- R.W.G Hingston: private journal
from 22nd Jan to 9th July 1916.
- We are a unit in an infantry Brigade
detailed to guard the North West Frontier.
- All are delighted at the fact that we leave on service
that we are taking a more active place in the great drama.
- Whirling storms of sand make one regret
that the greatest of wars did not lie in a more seasonable land.
- We swung along to the well worn war-tune of “Tipperary”.
This was a short march of but twelve miles.
- Ambulances been despatched from Peshawar
to collect the halt and the maimed.
- Owing to the danger of infection from cases of mumps
we encamped near the polo ground.
- Snow fell on all the surrounding hills
a bare wall of hills, with a white glistening fringe.
- Club in the evening is an attraction
after the quiet life in camp at Nagoman.
- The weeks follow one another
without noteworthy incident.
- It is difficult to spend ones time in serious thought
when one knows that in a few weeks one may be facing Turkish bullets.
- To be gay and frivolous seems more in accordance with the time
than to be thoughtful and serious.
- So many of its glens and pine woods are spots of happy recollection
that I was glad of the opportunity to see it again.
- I succeeded in finding a few ancient volumes
relating to Mesopotamia.
- The Colonel was a little sentimental
at leaving his home of thirty years.
- A beautiful evening follows
one of the freshest I have known.
- Then followed a cheery evening
too cheery, I think for both H. and myself.
- None of that joyous shouting nor those ringing English cheers
are to be heard amongst the people of the East.
- We have been in the train for the past four days
slowly rumbling along to Karachi.
- The next day we were in the Sind desert
a monotonous expanse of barren plains.
- A ship alongside is a German capture
discharging 1200 mules for the Argentine.
- The Chief Engineer showed me the engine room
and explained the principles of the machinery.
- Only one thing that the Sahibs had not yet succeeded in achieving
and that was the manufacture of a human being.
- The Arabian coast of Oman hove in sight right ahead
as bleak and unattractive as the cliffs of Mekran.
- The heavens in unison with the glistening sea
appeared exceptionally clear.
- The areas were of a red rust colour
some very dense and only a few yards in diameter.
- The blue ocean appears impregnated with millions of tiny specks
all glistening like sparks.
- A bar of soft mud obstructs the entrance to the Shatt-al- Arab
where the current of the Mesopotamia rivers meets the sea.
- Again we attempted to drive over the bar
but again stuck fast.
- Locusts came on board on five different occasions
at one time a small swarm appeared.
- It is as marvellous and inexplicable as the migration of birds
that a solitary insect can fly in a true course over a distance of 110 miles.
- On entering the Shatt-al-Arab, the scenery became more interesting.
Stately groves of date-palms fringed the shore.
- The groves formed no more than a narrow border
to the river.
- The river is thronged with ships –
some thirty in number.
- The pelican are very conspicous
their brilliant plumage contrasting with the dark mud.
- The flight of the pelican is very stately
especially when a flock is slowly soaring overhead.
- The Hooded Crow is very common on the Shatt al Arab.
It differs from the corresponding species of the North Western Himalaya.
- As the sediment settles the delta is extending seaward
it is actually silting up the Gulf.
- It is strange to witness cattle finding sustenance
where it would appear that only water fowl could exist.
- We weighed anchor and moved two berths higher up
but are still far down in the line of ships.
- The more lofty trees are growing along the very brink of the river
from where they obtain a more liberal supply of moisture.
- There were transport supply ships, hospital ships, captured German vessels
all engaged in supplying the force.
- The motley collection of Arabs, Armenians, Jews, Negroes
formed a strange and ever-changing picture.
- The Base Hospitals are thronged with wounded
and we learn that heavy fighting is now in progress.
- We seem to be forgotten
nobody brings us any orders.
- How easy are these criticisms
we know naught of facts and difficulties.
- The recent fighting must have been severe
but we know not with what result.
- A frontal attack has been made on the Turkish position
but no ground has been gained.
- Owing to the insufficiency of transport
the lorries had to repeat their journeys.
- As we advance, comforts gradually diminish
at each stage something is relinquished.
- The night broke with thunder, lightening
a storm of wind and torrents of rain.
- He showed me his preparations of the skull and vertebral columns
and vertebral columns of snakes.
- The days are warming apace
the sun is now uncomfortably warm.
