careful to go up without any paper of importance, and particularly
without my diary. However, I managed to keep it from the Germans, and
got rid of it about an hour later without being detected. We walked with
the German officer to the Gondecourt road, and I was glad to see as we
went away, that the machine seemed thoroughly smashed up. The propeller
was smashed and nose plate obviously bent badly; one wing and the under
carriage were crumpled up. The elevator was broken, and it looked as if
something had gone in the fuselage, but I could not be certain of that.
Long was thoroughly shaken, and walked and talked like a drunken man. He
kept on asking questions, which he reiterated in the most maddening
way--poor chap--but to be asked every two minutes if you had been
captured, when you are surrounded by a crowd of beastly Huns...! I own I
was feeling pretty irritable at the time, and perhaps a bit shaken. It
took Long several days to become anything like normal again, and I don't
think he was completely right in his mind again for weeks. He was
obviously suffering from concussion, and I think that he now remembers
nothing of the smash nor of any events which took place for several
hours afterwards.

About 7 a.m., as far as I remember, a staff car picked us up and took us
to Le Transloy. We were taken to one of the houses and given a couple of
chairs in the yard. The place was apparently an H.Q., but what H.Q. I
could not find out. I had seen about twelve English soldiers under guard
as we came in, and after waiting for about two hours, we were marched
off with them under escort of half a dozen mounted Uhlans. It was a
pretty hot day, and we were both of us in very heavy flying kit and
boots. Long was still much shaken, and walked with difficulty; in fact,
I am doubtful whether he could have walked at all without my help. I
amused myself talking to the guard and telling them how many prisoners
and guns, etc., we had taken. After a march of several hours we reached
Velu, very tired indeed. One incident which happened on the road is
perhaps of interest. A woman waved to us in a field as we went by. I
waved back, and this harmless action was instantly reported by one of
the guard to an N.C.O., who rode back after the woman; but she, knowing
the Germans better than we did, had disappeared by the time he had got

We had been at Velu for an hour or more when a crowd of orderlies learnt
that we were officer aviators. They collected around us and assumed
rather a threatening attitude, accusing us of having thrown bombs on to
a hospital train a few days before. This was unfortunately true as far
as Long was concerned, but as the train had no red cross on it, and was
used to bring up troops as well as to take away wounded, we had a
perfect right to bomb it, and anyhow could not possibly have told it was
a hospital train. However, this was not the time for complicated
explanations, so I lied hard for a very uncomfortable ten minutes. Just
when things were looking really nasty an officer came up and took us
off. We got into a staff car with him and were taken to Havrincourt to a
big château--the H.Q. of the VI. Corps, I think.

A young flying corps officer who spoke a little English came to question
us. He seemed a very nice fellow, and was full of praise for the
audacity of the R.F.C. and most interested to learn that Long had
dropped the wreath for Immelmann. This wreath had been dropped on a
German aerodrome a few days before, as an official token of the respect
which the R.F.C. had felt for a great pilot.

On our journey to Cambrai we had three or four guards in the horse truck
with us, but as it was a hot night the sliding door was left half open
on one side, and about a foot on the other. If we had made a dash for
it, we might have got clear away, but after discussing the scheme I
rejected it, as Long was quite unfit for anything of the sort.

Some time before midnight we entered Cambrai fort. In Cambrai station I
saw a train crammed with German wounded, and there were no red crosses
marked on the train. The condition of the wounded in this train was very
bad--extremely crowded and dirty.

We remained in Cambrai five or six days, and were rather uncomfortable
and rather short of food, but a kind French lady in the town sent us in
some of the necessities of life--tooth-brushes, shirts, socks, etc. The
sleeping accommodation was not luxurious, but the blankets were not
verminous, which was something to be thankful for.

Whilst we were at Cambrai a German Intelligence officer took me to his
room and had a long conversation with me. I refused to answer questions,
so we discussed the war in general--who started it, the invasion of
Belgium, our use of black troops, war in the colonies, about which he
was particularly angry, quite forgetting, as I pointed out, that they
began it by instigating rebellion in South Africa. He suggested that the
Somme was an expensive failure, so I said, "What about Verdun?" Although
I made one or two hits, he had his facts more at his fingers' ends than
I had, and I think honors were about even!

Next day he took Long and myself off in a car and showed us over the
Fokker squadron at Cambrai. The two pilots next for duty sat in their
flying kit, in deck chairs, by the side of their planes and read novels;
close behind them was a telephone in communication with the balloons,
who notified them when the enemy aircraft ventured far over the lines.
It seemed to me a pretty efficient arrangement, but of course suitable
only for defensive and not for offensive tactics.

After we had been five or six days at Cambrai, and the number of
prisoners had increased to nearly a thousand men and about a dozen
officers, we were moved by train, the officers to Gütersloh, and the
men, I think, to Münster. I cannot remember how long the journey
took--about thirty hours, I believe. I am sure we had one night in the
train, and I remember a good feed they gave us at a wayside station. I
also remember remonstrating with a German officer, O.C. train, because
he insisted on keeping shut the doors of the horse trucks in which the
men were, causing them to be nearly suffocated with heat. During the
journey I was rather surprised to find that we were nowhere insulted or
cursed--very different to the terrible experiences of our early
prisoners. Only in one station a poor devil, just off to the front in a
crowded cattle truck, put his head in our carriage window and cursed the
"verfluchte Schweinhunde" who were traveling second class and smoking
cigars. After a reasonably comfortable journey we came to the
prisoners-of-war camp at Gütersloh.



I believe the camp at Gütersloh had formerly been a lunatic asylum. It
was composed of six or seven large independent barrack-like buildings.
One of these buildings was a civilian camp, and one was a quarantine,
used also as a solitary confinement or _Stubenarrest_ prison; another
was used as the quarters of the commandant. The ground was sandy, and I
should think comparatively healthy and dry even in the wettest weather.
In hot weather the heat was much accentuated, but there were patches of
small pine trees in the camp which gave a pleasant shade. The camp area
could not have been less than eight acres altogether, enclosed by two
rows of barbed wire, with arc lamps every seventy yards or so. The
prisoners comprised some 1200 officers--800 Russians, over 100 English,
and the rest French or Belgians. We were marched up to the camp through
a quiet village, and were put into the quarantine, where we remained for
about a week. The morning after our arrival, we were medically inspected
and questioned as to our name, rank, regiment, place of capture, age,
where taught to fly, etc., all of which questions evoked a variety of
mendacious and romantic answers. We were then put to bed in the
quarantine and treated with some beastly anti-lice powder--most
disagreeable! The food was insufficient in quarantine. We had no
opportunity of taking exercise, and were all much bored and longed to be
sent into the main camp, which we were told was the best in Germany.
This was not far off the truth, as subsequent experience proved the
administration and internal arrangements of this camp to be admirable.

Originally English, Russian, and French prisoners had lived all mixed up
together, but now the nationalities were mainly in separate buildings,
and always in separate rooms. In the English building there was a common
room in which there was a daily English paper and two monthly magazines,
all typewritten in the camp. From an artistic point of view the
magazines were excellent, rather after the style of _Printer's Pie_, and
the daily paper consisted of leading articles, correspondence, and
translations out of German papers.

The canteen was very well run by a Russian on the co-operative share
system, but when I was there it was becoming more and more difficult to
buy goods in Germany. I don't think any food could be bought in the
canteen, but wine, and, I think, whisky also, could be obtained, as well
as tennis racquets, knives, books, pencils, boxes, and tobacco of all

The feeding in the camp was very bad indeed, the quantity quite
insufficient, and most of it almost uneatable. However, we were hungry
enough to eat it with avidity when we first came in.

Most wisely the Germans gave us ample facilities for playing games in
the camp. There were ten tennis courts, and two grounds large enough for
hockey and football, so we spent our time in playing tennis and
exchanging lessons in modern languages, for which of course there were
unique opportunities. We had two roll-calls a day, which lasted about
ten minutes each, but otherwise the Germans interfered with us very
little, and I think most of us found the first month or two of captivity
a real rest cure after the strain and excitement of the Somme battle. I
did, at any rate.

Long and I had been less than three weeks in this place when all those
flying officers who had been captured on the Somme were removed from
Gütersloh to Clausthal. Looking back on the life at Gütersloh, one thing
strikes me more now than it did whilst I was there, and that is the fact
that all the officers, with the exception of a small section of the
Russians, had apparently abandoned all hope of escaping. The defenses of
the camp were not strong enough to be any reason for this lack of
enterprise, and I can only attribute it to the encouragement and
opportunities given by the Germans for game-playing, which successfully
turned the thoughts of the prisoners from escaping.

Of the journey to Clausthal, in the Harz Mountains, I only remember that
it was quite comfortable, and that we arrived at night. The camp was
about a mile up from the station, and we were let through a barbed wire
fence and into a wooden barrack. For the next eight days we remained
shut up in this place, and it was only with difficulty that we were
allowed to have the windows open. There were three of these wooden
barracks and a hotel or Kurhaus inside the barbed wire. This was the
best German camp for food that I was in, and I think it would be
possible to live on the food the Germans gave us. After eight days'
quarantine we were let out into the camp. Long and I, and a captain in
the R.F.C. who had been lately captured, called Nichol, had a little
room together in the wooden barrack. On the whole, life was pleasant at
Clausthal. The Germans were very polite, and the sentries were generally

We passed the time at Clausthal in much the same way as we had done at
Gütersloh. If anything, it was more peaceful and pleasant, and the
country surrounding the camp, where we sometimes went for walks, was
beautiful. The Harz Mountains are a well-known German health resort, so
that by the middle of September I was feeling so remarkably fit, and was
getting such an overpowering aversion to being ordered about by the
Germans, that, encouraged by a young Belgian called Kicq, I began to
think very seriously of escaping. When I had been about six weeks at
Clausthal I was given details by one of the conspirators of a scheme for
escaping from the camp by a tunnel. Apparently two of the party had
struck work, and owing to this I was offered a place. I was not
surprised that some one had downed tools, when I saw the unpleasant and
water-logged hole which was to be our path of freedom. The idea was
rather a good one, but it was too widely known in the camp for the
scheme to have any chance of success, and after working it for three
weeks we abandoned it. In the first place because the tunnel became
half full of water, and secondly, because we had reason to believe the
Germans had learnt of its existence and were waiting to catch us
red-handed--a suspicion which was afterwards confirmed. I was very glad,
for there were never less than two inches of water when I worked there,
and it was a horrible job, as all tunneling is.

About this time Kicq suggested that we should escape by train, which he
felt sure was possible if we were suitably dressed. I was of the opinion
that there were too many difficulties in the way to make it worth while
trying, but he eventually talked me over and told me that long train
journeys had already been done by Frenchmen. We then decided that we
would go for Switzerland, the general opinion being that it was
impossible to cross the Dutch border, as it was guarded by electric
wire, dogs, and several lines of sentries. It was absolutely necessary
to our plans to have a clear start of seven or eight hours without an
alarm, and when our tunnel had to be abandoned I despaired of getting
out without being seen or heard. Kicq, as always, was ready to try
anything, and produced scheme after scheme, to all of which I objected.
The real difficulty was the dogs round the camp, and though there were
numerous ways of getting out of the camp, in all his schemes it was
heavy odds on our being seen and the alarm being given. We both thought
it was too late in the year to walk (nonsense, of course, but I did not
know that then); and where should we walk to, since the Dutch frontier
was impossible? As an English major said to me, "The frontier is guarded
against spies who have friends on both sides and know every inch of the
ground; how can you, tired prisoners of war, with no maps worth
having--no knowledge and no friends--hope to cross?" I was further
discouraged by a rumor that there were new railway regulations about
showing passes which would make it quite impossible for us to travel by
train. About that time I got into conversation with one of the German
sentries, and bribed him with half a pat of butter to allow me to speak
to a prisoner who was supposed to be in solitary confinement. At the end
of a week the sentry had agreed to help me to escape, as long as the
plan did not in any way implicate him. He told me that, speaking German
as well as I did, I should have no difficulty in going by train, and
that there were no passes to be shown or anything of that sort. I agreed
to send 500 marks to his wife if I got away by his help. A day or two
later I suddenly saw the way to get out. I was walking round with one of
the tunnel conspirators at the time, and pointed it out to him. Then I
found Kicq and told him we would depart on Monday. He, of course, was
delighted, and ready to fall in with anything I might suggest. For some
time our plans and preparations had been completed as far as possible;
money had been no obstacle, as there were many men in the camp who had
20 or 30 marks, German money, and I managed to collect 80 and Kicq 120
marks. He had already got a civil outfit, and I had got a cap from an
orderly. We decided not to take rücksacks but a traveling-bag, and I
bought just the thing in the canteen. I was going to take an empty
rücksack in the bag so that we could divide the weight afterwards, as we
intended to walk the last 40 kilometres. We knew we could catch a 2.13
a.m. train at Goslar (a small town about 15 kilometres due north of
Clausthal), and after that we had to trust to luck to find trains to
take us _via_ Cassel to Rotweil, a village near the Swiss frontier. The
one difficulty remaining was a suit of civilian clothes for me. There
was an English flying officer in the camp whose uniform had been badly
spoilt when he had been brought down. In consequence, he had been
allowed to buy a suit of civilian clothes in Cambrai. He was still
wearing these; in fact, he had nothing else to wear. The Germans had
been most unwilling to let him continue in possession of these clothes,
and always had their eye on them and of course intended to confiscate
them as soon as his uniform turned up from England. This fellow agreed
to allow me to steal his clothes. It was a most courageous thing to do,
as he would certainly have got fourteen days' imprisonment for it, in
spite of the evidence which would be produced to prove that the clothes
were stolen quite unknown to him. As it happened, this theft was not
necessary, as I was able to buy a new suit in the camp for 20 marks. It
was green, and of the cheapest possible material; the jacket was of the
Norfolk type with a belt, and buttoned up high in front at the neck. A
black naval mackintosh, some German boots, a pair of spectacles, and a
cloth cap completed my equipment. The suit had been bought over a year
before from a German tailor who had been allowed to come into the camp
to do ordinary repairs. This fellow had brought with him a number of
civilian suits, which had been bought up in a very short time. A few
days afterwards the Germans got to hear of this, and gave orders that
all civilian suits in the camp were to be confiscated and the money
would be returned. Needless to say, no one owned to having a suit, and a
mild search failed to unearth any of them.

We intended to escape on Monday, because Tuesday morning roll-call was
at 11.30 a.m. instead of 9.30 a.m., and if we could get out unseen it
would give us two hours more time before we were missed. On Friday I
found out that two good fellows, Ding and Nichol, also intended to
escape by the same method. We decided that all four of us would try.
Naturally it was necessary to go on the same night, and Monday was
selected. We tossed up who was to cut the wire and go first, and fortune
decided for Ding and Nichol.

[Illustration: CLAUSTHAL.]



A brief study of the plan of the camp and its defenses will make our
plan of escape quite clear. The sentries are represented by ×, the arc
lights by (·), and the dogs in kennels by "O." All round the camp was
iron wire torpedo netting, with two-inch mesh, about 12 feet high on
iron poles. The gardens offered a very suitable hiding-place close to
the wire-netting. At "G" was the German guardhouse, and "K" was the
kitchen, and Germans used to pass frequently between the guardhouse and
the kitchen along a footpath close to the wire. At 6.45 an extra sentry
was placed outside the wire at "S," and it was not sufficiently dark to
make the attempt till 6.30, so that we had a quarter of an hour to cut
the wire and to find an opportunity to cross the path and reach the
darkness behind the glare of the arc lights.

By far the greatest danger came, not from the sentries, but from stray
Germans who used the footpath at frequent but irregular intervals. We
agreed to give the other two five minutes' start so as not to interfere
with their escape if we were caught getting out, and also to avoid being
caught red-handed ourselves if they were seen and chased in the
immediate vicinity of the camp. Longer we could not allow them, and
even five minutes' delay would give us very little time before the extra
sentry was posted at "S." On Monday night all went excellently up to a
point. The sentries marched with commendable regularity up and down
their beats. At 6.30 the four of us were changed and ready. There were
so many different uniforms in the camp, and so many officers habitually
wore garments of a nondescript character, that in the dusk we were able
to mingle with the other prisoners without drawing attention to
ourselves. A minute later Ding entered the peas and began to cut the
wire. He had scarcely started when a German walking on the footpath
passed a few inches from his nose. Ding felt sure he had been seen and
retreated hurriedly. We waited anxiously for a minute or two, prepared
to rush to our rooms and change and hide our kit if there were any signs
of alarm. Then Nichol went round to investigate, and taking the pincers
entered once more into the garden and prepared to cut the wire. The
German had certainly not seen Ding in the garden, but how he had escaped
being seen coming out, considering the commotion he made, passes my
comprehension. Kicq and I had a rapid consultation, and decided that it
was too late to escape that night, so we sent a friend round to tell
Nichol not to cut the wire, and we all retreated and changed, feeling
rather crestfallen. At 6.45 Ding suddenly remembered that he had left
his greatcoat in the peas close up by the wire. This was most gallantly
rescued by Nichol under the nose of the sentry. The attempt had been a
failure, but not a disaster.

Kicq and I decided to wait another week, for we wished to make certain
that the Germans were not keeping an eye on the place in order to catch
us red-handed, and Monday was the most suitable day. Ding dropped out;
and Nichol, who did not speak German and consequently could not come
with us, said he would not get another partner, firstly, because Kicq
and I would have a better chance without a second party following us,
and, secondly, because it was getting rather late in the year for
walking. Nichol offered to cut the wire for us, and this offer we were
only too pleased to accept, for we knew he was absolutely reliable, and
it would save us from dirtying our clothes. During the week Kicq and I
changed our plans and determined to go straight by the through train
which left Goslar at 2.13 a.m. to Düsseldorf, and then try to find a
Dutch bargee on the Rhine, who could be bribed to take us as far as the
frontier and could probably give us information as to the best method of
crossing if he could not take us through himself. This plan was
obviously better than the long and complicated train journey to

The only result of last Monday's failure was to convince us that, unless
real bad luck or unforeseen circumstances intervened, we were certain to
get clear away. We revised and perfected details and equipment, raised
some more money for the purpose of giving a larger preliminary bribe to
the bargee, got some tracings of maps for the night march to Goslar, and
began to feel pretty confident. I don't think there is anything that I
have ever done quite so exciting as escaping from prison. It may not be
the same for other men who have tried both fighting in the air and
escaping, but I know that for me the "nervous tension" before the latter
is much greater than anything I have experienced at the front. Once in
the middle, one has not time to be nervous in either case. It is the
necessity of walking and talking and acting as if nothing were about to
happen, right up to the moment of going, which is such a strain.

I think there were only half a dozen people in the camp who knew that
Kicq and I were going, though many knew that Ding and Nichol had tried a
week before. It was very necessary to keep the knowledge, not only from
the Germans, but also from the foreign members of the camp, as one can
never be quite certain that there is not a spy or some one in German pay
among them. For obvious reasons it would be very much more difficult to
introduce a spy amongst the English, but it is a good rule that the
fewer who know the better.

On Monday night at 6 o'clock Kicq and I had a good feed with Nichol on
sardines and jam, and then changed into our civilian clothes. At 6.30
Nichol was timed to go in and cut the wire. We walked round the hotel,
and I deposited the bag in a dark spot by "M." We then took a turn or
two up and down. We had only to wait about five minutes, when Nichol
appeared and said, "The wire is cut, but I am not sure if the hole is
large enough to get through; take the cutters" (a pair of sharp nail
pincers which had been stolen off the German electrician), "as you may
have to enlarge it." The sentry at "C," a fat old Landsturmer, chose to
stand still instead of going up and down his beat, but he only glanced
very occasionally towards "M," and we thought the moment favorable.
This time we made no mistake about it. Kicq and I walked round to "M,"
stood a moment on the path, and had a look round. "C" had his back
turned--"B" was at the far end of his beat. I took the bag and put it
among the peas. Then in went Kicq, and I after him--he was through the
hole in no time. I passed the bag through to him and came through
myself, and we were across the lighted-up strip and into the darkness
behind the arc lights inside six seconds. We went at full speed for a
hundred yards or so, then, as there was no alarm, we stopped and looked
back. Everything was quite quiet and we could see the sentries walking
up and down on their beats under the electric lights, so we shook hands
on the success of the first phase. Meanwhile Nichol, having seen us off
and done his best to close the hole, strolled back round the building
and there met Kicq's friend and confidant, a Belgian captain, an
excellent fellow but rather an excitable conspirator. "C'est bien
l'heure," said the Captain, "ils doivent partir tout de suite ou il sera
trop tard." "Ils sont déjà partis," said Nichol. With a cry of joy, the
captain fell on his neck and kissed him.



We now felt pretty safe from immediate pursuit, and turning off to the
right we made a semicircle round the camp and crossed the causeway
between the two lakes. There was a good chance that our absence would
not be discovered for another sixteen hours, that is, till the 11.30
roll-call next morning. We had about 16 to 20 kilometres to go to Goslar
station, but as it was not yet 7 o'clock, and as our train left at 2.13
a.m., we had heaps of time. Besides this, Kicq knew the first 6 miles or
so, having been that way on a walk. The walk to Goslar was almost
without incident. We had two compasses, which had been made in the camp
by a Belgian, and we had a sketch map of the way, which was mostly
through pine forests. We were really overcautious and made wide detours
round houses and took great pains not to meet any one on the road. All
this was most unnecessary, as our civilian kit was quite good as I
afterwards proved, and we both spoke German well enough to pass off as
Germans for a few words. After walking fast for a couple of hours we
found we were much ahead of time and so halted for half an hour at the
foot of the Brechen, a huge tower built for sight-seeing purposes on the
highest hill in the neighborhood. Soon after half-past one we entered
Goslar and walked boldly through the town, saying what we had to say to
each other in German; but we only saw one man, who took no notice of us.
The station was easily found, and as there were twenty minutes before
the train started we sat on a bench at the side of the road and waited
till 2.05 a.m. before entering the station. Kicq wished to buy tickets
for both of us, but I insisted on our having nothing to do with one
another during the journey. We decided that Kicq was to go in first and
buy a ticket for Düsseldorf if the train went as far, and if not, for
Elberfeld. At 2.05 a.m. I followed him at about 150 yards distance into
the station, and found that the booking office was not yet open, and
that some dozen people were waiting to take tickets. Our appearance
apparently caused no suspicion, and we both of us examined the
time-tables on the walls in the hope of finding out if the train went to
Düsseldorf. I should very much like to have known how much the ticket
would cost, but could get no information on either point. Kicq looked a
proper Hun in knee-breeches, dark puttees, brown boots, a German cape,
and no hat. The fashion of going bareheaded had scarcely come in then,
though hat cards had been lately introduced. Kicq told me afterwards
that my own mother would not have known me. I wore a pair of gold-rimmed
glasses and walked with a bit of a stoop and a limp. My clothes were
green, with a collar that buttoned right up to the neck. I wore an
ordinary black cap, and carried a black mackintosh over my arm. We both
of us had our hair cut short, and our moustaches had been training for
some time and curled up a bit at the ends. At last the ticket office was
opened and we got into the queue. I could not hear what ticket Kicq
took, so I said, "Dritte nach Düsseldorf Schnellzug" when my turn came.
The clerk made some remark which I did not catch, so I added another 5
marks to the 20-marks note which I had put down. He had apparently asked
if I had any small change, as he pushed back my 5-marks note and gave me
a lot of change and my ticket. I pretended to count it and then stuffed
it into my pocket and was jolly glad to get that business over. After I
had taken my ticket I lost sight of Kicq, but the man who clipped my
ticket at the barrier told me from what platform the train for
Düsseldorf went. I put my bag down and sat in a dark corner on one of
the benches and lit a German cigar. Kicq was walking up and down, and I
did so too, though we took no notice of each other. The train was rather
late, and I dared not go near my bag as an officer and a girl were
standing close to it. When the train came in and I picked up the bag the
girl gave me a suspicious look, but she did not have time to say
anything, as I grabbed the bag and scrambled into a third-class coach. I
did not see Kicq again till we met once more in prison.

Before I go any farther with my story, I will tell you how Kicq was
caught. He told me about it in prison, but I cannot be certain that I
have remembered all the details accurately. He got into a third-class
coach and stood in the corridor. After he had been there a short time an
officer came up and talked to him, and as the train rocked about a good
deal they had to shout to make themselves heard. The officer did not
seem to suspect anything wrong with the accent. Kicq talked German
perfectly fluently, but in my opinion he has rather a curious accent. In
answer to a question he told the officer that he had been on a walking
tour, during his holiday, in the Harz Mountains, and numerous other
lies. When asked if he had served in the army he said he had been
paralyzed in the arm from infancy, and then was forced to tell more lies
of a complicated nature. Kicq swore the fellow did not suspect anything,
but was merely a conscientious ass. Evidently the officer asked to be
allowed to look at Kicq's passport. Kicq said he was sorry he had not
got it on him; he had never found it necessary to carry a passport, and
he had never been asked for it before. The officer said that any letters
he had on him would do, just to prove his identity. Kicq answered that
for the last few days he had been walking and he had received no
letters. The Bosche, apologizing, said he was sorry he would have to ask
him to identify himself by telephone from the next station, but that he
was officially bound to do so under the circumstances. Kicq said that of
course he would be delighted to do so, and went to the lavatory, where
he got rid of everything by which it would be possible to identify him
as a prisoner of war. At the next station he intended to bolt as soon as
the train stopped, but for some reason he had no chance of doing so. At
the next station he said he was a Swiss deserter, and refused to give
his name for the sake of the honor of his family. During the next twenty
hours he told the most amazing number of lies, and at the end was very
nearly sent to a civilian camp to be interned there pending
investigations. Of course that was just what he wanted, as he had
managed to hide money on his person and was quite confident that he
would have no difficulty in escaping from any civilian camp.
Unfortunately he was identified by an Unteroffizier sent from Clausthal
for the purpose. But if he had not succeeded in his main object, he had
at any rate concealed his identity for twenty-four hours, and thereby
greatly increased my chances.

To return to my story. After getting into the third-class coach I made
my way along the corridor, looking for a seat. The train was rather
crowded, and the first carriage I tried to get into was half full of
soldiers. I asked if there was a seat free, and was told, "Nur
militärisch." By this time I had completely got over all feelings of
nervousness, and was thoroughly enjoying the whole situation. A little
farther on a young fellow saw I was looking for a place, and coming out
into the corridor said he was getting out next station and I could have
his corner place. This suited me very well, as I got a seat next to a
woman. So I sat in the corner, pulled the curtain over my face, and went
to sleep. I did not wake up again till we got to Elberfeld about 6 a.m.
At Elberfeld a number of people got in, and the carriage was crowded
with business men. A pretty lively discussion started, and I was afraid
of being asked for my opinion, so I buried myself in the paper I had
bought at Elberfeld and soon pretended to be asleep again. We got to
Düsseldorf between 8 and 9, I think. I could see no signs of Kicq as I
got out, and not caring to loiter about too much on the platform I went
through the barrier and waited about in the main hall, through which he
would have to pass to leave the station. After waiting for ten minutes I
became anxious about him, and turned over all the probabilities in my
mind. (1) He might have been recaptured in the train. (2) He might have
taken a ticket to Elberfeld, under the impression the train only went as
far as that. In this case he would come on soon, and I searched the
time-tables without much success to find out when the next train from
Elberfeld to Düsseldorf came in. (3) He might be waiting for me in some
other part of the station, but as it was obviously easier for him to
come out through the barrier than for me to go in, I decided that I was
waiting in the most suitable place and had better stay there for a bit.
In the meantime, according to our scheme, I asked for a plan of the town
from a bookstall. The old man who sold it to me had to get it from the
main bookstall, and then chatted very pleasantly to me on the weather,
the war, and the increase of paper money with every new war loan. I
confined my remarks to "Ja wünderschön," "Da haben Sie recht," "Ja wohl,
es geht nicht so schlimm," "Kolossal," etc., but nevertheless began to
get enormous confidence in my German. I also bought a local time-table.
After waiting for about half an hour I did not like the way an old
fellow in uniform, a sort of station official, was looking at me, so
with the help of my plan I made my way to the river. I spent the next
four hours in Düsseldorf, going to the station at intervals to see if
Kicq had turned up. Our plan was to get hold of a Dutch bargee, so that
I thought I had almost as good a chance of meeting him on the riverside
as at the station, besides which the aforesaid old man at the station
had got a nasty suspicious look in his eye. I bought some apples from an
old lady in the market-place by the river, and then went to a quiet spot
and ate some sandwiches and considered the situation. As far as I could
see, there was nothing at all promising in the way of bargees on the
river. I knew that an English officer had escaped from Crefeld, and that
from Crefeld to the frontier was only about twenty or thirty miles. I
soon saw from my time-table that I could get a tram to Crefeld across
the Rhine, so I inspected the bridge over the Rhine, and as far as I
could see no passes were asked for, from those going over in the tram.
Before I did anything more, it seemed to me absolutely necessary to have
some sort of map of the frontier, so I determined to try to buy one. I
walked back once more along the riverside, and, as it was hot, tried to
buy some milk in a milk shop. The woman said something about a milk
card, so I said, "Ah, I forgot," and walked out. I went back once more
to the station by tram (I was getting tired of lugging my bag about, and
used the trams pretty freely). On the way there I went into a bookshop
and bought a map of Nord Deutschland and then asked for a Baedeker. The
woman said she did not think she was allowed to sell that, and called
her husband, who turned out to be a German N.C.O. He said that, owing to
the number of suspicious persons, spies, prisoners of war, etc., he had
to be very careful to whom he sold maps. I said, "Natürlich, das
verstehe ich wohl" (Naturally, I can well understand that). Just then I
caught sight of a map marked "Umgebungen von Krefeld" (The Neighborhood
of Crefeld), and asked to look at it. It was just what I wanted, an
excellent map of Crefeld to the frontier, about 1:100,000. I bought this
and cleared out, without, I think, arousing any suspicion. My confidence
in my German was now "kolossal"! There was, of course, no sign of Kicq
at the station, so I took the tram for the park in order to have lunch
and a quiet look at my map. After I had been there a short time and had
made up my mind as to my plan of campaign, I noticed an old gentleman
observing me in a suspicious manner. He was obviously stalking me and
trying to get a better look at me and my map. I waited till he had gone
round a bush and then packed up rapidly, walked round another bush, and
going through a sort of shrubbery got out of the park and boarded the
first tram I saw. After traveling I know not where on this, I got out,
and making my way to the river, strolled once more along the docks,
keeping a lookout for Kicq, and then walked up the main street (always
carrying my bag) to Prince Afold Platz, from where my tram to Crefeld
started. A pointsman showed me the place from which the trams left every
half-hour, so after one more visit to the station I caught the one
o'clock tram. The girl conductress on the tram said I was on the wrong
tram when I asked for my ticket. She gave me the ticket, however, and
told me to get out at the first station over the Rhine and get into the
next tram. At the first station over the Rhine I got out, and seeing a
Bierhalle asked for a glass of beer. I had just given the woman a mark
when my tram came in, so without waiting for the change I grabbed my
bag and made off. She ran after me, but I pointed to the tram and
called, "It does not matter, I have no time," and boarded the tram.



When we got to Crefeld I saw that the station was on the east side of
the town, but after my experience at Düsseldorf I thought it would be
much safer to walk boldly right through the middle of the town than to
skirt round the edges. My brother was at this time interned at Crefeld,
and I thought how amusing it would be if I were to meet him in the town
and wondered if he would keep a straight face when I winked at him. The
walk through the town was without incident. One fellow, in Landsturm
uniform, a prison guard I should think, turned round and looked at me in
a nasty way, perhaps recognizing my likeness to my brother, but I walked
quickly on and nothing came of it. It must have been just after 2 p.m.
when I got through into the open country on the southwest side of
Crefeld, and a more horrible country I have never seen; it was
absolutely flat, no trees and no signs of cover of any sort. There were
one or two disused factories, which I inspected, but did not like the
look of them as hiding-places. I passed several parties of French
soldiers working in the fields, but did not dare to speak to them. The
day was very hot and my bag was very heavy, and I could not help feeling
I was rather a suspicious figure wandering about through the fields
with a heavy traveling-bag within 20 miles of the frontier. It was a
most unpleasant walk, and at times I thought of just throwing myself
down in the middle of a field of roots, but the country was so flat that
I could never be quite sure that someone would not see me crawling into
them. It was not till 3.30 that I found a small alder copse with thick
undergrowth, which I thought would do. There were a number of people
working in the fields quite close to it, but I walked by them and round
the copse, and putting the copse between them and me I doubled back into
it. It was quite a small copse, about 50 by 20 yards, with thick rank
grass in between the clumps. The people outside were only about 50 yards
from me, and I could hear them talking and laughing. Still I was very
comfortable and there were no tracks, and when I had made up some yarn
to tell them if I was discovered, I went to sleep. Later on I opened a
tin of Oxford sausages and had a good meal. Once a dog came through
hunting rabbits, and once a man and a girl came quite close, but neither
disturbed me. I began to find things very tedious and looked forward to
the night's walk. Soon after 10 p.m. I started out from my hiding-place
and walked hard with very few rests till 5.30 next morning, when I found
a good place to lie up in. Considering the amount of energy expended, I
made very little progress. Many detours were necessary to avoid the
villages and houses, and for the most part I walked across country by
small paths which were very clearly shown on my excellent map. However,
my bag and the going were both heavy, and three-quarters of an hour's
halt between 1 and 2 a.m. and some hot cocoa were most refreshing. At
one place where there was a level crossing a man came to open the
barrier, so I took the initiative and said, "Nach Anrath gerade aus?"
(Straight on to Anrath?) He said, "Ja wohl," and opened the gate. (After
that I always kept the name of the next village of which I was sure of
the pronunciation in my head, so as to be able to ask my way there.)

At about 5 o'clock I was pretty tired and found myself with the large
village of Süchteln in front of me, through which I had to pass, as it
is on a river. I funked it, as the bridge over the river was such an
obvious place to have a sentry. After thinking it out, I decided it
would be less suspicious to go through just after daylight when there
were a few people about, so I lay up and went to sleep in a bush in the
middle of a water meadow. When I woke up, shivering with the cold, it
was about 5.30 and still dark, so I crossed the road and found a
splendid warm spot in the middle of a haycock, which completely covered
me up. Still, I thought, they might cart the hay that day; so at 6.15
a.m., when it was just getting light, I walked boldly through the
village. There were one or two people about, but they took no interest
in me. At 6.30 I had found an excellent hiding-place on the far side of
the town. It was rather hot all day, and I had no water-bottle and
suffered from thirst a good deal, but otherwise it was very pleasant,
being up in the thick bushes on the top of an old gravel pit. The time
seemed very long, and in the afternoon I very foolishly wandered about a
bit in the woods. I was seen by one man, but I don't think he was
suspicious, and so making a short detour I got back to my hiding-place.
That is the worst of being alone; it is almost impossible not to do
foolish things.

I started off again about 9.30 p.m., hoping to cross the frontier that
night. I was about 10 miles from the frontier, but reckoned that it
would be necessary to walk nearly 15 miles if I wanted to avoid all the
villages, as the country was very thickly populated. There is nothing
much to say about this night's walk--it was much like the other, though
I suffered rather more from thirst. At all the places where there was
water there were also houses, and I did not dare to stop. I managed to
quench my thirst to a certain extent by chewing roots from the fields.
Unfortunately, after crossing the canal, I took a wrong road and went
many miles southwest instead of west, and found myself in a long
straggling village. Fortunately for my nerves there were very few dogs
(very different, as I found afterwards, from Bavaria), and after walking
through about two miles of village I extricated myself and got into the
big wood on the frontier at about 4.30 a.m. It was a very wild spot, and
rather like some thickly wooded parts of Scotland. It was also very
hilly, with ridges of thick heather or long grass between almost
impenetrable fir woods. I had an extremely pleasant sleep in the
heather, and at 6.30 a.m. decided that I would move on cautiously. It
was an ideal place for stalking, and I thought I would try and locate
the frontier in the day time and if possible find out what obstacles I
had before me. From my map it appeared that I had about 3 kilometres of
forest between me and the frontier, but of course I did not know whether
the guards would be placed exactly on the frontier. It seemed to me at
the time absolutely essential, and even now I think I was quite right,
to try to find out by day exactly where the sentries' line was. For all
I knew there might be electrified wires, and on a dark night in the
forest one was more likely than not to walk straight into them without
ever seeing them at all. The rides would almost certainly be guarded,
and the woods were so thick that it was impossible to crawl through them
without making an awful noise. I know now that a forest is not only the
most obvious place to try and cross the frontier, and for that reason
the best guarded, but under any conditions, and for many reasons, the
open country is the best place to try. However, I felt pretty confident
that I should see the sentries before they saw me, so I went forward
cautiously, examining every ride before I went down it. I went slowly
through the woods for about three hours, in a west or northwest
direction, steering by compass, and then began to think I must be
getting pretty near the frontier. I was confirmed in this idea by
finding a well used path down one of the rides, so I crawled into the
wood at the side and lay down to think it out and have lunch. While I
was sitting there a soldier wheeling a bicycle came down the path. When
he had gone I crawled out to the edge of the ride and had a good look
around. Almost north of me I could make out the roof of a house through
the trees with a flagstaff and flag beside it. Like a fool, I never
grasped that that was the frontier blockhouse--and then I suddenly saw a
figure half a mile away, with something on his shoulder, cross the end
of the ride--a soldier with a rifle, I thought, but could not be sure.

After resting till about 10.30 I retraced my steps to look for a bit of
map which had fallen out of my pocket, but was unable to find it.
However, it did not matter, as the map was no longer of much use to me.
Once on the move I felt very restless and not a bit tired, and as the
cover was so good I determined to try and find out a bit more about the
frontier. I found a ride leading in the right direction and followed
that along very cautiously, mostly on my hands and knees, crawling
through thick heather. I crossed two more rises without seeing anyone,
and still crawled on. It was really madness to go any farther now, but
it all seemed so safe and the woods were so thick that the necessity
seemed to me greater than the danger. It only shows the great advantage
of having a friend with you when you escape--if Kicq had been there I am
sure we should both of us have got across; alone, it is almost
impossible to refrain from taking undue risks. It is partly
overconfidence and partly boredom with doing nothing, and partly a sort
of reckless and restless feeling which comes over every one, I think, at
times. Buckley and I, when we got away some six months later, nearly
always adopted the more cautious of two plans. The occasions on which
the more cautious advice was abandoned in favor of the more reckless,
though few, three times nearly led to disaster. On this first expedition
of mine I had no rules and regulations for escaping prisoners, such as
one learned at Fort 9, and no experience of escaping. I had to carry on
by the light of nature. However, instead of making further excuses for
what I did, I had better go on with the story.

After crossing a ride, I climbed a steep bank and came out on to a sort
of plateau, about 100 yards across. The undergrowth was thick but there
were only a few trees about, though there was a wood on the far side
again. I was crawling through this undergrowth when I suddenly stopped
short and held my breath. There, 15 yards from me, was a low wooden hut
and I caught sight of a German soldier through the open door. I stymied
myself from the hut by a bush and looked over my shoulder for the best
line of retreat. Just as I was about to crawl off, a German sentry
walked by me from the right, walking towards the hut. He was only about
10 yards off and was unarmed, and was buckling up his belt as he passed.
I was not very well under cover from that direction, as my legs were
sticking out of the bush, but I thought he would not see me if I lay
quite still. When he was 5 yards from me, he stopped to adjust his belt
and turned towards me, and as he looked up he saw my legs. He was a big
heavy built fellow, and as he walked quickly up to me he said, "Who are
you? What are you doing here?" I crawled out of the bush and stood up.
"I am a papermaker from Darmstadt out on a holiday," I said.

"Have you got any papers?"

"Yes," I lied.

"Well, you must come and show them."

I took no notice of this hint, but said, "Could you kindly tell me if
this is the Dutch frontier just here?"

"That has nothing to do with you," he answered; "you just come along
with me."

I took no notice, and repeated the question. "Mit mir kommen--so fort,"
he roared out, and gripped me by the shoulder. He took me across the
plateau and towards the wood on the opposite side, and as we were
stepping out of a sort of pit I suddenly bolted from him. I dashed into
the wood and he was after me yelling "Posten" at the top of his voice.
We were running steeply down hill through the woods, consequently it was
difficult for me to double back into the thick woods behind without
being cut off. I turned as much right handed as I could, but he was only
about 10 or 15 yards behind me, and I had not much time to think. About
50 yards ahead at the bottom of the slope there was a road which I could
not avoid crossing as I saw it curling around to my right. As I was
crashing through the last few yards of wood before the road, the fellow
behind still yelling "Halt!" like a madman, I suddenly saw a sentry on
the road who put up his rifle at 10 yards' range and called "Halt," and
I halted as abruptly as possible. The fellow behind came up cursing and
panting, and I was marched along the road to the left. On the road I saw
there was another sentry leading a dog about 100 yards north of us. As
we went along I saw the sentry who had held me up slip a clip of
cartridges into his magazine, so that I am not sure that his rifle had
been loaded after all. We passed another sentry (they seemed to be
stationed about every 150 yards or so), and then came to the wooden hut
which I had seen earlier in the day. There were about ten men in the hut
(it was the guardroom for the frontier posts on that sector), and they
treated me quite well. I asked for some tea and tobacco, and sat down in
a corner near the window to consider the position. Rather foolishly I
told them who I was. A "Flieger Hauptmann" was a bit of a capture, and
they were very pleased about it. They searched me very mildly, and took
away my map and compass but nothing else. From where I was sitting I
could see out of a window. There I was--20 yards from the Dutch border.
I had only to get across the road and I should be in thick undergrowth
on the far side. It seemed to me most unlikely that there were any
further obstacles than this one line of sentries. I believed at the time
that I was actually on the very border, but I am not quite so sure of
that now--anyhow, I am nearly sure I should have got clear away if I
could have got out of that hut with a few yards' start. I could see the
sentry outside the door, and he had his rifle slung over one shoulder by
the strap. As I was afraid that he would get rather too good a shot at
me if I ran straight, I determined that if I could get out of the hut I
would double round it and get back into the thick woods behind and get
across the following night. There seemed to be no obstacle of any sort
in the way of wire. While I was sitting there several girls came into
the hut who presented papers, which were checked by the N.C.O., and
laughed and joked with the soldiers in a lingo which I could not follow.
I found also that I could not understand the German soldiers when they
talked among themselves.

I must have sat there for an hour or more--pretending to doze most of
the time, but keeping a pretty sharp lookout for a chance of getting
out of the door. Several people had come in, and I noticed exactly how
the latch worked. There was an oldish fellow who annoyed me a good deal
by standing with his back to the door the whole time. I thought it was
accident at first, but I soon saw that he had his suspicions of me and
would not be enticed from the door for anything. The only thing to be
done was to pretend to fall fast asleep. This had the desired effect,
and when half an hour later he left the door to glance at a paper which
a soldier had brought in, I made a dash for it. There was a fellow
sitting by the side of the door who must have seen me turn and, so to
speak, gather myself together to make the dash; for, as I went out, he
made a desperate grab at me and by ill-fortune caught the belt at the
back of my coat. It tore in his hand as I struggled, but it stopped me
just long enough to give the sentry outside the time to fall on my neck,
and then they all fell on me and every one tried to hit me at once. For
some minutes there was a horrid scene. Ten furious men hit, kicked,
punched, and cursed me all at once. I did my best to ward off the blows
with my hands, and luckily there were so many of them that they all got
in each other's way and I was scarcely hurt at all till one of them cut
my head open with a bayonet. After a bit they calmed down and I was led
back into the hut, with much kicking and cursing. For a long time they
continued to curse me, and I think I must have gone temporarily mad, for
I started to argue with them and made matters worse. About an hour
later, preparations were made to remove me to Brüggen. They undid my
braces--they undid all the buttons of my trousers, which I had to hold
up with one hand whilst I carried all my belongings in the other. The
walking was very rough, mostly through thick heather, and I was escorted
by five men and an N.C.O. The five men carried their rifles in a most
explosive state of readiness and the N.C.O. kept a revolver handy. Once,
when I fell, I was very near being shot on the spot. Of course there
were thick woods on either hand most of the way, and once in them they
would never have caught me again. However, they never gave me a chance.
I was feeling extremely fit and well, and managed the hot walk over
heavy ground much more easily than most of my guards, who were fat old

Although I was bitterly disappointed, I did not feel it so much at the
time as afterwards, and really enjoyed the whole experience more than
now seems to me possible. I was an object of curiosity in the village of
Brüggen, and was eventually brought into an office, on the second story
of a house, where several soldier clerks were working and given a chair
in a corner, where I went to sleep. I was awakened by the entrance of a
fat, unhealthy looking German lieutenant, to whom I took the most
intense dislike at sight. He brought me into the next room, placed a
loaded revolver on the table beside him, and ordered me to strip nude. I
suppose I must have laughed at him, as he got very angry and told me it
was no laughing matter. After my clothes had been searched he allowed me
to dress, and then with intense deliberation began to write an account
of me. I told him my camp, name, rank, etc., but when one of the guards
(the brute who had first caught me) said that I had hit about me with
my fists, I protested and said that, on the contrary, I had been
brutally man-handled and my head had been cut open. My coat collar and
head were all covered with blood, but the cut, though deep, was clean
and gave little pain. He called a medical orderly, who dressed my head
quite efficiently.

