The country was a treeless desert

TCD MS 3416 page 28

TCD MS 3416 page 28

[May 1916]

can be taken. On May 27th Enver Pascha, then minister of war in Turkey, with his staff on his visit to the Irak fronts, inspected the barracks and was not best pleased to see us sleeping on the stone floors. He addressed us, saying “Gentlemen, at present the fortunes of war have gone against you: remember that we are now friends and that you are the Honoured Guests of Turkey”. From His Excellency’s assurances we expected a pleasant and more or less free time on parole, but it was early in our journey and we had not yet grown to know the Turk character.

Turk officers had often assured us that we had fallen amongst friends, and had spoken of tennis courts, football grounds, and freedom to wander about our ultimate destination on parole, but many assurances were given and none, as will be seen towards then end of my story ever materialised.

The country through which we had passed up to this point of our journey was a treeless desert covered with camel thorn, and, as far as Baghdad, stoneless. The only inhabitants are nomad Arab tribes who are quite uncivilised and quite out of the control of the Turkish Government; the latter beyond placing a few officials in Basra