- It appears that our stay in Basra may be prolonged.
We are likely to be employed at the railway work for some time.
- From knowing them I have grown accustomed to them
and can recognize them all as seperate and distinct.
- I can discern the various races that go to compose this motley population.
By far the most numerous are the Arabs.
- Governing them are British soldiers and British sailors
working with dignity, yet with determination.
- Troops have faith in him
and think he ought to see things through.
- War certainly makes a clean sweep of false reputations
built up by influence and good-fellowship.
- I went in a bellum to visit a shady creek
amidst the date palms to the South of the town.
- Almost all were swallowing lettuce in enormous mouthfuls
and smoking innumerable cigarettes.
- The days grow monotonous
we long to be on the move.
- Their camp was in harmony with the bleak wilderness.
Most of the habitiations were constructed of woven matting.
- A friendly Arab assisted me to wash the horse
and scrub the mud from the harness.
- I spent some time watching the development
and growth of a mirage.
- At 2am I was up out of bed clinging to my tent-pole
which creaked so loudly at every gust.
- Officers enjoy an overcoat at dinner
and I am about to seek warmth in a sleeping bag.
- The bazaar is an Oriental Burlington Arcade
it is roofed over with beams covered with matting.
- I trust I shall be in the entrance of the victorious army
but rumour has it that we are destined for the Euphrates force.
- More rain; more quagmire.
No news from the Tigris force.
- We fished from a floating cylinder ridge
but our tackle was very unsuitable.
- The nights ring with incessant croaking
of the thousands of frogs that people the streams.
- A river gunboat, has appeared on the river.
She is called the “Gadfly”
- A concert was held on Saturday evening at the barracks.
Talent was noticeably absent.
- The Euphrates was a roaring flood
swollen to a great volume with silt-laden waters.
- Pessismism prevails
the relief of Kut seems almost beyond hope.
- We are preparing for our ten days march
we will be cut down to the minimum of kit.
- Far out in the open desert there should be new objects, new scenes
new thoughts, new experiences.
- The expanded heads of the lofty trees cast a dark shade
over the reflecting waterways.
- Occasionally is heard the soft notes of the Bulbul
or the shrill cry of a Kingfisher.
- The soil all over this barren area is impregnated
with saline deposit.
- The Arabs employ artificial fertilization
for the improvement of the yield of fruit.
- The male flower soon withers
so it sheds a cloud of fertilizing pollen.
- Such an horizon limiting a broad desert
recalls the boundless ocean.
- Even in the palm groves few species are seen
and these bear a remarkable resemblance to the animal life of the Punjab.
- Here I observe the same birds, bees, butterflies
that frequent the hills and valleys of Hazara.
- It is remarkable how the refuse of a camp attracts living creatures
and soon teems with animal life.
- Would that through the darkness of our ignorance
we might perceive how every being is linked.
- One of the most common animals is the Edible Frog.
This is the same species that extends through Europe.
- These frogs enjoy themselves basking in the mud
or resting amidst the water weeds.
- Insects, their customary food, were not abundant,
and the frogs, in their absence, largely fed on fish.
- I also found shell-fish in the stomachs of these frogs
so that the creatures had not only effected a complete change in the nature of their diet.
- Every frog became covered with a layer of tiny green leaves
These adhered all over the frogs body.
- The frogs may be carried on the ebbing stream
for long distances.
- Numbers of Tern were common on the river
their rapid turns in keeping with their graceful forms.
- The Pied Kingfisher always faces head to the wind when hovering
stationary over the water watching for fish.
- One of the most important functions of a bird’s tail
is to check the birds onward motion.
- In those birds that perform swift evolutions in the air
a forked tail has been evolved.
- A large swarm of locusts passed over the desert.
I had never seen the Eastern Locust in India.
- A green grove of date-palms seemed to attract locusts
for the dense cloud turned its course to congregate over the stately trees.
- Locusts in the upper and lower strata were more liable to go astray
than those in the centre of the swarm.
- It was a strange sight to witness innumerable insects all facing to the West
yet moving Northward.
- I tried to estimate the rate of movement of the swarm.
I calculated that a locust covered 20 yards in 5 seconds.
- The desert was littered with thousands of their bodies
all of which appeared to be males.
- The sand of the desert is so hot that it is burning to the touch
on a summer’s day.