After waiting for an hour or two more in the clerks' office, I was
solemnly warned by a nasty little N.C.O. that I would be shot
immediately if I made a further attempt to escape, and was marched off
with a couple of guards. One happened to be the fellow who had
originally caught me and the other was the old fellow who had made such
a point of guarding the door in the hut. They were both, rather
naturally, very suspicious of me and never gave me half a chance. After
a march of three miles or so, we came to a big factory which was used as
barracks, and I was put into the guardroom. When feeding time came
round, I was given a very good plate of excellent vegetable soup, of
which they gave me a second helping when I asked for it, and as much hot
water, colored to look like coffee, as I could drink. On the whole,
considering they were a rough lot of soldiers, I was treated very
decently indeed. One young fellow, in fact, went out of his way to be
nice to me and to make me comfortable. He passed me a packet of tobacco
when no one was looking, and later in the evening there was quite an
amusing discussion on the war, aeroplanes, etc. I think it rather
astonished them that an English officer, a "Hauptmann," was prepared to
talk and be more or less friendly with them. I think they also rather
appreciated the fact that I seemed to bear no grudge against them for
hitting me over the head with a bayonet; one of them in fact almost
apologized for it by saying that they had been so enraged because they
would have been heavily punished if I had escaped. They gave me some
blankets, and I had an excellent night on a bench. One or two of them
were thoughtful enough to warn me not to attempt to escape the next
morning. Precautions had been taken, they said, and I would not have a



Next morning I was marched off with my two old guards, and during the
march, by orders from the Company H.Q., a third was added. We went by
train to Gladsbach, and I was locked up in a strong room in the citadel.
There was a spy-hole in the door, and a number of people came and had a
look at me through it. Several plates of vegetable soup and a large hunk
of very satisfying brown army bread were given to me later. An
exhaustive search of the cell disclosed a book hidden in the straw
mattress (which was verminous, by the way) on deeds of valor in the
German army, so I passed a peaceful and not unpleasant day.

Next day I was given a ration of bread and cheese, and a pleasantly fat
German, an Offizier Stellvertreter, with a humorous face, informed me
that he had to conduct me to Clausthal, and then (in an aside) that he
did not like the job a bit. There was a sentry with us, a tall, good
looking man of fifty or so, who slung his rifle over his shoulder
instead of carrying it at the "ready," as all my sentries had done for
the last twenty-four hours. We got into a third-class reserved carriage
at the station. The officer asked me some questions about my escape, and
said that he had been told I was a desperate character. "Are you going
to try to escape again from me?" he said. I laughed, and said it
depended on what sort of opportunity he gave me. "It will be a most
uncomfortable journey," he said with a resigned sigh. Then he brightened
up and said, "Why not give me your parole not to escape till Clausthal;
it will be so much more comfortable?" "All right," I said, and we shook
hands on it. The soldier immediately put his rifle, and the officer his
revolver, on the rack. Then the latter got down a hand-bag, which was
packed with food and a couple of bottles of wine, and we had a fine
feed. We continued to have good feeds about every two hours all the way
to Clausthal. During the lunch, I explained to him that if I had wanted
to escape from him, he had given me several opportunities before I gave
my parole. "Ah, what!" he said, "when you went to the lavatory?" "Yes,"
said I, "that was one of them; there was a door on the far side opening
into the far carriage." "Ah, but that was guarded," he said, obviously
rather startled. I knew that it had not been guarded, but it had not
been worth my while attempting to escape, for many reasons. My clothes
were badly torn and covered with blood, and it was broad daylight, so
that I don't think I should have had any chance at all. My head was all
bandaged up, and, if I had taken off the bandage to put my cap on, the
wound would have started to bleed again. Also, I was beginning to feel
the effects of my exertions, and had no map or compass, and very little
idea of where I was. Consequently I was very glad to give my parole, and
never regretted it. All my money had been taken from me, but in the
most generous way he insisted that I was his guest and bought
literature, beer, and food for all three of us on all possible

He said he could not understand how I managed to pass myself off as a
German, as he would have known me by my accent for a foreigner
immediately. Soon afterwards a pretty shop-girl got in (up to that time
we had kept people out by saying it was a reserved carriage), and to my
guard's surprise she had no suspicion of my accent. Eventually he told
her that I was an Englishman, which she refused to believe till I owned
that it was true, and then she edged away into the far corner and got
out at the next station.

We got into Clausthal late at night and had a very dark walk up to the
camp. My old fat officer and I parted the best of friends. He was a
vulgar fellow but a good sportsman, and I am very grateful to him for
his kindness. The fact of the matter is that he had been nearly two
years at the front, and it was most noticeable that any German who had
been at the front for any length of time became quite a decent fellow.
It is the swine who has never been near the front who is intolerable.
Very much the same contrast is noticeable in peace time between those
Germans who have lived abroad (especially in England) and those who have
always stayed at home. I suppose that an Englishman who has never
traveled is a pretty intolerable sort of person to a foreigner!

The little lieutenant met me and showed me into a room in the German
guardhouse, and told me to change into my uniform, and then to take any
clothes I should want for the night. I was put into a very nasty, bare,
whitewashed brick room, next the pigsties. A Russian orderly brought me
my food, and through him I had no difficulty in secretly exchanging
notes with Nichol and others in the camp. I was allowed to have any food
they sent me, so, being very hungry, I naturally overate myself.
Exercise consisted of half an hour's walk morning and afternoon, and I
found that quite insufficient. My cell was next the pigs on one side and
next the motor for making electricity on the other, and was consequently
both smelly and noisy, besides being dirty. I asked to be allowed to
have a bath, but it was not granted me for some days--four, I think.
There were no windows to the place, but there were two doors and one
doorway; that is to say, when they shut me in, they first locked an iron
cage in front of the doorway, and outside that a wooden door. The wooden
door, however, did not quite come to the top of the doorway; there was a
gap of about nine inches, and through this gap light and air were
supposed to enter. There was a bed, a basin, and a horrible stove, which
either got red hot or went out. Books and tobacco were sent in to me;
but, even so, I spent a fairly uncomfortable fourteen days.

After I had been in there for a week, Kicq was brought in and we shared
the room, which was only about 10 feet by 6 feet. We had to put one bed
on top of the other to fit the beds in at all. I was beginning to feel
the disappointment of failure very bitterly, and should really have
preferred to have been left alone to brood over it in peace. Kicq,
however, did his best to make an exchange of Spanish and English
lessons a regular occupation, and we eventually spent a good deal of our
time like that. It was a disgusting sort of existence, and for several
days it was extremely dirty and uncomfortable. Eventually, after
repeated complaints, some improvements were made. We were not allowed to
have a bath in the main building, as we would have been liable to come
in contact with the other prisoners; so Nichol sent us in a tin
hip-bath. We also got leave from the lieutenant to have our outside door
open for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon.
As the sentries changed every two hours, it was a simple matter to tell
each sentry that we had not yet had it open for half an hour that
morning, so by this _ruse de guerre_ we got a certain amount of light
and air into the place.

One morning about 9.30, whilst we were in the middle of washing and
shaving and having breakfast all at once, a General, an A.D.C., the Camp
Commandant, and the lieutenant all suddenly appeared outside our "grill"
and were admitted by the sentry. I was in pyjamas and a tunic, and Kicq
even more undressed, with his face covered with shaving soap, but we
gave the General as military a "stand to attention" as we could under
the circumstances. He answered our salute very politely, taking no
notice of our undress uniform, and turning to the Commandant, said, "Sie
waren in dem Tunnel gefangen?" "Nein, nein," said the lieutenant,
saluting violently, and Kicq and I grinned, whilst the lieutenant and
the Commandant showed obvious signs of anger! For a long time we had
believed that the Germans knew of our tunnel and were trying to catch
us red-handed in it, and this of course confirmed our suspicions. The
General was told that we both spoke German, and asked us if we had any
complaints. We objected to the place in which we were imprisoned, but
otherwise had not much of which to complain. I then said that we should
like to receive our punishment, since at present we were just under
arrest "pending investigation." The General turned to his A.D.C., who,
saluting between each sentence, said that the General had signed our
punishment the day before and that we were sentenced to fourteen days'
_Stubenarrest_, and that our punishment started from the day he had
signed it. We thanked him, and said that was just the thing we were
particularly anxious to know, and felt delighted that we had got off so

Two days later we went over into the old room in which Long, Nichol, and
I had originally lived in No. 3 Barracks. The windows of the room were
whitewashed, and there was a sentry in front of our door, the idea
being, of course, to prevent us communicating with the other prisoners.
This was quite absurd and nothing but red tape, as we were allowed to
have the top part of the window open and we were separated only by thin
wooden walls from the rooms on either side of us. It was only necessary
to bang on the wall and shout anything you might wish to say. If we
wanted anything, such as books, some one just threw them through the
window to us. One day when the lieutenant was in the room, a book came
hurtling through the window and hit him full in the chest. The German
kept his temper very well and merely remonstrated with us, saying that
it was unnecessary to break the rules when we could have anything we
wanted by asking him. He was quite right, and I put it down to his
credit that he kept his temper, but the amusement of disobeying rules
slightly relieved our very monotonous existence. I have already
explained that the whole camp was divided into two by torpedo netting.
For the rest of our imprisonment at Clausthal, we used to take our
exercise in this lower or southern section, all the other prisoners
being cleared out of it for half an hour in the morning and half an hour
in the afternoon for that purpose. The weather was beautifully fine,
and, as the tennis-court was in this section, we decided we had better
play tennis during our half an hour's exercise. We just banged on the
wall and asked the people next door to leave two racquets and some balls
outside our door. This was a great success. Kicq was not much of a
player, but he improved fast.

The sentries were on the whole quite friendly. They were ostentatiously
officious when another sentry was near, and did not care that an officer
of any nationality other than English should see them talking to us.
Most of them were physically unfit or badly wounded, and, though all
seemed to be sick of the war, they did their duty in as inoffensive a
way as possible. The old chap whom I had bribed was several times our
sentry, and when he was on at night he would allow us to go into the
room next door and see Nichol and Long. We in return gave him some good
things to eat and hot chocolate and coffee when the nights were cold.
When I was alone in the pigsty we had had a long talk in which he said
that the N.C.O. of the guard had told him that I was actually over the
frontier when I was caught. I am sure that this was not the case,

A few days before we expected to be released, the lieutenant came in and
told us that the General had made a mistake and that our _Stubenarrest_,
as opposed to our _Untersuchungschaft_, did not start when the General
signed our _Bestrafung_, but when the warrant was received by the Camp
Commandant. Consequently, we should not get out till November 12th. I
was extremely angry, as I was weary of the confinement, but Kicq took it
very philosophically.



About this time I wrote home for the first time in code. The last time I
had been home on leave from France before being taken, I had made up,
with the help of the rest of my family, a very rough sort of code
depending on the formation of the letters. I wrote a longish message,
very small, on a piece of cigarette paper, and stuck it to the flap of
the envelope, and then wrote a code message in the letter saying, "Tear
open flap of envelope." The letter got through all right, but they
failed at home to see that it was in code. The other letters I wrote in
code, and I wrote many from Fort 9 (and much more important ones), all
got through successfully.

At midday on November 12th we came out of prison. We had already been
told that we were going to be sent to Ingolstadt; but, though Nichol
made inquiries in the camp, no one seemed to know what sort of place it
was. We had to leave Clausthal camp about 2 o'clock and walk to the
station, so that we had about half an hour in the camp to say "good-bye"
and pass on all we had learnt. Both Kicq and I did a good deal of
talking during the last hour we spent at Clausthal, and when the sentry
came to fetch us we were given a very cheery send-off, nearly all the
camp turning out. We had a two or three mile walk to the station, and
were escorted only by an N.C.O. with a revolver. In fact, during the
whole of this journey we were, quite contrary to our expectations, so
badly guarded that I swore I would be properly prepared to escape the
next time I had a train journey at night. The little lieutenant met us
at the station, and proved to be the most incompetent traveler. Although
he asked every one he saw, he never seemed to know how or where to catch
any train. In fact, Kicq, who had studied the matter when we had had
intentions of trying for Switzerland, knew much more about the route
than he did. We had a pretty uncomfortable and very dull journey.

At Halle, after we had waited an hour or two in a Red Cross dormitory,
the lieutenant made some bad muddle about the trains, and there was also
a difficulty because prisoners-of-war were not allowed to travel on a
"Schnellzug" (fast train). However, eventually we got into a third-class
coach, and after pushing along the corridor, to the surprise of a crowd
of peaceful travelers, we got into a third-class wooden-seated
compartment. The lieutenant was perfectly hopeless and helpless, and I
several times felt inclined to take command of the party and give the
conductor a few marks to get us a decent carriage. I had a longish talk
that night with him, but he would insist on smoking strong cigars with
the window tight shut, and his breath stank so that I was nearly sick.
He gave me rather an interesting picture of the Russian front during the
big German advance. He said the dirt and discomfort were absolutely
horrible. The usual Polish village consisted of huge barn-like
buildings where several families lived together with a swarm of children
and some half-dozen adults of both sexes. They usually slept, as far as
I can make out, on top of the stoves, which were of the big tiled
variety. A large number of animals and chickens lived in the same house,
or rather room. For billeting purposes as many men as possible were
crammed in these places--half a company or more. The whole place was
indescribably filthy, and he assured me that every soldier, from a Tommy
to a general, was simply covered with lice, and never got rid of them
during the whole campaign. He was wounded very seriously early on in the
advance. He got a bullet through his "Herzbeutel" (the bag which
contains the heart), he said. The lot of the wounded was a terrible one,
as they had to be transported on carts, over the worst possible roads,
for very big distances to the rail-heads. Altogether he looked back on
the Russian campaign with horror.

We got to Nüremberg about 2 or 3 a.m. and were put in a room above the
police station or guardhouse in the station. We were allowed to buy some
coffee and bread, and later got a wash and shave. We got to Ingolstadt
some time about midday without further incident, and walked up to the
central office of the prisoners-of-war camp. Here the lieutenant said
good-bye, and I can't pretend I was sorry to see the last of him. He was
quite a good, honest fellow, but one of those hopelessly conscientious
people, with no initiative and no sense of humor.

After waiting in the bureau for some time we were told we were bound for
Fort 9, but could elicit no information as to what sort of place it
was. We were told that we should have to sleep the night at the men's
camp, as the fort was about 7 kilometres out of the town, and it was
either too late or inconvenient to send us out that night.

Ingolstadt is a town of some 30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants and is built
on both banks of the Danube. The prisoners-of-war camp consists of half
a dozen or more old forts, some of which lie on the north and some on
the south bank. Fort 9 has the date 1870 above the gateway and as the
others are on an almost identical plan, I expect they are much the same
date. Besides these forts, which form a ring around Ingolstadt with a
radius of about 7 kilometres, there is a camp for men on the outskirts
of the town itself. As far as I know, all the forts except one, which is
a _strafe_ camp for N.C.O.'s who have attempted to escape, are used for
officer prisoners-of-war. Fort 9, as we soon learnt, is the fort where
the black sheep go. On our way to the men's camp we passed several
working parties, mostly of French soldiers. As far as I could see, they
showed no signs of ill-treatment, though I thought some of the Russians
looked rather hungry and ill-kept. All we could see of the men's camp
was a palisade with several strands of barbed wire on top. An extremely
dirty, unsoldierly Bavarian sentry was sloping about outside, apparently
having a beat of 200 or 300 yards long. He was merely typical of all
Bavarian sentries. They are all, with rare exceptions, filthy and
slovenly, and an incredibly large proportion have most unpleasant faces.
Before I went to Bavaria as a prisoner, I had always looked on the South
German as a kindly man--"gemütlich" is the word they like to use about
themselves--but it did not take long to completely change these ideas. I
had no longer any difficulty in believing that the Bavarians are justly
accused of a very large share in the Belgian atrocities.

While I am on the subject I might mention here Kicq's story of how the
sack of Louvain was started. The account is supported by what Major
Whitton says in his book _The Marne Campaign_, and makes some excuses
for the Germans, though it by no means frees them from blame. The
Germans entered and occupied Louvain with little or no opposition, and
pushed a fairly strong advance guard through the town in the direction
of Antwerp. This advance guard was heavily attacked by a portion of the
Belgian army, was defeated, and fled in panic and complete disorder back
towards Louvain. The Germans in Louvain took these fugitives for a
Belgian attack and fired on them, and they fired back. Very soon there
was a general mix-up on a large scale. The defeated advance guard was
being fired into by the Belgians on one side and by their own comrades
on the other. The civilians in the town also thought that Louvain was
being attacked and was about to be retaken by the Belgians. They were
determined to do their bit, so they added to the general confusion by
firing off all the guns they had left, and, if they had none, throwing
furniture, hot water, and anything else handy on the heads of the
Germans in the streets. A certain number of Germans were killed and
injured in this way, and the German soldiers, furious not only at this
but, when they found out their mistake, at having massacred their own
comrades, got completely out of control and sacked and burnt the
greater part of the town. Kicq, at the time when this happened, was in a
hospital at Antwerp, so that his is only a second-hand account, but I
think that most intelligent Belgian officers believe this to be a fairly
true explanation.

To return to our story again--just inside the palisade was a group of
wooden huts which I imagine were the offices of the camp. We were led
through the guardroom, a filthy place with wooden benches running all
down the middle, on which still filthier Bavarians were sleeping,
drinking beer, or playing cards, and were locked into a small room at
the end. We had some food left, and with the help of some nasty looking
soup which the Germans brought us we made quite a good meal. There were
wooden beds and mattresses in the room, and luckily not sufficient light
to allow us to examine them too closely, so we passed quite a good

Next morning I asked to see the Commandant, who seemed quite a nice old
fellow, and requested permission to go over the camp, so that I could
testify to other officers that our prisoners were well treated. He
answered that to grant my request was impossible. "In that case," I
said, "I can only draw the conclusion that you will not let me see the
camp because our prisoners are not treated as they should be." The old
man said he was very sorry, but it was absolutely "verboten," but he
assured me that the prisoners were well treated. An hour or so later an
N.C.O. with a rifle turned up, and we were marched off to Fort 9. The
whole country round Fort 9, which lies due south of Ingolstadt, is very
flat and uninteresting. In fact, it is one of the few really ugly places
I remember seeing in Bavaria. There are a few small woods and clumps of
trees about, but as there is very little undergrowth in them, they
afford only a very temporary shelter to an escaping prisoner--as
Medlicott and I found out later. The fort, as you approach it from the
north, has the appearance of an oblong mound of earth, some 350 yards
long and about 60 feet high. There is a moat 4 to 6 feet deep all around
the place, but a small rampart on the outer side of the moat prevents
the latter being seen from the south till the outer gate into the first
courtyard has been passed.

We tramped along the main high road which leads over the Danube directly
south out of Ingolstadt, and after walking for well over an hour we
began looking about for some signs of a camp, but could see nothing
resembling our previous ideas of one. The guard informed us, however,
that we had only 200 metres to go, and soon we turned sharp to the right
towards the mound before mentioned. We then saw a sentry on one of the
two battery positions which flanked the fort, and another on the top of
the mound. In another minute or two we came to an iron door in a
half-brick, half-earthen wall. Our guard looked through a peep-hole in
this and said we could not go in yet, as _Appell_ was taking place. I
had a look through the peep-hole. Some 40 yards across a sort of
courtyard was a moat, about 15 yards broad, over which there was a
roadway with a heavy iron and wire gate, guarded by a sentry. The road
led over the moat into another courtyard, at the back of which was a
brick wall about 20 feet high with half a dozen large iron barred
windows in it. On the top of the wall was some 40 feet of earth sloping
backwards and upwards to the center "caponnière," the highest part of
the mound, where a sentry stood. In the center of the wall was an
enormous iron door leading, to all appearances, into the heart of the
small hill in front of us. Through the peep-hole I could follow the moat
for 50 or 60 yards in either direction. On the far side of the moat the
ground sloped up slightly for 15 metres to a brick wall about 15 to 20
feet (surmounted by 4 or 5 metres of earth) with heavily barred windows
at regular intervals all the way along it. The windows in this wall were
the windows of our living rooms, and on the strip of grass between the
windows and the moat sentries walked up and down.

In the courtyard about 200 prisoners-of-war of various nationalities
appeared to be mixed up in a very irregular manner; in fact, a good deal
of movement was noticeable among them, and from the confused shouting
which went on I gathered something exciting must be happening. Suddenly
the whole mob broke up and began to stream back into the fort through
the main gate. A German from the inside opened the outer gate, and we
were marched across the moat, a sentry unlocking the gate for us, into
the inner courtyard. Suddenly I saw Milne, whom I had last seen at St.
Omer in 25 Squadron. He was wearing an old flying coat and was
bareheaded. He greeted me with enthusiasm and surprise. A sentry tried
to stop us from meeting, but Milne took no notice of him, and we shook
hands. Several other Frenchmen and Englishmen came crowding round us,
and then some one began roaring out orders in German at the top of his
voice about 10 yards off. I looked up and saw a German captain, who
looked like a middle-aged well-to-do shopkeeper (which in fact he was),
in a furious rage, gesticulating like a windmill. I gathered that Kicq
and I were to be prevented from talking to the other prisoners. I
thought that we had probably better obey him, but none of the other
prisoners paid any attention whatever to the noise he was making till
several sentries bustled us through the main door and into the
Commandant's bureau. As we were going in, an Englishman in a beard
passed by the side of me saying, "Have you anything to hide?" My
compass, which had been given me by a Belgian at Clausthal, was hidden
in my big baggage, so I shook my head.

A young French officer was in the bureau, and a furious discussion took
place between him and the Commandant, who immediately began to shout and
gesticulate. As far as I could make out, the Frenchman had been arrested
at _Appell_ for refusing to stand still. The Frenchman answered that his
feet got cold because, owing to the total incompetency of the Germans,
they took much longer than was necessary at _Appell_. "Aus dem Bureau!"
(Leave the office immediately!) yelled the Commandant. The Frenchman
tried to speak again, but was drowned by the shouts of "No, no, go out
at once, you must not speak to me like that." "Pourquoi non, il n'est
pas la manière d'addresser un officier Français," answered the
Frenchman; and as he spoke the door behind me opened and another
Frenchman entered who, pointing his finger at the Commandant, said,
"Oui, oui, je suis témoin, je suis témoin," and went out again. The
first Frenchman bowed in a formal manner to the Commandant, who had
started to yell "Posten, Posten," and went out of the door just as the
sentry entered. The Commandant mopped his brow and seemed almost on the
verge of collapse, when Kicq protested against the way he had spoken to
us when ordering us into the bureau. This raised another small storm, in
which Kicq easily held his own. The Commandant calmed himself with an

We were then asked the usual questions by an Unteroffizier and told that
we should be in Room 45. Our hand baggage was then searched, and my
rücksack was taken from me. To reach No. 45 we went along a very dark
underground passage dimly lighted by an oil lamp. At the end of the
passage there were some enormous iron doors. These led to one of the two
inner courtyards of the fort, and were then shut, as they always were
during _Appell_. A few yards before coming to the door we turned sharply
to the right into an extremely dark arched opening. The whole passage
was built of solid blocks of stone and had a vaulted roof. After groping
our way round a turning, we came suddenly into another passage some 70
yards long, and also of stone. On the left hand was a bare stone wall
running up 15 feet to the roof; on the right there were doors about
every 4 yards with numbers on them ranging from 39 to 56. Light and air
were brought into the passage by square ventilator shafts in the roof
which ran up through the 15 feet of earth to the pathway above. At the
top of the ventilators glass frames on very strong iron supports
prevented the rain from coming in and the prisoners from getting out.
Needless to say, the passage was the coldest and draughtiest place it
is possible to imagine. Owing to the mound of earth on top, no heat but
much dampness found its way into the passage. At the far end were the
latrines. These were very insanitary, and the smell of them pervaded the
whole passage, into which our living rooms opened. In certain winds they
became almost intolerable. A detailed description of them will have to
be given later, as they played an important part in many attempts to

Room 45 was about half-way along the passage, and we found Captain
Grinnell-Milne, R.F.C., Oliphant, Fairweather, and Medlicott, R.F.C.,
already installed there. The dimensions of the room were, at a guess,
about 12 yards by 5 yards. The floor was asphalt and the walls were
whitewashed brick. The walls and the ceiling were both curved and
together formed an exact semicircle. In fact, the room was very much of
the shape and size of a _Nissen_ hut. This is an excellent shape from
the point of view of strength, but not very convenient for hanging
pictures or putting up shelves. The end of the room farthest from the
door was mainly occupied by two large windows looking out over a strip
of grass which sloped gradually down to the moat, 15 yards away. These
windows were heavily barred with square one-inch bars, three to a
window, and sentries passed along the strip of grass from time to time
and glanced suspiciously in. If they saw anything that interested them
they stood at the window and stared in. There was obviously no such
thing as privacy. In each of these rooms five or six men lived and
cooked and fed and slept.



In the early days of the war Fort 9, Ingolstadt, had been, according to
the oldest inmates of the prison-house, a quiet, well-behaved sort of
place, but for the past six months the Germans had collected into the
fort all the "mauvais sujets" from the German point of view, and all
those prisoners-of-war who had made attempts to escape from other camps.
There were about 150 officer prisoners in the place, and of these at
least 130 had made successful attempts to escape from other camps, and
had only been recaught after from three days' to three weeks' temporary

When Kicq and I arrived, 75 per cent. of the prisoners were scheming and
working continually to this end. Some had tramped to the Dutch or Swiss
frontiers and had been captured there; some had taken the train (those
who could speak German) and had been eventually caught by some
mischance; and all firmly believed that it was only the blackest
misfortune which had prevented them from crossing the frontier, and were
convinced that, if once more they could get clear of the camp, they
would reach neutral territory and freedom. Escaping, and how it should
be done, what to beware of and what to risk, what food to take, what
clothes to wear, maps, compasses, and how to get them, how to look
after your feet and how to light a fire without smoke, where to cross
the frontier and what route to take, and a hundred and one things
connected with escaping, were the most frequent subjects of conversation
and rarely out of the thoughts of the great majority of the prisoners at
Fort 9. Each man was ready to give the benefit of his experiences, his
advice, and his immediate help to any one who asked for them. In fact,
we pooled our knowledge. The camp was nothing less than an escaping
club. Each man was ready to help any one who wished to escape and had a
plan, quite regardless of his own risk or the punishment he might bring
upon himself. For courts-martial no one cared twopence, and nearly every
one in the fort had done considerable spells of solitary confinement.

There were in the camp, mainly among the Frenchmen, some of the most
ingenious people I have ever come across. Men who could make keys which
would unlock any door: men who could temper and jag the edge of an old
table-knife so that it would cut iron bars: expert photographers (very
useful for copying maps): engineering experts who would be called in to
give advice on any tunnel which was being dug: men who spoke German
perfectly: men who shammed insanity perfectly, and many, like myself,
who were ready to risk a bit to get out, but had no parlor tricks. One
had escaped from his prison camp dressed as a German officer: another
had escaped in a dirty clothes basket, and another had been wheeled out
of the camp hidden in a muck tub: another sportsman had painted his face
green to look like a water-lily and had swum the moat in daylight under
the sentry's nose. It is impossible to recount all the various means
that were tried, and successfully tried, in order to escape from camps.
Forgery, bribery, impersonation, with an utter disregard of risks of
being shot, all found their advocates in Fort 9. In spite of the fact
that every man was ready to do his utmost, at whatever personal risk, to
help a friend who was trying to escape, each man was advised to keep his
own plans of escape strictly to himself. It was not that we were afraid
of spies among ourselves, but it was impossible to be quite sure of all
the orderlies, who were either Frenchmen or Russians. There was one
French orderly of whom we had serious suspicion but could never prove
anything against him.

It can be readily understood that the Germans, having herded some 150
officers with the blackest characters into one camp, took considerable
precautions to keep them there. From the moat on one side to the moat on
the other, the fort at the broadest part measured about 300 yards. On
the southern side, as can be seen from the sketch map, the moat ran
around the fort in a semi-oval, and steep grass banks sloped from the
top of the ramparts to the edge of the moat, beside which was a narrow
footpath patroled by sentries. On the southern side the ramparts were
higher than on the northern, and the top must have been 50 feet above
the moat. Along the top there was a narrow footpath where the prisoners
were allowed to walk. From this path we got a good view of the
surrounding country, which was completely under cultivation and very
flat, with small wooded downs in the distance to relieve the monotony.
From the path, we were able to see the moat, but, owing to the shelving
of the bank, not the sentry in the path below. Just inside the parados
there were at regular intervals heavily built traverses, and between the
traverses glass ventilators poked up from the rooms and passages which
lay under the southern ramparts. From the parados a grass bank sloped
down to a broad gravel walk, and from this another steep bank dropped
some 20 feet into the inner court. The barred window from the orderlies'
quarters, the kitchen, and the solitary confinement cells looked out
from this bank into the courtyard. On the northern side a similar bank,
but without windows in it, sloped up to the gravel path, which ran all
round the fort. Only a 7-foot parapet, over which we were forbidden to
look, bounded the gravel path on the north side; but the rules did not
forbid us looking into the outer courtyard, where _Appell_ was usually
held. On the south side the moat was about 40 yards broad and on the
north only about 16 yards, and though we never found out the depth
accurately we imagined it to be about 5 feet at the deepest part. The
whole space inside was formed into two courtyards by a very broad
central passage leading from the main door to the center "caponnière" on
the south side. The earth ridge on the top of the passage formed the
highest point in the fort. On it was a flagstaff where flags were
hoisted at each German victory, imaginary or otherwise. A sentry was
always posted there. In the day time there were eighteen sentries posted
in and around the court, and at night time twenty-two posted as I have
shown them on the sketch map.

It was obvious that there were only two possible ways of getting out:
one was to go out by the main gate past three sentries, three gates, and
a guardhouse and the other was to go through the moat. It was impossible
to tunnel under the moat. It had been tried, and the water came into the
tunnel as soon as it got below the water level. An aeroplane was the
only other solution. That was the problem we were up against, and
however you looked at it, it always boiled down to a nasty cold swim or
a colossal piece of bluff.

All the members of Room 45, where I now found myself, had previously
escaped from other camps. Milne and Fairweather, with Milne's brother,
then at Custrin, had walked out of the main gate of a camp of which I
forget the name, the brother dressed as a German officer, Fairweather as
a soldier, and Milne as a workman. The scheme had worked well. They had
walked into the commandantur as if to see the commandant, and then had
pulled off their British uniforms in the passage and, leaving them on
the floor, had calmly walked out of the other door of the commandantur
and passed all the sentries without any difficulty. Milne's brother
spoke excellent German, and they said that their "get-up" had been very
good and had been the result of some months' hard work. Oliphant and
Medlicott[1] had been caught together within a mile or two of the Dutch
frontier. Poole and these two had escaped together from a camp by an
audacious bit of wire-cutting in full daylight, suitable side-shows
having been provided to keep the sentries occupied. After doing the
march on foot to the frontier at an almost incredible speed, they lay
up in a wood a couple of miles or so from the frontier sentries,
intending to cross that night. Most unluckily for them, the day being
Sunday (always the most dangerous day for escaping prisoners, as there
are so many people about), a party of sportsmen came upon them. Oliphant
had his boots on and managed to get away, but Poole and Medlicott were
collared. A sentry marched them along to a sort of barn, opened the
door, and entered before them. They slammed the door on him and bolted.
Poole got clean away and crossed the frontier that night, but Medlicott
was caught after a short, sharp chase. Oliphant took a wrong
compass-bearing during the night, lost his way, and was caught the
following morning. They really had very bad luck. All three ought to
have crossed, as they were very determined fellows, and all of them had
had considerable previous experience in escaping.

We used to talk bitterly of prisoners' luck at Ingolstadt, and one of
the things which induced us to keep on trying was the belief that our
luck would turn. Medlicott especially had had four or five attempts
before he came to Ingolstadt. One of these was most spectacular, and I
must give a short account of it. I am not sure out of which camp the
escape was made, but one-time inmates will perhaps recognize it. A road
ran alongside one of the main buildings of the camp. On the far side of
the road was a steep bank with a barbed wire fence on the top, and from
there terraced gardens sloped steeply up a hill and away from the camp.
The building was several stories high, and Medlicott and a companion
decided that it would be possible to fix up a drawbridge from the
second-story windows, and from there jump over the road and the wire on
to the terrace. Every detail was fully thought out. They had a 9-foot
plank, the near end of which they intended to place on the window-sill,
and the far end would be supported by a rope from the top of the window.
This would form an extremely rickety bridge, but though they would have
a considerable drop, 12 feet or so, they had only quite a short distance
to jump forward, as the road was quite narrow. Arrangements had been
made to put out the electric light and to cut the telephone wires
simultaneously, as a sentry was posted in the road and they had to jump
over his head. The most suitable room was occupied by a Belgian general,
and they decided to make the attempt from there. When they entered the
Belgian's room on the selected night and informed him of what was about
to happen, he absolutely refused to allow his room to be used for such a
purpose. Medlicott explained to him (in bad French) that they were going
from that room at once, whatever the general said, and that if he made a
noise, they would be compelled to use force to keep him quiet. The
general started shouting "Assassin!" and "A moi!" "A moi!" but they sat
on him and gagged him and tied him to the bed. They then got out their
plank and successfully jumped over the road and got clean away. They
were recaught, however, about four days afterwards, I don't remember
how. At their court-martial they were complimented by the President on
their escape, and were given the lightest possible punishment (about two
months apiece, I think) for the numerous crimes they had committed. The
Belgian general was brought up as a witness against them, but could say
nothing without making himself a laughing-stock or worse!

The other Englishmen at Fort 9 all lived in Room 42. They were Major
Gaskell, Captain May, Captain Gilliland, Captain Batty Smith, Lieutenant
Buckley, together with Lieutenant Bellison, a Frenchman, who spoke
English with complete fluency, though with a bad accent. I know that
when I first went to Ingolstadt they had some scheme on for tunneling
out of the inner court through the rampart so as to come out half-way up
the bank above the moat on the south side. It was a good idea, but never
got very far, as the beginning of the tunnel was discovered by the
Germans--without Room 42 being incriminated, however. I do not remember
any time in Fort 9 when there was not some scheme or other in the
English rooms for escaping, and we all occupied some hours nearly every
day in perfecting our arrangements for escaping. There were several
excellent maps in the fort, especially amongst the Frenchmen, and very
many laborious hours were spent in copying these in different colored
inks. Several people even made two or three copies, so as to be ready to
try again immediately in the event of their being recaptured with a map
in their possession. A certain amount of map copying was done by
photography. Cameras were strictly prohibited, but there was at least
one in the fort, which had got in I don't know how, and which did a lot
of useful work.

The Frenchmen in the fort were, as a whole, a most excellent lot of
fellows, and the English and French were the very best of friends.
Colonel Tardieu, the senior French officer, was one of the old school.
"He thanked whatever gods there be for his unconquerable soul," and
would have no truck with the Germans. He asked no favors from them, and
would show no gratitude if they offered him any. He protested formally
but vehemently against such insults as being asked to sit at the same
table as the German officer who was guarding him on a railway journey.
He said that eating at the same table was in a way a sign of friendship,
and to ask a French colonel to eat with a German was an insult. I hear
he was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment for this and many
similar offenses. How could we all help having the greatest admiration
for the unbending spirit of this man, who had his own rigid ideas of
honor and lived up to them to the letter, in spite of a feeble body by
no means fit to withstand the strain of continuous antagonism and
physical discomfort? Commandant de Goys, who escaped from Germany a few
months after I did, was in the French Flying Corps, and a very
well-known man in it, I believe. At one time he had been sent by the
French to reorganize the Turkish aviation corps, and told some amusing
stories of his meetings with Germans there who were simultaneously
reorganizing the Turkish army. He had escaped from some other camp in a
clothes-basket, and had very nearly got across the Swiss frontier. He
had a perfect mania for attempting to escape in baskets, and tried twice
more at Ingolstadt. He was a good-looking, strongly made, athletic
fellow of forty or thereabouts, and a great friend of Major Gaskell's.
Through Major Gaskell I very soon got to know de Goys very well. Then
there was Michel, a big fat man, whose father had been in a very high
position in the French army but had retired just before the war. He was
an extremely nice fellow, and very keen and quite good at games. He and
Desseaux, also a charming fellow, were the best French hockey and tennis
players in the fort. One of the most interesting people in the fort, and
certainly the best read in French literature, was Decugis, the son of
Colonel Decugis, who took some considerable part in the invention of the
French 75 mm. gun. I gathered that he had led a pretty fast life before
the war. He was a small dark fellow, very strong and wiry, and French to
his finger-tips. He used to give me French lessons, and he learnt to
talk English very quickly. Le Long, La Croix, and de Robiere and several
others were nothing but children, and they were always in irrepressibly
good spirits. They were great men at our fancy-dress balls, when they
usually came marvelously got up as ladies of no reputation, with immense
success. They were ready to attempt to escape, play the fool, or be a
nuisance to the Germans at any time night or day with equal good humor.
Room 39, where they lived a sort of hand-to-mouth existence, was always
untidy and always noisy. They preferred it like that.

Then there was a French colonial colonel and Moretti, both Corsicans.
The colonel had been in command of the disciplinary battalion of the
"Joyeux," that is to say, the French criminals who do their military
service in Africa in a special military organization. You can well
imagine that the colonel of the battalion, to which the most
incorrigible cases are sent, is likely to be a pretty hard case
himself. The French used to say that all Corsicans, as soon as they get
a command of any sort, imagine themselves to be budding Napoleons. This
was rather the case with the colonel. He had been badly hit on the head
by a bit of shell, and was not always quite sane. He was a middle-sized
man, very strong and active, with close-cropped hair and rugged face,
and I am sure he would stick at absolutely nothing to gain his ends. He
considered himself a great strategist (with regard to escaping at any
rate), but it was Moretti who had the brains and ingenuity, as well as
the skill to carry out the plans.

Moretti was very short but wonderfully well made, with a round cheerful
face and a funny little flat nose. He was always laughing or ragging
some one. He and Buckley were inseparable companions in crime and stole
oil, potatoes, coal, or wood together, keeping up a continuous flow of
back-chat all the time. He had been an adjutant chef (sergeant-major) in
a "Joyeux" battalion at the age of 28, which is extraordinarily young,
considering that only the very best N.C.O.'s can be used for such work,
and had won his commission in France. Having been employed for the eight
years previous to the war in managing and outwitting the most ingenious
criminals that exist when they tried to escape, he knew just about all
there was to be known about stealing, cutting iron bars, picking locks,
etc. He told wonderful stories of the doings of his "Joyeux" in France.
He used to say they were the best troops in the world, and I believe
they were extraordinarily good as _troupes d'assaut_. He told us how in
the early days of the war 450 of his "Joyeux" had stormed a trench
system and killed 600 Germans with their knives alone. That was at
Maisonette, I think. He had some wonderful stories of the second battle
of Ypres, where the Germans were driven back into the canal which they
had crossed at Bixschoote, and were killed almost to a man. He saw more
corpses there, he said, than at Verdun. When his "Joyeux" were billeted
behind the lines, a special warning had to be sent to the inhabitants to
lock up all their belongings.

There were, of course, a number of other Frenchmen who helped us, and
whom we helped at various times, and who practically without exception
were our very good friends, but I think I have mentioned those with whom
we came most in contact. Among the Russians there were several excellent
fellows, but as a whole we did not find them very interesting.
Curiously, few of them spoke any language but their own really well, and
except for Oliphant, and afterwards Spencer, none of us spoke much
Russian. They were very generous fellows, and whenever they did have any
food, which was seldom, they used to give dinners and sing-songs. With
regard to escaping, if you needed anything such as a leather coat or a
greatcoat (the Russian greatcoat can, with little alteration, be turned
into a very respectable German officer's greatcoat), you could be sure
to get it as a gift or by barter from the Russians if they could
possibly spare it. The difficulty of saying anything about them is added
to by the fact that I cannot recall their real names.

"Charley" was a very rough diamond, but as generous and kind-hearted a
fellow as one could meet anywhere; he and Buckley were good friends. He
spoke German perfectly and played hockey, so I also got to know him a
bit better than most of the others. Lustianseff was a Russian aviator.
He spoke French well, and used to teach me Russian. So did Kotcheskoff,
a regular Hercules of a fellow, but mentally an absolute babe--a sort of
Joe Gargery. He was universally liked, and continually had his leg
pulled by the Frenchmen in de Goys' room, where he and Lustianseff
lived. Kotcheskoff could talk English not much better than I could talk
Russian; he also talked French and German very badly; consequently he
and I could never manage much of a conservation with one another without
the help of all four languages. There were, however, several Russians,
real good fellows, whom I never got to know well. One of them had
escaped from a camp with some friends, and had reached the frontier
after walking for over thirty days. His friends had got across, but he
had been recaptured. I heard a short time ago that he had escaped and
had crossed the Swiss frontier at the same place as Buckley and I did.

Our day at Fort 9 was regulated to a certain extent by _Appells_ or
roll-calls. When I first went to Ingolstadt there were three _Appells_ a
day--at 7 a.m., at 11.30 a.m., and between 4 and 7 in the evening,
according to the time of year. After I had been there a month or so a
fourth _Appell_ was added at 9 o'clock at night. After this fourth
_Appell_, the door leading from each wing to the center of the fort was
locked and bolted, so that the two wings were cut off from communication
with each other. The 7 a.m. _Appell_ took place whilst we were still in
bed. A German N.C.O. came round and flashed a torch in each of our faces
or satisfied himself that we were all there. Immediately afterwards the
great iron doors leading into the inner courtyards were opened. It was
in these inner courtyards that we played hockey and tennis and football,
and did our exercises, etc.

The rules of the fort stated that the 11.30 _Appell_ should take place
either in our rooms or in the outer courtyard, the place where it was
being held when Kicq and I first arrived, at the discretion of the
Commandant. As the feeling between the Germans and the prisoners became
more and more bitter, the _Appell_ outside became really very exciting,
and from the German point of view an almost intolerable performance. We
always used to object to this outside _Appell_ owing to the nuisance of
turning out and to the waste of time, as the Germans never managed to
count us in less than half an hour. I will say that they had a pretty
difficult task; we never stood still and gave them a fair chance, as the
general spirit of Fort 9 was to be insubordinate and disobedient
whenever possible, so the Germans more or less dropped this outside
_Appell_ and only had it when the C.O. had some order or _Strafe_ to
read out to the prisoners as a whole. If the Germans wished the 11.30
_Appell_ outside, they gave one ring on an electric bell which sounded
in our passage, and if inside, two rings. As 11 a.m. was our usual time
for breakfast, we used to listen for the second ring with some
impatience. About ten minutes after the bell had rung for outside
_Appell_ the greater part of the prisoners would congregate in the
outer courtyard. They turned up in any sort of costume, smoking
cigarettes and talking and shouting and laughing. In the courtyard on
the far side of the moat a guard of some twenty or thirty Hun soldiers
was drawn up, and on either side of the main gate stood eight or nine
more villainous looking Bavarian soldiers with rifles and fixed

The C.O. usually kept us waiting for a minute or two, being perhaps
under the delusion that we might get into some sort of order if we were
given time. He came from the bureau through the main gate followed by
his _Feldwebel_ (sergeant-major) and several N.C.O.'s, and, though the
majority used to take no notice of him whatever, he was usually greeted
by some confused shouting in four languages. By this time nine-tenths of
the officers had ranged themselves very roughly five deep on the
right-hand side of the main gate, which was immediately closed by a
cordon of sentries. Several officers would continue to stroll about
behind the ranks or wander from one part to another to talk to friends;
and in several parts of the line, and especially at the English and
French end of the line, little knots of men would hold animated
discussions of the latest news. The front ranks stood firm, but the rear
ranks paid little or no attention to the Germans. On the left of the
gateway the orderlies were drawn up and stood in a fairly regular and
silent mob, highly amused at the disorder in the ranks of the officers.
The C.O. would stand in front for perhaps a couple of minutes, hoping
vainly that things would calm down. He then saluted us formally. A few
Frenchmen, and most Englishmen and Russians, who happened to be looking
in that direction answered his salute. Then a scene something as follows
used to take place.

The C.O. called out, "Meine Herren," then louder, "Meine Herren, etwas
Ruhe bitte." This had some small effect, though there would be one or
two cries of "Comprends pas," "Parle pas Bosche," of which the Germans
took no notice. One or two Englishmen whose breakfasts were getting cold
would try to make the Frenchmen shut up, but only added to the noise.
Two N.C.O.'s were then sent off to count us. One went along the front
and one along the rear of the ranks trying to get the officers to stand
in files of five. As the prisoners were continually moving about this
looked an impossible task, but they eventually used to manage it, though
they sometimes had to give up in despair and start again. As soon as
this was over the numbers were reported to the _Feldwebel_, and two more
N.C.O.'s were sent into the building to count the sick who had remained
in their rooms, while we stood stamping our feet in the cold and waiting
for them. Perhaps some Frenchman would call out to an Englishman,
"Savez-vous combien de prisonniers Bosches les Anglais out pris
hier?"--"Onze mille trois cent quatre vingt deux Bosches." A certain
amount of laughter followed, and the ranks would break up more or less
and start walking about and talking. After ten minutes' wait, the
N.C.O.'s who had been counting the sick would return and give their
counts to the _Feldwebel_. Sometimes the tally was right and sometimes
wrong--if the latter, the whole thing had to be done over again,
accompanied by cries of derision, contempt, and impatience from the

Very often the riot got so bad that the C.O., after glancing anxiously
over his shoulder, beckoned the guard to come in to overawe us. The old
Landsturm, as they came pouring through the gate over the moat, were
greeted with hoots and yells. At the order of an N.C.O. they
loaded--this had no effect on the Frenchmen, who laughed and ragged the
C.O. and sentries in French and bad German. But why did the Germans
never shoot? It is not difficult to understand. We had no reason to
suppose that the Commandant was tired of life, and we knew that his
_Feldwebel_ was an arrant coward; and the one thing quite certain was,
that if the order to fire on us was given, the first thing we should do
would be to kill the Commandant and the _Feldwebel_, and they knew it
very well--and that was our safeguard.