- We now observe a dim indistinctness
with a fine, almost imperceptible tremor.
- It is but an elusive veil
that dimly cloaks the reality of things.
- The unrealities of the wilderness are now displayed
before our vision.
- The distant tents of an Arab camp are as a fleet of moving sails
scudding before the breeze,
- Wonderful as is the desert by day with all its strange illusions
as though the grains of sand were vivified into organic life.
- Destruction followed in the wake of the deluge.
The encampments of the Arabs had been engulfed.
- The fauna had become that of the swamp and shore.
Geese and duck rested on the waters.
- The rays of the setting sun bursting through the dark cumuli of cloud
painted the evening sky.
- The Eastern sky was fulfilling its promise of the coming day
the west was still gilded with the glories of approaching night.
- The spectacle was a wonderful one
It was an inspiring sight.
- The snakes from these great altitudes inhabit hot springs.
This appears to me of special interest.
- I look forward with interest to the hot and weary trek
over the pathless wilderness.
- We calculated our march as about four miles
when in reality it was at least three times the distance.
- He is a good Sunni and holds the Arabs in contempt
whom he condemns as all Shiahs.
- But the merciless sun soon crushed philosophy
and I turned to observe the striping of our mules.
- The men fell from the ranks, first in little groups
then in dozens, then in hundreds.
- After a battle of an amphibious nature
we drove them from their stronghold.
- The stubborn vice of the mule was replaced
by the noisy obstinacy of the camel.
- The ground was firmer and boasted a carpet of sparce grass
which gave a refreshing tinge of faded yellow.
- Skeletons and debris lay scattered about
in one place I found the bones of two men still clothed in their khaki uniform.
- Clouds of sand grouse whirled through the air
occasional bee-eaters alighted on the sand.
- As reports of hostile Arab cavalry had been received
we entrenched ourselves strongly in a perimeter camp.
- Here man may wander uncontrolled by aught but his desires
and the yearnings of his own soul.
- Bones of animals and men, fragments of uniforms and equipment
testimony to their discomfort and confusion.
- Later in the morning we sighted the great river Euphrates.
Here it displayed a broad but shallow stretch of water.
- First news this morning is that Kut has fallen.
The news reached us through our portable wireless station.
- Is it not more probable that they will withdraw
rather than advance their spare troops.
- We dreaded these late starts
they meant so much the longer march in the hot sun.
- Our carts stuck amongst the bullocks.
We had a number of bullock hospital tongas which found themselves in difficulties at every mound.
- A few of the filthiest of deserted water holes lay not far off
where some dared to quench their thirst.
- It has been the most distressing march yet.
with the exception of the first day, from Basra to Shaiba.
- Loading camels in the dark with the help of lanterns is not expeditious
but nevertheless we gained an early start.
- Four mules have today died in their traces.
Yesterday’s heavy going exhausted them.
- Half the officers ponies are now asleep
lying on the ground in their fatigue.
- He became almost hysterical at the sight of the venomous companies
that might interrupt his slumbers.
- In India we are accustomed to despise the camel transport
as being unable to move at more than 2 1/2 miles an hour.
- We are getting on but transport is diminishing.
Another camel was shot yesterday.
- When the storm burst, it came with a vengeance.
Many tents were carried bodily away.
- The march was gloriously cool
The storm, in spite of all its discomforts, has proved a blessing in disguise.
- Nothing but an occasional mound of sand breaks the flat monotonous landscape
of dreary wilderness and placid river.
- The sky was cloudless and the sun was oppressively warm.
Later a gentle wind sprang up.
- In addition to our ignorance, the powers of nature were against us.
This mighty river, had overflowed the enclosing banks.
- No land is visible as we stand upon its brink;
nothing but water extends into the far horizon.
- The Arabs had given names to these indefinite areas
but it was all the same, a line of unbroken desert.
- The 112th Infantry are encamped at Khamsieh.
They were on their way up the Tigris to assist in the attempt to relieve Kut.
- Locusts still innumerable
Locusts still innumerable.
- The animals enjoy the change even more than ourselves
they are now all eagerly devouring the succulent pasture.
- In the distance we could see the ruins of Ur of the Chaldees
surmounted by a high tower and rising high above the mirage.
- Every moment spent amongst the ruins whence Abraham fled
was of fascinating interest.
- I chased ice, soda water and whisky for the mess
with some success.
- Arrangements for pumping the water is difficult
- The limitless immensity, the silent solitude
the merciless display of light overwhelm him.
- The scale is so great that it seems immeasurable
an encampment is so minute a speck.
- Lifeless vague mysterious shapes glimmer
in the inconstant sands.
- We are face to face with the unfathomable
the unknowable infinitude of things.
- During the march I observed only two mammals
a jerboa and a Hedgehog.
- It scampers about in aimless circles
and proves an easy capture.
- Clouds of sand-grouse of different species whirled about
- We met that most ubiquitous of birds The House Sparrow
- Truly the animals that follow man in his wanderings
- From its cloak of deceit it peered out
with watchful eye.
- No creature in the desert makes its presence so obvious
as the migrating locust.
- Every seeming blade of grass was a living locust.
Such are their millions.
- The locusts are in continual motion;
all progress in in the same direction.
- These insect streams look impressively
like the flow of moving water.
- How immense is this living flow;
how powerful is the generative force.
- Onward into the river crept the swarm
and out over its broad waters.
- There is no succour for the sick and wounded
of a locust army.
- They collected themselves into dense clusters
and sought protection from the wind.
- Locusts singly or in small groups make a direct course
across the Red Sea.
- The locust undoubtedly possesses
an acute sense of smell.
- They can distinguish the newly dead of their own species
from the teeming living that surround them.
- Another common insect is a large
species of Dung Rolling Beetle.
- They shared the trenches with colonies of harvesting ants
and little sand-coloured lizards.
- It clings with its hind tarsi to its precious pellet
& stretches out its body.
- When assaulted, the owner takes up a strong position
on the summit.
- It would at first sight seem that there was no cooperation
between the two owners.
- The other beetle quietly clinging to the pellet
acts as a check at each revolution.
- The beetle, losing its grasp, must hurry
off in search of it.
- First it drives its shovel head into the soft sand
and kicks the granules backwards.
- The beetle seems to be very easily dissatisfied
with the progress of its work.
- The beetle will soon find its lost treasure
by following along the track of the pellet.
- This sense of smell must be extremely acute
it must be exerted over long distances.
- When irritated, this species discharges a very fine acid fluid
from the tip of its abdomen.
- The beetle is very conspicuous
with prominent white markings.
- Mosquitoes often became a nuisance
collecting about a camp in large numbers.
- If they swerve from the eye of the wind
they lose control.
- When night wraps these solitudes in a deeper silence
another fauna creeps out.
- It was a loathsome and repulsive fauna
which swarmed about our tents.
- Each creature is in arms against its fellow.
How intricate the struggle is.
- We see scorpions and solpugid spiders
working destruction by night.
- Dragonflies dart through swarms of mosquitoes
seizing them on the wing.
- Many of our mules showed zebra markings
unmistakeable signs of their ancestry.
- One persisted in jogging
or literally dancing about on its forelegs.
- Again and again our mules dragged on
till they died in their traces.
- This camel could not have travelled less than 150 miles
in 44 hours.
- The desert is increasing its bounds
as the delta of the river advances into the sea.
- The silt is of an extremely fine tenacious nature
with subsidiary layers.
- Annual additions are now made to it
within the area affected by the floods.
- Shells from the river are carried
with the inundating waters.
- To effect a dispersal of their species
they are not dependent on a foreign body
- Its burden towered upward into the clear skies
its limbs sank down.
- Fear of hostile Arab resulted in strict orders
that we should be back in camp by sunset.
- The first object to claim attention
was the remains of an irrigation canal.
- What interested me more than the tower
was the presence on the mound of water-worn boulders.
- One of these boulders was five feet in circumference
much too heavy to lift.
- Amongst them I found two species of sea shells.
- Knowing the date of Ur as a prosperous city
a calculation might be made.
- The noble tower once looked down over the bustle of life
is now engulfed in the waterless desert.
- Behind a veil of sand-cloud the setting sun sank
into the west.
- It sees the hot summers, the cold winters
the burning suns.
- It is a town of ten thousand inhabitants
with a modern aspect.
- The camp is enclosed by an embankment for protection
both from Arabs and from water.
- Hostile Arabs occupied the villages
on every side.