Many times during those outside _Appells_ at Fort 9 I was sure we were
pretty close to a massacre--and the massacred would not have been
confined to the prisoners. There were in that small courtyard only about
forty armed Germans, all oldish men, and there were of us, counting the
orderlies, nearly 200 extremely active men. We should have won
easily--and the Germans knew it. At any time we wished, we could have
taken that fort and escaped, though if we had, none of us would have got
out of the country alive. You must understand then that the Germans did
not tolerate this insubordination because they liked it or because they
were too kind-hearted to fire, but because for the sake of their own
skins they dared not give the order to fire. The prisoners, on the
other hand, were prepared to risk a good deal for the sake of
demonstrating how little they cared for German discipline, and for the
sake of keeping up their own spirits, but most especially just for the
fun of ragging the hated Bosche.

Towards the end of my time at Ingolstadt, the Germans, as I have already
said, only had _Appell_ outside when they had something to announce to
the prisoners. In the momentary hush which usually occurred when we were
expecting the Commandant to dismiss us, the _Feldwebel_ would step
forward, produce a paper, and start to read in German. This was always
the signal for a wild outcry--"Comprends pas!" "Assassin!" "Assassin!"
(for, as I will show later, the _Feldwebel_ had good reason to be
unpopular), "Parle pas Bosche!" "Can't understand that damned language,"
"Ne pomenaio!" (Don't understand) from a Russian, etc. The _Feldwebel_
would carry on, white with funk, till the end, when the C.O. would seize
the first moment in which he could make himself heard to dismiss us with
the words, "Appell ist fertig, meine Herren." If the cordon of sentries
in front of the main gate happened to hear the dismissal, they got out
of the light quickly; if not, they were brushed aside before they knew
what was happening. Why no one ever got stuck with a bayonet I never
could make out.

So much for the 11.30 _Appell_. Very much more often than not it took
place in our rooms. We carried on with our breakfasts or whatever we
were doing, and an N.C.O., after giving a tap at the door, came in, made
certain that every one was present, and went out again. Five minutes or
so later the electric bell would ring, and _Appell_ was over. The doors
into the inner courtyard were then opened again--they were always closed
during _Appell_--and everything was done with the minimum of
inconvenience to ourselves. The time of the next _Appell_ varied with
the time of the year. It took place about half an hour before dark, and
after it the doors into the inner courts were shut for the night, but
the two wings were not locked off from one another till after the 9
o'clock _Appell_, when we were visited in our rooms in just the same
way. Between 4 and 9 a sentry was left in the long passage in each of
the wings. Poor chap! He used to have an uncomfortable time trying to
stop us from stealing the lamps in the passage. After 9 o'clock he was
withdrawn, and, as I have already said, the doors at the end of the
passage were locked and we were left to our own devices.

The above description of an outside _Appell_ is by no means an
exaggeration. Certainly they were sometimes less rowdy, but not often. I
remember one _Appell_ was taken by General Peters in person. General
Peters was the C.O. of all the camps of Ingolstadt and appeared one
morning with some special _Strafe_ or reprisal to read out to us. If I
remember right, it had something to do with alleged ill-treatment of
German officers in France. The General was not popular, and even more
noise was made than usual. Just before the cordon was drawn across the
door, a French captain walked down the whole front line carrying a chair
and sat down throughout the _Appell_. When the _Feldwebel_ stood forward
to read his document, he was greeted with the usual cries of "Assassin!"
and "Parle pas Bosche!" and finished in a storm of howls which
completely drowned his voice. The interpreter then proceeded to read a
French translation, which was listened to with attention, the reading
being merely punctuated by cheers and laughter and hoots at the
interesting points. After the Russian shooting affair, which happened
towards the end of our time at the fort, one Russian always used to turn
up with a large Red Cross flag on a pole. When things began to get
really exciting, I own I used to edge away from the flag, as I felt sure
the Germans would fire their first volley into the group round it.


[Footnote 1: Lieutenant Medlicott, R.F.C., was later murdered by the
Germans on his tenth attempt to escape.]



One morning just before _Appell_, a Frenchman came along the passage and
announced in each room that Colonel Tardieu was not going out to
_Appell_ that morning, and would be obliged if other officers would
remain in their rooms when the bell went. We did not know exactly what
the reason was, and I don't know now, but I think the Colonel had some
right on his side--as much right as we usually had in Fort 9. Soon after
this announcement a deputation of Russians waited on Major Gaskell to
find out what the English intended to do. I may as well say here that
Gaskell and most of the other Englishmen (myself included) did not
altogether approve of this rowdyism on _Appell_, as we thought it might
lead to serious restriction of our exercise and consequently of our
chances of escaping, which was of course the only thing worth

As the Russian colonel insisted on acting as interpreter for the
deputation, the discussion lasted a quarter of an hour before we
understood that the Russians thought it would be better to go out, as
they considered it probable that the Germans would treat our refusal as
an organized mutiny. But they were, they said, prepared to follow our

Gaskell and I then went off to see Colonel Tardieu. The Colonel said
that, though it was best for us to stick together, this case was a
purely personal matter, and we could please ourselves--he could only say
that he was not going out, and that the French would follow his lead.
Gaskell and I determined to compromise by leaving the matter unsettled,
but to go out ourselves to _Appell_ very late. In this way it was quite
impossible for the Germans to prove organized mutiny against us, and
equally impossible to hold _Appell_ outside--and the whole thing could
easily be put down to mismanagement and the lack of clear orders on the
part of the Germans. This was, in fact, just what happened. The Germans
were furious, but we pointed out that they had given so many
contradictory orders about _Appell_ that no one knew what they wanted.
They soon saw that there was no case against us for organized mutiny and
let the matter drop. The real trouble was that the Commandant was a man
who was simply made to be ragged.

A more unfortunate choice for a C.O. of a _strafe_ camp can scarcely be
imagined. He was a short, thick-set, dark man, about fifty years old,
with a large drooping moustache and an inclination to stoutness. His
hair was rather long, and he wore pince-nez for reading. I think he had
only been C.O. of Fort 9 for a few months when we first went there, but
some of the prisoners had known him when he had been in command of
another camp, and he then had the reputation for being a kindly and
sympathetic commandant. But when we first knew him constant badgering
had already soured his temper. He was rather like a schoolmaster whose
form has got quite out of control, uncertain whether his boys were
intending to be insolent or not. He never pretended to stand on his
dignity--his appearance and behavior stamped him as an amiable
shopkeeper cursed with occasional fits of violent temper. Then he laid
himself open to be ragged so dreadfully. Although he knew little about
the business of the fort and had to appeal to his _Feldwebel_ on almost
every point, yet he insisted on attending personally to nearly every
officer who came into the bureau. The _Feldwebel_ and two extremely
efficient N.C.O.'s, known as Abel and the "Blue Boy," really managed the

This reminds me of a most amusing caricature of the _Feldwebel_ ordering
the C.O. about, which was pinned up in a conspicuous place. I think a
_Reclamation_ or official letter was sent in to General Peters,
protesting against this state of affairs, for which the author got a few
days' "jug." A few days' "jug" was just a farce. The cells were always
full, and when you got your _Bestrafung_ you were put on a waiting list
and did your period of solitary confinement from three to five months
later. One angry Frenchman wrote a furious _Reclamation_ talking of
justice and favoritism because Oliphant had been allowed to do a "slice
of four days' jug" out of his turn on the list. A sheaf of
_Reclamations_ (the word was pronounced in either German or French way)
used to go in daily to General Peters on every conceivable subject, from
serious grievances to humorous insults, from a protest against the
filthy habits of Bavarian sentries to an accusation of poisoning a pet

Some men used to spend a great deal of their time writing _Reclamations_
conveying veiled insults to the Germans. It seemed to me rather a waste
of time, but they caused a great deal of amusement. It was just like
composing a sarcastically offensive letter to a Government department.
Some of the results were really very humorous and witty, but I am afraid
they were wasted on the Bosche, and I have no doubt they all went
straight into Peters' wastepaper-basket--at any rate, I never heard of a
_Reclamation_ having any effect except three days' "jug" for the author
of the most offensive ones.

When we first came to the fort we were told that some of the French had
sworn an oath to drive the Commandant off his head. He was pretty far
gone. Some of the Englishmen, chiefly Oliphant, Medlicott, and Buckley,
with these Frenchmen, used to get an enormous amount of amusement by
baiting the old fool.

I remember once a conversation something as follows:--

_Frenchman._--"The German food you give us is very bad."

_Commandant._--"Es tut mir sehr leid, aber----"

_Frenchman._--"And it is impossible for any one but a Bavarian to eat it
without wine."

"Was meinen Sie, das dürfen Sie nicht sagen," answered the Commandant

"Why won't you give us wine?" shouted the Frenchman.

"You have got no right to speak to me like that."

"And you don't know how to speak to a French officer; it's disgusting
that when you give," etc.

"Sofort aus dem Bureau gehen?" (Will you go out of the bureau?)

Both start shouting simultaneously:

"Why won't you give us wine?"

"Aus dem Bureau ... I will report you to General Peters."

"Je m'en fous de General Peters--I won't go out till you speak politely
to a French officer."

"Go out of this bureau immediately when I tell you to."

"I won't go till you learn to speak politely to me."

The Commandant then rushed at the telephone and pretended to wind the
handle violently, but without really calling up at all. He put the
instrument to his ear and said:

"Herr General Peters. Are you there? I am Hauptmann L'Hirsch. There is a
Frenchman in the office who won't go away. What shall I do?"

Slight pause for Peter's reply. Then to the Frenchman in French:

"The General says that you must leave the bureau immediately."

"Did the General speak politely?"


"Eh bien je sors."

I have already given a description of a scene which took place the first
time I ever entered the bureau--and these sort of scenes used to happen
daily and hourly. Whenever the Commandant lost his temper, which he did
without fail every time, he threw his arms about, clenched his fists,
gesticulated furiously, and shouted at the top of his voice. Soon after
the Bojah affair, which I will describe later, when rows of this sort
multiplied exceedingly, he was removed from the fort nothing less than a
raving maniac with occasional sane intervals. In the court-martial which
followed the Bojah case, the witnesses for the defense attempted to
prove that the insane behavior of Hauptmann L'Hirsch was the main cause
of all trouble in Fort 9. In an impartial court of justice, which this
court-martial was not, I have not the smallest doubt that they would
have succeeded in proving this, owing to L'Hirsch's behavior during the

The food given us by the Germans was not only very nasty, but there was
not enough of it to keep a man alive. Perhaps this is an exaggeration,
as I know that a man can keep alive, though weak, with very little food.
But lack of food to this extent, combined with the hardships of a winter
at Fort 9, would, I am sure, be enough to kill most strong men. Every
day each man received a loaf of bread, shaped like a bun, about 4-1/2
inches across the bottom and 2 inches in depth. It was of a dirty brown
color and, though unpleasant, it was eatable. Some even said they liked
it. I don't know what it was made of, but I should think from the taste
that rye, sawdust, and potatoes formed the ingredients, the latter
predominating. It was sometimes very stodgy, and sometimes sour, but on
the whole was better bread than we received either at Gütersloh or
Clausthal. Later on, the size of the loaf was reduced by more than a
third and the quality deteriorated very much, the percentage of sawdust
and other unpleasant ingredients being much increased. We never ate it
unless we were very hard up, but, if left for a few days, it became as
hard as a brick and was most useful as a firelighter. I remember an
officer telling us that when he was a prisoner at Magdeburg in the early
days of the war, the English prisoners had started playing rugger in the
exercise yard with a piece of bread that had dropped in the mud. There
was a terrible scene of indignation and excitement among the Germans.
The guard turned out--fixed bayonets--charged--rescued the
loaf--arrested every one, and I don't remember what happened after that,
but all the criminals were severely punished. It must have been terrible
to have been a prisoner in those early days. I heard hundreds of stories
from the poor devils who were caught in 1914. Some of these stories were
funny, some were filthy, that is to say, funny to a German mind, and
some were enough to make a man swear, as many have sworn, never to speak
to a German in peace time and never to show mercy to one in war.[2]

Besides this ration of bread, we were given a small basin of soup
daily--it was just greasy hot water with some vegetable, nearly always
cabbage, in it. The amount of meat we received used to provide each of
us with one helping of meat once every ten days. Two or three times
during my stay at Ingolstadt I remember the meat was quite good, and, if
it was eatable at all, we enjoyed it enormously, as fresh meat was such
a welcome change after the tinned food which we ate continually.
Usually, however, it was impossibly tough, and sometimes merely a piece
of bone and gristle. We tried keeping it for several days, but it always
got high before it got tender. At the end of my time there, when Moretti
had been elected chef of Room 42, we always used to make soup from it.
Moretti used it five times for soup before he would throw it away, and
announced, as he put the soup on the table, "La première," or "La
troisième séance," or "La cinquième et dernière séance," whichever it
was. The Germans also gave us a certain amount of perfectly undrinkable
acorn coffee, and sugar at the rate of about two lumps per man per day.
Sometimes they gave us some very nasty beans and sometimes some really
horrible dried fish--I think it was haddock. It was very salt, and stank
so that we used always to throw it away immediately--we simply could not
stand it in the room. Room 39 used to hang all their fish outside the
window during the cold weather--a revolting sight. It was their reserve
rations, they said. Some of the Russians managed to eat their fish, and
I believe there was a French room which had a special method of treating
it, but it was generally voted uneatable throughout the fort. About one
moderate sized potato per day per head concluded the food rations. This
may seem a fairly generous allowance of food, even if it was not of very
high quality, but in reality it was very little indeed. A day's rations
would work out something as follows: one potato, one small plateful of
hot-water soup, one cup acorn coffee, one lump of sugar, two mouthfuls
of fish, one mouthful of meat, four or five beans, and the loaf of
bread. If any one thinks he can live on that, I should like him to try
for a few months in cold weather. We had not many luxuries and comforts
in Fort 9, and we did look forward to and enjoy the good things to eat
that came from home. It is only people who have never been hungry who
can pretend to be indifferent about food--that is to say, if they are
well and in hard training as we were. The arrival of the parcel cart was
hailed with enormous enthusiasm. I think our people at home would have
been well repaid for all the trouble they took in packing the parcels if
they could have seen the pleasure it gave us receiving them. Excitement
reached a high pitch when we knew that a map or compass was hidden in
one of the parcels.

All the work of the fort--cleaning, cooking, emptying dust-bins,
etc.--was done by French and Russian orderlies under the orders of
German N.C.O.'s, and when our parcels came they were taken out of the
cart and wheeled in on a hand-cart from the outside courtyard to the
packet office. There they were sorted by Abel, a German N.C.O., with the
help of a French orderly. When this had been done, usually the day after
the arrival of the parcels, a list was put up of those who had received
any, just inside the main gateway, on the official notice board. The
giving out of the _paquets_ was a pretty lengthy process, as each was
opened by Abel or an assistant Hun and carefully searched. Each wing
alternately was served first, and an orderly warned each room when the
parcels for that room would be given out. This prevented there being a
long queue of officers waiting outside the _paquet_ office. A sentry
stood outside the door and admitted three officers at a time. A couple
of yards inside the door there was a counter right across the room, and
on the far side two German N.C.O.'s stood, each armed with a knife and a
skewer--the first for opening the parcels, the latter for probing the
contents for forbidden articles. You signed for your parcels and paid 5
Pf. or 10 Pf. for the cost of carting them up.

The Germans, after showing you the address on the outside, cut them open
and examined the contents, sometimes minutely and sometimes carelessly.
Abel was an oily little brute, very efficient; we hated him and he hated
us with a bitter hatred--not without reason on both sides. I think he
hated the French more than he did the English, but he hated Medlicott
more than all the rest put together. About two months before I left Fort
9 a rumor went round, to the intense joy of every one, that Abel was
under orders for the West Front, and we all wished him luck, and he knew
what we meant. Abel was just a bit too clever, and consequently got done
in the eye sometimes; but I must own that he had a tremendous amount of
work to do and did it very quickly and efficiently. His very capable
assistant was the "Blue Boy," whose chief job was to lurk about the fort
and try and catch us out. He was always standing in dark corners and
turning up unexpectedly. It was his job to tap the bars of our windows
with a sledge hammer every three days, and he took an active part in the
pursuit if any one escaped.

He was not so clever as Abel, but he had more time for spying and was
more persistent. It always seemed to me to be worth keeping on fairly
decent terms with these two. It was only necessary to refrain from being
offensive to be on better terms than most people in the fort.

It was very different with that swine of a _Feldwebel_. He never walked
about without a revolver in his pocket, and he never came alone down any
dark passage; "et il avait raison," as the French said, as he had
several pretty narrow shaves with brickbats as it was. At one time those
tins and jars, such as butter, jam, quaker-oats, which had been packed
and sealed in a shop, were passed over to us unopened, and only
home-made and home-packed articles were examined. Later on, however,
everything had to be turned out on a plate and the Germans kept the tin.

Although very nearly all our parcels arrived eventually, they used to
come rather irregularly, and several times as many as twenty to thirty
parcels would arrive for the six of us who were in one room.
Consequently, if all the food had been opened immediately, much of it
would have gone bad before we could eat it. To obviate this difficulty,
the Germans made shelves in the parcel office, and each room or mess
could leave there the food which it did not need for the moment.

At first sight it would seem that this arrangement would make the
smuggling through of forbidden goods almost impossible, or at any rate
that our difficulties would be greatly increased. In reality the
business was simplified. As long as we knew in which tin or small
package the map, compass, or what-not was coming, we could make fairly
certain, by methods which I shall describe later, of getting it without
it ever being opened by the Germans.

After _Appell_ all the fort except the English had dinner. This was the
hour when the potato, wood, oil, and coal stealing fatigues did their
duty. For some weeks our French orderly used to steal potatoes for us as
we needed them. He knew the ropes very well, as he had been in the fort
for more than a year. One day, however, he said that this stealing in
small quantities was a mistake, and that it would be safer to have one
big steal once a month or so. Four of us, under the leadership of
Carpentier, stole eight small sacks without much difficulty. It was just
a matter of knowing the habits of our jailers and timing it accurately.
The Germans were not so suspicious in those days as they became later.
There was a small trap-door 6 feet up the wall in the central passage,
which Carpentier knew how to open. He got in, filled the bags, and
passed them out to us. To carry the full bags back to our rooms we had
to pass under the eyes of a sentry. But that is just the best of a
German sentry. He had had no orders to spot prisoners carrying bags, and
he had also no imagination, so he took no notice.

Between the hours of twelve and two we did our lessons. From two till
four we played hockey or tennis. Tea was at four, when some Frenchmen
usually came in to see us. _Appell_ took place and the doors of the
courtyards were shut about half an hour before sunset. After this
_Appell_, till the evening _Appell_ at nine o'clock, a sentry was left
in our passage; but we could still communicate with the other wing.
Bridge, reading, lessons, lectures, and preparation for dinner took
place during this period. The great amusement was lamp-stealing. During
the winter the Germans allowed us, as we thought, a totally insufficient
supply of oil, which only enabled us to burn our lamps for four hours
out of the twenty-four. This meant going to bed at nine, which was of
course ridiculous. The gloomy passages of the fort were mainly lit by
oil lamps, and from these we used to steal the oil systematically. After
a month or two the Germans realized that this was going on and reduced
the number of lamps, and in the long passage where it was obviously
impossible to stop us stealing oil they put acetylene lamps. Two lamps
to a passage 70 yards long was not a generous allowance.

Between 5 and 9 p.m. the sentry in the passage had special orders, a
loaded rifle, and a fixed bayonet, to see that these lamps were not
stolen. As all the sentries had been stuffed up by the _Feldwebel_ with
horrible stories about the murderous and criminal characters of the
prisoners, it is not surprising that each sentry showed the greatest
keenness in preventing us from stealing the lamps and leaving him, an
isolated Hun, in total darkness and at the mercy of the prisoners. As
any man came out of his room and passed one of the lamps, which were on
brackets about 7 feet from the ground, the sentry would eye him
anxiously and hold himself in readiness to yell "Halt!" and charge up
the passage. The lamps were about 30 yards apart, and someone would come
up, walk up to a lamp, and stop beneath it--the sentry would advance on
him, and when he was sufficiently attracted, the officer would take out
his watch and look at it by the light of the lamp. Meanwhile a second
officer would come quickly out of his room and take down the other lamp.
As soon as the sentry perceived this he would immediately charge, with
loud yells of "Halt! Halt!" but as he turned both lamps would be blown
out simultaneously, and the officers would disappear into their
respective rooms, leaving the passage in total darkness. The amusing
part was that this used to happen every night, and the sentries knew it
was going to happen; but against tactics of this sort, varied
occasionally, of course, but always ending with the lights being blown
out simultaneously, they were quite powerless!

The evening, after the sentry had been withdrawn at 9 p.m., was spent in
the ordinary occupations of gambling, reading, tracing maps, making
German uniforms and pork-pie caps, with occasional fancy-dress balls or
impromptu concerts. Sometimes mysterious lights would be seen in odd
corners of the passage, where someone was industriously working at
making a hole through the wall, removing the blocks of stone noiselessly
one by one; and sometimes one would run up against a few men round a
wonderful structure of tables and chairs in the middle of the passage,
where someone was climbing up the skylight to inspect the sentries on
their beats on the top parapet, but usually all was peace and quiet till
about 11 p.m. At that hour the sentries were supposed to make us put out
the lights in our rooms, but when they found that we paid little or no
attention to repeated cries of "Licht ausmachen," and as there was no
method, short of firing through the bars into a lighted bedroom, to
make us put them out, they eventually gave up these attempts, and,
except for an occasional very offensive or conscientious sentry, we put
out our lamps or candles when we wished.



[Footnote 2: The Germans varied their treatment of their prisoners
inversely with their prospects of victory. When things were going badly
with them--during most of 1916, for instance--much unnecessary harshness
towards their prisoners was relaxed. When once more their hopes of final
victory were raised by the invasion of Roumania and the checking of the
Somme offensive, the poor prisoners had a rough time. Such is the way
with bullies.]



When we had been a few days at the fort, and had had time for a good
look round, Room 45 formed themselves into an escaping club. That is to
say, our ideas and discoveries would be common property. If possible, we
would all escape together; but if the way out was only for two or three,
the rest would help those selected to go to the best of their ability.
It was universally agreed that Fort 9 was the toughest proposition that
any of us had yet struck. The difficulty was not so much the material
obstacles, but the suspicious nature of the Germans.

Medlicott and Oliphant, as the most experienced prison-breakers, came to
the conclusion that it was absolutely necessary to have more accurate
knowledge of the numbers, positions, and movements of the sentries on
the ramparts and round the moat at night than we already possessed. For
this purpose it was decided that one of us must spend a night out. It
was no job to be undertaken lightly. It meant a fifteen-hours' wait on a
freezing night. For the first three and the last three hours of this
time it would be almost impossible to move a muscle without discovery.
And discovery meant a very excellent chance of being stuck with a
bayonet. Besides this, there were two _Appells_ to be "faked"--the
_Appell_ just before sunset and the early morning one. There was no
_Appell_ at 9 o'clock in those days. Our rooms were separated from one
another by 3-foot thick walls, but in these walls were archways leading
from one room to the other. These archways were blocked up by boarding,
and formed recesses in each room which were usually employed as
hanging-cupboards for clothes, coats, etc. Under cover of these we cut a
couple of planks out of the wooden barrier and made a hole so a man
could slip through quickly from one room to the other. These planks
could be put back quickly, and it would have needed a pretty close
examination to have discovered where the board was cut, once pictures
had been pasted over the cracks and coats had been hung up in front.
There was some difficulty at first in obtaining the necessary tools for
the work. The first plank we cut through with a heated table-knife, but
for the second one we managed to steal a saw from the German carpenter
who was doing some work in one of the rooms, and return it before he
missed it. It must not be forgotten that there was absolutely no privacy
in the fort, and that a sentry passed the window and probably stared
into the room every minute or two. A special watch had to be kept for
him, and you had to be prepared at any moment to look as if you were
doing something quite innocent. Room 43 was inhabited by Frenchmen, but
as usual in Fort 9 they were quite willing to help us. We practiced the
trick many times till every one was perfect in his part. The rehearsals
were most amusing. One of us pretended to be Abel doing _Appell_. First
he tapped at the door of 43 and counted the men in the room, shut the
door and walked about 7 paces to the next door, tapped and entered.
Between the time Abel shut one door till the time he opened the next,
six to eight seconds elapsed. During those seconds it was necessary for
the Frenchman to slip through the hole, put on a British warm (we lived
in coats in the cold weather), and pretend to be Oliphant. Abel knew
every man by sight in every room; but, as long as he saw the requisite
number of officers in each room, he did not often bother to examine
their faces. After we had done it successfully, several other rooms
adopted the method, and the "faking" was done a very large number of
times before the Germans discovered it four months later.

The early morning _Appell_ was really easier. For several mornings the
fellow in the bed nearest the hole made a habit of covering his face
with the bed-clothes. Abel soon got used to seeing him like that, and,
if he saw him breathing or moving, did not bother to pull the clothes
off his face. The Frenchman had simply to run from his bed, bolt through
the hole and into the bed in our room, cover up his face, and go through
the motions of breathing and moving his legs sufficiently but without
overdoing it. All this had been practiced carefully beforehand. We had,
of course, enormous fun over these preparations, stealing the saw and
cutting the planks, pretending to be Abel doing _Appell_, and all the
time dodging the sentry at the window. This sort of amusement may seem
childish, but it was the only thing which made life tolerable at Fort 9.

We cast lots as to which one of us was to sleep out. It fell to
Oliphant. I own I breathed a sigh of relief, as I did not relish the
job. The next thing to do was to hide him outside on the ramparts. The
place was selected with great care, and was behind one of the traverses
up on the ramparts on the south side, for our idea was for some or all
of us to hide up there and swim the moat on the south side one dark
night. Medlicott and Milne dug a grave for him, whilst Fairweather and I
kept watch. Just before the _Appell_ bell went we buried him and covered
him with sods and grass. Of course he was very warmly clad, but he had a
pretty beastly night in front of him, as it was freezing at the time. It
was about 4.30 p.m. when he was covered up, and he would not get back to
our room and comparative warmth till 8.15 next morning, when the doors
were opened. The evening _Appell_ went off splendidly, but the night was
brighter than we had hoped, and we were rather anxious about him.

There was some anxiety also about the morning _Appell_, as we could not
be quite certain which way Abel would take the _Appell_, up or down the
passage: that is to say, which room, 42 or 43, would he come to first?
It made all the difference to our arrangements. By careful listening we
found out which way he was coming, and when he poked our substitute, who
groaned and moved in the oft-rehearsed manner, we nearly killed
ourselves with suppressed laughter.

About an hour afterwards, just as we were going out to cover his
retreat, Oliphant suddenly walked in, very cold and hungry but otherwise
cheerful. He had had quite a successful night, and had gained pretty
well all the information we wished for. The bright moon had prevented
him from crawling about very much, but he had seen enough for us to
realize that it would be a pretty difficult job to get through the
sentries and swim the moat even on a dark night.

Although we temporarily abandoned this scheme, owing in the first place
to the difficulties which we only realized after Oliphant's expedition,
and secondly because "faking" _Appell_ was a very chancy business for
more than two people, we nevertheless made the most careful preparations
to escape at the first possible opportunity. Several schemes were
broached. One of these schemes I always considered a good one. In the
low and flat country in which the fort was situated very thick fogs used
to come down quite suddenly. As soon as it became foggy all the
prisoners had to come into the fort and the doors of the courtyards were
shut. Our idea was either to wait outside carefully hidden when the
order was given to come in, or to have some method of getting into the
courtyard in foggy weather; in either case we thought it would not have
been a difficult business to cross the narrow moat on the north side
during a fog in the day time. At night time there were sentries in the
courtyards and on the ramparts, as well as three in front of our
windows. In the day time there were none in the courtyards or on the
ramparts, and only one in front of our windows. The difficulty was to
get into the courtyards after we had been locked up. I climbed up a
ventilator several times to see if it were not possible to cut our way
out there, but the more one went into the details the more difficult it

In the meantime we went on with our preparations: map-copying (which was
Fairweather's department), rations and equipment (of which Medlicott and
Oliphant were in charge), intelligence department as to movements of
sentries and habits of Huns (which was my job). Boots, socks, grease,
home-made rücksacks, concentrated food and the correct amount of meat
and biscuits for a ten days' march, maps, compasses, the route to
follow, and numerous other details were carefully prepared, and the
material hidden. We thought that it was unlikely that a larger party
than four would be able to go, and Medlicott, Oliphant, Fairweather, and
myself were selected to be the first party to try if anything turned up.

The next bit of excitement was the escape of Kicq and party. This
happened when we had been in the fort about a month. Early on Kicq had
left Room 45 and gone into a French room, 41. One afternoon he asked me
if I would help him to escape, which I agreed to do. His idea was to
dress up as a German N.C.O., and with six Frenchmen and a Belgian named
Callens to bluff themselves out of the main gate at about 6.30 in the
evening. The scheme seemed to me almost impossible--but Kicq was
enthusiastic about it, and persuaded me that it would probably come off,
if only because it was so improbable that any one would attempt such a
thing. There were three sentries and three gates and a guardhouse to
pass, and the real danger was that, if they passed the first sentry and
gate and were stopped in front of the second, they would be caught in
the outer courtyard at the tender mercy of two angry sentries, and in my
opinion would stand an excellent chance of being stuck with a bayonet.
However, Kicq realized that as well as I did; and, as it is for every
man to judge the risks he cares to take, I promised to do my part, which
was quite simple.

About 6 p.m. I went into Room 41, and there they were all dressing up
and painting their faces, etc., as if for private theatricals. Kicq was
excellent as a German Unteroffizier. He had made a very passable
pork-pie cap, of which the badge in front is very easy to imitate by
painted paper. He had a dark overcoat on to which bright buttons, which
would pass in the dark as German buttons, had been sewn, and he had a
worn-out pair of German boots which had been given to one of the
orderlies by a German. Some of the others had on the typical red
trousers--but any sort of nondescript costume will do for a French
orderly. They were timed to go as soon after 6.30 p.m. as the road was
clear, and it was my job to give the signal. I was pleased to be able to
report that I had never seen the sentry, who was on duty at the main
gate, before, and it was most unlikely that he knew any of their faces.
I stood about opposite the packet office, and Abel came along the
passage and went in. Looking through the keyhole I saw that he was busy
in there near the door and might come out at any moment. I reported
this, and the whole party came and stood in the dark turning of the
passage by the bathroom, from where they could watch me peering through
the packet office keyhole. At last I saw Abel sit down at his table and
begin writing, so I gave the signal. Immediately a whole troop of French
orderlies, carrying mattresses, blankets, and bedding on their heads,
came clattering down the passage, laughing and talking to one another in
French. A German N.C.O. was among them, and as he went along he collided
with a German-speaking Russian, a great friend of ours known as Charley,
who naturally cursed his eyes out in German. Kicq took no notice, but
going just ahead of his orderlies he cursed the sentry at the main gate
for not opening the door more quickly for them, and stood aside counting
them as they went out. One fellow came running down the passage a bit
after the others--Kicq waited for him and then went out after them, and
the door closed.

I waited most anxiously for any noise which would show that things had
gone wrong. But after ten minutes it seemed certain that they had got
clear away.

After half an hour of subdued rejoicing in the fort, for by that time
the story had gone round, we suddenly heard an awful commotion among the
Huns. The guards were turning out at the double, clutching their rifles
amid a regular pandemonium of shouts and orders, and the roar of the
Commandant could be heard above the tumult. We turned out into the
passages to see the fun. The C.O. was raving like a maniac. The minute
he caught sight of us laughing at him he brandished his fists and
shouted at us to go to our rooms. Oliphant and I started to argue that
the bell had not gone and therefore we need not go to our rooms, but he
told off a sentry, who drove us back at the point of the bayonet,
Oliphant protesting in his worst German, "Sie dürfen nicht so sprechen
mit ein English Offizier."

We cheered like mad and sang the Marseillaise and "On les aura"--in
fact, celebrated the occasion to the best of our ability.

What happened as soon as the party got outside the first door, Kicq told
me afterwards. The second obstacle they had to pass was the gate which
barred the roadway over the moat. This the sentry opened for them
without a word, whilst Kicq trod on his toes to distract his attention.
As they passed the guardhouse in the outer court several men came out
and shouted at them, but they were unarmed, and Kicq & Co. paid no
attention. The outer gate consists of a double door which they knew
would pull open without being unlocked, once the bar was removed. They
got the bar off and tore open the gate, and found a sentry waiting for
them with a rifle and fixed bayonet outside. "Wer kommt dann hier?" said
he. Kicq was out first, and holding up his hand said, "Ruhig, einer ist
los!" (Be quiet, a prisoner has got away), and rushed past him into the
darkness. Without giving the sentry time to recover his wits, the rest
pushed past, throwing their mattresses, etc., on the ground at his feet,
and disappeared. Kicq and Decugis went on together for a bit, thinking
that the rest must have been held up and expecting to hear shots. Then
they saw other figures moving near them in the darkness and thought at
first they were Germans searching, but found they were the rest of the
party. It was not for some minutes afterwards that the alarm was given;
but the whole party, after nearly running into a sentry on a neighboring
fort, managed to get away from their pursuers. After a terribly hard
eleven days' march they were all caught near the frontier. It was in the
middle of winter, and they suffered most dreadfully from cold and bad
feet. All of them, with the exception of Kicq and Callens, had gone out
(according to English ideas of escaping) very badly prepared for such a
journey at that time of year. They had quite insufficient food (though
they had opportunities of carrying out any amount), insufficient socks,
grease, and numerous other things. They also lost their way rather badly
the first two nights. Then Kicq took charge, and the latter part of the
journey they went by the same route which Buckley and I afterwards
followed. None of them had thought of going into proper training, and to
have reached the frontier under such conditions was a wonderful feat of
endurance. They were in a terrible condition when they were caught. When
within 70 kilometres of the frontier, just north of Stockach, they
separated, the Frenchmen going on together and making a forced march of
60 kilometres in one night, and the Belgians coming on in their own
time. Both parties were caught on the same day and about the same time;
the Frenchmen because they got into a country close to the frontier
where they could find no decent place to lie up, and, as there was a
light fall of snow, their tracks were traced. The Belgians were caught
in a very unlucky manner. Their hiding-place was excellent, but on a
Sunday the Germans usually go out shooting, and a shooting party came
on them. A dog came up and sniffed at them, and then an old German with
a gun stared into the bush and said, "Es ist ein Fuchs" (It's a fox).

They soon found it was not a fox, and Kicq and Callens were hauled out.
The Würtembergers treated them very well indeed, and said they were
almost sorry they had captured them, as they had made such a sporting
effort, or words to that effect. They were escorted back to the fort by
a very decent Würtemberg officer, who was furious with the Commandant
when he laughed and jeered at them for being recaptured. "Well," said
Kicq in excellent German to the Commandant, "if you leave all the gates
open, how are prisoners to know that they are not allowed to go out that
way?" The Würtemberg officer remarked, as he said good-bye to them
outside, that "the Prussians were brutes, but the Bavarians were swine."
Which remark seems to me very much to the point. All the party, with the
exception of a very young Frenchman called La Croix, had painful and
swollen feet, and all without exception were ravenously hungry for a
week or more after they had been returned to prison. One of them retired
to hospital for several weeks, and I believe that there was a danger at
one time that he would lose his feet owing to frost-bite. However, they
healed in time.

As far as I remember they received no special punishment for this
escape. They probably got five days' "jug," each, but, as I have
explained before, this was a mere farce. Each of the three sentries whom
they had passed got three months--and I don't imagine that was any
farce at all for the unfortunate sentries.

During the spell of fine weather which we had before the winter set in,
Medlicott and Buckley joined forces and made an attempt to escape by a
method which, in my opinion, was as unpleasant and risky as any which
was attempted in Fort 9. With the help of the Commandant de Goys they
persuaded some French orderlies to wheel them out concealed in the muck
and rubbish boxes. We buried them one afternoon beneath potato peel and
muck of every description, heaved the boxes on to a hand-cart, and then
from the top of the ramparts watched four orderlies escorted by a sentry
wheel them out to the rubbish-heap about 200 yards from the fort. In the
boxes they were lying on sacking, so that when the box was upset the
sacking would fall over them. We saw the first box upset apparently
successfully, but as they were about to deal with the second, which
contained Medlicott, there was a pause. The sentry unslung his rifle,
and it was obvious to us that they had been discovered. Buckley's
account of what happened was as follows:--

"At about 4.45 Medlicott and I proceeded to where the boxes stood, and
after some of the rubbish had been taken out we were thrust into its
place by the willing hands of Evans, Milne, Fairweather, and Oliphant,
and covered up again with rubbish. In due course the orderlies arrived,
the boxes were loaded on to the cart, and the 'procession' started. All
seemed to be going extremely well as far as I could judge from my
uncomfortable position; the sentry was picked up at the guardhouse, and
I heard with joy the gate of the fort being unlocked to let the party
out. The orderlies stopped the cart at the rubbish-heap (or rather some
hundred yards short of it, as we found out afterwards, our combined
weight having made farther progress in the snow impossible), and started
to unload the box in which I was concealed. As instructed, they unloaded
us as far away from the sentry as possible. I felt my box taken off the
cart and turned over. I lay still, and seemed to be well covered with
rubbish and to be unnoticed. I heard Medlicott's box unloaded alongside
of me, but just as this was being completed I felt some one tugging at
the Burberry I was wearing, a corner of which was showing from under the

"It had been arranged previously that if either of us was discovered the
one discovered first was to give himself up at once and endeavor to
conceal the presence of the other. I lay still for a few seconds, but as
the tugging continued, I concluded the game was up and I stood up,
literally covered in sackcloth and ashes. I must have looked a fairly
awe-inspiring sight, and I evidently caused some alarm in the noble
breast of a German civilian who had come to hunt the rubbish heap for
scraps of food and clothing, and who evidently thought he had discovered
a gold mine in the shape of a Burberry which he had been trying to pull
off my back for the last few minutes. Anyway, he retired with some speed
to a safe distance! The sentry, who up to the time of my getting up had
noticed nothing wrong, at this point began to perform rifle exercise in
the close proximity of my person, and generally to behave in an excited
and dangerous manner. Then followed for the next few minutes the
unpleasant and, alas! far too frequent experience of staring down the
muzzle of a German rifle, held as it seemed with remarkable steadiness
in spite of the excitement of the man behind it. The guard, whose
attention had been attracted by the combined shouts of the civilian and
the sentry, next appeared on the scene at the double. They were cold,
hungry, and excited, to say the least of it.

"Having failed to convince my sentry that I was alone and that there was
nobody under the other heap of rubbish, I warned Medlicott of the
guard's approach and advised him to get up. This he did, and was at once
set upon by the oncoming Landsturm, who really looked as if they meant
to do him in. After a considerable show of hate, in which I received a
hefty clout over the knee with the butt of a rifle, we were marched back
to the fort. A wild and disorderly scene followed between Medlicott, the
German Commandant, and myself, of which I have a very vivid
recollection. It ended by my being ejected by force from the
Commandant's office, but not before both Medlicott and I had either
concealed our valuable maps and compasses or had passed them unobserved
into the hands of the willing friends who had come to see the fun."

Soon after the recapture of Kicq and party, the moat froze over, and
though the Germans for several days were able to keep it broken by going
round in a boat every day, they at last had to give it up. It was rather
hard to get any conclusive proof as to whether the ice would bear or
not, but one evening, after testing the ice with stones, we decided that
if there was a frost that night we, that is to say, Oliphant,
Medlicott, Milne, Fairweather, Wilkin, and myself, would run over the
south rampart and across the ice just before the evening _Appell_. We
made complete preparations, and every one had ten days' rations and
everything else necessary for a march in winter to the frontier.

However, it never came off, as at morning _Appell_ next day the
Commandant informed us that the doors into the inner courtyards would
not be opened again until the moat thawed. This was rather a blow,
because I felt sure that if we had only had the courage to try, the ice
would have borne us the evening before.

About this time, or perhaps rather earlier, there were one or two
attempts to escape on the way to the dentist. Du Sellier and another
Frenchman and Fairweather were all booked to go one afternoon to the
dentist at Ingolstadt. They went under escort, and if they could delay
matters so as to return in the darkness it would be the simplest thing
in the world to get away. However, they made an awful mess of things,
and though they came back in the dark, owing to good procrastination by
Fairweather, only Du Sellier got away, and the other Frenchmen knocked
up the sentry's rifle as he fired. This was a badly managed business, as
all three men ought to have been able to escape from a single sentry in
the dark. Du Sellier did not get very far, as the weather was very cold
and he was insufficiently prepared. Being alone too was a great
handicap. His feet got very bad and he had practically to give himself
up, or at any rate to take quite absurd risks after being three or four
days out, and was recaptured. The real risks were taken by Fairweather
and the other Frenchman, and I don't quite know how they failed to get
"done in" by an enraged sentry.

Another rather ingenious but still more unsuccessful attempt was made on
the way to the dentist by Frenchmen. The idea was to go into one of
those large round urinals which are fairly common in French and German
towns. Inside they did a very rapid change, put on false beards,
spectacles, etc., and walked out at the other end. Unfortunately the
sentry recognized them.

In what I have written and intend to write it must not be imagined that
I am giving an exhaustive account of all that happened at Fort 9. I can
give a fairly detailed account of the main incidents of my own prison
career, but even this is not chronologically correct. Otherwise, I can
only note a certain number of incidents and stories which will help to
illustrate the sort of life we led in this prison. Most of these
incidents have to do with escaping or attempting to escape. But it must
not be imagined that this is the only thing we ever did or thought
about. It was our work, so to speak. Just as at the front, whilst
fighting is the main business, soldiers nevertheless manage to amuse
themselves pretty well behind the line in rest billets by sports,
gambling, sing-songs, and dinners, so with us, whilst escaping was the
main object in life, a large part of our time was taken up with lessons
in languages, most vigorous games of hockey and tennis, poker and
bridge, cooking and eating food, dancing and music, reading the German
papers and discussing the war news (we were pretty good at reading
between the lines), and attending lectures which were given nearly
every night on subjects varying from aviation to Victor Hugo.

After a week or so of hard frost a thaw set in, the ice melted on the
moat, and we were again let out into the courtyards. Hockey started once
more, and we had some very good games. Some time before this Oliphant's
sentence had come through, and he was sent off to Wesel for six months'
imprisonment in a fortress; as a punishment, I believe, for attempting
to escape, and for things incidental to escaping, such as cutting wire
and having maps and other forbidden articles in his possession. When it
started to freeze again, I thought of the last time and determined not
to miss another opportunity. One morning after testing the ice by
throwing stones from the top of the bank I determined to make the
attempt that evening. The _Appell_ bell went about 5 p.m., and about
5.30 it became dark. My idea was to start as the _Appell_ bell went,
believing that they would not be able to catch us before the darkness
came down. We had to run down a steep bank on to the ice, about 40 yards
across the ice, and then 200 yards or so through one or two trees before
we could put a cottage between ourselves and the sentries. There was
certain to be some shooting, but we reckoned that the sentries' hands
would be very cold, as at 5 p.m. they would have been at their posts for
just two hours, and they were armed with old French rifles, which they
handled very badly.

Wilkin agreed to come with me, and Kicq, when he heard what was up, said
he would like to come too. He had always a surprising faith in me. He
had scarcely recovered from his last escape, but although he was not
very fit, he was, or would have been, a great asset to the party, as he
knew the way. This was especially valuable as our maps at that time were
only copies of copies, and consequently not very accurate. The plan was
to carry out rücksacks and other equipment nearly to the top of the
south bank and hide behind one of the traverses just under the path.
From there we should be hidden from the prying eyes of the sentry on the
center "caponnière." The 5 p.m. _Appell_ bell was the signal for two
parties, one headed by Major Gaskell and one by Captain Unett,[3] to
distract the attention of the two sentries by throwing stones on to the
ice. We would then seize our opportunity and rush down the bank, and we
hoped to be most of the way across the ice before the firing began.

The question which really was causing us some anxiety was, "Would the
ice bear?" I felt confident it would. Wilkin said he was beastily
frightened, but he had made up his mind to come and he would go through
with it. Kicq said that, if I thought it would bear, he was quite
content, and I really believe that the matter did not worry him in the
least. It would have been a very unpleasant business if the ice had
broken, as, with the heavy clothes we had on, I doubt if we could have
got out again. Still, any one who lets his mind dwell too much on what
may happen will never escape from any prison in Germany.

Our equipment was pretty complete. I had very thick underclothes, two
sweaters, a thick leather flying coat and a tunic, and socks over my
boots so as not to slip when running across the ice. The others were
dressed much the same, except that Kicq had a cap which had been stolen
by Oliphant from the Commandant. He said it might come in useful in
impersonating a German N.C.O. conducting two English prisoners.