- It eroded the banks and swept away every load of earth
as fast as we deposited it.
- Euphrates River.
Levels at Nasiriyah.
- Still our position is ominous
it would be so anywhere in the desert.
- Each site has its advantages
each its disadvantages.
- So the desertphiles contend with the palmophiles
and each is satisfied.
- The climate is much cooler than I would have imagined
at this season of the year.
- He is a man for the office stool
not for the army in the field.
- Of the little group I saw, three were women
four were men.
- They seemed of a bright and cheery disposition
and reminded me of Kiroglu.
- I remain in the open air, if possible till midday
sleep and read after lunch.
- It was evident on the 21st that a storm was brewing
there was an uncanny stillness.
- Clouds of sand with whirling pebbles came rushing through the air
borne on a terrific wind.
- The heat of the wind was intense
it was like the blast of heat from a great furnace.
- The days are monotonous.
The novelty of a new place gradually passes away.
- I watch the Arab “bellums” struggling
with the floods.
- With the evening calm come the myriads of insects
a pest in Mesopotamia.
- Probably they feel the pressure of the Russians
in their rear.
- Spent the afternoon of Saturday in the Bazaar
searching for curios.
- We visited a shop where coffee-pots were exposed for sale.
Hidden away were two Chinese bowls.
- Unfortunately for his schemes he was unable to read
- A narrow street thronged with Arabs
leering and repulsive in countenance.
- The seller of carpets possessed a greater fund of humour
than the majority of his brother muslims.
- There was a Jew with unmistakeable Hebrew features
wearing a red Fez cap.
- A black Somali slave torn from his home
and carried into bondage.
- We enjoyed the delicious, fragrant coffee
unequalled, nay unknown in the West.
- I found the bridge open
this was not an unusual discovery.
- The whole structure bent before the impact
anchors were dragged, timbers were rent.
- The floods are gradually lessening
and this involves a diminished labour.
- The daily breeze is a blessing
we are not allowed to forget how refreshing it is.
- These gunboats are handy craft
they carry 4 inch guns.
- I can just summon up sufficient enthusiasm to wander in the evenings
to the bank of the river.
- From the river I see the sun
setting into the floods.
- The General has been a patient of mine
for weeks past.
- We were armed with different weapons of offence
an iron spike, a spear.
- I took it to be but one of the many explosions
that are occurring daily.
- Capt Poynder of the 6th Gurkhas was obviously dying
with a wound in the neck.
- I spent the afternoon, half naked
wrapped in wet towels.
- Very little energy for work
and much too hot to enjoy it.
- We pin our faith to the Shimál
that dry wind from the North.
- The clouds rapidly dissipated and the day grew hot
if not hotter, than ever.
- The Arabs foretell the commencement of the Shimal
at the appearance of the new moon.
- Our mess fisherman is very successful
with net and line.
- A small expedition was in the course of organisation
to be sent against an Arab village.
- This Arab had been implicated in stealing of government bellums.
Three times he had been ordered to account for his actions.
- We had to take him alive, not kill him
and it seemed most impossible.
- Our intention is to leave Nasiriyah
in two stern wheeler boats.
- Disembarking places
for river steamers.
- The main object is to hastily surround the village
so as to prevent the escape of the occupants.
- It was to consist of one double company of the regiment
supported by ½ Sec. of Machine guns.
- The object of No. 2 party was to seize that open ground
by occupying a position between the two villages.
- It seemed unlikely that the Arabs would wait in their trap
until the noose encircled them.
- The Gunboat will not come into action
unless the attacking party is held up.
- The village must be enclosed on every side
before the Arabs attempt to escape.
- The battalion fell in on parade north of the camp
and we marched to the two paddle-steamers.
- Men, ready stripped, sprang ashore to make her fast.
Planks were pushed to the bank.
- The remainder of the troops in this boat disembarked
at greater leisure.
- It was evident that the villagers were alarmed;
rifle shots rang clear.
- Orders had been issued that no Arabs were to be fired on
unless they first fired on us.
- Those who had fled were males
they had deserted their women, children.
- The first work was to blow up the towers
that exist in every Arab village.
- Every habitation was explored
and everything either looted or destroyed.
- Lower Mesopotamia
1 inch = 40 miles
- The city of Nasiriyah
on the Euphrates River.