In our rücksacks we had ample rations for a ten days' march and enough
solidified alcohol for at least one hot meal per diem. We managed to get
our bags and coats up into the jumping-off place without being seen by
the sentry and without much difficulty. I remember walking across the
courtyard about 4.30 with Gilliland, picking up stones for him to throw
at the ice. I think he was more nervous about it than we were: as is
often the case, this sort of thing is more of a strain on the nerves for
the onlookers than for those actually taking part. We were all in our
places and in our kit, with our sacks on our backs, a few minutes before
five. Whilst we were waiting for the bell to go, there were several
prisoners walking up and down the path in front of us, along the top of
the rampart. Of course they took absolutely no notice of us, except one
Frenchman who spoke to us without looking round and assured us that the
ice would not bear--a cheerful thing to say under the circumstances.
"Mais oui, vous allez voir," we answered.

It was a bad five minutes waiting there. Then the bell went, and almost
immediately I heard laughter and shouting and the noise of stones
falling on the ice. Then we jumped up and bolted over the path and down
the slope. I was slightly ahead of the other two, and when I got to the
bottom of the steep bank I gave a little jump on to the ice, hoping it
would break at the edge rather than in the middle if it were going to
break at all. But it bore all right, and I shuffled across at a good
speed. About half-way over I heard repeated and furious yells of "Halt!"
followed soon afterwards by a fair amount of shooting, but I have no
idea how many shots were fired. I was soon up the bank on the far side,
through a few scattered trees, and over the frozen stream by a plank
bridge. Then I looked back. The others were only just clambering up the
bank from the moat and were a good 100 yards behind me. What had
happened was this. I had made a small jump on to the ice, thus avoiding
the rotten edge. The other two did not, but stepped carefully on to the
edge, which broke under their weight and they fell flat on their faces.
For the moment they were unable to extricate themselves. Wilkin says he
got somehow upside down and his heavy rücksack came over his head so
that he was quite unable to move. Then Kicq got himself free and pulled
out Wilkin. At first he thought of beating a retreat up the bank again,
believing naturally that the ice would not bear, but then he saw me
three parts of the way across and heard the sentries shooting apparently
at me, so he and Wilkin, keeping a bit separated so as not to offer too
large a target, ran across after me. The sentry in the center, who had
been well attracted by Gaskell and the stone-throwing party, only caught
sight of me when I was well on the ice, but then he started yelling
"Halt!" and loading his rifle as fast as possible. He then ran to the
edge of his "caponnière" and dropping on one knee fired and missed.
Cold fingers, abuse, and perhaps a few stones too, which were hurled at
him by the gang on the pathway just above his head, did not help to
steady his aim. After one or two shots his rifle jammed. Yells and
cheers from the spectators. He tore at the bolt, cursing and swearing,
and then put up his rifle at the crowd of jeering prisoners above him.
But they could see that the bolt had not gone home and only yelled the
more. The other sentry had started firing by this time, but he was out
of sight of the prisoners in the fort, and Unett and Milne, who had been
distracting his attention (Unett said the sentry nearly shot him once),
ran off to prove an alibi. I don't know how many shots were fired
altogether. Not a large number, as owing to the appearance of some
civilians they stopped firing when once Kicq and Wilkin had got well on
to the far bank of the moat. When I was half-way across the space
between the moat and the cottage, I saw on the main road on my left a
large four-horse wagon with a knot of gesticulating men in civilian
clothes. We learnt afterwards that they were carters from a munition
factory in the neighborhood, and were fairly strong and healthy fellows.
They were only about 150 yards away, and started after us led by a
fellow with a cart-whip. The going was very heavy, as there were two or
three inches of snow and heavy plough underneath, so we made slow
progress, as we were carrying a lot of weight in clothes and food. They
quickly overtook me, and the fellow who was leading slashed me across
the shoulders with his whip. I turned and rushed at him, but he ran out
of my reach. The rest of them then came round and I began to see that
the game was up, especially as at that moment I saw some armed soldiers
coming on bicycles along the road from the fort.

The next thing to do was to avoid being shot on recapture. I stood
still, whilst they all snarled round me, and beckoning the smallest man
said to him in German, "Come here and I will give myself up to you." The
fellow with the whip immediately came forward. "Not to you, you
Schweinhund," I said; "you hit me with that whip." The little fellow was
quite pleased, as I think there is 100 marks reward for the recapture of
an officer, and caught hold of my coat tails, and we started off towards
the fort. Wilkin had given himself up to two or three others by this
time, but I saw that Kicq was trying to sneak off without being noticed
while the mob was occupied with us. However, a few seconds later they
saw him. Two or three gave chase, and he was brought in soon after us.
We had not gone more than a few steps towards the fort when I saw the
_Feldwebel_ running across the snow towards us. He came up in a furious
rage, cursing us and brandishing a revolver. We waved him aside and told
him not to make such a fuss, as it was all over now, and he soon calmed
down. Some soldiers then came up and marched us in, the Frenchmen
cheering us as we came through the gate. Before we came to the fort we
had to cross a bridge over the stream; and, as we walked along, I tore
up my map and dropped it into the stream. I forgot to say that Kicq,
when he went off by himself just before being taken, had managed to get
rid of the Commandant's hat by stuffing it down a hole. As Kicq crossed
the bridge he took out his map to throw it into the water, but was seen
by his guard, a horrid little fellow who used to help with the clerical
work in the bureau. Kicq dropped the map, and a scuffle ensued. Kicq got
much the best of this and kicked the map into the stream.

There was quite an amusing scene in the bureau. We all of us had to take
off most of our clothes and be searched. I had nothing I could hide, but
both Kicq and Wilkin had compasses, which they smuggled through with
great skill. Kicq had his hidden in the lining of his greatcoat, and
Wilkin kept his in his handkerchief, which he pulled out of his pocket
and waved to show there was nothing in it, at the same time holding the
compass, and then put it back into his pocket. All our foodstuffs and
clothes were returned to us, with the exception of my black flying-coat.
I complained about this, and appealed to a German general who come round
to inspect the fort a few days later, and it was returned to me, but was
eventually confiscated when I tried to escape in it a week or two later.
We had several tins of solidified alcohol with us for smokeless cooking
purposes. These were taken, though we protested. For all the things
taken off us we were given receipts by the Germans and told, rather
ironically, that we could have them back at the end of the war.

Just as we were going out I saw my tin of solidified alcohol, which was
valuable stuff (we used to manufacture it in the fort from paraffin and
soap), standing almost within my reach, and very nearly managed to
pocket it as I went out. However, I found Decugis outside, and explained
to him the position of the tin, and suggested that he should take in
one or two pals, have a row in there, and steal it back for me. This is
the sort of expedition that the Frenchmen loved and were absolute
masters at. Within ten minutes I had my solid alcohol back all right and
kept my receipt for it as well.


[Footnote 3: Captain Unett had been sent to Fort 9 as a punishment for
escaping from Clausthal.]



For the next six weeks life was rather hard. It froze continuously, even
in the day time, in spite of the sun, which showed itself frequently,
and at night the thermometer registered as often as not more than 27° of
frost. The Germans, who had made many efforts to keep the ice in the
moat broken by punting round in a steel boat kept for the purpose, now
abandoned the attempt, and in consequence of this and of our escape
across the ice we were denied the use of the inner courtyards. For the
next six weeks the only place in which we could take exercise was the
little outer court where _Appell_ was sometimes held. It was only about
50 yards by 25, and was really an inadequate exercise ground for 150
active men. Still we kept pretty fit. Every morning all the English had
an ice-cold shower-bath. Of the Frenchmen, Bellison, who lived in
Gaskell's room, and one other, I think, had been used to take a cold
bath every morning, but it was really astonishing what a number followed
our example at Fort 9. When it was so cold that the water in the tubs
above the shower-sprays was frozen solid, thirty or forty officers, by
pumping the water from the well, used to take a bath regularly every
morning. It was only when coal became so scarce that it was not
possible to keep a fire going all day in the living-rooms, and when, if
you took a bath cold you would never get warm again the whole day, that
attendance dropped to some half-dozen men who, having before them the
possibility of a ten days' march to the frontier in the dead of winter,
looked upon the bath in the morning more as a method of making
themselves hard and fit than as an act of cleanliness.

Every day a good many of us took exercise by running round and round the
small court, to the astonishment of the sentries. Müller's exercises
were introduced, and Medlicott and Gaskell, Buckley and I, and many
other Englishmen and Frenchmen, did them regularly every day for the
rest of the time we were in Germany. As a result of this strenuous life,
though we were often very cold and very hungry, we were, with few
exceptions easily traceable to bad tinned food, never sick or sorry for
ourselves the whole time.

Unett, poor fellow, suffered severely from boils, and Buckley from the
same complaint during his two months' solitary confinement. From this
onwards, for all the winter months, the coal and light shortage became
very serious. We stole wood, coal, and oil freely from the Germans, and
before the end nearly all the woodwork in the fort had been torn down
and burnt, in spite of the strict orders to the sentries to shoot at
sight any one seen taking wood. So long as the Germans continued to use
oil lamps in the many dark passages of the fort, it was not very
difficult to keep a decent store of oil in hand, but after a month or
so the Germans realized they were being robbed, and substituted
acetylene for oil.

We all wrote home for packets of candles, and considering the amount of
oil we were officially allowed, the length of time we managed to keep
our lamps burning remained to the end a source of astonishment to the

As it was Christmas time, and as Room 45 was well supplied with food, we
decided to give a dinner to the Allies on Christmas night. A rumor had
been passed round, with the intention, I have no doubt, that it should
come to the ears of the Germans, that a number of prisoners intended to
escape on Christmas night. The Germans were consequently in a state of
nervous tension, the guards were doubled, and N.C.O.'s made frequent
rounds. No one had any intention of escaping on that night as far as I

A piano which had been hired by a Frenchman was kept in the music-room,
a bare underground cell of a place at the far end of the central
passage, and we applied to be allowed to bring this into our room. To
our huge indignation this was refused, on the grounds that we might use
it as a method of attracting the sentries' attention.

However, we were determined to have the piano and a dance on Christmas
night, so a party was organized to bring it from the music-room in spite
of the German orders. I don't know exactly how it was managed, but I
think a row of some sort was begun in the other wing of the fort and,
when the German N.C.O.'s had been attracted in that direction, the piano
was "rushed" along to the "ballroom." The dinner was an undoubted
success. Room 45, with Medlicott as chef, spent the whole day cooking,
and that evening about twenty of us sat down to dinner--the guests being
all of them Frenchmen or Russians. After dinner we all attended a
fancy-dress dance which some Frenchmen gave in the adjoining room. They
had knocked down a wooden partition between two rooms, and had a dance
in one and the piano and a drinking bar in the other. The French are a
most ingenious nation, and the costumes were simply amazing.

There were double sentries all round the fort that night, and some of
them stood outside the windows and enjoyed the dancing and singing. It
was an extremely cold night outside, and I am not surprised that some of
them felt rather bitter against us. I offered one a bit of cake, but he
merely had a jab at me through the bars with his bayonet.

About midnight we sang "God Save the King," the "Marseillaise," and "On
les aura," with several encores. This turned out the guard, and a dozen
of them with fixed bayonets, headed by the _Feldwebel_, crashed up the
passage and, after a most amusing scene in which both sides kept their
tempers, recaptured the piano.

A few days after this, Medlicott and I learnt that four Frenchmen were
cutting a bar in the latrine with the object of escaping across the
frozen moat. We offered them our assistance in exchange for the right of
following them at half an hour's interval if they got away without being
detected. They agreed to this, as they needed some extra help in
guarding the passage and giving warning of the approach of the sentry
whilst the bar was being cut. At the farthest end of his beat the sentry
was never more than 40 yards away from the window where the operation
was being carried out. Under these circumstances a very high degree of
skill was necessary for the successful cutting of an inch-thick bar.
Here Moretti was in his element. No handle to the saw was used; he held
the saw in gloved hands to deaden the noise, and in four hours made two
cuts through the bar.

Repeated halts had to be made, as the sentry passed the window every
three or four minutes, and, as he was liable to examine the bars at any
time, they sealed up the crack between each spell of work with some
flour paste colored with ashes for the purpose. This made the cut on the
bars invisible. I examined the bars carefully myself after they had been
cut, and was quite unable to tell which one was only held in place by a
thread of metal at each end.

The removal of one bar would leave only a narrow exit through which a
man could squeeze and, thinking that this might delay them, the
Frenchmen, rather unwisely I consider, decided to cut a second bar.

Now whether they were really betrayed, as we believe, by one of the
French orderlies who for some time had been under suspicion as a spy, or
whether some one on the far bank of the canal had happened to see or
hear them, we never knew, but it is certain that the Germans learnt,
without getting exact details, that one of the bars in the latrines was
being cut. The "Blue Boy" visited the latrines four times in a couple of
hours and examined the bars with care, but without finding anything
wrong. At last the Commandant and the _Feldwebel_ walked up outside our
windows, and the latter taking each bar in turn shook it violently.
About the fourth one he shook came off in his hands and he fell down
flat on his back.

The Germans brought up barbed wire and wound it round and round the bars
and across the hole. Besides this, they put an extra sentry to watch the
place. It seemed at first hopeless to think of escaping that way. The
Frenchmen gave it up, but I kept an eye on it for a week or so, and as a
precaution obtained leave from the Frenchmen to use it if I saw an

One very cold night about a week later I was standing in the latrines
and watching the sentry stamping backwards and forwards on his 20-yard
beat, when it seemed to me just possible that the thing might be done. I
fetched Medlicott and Wilkin, who had some wire-cutters. Medlicott took
the cutters and, choosing a favorable moment, cut the tightest strand of
wire. It seemed to us to make a very loud "ping," but the sentry took no
notice, so Medlicott cut eight more strands rapidly.

Leaving Wilkin to guard the hole Medlicott and I rushed off to change in
the dark, because if we lighted a lamp any sentry passing our window
could see straight into the room. It was half an hour after midnight
when we started to change, but by 1.15 a.m. we were ready--our
rücksacks, maps, compasses, and all were lying packed and hidden. Over
our warm clothes we wore white underclothes, as there were several
inches of snow on the ground outside; and over our boots we had socks,
as much to deaden the noise as to prevent our slipping as we crossed
the frozen moat.

Outside, the reflection from the snow made the night seem bright, but
there was a slight haze which prevented white objects such as ourselves
being seen at a greater distance than about 100 yards.

In the latrines it was as dark as pitch, so that, though we stood within
a few yards of the sentry, we could watch him in safety. It was only
safe to work when the sentry was at the far end of his beat; that is to
say, about 15 yards away. Medlicott cut the wire, whilst Wilkin and I
watched and gave him signs when the sentry was approaching. Owing to
repeated halts, it was a long job. The sentries glanced from time to
time at the wire, but all the cuts were on the inside of the bars and
invisible to them. Removing the bits of wire when they had all been cut
was like a complicated game of spillikins, and it was not till nearly
4.30 a.m. that Medlicott had finished. It was a long and rather
nerve-racking business waiting in the cold to make a dash across the

Medlicott and I tossed up as to who should go first, and he won. It was
not easy to choose the right moment, for almost our only hope of getting
across without a shot was when the two sentries were at their beats
farthest from us, and one of these sentries was invisible to us, though
we could hear him stamping to keep warm as he turned at the near end of
his beat.

At last a favorable moment came and Medlicott put his head and shoulders
through the hole, but stuck half-way. He had too many clothes on. We
were only just in time to pull him out of sight as the sentry turned.
He took off some clothes and put them in his sack and tried again,
though we had to wait some time for an opportunity. Again he found he
was too fat--and what was worse got hung up on a piece of barbed wire.
We made what seemed to us a fearful noise hauling him in and
disentangling him, but the sentry took no notice. Then Wilkin rushed off
and got a second sack, into which Medlicott packed several layers of
clothes. Another long wait for a suitable moment. We heard the sentry on
our left come to the end of the beat, then it sounded as if he had
turned and his steps died away. The man on our right was at the far end
of his beat. Now was the moment. With a push and a struggle Medlicott
was through the hole. I went after him instantly, but stuck. A kick from
Wilkin sent me sprawling on to the snow on the far side. In a few
seconds we were crossing the moat, I a couple of yards behind Medlicott,
as fast as our heavy kit and the snow would let us. We were almost
across when "Halt! Halt!! Halt!!" came from the sentry on our left. He
had never gone back after all, but had only stamped his feet and then
stood still. On the far side of the moat was a steepish bank lined with
small trees; we tore up this and hurled ourselves over the far bank just
as the first shot rang out. We were safe for the moment--no sentry could
see us, but shot after shot was fired. Each sentry in the neighborhood
safeguarded himself against punishment by letting off his rifle several
times. Milne, who knew we were escaping and was lying in bed listening,
told me afterwards that he had felt certain that one of us had been hit
and that they were finishing him off. For several hundred yards we went
northwards across the fields, only halting a moment to pull off the
socks from our boots. Then we turned left-handed, intending to make a
big circuit towards the south so as to avoid passing too close to the
battery which flanks the fort.

When we had gone about 400 yards we saw behind us lights from several
moving lanterns and realized that some one was following on our tracks.
It was very necessary to throw off our pursuers as soon as possible,
because there was little more than a couple of hours before the
daylight, so we changed our plan and made towards a large wood which we
knew was about a mile and a half northwest of the fort.

Just before entering the wood we saw that the lights behind us were
still about 300 yards away, but now there seemed to be ten or a dozen
lights as well, in a large semicircle to the south of us.

The wood proved useless for our purpose. There was scarcely any
undergrowth, and it was just as easy to follow our tracks there as in
the open field. There was only one thing to be done. We must double back
through the lights and gain a village to the south of us. Once on the
hard road we might throw them off. Choosing the largest gap in the
encircling band of lanterns we walked through crouching low, and unseen
owing to our white clothes. Once in the village we felt more hopeful. At
any rate they could no longer trace our footsteps, and we believed that
all our pursuers were behind us. Choosing at random one of three or four
roads which led out of the village in a more or less southerly
direction, we marched on at top speed. After walking for a quarter of an
hour, we were about to pass a house and a clump of trees at the side of
the road when we heard a noise from that direction, and suspecting an
ambush we instantly struck off across the fields, putting the house
between ourselves and the possible enemy. Then we heard footsteps
running in the snow, and then a cry of "Halt! Halt!" from about 15 yards
behind us. The position was hopeless; there was no cover, and our
pursuer could certainly run as fast as we could in our heavy clothes.

"It's no good," said Medlicott; "call out to him."

I quite agreed and shouted.

"Come here, then," the man answered.

"All right, we are coming, so don't shoot."

When we got close we saw it was the little N.C.O. who looked after the
canteen. His relations with the prisoners had always been comparatively
friendly. He was quite a decent fellow, and I think we owe our lives to
the fact that it was this man who caught us.

He only had a small automatic pistol, and, as we came back on to the
road, he said, "Mind now, no nonsense! I am only a moderate shot with
this, so I shall have to shoot quick." I said we had surrendered and
would do nothing silly. He walked behind us back to the village, on the
outskirts of which we met the pursuing party, consisting of the "Blue
Boy" with a rifle and a sentry with a lantern.

The lantern was held up to our faces. "Ha ha," said the "Blue Boy,"
"Herr Medlicott and Hauptmann Evans, noch mal." Then we walked back to
the fort under escort, about a 4 mile march. As we entered the outer
door of the fort the sentry at the entrance cursed us and threatened me
violently with a bayonet, but our N.C.O. stopped him just in time.

In the main building just outside the bureau we had a very hostile
reception from a mob of angry sentries through whom we had to pass. For
a few moments things looked very ugly. I was all for conciliation and a
whole skin if possible, but it was all I could do to calm Medlicott, who
under circumstances of this sort only became more pugnacious and glared
round him like a savage animal. Then the _Feldwebel_ appeared and
addressed the soldiers, cursing them roundly for bringing us in alive
instead of dead. I have treasured up that speech in my memory, and, if
ever I meet _Feldwebel_ Bühl again, I shall remind him of it. He is the
only German against whom, from personal experience, I have feelings
which can be called really bitter. The _Feldwebel_ wished to search us,
but we refused to be searched unless an officer was present; so we
waited in the bureau for an hour and a half till the Commandant arrived.
This time they took my flying-coat away and refused to give it back.
They also found on me the same tin of solidified alcohol which had been
taken off me before and restolen by the Frenchmen. They recognized it,
but of course could not prove it was the same. "I know how you stole
this back," said the senior clerk as he searched me. "You shall not have
it again." He was a Saxon, and the only German with a sense of humor in
the fort. We both laughed over the incident. I laughed last, however,
as I got the tin back in about a week's time, as I will tell later.

The search being over, we were allowed to go back into our rooms, and
had breakfast in bed.

Perhaps it may seem rather extraordinary that we were not punished
severely for these attempts to escape, but the explanation lies not in
the leniency of the German but in the fact that there were no convenient
cells in which to punish us. The cells at Fort 9 were all of them always
full, and there was a very long waiting list besides. They might have
court-martialled us and sent us to a fortress, but our crime, a "simple
escape," was a small one. They might have sent us to another camp; but
the Germans knew that we would ask nothing better, as no officers' camp
was likely to be more uncomfortable or more difficult to escape from.
Any way, it would be a change. Sometimes, when there was a vacancy, they
sent us to the town jail, but, as had been demonstrated more than once,
it was easier to escape from there than from Fort 9. The Germans' main
object being to keep us safe, they just put us back into the fort and
awarded us a few days' _Bestrafung_, which we did in a few months' time
when there was a cell vacant.



The weather became colder and colder, and for the next month we seldom
had less than 27° of frost at night, and in the day time anything up to
20° in spite of the fairly frequent appearance of the sun. The
countryside was covered by a few inches of snow, now in the crisp and
powdery condition seldom seen except in Switzerland and the colder
countries. After the experience of Medlicott and myself it was generally
agreed in the fort that escape was almost impossible, unless a very
considerable start could be obtained; so the greater number of us
settled down to face the not altogether pleasant domestic problems of
Fort 9.

Our allowance of coal was found to be quite insufficient to keep the
room tolerably warm. It was the same in every room in the fort. Repeated
requests for an increased allowance having as usual had no effect, we
proceeded to tear down all the available woodwork in the fort and in our
rooms and burn it in the stoves. We lived literally in a solid block of
ice. Just before the long frost had set in, the ground above and round
our rooms had been soaking wet, and the walls and floors had been
streaming with moisture. Then came the frost, and everything was frozen
solid, and outside in the passage an icy blast blew continually, and in
places beneath broken ventilators a few inches of frozen snow lay for
weeks unthawed inside the fort. That passage was, without exception, the
coldest place I have ever known.

Down the walls of each of our rooms ran a flue in the stonework,
intended to drain the earth above the rooms. For over six weeks there
was a solid block of ice in it from top to bottom, in spite of the fact
that the flue was in the common wall of two living-rooms.

We lived continually in our great coats and all the warm underclothes we
possessed; we ourselves seldom, and our allies never, opened windows,
and we pasted up cracks and holes; but still we remained cold, and
crouched all day round our miserable stoves. Müller's exercises,
skipping, and wood, coal, and oil stealing were recreations and means of
keeping warm and keeping up our spirits. On top of this came the famine.
For the last few months we had been so well and regularly supplied with
food from home that we had never thought of eating the very unpalatable
food given us by the Germans, and had at length come to an agreement
whereby they gave us full pay--in my case 100 marks per month--and no
longer supplied us with food. Up to the time of this agreement they had
deducted 42 marks monthly, and this extra money was quite useful. Some
time before Christmas we were warned that there would be a ten days'
stoppage of our parcels in order to allow of the more rapid delivery of
the German Christmas mail to their troops. In consequence we had all
written home asking that double parcels should be sent us for the two
weeks preceding Christmas. However, Christmas passed and parcels came
with almost the same regularity as they had always done. Christmas
festivities, and the knowledge that double parcels were on their way,
induced us to draw rather heavily on our reserve store. Then came the
stoppage. Daily we looked anxiously for the parcel cart which never
came. Reduced to our last half-dozen tins of food among six men we went
onto quarter rations, helped out from a large supply of stolen potatoes.
At length we had nothing whatever to eat but our daily ration of bread
and almost unlimited potatoes. No butter, no salt, no pepper. It would
not have mattered very much in warm weather, but in those conditions of
cold and discomfort in which we were living, hunger was rather hard to

A diet consisting entirely of butterless and saltless potatoes in
various forms became after three or four days extremely tedious. It is
quite impossible to eat enough of them to satisfy one's hunger. After a
gorge of potatoes one is distended but still hungry. I forget how long
the famine lasted--about ten days, I think, though I remember very well
the arrival of a cartload of parcels which relieved the situation just
when things began to get serious. It arrived on a Saturday, and the
Germans said that they would be given out on Monday, as a certain time
was necessary for sorting and registering the parcels. To starving men
this delay was quite intolerable, and the prisoners adopted such a
threatening attitude that the Commandant considered it wisest to give
out a small portion of the parcels to keep us going till Monday.

Of course we might have asked the Germans to supply us with food when we
were short, but I don't think such a course was contemplated seriously
by anybody.

Perhaps it may be considered that the kindly Germans, knowing that their
prisoners were nearing starvation, should have insisted on supplying us
with food. But the Germans of Fort 9 were not accustomed to confer
favors on us--if they had offered them we should have refused--and I
have no doubt that they considered a little hunger very good for us.

So much for the famine; our parcels for the rest of the time I was in
Germany arrived in large quantities.

About this time, on the strength of the convention agreed to between the
English and the German governments, we obtained from the very unwilling
Germans the privilege of going on walks for an hour or two a week on

For the rest of the time I was at Fort 9 the parties of English and
Russian prisoners, but not French, as I believe they had no such
convention with the Germans, exercised this privilege once and sometimes
twice a week, accompanied by an unarmed German N.C.O., who under these
circumstances sometimes became quite human.

The walks were very dull indeed, as the country round the fort is very
uninteresting. However, it was certainly a relief to get out of the
place every now and then. The only other way in which we ever got out of
the fort legitimately was when we were sent for from Ingolstadt for
preliminary inquiries concerning a court-martial, or to make a statement
concerning the vigilance of the sentry past whom we had escaped. We
always did our best to defend the unfortunate sentries, but I am afraid
that they almost invariably were heavily punished.

The next incident of any interest was a turbulent affair which has
become known to the one-time inmates of Fort 9 as the Bojah case. As I
was not involved to any great extent in this storm in a teacup, I have
rather a confused idea of what happened and why it happened.

I am not even sure how it started, but I believe the original cause was
a very mild and commonplace theft by Medlicott. A German carpenter was
putting up some shelves in one of our living-rooms when Medlicott and I
entered the room. Quite on the spur of the moment Medlicott picked up
the carpenter's pincers when his back was turned and handed them to me.
I put them in my pocket and walked out of the room and hid them. Before
the pincers were missed Medlicott also followed me out of the room. No
one else in the room had noticed the theft, and naturally denied it
indignantly when accused by the carpenter. Apparently the carpenter,
being very angry, instantly informed the Commandant. About ten minutes
later we heard a fearful row in the passage outside, and we all came out
of our rooms to see the fun. In the doorway of one of the rooms was a
seething, shouting mob consisting of several sentries with fixed
bayonets, the _Feldwebel_ and half a dozen prisoners, mostly French, and
the Commandant. They were all shouting at the top of their voices and
pushing, and the Commandant was brandishing his arms and generally
behaving like an enraged maniac. What the Frenchmen were doing in that
room I am not quite clear, but I believe they had come into the room in
which the carpenter had been after the latter had departed to report the
loss of the pincers to the Commandant. When the Commandant arrived with
his guard he insulted them and accused them of stealing the pincers and
then ordered them back to their rooms. The Frenchmen--Kicq, Derobiere,
Bojah, and a few others of the younger and more violent sort--were the
last people in the world to take this sort of thing lying down; besides
which they loved a row at any time for its own sake, and for once in a
way they had right on their side. They denied the accusation and
protested against the insults with some violence, and when ordered to
their rooms by the Commandant refused to go unless they first had an
apology. It is quite impossible to imagine the scene unless you realize
the character of the Commandant. The one outstanding feature was his
conspicuous lack of dignity and total inability to keep his temper. In
his quiet moments he was an incompetent, funny bourgeois shopkeeper;
when angry, as at this moment, he was a howling, raving madman. When the
Frenchmen refused to move, the Commandant apparently ordered the
_Feldwebel_ to arrest them, and confused shouting followed, in the midst
of which the Commandant hit the _Feldwebel_ and, I believe, though I did
not see it, also hit Bojah. There was a complete block in the doorway,
and the passage was also blocked by a hand-cart, which happened to be
there, and a large and cheering crowd of spectators. The sentries could
not get in, and the _Feldwebel_ and the Commandant, who were blocked in
the doorway, could not move, and every one continued to shout.
Medlicott, who loved this sort of thing, tried to barge into the
scrimmage, and I only just prevented him being struck by a bayonet. Then
Kicq managed to get close to the Commandant and call him a "cochon." Two
sentries effected his arrest. After that, I really don't know how things
got disentangled without bloodshed, but eventually the Germans retreated
amidst yells of derision, with Bojah, Kicq, and Derobiere in their

The English and French prisoners who had seen this affair decided that,
as the Commandant's conduct had been unbecoming that of an officer, we
would hold no further communication with him. Most of us were content to
act up to this passively, but when Batty Smith was summoned to the
office he informed the Commandant of the decision and walked out.
Buckley and Medlicott also took the earliest opportunity of doing the
same thing.

As soon as they entered the office, Buckley delivered the following
ultimatum. "Nous n'avons rien à faire avec vous parce que nous ne
pouvons pas vous considérer comme un officier." They then right-about
turned and marched out in military fashion, leaving the Commandant, as
he himself said in his evidence at the trial, "sprachlos" with
astonishment. Buckley's reason for speaking in French instead of German
was that he did not wish him to be able to call any of the office staff
as witness of what he had said. Soon afterwards Batty Smith was called
again to the bureau, arrested, and sent to prison in another fort, where
he remained in solitary confinement for over two months without any sort
of trial. Buckley and Medlicott were kidnapped in exactly the same way
and thrown into improvised cells in the fort. Medlicott had only been in
his cell for ten seconds, when he began, as usual, to think how to get
out of it. Above the door was a glass window by which light entered the
cell. The glass was already partially broken, so Medlicott standing on a
chair smashed the rest of it and somehow managed to climb out through
it. Soon afterwards Buckley also got out, and both returned to their
rooms. Five minutes later the Germans placed sentries in front of the
cell doors, but it was not till several hours afterwards that they found
to their intense surprise that the birds had already flown.

We got a good deal of amusement out of this incident; but a few days
later Medlicott was sent to another fort and Buckley was shut up in Fort
9. Both remained in close solitary confinement without any sort of trial
for over two months.

We never saw either Derobiere or Kicq again, though I have heard from
the latter since the armistice was signed. He had a series of perfectly
amazing adventures and hardships, and eventually escaped successfully,
after the sixth or seventh attempt, about the time of the armistice.

Of all the unusual happenings in Fort 9, that which I am about to
describe is perhaps the most remarkable. To steal a large iron-bound box
from the Commandant's bureau would be at any time a difficult feat, but
when it is considered that the only opportunity for the theft occurred
in the middle of the day, and also that the box contained compasses and
maps by the dozen, several cameras, solidified alcohol, censored books,
in fact all those things which we were most strictly forbidden to
possess, it must be owned that it was an extraordinary performance. It
was organized and carried out mainly by Russians with the help of a few

About 11.30 one morning, just after _Appell_, a Russian came into every
room along the corridor and informed us that there would be a general
search by the Germans at 12.15. We thanked him and hid all our forbidden
property, for a hint of this nature was not to be taken lightly at Fort
9. We had no idea what was going to happen, and only heard a detailed
account of it afterwards.

When a prisoner attempts to escape and is recaptured, he is taken by the
Germans into the bureau and searched, and for those articles--maps,
compasses, etc.--which are taken off him he is given a receipt and the
articles themselves are deposited, carefully ticketed with the owner's
name, in a large iron-bound wooden box which is kept in the depot
outside the fort.

When, however, prisoners are removed from one camp to another, the
articles belonging to those prisoners are handed to the N.C.O. in charge
of their escort and are deposited in the depot of the new camp.

This time two Russians were being sent to another camp, and the
iron-bound box in question had been brought into the bureau so that the
senior clerk could check the articles as they were handed over. The
theft of this box was carried out in the following manner. Just before
midday a party of Frenchmen, I believe, went into the bureau and had a
violent row with the Commandant--not an unusual occurrence, as I have
already explained. As the row became more and more heated, other
Frenchmen and Russians crowded into the bureau. A fearful scrimmage and
a great deal of shouting ensued, in the midst of which a party specially
detailed for the purpose carried the box unobserved out of the bureau
and into our "reading room," which was only a few doors away. There men
were waiting with hammers and other instruments. The lid was wrenched
open and the contents turned out on to the floor. Some then fell on the
box and broke and tore it into small pieces which others carried to the
different rooms and burnt immediately in the stoves. Others again
distributed to their owners or hid in previously prepared places the
contents of the box, so that within five minutes the box itself had
utterly disappeared and all its incriminating contents were in safe
hiding-places. The row, which had been gradually dying down, now
dissolved, and very soon afterwards the Germans discovered their loss.
The bells went and we were all ordered to our rooms. Then, amid shouts
of laughter from every room, two rather sullen and shamefaced Germans
searched vainly for an enormous box which had only been stolen five
minutes before and for which there was no possible hiding-place in any
of the rooms.

Most of us got back some valuable belongings. I got a compass and some
maps which had been taken off me at my first escape, but the most
amusing prize was my box of solidified alcohol, for which I now held two
receipts from the Germans as well as the article itself!



In the earlier chapters of this book I have mentioned the fact that some
months previous to my capture my people at home and I had invented a
simple code which would enable us, to a very limited degree, to
correspond, if ever I were unlucky enough to fall into the hands of the

This may seem to have been morbid anticipation of a lamentable
occurrence, but I assure you it was only a most obvious precaution. Not
only did I belong to the R.F.C., in which the chances of capture were
unavoidably greater than in any other service, but my brother had been
badly wounded and captured at the second battle of Ypres, and for over a
year we had received no news of him that had not been most strictly
censored. Soon after my arrival at Ingolstadt I wrote home several
sentences--it was difficult to write much more--in our prearranged code,
and received answers in the same way. But to obtain my mother's
efficient coöperation in plans of escape some more detailed instructions
than could be compressed into our code were necessary. We desired
accurate maps about 1:250,000 of the country between Ingolstadt and the
Swiss frontier, a luminous compass, saws for cutting iron bars, cloth
which could be made into civilian hats, condensed and concentrated food
of all sorts, and in addition detailed instructions must be sent as to
how these things were to be hidden in the parcels. As we were only
allowed to write one letter a fortnight and one post card a week, to
send the information home by my code would have been an almost endless
task, so I took the risk of writing a couple of letters in sympathetic
ink, merely using my code to say "Heat this letter."

The results were successful beyond my wildest hopes, for not only were
instructions obeyed, but my family showed very great ingenuity in
packing the required articles. In due course two luminous compasses and
two complete sets of excellent maps were received safely. Each set of
maps consisted of about six sheets each a foot square. The letters came
from England quicker than the parcels, so that, at the same time as my
mother sent off the parcel containing the maps or compass, she sent me a
post card to say in what parcel it was coming and in what article it was
concealed. After that it was my job to see that I obtained the article
without it being examined by the Germans. Watching a German open a
parcel in which you knew there was a concealed compass is quite one of
the most amusing things I have ever done. Most of the maps came baked in
the middle of cakes which I received weekly from home, and as I was on
comparatively good terms with the Germans who searched our parcels, they
used to hand these over to me without ever probing them.

One of the compasses came in a glass bottle of prunes, and I was not
surprised when the Germans handed this to me without searching it, as
it looked impossible that anything could be hidden in it. A second
compass came in a small jar of anchovy paste, and, as I dared not risk
asking for it, I told the German to put it among our reserve store of
food and found an opportunity of stealing it about a fortnight later.

I remember decoding one post card from my mother, and making out the
message to be "Maps in OSWEGO." But what was Oswego? No one had any

When the Hun opened my parcel, I was feeling rather nervous. Almost the
first thing he picked up was a yellow paper packet. He felt this
carefully, but passed it to me without opening it, when I saw with joy
that "Oswego" was marked on it. There was a large bundle of maps in the
middle of the flour. Another "near thing" was when the whole of the
crust on one of my cakes was entirely composed of maps, though the
baking had browned the oilpaper in which they were sewn so that it
looked exactly like cake. Altogether there is no doubt that I was
extraordinarily lucky to get all the things I did without being

Many other Frenchmen and Englishmen in the fort had maps and compasses
smuggled through to them, though owing to the energy of my people at
home, and sheer good luck on my part, I doubt if anyone was more
successful than I was. However, in one way or another, by bribery,
stealing, and smuggling, I am pretty sure there was an average of at
least one compass per man throughout the fort, and traced maps in any
quantity, though originals were scarce.

There was rather an amusing incident which happened when Moretti was
chef in Room 42. Buckley was in the habit of receiving dried fruit from
home, which, for purposes of his health, he kept for private use. One
day Moretti raided this store, in order to give the mess stewed fruit
for dinner, but, when he was cooking them, messages from home were found
floating about in the stew. Examination showed that the prunes had been
cut open very cleverly and a small roll of paper substituted for the
stone. I have given the above description of one of the methods by which
maps and compasses were obtained, not only because the possession of the
things was of immense importance in our ultimate escape, but because it
illustrates a fact, which many people believed with difficulty, namely,
that the Germans are extremely inefficient when the use of the
imagination is necessary to efficiency. They believed they were
searching with the greatest possible thoroughness: every tin, for
instance, was opened by them and the contents turned out on to a plate,
but it was obviously impossible to examine every small packet in every
small parcel, so that a certain discretion had to be used as to what to
examine and what to pass, and it was quite extraordinary how they
invariably spotted wrong. I have often wished to know whether the German
prisoners in England smuggled forbidden goods into their camps with the
same ease as we did.

One set of maps I cut down and sewed into the cuff of my tunic, and the
smallest compass I stowed away in the padding on the shoulder. The rest
of the stuff I divided between Moretti and Decugis, both of whom had
been very good friends to me. It was from the latter indeed that I
received information as to the position of the sentries on the Swiss
frontier at Riedheim, where Buckley and I ultimately crossed into

Towards the end of our strict confinement in Fort 9, while the moat
still remained frozen, the prisoners became very restless and a large
number of abortive attempts to escape were made. These mainly consisted
of attempts to burrow through the walls or in some way to obtain access
to the inner courtyards during the night. Once in the courtyard it was
thought that it would be easy to run between the sentries across the
moat if the night were only reasonably dark. Three Frenchmen actually
did get out, and, owing to successful "faking" of _Appell_, their
absence was not discovered, but they were caught in the courtyard before
they had crossed the moat. On another occasion some Frenchmen, by piling
tables and chairs on top of one another, had managed to get up to one of
the ventilators in the passage outside our rooms. Unfortunately they
were seen by the sentry on the ramparts, who crept up to the ventilator,
without apparently being observed, and fired two shots down through the
glass into the crowd below. By some extraordinary chance no one was hit,
and before the _Feldwebel_ and about a dozen soldiers with fixed
bayonets could arrive, the temporary structure beneath the ventilator
had been cleared away and everyone was looking as innocent as possible,
especially the culprits. Several men, including myself, who were
gambling or walking quietly in the passage, only escaped being bayoneted
by displaying considerable activity at the critical moment. Some of the
Frenchmen spent three weeks of most skilful labor in making a hole
through 4 feet of masonry into the inner courtyard. As these walls were
inspected daily by the Germans the stones had to be replaced every day
so as to leave no trace of the work. I inspected this place myself
several times in the day time, and am prepared to swear that it was
impossible to tell which stones were solidly imbedded and which were
loosely held together by imitation plaster. Somehow or other this also
was discovered when it was almost finished. A sentry was placed outside
the hole. In spite of the sentry, however, the Frenchmen removed and
threw down the latrine all the stones which they had loosened, leaving
in their place a placard on which was written, "Représailles pour le
Château de Chauny." In France the Germans had wantonly destroyed, only a
few days before this, the beautiful Château de Chauny. Bar-cutting was
also attempted by several Frenchmen and Englishmen--Bouzon, Gilliland,
and others; but somehow unforeseen circumstances always turned up at the
last moment to prevent an attempt to escape being made.

On one work, a tunnel,[4] in which Gaskell and I were assisting, an
immense deal of labor was spent in vain. In Room 49 the Corsican colonel
and Moretti and about four other Frenchmen had sunk a hole in the corner
of their room close under the window. This shaft was about 6 feet
deep--that is to say, to the water level of the moat. Farther one could
not go, as the water came in. From here a gallery was bored through the
foundations of the wall--4 or 5 feet of very solid masonry. This alone
took them three weeks. For the next few yards the tunnel made better
progress until, owing to the nature of the soil, they found it necessary
to revet the tunnel with wood as they advanced. The gallery was so
small--only 20 by 24 inches as far as I remember--that it was impossible
to crawl along it. You had to drag yourself along on your stomach, and
soon the conditions under which the work was carried on became so
unpleasant that two Frenchmen gave it up. Gaskell and I came in as the
new recruits. It was a horrible job. Most of the time one lay in water
and worked in pitch darkness, as the air was so bad that no candle would
keep alight. Gaskell was so large in the shoulder that he could not work
down the tunnel, and I am so long in the arms that I could only do it
with the greatest difficulty and exertion. After a time it was found
necessary to pump air to the man at work by means of a home-made bellows
and a pipe, and this made the work slightly more tolerable. From the
window, the ground, starting at about the same level as the floor of our
rooms, sloped down to the bank of the moat, dropping about 3 feet 6
inches, and from there there was a sharp drop of about 2 feet 6 inches
to the water or, at the time we started the tunnel, to the ice.

Our object was to come out in the steep bank of the moat on a level with
the ice and crawl across on a dark night. With the ice there I think the
idea was an extremely good one, and as nearly certain of success as
anything could be in Fort 9, but it is obvious from the dimensions given
that the tunnel towards the end must necessarily come within a few
inches of the surface of the ground. Actually for the last 3 or 4 yards
we were within 6 inches of the surface, and were able to drive a small
tube up through which we could breathe. Working in the tunnel was a
loathsome task, and one hour per day, in two shifts, was as much as I
could stand. You had to lie 12 yards or more under ground, in an
extremely confined space, in total darkness and in a pool of water. The
atmosphere was almost intolerable, and sometimes one had to come out for
a breath of fresh air for fear that one would faint. But we did this
unwillingly, as it took quite two minutes to go in and about four
minutes to get out, and so wasted much time. By getting into an
excruciatingly uncomfortable position, it was possible to shovel earth
into a wooden sledge made for the purpose, and when this was full, at a
given signal it was dragged back by a man at the pit-head, whose job it
was also to work the bellows. To your left wrist was tied a string, and
when this was twitched you stopped work and lay still waiting for the
sentry to tramp within 6 inches of your head, and wondering when he
would put his foot through, and if he did whether you would be
suffocated or whether he would stick you with a bayonet. Our safeguard
was that the top 8 to 12 inches of ground were frozen solid, and as long
as the frost lasted we were fairly safe, and later on we revetted the
tunnel very thoroughly with wood.

All the earth had to be carried in bags along the passage and emptied
down the latrines. This was Gaskell's self-appointed task, and he must
have emptied many hundreds of bags in this way. Considering that there
was a sentry permanently posted outside the windows of the latrines it
needed considerable skill and judgment to avoid being detected. We soon
found that we needed more labor, and two more Frenchmen, de Goys being
one of them, joined our working party. Moretti was not only chief
engineer, but also the most skilful and effective workman in the tunnel,
and it was entirely owing to him that it came so near to being a
success. I was a mere laborer, and not entrusted with any skilled work.

Unfortunately before the work was finished, the thaw came, and we had to
make other and much more complicated plans for crossing the moat.

It was generally agreed that we could not afford to get our clothes wet
through in crossing the moat. Moretti, the Colonel, and the two other
Frenchmen in their party decided to wade through the moat naked,
carrying two bundles sewn in waterproof cloth, one containing their
clothes and the other their food and other necessaries for a ten days'
march and life in the open in the middle of winter.

Gaskell and I and de Goys and his partner disliked the idea of being
chased naked in the middle of winter carrying two bundles, each weighing
20 pounds or more, so we decided to make ourselves diving-suits out of
mackintoshes. After waterproofing the worn patches on them with candle
grease, and sewing up the front of the neck, where a "soufflet" or extra
piece was let in to enable one to enter the garment from the top, and
binding the legs and arms with strips of cloth, we felt pretty certain
that little or no water would enter during the short passage of the
moat. Whether or not this would have been successful I cannot say, for
thank Heaven we never tried. As the ground gradually thawed, and as the
tunnel approached the moat, the question of revetting became ever of
greater importance. In some places the earth fell away and left cavities
above the woodwork, which we blocked up to the best of our ability.
There still remained a 6-inch layer of frozen earth above us, but for
the last week of the work we could never be sure that a heavy-footed
sentry would not come through if he trod on a tender spot. Towards the
end, the difficulty of obtaining sufficient wood became very acute, for
a large part of the woodwork of the fort had already been burnt in our
stoves during the winter. We all of us reduced the planks in our beds to
the minimum, and Moretti, by means of a false key, entered some unused
living-rooms which were kept locked by the Germans, and stole and broke
up every bit of wood he could find--beds, furniture, stools, shelves,
partitions and all. He was one day occupied in this way in one of the
empty rooms when the sentry outside the window saw or heard him, and
shot into the room at him from about 3 yards' range but missed, and
Moretti retreated with the wood. At last, after three months' work in
all, the tunnel was finished, and a night selected for the escape. As
the sentry who walked between our windows and the moat was never, even
at the far end of his beat, more than 30 yards from the exit of the
tunnel, we considered it essential that there should be sufficient wind
to ruffle the surface of the moat, and not too bright a moon. To a
certain extent by skill, but mainly by good luck, we had come to the
exact spot on the bank at which we had aimed. The place was close under
a lantern which was always hung at night near the edge of the moat, but
owing to the way in which the shadows fell we reckoned that the light
would dazzle rather than help the sentry to see the mouth of the hole
when it was opened. In the day time the open hole could not fail to
attract immediate attention, so that we intended to cut through the last
few inches of earth only an hour or so before the escape.