- Thus we destroyed the village
but the real offender escaped.
- A sacred fragment from the holy city of Kerbela
where Shias worship at the Shrine of Hussein.
- To the clay man looks for his origin
in the clay he seeks his last resting-place.
- The heat is almost unbearable
it crushes every mental and physical effort.
- The camp is studded with palm trees
amongst which our tents are scattered.
- Most days the maximum temperature has exceeded 120°.
During a lull one simply gasps for breath.
- Orders arrived for me to embark on a river stern-wheeler
to take charge of a sick convoy to Basra.
- Started with the sick convoy at early dawn, 4.45 am.
We move rapidly down the stream
- Fierce sun struck us alternately on port and star board
as we steered about in our sinuous course.
- By 4.30 pm. we had passed through the lake.
We were glad to think that its difficulties were behind.
- On to Kurna early this morning.
The river continued through the endless marshes.
- The brown muddy waters of the Tigris join the clear blue Euphrates;
Soon the waters are mingled.
- Evacuated sick to General Hospitals.
Was sent to medical reinforcement camp.
- I leave tomorrow, at midday, for Kurna.
I am not sorry to be returning.
- The death rate at Basra amongst British troops alone is 16 per day
and that at Amara 12 per day.
- It is pleasantly cool on board.
A gentle but steady breeze blows.
- These boats should remedy our transport difficulties on the Tigris.
Unable to reach Kurna tonight.
- Hamar lake was no longer navigable for steam-craft.
We will be fortunate if we get through in a week.
- Still at Kurna and eager to be off.
Spent the afternoon sweating in the rest-house.
- Left Kurna with Newland at 5.30 p.m.
in the stern wheeler, Mozafari.
- Entered the Hamar lake in the teeth of a strong wind.
The lake was very shallow.
- We manhauled the launch off the bank
and made her fast to our own steamer.
- Later our own difficulties commenced.
- Seven relief-bellums came alongside by 10.30 a.m.
We filled five of them.
- All was now plain sailing;
we were close to the exit of the lake.
- We proceeded rapidly up the stream
now beautified by the green fertile plains.
- They occasionally kill or wound a sentry;
they cause more annoyance than hurt.
- Snipers have not put in an appearance for many days.
The full moon is now so bright that they must remain inactive.
- The Dorsets destroyed every living thing
with the exception of the women and children.
- All the animals were destroyed
sheep, cattle, camels were all shot down.
- I was surprised at the snipers daring to appear
for moving objects were visible at a considerable distance.
- Entries in my journal are scattered.
The days are very quiet.
- Two pencil sketches of Locustidae
- Three pencil sketches of Locustidae
- A bomb explosion
occurred at dawn this morning
- A very large number of bombs were tested
after the previous explosion
- An unfortunate sequence of misadventures
from which he died
- Communications with the base are almost completely severed.
What a blessing the railway will be!
- Impassability of the lake has isolated a little fleet
of vessels at Nasiriyah.
- A short parade this morning
but an agreeable change.
- Times are not very exciting.
The garrison sent one small expedition up the river.
- Our force was insufficient to capture the village
without suffering undesirable loss.
- It seemed rather an undignified display of weakness
our inability to place the Sheik in power by force of arms.
- The hostile Arabs emerged from the village
when they saw the ships slipping away
- One of those unfortunate incidents
which one wishes had not occurred.
- Major Harrington produced secret orders
that a Brigade Route march was to take place.
- The real object was an attack by the 12th and 42nd Brigades
on a powerful body of hostile Arab tribes.
- Men had begun to grow suspicious of the supposed route march.
They now understood that it was to be war.
- Our orders were to be at the boat bridge at 4.30 a.m.
but we were there a little before our time.
- The plan of campaign may be understood
from the accompanying map.
- Campaign map representing the lines of advance
from the rendezvous at Nasiriyah.
- During a retirement the Arab is a dangerous enemy
he then presses with his full strength.
- We moved off in the face of the rising sun
then just peeping brightly over the desert.
- We marched on in close formation
with flanks well protected
- But the crafty Arab was not to be caught napping.
He had apparently observed the advance of our Brigade.
- I soon had my stretchers unloaded from their mules
and distributed amongst the bearers.
- The position of the Arabs was strong
they had the advantage of a network of channels.