The Colonel and Moretti were to go first, and then the two Frenchmen in
their room, as these had done five weeks' more work than the rest of us.
Gaskell and de Goys played baccarat to decide which team should be the
next, and we won. Then Gaskell and I played to decide who should go
first of us two, and I won. De Goys and his partner lived in the other
wing of the fort, so that it was necessary for them to fake _Appell_ and
remain over in our rooms after 9 o'clock at night. This was carried out
successfully by help of most lifelike dummies in their beds, which
breathed when you pulled a string, and when the German N.C.O. came round
on our side de Goys and partner just hid under the beds. We got a great
deal of innocent amusement out of this sort of thing.

During the afternoon preceding the night on which we intended to go, I
had a bad fit of nerves, and for half an hour or more lay on my bed
shaking with funk at the thought of it. However, I completely recovered
control before the evening.

The night was not a particularly favorable one; we should have preferred
a good thunderstorm, but considering the thaw which had set in we could
not afford to wait. An hour before the time for starting someone went
down to open the species of trap-door which we had made at the far end,
which would enable us to close the exit after our departure. In the
meantime the Colonel and Moretti got ready. I really felt sorry for
them. We, the non-naked party, would be reasonably warm, whatever the
result might be. The Colonel stripped nude and greased himself from head
to foot, and then wound puttees tightly round his stomach, as a
"precaution against a chill," as Moretti said. There was good need for
precautions, it seemed to me, as there were still large lumps of ice
floating in the moat, and it was nearly freezing outside. Moretti just
got out of his clothes and picked up his bundles and was apparently
looking forward to the business, but I think he was the only one who

As soon as they were ready to go, Gaskell and I went back to our rooms
to put on our diving suits, and in the passage were standing three
German soldiers. Close inspection showed that they were Bellison, May,
and another Frenchman excellently got up.

They felt perfectly certain, and we were inclined to agree, that it was
impossible for eight of us to get across the moat without someone being
seen and shot at by the sentry. We knew from Buckley, who had special
opportunities of observing this whilst in solitary confinement, that
when the alarm was given, all the guard turned out at the double from
the guardroom inside the fort and rushed in a confused mob to the outer
courtyard. These three, dressed as Germans, after having opened all the
intervening doors by means of skeleton keys, intended to join the guards
and rush out with them. I think the idea was quite excellent, and that
their chances of escape were much greater than ours.

When we returned to Room 49 we found consternation among our party. The
man who had been down to open the trap-door said that it could not be
done, owing to unexpected roots and stones, under two hours' work, and
by that time the moon would have risen. After a hurried consultation we
agreed to abandon it for that night.

The next three nights were still and calm and clear without a ripple on
the water; an attempt would have meant certain failure. On the fourth
morning a pocket about 6 inches deep and a foot in diameter appeared in
the ground above the tunnel. All that day the sentry did not notice it,
and that night was stiller and clearer than ever. It was impossible to

The next day the N.C.O. whom we knew as the "Blue Boy" came round to tap
the bars of our windows, and the sentry drew his attention to the place
where the earth had sunk. He tested it with a bayonet, and later a
fatigue party came along with picks and dug the whole thing up, and all
our labor was in vain. It was rather sad; but, as I said before, looking
back now, I feel rather thankful that we never made the attempt. The
only result, as far as I know, was that the members of Room 49 were
split up among other rooms in the fort, and a sentry was put on guard
over the mouth of the hole. Moretti came into Room 42 and was instantly
appointed chef. He also started to dig another tunnel somewhere else,
which was also discovered. Personally I had had enough of tunnels, and
swore I would never try and escape that way again, so I returned with
renewed energy to my Russian lessons.


[Footnote 4: I have given the story of this tunnel at some length, not
because it was in any way exceptional, but rather because it shows the
labor and ingenuity involved in attempts to escape of this type, of
which there were innumerable examples in Fort 9. A most wonderful
tunnel, 80 yards long I believe, was made by the prisoners at Custrin.]



Soon after the failure of our tunnel scheme several Englishmen, among
whom were Gilliland, Unett, and Batty Smith, who had not been convicted
by the Germans of any evil deeds during the last four or five months,
were warned that they were going to be removed to Crefeld. Great
preparations were made for escaping on the way, and Gaskell and de Goys
seized the opportunity to try on the basket trick. Officers who have
been prisoners for two or three years accumulate quite a considerable
amount of luggage, and it was thought to be more than possible that the
Germans would not trouble to search all of it as it left the fort, as it
was quite certain to be searched carefully before it entered any new
camp. Two large clothes-baskets were procured, of which the fastenings
were so altered that they could be opened from the inside. Gaskell and
de Goys packed themselves into these, and were carried by the orderlies
into the parcel office in the fort with the rest of the heavy luggage.
Unfortunately a week or two before this someone had been caught entering
this room by means of a false key, and since then a sentry had been
posted permanently outside the door. When Gaskell and de Goys, who had
already spent nearly four hours in an extremely cramped position,
attempted to get out of their baskets to stretch their legs, the
wickerwork creaked so much that the suspicion of the sentry outside the
door was roused. He called an N.C.O., and the culprits were discovered
and led, rather ignominiously, back to their rooms.

From Fort 9, where the Germans were so very suspicious, this method of
escaping would need, I think, more than an average amount of luck to be
successful, though from a normal prison camp it was to my knowledge
successfully employed on several occasions.

The party under orders for another camp left the next day and without
further incident, and some weeks later we heard that six or eight of
them got out of the train in the neighborhood of Crefeld, and four of
them--Gilliland, Briggs, and two others--crossed the Dutch frontier
after three or four nights' march and after overcoming considerable
difficulties and hardships. Gaskell and I applied personally to the
General to be transferred to another camp, and I think most of the
remaining Englishmen did the same, but our request was received with

The two officers who escaped gave, I think, rather an unnecessarily
harrowing description of the life at Fort 9; for if in what I have
written I have given a true picture, I think it will be realized that
the feeling of bitterness was, under the circumstances, except in
particular instances and with certain individuals, remarkably small.

Attempts to escape, although thoroughly earnest and whole-hearted, were
undertaken with a sort of childish exuberance, in which the comic
element was seldom absent for long. However, the feeling between the
prisoners and their guard gradually grew worse, and several incidents
intensified this bitterness to such an extent that towards the end of my
time at Fort 9 it seemed scarcely possible that we could continue for
much longer without bloodshed, which up to that time, by pure good
fortune, had been avoided.

The Germans had been very irritated when we tore down and burnt in our
stoves nearly all the woodwork of the fort, and the repeated attempts to
escape got on their nerves. In addition to this, a store of blankets and
bedding caught fire--or perhaps was set on fire by the prisoners, as the
Germans believed. The place burnt for three days, and numerous
fire-engines had to be sent out from Ingolstadt. Also a large pile of
paper and boxes from our parcels, of considerable commercial value at
that time in Germany, was deliberately set on fire by a squib
manufactured for that purpose, although the pile was guarded by a
sentry. These and other pinpricks undoubtedly led the Germans, as we
learnt from one of the sentries, to issue most stringent orders to the
guard to use their rifles against us whenever possible.

I have already recorded some of the occasions, mostly justifiable, when
shots were fired at prisoners in the fort, but now there occurred an
incident which roused the most bitter feelings amongst the prisoners.

We were allowed to walk on the broad path along the ramparts, but we
were not allowed on the grass on the far side. Two Russian officers,
newly arrived at the camp I believe and ignorant of this rule (for there
were no boundary marks of any sort), lay on the grass one hot afternoon
in the forbidden area. Without a moment's hesitation a sentry about 100
yards from them fired two deliberately aimed shots without giving them
any warning whatever. Fortunately he missed them, though they presented
an enormous target. But the fact that he was an exceedingly bad shot did
not in any way detract from the damnableness of this wholly
unjustifiable attempt at murder--for that is the way we looked at it.

About a month before this last event, Buckley, Medlicott, and Batty
Smith finished their spell of "two months' solitary" and were welcomed
back to the society and comparative freedom of Fort 9. The Germans said
that they had only been under arrest (_Stubenarrest_) pending
investigations, and indeed ever since the row which I have called the
"Bojah" case the most searching inquiries had been carried out by the

Every one who had been in any way concerned or had been a spectator of
the scene was summoned to Ingolstadt to be cross-questioned and his
evidence taken down in writing. The Germans took the matter very
seriously and did their utmost to establish a charge of organized mutiny
against us. We, on the other hand, took the whole business as a joke and
laid the blame for the affair on the fact that the Commandant lost his
temper; and we brought, or could have brought, if the trial had been a
fair one, unlimited evidence to prove that this was not only possible
but an everyday occurrence at Fort 9.

At last the case was brought before a court-martial at Ingolstadt. As a
first-hand account by one of the accused of a German court-martial on
prisoners-of-war may be of real interest, I have asked Buckley, who took
a leading part, to give an account of it in his own words.


By Lieut. S. E. Buckley

On the day fixed for the court-martial a large party of Allied officers,
consisting of witnesses and accused, were paraded and left the fort
under a strong escort. The French contingent consisted of about eight
officers, and the British, of Medlicott, Batty Smith, and myself.

We left the fort at about 8 a.m. and arrived at the Kommandantur, to
which was also attached the military prison, at about 9.15. Here we were
all shown into a room to await proceedings, and were shortly joined by
poor old Bojah, the chief accused, and Kicq, both of whom had been kept
in solitary confinement since the day of the row. They both looked
awfully "low" and ill, especially Kicq, who had been short of food for
some time owing to the confiscation of his parcels.

The trial started at 10 a.m., and consisted in the examination of Du
Celié and Batty Smith. Unfortunately, only the officers whose cases were
being examined at the time were allowed to be present, so that we were
only able to judge of the temper of the court by the sentences imposed.
Du Celié, a Frenchman, who had been charged with complicity and who
conducted his own defense, was acquitted. As a matter of fact all he had
done was to translate a letter written by Batty Smith to the Commandant,
at the former's request, in which Batty Smith was alleged to have
slandered the Commandant. Batty Smith was awarded one and a half year's
imprisonment, and appealed against his sentence.

Bojah himself and Kicq were next examined, and as far as I can remember
they were still before the court when the luncheon interval arrived.

We had brought lunch with us, and we had made it as sumptuous as
possible in order to impress the Germans with the lack of success of
their submarine campaign. After lunch Medlicott and I had a little quiet
amusement to ourselves. We had both made fairly elaborate preparations
for an escape, should an opportunity arise during the proceedings. We
had a large quantity of food in our pockets, and portions of civilian
clothing, including mufti hats, concealed on our persons. During lunch
the sentries had been withdrawn from the waiting-room and only one
remained standing in the doorway.

The room was on the ground floor and looked out on to the courtyard of
the military prison; it seemed but a simple matter to jump out of the
window into the courtyard, whence, by turning a corner round the
building, a clear exit could be made on to the main road. We got some
French officers to start an animated conversation in the doorway in
order to hide us from the sentry, and we had previously arranged with
Kicq (who had returned to his cell during lunch and whose window
overlooked the room in which we were collected) to give us the signal
when all was clear.

At the given signal from Kicq, Medlicott jumped on to the window-sill,
and was just about to drop into the courtyard below, when to my
amazement I saw him scramble back into the room again and burst into
fits of laughter. On looking out of the window I discovered the cause.
There, leaning up against the wall, immediately below, was "Fritz," the
canteen man from the fort--"Fritz," fat and forty, with an ugly leer on
his face and brandishing a fearsome looking revolver in his hand. He had
apparently been stationed round the corner, where Kicq could not see
him, and had only just arrived below the window as Medlicott was about
to jump out.

I might remark that this was the only occasion during my whole stay in
Germany that I ever came across a really intelligently posted guard.

The examination of Bojah, Kicq, and later De Robiere, continued till
late in the afternoon. Kicq received a sentence of two years, De Robiere
one year, and Bojah nine months. As an instance of the gross injustice
of the whole affair, during De Robiere's trial the public prosecutor
stated that Kicq's action did not receive the support of his brother
officers, either British or French. This, of course, was quite untrue,
and De Robiere, who tried to protest, was immediately "sat upon" by the
president of the court. De Robiere made frantic efforts to get a
hearing, and failing in his attempt endeavored to waylay the public
prosecutor on his way out of court. This brave functionary was
unfortunately able to elude De Robiere's wrath by escaping from a side

Medlicott and I entered the court-room and stood side by side facing the
officers who composed the court and who were seated on a raised platform
at the far end of the room. The court consisted of about eight officers
presided over by an old colonel covered with a multitude of
parti-colored ribbons. Our two cases were taken together. We were
accused of insulting the Commandant, escaping from arrest, disobedience
to orders, and a few other minor offenses; Medlicott, in addition, was
accused of having broken the ventilator over the door of his cell.

The proceedings opened in a lively manner by Medlicott, who was in his
usual truculent mood, refusing to answer any questions. This immediately
brought down the wrath of the president upon him, and he was told that
if he persisted in his attitude he would be put in solitary confinement
for contempt of court. As this didn't suit Medlicott's book at all (he
was at the time planning a fresh escape), I took it upon myself to
accuse the interpreter of having falsely interpreted what Medlicott had
said. I explained that Medlicott wished to ask if he had the right to
refuse to answer questions. This luckily satisfied everybody (except the
interpreter, who didn't count).

After the Commandant and _Feldwebel_ had given their evidence, the
former with some anger and more excitement, I got up and read a long
speech in German in Medlicott's and my own defense. It is my greatest
regret to-day that I have no copy of this classic document, which had
been carefully prepared for me by an Alsatian officer. In it I "let
myself go" and accused both the Commandant and the _Feldwebel_ of
cowardice and of shirking going to the front. In fact, I thoroughly
enjoyed myself at their expense; so also, I think, did Medlicott, who
turned round during my speech and grinned openly in the faces of the
Commandant and the _Feldwebel_, who were sitting directly behind us.
After I had read our defense, the public prosecutor summed up the case
against us, and, if I remember rightly, asked that we might be sentenced
to two years' solitary confinement each. I think he was rather annoyed
at the time because we had been able to get hold of a German military
law book in the fort in which I found that we had been accused under the
wrong paragraph, and this mistake I had enlarged upon in our defense.

We were then marched out of court, and returned a few minutes later to
hear the verdict of six weeks' solitary confinement for Medlicott and
six and a half months for myself. Against these findings we both
naturally appealed.

The whole affair had been unjust in the extreme. In the first place, the
proceedings had been conducted in German, of which Medlicott understood
next to nothing. We were allowed no defending lawyer; and, finally, our
request to call witnesses in our defense was disallowed.



One day at the beginning of May 1917 an incident occurred in the fort
which ultimately led to the removal of the English and Russian prisoners
to other camps and to our escape _en route_. I never saw or knew exactly
how it started, as I was playing tennis in the court below. But it
appears that some thirty or forty men of mixed nationalities were
walking on the pathway which ran round the rampart above us, and
everything seemed quite normal and peaceful, when a shot was heard from
outside the fort. This was not such an unusual occurrence as to cause us
to stop our tennis; but when a few seconds later we heard another shot,
and there seemed to be considerable excitement among the other prisoners
on the rampart, we left the tennis with one accord and ran up the steep
stairway on to the rampart. The first thing I saw was a group of excited
Frenchmen, some apparently furiously angry, but all laughing,
gesticulating, and cursing in French and German in the direction of the
outer courtyard of the fort, which was 30 or 40 feet below them and
perhaps 70 yards away. Just as we arrived on the scene, they ducked
behind the parapet and a bullet whistled over our heads. They jumped up
like Jack-in-the-boxes, and the cursing broke out anew. I had a
cautious look over the parapet, and saw the German guard with the
_Feldwebel_ drawn up in the outer court. There seemed to be a good deal
of excitement and shouting going on, but as they did not appear to be
going to shoot again, the Frenchmen and I and several others who had
crowded to the parapet, after shouting out to the Germans what we
thought of them, moved away. Just at that moment Dessaux, a French
artillery lieutenant, strolled up with his hands in his pockets and
walked towards the parapet. At the same moment I caught sight of the
sentry on the center "caponnière," who was less than 30 yards off and
standing on the mound above us, making preparations to shoot. He had his
hand on the bolt of his rifle, and glanced towards the courtyard below,
whence it seemed he was being urged to fire. Then he came forward a few
steps in a sort of crouching attitude and snapped a cartridge into his
rifle. I was about 5 yards from Dessaux at the moment, and yelled at him
to look out as the fellow ran forward. Dessaux looked up and, seeing the
sentry putting up his rifle, crouched behind a traverse of the parapet
as the fellow fired. The bullet crashed into a chimney-pot just behind.
Dessaux sat there laughing. The sentry reloaded his rifle and glanced
about him at a crowd of angry men, who were threatening and cursing him
in four languages from every side. For a moment it looked as though the
sentry would be rushed, when a German N.C.O. came running up the
stairway, amid a hail of curses, and stopped the man from firing again.
I remember one Russian pointing his finger and shrieking "Schwein!"
"Schwein!" at the N.C.O. as he went by. At that moment a Frenchman,
Commandant Collet, rushed up to me and said, "Did you see what
happened?" I gave a brief account of it. "Come to the bureau," he said,
"and we will tell them what we think of them;" and we ran down to the
bureau together. In the bureau there was already a small crowd of
excited Frenchmen in front of the barrier. The bureau was a small,
narrow room with a barrier like a shop counter about one-half of the way
down it. There was only one door to the room, and at the far end, on the
clerks' and office side of the barrier, was a huge, heavily barred
window, typical of all the windows in the fort. Collet pushed his way to
the barrier through the other Frenchmen, and addressed the
sergeant-clerk (a Saxon, and the only decent German in the place). At
that moment the _Feldwebel_ pushed his way in, white in the face and
fingering his revolver; it was no place for him outside, and he was met
by a storm of curses and threats. "If one of our officers is touched,"
said Collet, "if one is wounded, I swear to you that we will come
immediately and kill every man in this bureau." Both the sergeant-clerk
and the _Feldwebel_ understood him, and he repeated it several times to
make sure that they did. The sergeant-clerk tried to pacify him, but we
pushed our way out of the bureau.

One result of this row was that the bars were taken out of the big
window at the back of the bureau to provide a back means of escape for
the bureau staff. A second important result was that, when we came to
compare notes, we found we had a very good case against the _Feldwebel_,
the charge being, "Instigating his men to murder."

There was a prisoner in the fort, an Alsatian, Stoll by name, who spoke
German perfectly, German being his native language, though I doubt if he
would allow that. At the time when the guard was being changed and the
row started, he was sitting in our reading-room, of which the window was
not more than 40 yards away from where the _Feldwebel_ was making a
speech to the guard. The Alsatian overheard and was able to take down
nearly every word of the speech, which was something as follows: "The
prisoners you have to guard are criminals--you are to lose no
opportunity of using your arms against them--be suspicious of everything
they do--everything is an attempt to escape; therefore you must shoot to
kill whenever possible."

At that moment the _Feldwebel_ caught sight of a group of Frenchmen
standing on the parapet above, who were laughing among themselves (they
swore afterwards that they were offering no provocation whatever). The
_Feldwebel_ thought they were mocking the guard, and gave orders to the
sentry in the courtyard to fire. The first shot the man fired over their
heads without taking careful aim. After that, when the Frenchmen bobbed
up again from behind the parapet, both sides cursed and shouted. Two
more well-aimed shots followed; then the _Feldwebel_, seeing, I think,
that there was small chance of hitting any one when there was a parapet
to duck behind, shouted repeatedly to the man on the center "caponnière"
to fire, with the result I have already described.

Fourteen of us made out accurate affidavits in German of what we had
seen, and sent them in to the general in charge of the camp, demanding
an inquiry, if there was such a thing as justice in Germany.

About a fortnight later, a rumor went round, which was confirmed after a
few days, that all the Russian and English prisoners were to be moved to
other camps. The news caused a great sensation, as most of us had
considered that we were fixtures in Fort 9 till the end of the war, or
till we could escape. Some of the Russians and all the English were most
suspicious characters, and we could scarcely expect to be insufficiently
guarded on our railway journey. Nevertheless, we all went into strict
training. Two days before we went, we were informed that we were being
sent to Zorndorf. Buckley had been a prisoner there before coming to
Fort 9, and said that it was a most intolerable place, and that the
change we were making was distinctly for the worse. Nothing would induce
him to go back there, he said, without making an effort, however
hopeless, to escape _en route_. He and I joined forces, having no very
definite plans. The train would take us directly away from the Swiss
frontier. It was to our advantage, then, to get off the train as soon as
possible; for, besides the extra distance every moment in the train put
between us and the frontier, we had no maps of the country north of
Ingolstadt. From Ingolstadt to the frontier was about 130 miles, or
rather more, and for all that part I not only had excellent maps which
had been sent out to me from home, but from other prisoners who had
attempted to escape in that direction we had accurate and detailed
knowledge of the whole route from Fort 9 to the frontier.

Buckley and I decided to get off the train at the first opportunity, and
then, if the distance were not too great, to walk. If it was too far to
walk, we should have to risk jumping or taking a train. All the details
we had to leave to circumstances. We had this in our favor, that we both
talked German fairly fluently and well enough, with luck, to pass for
Germans if only a few words were needed. Against us was the fact that,
as we were going officially by train, we had to be in almost full
uniform. By dint of continually wearing grey flannels, the English had
induced the Germans to believe that gray flannels was part of the
English uniform. I struck a bargain with a Frenchman for a Tyrolese hat,
and Buckley very ingeniously made himself a very German-looking hat out
of an old straw hat and some cloth. For food, we both stuffed the
pockets of our tunics full of chocolate and condensed foods. Besides
this I carried a home-made haversack full of biscuits and raw bacon, and
Buckley had a small dispatch-case in which he had mainly condensed
food--oxo cubes, Horlick's malted milk, meat lozenges, etc. Thus
equipped, and with Burberrys to cover our uniforms, we thought we should
pass as Germans in the dark. Our outfit was far from being all that
could be desired; but it is hard to see how we could have carried more
food, or more suitable clothes, even if we had possessed them, without
raising suspicion as we left the fort. We were not the only party which
was making preparations to escape. Medlicott and Wilkin certainly had
something on--I don't know what the scheme was, though I have a sort of
idea they intended to try and get off near an aerodrome in the
neighborhood of Berlin. Gaskell and May had some ideas of a bolt on the
way up from the station at the other end. Buckley and I also intended to
bolt there, if we could not get off before. Then there were the
Russians. There were several parties among them, good fellows too and
reliable, but perfectly certain to make a mess of any scheme they went
for. It was most important to see that they did not spoil any good
chance that might come along by prematurely doing something absolutely
mad. As a general rule, however, they placed great reliance on our
superior judgment, and we thought we could keep them in hand. The
general opinion was that we should never have the ghost of an
opportunity, and when we saw our guard on the morning of May 22nd we
almost gave up hope. Our heavy luggage had been sent on early. Wilkin,
by the way, had an enormous wooden box with secret hiding-places all
over it which were stuffed full of maps and tools for cutting iron bars,
etc., all of which latter he had made and tempered himself. He was also
an expert locksmith and had a large assortment of skeleton keys. As our
names were called, we passed through the iron gate over the moat and
stood in the outer courtyard, surrounded by a guard of fifteen
efficient-looking Huns who were to escort us. There were only thirty of
us going, so we considered fifteen guards and an officer rather
excessive. One amusing incident happened before we marched off. One of
the Frenchmen took a Russian's place, dressed in Russian uniform, and
came out when the Russian's name was called. He was recognized, however,
by the sergeant, who was no fool, and pushed back into the fort amid
shouts of laughter. After some delay the Russian was found and brought

We had a 7-mile walk to the station and, as always in Germany, a two
hours' wait there. We spent those two hours infuriating the officer in
charge of us by taking as little notice as possible of any orders that
he gave us, and by talking or shouting to all the French, Russian, or
English Tommies who passed us in working parties from the large soldier
prisoner-of-war camp at Ingolstadt. At last we were rather tightly
packed into quite decent second-class carriages. Six of the English got
together in one carriage, and a sentry was put in with us. We edged up
and gave him the corner seat next the corridor, and another sentry
marched up and down the corridor outside. At the first review the
situation seemed rather hopeless. The only chance was a large
plate-glass window of the normal type, which we were compelled to keep
closed. There was not much chance of our fellow going to sleep, with the
sentry in the corridor continually looking in. German sentries always
work in pairs like that, and usually one would report the other without
hesitation. There was no door in the side of the carriage opposite to
the corridor. Just before we started, the officer came in; he had been
fussing round a great deal, and was obviously very anxious and nervous.
Prisoners from Fort 9 had a bad reputation. He asked if we were
comfortable. I answered yes for the party, and told him that we strongly
objected to being shouted at, as he had shouted at us in the station. He
apologized. It was only his way he said. We had disobeyed orders and he
had got angry and then he always shouted. He hoped that now we would
have a comfortable quiet journey and no more trouble. I said he would
not help matters anyhow by shouting--as it only made us laugh. He took
this rebuke quite well and went off. I am afraid he had a good deal of
trouble ahead of him, and I have no doubt he shouted at frequent
intervals most of that journey.

As we got into Nüremberg, the first large town, about 70 miles north of
Ingolstadt, it was beginning to get dark. There we waited for two hours
or more.

Up to that time no incident of any interest had occurred, and the chance
of escape had been very small. It was hardly worth it in the daylight,
and we were now a devilish long way from the frontier. However, Buckley
and I decided that if we got an opportunity any time during the night we
would take it. After leaving Nüremberg we went slowly through a fairly
dark night. It was not too dark to see that we were traveling through a
well-wooded and rather hilly country, and our hopes began to rise. On
leaving Nüremberg, Buckley and I took the two corner seats near the
window. It had been decided in the carriage that as Buckley and I were
best prepared, both in the matter of food and by the fact that we alone
talked German, the others should give every assistance in their power to
get us away. They were a good lot of fellows in that carriage, and the
spirit of self-sacrifice which existed in Fort 9, where three
nationalities were crowded together, was beyond anything which one could
possibly have anticipated. Escaping came before everything, and was an
excuse for any discomforts which one or two members might bring on the
rest of the community. If you wished for help, almost any man in the
fort would have helped you blindly, regardless of consequences.



Towards midnight, after we had shut our eyes for an hour to try and
induce the sentry to go to sleep, I hit on a plan, which I believe now
to have been the only possible solution of the problem. There were six
of us and a sentry in a small corridor carriage, so that we were rather
crowded; both racks were full of small baggage, and there was a fair
litter on the floor. When the train next went slowly, and when I
considered the moment had come, I was to give the word by saying to the
sentry, in German of course, "Will you have some food? we are going to
eat." Then followed five or ten minutes of tense excitement, when we
tried to keep up a normal conversation but could think of nothing to
say. Medlicott had the happy thought of giving me some medicine out of
his case, which came in most useful; but all he could say was, "It's a
snip, you'll do it for a certainty." Suddenly the train began to slow
up. "Now?" I said to Buckley, and he nodded, so I leant across and said
to the sentry, "Wir wollen essen; wollen Sie etwas nehmen?" Then every
one in the carriage with one accord stood up and pulled their stuff off
the racks. The sentry also stood up, but was almost completely hidden
from the window by a confused mass of men and bags. Buckley and I both
stood up on our seats. I slipped the strap of my haversack over my
shoulder--we both of us already had on our Burberrys--pushed down the
window, put my leg over, and jumped into the night. I fell--not very
heavily--on the wires at the side of the track, and lay still in the
dark shadow. Three seconds later Buckley came flying out of the window,
and seemed to take rather a heavy toss. The end of the train was not yet
past me, and we knew there was a man with a rifle in the last carriage;
so when Buckley came running along the track calling out to me, I caught
him and pulled him into the ditch at the side. The train went by, and
its tail lights vanished round a corner and apparently no one saw or
heard us. Whether the sentry saw us get out, neither Buckley nor I ever
knew, but anyhow I think Medlicott had him pretty well wedged up in the
corner. There must have been an amusing scene in the carriage after we
left, and I am ready to bet that the officer shouted a bit.[5] As soon
as the train was ought of sight, Buckley and I walked back down the
track for a couple of hundred yards and cut across country in a
southwest direction. There was no danger from any pursuit from the
train. It was a darkish night, and there were pine forests in all
directions. A hundred men chasing us would not have caught us. Besides,
if they sent any of our guard after us, more prisoners would escape.
Under a convenient hedge we made the few changes which were necessary in
our clothes, threw away our military caps, and got out our compasses and
a very poor sketch map of Buckley's, which was to serve us as a guide
for the next hundred kilometres and more, till we could use our proper

We were, we reckoned, between 10 and 15 miles almost due north of
Nüremberg. We would have to skirt this town--though we discussed the
advisability of walking straight into Nüremberg and doing a short
railway journey from there before any alarm or description of us could
have reached the place. We had such a long way to go, and so little food
considering the distance. But we could not bring ourselves to risk so
much so soon after getting our liberty. "It is doubtful anyhow," we
said, "whether it would be a judicious move; let's have a week's freedom
at any rate before we take so great a risk." Considering the nature of
the country, we thought we had an excellent chance of not being caught
till our food ran out, if we took every precaution and had no bad luck.
It was so extraordinarily pleasant to be free men once more, if only for
a short time.

_First Night._--This was entirely without incident; we marched by
compass, mainly by tracks through pine forests, and frequently caught
sight of the lights of Nüremberg on our left. Just before dawn we lay up
in a pleasant coppice a hundred yards or so from the edge of a quiet
country road. We took the precaution of sprinkling some pepper on our
tracks where we entered the wood, and thus, to some extent guarded
against stray dogs, we felt pretty secure. The day seemed intolerably
long from 4.30 a.m. till 9.30 p.m.--seventeen hours; the sun was very
hot and there was very little shade, and we were impatient to get on.
Our water-bottles too held insufficient water: we only had about one and
a quarter pint between us, Buckley having a small flask and I a
watertight tobacco tin. Throughout the journey I think it was the
weariness of lying up for seventeen hours, rather than the fatigue of
the six to seven hours' march at night, which wore out not only our
nerves but our physical strength. At no time of any day could we be free
from anxiety. The strain of passing through a village where a few lights
still burnt, or crossing a bridge where we expected to be challenged at
any moment, never worried me so much, under the friendly cover of night,
as a cart passing or men talking near our hiding-place.

The general routine which we got into after about the third day out was
as follows:--We went into our hiding-place at dawn or shortly after,
that is to say, between 4.30 and 5.15, and after taking off our boots
and putting on dry socks we both dropped asleep instantly. This may seem
a dangerous thing to have done. One of us ought always to have been
awake. But the risk we ran in this way was very small indeed, and the
benefit we got from that first sound sleep, while we were still warm
from walking, was so great that we deliberately took whatever risk there
was: it was almost non-existent. Nothing ever seemed to stir in the
countryside till after 6.30. During the rest of the day one of us always
remained awake. After half an hour's sleep we would wake shivering, for
the mornings were very cold, and we were usually wet from the dew up to
our waists. Then we had breakfast--the great moment of the day. At the
beginning rations were pretty good, as I underestimated the time we
should take by about four days. To begin with, I thought we should come
within range of our maps on the third night, but we did not get on them
till the fifth. Half a pound of chocolate, two small biscuits, a small
slice of raw bacon, six oxo cubes and about ten tiny meat lozenges and a
few Horlick's malted milk lozenges--this was the full ration for the
day. We never had more than this, and very soon had to cut it down a
good deal. We varied this diet with compressed raisins, cheese, or raw
rice instead of the meat or chocolate. The oxo cubes and half the
chocolate we almost always took during the night, dissolving the former
in our water-flasks. Later on, when things began to look very serious
from the food point of view, we helped things out with raw potatoes, but
I will come to that later on. On the first day we took careful stock of
our food, which we redistributed and packed; and then decided--

(1) that we had at a guess about 200 miles to walk;

(2) that we would make for the German Swiss and not the Austrian Swiss

(3) that we would walk with the utmost precaution and not take a train
or try to jump a train till we were at the end of our tether;

(4) that by walking round Nüremberg we should be sure to hit a good road
taking us south or southwest;

(5) that we would not start to walk before 9.30 in the open country, or
9.45 if there were villages in the neighborhood (we broke this rule
twice, and it nearly finished the expedition each time);

(6) that we would never walk through a village before 11 p.m. if we
could help it;

(7) last, but not least, that we would always take the counsel of the
more cautious of the two at any moment.

A very large percentage of the officers in the fort where we had been
prisoners for the last six months had made attempts and had marched
through Germany towards different frontiers for periods varying from a
few hours to three or four weeks, so that we had a great quantity of
accumulated experience to help us. For instance--contrary to what one
would naturally suppose--it was safest and quickest to walk along
railways--especially if you could answer with a word or two of German to
any one who shouted to you. And there was the additional advantage that
the chance of losing the way along a railway was very small.

_Second Night._--We started from our hiding-place about 9.30 p.m. and
made our way for a mile or two across country and through woods, going
with quite unnecessary caution till we hit a decent road going south,
soon after ten o'clock.

After walking fast along this for an hour or so we were going up a
steepish hill when Buckley complained of feeling very tired. This was a
bad start, but after resting a few minutes he was strong enough to go on
and gradually got better towards the end of the night. From there
onwards it was Buckley who was on the whole the stronger walker, at
least he had most spare energy, which showed itself in those little
extra exertions which mean so much--such as climbing a few yards down a
river bank to get water for both, and being the first to suggest
starting again after a rest. Of course we varied, and sometimes I and
sometimes he was the stronger--and there is no doubt that between us we
made much better progress than either one of us could have done alone.
About 11.30 we got rather unexpectedly into a large village and had to
walk boldly through the middle of it. There were one or two people
about, but no one stopped or questioned us. A little later we crossed a
railway which ran slightly south of west, and hesitated whether to take
it on the chance of hitting a branch line leading south, but we decided
to stick to the road. An hour or so later, however, the road itself
turned almost due west, and we were forced to take a poor side road,
which gradually developed into a track and then became more and more
invisible till it lost itself and us in the heart of a pine forest. We
then marched by compass, following rides which led in a south or
southwest direction.


I afterwards found out by studying the map that there are no main roads
or railways leading in a south or southwest direction through that bit
of country. Time after time during the first five nights we were
compelled to take side roads which led nowhere in particular, and we
found ourselves tripping over hop-poles and wires, or in private
property, or in the middle of forests. Towards 5 o'clock we were getting
to the edge of this piece of forest, and lay up in a thick piece of
undergrowth, and heather--a very pleasant spot, though we were rather
short of water, not having found any in the forest. The day, a very hot
one, passed without incident, though several carts and people passed
within 25 yards of our hiding-place.

_Third Night._--About 9 o'clock we were absolutely sick of lying still,
and very thirsty. As the whole place seemed deserted we decided to start
walking. We soon found a stream, and after quenching our thirst walked
by compass and hit a main road leading slightly east of south about half
a mile farther on. We found ourselves on the northeast side of a valley
about a mile broad which had the appearance of a marsh or irrigation
meadow covered with rank grass. On either side were hills covered with
thick pine woods. The only thing to do was to go along the road, even if
it did lead slightly east of south. I may say here that we badly
miscalculated the distance the train had brought us north on my maps. We
hoped during this third night to see on a sign-post the name of a town
mentioned on the map which would tell us where we were, and for this
purpose we had learnt by heart the names of all the towns and villages
along the northern border of the map. It was all a question of time and
food, and progress through pine forests by compass was very slow work.
It was therefore essential to hit a main road going south as soon as
possible, and we determined to ask our way. As we were filling our
water-bottles from a rivulet at the side of the road a man and a boy
came by on bicycles. I hailed them and asked what the name of the
village was which we could see in the distance. They got off their
bicycles and came towards us, and the man answered some name which I did
not quite catch. Then he looked curiously at us and said: "Sie sind
Ausländer" (You are foreigners). "No, we aren't," I said; "we are North
Germans on a walking tour and have lost our way." "Sie sind Ausländer,"
he answered in a highly suspicious voice. Buckley said he did not care a
damn what he thought, and I added that just because we did not speak his
filthy Bavarian dialect he took us for foreigners, "Good evening"--and
we walked off down the road. He stood looking after us, but we both had
thick sticks and he could not have stopped us whatever he may have
thought. We walked till we were out of sight round a bend and then,
perforce, as the open valley was on our right, turned left-handed and
northwards into the pine forest.

During the next hour and a half we made a huge left-handed circle,
always with the fear upon us of being chased. Several times we thought
we heard men and dogs after us, and in several different places we
covered our tracks with pepper. It was a thoroughly unpleasant
experience, but about 11.30 we felt sure we had thrown off any pursuers
and determined to walk in the right direction. We should have done this
before, only the valley lay right across our path. We struck a high road
leading almost south, and soon afterwards found ourselves entering a
village. It was a long, straggling village, and before we were half-way
through dogs began to bark. We hurried on and got through without seeing
any men. After a mile or two the road turned almost east, and we
suddenly found ourselves on the same old spot where we had spoken to the
man. We kept on down the road and avoided the next village by an awful
detour through thick pine woods and over very rough country, and then
hitting the road again we crossed to the southwest side of the valley
and made good progress along pathways and tracks in an almost southerly

At every sign-post Buckley used to stand on my shoulders, and with the
help of a match read out the names and distances whilst I took them down
for comparison with my map in the day time. About 2 o'clock we cut at
right angles into a main road going east and west. I insisted on taking
this, arguing that we had already marched too much east and that our
only chance of hitting a south-leading road lay in marching west till we
hit one. After a short time the road turned south and we made excellent
progress till 5 o'clock, when we passed through a village in which we
dared not stop to examine the sign-post, and lay up on a wooded hill on
the south of it. Only one incident frightened us a good deal. It was
getting towards morning when we saw a man with a gun approaching us
along the road. However, he passed with a gruff "Good morning," which we

We found ourselves when morning came, in an almost ideal spot for "lying
up," and could sit in safety at the edge of our coppice and see the
country for miles to the east of us. I was lying there studying the map,
hoping, in vain as it proved, to find on it some of the names which we
had taken down from sign-posts, when it suddenly occurred to me that the
valley at which we were looking fitted in very well with one of the
valleys on the northern edge of the map. After prolonged study we were
unable to decide for certain--there were some annoying discrepancies;
but "the wish is father to the thought," and we thought we were right.
The next night's march would decide, anyhow. If we marched southwest
through a pine forest for about an hour we would hit a road and a
railway and a river all together, and then we would know where we were;
and if we did not hit them, we should know we were still lost.

_Fourth Night._--We started about 9.45, having learnt our lesson from
the previous night, and after walking through a forest for over an hour,
without coming across the desired road, river, and railway, we found
ourselves falling over things like hop-poles with wires attached, and
running up against private enclosures, and still in the middle of an
almost trackless forest. Several times we had anxious moments with
barking dogs. When we got clear of these my temper gave way and I sat
down, being very tired, and cursed everything I could think of--forests,
hop-poles, dogs, the roads, and Buckley. Buckley recovered himself
first, telling me "not to be a fool," and we struggled on once more.
From that night on we swore we would stick to the roads and have no more
cross-country walking. I seem to remember that we zigzagged all over the
place that night, always keeping to the roads, however, and walking
fast. After midnight we came through several villages and started the
dogs barking in each one. Once a man came out with a light and called
after us; we said "good night" to him and pushed on, but it was most
trying to the nerves. My God, how we loathed dogs! Later we came on a
valley in which was a river 20 yards, or more broad. Our road passed
through a village at a bridge-head, from which came sounds of revelry
and lights were showing; so we turned off, and instantly got into the
middle of a perfect network of hop-poles. Eventually we found a bridge
lower down near an old mill. There was a road running parallel with the
river on the far side, and something above it which on investigating
turned out to be a railway. The question was, "Is this the valley we are
looking for?" It soon turned out that it was not. The direction which
the line took after we had followed it eastwards for several miles
decided the question, and after going a mile out of our way back to the
river to get water, we took a good road leading south. We were both very
tired, and struggled on, with great difficulty and several rests, up a
steep hill through the longest village I have ever seen. It seemed miles
and miles, and dogs barked the whole way. The villages about here had
drinking-troughs for horses at the street sides, which were a great boon
to us.

Soon after dawn we got into an excellent hiding-place without further
adventures. We were very exhausted, and were beginning to feel the lack
of food. The cross-country marches of the last two nights had been a
heavy tax on our strength. We were not yet on our maps, and the most
moderate estimate of the distance from the Swiss frontier, when
considered in relation to our food supply, made it necessary to cut down
our ration very considerably from this time onwards. We were much
worried during that day by shooting which went on in the wood round us.
It is the German habit to go out shooting for the pot on Sundays, and
many escaping prisoners had been recaught in this way. We had to lie
consequently most of the day with our boots on, prepared to bolt at any
moment. However, our hiding-place was good, and though men and carts
passed close to us, I don't think we ran much risk of being found.

_Fifth Night._--The first village we came to lay across a stream in the
middle of a broad and marshy valley. It was about 11 o'clock, and as we
approached we heard sounds of music, singing, and laughter coming from
the village. It was Sunday night, and I suppose there was a dance on or
something of the sort--it was too much for us at any rate, and as there
seemed no way round owing to the river, we sat down in a clump of trees
outside the village and waited. About 11.30 the sounds died down and
just before 12 o'clock we got through the village without mishap, though
we passed two or three people. We were making excellent progress along a
good straight road which ran, for a wonder, in the right direction, when
suddenly we heard a whistle from the woods on our left and ahead of
us--the whistle was answered from our rear. We are fairly caught this
time, we thought, but we walked steadily on. We had big sticks and the
woods were thick at the sides of the road. There were more whistles from
different sides, and then just as we were passing the spot where we had
heard the first whistle a line of men came out of the woods in Indian
file and made straight for us. There were ten or twelve of them trotting
in a crouching attitude. They passed a yard or two behind us, crossed
the road, and disappeared into a corn field on the other side. "Boy
scouts, begorra," said Buckley. "I wish we were well out of this," I
said. "I hope to heaven the little devils won't make it part of the
night operations to arrest every one coming down that road. If we have
to knock out some of them, the villagers would murder us; and we should
never shake them off, once they had an inkling of what we were; I would
rather tackle men any day." Buckley agreed heartily, and we walked on
fast. Several times afterwards those cursed whistles sounded, but we
gradually left them behind.

At last we hit a railway, running east and west, of course. Our road
here took a right-angle turn and ran beside the railway, and we were
compelled to take a much worse road leading uphill among trees. The road
gradually got worse. We soon recognized the symptoms. How often in the
last few days had we followed roads which degenerated by slow degrees
and ended by entangling us in hop-poles and private gardens in a forest!
A quarter of an hour later this one proved itself to be no exception to
the rule. Buckley was all for pushing on by compass through the forest.
I absolutely refused, and after some argument we decided to retrace our
steps to the railway and follow it westwards. This we did, and after
walking several miles along the railway we took a good road which ran
north and south, cutting the railway at right angles. After walking for
an hour or more along this road we came to a milestone which, as usual,
we inspected carefully. On it were the words: _Gunzenhausen, 8
Kilometres_. We could have shouted for joy. Gunzenhausen was marked on
the northern edge of my map. We knew where we were.

It is impossible to describe what a difference this knowledge made to
us. For the last three days we had been oppressed by the feeling that we
were lost, that we were walking aimlessly, that we were continually on
the wrong road and using up our food and strength in making detours. For
the future we would know that every step we took would be one step
nearer the frontier, and during the day we could lie and plan out our
route for the following night--we could make fairly accurate
calculations with regard to food--in fact, the whole problem of distance
and food supplies was now clear and simple, and we had some chocolate to
celebrate the occasion. At the next village we saw by a sign-post that
the road to Gunzenhausen turned almost due west. I wished to go straight
on southwards down a decent road, but Buckley wished to go for
Gunzenhausen, the only name which we knew as yet. After a rather heated
argument I gave way. Our tempers were rather irritable, but we were
never angry with each other for more than five minutes, and as soon as
we had recovered our tempers we used to apologize. We almost walked into
a sentry in Gunzenhausen before we knew we were in the town. However, we
retreated, and making a short detour lay up in a small oak wood about 3
miles south of the town, having accomplished that night a very good
march. The place where we were hiding was by no means an ideal spot, as
the undergrowth was not very thick. It was rather an anxious day, as we
again heard shooting in the woods in the neighborhood, but no one
disturbed us. After a careful study of the map we found that, by cutting
across in a southwest direction about five miles of flat, low-lying
country, we would hit a railway which went due south to Donnauwörth,
about 60 miles away.


[Footnote 5: I have learnt since from Major Gaskell that nearly a minute
elapsed before the sentry realized that we had departed. After the
discovery there was a good deal of ill-feeling, which was accentuated by
two Russians escaping in much the same manner an hour later, but they
were recaptured.]



_Sixth night._--The walk across the plain took us nearly two hours. Much
of it was very marshy, and it was all sopping wet with dew, so that,
before reaching the railway, we were wet to the waist. There was also a
nasty obstacle in the shape of a canal. The only bridge was almost in a
village, and as we approached, all the dogs in the place began to bark,
so we tried to cross in an old punt which we found. Getting this afloat,
however, made so much noise that we desisted and made for the bridge,
which we crossed without mishap in spite of a regular chorus of dogs.
Thank Heaven, they appeared to be all chained up. All the rest of the
night we walked along the railway. Twice men in signal-boxes or
guard-houses called after us. We always answered something in German and
then made a short detour round the next building, small station,
guardhouse, or signal-box which we came to. In every one of them there
was a dog which barked as we passed. The detours wasted much time and
were very tiring, so we deliberately took more risks and walked straight
on, in spite of the dogs, as long as we neither saw nor heard a human
being. That day we lay up in a lonely spot in a thickish wood on one
side of a railway cutting overlooking the town of Treuchtlingen.
Treuchtlingen was only marked as a small village on our maps, but it
turned out to be a huge junction with an enormous amount of rolling
stock and many sidings--all quite newly built, we thought--almost
certainly since the war started.

_Seventh Night._--As we thought we should run less risks, this
apparently being a line of military importance and therefore possibly
guarded, we decided to take a main road rather than follow the railway.
We marched all night without incident and towards morning at the village
of Monheim we turned back to the railway in order to reach some woods
which were marked on the map. The woods turned out to be most unsuitable
for our purpose. They were mostly well-grown oak or pine with no
undergrowth whatever. Daylight found us still hunting for a decent
hiding-place. At length we decided the best we could do was to lie
between the edge of a wood and a barley field, a most exposed position
if anyone should come that way. Soon we had no chance of changing our
position if we would, as women at a very early hour began to work in the
field within 100 yards of us. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon we heard
a movement in the woods behind us. We had rigged up a sort of screen of
boughs on that side, but we could scarcely hope that anyone would pass
without seeing us if they came close.

For an hour or more we lay not daring to move, and at length saw an old
woman gathering sticks. She came nearer and nearer, and suddenly looked
up and saw us. We were pretending to be half-asleep, basking in the
sun, so we just nodded to her and said "Good-day." She said something
in patois which I did not quite catch, about sheep or shepherds. I said
"Ja wohl," and she moved off rather quickly we thought, but it may have
been that our guilty consciences made it seem so, and soon afterwards we
heard her speaking to someone way off. As soon as she was out of sight
we thought it best to move. There was no possible hiding-place to go to,
so we walked farther into the wood and selecting the largest tree sat
down one each side of the trunk. Our idea was to play hide-and-seek
round the tree if anyone came by or if the old woman came back; and if
there was a systematic search to trust to our legs. We had over four
hours to wait before it would become dark and before we could feel at
all safe. I think the old woman came back to the spot where we had been
lying, but finding us gone did not trouble to search for us.

_Eighth Night._--We got away from the wood about 9.30, and all that
night we walked along the railway. I have rather a hazy recollection of
the night's march, but as far as I remember it was quite without
incident. Just north of Donnauwörth we had to cross an iron bridge over
a tributary of the Danube, 100 yards or more long, and thinking it might
be guarded we stalked it with the utmost care. There was no one there,
however, but when half a mile beyond it, we thought we ought to have
taken a branch line farther back; so we crossed the bridge again, each
time making noise enough to wake the dead with our nailed boots on the
iron. After another prolonged study of the map, I found we had been
right after all, and for the third time we crossed that beastly bridge.
Studying the map at night was no easy matter. The method was for me to
sit down in a convenient ditch or hollow, and for Buckley to put his
Burberry over my head. I then did the best I could by match-light. A few
miles north of Donnauwörth we turned off to the right and marched at a
distance of a few miles parallel to the north bank of the Danube. Just
before morning it began to rain and we got into a good hiding-place in
thick undergrowth, wet through and very tired. It was a miserable
morning, but about 9 the sun came out and dried us and cheered us up.

For the last few nights my feet had been gradually getting worse. The
backs of both heels seemed to be bruised, and from this night onwards
the first half-hour's walk every night caused me intense pain. Once I
was warmed up, the pain became less acute, but every step jarred me and
sent a shooting pain up my legs. I was wearing boots I had bought in
Germany and the heelings had sunk into a hollow, so that the weight of
every step came on the very back of the heel. I am sure this made the
marching very much more fatiguing for me than it would otherwise have
been. We were not disturbed that day, and as we had a lot of bare
country to walk over, we started rather earlier the next night.

_Ninth Night._--The problem before us was how to cross the Danube, which
about here was 200 to 300 yards broad. We thought it was only too
probable that all the bridges would be guarded. Fifteen miles or rather
more from where we were, the light railway, which we had been following
for the last two nights, crossed the Danube. Within a mile of that
railway bridge another foot or road bridge was marked on our map, but
the insignificance of the roads or rather tracks which appeared to lead
to this bridge made us doubt the existence of a 300-yard bridge in such
an out-of-the-way bit of country. However, if it did not exist, we could
always try by the railway. Some 8 miles from our hiding-place the light
railway turned gradually south and crossed the Danube about 7 miles
farther on. If we followed the railway and branched off from it when we
were within a mile or two of the river it seemed impossible that we
could lose our way. The night was a very dark one as there was a thick
mist, but we made excellent progress, walking sometimes on the road and
sometimes along the railway.

About midnight we began to think it was time that the line should take
the southerly bend as marked on the sketch map, and every ten minutes or
so we took compass bearings of its direction. However, we knew by
experience how easy it is for tired men to overrate the distance they
have walked. I got into a ditch and looked at my map, and there was no
other railway shown on it. At 1 o'clock we found ourselves walking north
of west, and realized definitely that we were wrong somehow. Some arc
lights showed dimly through the mist on our left. We walked on
cautiously, and as so often happens in a thick mist found ourselves with
extraordinary suddenness within 150 yards of some huge sheds each
surrounded by five or six electric lights. What they were we neither
knew at the time nor found out later. I had another look at the map and
came to the correct conclusion that we had followed an unmarked branch
line. We had just started back, when we caught a glimpse of a man. He
was coming from the direction of the sheds, in a crouching attitude, and
had a gun in his hands. He was about 100 yards away and it was certain
that he could see us very indistinctly, because of the mist. So we ran.
Once out of range of the arc lights he had no chance of finding us. From
there we cut across country by compass, and half an hour later hit the
railway east of Gundelfingel. At one time we had hoped to cross the
Danube that night, but losing our way had made this out of the question.
It was even doubtful now whether we should reach the woods on this side
of the Danube, but we were most anxious to get to them, as it looked
from the map as if the country between would be rather bare of
hiding-places. For this reason we took rather more risks and walked
boldly through the dark stations. At one place two men were about to
cross the railway, but when they saw us coming they turned and ran. It
was quite comforting to think that we had frightened someone.

At dawn we were still on the line, and the country seemed most
unpromising for lying up. The mist was still pretty thick, and during
the next hour it got thicker. One could see about 100 yards, and we
never knew from one moment to another what we might run into. After
half-past five, for instance, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle
of a village, probably Peterswörth, and as we hurried down a street we
had no idea whether we were walking farther into a small town or through
a small village. The mist, though it hid us to a certain extent, at the
same time made it quite impossible to see what sort of country it was
and to select a hiding-place. We knew there were woods ahead, and the
only thing to do was to push on till we came to them. The thick mist had
the curious effect of making it appear that there were woods on all
sides of us. We several times turned off only to find that the imaginary
woods retreated as we advanced. The worst of it was that, as can well be
imagined, we were quite unfit to be seen, and a single glimpse of us
must inevitably arouse suspicion. Clad in filthy khaki, filthy
ourselves, limping along with ten days' growth of beard on our faces,
and thick sticks in our hands, we were figures such as might well cause
anxiety in a quiet neighborhood.

It was after 6 o'clock and broad daylight when we reached the woods. The
undergrowth was thick and rank, and most of the ground almost a swamp.
It was a most unpleasant spot, though pretty safe as a hiding-place. The
day was a hot one, and we were pestered all day by stinging insects. Our
faces and hands, and, when we took off our boots, our feet too, became
swollen and pimpled all over from the bites. The bites on my feet came
up in blisters which broke when I put on my boots and left raw places.
As the insect bites did not seem to affect Buckley's feet to the same
extent, he lent me his slippers. Slippers of some sort are almost an
essential part of one's equipment. You can neither rest your feet nor
dry your boots if you keep your boots on in the day. In this and every
other way Buckley showed himself the most unselfish and cheering
companion imaginable. That day we tried boiling some rice, using as fuel
some solidified alcohol which we had; but it was not a success, as we
had not sufficient fuel and all the wood in the place was wet. After a
miserable day we started to hunt for our bridge, with faces, feet, and
hands swollen and aching and clothes and boots still damp from the night

_Tenth Night._--After a two hours' walk we found the bridge. It was a
wooden one, with a broad road and a footpath on it. It was the biggest
wooden bridge I have ever seen. There seemed to be no guard on it, so we
walked across. As we were in the middle we suddenly saw a man coming to
meet us, and thought we were fairly collared. Bluff was the only hope,
so we walked straight on. The man turned out to be a young peasant, who
took no notice of us, and we reached the other bank with a sigh of
relief. After passing through Offingen we had to thread our way through
a network of country lanes and small villages. We walked straight
through them, for we now realized more clearly than ever that, if we
were to reach the frontier on the food we had, we could afford very
little time for detours. Sometimes we would get half-way through before
a dog would bark and start all the rest, but usually we marched through
to a chorus of barking dogs. It was a terrible strain on the nerves, but
not, I think, so dangerous as one might imagine, as the dogs barked too
often and too easily for their masters to be roused at one outburst of
barking. Still, it effectually prevented us from ever trying to break
into a house to get food. In one village we walked into five or six
young men, soldiers on leave perhaps. There was no avoiding them, so we
walked straight on through the middle of them, and said good evening as
we passed. What they thought we were I don't know, but they did not try
to stop us or call after us.

At the next village, Goldbach by name, there were sounds of shouting and
singing, so we made a long and difficult detour and most unfortunately
came back on the wrong road on the far side--a very easy thing to do. We
only discovered this an hour later, when the compass bearing of the road
was found to be wrong. This necessitated a long and tiring cross-country
march to reach the right road; and, very wet and tired, we got into an
excellent hiding-place in a small spruce fir wood just after dawn. If
ever we had to walk through standing crops--and this was unavoidable in
any detour of cross-country march--we were always wet through to the
waist from the dew. One notable thing happened just before we got into
our hiding-place, which was to prove our salvation. We came across a
field of potatoes. The haulm was on the average only 6 to 8 inches high,
and no potatoes were as yet formed; but in most cases the old seed
potato had not yet gone rotten, so we used to pick these out and replant
the haulm. Much cheered by this addition to our rations, Buckley and I
tramped on for another mile or so before selecting our hiding-place for
the day. We ran little risk, as up the hill to our left were thick
woods, on the edge of which we were walking, while on our right the
ground sloped away over ploughed fields to a rich valley. Soon after
dawn we found an almost ideal place in which to spend the day. It was a
thick copse of small pine trees with thickish undergrowth, about a mile
northeast of the village of Billenhausen--on the whole, about the
pleasantest place we found during the expedition. Here Buckley, who has
something of the boy scout in him, started to make a fire without smoke.
I went outside to veto the fire if much smoke appeared above the
tree-tops. It was most exasperating. On that still morning a thin column
of smoke rose perpendicularly high above the trees. Buckley came out and
had a look at it and agreed to abandon the fire, and to eat our potatoes
raw. It was a warm, sunny day, and we remained quite undisturbed; so, at
the usual hour, feeling much fresher and cheerier, and thanking God for
the raw potatoes, we started off on our eleventh night's walk.

_Eleventh Night._--We had another reason for feeling more hopeful, for
the last two nights we had been walking south, and this night we
expected to cut into the direct route from Ingolstadt to the frontier--a
route which we had studied for months with the greatest care and almost
knew by heart. Many other escaping prisoners had passed that way, and
those who had been recaught (much the greater part of them,
unfortunately) had given us the benefit of their experiences. After a
short walk we came to Billenhausen, where many lights were showing, but
through which it was necessary to pass, as we wished to cross the stream
to the west bank, and the only bridge was in the middle of the village.
After a council of war we decided to march boldly through at 10.30. This
we did without attracting undue attention. It was always nervous work
walking through a village when lights were showing and dogs barking. The
risk, however, was not so great as it seemed, so long--and here was the
danger--as we did not lose our way in the village and turn into a blind
alley. After an hour or more along a good road we came on a light
railway and followed that for some time, standing aside, I remember, at
one place, to let a train pass. About midnight we saw the town of
Krumbach ahead of us.

Krumbach was on the route that we knew, so, leaving it on our left, we
cut across country to our right, through some extremely wet crops, and
hit the main road west of Krumbach. For the rest of the night, after
crossing the river at Breitenthal, we made excellent progress, the road
leading us through huge pine forests, and it was not until half an hour
before dawn that we came out into more open country. It was then
somewhat after 4.30. There was a steep hill in front of us with the
village of Nordholz on a river at the bottom of it. There was an
excellent hiding-place where we were, but on the far side of the village
my map showed that there should be extensive woods. A village close in
front of your hiding-place means a late start on the next night; but
then we might find no suitable hiding-place on the far side--for not
only had we little time to spare before people would be about, but also
there was a thick mist, which, as we knew from our experience just
before crossing the Danube, added greatly to the difficulties of finding
a hiding-place. Buckley was for going on. I was for staying where we
were, my vote being influenced by the fact that my feet had been more
than usually painful that night. However, we went on, and half an hour
later saw large woods through the mist on our left. On investigation
they proved quite useless for hiding-place purposes. It was now becoming
dangerously late, and when we had spent another ten minutes in a
futile search we decided that we must return to the first place. At this
hour in the morning it would be most dangerous to go back through the
village, so we tried to go round it. After getting wet to the waist
going through some meadows, we came to a river 5 yards broad, which
looked very deep. Swimming was not to be thought of, as it was a very
cold morning and we were exhausted, so we went back through the village
the way we had come. It was 5.30 when we passed through and several
people were about, but we met no one, and the mist hid us to a certain
extent. At last, very tired indeed (for an hour we had been walking at
high pressure), we threw ourselves down in our hiding-place.


We were awfully wet and cold, and after we had lain shivering with our
teeth chattering for a couple of hours, the sun rose and drove away the
mist. No sunlight reached our hiding-place, it was too thick, so we
crept out to an open space in the wood and sunned ourselves. A
little-used footpath ran close by us, and we soon considered the
position we were in to be too dangerous, and retreated to the edge of
the wood to a spot which was more or less screened by bushes from the
path. I slept and Buckley watched. As we were lying there, a man with a
gun, a forester probably, came along the path, and passed without seeing
us. He could not have missed us if he had glanced our way. Buckley woke
me, and we crept back into the dank wet undergrowth, feeling much
annoyed with ourselves for the unnecessary risk we had taken. As the day
got warmer we revived, and passed it not unpleasantly, and without
further disturbance. Unfortunately, the night before we had been unable
to collect potatoes, but we promised ourselves that in future one of our
most urgent duties would be to collect a pocketful each. We believed
then, but I don't know how true it is, that there were some very savage
laws against the stealing of seed potatoes. If we were caught with
potatoes on us, we could scarcely expect to be leniently treated, and
our reception by the villagers was also doubtful; so we made
arrangements to throw our potatoes away immediately if chased.



_Twelfth night._--Owing to a village in front of us, we had to make a
late start. It was nearly 10.30 before we marched through without
incident. Later on that night, between 1 and 2 a.m., we crossed the
Iller at the large town of Illertissen, and though there were many
street lamps burning, we met no one. This night's march and the next one
were very weary marches for me, as my feet hurt me most abominably.
Buckley was perfectly splendid, and though he must have been very tired,
he was cheerful and encouraging the whole time. He allowed me to
grumble, and did nearly all the dirty work, the little extra bits of
exertion, which mean so much. We both of us found walking uphill rather
a severe strain, even though the gradient was slight; still, we kept at
it with very few rests all night. Early in the night we stole some
potatoes and peeled and munched them as we marched.

About this time we took to singing as we marched. Singing is, perhaps,
rather a grandiloquent term for the noise--something between a hum and a
moan--which we made. However, it seemed to help us along. Buckley
taught me some remarkable nursery rhymes. One was about Jonah in the
whale's belly, I remember; and we sang these and a few hymn tunes which
we both happened to know. There was no danger in this--the sound of our
feet on the road could be heard much farther than the song, and no one
could possibly have recognized the words as English.

After collecting a good supply of potatoes, we found a comfortable place
to hide in some small fir trees and heather at the edge of a wood.

For some hours we were made rather miserable by a heavy shower of rain,
but when the sun came out towards midday we soon dried ourselves, and
then, as usual, lay gasping and panting for the rest of the day. In
undergrowth it is hard to find shade from a sun which is almost directly
overhead. Our day's ration of water was very small, and I am sure that
lying in the sun for eight or ten hours took a lot of strength out of
us. I know that we started each night's march parched with thirst. I
was, at this time, able to make a fairly accurate calculation of the
time it would take us to reach the frontier, and found it necessary to
cut down our rations once more. We hoped to make this up by eating
largely of potatoes, for it was only too obvious that both of us were
becoming weaker for the want of food. Food--that is to say, sausages,
eggs, beef, and hot coffee--was a barred subject between us, but I
remember thinking of several distinct occasions on which I had refused
second helpings in pre-war days, and wondering how I could have been
such a fool. We realized now that it would be necessary to lose no time
at all if we were to reach the frontier before we starved.

_Thirteenth Night._--Accordingly, the next night we walked through the
village ahead of us at an earlier hour than that at which we usually
entered villages. We saw and were seen by several people, but we walked
at a good steady pace, when necessary talking to each other in German,
and were past before they had had time to consider whether we looked a
queer pair. We must have looked pretty good ruffians, as we had not
washed or shaved, and had been in the open for close on a fortnight.
About 3.30 a.m. we came to the large town of Biberach, and in the
outskirts of the town we climbed down to the embankment from a bridge
over the railway, and then followed the railway in a southwest direction
till nearly 5 a.m. We lay up in a small copse about 60 by 40 yards, at
the side of the railway. It proved to be a damp, midgy, and unpleasant
spot, but we were undisturbed all day.

_Fourteenth Night._--The next night we made an early start, walking
parallel with the railway, on which we considered it dangerous to walk
before 10.45, across some bare cultivated land, and thereby gained half
an hour. For the rest of the night we followed the railway, passing
through Aulendorf and Althausen. This railway runs east and west and is
some 30 miles from Lake Constance. From here, for the first time, we
caught sight of the mountains of Switzerland on the far side of the
lake. A great thunderstorm was going on somewhere over there, and their
snowy peaks were lit up continually by summer lightning. I suggested,
though I never meant it seriously, that we should cut south and try and
cross or get round the east end of the lake. Buckley was all for the
Swiss border, and though we argued the pros and cons for a bit, we
neither had the slightest doubt that Riedheim, where we eventually
crossed, was the place to go for. Along the railway at intervals of 2 or
3 kilometres were small houses, inhabited apparently by guardians of the
line, and always by dogs. Sometimes we could steal by without arousing
attention, but usually the dogs barked whilst we were passing and for
ten minutes after we had passed. I have never really liked dogs
since--the brutes.

Once a man with a dog, and what looked like a gun, came out after us and
chased us for a bit, but it was all in the right direction, and he soon
gave it up. Once or twice men called after us--to which we answered
"Guten Abend," and marched on. One of these threw open a window as we
were passing, and asked us who we were and where we were going--"Nach
Pfullendorf? Gerade aus," I called back. "All right," he shouted, "there
are so many escaping people (Flülingen) these days that one has to keep
a lookout. Guten Abend." "Guten Abend," we shouted, and marched on.

Though, unfortunately, we were unable to find potatoes that night, we
were so cheered by the sight of Switzerland, the promised land, and by
our tactful methods with the watchmen, that we made wonderful progress.
Unfortunately a bit of my map of that railway was missing. I thought the
gap was about 10 kilometres, but it turned out to be nearer 20. We had
hoped to pass Pfullendorf that night, but did not do so. When we got
into our excellent hiding-place at the side of the railway, careful
measurements on the map showed us that it would be quite impossible to
cross the frontier on the next night, as we had at one time hoped to do.
We intended to get within 10 or 15 kilometres of the frontier the next
night, and cross the night following. We did not wish to lie up close to
the frontier, as we knew from other prisoners that the woods close by
were searched daily for escaping prisoners. During the day, which was
most pleasant, we once more divided our rations to last two more days.
It was a pretty small two-day ration for two men already weak from

Our eagerness to get on, and the unpopulated country in which we were,
induced us to start walking at a still earlier hour the next night.

_Fifteenth Night._--Soon after starting we saw a gang of a dozen or more
Russian prisoners escorted by a sentry. They were about 100 yards off
and took no notice of us. After walking for about half an hour an
incident occurred which was perhaps the most unpleasant one we
experienced, and the fact that we extricated ourselves so easily was
entirely due to Buckley's presence of mind. Coming round a corner, we
saw ahead of us a man in soldier's uniform cutting grass with a scythe
at the side of the road. To turn back would rouse suspicion. There was
nothing for it but to walk past him. As we were opposite to him he
looked up and said something to us which we did not catch. We answered
"Good evening," as usual. But he called after us again the same words,
in some South German dialect, I think, for neither of us could make out
what he said, so we walked on without taking any notice. Then he shouted
"Halt! Halt!" and ran down the road after us with the scythe. It was an
unpleasant situation, especially as we caught sight at that moment of a
man with a gun on his shoulder about 50 yards away from us on our right.
There was still half an hour to go before it would be quite dark, and we
were both of us too weak to run very fast or far. There was only one
thing to do, and we did it. In haughty surprise we turned round and
waited for him. When he was only a few yards away, Buckley, speaking in
a voice quivering with indignation, asked him what the devil, etc., he
meant by calling "Halt!" to us; and I added something about a South
German pig dog in an undertone. The man almost let drop his scythe from
astonishment, and turning round walked slowly back to the side of the
road and started cutting grass again. We turned on our heels and marched
off, pleased with being so well out of a great danger, and angry with
ourselves that we had ever been such fools as to run into it. We passed
one more man in the daylight, but ostentatiously spoke German to each
other as we passed him, and he took no notice.

Before dark we saw other gangs of Russian prisoners.

About 11 p.m. we got on the railway again, and walked without incident
for the rest of the night. Owing to the gap in our maps, previously
referred to, being longer than we expected, it was not till well after
midnight that we passed through Pfullendorf and realized that we still
had another two nights' march before we could hope to cross the
frontier. It was not so much the walking at night which we minded though
we were both weak and weary, it was the long lying up in the day time
which had become almost unendurable. For eighteen long hours we had to
lie still, and were able to think of little else but food, and realize
our intense hunger.

When I saw the name Pfullendorf written in huge letters in the station,
I felt a very pleasant thrill of satisfied curiosity and anticipated
triumph. We had always called this railway the "Pfullendorf railway,"
and in the past months I had often imagined myself walking along this
railway and passing through this station, only a day's march from the
frontier. For the last two nights and for the rest of the journey my
feet had become numbed, and the pain was very much less acute. This made
a vast difference to my energy and cheerfulness. So much so that for the
last four nights I did the march with less fatigue than Buckley, who
seemed to be suffering more than I was from lack of food. I have already
mentioned that we divided up the food, and each carried and ate at his
own discretion the food for the last three days. When Buckley opened his
last packet of chocolate, it was found to contain less than we had
expected. I offered a redivision. Buckley, however, refused. I think
myself that the quantity of food in question was too small to have
affected in any way our relative powers of endurance. Ever since we
found potatoes Buckley had eaten more of them than I had, and when we
were unable to find any, he felt the lack of them more than I did. Just
before dawn we climbed off the railway embankment to a small stream.
Here I insisted on having a wash as well as a drink. Buckley grumbled at
the delay, but I think the wash did us both good. Soon afterwards, about
4.30 a.m., we came on an excellent hiding-place. Buckley wanted to push
on for another half an hour, but I considered that a good hiding-place
so close to the frontier was all-important, and he gave in. As we were
just getting comfortable for our before-breakfast sleep I found that I
had left my wrist compass behind at the place where we had washed. I
determined to walk back and fetch it, as it was an illuminate compass
and might be indispensable in the next two nights. That I was able to do
this short extra walk with ease and at great speed--I even got into a
run at one point--shows how much fitter and stronger I was now that my
feet had ceased to hurt me. Our hiding-place was in a very thick
plantation of young fir trees, and we were quite undisturbed. The place
was so thick that when I crawled off 10 yards from Buckley I was unable
to find him again for some time, and did not dare to call to him.

_Sixteenth Night._--Starting about 10.15 we followed the railway as it
turned south towards Stokach near the west end of Lake Constance. Just
before midnight we struck off southwestwards from the railway. We soon
found that we had branched off too early, and got entangled in a village
where a fierce dog, luckily on a long chain, sprang at us and barked for
twenty minutes after we had passed. Later we passed a man smoking a
cigarette, and caught a whiff of smoke, which was indescribably
delicious, as we had been out of tobacco for more than a fortnight.

A couple of hours' walk, steering by compass by small paths in thick
woods, brought us into the main road to Engen. Some of the villages,
such as Nenzingen, we avoided, walking round them through the crops, a
tiring and very wet job, besides wasting much time. At about 4.30 we
were confronted with the village of Rigelingen, which, being on a river,
was almost impossible to "turn," so we walked through it, gripping our
sticks and prepared to run at any moment. However, though there were a
few lights showing, we saw no one.

About 5 o'clock we got into an excellent and safe hiding-place on a
steep bank above the road. A mile or so down the road to the west of us
was the village of Aach, and we were less than 15 kilometres from the

We determined to eat the remains of our food and cross that night. I
kept, however, about twenty small meat lozenges, for which, as will be
seen later on, we were extremely thankful. During our last march we
decided that we must walk on the roads as little as possible. Any
infantry soldier knows that a cross-country night march on a very dark
night over 10 miles of absolutely strange country with the object of
coming on a particular village at the end, is an undertaking of great

We had an illuminated compass, but our only methods of reading a map by
night (by the match-light, with the help of a waterproof, as I have
previously explained) made it inadvisable to use a map so close to the
frontier more often than was absolutely necessary. I therefore learnt
the map by heart, and made Buckley, rather against his will, do so too.
We had to remember some such rigmarole as: "From cross roads 300
yards--S. W. road, railway, river--S. to solitary hill on left with
village ahead, turn village (Weiterdingen) to left--road S. W. 500
yards--E. round base of solitary hill," etc., etc. Our anxieties were
increased by two facts--one being that all the sign-posts within 10
miles of the frontier had been removed, so that if once we lost our way
there seemed little prospect of finding it again on a dark night;
secondly, the moon rose about midnight, and it was therefore most
important, though perhaps not essential, to attempt to cross the
frontier before that hour. We left behind us our bags, our spare clothes
and socks, so as to walk as light as possible, and at about 9.30 left
our hiding-place.

_Seventeenth Night._--The first part of our walk lay through the thick
woods north of Aach, in which there was small chance of meeting anyone.
For two hours on a pitch-dark night we made our way across country,
finding the way only by compass and memory of the maps. There were
moments of anxiety, but these were instantly allayed by the appearance
of some expected landmark. Unfortunately the going was very heavy, and
in our weak state we made slower progress than we had hoped. When the
moon came up we were still 3 to 4 miles from the frontier.

Should we lie up where we were and try to get across the next night? The
idea of waiting another day entirely without food was intolerable, so we
pushed on.

The moon was full and very bright, so that, as we walked across the
fields it seemed to us that we must be visible for miles. After turning
the village of Weiterdingen we were unable to find a road on the far
side which had been marked on my map. This necessitated a study of the
map under a mackintosh, the result of which was to make me feel doubtful
if we really were where I had thought. It is by no means easy to locate
oneself at night from a small-scale map, 1:100,000, examined by
match-light. However, we adopted the hypothesis that we were where we
had thought we were, and disregarding the unpleasant fact that a road
was missing, marched on by compass, in a southwest direction, hoping
always to hit the village of Riedheim. How we were to distinguish this
village from other villages I did not know. Buckley, as always, was an
optimist; so on we went, keeping as far as possible under the cover of
trees and hedges.

Ahead of us was a valley, shrouded in a thick mist. This might well be
the frontier, which at that point followed a small stream on either side
of which we believed there were water meadows. At length we came on a
good road, and walking parallel with it in the fields, we followed it
westwards. If our calculations were correct, this should lead us to the

About 1.30 we came on a village. It was a pretty place nestling at the
foot of a steep wood-capped hill, with fruit trees and fields, in which
harvesting had already begun, all round it. Was it Riedheim? If it was,
we were within half a mile of the frontier, and I knew, or thought I
knew, from a large-scale map which I had memorized, the lie of the
country between Riedheim and the frontier. We crossed the road and after
going about 100 yards came on a single-line railway. I sat down aghast.
There was no doubt about it--we were lost. I knew there was no railway
near Riedheim. For a moment or two Buckley failed to realize the
horrible significance of this railway, but he threw a waterproof over my
head whilst I had a prolonged study of the map by match-light. I was
quite unable to make out where we were. There were, however, one or two
villages, through which railways passed, within range of our night's
walk. I explained the situation to Buckley, who instantly agreed that we
must lie up for another night and try to make out where we were in the
morning. It was impossible that we were far from the frontier. Buckley
at this time began to show signs of exhaustion from lack of food; so
leaving him to collect potatoes, of which there was a field quite close,
I went in search of water. After a long search I was not able to find
any. We collected thirty to forty potatoes between us, and towards 3
a.m. made our way up the hill behind the village. The hill was very
steep, and in our exhausted condition it was only slowly and with great
difficulty that we were able to climb it. Three-quarters of the way up,
Buckley almost collapsed, so I left him in some bushes and went on to
find a suitable place. I found an excellent spot in a thick wood, in
which there were no paths or signs that any one entered it. I then
returned and fetched Buckley, and we slept till dawn.

At this time I was feeling fitter and stronger than at any time during
the previous week. I am unable to explain this, unless it was due to the
fact that my feet had quite ceased to hurt me seriously.

At dawn we had breakfast on raw potatoes and meat lozenges which I
divided out, and then, sitting just inside the edge of the coppice,
tried to make out our position from a close study of the map and the
surrounding country. In the distance we could see the west end of Lake
Constance, and a compass bearing on this showed us that we were very
close to the frontier. Through the village in front of us there was a
railway. There were several villages close to the frontier through which
passed railways, and two or three of them had steep hills to the north
of them. We imagined successively that the hill we were sitting on was
the hill behind each of these villages, and compared the country we
could see before us carefully with the map. That part of the country
abounds in solitary hills capped with woods, and the difficulty was to
find out which one we were sitting on. There was one village,
Gottmadingen, with a railway through it, and behind it a hill from which
the map showed that the view would be almost identical with that we saw
in front of us. Buckley thought we were there. I did not. There were
small but serious discrepancies. Then I had a brain wave. We were in
Switzerland already, and the village below us was Thaingen. It explained
everything--or very nearly. Buckley pointed out one or two things which
did not seem to be quite right. Again then, where were we? I think now
that we were slightly insane from hunger and fatigue, otherwise we
should have realized without difficulty where we were, without taking
the risk which we did. I don't know what time it was, but it was not
till after hours of futile attempt to locate ourselves from the map from
three sides of the hill, that I took off my tunic, and in a gray sweater
and in gray flannel trousers walked down into the fields and asked a
girl who was making hay what the name of that village might be. She was
a pretty girl in a large sun-bonnet, and after a few preliminary remarks
about the weather and the harvest, she told me the name of the village
was Riedheim. I must have shown my surprise, for she said, "Why, don't
you believe me?" "Naturally, I believe you," I said; "it is better here
than in the trenches. I am on leave and have walked over from Engen and
lost my way. Good day. Many thanks." She gave me a sly look, and I don't
know what she thought, but she only answered "Good day," and went on
with her haymaking. I walked away, and getting out of her sight hurried
back to Buckley with the good news. "But how could a railway be there?"
I thought. "It was made after the map was printed, you fool." On the way
back I had a good look at the country. It was all as clear as daylight.
How I had failed to recognize it before I can't think, except that it
did not look a bit like the country that I had anticipated. There was
the Z-shaped stream, which was the guarded frontier, and there, now that
I knew where to look for it, I could make out the flash of the sun on a
sentry's bayonet. Everything fitted in with my mental picture of the
large-scale map. The village opposite to us in Switzerland was Barzheim;
the little hut with a red roof was the Swiss Alpine Club hut, and was
actually on the border between Switzerland and Germany. Once past the
sentries on the river we should still have 500 yards of Germany to cross
before we were safe.

The thing to do now was to hide, and hide in the thickest part we could
find. The girl might have given us away. Anyhow, we knew that the woods
near the frontier were usually searched daily. Till 4 o'clock we lay
quiet, well hidden in thick undergrowth, half-way up the lower slopes of
the Hohenstoffen, and then we heard a man pushing his way through the
woods and hitting trees and bushes with a stick. He never saw us, and we
were lying much too close to see him, though he seemed to come within 15
yards of us. That danger past, I climbed a tree and took one more look
at the lie of the land. Then Buckley and I settled down to get our
operation orders for the night. For half an hour we sat on the edge of
the wood, waiting for it to become quite dark before we started.

_Eighteenth and Last Night._--It was quite dark at 10.15 when we
started, and we had one and three-quarter hours in which to cross.
Shortly after midnight the moon would rise. "I can hardly believe we are
really going to get across," said Buckley. "I know I am, and so are
you," I answered. We left our sticks behind, because they would
interfere with our crawling, and rolled our Burberrys tightly on our
backs with string.

A quarter of an hour's walk brought us to the railway and the road,
which we crossed with the greatest care. For a short distance in the
water-meadow we walked bent double, then we went on our hands and knees,
and for the rest of the way we crawled. There was thick long grass in
the meadow, and it was quite hard work pushing our way through it on our
hands and knees. The night was an absolutely still one, and as we passed
through the grass it seemed to us that we made a swishing noise that
must be heard for hundreds of yards.

There were some very accommodating dry ditches, which for the most part
ran in the right direction. By crawling down these we were able to keep
our heads below the level of the grass nearly the whole time, only
glancing up from time to time to get our direction by the poplars. After
what seemed an endless time, but was actually about three-quarters of an
hour, we reached a road which we believed was patrolled, as it was here
that I had seen the flash of a bayonet in the day time.

After looking round cautiously we crossed this, and crawled
on--endlessly, it seemed.

Buckley relieved me, and took the lead for a bit. Then we changed places
again, and the next time I looked up the poplars really did seem a bit

Then Buckley whispered to me, "Hurry up, the moon's rising." I looked
back towards the east, and saw the edge of the moon peering over the
hills. We were still about 100 yards from the stream. We will get across
now, even if we have to fight for it, I thought, and crawled on at top
speed. Suddenly I felt a hand on my heel, and stopped and looked back.
Buckley pointed ahead, and there, about 15 yards off, was a sentry
walking along a footpath on the bank of the stream. He appeared to have
no rifle, and had probably just been relieved from his post. He passed
without seeing us. One last spurt and we were in the stream (it was only
a few feet broad), and up the other bank. "Crawl," said Buckley. "Run,"
said I, and we ran. After 100 yards we stopped exhausted. "I believe
we've done it, old man," I said. "Come on," said Buckley, "we're not
there yet." For ten minutes we walked at top speed in a semicircle, and
at length hit a road which I knew must lead to Barzheim. On it, there
was a big board on a post. On examination this proved to be a boundary
post, and we stepped into Switzerland, feeling a happiness and a triumph
such, I firmly believe, as few men even in this war have felt, though
they may have deserved the feeling many times more.

We crossed into Switzerland at about 12.30 a.m. on the morning of June
9th, 1917.



The moon had risen by now, and a walk of two or three hundred yards
brought us into the village, which we entered without seeing any one. It
was quite a small place, and though nearly 1 o'clock there were several
houses in which lights were showing. "I suppose we really are in
Switzerland," said Buckley. I felt certain about it, and we determined
to knock up one of the houses in which we saw lights burning, as food we
must and would have without delay. We were standing in a small cobbled
square, and just as we were selecting the most likely looking house we
caught sight of two men who were standing in a dark spot about 30 yards
away. I called out to them in German, "Is this Barzheim?" "Jawohl" was
the answer. "Are we in Switzerland?" Again, "Jawohl." "Well, we are
escaping prisoners-of-war from Germany and we are very hungry." The two
fellows, whom we saw to be boys of sixteen or seventeen, came up. We
were very much on our guard and ready for trouble, for we believed then,
though I do not know with what justice, that the Germans have agents on
the Swiss side of the border who misdirect escaped prisoners so that
they walk back into Germany, or even forcibly deliver them to the
German sentries. "Escaped prisoners, are you?" said one of the young
men. "Yes," I said, "Englishmen." They showed some interest. "We are
English officers, and we want food very badly." "Come on," they said,
and led us to a house at the corner of the square. Then we sat on a
wooden bench, and they lit a candle and had a look at us.

We repeated our desire for food, and they cross-questioned us and tried
us with a word or two of English. They were much interested in the fact
that we were English officers, as no Englishmen had crossed before at
that place.

Concerning the rest of that night my memory rather fails me, but soon
the whole household was roused--father, mother, and daughter. Wine,
beer, and milk were produced; also bread, and cold bacon and three fine
eggs each. We ate everything there was, and I think cleaned out the
family larder, whilst the family sat round and questioned us, and were
much surprised to find that two English officers could speak German.
They could not possibly have been kinder or more friendly, and
absolutely refused to take money from us. They were delighted to be our
hosts and show themselves good neutrals, they said. As we had visions of
hot baths, sheets, and breakfast in bed, we expressed our intention of
going on to Schafhausen that night, but the father rather shocked us by
saying that we must be handed over to the Swiss frontier post. The girl,
however, tactfully added that, if we went on, we might easily lose our
way and walk back into Germany, and that with the Swiss soldiers we
should be perfectly safe.

That decided us, as we were both beginning to feel very sleepy after the
food and wine.

Soon afterwards one of the boys took us across to the guardhouse, where
soldiers provided us with mattresses and we fell asleep instantly.

At an early hour next morning the soldiers brought us hot water and
shaved us and bound up my feet. They were extraordinarily good to us,
and, after we had had coffee and bread, they filled our pockets with
cigars and cigarettes and sent us off with the best wishes and a guide
to the station about 2 kilometres away. The road passed quite close to
the German frontier, and we felt glad that we had not tried to pass that
way the night before. We soon found that our guide was really a
plain-clothes police officer, and that, though the fact was tactfully
concealed, we were still under arrest. However, "What does it matter?"
we said. "Food is the main thing now, and we'll escape from any old
prison in Switzerland, if it comes to that." Our "guide" seemed a very
decent fellow, and told us that we were about to travel on a German
railway. We halted abruptly whilst he explained at some length that,
though it was a German-owned railway, the Germans had no rights over the
Swiss traffic on the railway, and that under no circumstances could we
be arrested by the Germans when on that bit of their railway which ran
through Switzerland. More or less satisfied, we went on again. In the
village we entered a pub, rather against our guide's will, and had some
more coffee and bread. It was wonderful how much stronger we felt owing
to the food. Buckley, when he had stripped to wash that morning, had
shown himself to be a living skeleton, and I was not much fatter.

Whilst in the pub a fat dirty fellow came and congratulated us, and
questioned us in bad English. I have no doubt now that he was a German
agent, and I think we were rather injudicious in our answers, but we had
sense enough to hold our tongues about the important points--when we
crossed, and how, etc.

The railway journey to Schafhausen was rather amusing. It was so very
obvious that we were escaped prisoners, as we still had on service
tunics, and, except for that portion of our faces which had been scraped
with a razor, we were filthily dirty from head to foot. Our clothes were
covered with mud, with thick pads of it on our knees and elbows where we
had crawled the night before, and our faces and hands covered with sores
and swellings from unhealed scratches and insect bites.

Several German railway officials gave us a first glance of surprise and
indignation, and thereafter were careful not to look in our direction.
Considering the temptations of the situation we behaved on the whole
very decently, but even the mildest form of revenge is sweet.

At Schafhausen our guide or keeper took us to the police and secret
service headquarters and introduced us to a Swiss Lieutenant who spoke
alternately German and French, with a preference for the former. He told
us that we would be lodged at Hotel something or other, and would be
sent down to Berne on Monday, that day being Friday. I thanked him, and
said that we wished to get on the telephone to a friend in the English
Embassy at Berne, and we should much prefer to go down that afternoon.
As for waiting in Schafhausen till Monday, it was out of the question.

He had a great struggle to put it with the utmost politeness, but his
answer came to this. He did not see how it could be arranged, and we had
no option in the matter; we should be extremely comfortable, etc. We
answered firmly, but politely, that we had not got out of Germany to be
confined in Schafhausen, and that there was a train at 3 o'clock which
would suit us.

Just at this moment a Swiss major came in. The lieutenant introduced us,
and I appealed to him to allow us to go to Berne that day. After some
argument he suddenly gave in, and ordered the lieutenant to take us to
Berne by the 3 o'clock train. Then turning to us he said, with a
charming smile, "Come and lunch with me before you go." We then walked
round the town with the lieutenant, bought some things, and Buckley
telephoned to H. at the Embassy. We got back late for lunch, only ten
minutes before the train started. However, we managed to bolt four
courses and half a bottle of champagne apiece, and just as the
lieutenant, who had been prophesying for some minutes that we should
miss the train, finally stated that it was hopeless to try and catch it
now, we got up and ran for it, with him lumbering behind. We just caught
it. At Berne we were met by H., who threw up his hands in horror at the
sight of us and bundled us into a closed taxi.

At one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, we had a most
heavenly bath, and changed into beautiful clean clothes lent to us by H.
That night H. gave a dinner in our honor. Buckley and I were ravenously
hungry, and in fact for the next fortnight were quite unable to satisfy
our appetites. But besides the good food the dinner was otherwise most
amusing, because the German Embassy inhabited the same hotel and dined a
few tables from us, and no secret was made of what we were and where we
had come from. The next morning we had the oft-anticipated breakfast in
bed. I ordered, by telephone from my bed, the largest breakfast
possible, and was disgusted to see the moderate-sized feed which
arrived, the waiter explaining that the amount of one breakfast was
limited by law. I instantly ordered a second breakfast exactly like the
first, and ate all that too. I found out afterwards that Buckley had
employed exactly the same ruse for obtaining more food!

That day we were invited to lunch by the English Minister, who was
extremely kind, but I think rather astonished at our appetites. After
lunch, Buckley and I strolled about for a bit, and then by common
consent made for a tea-shop, where we had another good feed. In fact, we
made pigs of ourselves in the eating line, and for the next fortnight or
three weeks ate as much and as often as possible, without ever being
satisfied, and, which is still more astonishing, without any ill
effects. I suppose we were safeguarded by the fact that we ate good
food, and as we were in civilized society it was scarcely possible to
eat more than a limited amount at any one meal.

H. lent us money, and in Berne we bought expensive watches and
ready-made clothes, and then obtained leave to visit my brother and
sister at Mürren. This was the same brother to whom I have already
referred as a wounded prisoner-of-war. A few months before our escape he
had been invalided out of Germany, and my sister, who was a trained
masseuse, went out to Switzerland to look after him, and I believe did
much useful work among the exchanged prisoners. H. sent us over to
Mürren in the embassy car, a most beautiful journey all along the edge
of the lake. At one point our car was stopped by a party of exchanged
English officers, who, poor fellows, mostly keen regular soldiers, were
condemned to spend the rest of the war in Switzerland. They wanted to
hear our story, and were full of enthusiasm because we had scored off
the Germans.

At the foot of the funicular railway we met my brother and sister, and
at Mürren itself which I had no idea was a camp for exchanged English
soldiers, all the men turned out, and, headed by a wild Irishman with a
huge placard "Welcome back from Hun-land" and a bell, gave us a
tremendous reception, for which Buckley and I were entirely unprepared.

This brings to an end all that is of any interest in my German
experiences. After two very pleasant days at Mürren we traveled _via_
Berne to Paris, and then by car to General Headquarters (where I fear we
were unable to give much information that was of value), and so home to

There is one other thing I should like to say before I bring this story
to a close. Although Buckley and I are among the few English officers
who have escaped from Germany, there were many others who tried to
escape more often, who took more risks, who were at least as skilful as
we were, but who had not the luck and consequently never tasted the
fruits of success. Several died or were murdered in their attempts.

In my opinion no prisoner-of-war has ever escaped without more than a
fair share of luck, and no one ever will. However hard you try, however
skilful you are, luck is an essential element in a successful escape.




The interval between my escape from Germany, June 8th, 1917 and March
1918, when I had been for a couple of months in command of a squadron of
bombing aeroplanes on the Palestine front, had been taken up with
matters of great personal interest, of which I can give here only the
barest outline. Things move so fast in modern war that after a year's
absence I was as much out of date as Rip Van Winkle after his hundred
years' sleep. There were new organizations, new tactics, new theories,
and in my own department, new types of aeroplanes, of power and
capabilities of which we had only dreamed in 1916. I had to learn to fly
once more, and went through a course of artillery observation, for I had
every reason to hope that I should be given command of an artillery
squadron in France. However, this was forbidden. The powers that be
decreed that no escaped prisoner might return to the same front from
which he had been captured. This ruling was afterwards altered, but not
before I had been captured by the Turks.