- Only one casualty came under my notice during this advance
it was a Ghurka in the machine-gun section.
- We kept up a heavy sniping at every head that appeared
they returned to us the same kindly compliment.
- I said goodbye to the friendly shelter of thorny mound
and took to the exposed plain.
- I found one of our subedars with a bullet through his shoulder.
He treated it as a huge joke.
- We covered the hundred yards in as nippy a manner as possible
the bullets here were unpleasantly thick
- Map showing the position of the 42nd Brigade troops
and the opposing Arab force.
- He had been shot through the shoulder and chest
was in a serious state, almost unconscious.
- He uttered a faint, broken gasp, and fell dead
with the wounded man and myself in the same heap
- None of us were specially desirous of carrying him
boldly through the open.
- A helpless human being is a most unwieldly burden.
Each of us took a corner of the stretcher.
- They came waving their rifles wildly over their heads
shrieking aloud in their enthusiasm.
- We ought to have walked in careless of fire
but the preserving instinct of human nature was too strong.
- We were fatigued with the labour of dragging this casualty
over the ground.
- Their frontal attack was being pressed boldly.
But our men were very steady.
- When a hissing bullet rushes past
down goes every head
- The noise is that of a small explosion like the firing of a min[i]ature rifle
or the loud crack of a whip
- With a wound through the thigh, lame, but quite unperturbed.
He refused to return to hospital.
- The enemy was pressing on
well punished at every step.
- If they fall into the hands of the Arabs, the wounded are tortured
the dead are mutilated.
- The Arabs were punished at every step
they never occupied “grassy mound”
- Gradually the advanced troops fell back
on the hospital.
- The battle was over; the regiment reformed, less eleven killed
twenty five wounded and one missing.
- It is said that because we retired, we were beaten.
That is utter nonsense.
- Every individual from Brigadier to Araby played his part well
and the result was most satisfactory.
- Our losses were comparatively few
while the chastisement we inflicted was very severe.
- A Turkish communique was published giving their version of this battle.
It was as amusing as it was false.
- A huge fire was visible away to the east
black columns of smoke ascended high into the sky.
- I imagine every Arab bellum that was ever built leaks
from the day of its birth to the day of its death.
- Section of map: “Turkey in Asia”
(Rough Provisional issue)
- We were off two hours after sunrise.
Difficulties soon again ensued.
- By dusk we were through the lake
and we lay to for the night.
- My instructions were to go on board the dredger
to inquire for any sick.
- Everything now favoured us
we had escaped the annoyances of the lake.
- Every boat, with its white sheet of limp and empty sail
was reflected in the mirrored stream.
- The day was very calm
the flies a torment.
- A pleasant and peaceful mode of travelling
as arduous for the Arabs as it is luxurious for us.
- I have always wondered at the untutored mind
of the majority of British Officers.
- He had never heard of Siva or Brahma or Vishnu;
the Rig-vedas or the Puranas were words to him.
- He persisted that his men worshipped one God, one Creator
when every schoolboy knows of the hundreds of Hindu idols.
- Low over the water was a leaden belt of dust
above which peeped a yellow sunset gleam.
- He was as bigoted as he was eloquent
causing the greatest amusement.
- How shocked the poor old simple man became when teased
with his possible neglect of the doctrines of his faith!
- We had been three complete days in the shallow lake
covering a distance of 15 miles.
- Harrington had been awarded the D.S.O. and myself the Military Cross
for our work during the operations of the 11th September.
- To experience fear is, I think, a universal attribute
the problem is that of how to overcome and conceal it
- On board the steamer were two Hotchkiss guns;
one defending either side.
- Quiet times again in camp
less excitement even than before.
- I notice the effect of being awarded the Military Cross
in different ways.
- News from Europe is brilliant.
The capture of Combles must be an acrid pill for the enemy.
- Practised the attack and burning of an Arab village
and the retirement before an advancing foe.
- I was awakened by firing from our embankment
and the neighbouring “corner post”
- The patrol detected a boat creeping down
the opposite bank of the river.
- The official order awarding me the Military Cross arrived
- We are strong enough to resist a powerful attack.
we could easily repel ten times our numbers.
- All the available troops are sleeping on the ramparts
and our perimeter is similarly manned.
- We hear rumours of Turkish troops under the direction of German Officers
under the direction of German Officers encamped at the village of El Ain.