After some months spent in teaching flying in England and in Egypt at
Aboukir, I was sent up to Palestine early in the year in command of a
bombing squadron. I hated bombing, and knew nothing about it; and,
though I was very pleased with my command, the fact that I had to deal
in bombs and not wireless rather took the gilt off the gingerbread.
However, after the experiences of a German prison, the spring weather of
Palestine, the comparative peacefulness of our warfare, and an almost
independent command were very, very pleasant.

The story opens on March 19th, 1918 with a flight of aeroplanes flying
eastward on a cloudy day, at a height of some 4000 feet, over the Dead
Sea. Our objective was the station of Kutrani, on the Hedjaz Railway.
There were five or six single-seater aeroplanes, in one of which I was
flying, escorted by a couple of Bristol fighters. It was a very
unpleasant day for formation flying, for not only was it very bumpy as
we came over the mountains, which border the Dead Sea, but the very
numerous patches of cloud made it both difficult and dangerous to keep
at the right distance from one's neighbor. We lost our way once, but
eventually found the station which was our objective. A train was just
leaving. So I came down rather low and let off two of my bombs
unsuccessfully at it, and in doing so lost the rest of the formation.
Close by the station there was a German plane standing on an aerodrome
which I had a shot at, and I then unloaded the rest of the cargo on the
station itself without, as far as I could see, doing much damage. By
this time I was far below the clouds, and could see no signs of the rest
of the squadron. After cruising about for a few minutes I headed for
home, keeping just below the clouds, and very soon caught a glimpse of a
Bristol fighter. He saw me at the same time, and for the next twenty
minutes we flew side by side. The country below us was of a greeny-brown
color in the sunlight, and had the appearance of a great plain bounded
on the west by the mountains of the Dead Sea, which we had to cross. In
reality it was far from flat, as could be guessed from the occasional
zigzags in the white tracks which connected the widely scattered
villages. Here and there were small brown patches which represented
plough land, and black mounds, which were the tents of the desert Arabs.

I hated these long bomb raids, for the fear of recapture was always on
me whilst I was over enemy territory. My nerves had suffered from the
events of the previous three years, and it had been only by a great
effort of will that I had forced myself to take part in expeditions far
over the lines. Perhaps the majority of men are more afraid of being
afraid than of anything else--and it may have been partly for this
reason, but mainly for another more weighty reason, that I found myself
alone in an aeroplane on the wrong side of the Dead Sea. However, in ten
minutes we would cross the mountains and the Dead Sea, and be over
comparatively friendly territory. I say "comparatively," because it was
always a matter of some uncertainty whether the temptation to murder you
and steal your kit would overstrain the good wishes of our noble allies.
Through the clouds on my left I had just caught a glimpse of the ancient
city of El Karak, when my engine sputtered badly, picked up again, and
then banged and sputtered once more and half stopped. Owing to the
clouds we were flying rather low, and would not cross the hills ahead
by more than 1000 feet or so. I checked the instruments and pressure,
closed and then slowly opened the throttle, dived with the throttle
opened; but all to no purpose, for the engine banged and backfired, and
we lost height and revolutions in an alarming way. It was an airlock or
water in the petrol, and must be given time to clear itself. How I
longed for a little more height. It seemed that the engine might pick up
again at any moment, because, for a few seconds, it would give full
power and then cut out again completely. Then I found myself a few feet
from the ground, and had to land willy-nilly. The place was a ploughed
field, almost flat and comparatively free from boulders. We did not sink
in very much, but unfortunately the wheels came to rest in a little
ditch a few inches deep.

For a moment or two I sat in the machine altering the throttle, for the
engine had not completely stopped. Then I heard a roar, and the Bristol
fighter came by, flying a few feet from the ground, and I could see the
observer waving to me. I jumped out and tried to wave them away. It was
possible, but risky, for a machine to land and get off from that ground,
and, with the hope that my engine would pick up again, I did not think
the risk was justifiable. However, they had no intention of leaving me
in the lurch, and after another turn round landed on the plough about 50
yards away. I got into my machine once more, and as they ran across
towards me my engine started once more to give its full power; but I saw
that I should have great difficulty in getting out of the ditch. When
they came up I recognized them as two most stout-hearted Australians,
Captain Austin and Lieutenant Lee, who had both gained the Military
Cross, and made a considerable reputation for themselves on the
Palestine front. They hauled on the machine whilst I roared the engine.
All in vain, however; we could not shift her. I shouted to them that we
must set this plane on fire and try to get away on theirs. "Ours is
useless," they answered. "We broke a wheel on a boulder in landing." "Is
it quite hopeless?" I said. "Yes, quite."

Leaving them to set my machine on fire, I took a revolver and a Verey's
pistol and ran over to the Bristol. As I went I saw that, from some
rising ground about 100 yards away, thirty or forty Arabs were covering
us with rifles. Hoping they would not shoot, I went on and fired first
the revolver and then the Verey's right into the petrol tank, and it
burst into flame. We soon had the other machine on fire by the same
means, and threw into the flames our maps and papers. A brief
consultation decided us that escape was quite hopeless. The Arabs could
travel over that country much faster than we could. There were very
rugged hills between us and the Dead Sea, with possibly or probably an
impassable precipice. We thought there was just a chance that the Arabs
were friendly as they had not yet fired. At any rate, it was highly
probable that they would be open to bribery. If they were definitely
hostile it was a bad lookout, and a speedy death was about all we could
hope for. It was disturbing to recall, as Lee did, in a grimly humorous
tone, that we had dropped bombs on El Karak and done considerable damage
there only the week before. However, to run was certain death, so we
waved to the Arabs and walked towards them.

The Arabs rose with a shout, and brandishing their rifles rushed towards
us. Several of them taking hold of us led us or rather dragged us along.
Filthy, evil-looking, evil-smelling brutes they were. They were mostly
clad in dirty white linen garments, with bandoliers and with belts stuck
full of knives and revolvers. Some had German rifles, but most of them
had old smooth bores which fire a colossal soft-lead bullet. To be
man-handled by these savages was most repulsive. We kept together as far
as possible and Lee, who knew a few words of Arabic, tried to make them
understand that we could give them large sums of gold if they would take
us to the English. Whether they intended to help us and whether they
were friendly we could not make out, for they jabbered and shouted and
pulled us along, so that we had little opportunity for making ourselves
understood, though Lee kept hard at it. He gave a hopeful report,
however, based on their constant repetition of the word "Sherif," and
the fact that they had not yet cut our throats nor robbed us to any
great extent. Lee had his wrist-watch stolen, and I think Austin lost a
cigarette case. I produced a very battered old gun-metal case, and after
lighting a cigarette handed the rest round to our escort, hoping this
would help to create a benevolent atmosphere. After walking a couple of
miles in this way, the Arabs keeping up a ceaseless and deafening
chatter the whole time, we came to a tumbledown deserted mud and stone
village. I found myself separated from the other two, and I and my
escort came to a halt before a half-underground mud hovel with a black
hole for an entrance, through which it would have been necessary to
crawl. It was conveyed to me by signs that I was to enter, and they
dragged me forward. I resisted, and heard Lee, who was about 30 yards
away with his crowd of ruffians, shouting to me, "Don't let them get you
in there, Evans; try and get back to us." The attitude of the brutes
round me became very threatening, and one fellow made preparation to
encourage me with a bayonet. Suddenly a horseman came galloping over the
brow, and the horse putting his foot on one of the large flat stones
which abound in this country came down with a crash and horse and rider
rolled over and over like shot rabbits. As the horse rose the rider
mounted him and again came on at full speed. Whether it was the
appearance of this horseman, or whether, as I believe, a report of the
approach of the Turks from El Karak, which caused the Arabs to change
their tactics, I don't know, but they suddenly ceased trying to force me
into the black hole, and we joined the others. I have never been quite
sure whether they had intended to murder me for my kit, or to save me
for ransom to the English. Lee had no doubts as to what my fate would
have been, and thanked God for my escape.

After we had walked for another mile or two we were met by two Turks,
who had the appearance of military policemen, and another crowd of
Arabs. In answer to a question, one of the Turks who spoke French said
that we were prisoners of the Turks, and added that we need not now be
frightened. From what the Turk said then, and subsequently, we began to
realize how lucky we were still to be alive. However, there was still
considerable cause for anxiety. All the Arabs and we three sat down in a
ring, and one of the Turks addressed the assembly at length. There was a
good deal of heckling, but at last they arrived at some decision, though
by no means unanimously. We were mounted on horses, and, with the two
Turks also mounted and a bodyguard of some thirty Arab horsemen,
proceeded towards El Karak. All around were a mob of unpleasantly
excited Arabs yelling and shouting and letting off their rifles. The
Turk who spoke French told us to keep close to him, and hinted that we
were not yet out of the wood.

El Karak is built on a pinnacle of rock which rises abruptly from the
bottom of a deep gorge. To reach the town from any side it is necessary
to descend nearly 400 feet into the gorge down a most precipitous path
of loose stones, and then climb by a track even steeper and stonier in
which there are seven zigzags to the citadel, which is almost on a level
with the rim of the gorge. In the valley, at the foot of the pinnacle,
there was a very heated dispute between the Turks and the Arabs. For ten
minutes or more, whilst our fate hung in the balance, we sat on a
boulder and watched. Once more the decision appeared to be in our favor;
and, after a further dispute, this time rather to our dismay, between
the two Turks, we climbed the path in the midst of a strong bodyguard of
the least excitable of the Arabs. At the gates of the town we were met
by a dense and hostile crowd and, at the bidding of one of the Turks,
linked our arms and pushed our way through. One fellow clutched me and
but for our linked arms would have pulled me into the mob, but with the
help of Lee and Austin I got free from him, and with a push and a
scramble we got into the citadel--the only solidly built building in the
place. Here the two Turks heaved sighs of relief, mopped their brows,
and congratulated us heartily on being in safety. It had been a very
close thing they said.

To my astonishment we were treated with the greatest consideration. Food
and coffee and cigarettes were brought to us, and shortly afterwards we
were brought into the presence of Ismail Kemal Bey, the Turkish
commandant and military governor of El Karak. In my life I have met with
few people with whom, on so short an acquaintance, I have been so
favorably impressed as I was with Ismail Kemal Bey. He was a finely
built man, with a most intelligent face and a charming smile. He had
been wounded thirteen times he told us, seven times in the Balkan wars
and six times in this war, and had been a prisoner in the hands of the
Greeks, by whom he had been disgracefully maltreated. His right arm was
completely paralyzed. As had been agreed between us, I gave my name as
Everard, for I feared that, if it was discovered that I had escaped from
a German prison, a closer guard would be kept upon me, and life
otherwise made more intolerable. I realized that this would lead to
certain difficulties with regard to informing my people that I was still
alive, and obtaining money by cheque or otherwise, as I selected a new
name quite on the spur of the moment; but I had to take that risk, and
henceforth for the rest of my captivity I was known as Everard.

Whilst we were Kemal Bey's prisoners we were his honored guests, and he
treated us with the tactful courtesy of a well-educated gentleman. That
evening we dined with him, and were given under the circumstances a most
remarkably good dinner. He spoke both German and French fluently, and I
talked with him for two hours or more on a great variety of topics. He
told us we owed our lives to two things. Firstly, a reward of 50 gold
pieces which was offered by the Turkish Government to the Arabs for live
English officers, and secondly, to the fact that the Arabs knew that he
(Kemal Bey) would certainly have hung half a dozen of them if they had
murdered us. Even so, although he had sent his men with all speed he had
scarcely hoped to bring us in alive.

That afternoon we watched two of our aeroplanes searching for us. Kemal
Bey was much impressed by the loyalty of the Flying Corps to one
another, especially when I told him that Lee and Austin had been
captured only because they had descended, most gallantly, to rescue me.

Next morning we left El Karak with a small escort and rode to Kutrani,
the town which we had bombed the day before. The distance is about 45
kilometres. It was a most tedious and boring journey, and we were very
tired when we got in. We slept that night in a tent, and next day
departed by train for Aman. We were traveling in a closed cattle truck,
and, as it was a hot night, our guards left the door open a foot or two.
From the time it was dusk till midnight, when the opportunity had
passed, I waited in a state of the highest tension for a reasonable
chance to jump from the train and make my way to our forces in the
neighborhood of Jericho. Though several times I was on the point of
going, a real chance never came. Although I pretended to sleep, one or
other of my guards, usually only one, was always awake and watching me.
We reached Aman in the early morning. During the day we were
cross-questioned by a German Intelligence officer. I had told Austin and
Lee what to expect, and I don't think he got much change out of any of
us. I was surprised at his knowledge of our forces, and especially when
he showed that he knew or guessed of the presence of two divisions which
had lately come from Mesopotamia.

That night the Turks took special precautions to prevent us from
escaping, but nevertheless treated us quite well, giving us overcoats
and at our request a pack of cards.

At Aman we learnt that we were to be sent to the German aerodrome at El
Afule. The journey lasted, as far as I remember, four or five days, as
the route is a most circuitous one and brought us across the Jordan to
within about 40 miles from our lines and the same distance from the
coast. As soon as we learnt where we were going we made up our minds
that it must be from Afule we would make our attempt to escape. We left
Aman in a comparatively clean cattle truck, but the conditions gradually
became worse, and we finished the journey in a truck filled to the roof,
all but 2 feet, with vermin-infested maize. We were consequently covered
with lice. The food consisted of a very small portion of poor bread,
olives, and semi-raw meat which the Turkish N.C.O. who was in charge of
us tore in pieces for us with his dirty hands. Owing to the food and to
lack of exercise we suffered severely from indigestion and diarrhoea, so
that when we arrived at El Afule we were a pretty miserable trio.

In the red crescent tent, where we were deposited with a sentry to guard
us, there were 6 inches of liquid mud on the floor, for there had been
heavy rain lately, and it started to rain again once more. So we sat on
the beds to keep out of the mud; and in that dripping tent, for it
leaked in innumerable places, cursed the Turks and their damnable
inefficiency. We had been sitting there half an hour or so, very
miserable, when several German flying officers entered the tent. After
rather formal salutations we told them what we thought of their allies
the Turks, and of our treatment by them. One of the Germans then told me
that they were going to try and rescue us from the Turks and take us up
to their mess for a feed and a bath, and we felt much cheered at the
thought. Through an interpreter they tackled the Turkish sentry; but, as
he had had his orders that we were not to move, arguing with him was
just waste of time. The next move amused us a great deal. One of the
Germans wrote a note and, without the sentry noticing, gave it to his
orderly, who departed. Ten minutes later the orderly reappeared and,
saluting violently, handed the note to our would-be rescuers. The note
purported to come from the German Headquarters, I think, and was an
order for us to be handed over to the Germans. This was explained at
great length to the sentry, but made no impression on him whatever.
Quite rightly he refused to let us go. However, the Germans motioned us
to come too, and we all moved out of the tent in a body. The sentry was
in two minds as to whether to shoot or not, but he could not hit us
without shooting a German, so he just followed after. From the station
we walked about 2 miles up to a farmhouse, and were introduced into the
mess, the faithful sentry taking up his watch outside the door,
disregarding the jeers of the German orderlies and hints that his
presence was undesirable. I still feel a great admiration for that
sentry. His blind adherence to the letter of his orders under most
testing circumstances is typical of the best breed of Turkish soldier.
In the mess, the Germans, who were mostly quite young and seemed a very
nice lot of fellows, were extremely hospitable and kind. We begged for a
bath, but they said a bath would be no use to us. We were "verloust,"
and would be introduced to a de-lousing machine the next day. The
commander of the squadron was Hauptmann Franz Walz, who for a long time
had been a fighting pilot on the West front and had been O.C. Boelche's
circus after the latter's death. He had a great admiration for the
R.F.C., but thought that we had lost a great many machines from
recklessness, and owing to mad expeditions on bad machines. In answer to
a question as to which was the most dangerous front on which to fight,
he said that the English front was vastly more dangerous than any other.
The English and French were alone worth consideration as enemies in the
air. The French fought well, with many tricks, but it was seldom that a
Frenchman would fight if outnumbered or at a disadvantage, or over
German lines. For an Englishman to refuse a fight, however, was almost
unknown. If a German wished for a fight he had only to approach the
British lines, when he would be attacked by any and every British pilot
who happened to catch sight of him.

At dinner that night Walz asked us whether we would mind giving our
parole not to escape for so long as we were actually guests of his mess,
as, if we would do so, it would be much more comfortable both for them
and for us. We agreed to this, and consequently were not guarded in any
way whatever. As we were having dinner an orderly told Walz that the
Turkish officer who had brought us from Aman, and from whom we had been
stolen, was waiting outside for us. Walz, to our great amusement, told
the orderly to give the Turk a glass of wine and a seat in the corner.
After dinner Walz spoke to him and refused to give us up; so the Turk
retired, taking the faithful sentry with him. As we had given our
parole, I asked the Germans as a matter of courtesy not to try and
"pump" us on military subjects, and on the whole they were very decent
about this. They left me alone, but put a certain number of leading
questions to Lee and Austin. These two, however, either referred the
question to me for interpretation, or drew without stint on
exceptionally fertile imaginations. They found there were several of the
Germans with whom Lee or Austin had had encounters in the air during the
preceding twelve months, and this led to some most interesting and
friendly discussion of these fights.

The next day was spent in bathing and having our clothes completely
disinfected. Lee and Austin were suffering from stomach trouble and were
rather weak, and it was many days before they recovered. Two days of
good food and rest with the Germans put me quite right again, and when
on the afternoon of the third day we left the German mess and became
once more wretched prisoners in the hands of the Turks, I felt quite fit
for anything and made up my mind to escape on the first opportunity.

Whilst in the German mess we had written notes which the Germans
promised to drop over the lines for us. In them we merely stated that we
were safe and well, and asked that small kits might be dropped over to
us, and signed them Lee, Austin, and Everard. Some months later, while
prisoners at Afion-Kara-Hissar, we all three received bundles of clothes
and necessaries, which were dropped from British planes and they
forwarded to us. How valuable those clothes were to us when they came,
only those who have been prisoners in Turkish hands can understand.

The night after leaving the German mess we were imprisoned in one room
of a wooden hut, in which were three beds, a table, and a couple of
rickety chairs. The window was barred, and outside the door three
Turkish sentries squatted over a small fire and smoked cigarettes. Our
hut was one of several which stood in a large compound bordered with
prickly pears. There were several tents dotted about, and here and there
little groups of men sitting or sleeping round fires. Around us was that
untidiness and irregularity which is characteristic of a Turkish
encampment. Austin, Lee, and I had already discussed the direction in
which to escape, and we decided that it would be best to make for the
coast in a southwest direction. Once on the coast we believed there
would be little difficulty in making our way either through the lines or
round them by means of wading or swimming. If we went by the more direct
route south it would be necessary to cross several very precipitous
ranges of hills, and the going would be very bad. Towards the coast
there was only one range to cross, if we hit the right route, and after
that it would be more or less flat walking--a great consideration for
tired men.



The night after we had left the German mess, both Lee and Austin were so
ill from stomach trouble that it was impossible for them to think of
escaping. It was, however, in all probability the last night on which we
should be within walking distance of our lines, so I determined to make
the attempt by myself. Owing to the nature of their illness, both Lee
and Austin were compelled to make frequent visits to the latrines, which
were little wooden huts about 50 yards away in the middle of the
compound. I also pretended to be ill, and went out each time accompanied
by a sentry, who usually came with us the whole way; but Austin reported
that one sentry had allowed him to get 20 yards ahead, so I made what
preparations I could to escape. We had no map, no compass, and very
little food between us, but it was a starlight night, and I thought I
could scarcely fail to hit the coast. The first three times I went, the
sentry kept too close to me to permit me to escape without considerable
risk of an immediate alarm, and as I hoped with luck and by a skilful
manoeuvre to be past the outside sentries, if there were any, before my
escape was noticed, after due delay I returned each time.

The fourth time I went out, the more careless of the three sentries came
with me, and as he stopped for a moment to say something to his mates, I
walked on quickly and got 20 yards ahead of him. When I came to the
latrine, I pretended to enter the door but actually stepped behind the
hut, and walked rapidly away, keeping the hut between the sentry and
myself. However, I had not gone 30 yards when he saw me. I heard him
shout, so I ran. I think he threw a stone after me, but he did not fire.
As a matter of fact, I must have been a very dim target in that light by
the time he had unslung and cocked his rifle. I passed through a gap in
the prickly pear hedge, and just outside saw a small tent near which
several men were sitting round a fire. One of the camp pickets I
thought; but I passed without being seen and struck out, walking and
running alternately, across the marshy valley of the Kishon, making to
hit the coast somewhat south of Cæsarea. At times I thought that the
alarm had been raised behind me, and twice the barking of dogs made me
think that I was being followed. Imagination plays one strange tricks
under circumstances of this sort when one's nerves and senses are strung
to the very highest pitch, for this escape had been by far the greatest
strain on my nerves that I had ever experienced. It was so much worse
than any escape in Germany, because of the long, tense hours while I
waited for an opportunity, because I had to go alone, and because the
risks were greater and the dangers and chances less calculable than in
any previous adventure. "Omne ignotum pro magnifico est."

It had been just about midnight when I left the camp, and it was very
little after 1 o'clock when I reached the rising ground on the west side
of the valley, near the valley of Megiddo, after over 6 miles of very
bad going. All that night I pressed on at top speed, avoiding the
villages and meeting no one in that wild and desolate country. Though I
had to cross several small valleys, most of the time I was climbing, and
dawn found me on rather a bare exposed part on the top of the ridge from
which, when day came, I saw the sea. It had been most difficult to pick
a good hiding-place, as there were no trees and very few bushes; and
some thickish heather behind a small boulder was the best cover I could
find. The country had appeared so desolate at night that I hoped to find
it quite uninhabited in the day time, but I soon saw my mistake. From
about 6 o'clock onwards shepherds with their flocks wandered on many of
the distant hills, and a quarter of a mile away down in the valley there
were many small patches of cultivation, where men were working. I made
up my mind that if chased by Arabs in that country in daylight the
chances of escape were nil, so I took off my boots and went to sleep.
About 8 o'clock I woke up and saw an Arab with a rifle standing about 10
yards off looking at me. His appearance in every sense was most
unexceptionally unpleasant. I nodded to him as he came up, and said
_Guten Tag_, and motioned to him to sit down beside me. He sat down and
made some unintelligible remarks to me, to which I answered in German,
and offered him a cigarette. He smoked for a bit, and things seemed to
me to be going rather well. Then he started talking again, and kept on
repeating some words which I suddenly recognized as Jenin, the name of
the German aerodrome about 4 miles away. I jumped at that and said, "Ja
ja, Deitscher--Jenin tiara (Turkish for aeroplane) boom, boom," and
pointed to myself, by which he was supposed to understand that I was a
German flying man from Jenin aerodrome, and my natural habits were bomb
dropping. He seemed to grasp this, and after smoking another cigarette
went away over the brow of the hill, to my great relief. Soon after his
departure I selected another hiding-place, about 100 yards away, and
crawled into it on my hands and knees. Even if he had come back to look
for me (for I thought he might put two and two together if he learnt
during the day that a prisoner had escaped), I doubt if he would have
found me without the help of a dog.

All that day--and the day seemed endless--I lay in the broiling sun and
suffered very greatly from thirst; for I had had nothing to drink since
about 2 o'clock on the previous night. The only food I had with me was
half a pound of bread and about the same amount of dried greengages, a
food much eaten by the Turkish soldiers and quite nourishing. However, I
was far too thirsty to eat. During the day I saw some German aeroplanes
flying low over the countryside, and thought that perhaps they were
looking for me, as I found out afterwards was the case. Being an airman
myself, I knew that their chance of finding me if I lay still was just
nil, and watching them helped to pass the time. During the day I almost
changed my mind and decided to go due south to our lines, but the sight
of the sea was so attractive that I determined to keep on in that

The next night's walk was the most terrible experience that I have ever
had. All night, till 4.30 the next morning, I found no water, and
without water I could scarcely eat. Towards morning I could only breathe
with difficulty, my tongue and throat seemed to have swollen, and I made
a harsh whistling noise when I breathed. I tried sucking various herbs,
and eventually tried the leaves of the cactus, which seemed to give
momentary relief, so I put some bits of it in my pocket. The loneliness
was oppressive past all belief and I longed for a companion, but the
only noises were the occasional bark of a dog from an Arab village and
the almost continual wailing of the jackals. The going was for the most
part very bad, always up or down hill, and was made more difficult by
the clouds which obscured the moon for a good part of the night. In one
valley which I had to cross, the ground, for a mile or more, was strewn
thickly with loose boulders, varying in size from a football to a grand
piano. The boulders lay on loose shingle so that they slipped or moved
if you stepped on them, and in the cracks and crevices between the
boulders were thick thorn bushes. In my exhausted state and in the dim
light, it was a nightmare getting through this place. I fell repeatedly
trying to jump from one boulder to another, and my clothes were much
torn and my face and hands were bleeding freely before I got out of that
dreadful place. Once I collapsed, and as I lay on the ground I fell
asleep. Half an hour later I woke and, feeling rather better, pushed on
again. About 3.30 a.m. I got through the hills and on to the flat
country which borders the coast. If I could have found water earlier I
believe I should have reached the coast that night, but it was not till
about 4.30 a.m. that I found a square hole in a rock half full of water.
I drank that dry. A few hundred yards farther on I heard men talking,
and going forward cautiously saw Turkish soldiers seated round a small
fire. Making a detour, I marched on for half a mile and then heard a man
call out on my right. There was only a dim light, as the moon was half
hidden by clouds, and I could not see the man. Another man answered him
on the left, and I realized that I was passing through a line of
sentries. But if I could not see them they could not see me, so I pushed
on till I suddenly saw a troop of cavalry advancing on me. I dropped to
the ground and curled myself round a small bush about 2 feet high and
lay quite still--it was the only possible thing to do. The cavalry came
straight towards me, and it was not till they were 10 yards off that I
saw that there was only one horseman and that he was driving half a
dozen cattle before him. The cattle passed a yard or two to my right and
left, but the horse actually stepped over my head without touching me. I
felt most thankful when they had disappeared from sight, and realized
that I must now be in the middle of a Turkish military area. However, as
there was no hiding-place of any sort to be seen, I walked on once more,
keeping a very careful lookout both for the Turks and for a
hiding-place. I soon found the latter. It was a patch of corn about an
acre in size, so I crawled into it and lay down in the middle, feeling
fairly secure. It was a great pity to lose half an hour of darkness,
but I knew that an hour or two's walk would bring me to the coast, and
it might be difficult to find a better hiding-place in that flat
country. Once more I suffered a great deal from heat and thirst, for I
found to my surprise that corn stalks give no shade from a sun which
beats almost straight down.

That evening it began to rain, and as soon as the sun set it became
pitch dark. When it was so dark that a man could not be seen at 5 yards'
distance I left my cornfield and marched due west. I had taken my
bearings from the sun during the day, so that even if there were no
stars I should know by landmarks in which direction I was walking. Soon
all landmarks were blotted out by the inky darkness and pelting rain,
and I began to realize that it might be possible to lose my way even
when within one hour's walk of the sea. Owing to the rain the going was
rather heavy, being mostly over cultivated land, and when I had been
walking for half an hour I began to feel fearfully tired. I staggered
rather than walked, and could scarcely put one clay-laden foot before
the other. Quite suddenly I collapsed, and lay on the ground totally
unable to move. I managed to put my hand over my heart and could feel
that it was running most irregularly and misfiring in the most
extraordinary way. After about a quarter of an hour it got much better,
so I had a few mouthfuls of bread and went on again. Before long I came
on a field of things that looked like beans. I tried eating them, but
they seemed to clog up my throat and made me feel worse than before. For
the next hour I guided myself by the croaking of the frogs in the
marshes, which I knew ran parallel to the sea and only a few miles away
from it. When I reached the marshes it had stopped raining, but the
clouds were so dense that I could see no moon or stars. I had rather a
struggle crossing the marshes, and in some places was up to my waist in
mud and water. Once my feet almost stuck, and as I dragged them out the
soles of both my shoes tore off the uppers. I bound them on again as
well as I could, and then walked on again in the direction I thought was
right. For the next four hours I pushed on at a good pace, hoping
against hope that every step would show me the sea. But it was not to
be. My shoes were so uncomfortable that much of the time I went
barefooted, but there were many stones and thistles about and I hurt my
feet and made poor progress. At about 3 a.m. I got a glimpse of the moon
and saw that I was walking northeast instead of west. Heaven knows where
I was or for how long I had been walking in a totally wrong direction.
For all I knew I might have walked 10 miles from the sea in the last
four hours. Then the moon went in again and the rain came on. Soon after
that I ran into an encampment of some sort and was chased by dogs; they
followed me some way barking, but did not attack me. Then I got tangled
up in more marshes, and in the darkness lost my direction again

As it began to get light I found myself near some quite nice-looking
stone buildings, and sitting down in an orchard in the pouring rain I
debated what to do. I was very exhausted, and most dejected at my ill
luck. Our lines could not be less than 18 miles away, so that even if I
hit the coast very early the following night I should not cross the
lines without two more nights' marching and still worse two more days of
lying hid. I was desperately hungry and my food was almost exhausted. If
recaptured I could only expect very rough treatment, and I wished to
keep a little strength in hand to stand that. Added to this, my feet
were in such a condition that walking was most painful. But that which
finally made me decide to give myself up was that for the last two hours
I had come across no spot which would serve as a hiding-place. How I
longed to have Buckley with me! If he had been there I think we should
have encouraged each other to carry on for one more night at any rate.
However, I can't blame myself too much, as I was in a pretty hopeless
position. The remembrance of the whole adventure annoys me beyond words.
I was so near success. That last night is to me a tragedy. What is to
come is sheer comedy.

The house where I had made up my mind to give myself up was a square
stone two-storied building with a wooden veranda along one side. It was
surrounded by a high wall in which there was an iron gate. Finding the
gate shut, I turned my attention to a wooden outbuilding, in one of the
windows a faint light was showing. I banged on the door, and after a
minute or two it was opened by a small dark man in trousers and shirt
and bare feet. He appeared rather frightened, and said some words which
I did not understand. I tried him in German, saying that I wanted
shelter and food. As I had had practically nothing to eat for sixty
hours, and was drenched to the skin, he had no difficulty in guessing
what I wanted, if he did not understand. He went back into the room and
put on some boots and a coat. The room seemed almost completely bare
except for a number of people who were sleeping, rolled in blankets, on
the floor or on very low beds. Soon the man came out again and shouted
towards the house in a language which I guessed to be Hebrew, as there
was no mistaking his nationality. After much shouting a man of a most
pronounced Jewish type came to the gate. We had some difficulty in
understanding each other, as he spoke a thick and almost
incomprehensible German. He wanted to know who I was and what I wanted,
and when he learnt, much to his surprise, was most unwilling to have
anything to do with me. The prospect of immediate food and shelter made
me quite callous about the more remote future, so I said he could send
for the Turks in the morning if he would only take me in for the night.
At that he opened the gate and beckoned to me to follow him. After
mounting some wooden steps outside the house to the balcony he brought
me into a room which stank most horribly of stale humanity and garlic.
The room was quite bare except for two beds and a sort of couch, on
which men were lying rolled in blankets. They gave me some incredibly
disgusting cold rissoles, mainly made of garlic, which nearly made me
sick; but I managed to eat two or three of them. In this extraordinary
household they all appeared to go to bed in their day clothes, and
looked and smelt as if they had never washed from the day they were
born. I think they meant to be kind to me, but they were very
frightened and miserably poor in food and utensils of every sort. They
made signs to me to lie on a bed which one of them vacated, so I took
off most of my wet clothes and fell asleep instantly.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was awakened from my sleep abruptly by the blankets being torn off my
bed. A nasty-looking Arab, in a uniform of a Turkish officer, was
standing close to me brandishing a revolver. A few feet away was a
Turkish sentry, and in the background the Jews huddled together in the
corner. The Arab took hold of my wrist and tried to pull me out of bed.
That made me mad with anger, so I shook him off and damned his eyes,
whereupon he presented the revolver at my head. So I took hold of myself
and, obeying signs from him, got out of bed and began to dress into my
wet things. Seeing me more docile he lowered the revolver and, seizing
his opportunity, patted me on the head to show there was no ill feeling.
My resentment at this was so obvious that he produced the revolver
again, but thereafter kept his distance. My feet and my shoes were in
such a condition that it was clear that I should have great difficulty
in walking. I pointed this out to him and, whether at his order or out
of kindness--the latter, I think--one of the Jews brought me a pair of
old boots. Though the Jews had immediately sent word to the Turks, I
feel no violent resentment towards them, as they were obviously
frightened out of their skins at my presence in the house. In other ways
I think they did their best for me, and were sorry for me; owing to
their extreme poverty they could not do much. I suppose they just had
licence to live from the Turks, and that's about all. Even at the time
most men would have preferred infinitely to take my chances of life and
treatment rather than live under the conditions in which these Jews were
living. Poor brutes! But then I had the same feeling about every Turkish
soldier. Perhaps that is why the Turks are so callous of life. They live
so close to the borderland where life becomes intolerable that it can
mean little to them to die. Just before we marched off the Jews gave me
some more of their disgusting meat, and, when I reproached them for
sending for the Turks so soon, they answered that they were terrified
and could not help it. When we had gone a few hundred yards from the
house I saw suddenly that my wrist-watch was missing. I made the Arab
understand this by signs, and let him know that I wanted to go back and
fetch it. He refused, and when I showed signs of obstinacy began to
finger his revolver. So we continued the march. I made sure then that
the brute had stolen it.

It was a beautifully fine morning, very fresh and pleasant after the
rain, and though my feet hurt me I was much refreshed by the food and
sleep. As I knew from experience, alas! it was not till later that I
should feel the full bitterness of failure.

When we had gone about a mile we came on a sentry standing beside the
path. The Arab called to him and he came up, a poor miserable underfed
brute, and stood stiffly to attention. Apparently the soldier had failed
to arrive in time to assist in my arrest. A few words passed, and then
the Arab hit him half a dozen blows in the face with his hand. The man
winced at each blow but remained at attention, and then fell in behind.
To see an unresisting man hit in this way is a horrible and demoralizing
sight, and I felt quite literally sick with rage. A little farther on a
second sentry was treated in exactly similar fashion. A walk of a little
over half an hour, through comparatively well-cultivated country,
brought us to the Jewish colony, the village of Hedéra. There were many
evidences that this colony had been a flourishing and pleasant little
place in times of peace. The houses were of wood or stone, pretty and
well built, and most of them stood in their own gardens and there were
many signs that a more civilized race than the Turks or Arabs had been
in occupation. In an airy bungalow I was introduced to Ahmed Hakki Bey,
Turkish commandant of the place. He gave me a seat as well as coffee,
brandy, and unlimited cigarettes. A Turk, who spoke French, acted as
interpreter, and seemed particularly anxious to impress upon me that the
Turks were not barbarians. First of all, I had to be identified. There
was some difficulty about this, as the description of me which
apparently had been circulated did not tally in the slightest degree
with the original. However, they had little difficulty in accepting me
as the "wanted" man, though the commandant said he felt a little
aggrieved that I had no points of resemblance whatever to my official
description. I was treated by him with great consideration and, after he
had questioned me, more from curiosity than for official reasons, he
asked me if I wanted anything. I answered that I wished to sleep and
then to eat.

I was led by the interpreter to a very small room in which there was a
bed and blankets. He was most anxious to impress me with the generous
and civilized way in which I was being treated. "And yet," he said, "all
Englishmen say that Turks are barbarians, don't they?" "Ah no," I
answered, "only those who have not come into close contact with the
Turks may have a false opinion of them." "Then you do not now think the
Turks barbarians?" "Since I have been a prisoner in their hands I have
completely changed my mind." As a matter of fact, in pre-war days I
always imagined the Turks to be rather good fellows. I had already
changed my mind, and I was soon to be quite converted. The Turkish
official is as corrupt, cruel, unscrupulous, and ignorant as any class
on earth. That some of them have a thin or even fairly thick coating of
European civilization only makes them in my opinion the more odious. I
came across a few--a very few--who seemed notable exceptions, but that
may have been because I did not have time or opportunity to penetrate
the outer coating of decency.

During this conversation I took off most of my clothes, which were still
very wet, and got into bed and soon fell asleep. When I awoke the room
was crammed with people, who had come to look at me. I counted sixteen
at one time in that tiny room. Women came as well as men, and I was
subjected to a hail of questions, either through the interpreter or by
those who could speak German or French. One of the Jews who had been my
host a few hours before came in and, seizing an opportunity, whispered
to me in German, "We did not take it; he did," indicating the Turkish
officer who had captured me. I knew he was referring to my watch, and
determined to complain to the commandant. The whole position was most
undignified, but I did not see how I could help it. After all, I was
being treated with a crude and barbarous generosity which was rather

About midday I was given food, and then brought once more before the
commandant. He was standing outside his bungalow surrounded by a number
of Turks and half the population of the village, and made a speech to
me, which appeared to be most pleasant, and I gathered that he was
complimenting both himself and me on the signal proof that had been
afforded me that the Turks were not barbarians. Both he and his
interpreter had "barbarian" on the brain. When he had finished I took
the opportunity of stating that someone had stolen my watch, and added,
very unwisely as I soon discovered, that I rather suspected his officer.
This was something of an anti-climax. However, he soon recovered
himself, and gave me a hasty promise that he would investigate the
matter. I abandoned all hope of seeing my watch again.

       *       *       *       *       *

The journey from Hedéra to Tulkeram was made on horseback. To my disgust
I found that the same Turk who had arrested me, and whom I had just
accused publicly of stealing my watch, was to be my escort. The officer
and I were mounted, but we were accompanied by two Turkish soldiers on
foot, and I was astonished at the way these men kept up with us. In
spite of rifles and ammunition and heavy clothes, and in spite of the
heat, these men kept up a speed of quite six or seven miles an hour for
the first six miles of the journey. After that the Turk deliberately
left them behind; keeping just behind me he urged my horse into a
canter, which we kept up till we were well out of sight. By this time I
had made absolutely certain that the brute intended to murder me, and my
anxiety was not lessened when he drew a large revolver and had pot shots
at various objects by the wayside. Of course he would have a simple and
satisfactory excuse for shooting me, by saying that I had attempted to
escape. About half a mile ahead, in the otherwise flat plain, were two
very low ridges which hid the path we were following from almost all
sides, and I felt that it would be here that the deed would be done, and
I began to think out a plan for attacking him first and then escaping in
earnest. At the best, however, the situation seemed to me pretty
serious. Of course I may have misjudged him, but I still believe he
intended to murder me. Just as we were crossing the first low ridge a
small caravan came round the corner. I breathed a prayer of
thanksgiving, and my Turk put away his revolver and drew his horse up
alongside of mine. For the rest of the way we were, to my great relief,
and as luck would have it, never out of sight of human beings for more
than a few minutes at a time. However, as I said before, I may have
misjudged the fellow.

At a village a few miles north of Tulkeram we halted to water our
horses, and while we were sitting there eating some food we had brought
with us a German officer and his orderly rode by. The German caught
sight of me, and coming across asked me in German if I was the English
flying captain who had attempted to escape. When I answered in the
affirmative he told me that I should not be long a prisoner as the war
would be over in three months. "Why do you say that?" I asked.
"Because," said he, "our armies have been completely victorious in
France." At my request he gave me some details of the places that had
been captured, and added that to all intents and purposes the war was
over, and asked me what I thought of it. I said that I did not put any
reliance on German _communiqués_, but that if it was true it looked as
if the war would last another four years. He left me feeling rather
miserable at the way things might be going in France. I hated that
German, so damned condescending and superior. No man with any instincts
of a gentleman would have gloried over an unfortunate prisoner as he had

About the rest of the journey to Tulkeram there is nothing to add. I was
received there by the very worst and most unpleasant type of
superficially civilized Turk, and by a gruff and, I should think,
efficient German intelligence officer. After some questioning, I was put
into the charge of a Turkish officer of the intolerably stupid type,
with whom I very soon lost my temper completely. He deposited me in a
cell in what I imagine was the civil prison. A sentry was left in the
cell with me, whose presence and dirty habits annoyed me beyond words.

By one of those amazing incongruities, possible where the Turk rules and
nowhere else, I found in a corner of the cell three very fine new
eiderdowns, and with these made myself a comfortable bed and went to
sleep. I was awakened some hours later by three English Tommies being
brought into the cell. One of them was badly wounded in the arm just
above the elbow. The wound obviously needed dressing, so after five
exasperating minutes I managed to convey to the sentry that I insisted
on seeing an officer immediately. When the same fool of an officer
turned up, his dense, imperturbable stupidity nearly drove me mad. At
length I turned my back on him and lay down once more in my corner. When
a man has been starving he cannot satisfy his hunger at one meal, and I
was now desperately hungry. The strain through which I had lately passed
was as much nervous as physical, and it had left me so irritable that I
sometimes think that I could not have been quite sane during that
intolerable never-to-be-forgotten three weeks' train journey to
Constantinople. I lost my temper daily, and several times a day. But
then the Turks are an irritating nation to a prisoner with a spark of
pride left in him. Even now it makes me hot and angry when I think of
the Turk, and the hatred of Turkish officialdom is branded on my soul.

That night we, the three Tommies and I, left in a cattle truck on the
first stage of our long journey. They gave me some food before we
started, but no doctor came for the unfortunate wounded man. I protested
whenever I saw anyone who could speak a Christian lingo, and promises
were given by superficially civilized barbarians that it should be
attended to. But result there was none.

The journey to Constantinople, with breaks of a few days at Damascus and
Aleppo, lasted, as near as I can reckon now, for about three weeks.
Many of the details of time and place, I am almost thankful to say, I
have forgotten; but in any case I would not tell of the journey in
detail, not only for fear of boring anyone who has been kind enough to
read so far, but also because the memory of the journey is abhorrent to
me. I found out afterwards that my heart had been considerably displaced
by my late exertions. I was tired, irritable, disappointed, and ill;
continually subjected to small indignities, which are more unbearable
than open insults; covered with lice; unable to lie down for days on
end; herded with Jews and civil prisoners, and ordered about by a
Turkish gendarme or "dog collar" man, whose impenetrable stupidity
nearly drove me mad. In reality I suppose the hardships of this journey
were not very great, and many times in the past had I suffered much
greater privations and discomforts, but never have I experienced
anything so hard to bear, or of which the memories are so unpleasant.

The first or pleasantest stage of the journey, as far as Damascus, was
made by the three Tommies and myself in a closed horse wagon. At any
rate I had the companionship of some stout-hearted Englishmen, who bore
their troubles nobly and showed that unselfishness and cheerfulness in
adversity which is perhaps the greatest asset of the British Tommy. The
nights were very cold, and we slept huddled together for warmth on the
bare boards of the filthy truck. I begged a log from the engine-driver
as a pillow, and managed to get a good deal of sleep in spite of the
cold. The days were pleasantly warm, and to a certain extent I was able
to forget my troubles in the struggle to get food and to obtain medical
aid for our wounded man. It was only after several days that I got a
doctor to attend to him. I managed it at last by hailing some German
soldiers whilst we were halted at a station. They promised to do their
best for us, and also brought us good food. A little later a Turkish or
Armenian doctor turned up and dressed the man's arm, fairly skilfully it
seemed to me. He told me that the arm was in a bad condition, and that
the man should go to a hospital at the earliest opportunity. I kept on
trying to get medical attention for the poor fellow, but with little
result, until we left him behind at some wayside hospital at a place the
name of which I have forgotten. I have never heard whether his arm or
his life was saved. Throughout that journey the Germans without
exception were good to us and did all they could for us, and meeting
them was like meeting civilized men in a savage land. The German
privates several times--whenever they had an opportunity, in
fact--brought us food, good hot stew, and expressed their contempt for
the Turk in no measured terms.

Our escort and the other occupants of the horse truck were rather a
grotesque crew. An Arab in full Arab costume seemed to be in command. He
was extremely suspicious of me, and objected strongly when I talked to
the Germans, which I did at every opportunity. In the day time, when it
was futile to think of escaping, he watched my every movement, and at
night slept peacefully, often with the door a few inches open, so that a
night seldom passed when I could not have escaped if I had wished. It
was grudgingly that I was allowed sometimes to sit in the sun or walk up
and down for exercise at the numerous and prolonged halts. When I
pointed out that my feet hurt me and that I had no boots on, he
explained by signs that he suspected me the more for having taken off my
boots, and made movements with his hands to show that a man could run
all the faster without boots. That made me so angry that I nearly hit
him, and a little later I managed to get hold of an interpreter to tell
him that, as I could escape any night I wished to while he slept, he
might give me a little more liberty in the day time when escape was
hopeless. Our relations remained, to the end, rather strained. Then
there was a big lout of a Turkish sergeant, a kindly sort of fellow,
whose main diet seemed to be raw onions, lemons, raisins, and almonds.
There was also a particularly dirty Turkish soldier who was seen and
smelt but not heard. The most curious member of the party was a filthy,
ragged Arab beggar. He possessed only two garments, both unbelievably
dirty. One was a coarse linen nightshirt, and the other a large
irregular-shaped piece of black cloth, which he wore over his shoulders
in the day time, while at night, sitting huddled up into a small ball,
he covered himself completely with it. He had no hat, boots, stockings,
money, or possessions of any sort. I was under the impression that he
had been arrested as a spy by the Turks, but never found out for
certain. He seemed to be on very friendly terms with my escort, and
appeared to enjoy the journey, depending for food on bits that other
people did not want. The Arab gave him all the liberty he wished for,
and he was most useful in fetching water and buying food for us. He was
just a cheeky, cheerful, ragged street-arab, who seemed to know how and
where to beg, borrow, or steal the cruder necessities of life. He seemed
to take a special interest in me, and sometimes used to brush down the
place where I slept with his outer garment. He also liked sleeping close
to me, but I could not stand that, and, though I felt rather ungracious
about it, insisted on him removing himself to a decent distance. For
some time I thought he might be one of our spies who wished to
communicate with me; but I don't think that was the case, as he could
have found endless opportunities of speaking to me in private if he had
wished to. I was very curious at the time to know who he was and where
he was going, and always had a feeling that he was not quite what he
seemed. I never found out anything about him; I wish I could, as I am
still curious.

After a couple of days' journey from Tulkeram we reached Afule, the
place from which I had escaped. Rather an angry crowd collected round
the carriage when it became known that I was there, and one or two
Turkish soldiers put their heads in at the door and cursed me; for I
believe the sentries from whom I had escaped had received rather severe
punishment. I have little doubt that they had been cruelly bastinadoed,
poor brutes.

Some German flying men and also some Turks came to see me; the former
from curiosity, and the latter to question me about my escape. Had I
bribed the sentry? "Of course not," I said, "why spend money
unnecessarily? Any fool can get away from a Turkish sentry whenever he
wants to. I had had heaps of opportunities since my recapture, but my
feet were sore and I could not walk." This statement gave them something
to think about, the more especially because it coincided with statements
which had been made by Austin and Lee when they had been questioned.
Their statements and the belief that Austin, Lee, and I would repeat our
opinions as to the incompetence of all Turks, and especially of those at
Afule, alone prevented, as I now feel sure, any word of my escape being
forwarded to Headquarters. I received no special punishment for my
escape, which is perhaps just as well, as I much doubt if I should have
lived through it.

Of the rest of that tedious journey to Damascus I remember only a few
incidents, of which the following is an example. At Deraah, the junction
of the Damascus and the Mecca lines, the train halted for about ten
hours and I was put in charge of the station-master. He was a
dirty-looking blackguard but not so stupid as most Turks, and gave me to
understand that he was very friendly. He invited me to share his lunch
and we ate together, dipping our fingers into the same dish and fishing
out lumps of meat. There is nothing like real true hunger to tide over a
little squeamishness. When we had finished, he asked me to write him a
note to say that he had been kind to British prisoners. He was
convinced, he said, that the British would soon be in Damascus, and that
perhaps he would be taken prisoner. I wrote on a piece of paper, "This
fellow, Station-master at Deraah, gave me food when I was hungry--A. J.
EVERARD," and gave it to him: I had been his guest, and was grateful
for the meal. I should like to know if he ever used my chit.

We arrived at Damascus very early one morning, and were marched through
the streets to the courtyard of a hotel. They pushed the Tommies into a
room absolutely packed with stinking, filthy, crawling human beings.
They were mostly Turkish soldiers, military criminals I should think,
and only once in my life, at the main jail at Constantinople, have I
ever seen such a miserable, famished, filthy crowd. I absolutely refused
to enter the room in spite of all threats, and at length they gave in,
and put a guard over me in the courtyard. Later in the day all four of
us were marched up to the main barracks and I was lodged in a room with
barred windows--I call it a room, because it was on the second floor and
had a wooden bedstead and a mattress in one corner, but no other
furniture. The place was comparatively clean, and I might have been much
worse off. I asked that the Tommies should be put into my room, but this
was refused, though I obtained permission to visit them. They were in a
long, narrow stone cell. The walls had at one time been whitewashed, but
now the whole place was filthy. From the long side-wall boards sloped
down to the center of the room, leaving a narrow gangway. The boards and
the stone floor were filthy, and all over the room a thick crowd of
still filthier Turks slept or played cards. What the place was I don't
know, but it is just possible that it was the Turkish guardroom, though
it is hard to credit it unless you have spent a little time in Turkey as
a prisoner. I did what I could for our poor fellows, who were
wonderfully cheerful; but it was little I could do to make their
existence a little more tolerable.

Twice every day I was conducted by George, a miserable little Armenian
with the fear of death on him, to a hotel in the town, where I had my
meals with Turkish officers, and paid at reduced and very reasonable
rates. The meals were quite good and satisfying. I also found a small
library in the hotel in which there were several English books which I
borrowed from mine host--an Armenian, of course. All business men of any
description seem to be Armenians in Damascus, and they one and all
seemed to be praying for and expecting daily and hourly the coming of
the English.

After a couple of days in Damascus, I felt so much better that I began
to turn my attention once more to escaping. I broached the matter first
to some Armenians in the hotel, but soon saw that they were too
frightened to be any use. Next I tested my conductor, George, and found
that for years he had had the desire, but never the courage, to escape.
I cheered him on with promises of prosperity if we succeeded, and two
days later he told me that he had got into touch with some men who would
guide us to friendly Arabs outside the town. We were to escape disguised
in two days' time; but, when questioned, George was unable to produce
any details or any connected scheme of escape. I continued to press for
details, but when the day came he went dead lame, and was so obviously
in a blue funk that I called the matter off. I don't believe for a
moment that he had ever made any arrangements for escaping. In any case
I feel sure I was right not to trust myself blindly to this miserable
little cur of an Armenian. Before I had time to discover any more
suitable conspirator--the next day, in fact--I was moved off by train
together with the Tommies in a cattle truck, with about thirty other
human beings, all as dirty and smelly as possible, and all, I have no
doubt, covered with vermin, as I was by that time. Whilst at Damascus I
had a good opportunity of looking round the town, with George as my
conductor. The Arab thinks of Damascus and the waters of Damascus as a
sort of heaven upon earth. Although it does not quite accord with my
idea of heaven, the place has for me a certain fascination. The sight of
water in plenty in a thirsty land is in itself a pleasant sight. The
shops too are exceptionally good for that part of the world. Altogether,
making due allowances for the circumstances, I have quite pleasant
recollections of Damascus. The last day I was there I tried to change
some money, for curious as it may seem, I had never been robbed of my
money. I was unable to come to an agreement with a robber of an Armenian
about the rate of exchange. George came in, in the midst of the
argument, and told me that he could arrange things better for me. He led
me by side streets to an insignificant-looking little shop and
introduced me to an old man in rich clothing, who spoke French. This old
man was an Armenian, with French blood in his veins, I should think, and
offered to give me gold for my Egyptian notes. He refused my thanks,
saying it was a small thing to do to help one who had risked his life on
the side of the Allies against the Turks.

Of the journey from Damascus to Aleppo I am pleased to say I remember
absolutely nothing. We made a particularly bad start, as I have said,
being crowded at night with from thirty to forty nondescript human
beings into a dirty cattle truck, so that I have no doubt it was as
unpleasant as the rest. At Aleppo the Tommies and I were marched through
the town to a big white stone fort or barracks which stands on a hill
above it. Here we were separated, and it was not till some months
afterwards when one of them came as my orderly at Afion that I heard of
those good fellows again. They had had an awful time, but I believe
survived to the end, being strong men. Of the fate of the wounded man
they knew nothing. I was brought up to the Commandant's private room.
After the polite formalities of introduction, together with cigarettes
and coffee, I was given a seat on a divan whilst the Commandant
submitted himself to be shaved. When this operation was concluded, he
politely offered me the services of his barber, which I gratefully
accepted. Feeling much refreshed, I was led away and deposited in a very
bare and unpleasant cell. Just as I was preparing to kick up a fearful
row and give my celebrated imitation of an indignant demi-god by kicking
at the door and cursing the sentry, the only method I found to be of the
slightest use in getting food or washing materials out of the Turks, an
officer appeared who conducted me back into the town. After sundry
intensely irritating vicissitudes, and after losing my temper
intentionally and unintentionally a number of times, I slept that night
in a passable imitation of a hotel, and in a bed which was the cleanest
thing I had seen for weeks.



From this point onwards I don't intend to attempt to give a day-to-day
account of my sojourn in Turkey. I will try to recall only those few
events which seem to me of special interest, and confine myself, as I
have done with few exceptions throughout this book, to those events of
which I was an eye-witness. For there never was such a country for
rumors and stories as Turkey, where few can read and news is passed from
mouth to mouth.

I stayed for two or three nights in the hotel at Aleppo, and while there
was visited by a representative of an embassy--Dutch, I think--which had
charge of British interests in those parts. I asked for shoes, socks,
vest, pants, and a bath--particularly for a bath. He sent me some
nondescript but most welcome articles of clothing, together with bright
red Turkish slippers of the genuine Aleppo brand, which I still

The bath was a much more difficult business. He advised me most strongly
against the public baths, in which, he said, one was much more likely to
catch typhoid than get clean, and as for a bath in the hotel, such a
thing simply wasn't done. He was a Greek, I think, and seemed to find
it difficult to sympathize with my desire. I stuck to my point, however,
with obstinacy, although I knew I was already beyond the stage when a
bath could cleanse me. When he left me he gave instructions in the hotel
that I was to have a tub of warm water. What a request! The hotel was
shocked, and most properly refused to countenance such an outrage on its
premises. I waited for an hour or two in my dormitory, for there were
half a dozen beds in the room, and Turkish officers used to drop in at
odd hours for a sleep; but as no bath appeared, I started to forage for
one. There was no sentry to be seen, and I made my way into the
backyard, commandeered a bucket, and amidst universal protest went back
with a pail of water to my room. Then, in the middle of the floor,
watched the while through the half-open door by the outraged members of
the hotel staff, I proceeded to wash myself section by section. It was
as I had suspected. A bath in cold water was precious little use to me.
But how could it be otherwise, since for the last fortnight I had been
in close contact with people who live year in and year out covered with
lice? It is disgusting to have to refer to these things, but it is not
possible to appreciate life in Turkey unless one realizes that
ninety-nine out of every hundred people one meets are crawling with
these loathsome vermin. I was told one very good tip, which is to "keep
them on the move." The louse lives and multiplies inside the shirt or
vest and next the skin. The scheme is to put on your shirt inside out.
Then he has to make his way back again to the inside, and just before he
has got comfortably settled down you turn your shirt back again and
"keep him on the move." Of course it is considered rather eccentric to
change your shirt inside out every day or two instead of every month or
two, but I disregarded this and, I must own, found the method most
efficacious. They were lean, owing to too much exercise and too little
nourishment, and it certainly interfered to some extent with breeding. I
apologize for the foregoing, and will try to keep off the subject in
future. When one is condemned to be unclean with these pests, one can
either shudder with disgust and shame, or try to laugh.

The journey from Aleppo to Constantinople lasted a fortnight or more,
and I traveled the whole way in company with Jews. Just before this,
orders had been issued for the arrest of all the Jews in Palestine,
whatever position they might hold. This was a result, I believe, of our
declaration that after the war Palestine should once more be the
national home of the Jewish race. Very many of the best doctors in the
Turkish army are Jews; many of these posts in the censor's office and in
the commissariat department where efficiency is necessary, but the hope
of honor small, were held by Jews. They were all arrested, on no charge
whatsoever, and dispatched under armed guards to Constantinople, being
treated, in some cases, on the same footing as prisoners-of-war--in
other cases as spies or rebels. There was one officer who traveled part
of the way with me. He was filled with shame and bitterness at his
treatment. He had fought at Gallipoli and most of the battles in
Palestine. He had been twice wounded, twice decorated by the Turks, and
once by the Germans with the Iron Cross, and now he was returning as a
suspect, with a sentry with a fixed bayonet at his heels whenever he
moved. They had made a rebel of an efficient servant, for he prayed
night and day for the downfall of the Turks.

The Jew with whom I traveled most of the time had been for some years in
the censor's office at Haifa on the Palestine coast. He was an
inoffensive, clever, and kind little fellow, and I last caught sight of
him in the most unpleasant section of the Constantinople jail. Poor
fellow! I am afraid he found me a bad traveling companion. He was all
for conciliation, and advocated judicious bribery to increase our
comforts, while I was as irritable and unreasonable as only a tired,
ill, and disappointed man can be.

In the early days of the war there was only one bad road, which
zigzagged through the Taurus Mountains. Later, the Germans organized an
efficient motor lorry service with German drivers and mechanics, for
machinery of any sort is quite beyond Turkish intelligence. When we
passed through, the narrow gauge railway had been working for some time
and they were making good progress with the broad gauge line, which
would improve enormously the Turkish efficiency on the Mesopotamia and
Palestine fronts. Thousands of men were working in the cuttings and
widening the tunnels. In particular, I remember one great bridge, with
four huge stone pillars rising 200 to 300 feet from a gorge below. It
seemed a marvel of engineering in that wild land. It was three parts
finished, and I believe the whole line was completed just about the
time of the Armistice. It must have been not the least of the many
bitter blows this war has brought to Germany, that after so much labor,
ingenuity, and money expended on the Bagdad line, they abandoned the
work to their enemies at the moment of its successful conclusion.

We traveled through the Taurus in open trucks on the narrow gauge line,
and on the passengers an incessant shower of sparks descended from the
engine, which burnt wood, as do nearly all engines between Mecca and
Constantinople. The scenery is wild and wonderful. Great peaks, grim and
ragged with straggling pine trees, tower to the clouds, while the train
crawls round the edge of precipices where a stone dropped from the
carriage window would fall a sheer thousand feet or more into the gorge

At one point on the journey over the Taurus the line passes through an
extremely long tunnel, where all passengers would inevitably have been
asphyxiated by our wood-burning engine. Owing no doubt to the fact that
Germans and not Turks were in charge, this had been foreseen, and
steam-containing engines, much on the principle of the thermos flask,
had been substituted. They had no boilers or furnaces, but were filled
up with sufficient steam before each journey.

I met many of our men on the way through. They were wonderfully cheerful
and optimistic, and many had an amused and pitying tolerance for the
inefficiencies of the Turk, though when one had heard their tales, one
realized that they were just survivors and that 75 per cent. had died
under the treatment.

To live with the Turk one must laugh at him, for otherwise one would go
mad with rage. They complained of malaria and lack of food. Incredible
as it may seem, many of them occupied posts of considerable
responsibility, being in charge of power stations and repair depots on
the route.

On the whole, the Germans whom they had met had treated them well. There
were certain damnable exceptions: no mitigating circumstance could here
be pleaded, for calculated and intentional brutality and not national
inefficiency was here the cause. A moderately civilized Turk was once
accused by an English officer of allowing English prisoners under him to
die in thousands. "We treated your men," answered the Turk, "exactly as
we treated our own soldiers." Exactly! The food and treatment that will
kill Turkish peasants by tens will kill Europeans by thousands. As well
expect a bulldog to thrive on a jackal's fare.

With the German rank and file, the motor drivers and mechanics, our men
made friends quickly. They had a common bond of friendship--hatred and
contempt for the Turk. At one station where our train was standing after
dark a man entered my carriage. I was alone for the moment; for my
guard, who irritated me beyond endurance, being stupid even for a Turk,
and who only kept strict watch on me every other day and never at night,
had gone in search of food. The man had on a very dirty but
German-looking uniform, and surprised me when he addressed me in good
English. He was an English Tommy and asked me if I would like some food
in his mess. He was spare man on one of the German lorries, and his
fellows would be delighted to see me. It was only a couple of hundred
yards away. In a small dark hut, by the light of a candle, four German
motor drivers and an English Tommy offered me hospitality, and I have
never met more generous or cheery hosts. Our Tommy seemed on excellent
terms with them, and swore to me that they were topping good fellows. We
cursed the Turks together, swopped yarns, whilst partaking of most
excellent German rations--tea, soup, German army bread, cheese, and
butter. I went back to my carriage feeling much cheered and once more in
possession of my temper. Only for a moment, however, for my blithering
fool of a Turkish guard, who was hunting wildly for me under the seat,
grabbed me as I entered with a cry of triumph.

From the Taurus to Constantinople, about a ten days' journey, we
traveled in very dirty and extremely crowded second-class carriages, and
all that time we had to sleep sitting up while I longed above anything
in this world to lie down, for I was very tired, and my bones ached with
sitting. The coach next to ours was occupied by a German general and his
retinue. Some of the smart young A.D.C.'s condescended to speak to me
once or twice; and once, when we had been traveling a week together, the
general sent one of them to me with food. I thanked him, but refused it,
saying I had sufficient money to buy what I needed.

The haughty and insolent attitude of those Germans towards their
Turkish allies gave me the greatest pleasure from every point of view. I
was no longer surprised that the Turks hated the Germans. Success and
efficiency was the Germans' only claim to respect, and when the
_débâcle_ came small mercy was shown by the Turks to starving and beaten
German battalions and none to stragglers. After the victory of Allenby
in Palestine, trains full of starving Germans came through Afion Hissar,
with hundreds clinging to the roofs and buffers and not daring to get
down to beg or buy food, for fear either of being murdered or of losing
their places on the train. They actually sent a message to the English
prisoners-of-war in the town of Afion, asking for safe conduct to buy
food. I had left the prison camp by that time, but I believe the Germans
were told that if a good party came they would be quite safe. Of course
by that time, October 1918, English officers took no further notice of
their Turkish sentries and wandered about where they would. The whole
position was Gilbertian beyond the wildest dreams of that genius.

During the four years that the Teuton was lord in Asia Minor, whenever a
German saw a Turk in close proximity he kicked him, either
metaphorically or actually, usually the latter, and the Turk
submitted--partly because he admired the German efficiency and fighting
powers, but chiefly because he had to. "He who would sup with the devil
needs a long spoon," and it's precious little soup the Turk got out of
that unholy alliance.

The Turk cannot understand how a man by shutting himself in an office
and writing on pieces of paper can cause all the trains to run to time
and armies to be equipped or fed. It is beyond his intelligence, and he
can but wonder. The English, French, Germans, and Americans not only
have these wonderful powers, but in a scrap they fight like the devil.
In the Greek and the Armenian the Turk recognizes this same power of
organization, at closer quarters this time, for the Greek and Armenian
rob and out-manoeuvre him in his own bazaar. This is intolerable to him,
for he knows he is a better man than they are in a fight. If he meets
them in the open with a sword instead of a pen they will go on their
knees to him and squeal for mercy. This strikes me as pretty reasonable
from a Turkish point of view. The Turks' commercial methods are rather
crude: "Let some one else make money, then murder him and take it." If
we stop them from murdering Armenians, the Turks will starve.

On arriving at Constantinople we crossed to the European side. Our
escort, as I might have expected, then spent several hours, to my
intense annoyance, wandering about the streets, not having the faintest
idea of where to go or what to do. At length, after many weary waits,
and after an interview with Enver's chief executioner and torturer, who
looked a real devil, I parted company with my escort (I think the relief
was mutual) and found myself in the great military prison. I was put
into a room with two flying men from the Mesopotamia front and an
Italian count, who expected to be hanged every day for spying, but was
most cheerful nevertheless. The room was about 9 feet square, but as it
had four beds in it, there was not much room to walk about. However, as
far as I am concerned, I have no complaint to make of my treatment at
Constantinople. It was a blessed relief to be left in peace after that
train journey, and we were quite decently fed. The Dutch embassy sent me
in clean clothes and bedding, for which may they ever be blessed! Also I
had a Turkish bath in the town, and by burning my old clothes got rid of
the lice. But if we, considering that we were prisoners-of-war, were
tolerably comfortable in that place, there were many poor devils who
were not. Every day we were allowed an hour's exercise in the prison
yard, a not unpleasant sunny place where there was ample room for
walking exercise. From here there was a perfectly gorgeous view of Pera
and the Golden Horn. Our room was on the second floor, and, as we passed
through the lower portions to reach the yard, starving, ragged,
lice-covered wretches yammered at us from behind bars. Turkish military
criminals, we believed they were. Poor devils! A friend of mine, an
officer and usually a truthful man, who had been imprisoned in a
different part of this building, swore to me that Thursday was torture
day, and every Thursday he used to hear the shrieks of the victims. I
believe him myself.

After a week in this prison nearly all the British prisoners were moved
to Psamatia. I was very pleased to come across Lee and Austin once more.
They gave an amusing account of the court of inquiry which was held at
Afule after my escape. They had made the journey in comparative comfort,
having come across Kemal Bey, the military governor of El Karak, who had
been so good to us when we were first captured. He was once more
extremely good to them, but took a gloomy view of what would happen to
me if I were recaptured. Why I was not punished for my escape I have
never found out for certain.

At Psamatia I found means to send a private and uncensored letter to my
people. Even in these days I think it as well to draw a veil over the
methods employed to this end. It was not a route by which military
information could be sent. To this letter I added a note to my bankers
telling them to cash my cheques drawn under my assumed name of A. J.
Everard. If I had known the Turks as I know them now, I should have
realized that such a precaution was unnecessary. They usually recorded
our names phonetically, in Turkish characters, and to the last expressed
surprise and incredulity when a prisoner stated that his name was the
same as his father's name. Of course the difference between Christian
names and surnames was quite beyond them, and it was useless to attempt
to explain.

During the ten rather interesting days which we spent at Psamatia we
visited St. Sophia and explored the old town. A small bribe enabled one
to wander with the sentry almost where one would on the European side,
and to buy in the bazaars a number of small things which greatly added
to the comfort of our lives. At the end of that time nearly all of us
were moved to camps in the interior. Half a dozen other officers and
myself, after a three days' train journey, arrived once more at
Afion-Kara-Hissar, which I had passed through three weeks before on the
way up to Constantinople. It is here that the Smyrna line joins the
Constantinople-Bagdad railway, and it was here that I remained for the
next six months, till about a fortnight before the Armistice.

Others have already written of the life in prison camps in Turkey, and I
shall not attempt any description. We lived in houses which once had
belonged to Armenians. The Armenians had been "removed"--in nine cases
out of ten a Turkish euphemism for murdered. The houses were quite bare
of all furniture, most of them were in an advanced state of
dilapidation, and they were all very dirty and overrun with bugs.

The first thing that every prisoner must do is to buy himself tools and
wood and string, and make himself a suite of furniture, and then open
the first battle in an almost ceaseless warfare against the bugs. One
officer of the merchant service in former days said that he was too hard
an old sea dog to be worried by bugs--he would just disregard them.
After a few weeks he was very weak and pale. His bed was brought out of
doors, and boiling water poured into the crevices, and a vast quantity
of well-fed bugs were discovered who had been draining him of blood.

We bought our food in the bazaar, and our menu was very simple and
monotonous. However much I ate I never seemed to get any nourishment out
of it, and all the time felt weak and ill. For money we cashed cheques
at the rate of 13 lira for £10. As a lira was worth about two shillings
at pre-war prices, living, in spite of its simplicity, was most
expensive. To help us out, officers were given an allowance from the
Dutch Embassy of 18 lira a month.

We passed our time, like all prisoners-of-war, working, reading (for
there was a good library), carpentering, writing and acting plays, and
towards the end, when we had matters more our own way, playing hockey or

It is hard to compare my Turkish with my German experiences as a
prisoner. The whole position was so very different. It must be
remembered that I only speak of a Turkish prison camp as I saw it--that
is to say, during the seven months which preceded the Armistice. If we
compare Afion with Clausthal, which in 1916 was one of the best camps in
Germany, I think there is no doubt whatever that any man would have
preferred to be a prisoner in the German camp. We had more freedom in
Afion, but that was more than counterbalanced by the fact that we lived
in Germany in close proximity to civilization. Our letters and parcels
came regularly and quickly, and only those who have been prisoners can
understand what that means. When, however, I think of Fort 9,
Ingolstadt, in comparison with Afion, I find that I look back on the
German prison almost with pleasure--certainly with pride--while I loathe
to write or think of the Turkish camp where there were no real
hardships, at any rate whilst I was there.

Those who had been prisoners for a long time had suffered much; and we
later prisoners had some difficulty in appreciating the attitude which
was adopted by most of the camp towards certain things. When I first
came to the camp, escaping was looked upon almost as a crime against
your fellow-prisoners. One officer stated openly that he would go to
considerable lengths to prevent an attempt to escape, and there were
many who held he was right. There is much to be said on the side of
those who took this view. Though it was childishly simple to escape from
the camp, to get out of the country was considered next to impossible.
On the face of it, it did seem pretty difficult. An attempt to escape
brought great hardship and even danger on the rest of the camp; for the
Turks had made a habit of strafing, with horrible severity, the officers
of the camp from which a prisoner had escaped. This point of view, to
one who had been a prisoner in Fort 9, Ingolstadt, where we lived but to
escape, was hard to tolerate, and I am now convinced that this
anti-escaping attitude was wrong. It seems to me to take too narrow a
view of the question; quite apart from the fact, generally accepted I
believe, that prisoners-of-war are inclined to deteriorate mentally and
morally when they settle down to wait, in as great comfort as possible,
but with a feeling of helplessness, for a peace which weekly seemed
farther off. It seems to me that we owed it to our self-respect and to
our position as British officers to attempt to escape, and to go on
attempting to escape, in spite of all hardships. It used to amuse me
sometimes to think what would have happened if the prisoners of Fort 9
could have been set down as prisoners in Afion-Kara-Hissar. They would
certainly have marched out in a body and taken pot luck with the
brigands. There would have been nothing to prevent them. To recapture
them would have been a next to impossible task. Many brigands and
deserters would have joined them. In fact, I think this would have been
quite a nice little diversion in Asia Minor. A hundred armed,
determined, and disciplined men could have gone almost where they would
and done what they chose in Asia Minor.

About the time I came to Afion, a number of young lately captured
officers, mainly flying men, were also brought in. Many of the older
prisoners, who had suppressed their wish to escape in deference to the
opinion of the majority of the camp, joined hands with the later
prisoners and made preparation to escape. I know of at least twenty
officers who had every intention of departing in the spring of 1918.
Most of the plans were to my mind rather crude, and consisted of walking
over 250 miles of almost impossible country and hoping for a boat. We
were sent from England, concealed most cunningly in post cards, maps of
the route to Smyrna and a method of getting out of the country from the
neighborhood. Tempted by this, three stout-hearted fellows tried to walk
to Smyrna--a most terrible undertaking. They met brigands, and one of
them was shot, probably in the leg, and left wounded on the hills. The
other two were stripped, driven from their wounded comrade with rifles,
and returned to the camp in a semi-nude condition. Nothing has since
been heard of the third, and to the best of my belief the Turks made no
effort whatever to save him. His two companions and the senior officers
of the camp did their utmost to induce the Turks to send a few men to
the place where he had last been seen alive. To take a little trouble on
the off-chance of saving a human life is not the sort of thing that
appeals to a Turk; so several prisoners offered to go on parole to the
place at their own risk, which to unarmed men would have been
considerable. But this was forbidden.

Bribery seemed to me the one method which had a real chance of success
in Turkey. An officer, whom I will call David, and I first of all opened
negotiations with a Greek to be allowed to take the place of the stokers
on the Smyrna train. The Greek's courage failed, however, and that fell
through. Then we got into touch with the Arabs who wished to desert.
They agreed to produce horses and arms; and four armed men on horseback
would have had no difficulty in going anywhere. When the whole thing had
been settled and it was only a question of final details and deciding
the day to go, the second commission came to the camp in order to select
sick officers for exchange. As there were very few, if any, sick
officers left in the camp, and as the examination was a pure farce,
David and I thought we should get a more comfortable journey to Smyrna
by bribing the doctor. This was completely successful, and cost me £15.
On the whole, I think if you went the right way about it, it was less
difficult to escape successfully from Afion than from most of the German

     _N.B._--For a description of the life in the prison camps of
     Afion-Kara-Hissar, I can recommend _A Prisoner in Turkey_, by John
     Still (published by John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd.).



There is one incident in our otherwise uneventful journey to Smyrna
which seems to me worthy of record. We were passing through a
particularly wild and uninhabited stretch of country, when the train
halted just after it had passed a small bridge over a ravine. I and a
friend who spoke Turkish descended to stretch our legs, and saw standing
on the bridge a very ragged sentry, so we walked back to question him.
He had been there, the solitary guardian of that bridge, for four years.
Two years before this he had somehow seen or heard from his wife, and
had learnt that three of his four sons were dead and the other was
fighting. Since then he had had no news of his family. The only food he
received were two loaves of bread thrown out of the train twice a week,
and during these four years he had lived and slept in the clothes, now
ragged and rotten, which he was wearing. He scarcely spoke to any one
from year's end to year's end, and lived perpetually on the border of
starvation. He only prayed God to blast Enver's eyes, because he was a
year and a half in arrears with his pay of 1/4d. a day or so. Thank God
I was not born to be a Turkish territorial. In the Turkish army, I
suppose, this fellow would be envied, as having a nice quiet job on the
lines of communication.

On arriving at Smyrna we were told, to our great astonishment, for we
had given no parole of any sort, that we were free to go where we would
and do what we liked.

By the kindness of the American School Missionaries the mission school
buildings had been thrown open to the officers and Tommies. The place
was beautifully clean but rather crowded, and as I desired solitude
above all things, I packed a rücksack and set out to test how far our
freedom extended. There was no one to stop me at the station, so I took
the train to a small village in the hills above Smyrna and spent two
most enjoyable days in a country hotel.

The population of Smyrna seems to be the result of inter-marriage
between all the nations under the sun. Perhaps there is rather more
Greek blood about than any other. They speak no language well, and
usually five or six badly. They are a timorous, effeminate community,
very immoral and untrustworthy, and seem to live in a perpetual and
perhaps justifiable fear of being massacred. They all hated the Turk
much but feared him more, and were very friendly to us. Once I had
discovered that I was really free to go where I would, it seemed to me
that I was in rather a false position. The fact that we were not guarded
in any way made me no less anxious to get out of Turkey; and the fact
that the Turks had not asked for our parole, which most of us would have
refused, in no way relieved us of the duty of escaping if we could.
There were other considerations, however. A small minority of the
British officers and men now collected at Smyrna for exchange were
really sick men; and several of us, who were ardent escapers, did not
consider that we were justified in bringing possible punishment on these
men by escaping. We therefore decided to wait for the exchange ship and
to go by that, so long as it was not necessary to give any sort of
parole not to fight against the Germans. In the meantime we prepared a
method of escape by which we could clear out of Asia Minor if ever the
Turks changed their mind and attempted to send us back to camps in the
interior. It was not so easy to find a method of getting away as one
might have expected. Nearly every one in the place would take a bribe
without hesitation; but they were more likely to betray you at the last
moment than do any job in which there was the slightest taint of danger.
That is the worst of these half-breeds; they have no morals of any sort.
The Turk has his own peculiar morals, and whatever he may be he is not a
coward. If you go the right way about it I believe all Turks can be
bribed. A good deal of intrigue and preparation is sometimes necessary;
but once he has accepted money he seems to consider it dishonest to fail
to carry out his part of the bargain. Eventually one of us got into
touch with our secret intelligence system and made arrangements for
three or four of us to get away if it became necessary. However, the
exchange ship was expected any day, so we settled down to wait for it.

When we had been there about ten days David came to me with an
extraordinary story. He said that a Turk had approached him and
suggested that there should be a revolution in Smyrna. Apparently there
were a number of Turks in Smyrna who believed that the Turkish empire
was completely done, and that the sooner peace was made with the Entente
the better. By a revolution in Smyrna they hoped to force the hands of
the Government in Constantinople. They hoped, by handing over the place
to the English, that Smyrna would be left, when peace came, as an
independent state. Above all, I think they feared that it should go to
Greece. However, I am not sure that these were the real motives, or all
the motives, of the proposed revolution. The motives were a small matter
to us. What we had to consider was--(_a_) Was it possible? (_b_) Was it
desirable from a military or political point of view? We decided to make
all preparation, but to refuse active participation till we had
information that a revolution in Smyrna was desired by the British. The
Turks who brought this proposal to David said the job the Turkish
revolutionaries would undertake would be to tie up or murder the
commander of the garrison, the military governor, the chief of police,
and a few other important personages. David was to select a party of men
from amongst the British and hold the railway with a couple of machine
guns, incidentally cutting all the telephone and telegraph wires. My job
was to capture the Austrian aerodrome just above the town, and then to
fly one of their machines to Mitylene and report events to the English.
"What about the garrison?" David had asked. "That is all right," said
the Turk; "we have a Mullah who will preach a holy war against the
Germans, and the garrison will all come over to us."

The scheme seemed pretty mad at first, but the more we considered it the
more possible did it seem. David felt certain he could do his part, and
I went up and inspected the aerodrome, and made a number of inquiries
about the personnel and the guard. It seemed that with about a dozen men
there would be absolutely no difficulty in capturing the aerodrome,
probably without bloodshed. We considered that if the Turks could do
their part--and they were perfectly confident they could--we could
capture the town and hold it for at least a fortnight. If the wires were
cut we could more or less rely on the fact that for a week or so it
would be considered only a normal breakdown of the line. The Turk said
that the nearest troops were ten days' march away, and there was no
rolling stock to bring many troops by train. Such was the rough outline
of the scheme, though I may not have got all the details quite correct.

We now refused to move any further in the matter till we got into touch
with the British and learnt that a revolution was desirable, and that
there were ships and troops to take over the town when and if we were
successful. To disarm criticism and indicate that I am now more or less
sane, I am prepared to admit now that we must have been perfectly mad to
entertain the idea for a moment.

About this time a certain English colonel turned up in Smyrna and put up
at the best hotel. He had nothing whatever to do with the exchange of
prisoners; and in order to explain his presence I must digress here to
give some account, probably rather inaccurate, of his previous
adventures in Turkey.

A month or two before the Armistice the colonel had been a
prisoner-of-war in a Turkish prison camp about 100 miles from
Constantinople. From there he had escaped by means of a judicious
mixture of bribery and audacity and made his way to Constantinople. For
over a month he lay hid in the town, and at the end of that time had
prepared a complete plan of escape. The details of where and how he was
going is not part of this story. On the night on which he had made all
preparations to depart he received a note from the Minister of the
Interior of the Turkish Empire saying that he, the Minister, had heard
that the colonel was about to escape, and would be much obliged if he
would call on him before departing. As I said before, it is no use being
surprised at anything in Turkey; but that it should be possible that,
while one department was searching high and low for an escaped prisoner,
another department not only knew where he was but when he intended to
escape, throws an interesting sidelight on Turkish methods of
government. The only explanation seems to be that each department has an
entirely independent secret service of its own. The colonel decided that
he would go and see the Minister, as he had really not much choice in
the matter. This interview between a prisoner-of-war in the middle of an
attempt to escape and a Minister of an enemy country must be almost
unique, dealing, as I believe it did, with the probable attitude of the
Entente towards certain aspects of the coming armistice.

At the end of two hours the Minister thanked the colonel courteously
and intimated that he would not hinder him further in his attempt to
escape. "That won't do at all," said the colonel, "you have already
spoilt my plans, and it is now up to you to get me out of the country."

"I will send you out by aeroplane," said the Minister, and went to the
telephone. In a short time he returned and stated that, to his great
regret, it was impossible to obtain an aeroplane for the purpose, as
they were all in the hands of the Germans.

The Turks are notoriously incompetent as aviators, and this was only to
be expected. As an aeroplane was out of the question, the Minister did
the next best thing and wrote out for the colonel an official
"passe-partout," stamped all over and signed by the highest powers in
the land. Armed with this document the colonel was no longer a poor
prisoner-of-war. He was more than free; he was a power in the land of
Turkey. All officialdom would bow down before him. So he took the train
to Smyrna and put up in the best hotel.

Soon after his arrival David and I determined to seek his advice in the
matter of the revolution, so we introduced him to the spokesman of the
Turkish conspirators, and the three of us met one night in the colonel's
private sitting-room and discussed the question from every point of
view. The colonel viewed the proposed revolution in the same light as we
had done, as a wild but not impossible scheme, only to be put into
practice if we received definite information that such a thing was
desired by the British. We spent the next day or two in futile attempts
to find a boatman (they were nearly all Greeks) sufficiently honest,
courageous, or patriotic to be worth bribing.

Quite suddenly it was announced that the Turkish armistice commissioners
had arrived in Smyrna, whence they would leave to go either to Mitylene
or to a British battleship, in order to undertake negotiations. The
colonel and David, with the help of the colonel's all-powerful pass,
made their way to the presence of the commissioners, and somehow or
other persuaded them that it would be a good thing to take the colonel
with them when they went. They left early one morning in a large motor
boat, the colonel promising to send us back word if a revolution was
desirable. No word came through to that effect, and less than a week
later the arrival of the exchange ship was announced. On board the ship
we were once more assailed with doubts on the question of parole. Should
we be eligible to fight against the Germans? We nearly got off the ship
at Mitylene with the idea of taking a sailing boat back to Smyrna,
surrendering to the Turks, and escaping in a legitimate way the same
night, as I think we probably could have done. We decided against it,
however, after consultation with a distinguished general and the captain
of the ship. Our advisers pointed out, firstly, that as far as they knew
we had given no parole not to fight against the Germans; and, secondly,
that there seemed every prospect that the war with Germany as well as
with Turkey would be over before we could return to Europe. We left
Smyrna on November 1st, 1918, when I had been a prisoner in Turkey for
seven and a half months, so that, in Germany and Turkey together, I had
been a prisoner-of-war for under eighteen months. Quite enough.
Technically, I think I may claim to have escaped from Turkey as well as
from Germany, but I am not particularly proud of the Turkish escape.

There is one further incident which happened after I had been enjoying
the luxuries of Cairo and Alexandria for a fortnight, and then I have

It occurred to me that it would be interesting to visit the officer
prisoners-of-war camp between Alexandria and Cairo. I got on the
telephone and asked for permission, and as I was speaking something
prompted me to ask if by any chance there was a German flying captain by
name of Franz Walz in the camp. Yes, there was. This struck me as most
humorous, and also a unique opportunity of repaying some of Hauptmann
Walz's kindness to me when I had been a prisoner in his power. My visit
to the camp was extraordinarily interesting. The place was a high wire
enclosure on bare and very sandy soil. It was clean and well ordered,
and most of the wooden huts had been made to look quite pretty by small
gardens round them. For all that, it was not a place in which I should
have cared to have been a prisoner. Not that there seemed much to
complain about, except that it must have been pretty dull. The wooden
huts were well built and of the right type for the climate and the
country: the prisoners seemed to have a reasonable amount of liberty
outside the camp, with the possibilities of bathing from time to time,
and they could purchase books and clothes with few restrictions, but
discipline was a bit too strict for my liking. Quite right from the
point of view of the commandant, but I can't help looking at it from a
prisoner's point of view. When I asked Walz, he told me some of their
causes for complaint, but they seemed to me pretty insignificant,
compared at any rate with those things we had to complain about at
Ingolstadt; and I told him so. I was told that Walz had been rather
truculent when first captured, and I respected him for it. No decent man
takes kindly to being a prisoner-of-war. However, he was very friendly
to me, and gave me tea in his mess and introduced me to a number of
German officers, many of whom had been captured off the _Konigsberg_,
and three or four had been among my hosts in the German flying corps
mess at Afule. They seemed a particularly nice lot of fellows, though
there were one or two about the place to whom I was not introduced whose
looks I did not like, and the feeling was obviously reciprocated.

Walz was not unnaturally very depressed both at his own and his
country's position. The terms of the Armistice had just been published,
and the prisoners ridiculed the idea that Germany would accept them.
They only saw our newspapers and did not believe them--prisoners-of-war
are the same all the world over--and had no conception of Germany's
desperate condition. I did not attempt to enlighten them much, as it
seemed to me tactful and generous, remembering my own experiences to
keep off the subject as much as possible. Germany accepted the terms the
next day. Poor fellows! It must have come to them as a terrible shock. I
found that Walz had been told, when first captured, of my own
experiences as a prisoner in Germany, and just before I left, he took
me aside and said, "Can I possibly escape from a place like this? What
would you do here? and if you got out, where would you escape to?" I
said that it seemed a most difficult camp to get out of, and if a
prisoner got out there were thousands of miles to cross before reaching
a friendly country. As a matter of fact, as I told the commandant
afterwards, it looked to me as if any prisoner who could learn a few
words of English could bluff himself out of the camp any day in broad
daylight. A man in English officer's uniform had only to call to the
sentry to open one of the many gates and I think it would have been
opened. I may be wrong. There would have been no harm done and ample
time to retreat, change clothes, and prove an alibi if the bluff were
unsuccessful. The second difficulty--the distance, and where to go--was
much more serious. The Aboukir aerodrome was within a couple of miles of
the camp, and Walz's thoughts as an airman naturally turned in that
direction. I was compelled to prevaricate and tell him that the
aeroplanes there were all training machines and seldom had more than one
hour's petrol on board, and also that the place was well guarded. At
this discouraging news, I hope and believe he gave up all attempts to
escape. He told me that two German airmen, who had been captured by the
English shortly after my own capture, had reported that I had broken my
parole when escaping. On hearing this Walz had taken considerable
trouble in denying it, and I am most grateful to him for that, quite
apart from the other kind things already referred to in this book which
he did for me. I count Hauptmann Walz among the many nice fellows whom
I met in this war. For his sake, and for the sake of the many kind acts
done by Germans to our prisoners-of-war in Turkey, I can never agree to
class all Germans together as brutes. Surely it will be better for the
peace of the world if we admit that the majority of Germans in this war
only did their duty and did it well. This attitude need in no wise
lessen our dislike for the German national ideals of "Might is Right,"
"Deutschland über Alles," or our loathing for the inhuman and
unforgivable way in which these ideals were pushed to their logical
conclusion. If wars are to cease, future generations must find a "modus
vivendi" with the Germans; and surely, having beaten them, we can afford
to encourage their good points by recognition of them. The Turk,
however, still remains to me the "unspeakable Turk."

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Hyphen removed: look[-]out (pages 216, 245), country[-]side (pages

Page 6: "hold" changed to "holding" (holding her off).

Page 9: "It" changed to "In" (In Cambrai station).

Page 12: "aslym" changed to "asylum" (lunatic asylum).

Page 25: "dèjá" changed to "déjà" (Ils sont déjà partis).

Page 25: "captin" changed to "captain" (the captain fell on his neck).

Page 30: "Unter Offizier" changed to "Unteroffizier" (sent by an

Page 31: "whol es ghet" changed to "wohl, es geht" (ja wohl es geht
nicht so schlimm).

Pages 37, 216: "grade" changed to "gerade" (gerade aus).

Page 44: "on" changed to "of" (till one of them).

Page 45: "place" changed to "placed" (placed a loaded revolver).

Page 54: Missing word "asked" was added to "We just banged on the wall
and asked the people next door".

Page 54: "bady" changed to "badly" (badly wounded).

Page 64: "my" changed to "me" (which had been given me).

Page 64: "temoin" changed (twice) to "témoin" (je suis témoin).

Page 66: "Nisson" changed to "Nissen" (the shape and size of a Nissen

Page 82: "prisioniers" changed to "prisonniers" (combien de

Page 86: "proceed" changed to "proceeded" (proceeded to read).

Page 108: "rucksacks" change to "rücksacks" (home-made rücksacks).

Page 111: "durfen" changed to "dürfen" (Sie dürfen nicht).

Page 111: "Marceillaise" changed to "Marseillaise".

Page 117: "senrty" changed to "sentry" (a single sentry).

Page 120: "equiment" changed to "equipment" (rücksacks and other

Page 133: "Medlicatt" changed to "Medlicott" (Medlicott had finished).

Page 145: "Batty-Smith" changed (twice) to "Batty Smith".

Page 145: Errors in French corrected in the sentence: "Nous n'avons ...
un officier".

Page 147: "brueau" changed to "bureau" (into the bureau).

Page 151: "or" changed to "of" (of anchovy paste).

Page 154: "skillful" changed to "skilfull" (most skilful labor).

Page 154: "Reprêsailles" changed to "Représailles".

Page 157: "souflet" changed to "soufflet" (where a "soufflet").

Page 160: "Frenchmen" changed to "Frenchman" (Frenchman excellently got

Page 164: "a" changed to "an" (He called an N.C.O.).

Page 175: "were" changed to "was" (the guard was being changed).

Page 183: "ought" changed to "out" (train was out of sight).

Pages 183-184: The last line in the scan of page 183 "caps, and got out
our compasses and a very poor sketch" was moved to between the 3rd and
4th lines of page 184.

Page 184: "rish" changed to "risk" (to risk so much).

Page 200: "yeards" changed to "yards" (within 100 yards of us).

Page 201: "rtouble" changed to "trouble" (did not trouble to search).

Page 202: "parellel" changed to "parallel" (a few miles parallel).

Page 210: The map on this page refers to Chapter II of Part II but has
not been moved so as not to change the list of Illustrations.

Page 212: "immeditely" changed to "immediately" (immediately if

Page 249: "Ismali" changed to "Ismail" (Ismail Kemal Bey).

Pages 255, 294, 297, 299 (footnote): "Afion-Karah-Hissar" changed to

Page 256: "encompment" changed to "encampment" (Turkish encampment).

Page 269, 271: "Hèdéra" changed to "Hedéra" (village of Hedéra).

Page 269: "Haky" changed to "Hakki" (Ahmed Hakki Bey).

Page 269: "slighest" changed to "slightest" (in the for slightest

Page 275: "imprenetrable" changed to "impenetrable" (impenetrable

Page 276: "skillfully" changed to "skilfully" (fairly skilfully it
seemed to me).

Page 278: "anrgy" changed to "angry" (an angry crowd).

Page 283: "founded" changed to "wounded" (the wounded man)

Page 284: "sojurn" changed to "sojourn" (my sojourn in Turkey).

Page 295: Missing "an" added (an advanced state of dilapidation).

Pages 299, 300, 304, 306: Misspellings of "Smyrna" corrected.

Page 301: "langauge" changed to "language" (speak no language well).

Page 306: "demtermined" changed to "determined" (determined to seek).

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