- During a sharp contest with a horde of Arab tribesmen
eight of our regimental mules were wounded.
- Creatures of the stoutest heart
and the most unbending resolution.
- Rams with four horns were not uncommon
in these flocks.
- The still and breathless evenings
would draw us to the river bank.
- The river was never clear and blue.
It was always thick with the finest sediment.
- Bird life on the river was of special interest.
In June the Terns used to congregate.
- The Indian Common Kingfisher awaits its prey from a fixed perch
while the Pied Kingfisher hovers stationary in the air.
- Methods by which the various birds dealt with their captures
was always a source of entertainment.
- I have watched the tern dealing with a large locust
that it seemed to find some difficulty in swallowing.
- A pretty little robin with a charming note
used to frequent the date palms along the river banks.
- The most numerous, conspicuous and amusing creatures
were the river tortoises.
- Such clumsy animals
yet always so sly and vigilant.
- The head of this large tortoise peeping above the surface of the water
gave it a formidable appearance.
- I do not think the tortoise can be denied the gift of intelligence
which man would often withhold from the humbler members of creation.
- Both these tortoises used to lay their eggs on the banks of the river.
In the two species the eggs differ in shape.
- The Gurkhas exposed a nest of the Caspian Water Tortoise.
All the eggs, save one, were smashed.
- The tail of the young tortoise is long
flexible and lacertine in appearance.
- I found a nest of the Soft Shelled Tortoise.
I disturbed the animal .
- Fish in the Euphrates congregate in vast multitudes
like the insects of the desert.
- Fish of all sizes lash the water into foam
their fins and tails writhing.
- The little fish endeavour to escape their pursuers
skipping over the water in a succession of leaps.
- I saw the skin of an enormous monster that surpassed anything I had ever imagined.
Its head was huge and massive
- There is no place for sympathy in the rough struggle of the desert
they dash upon their wounded companions.
- The biting-fly, Stomoxys calcitrans
was an incessant nuisance by day.
- At sundown the Stomoxys was replaced by the sandfly, Phlebotomus.
This tiny little creature is a still greater annoyance.
- The bees post a sentinel at the nest aperture.
The sentry is most earnest in its duty.
- I used to sit on the bank of the great river and watch the water insects
moving in its shoals and eddies.
- These same insects will remain unperturbed on the rippling waves
of water driven inland.
- These beetles possess a certain power of communication.
By repeated contact, each is recognising its fellow.
- A very large water-bug frequents the river.
It is of great strength.
- On a still day the ant-lion patiently waits in the bottom of its funnel
till the unwary ant tumbles in
- Ant-lions are almost always seen waiting in the bottom of their pits
yet they sometimes wander about.
- Their formidable appearance and carnivorous habits
soon attract attention.
- It crushes its prey to the finest pulp in its massive jaws
but, unlike many other spiders, it injects no poison.
- The panting spiders heave and sway
locked with the tenacity of bull-dogs.
- The scorpion’s subtle poison is on trial
against the spider’s nimble strength.
- The scorpion, if victorious, does not instantly slay its opponent.
The spider seems first paralysed with the sudden shock
- The spider does not allow the filament to trail away
from the spinnerets.
- At this stage its movements become more laboured
it cannot circle with rapidity.
- Its sensitive limbs diverge so as to rest on radii
coming from all parts of the circumference.
- It is interesting to see the spider testing the radii
at every thrill and carefully feeling their tension.
- The dispersal of spiders through the agency of the wind
takes place here on a most profuse scale.
- In May the current of the Euphrates daily slackens
the level of the stream steadily sinks
- A destructive deluge sweeping over the surface of the earth;
mankind overwhelmed in the rush of waters.
- Here the ancient Jews could witness a destructive deluge
a flood creeping insidiously over hundreds of thousands of square miles.
- Dust-storms of terrific violence burst over these deserts.
It is natural to contrast the dust-storm with the blizzard.
- Asia is the true home of the dust-storm
it rages with great intensity over the vast deserts.
- A fresh and vivifying breeze blowing
sometimes with great intensity.
- The sun gleaming through the dust
like a metallic silver disc.
- The setting sun sinks below its bank of dust
the surface of the desert rapidly cools.
- Dusts of all kinds spread abroad through the sky
& burnish the sun with a metallic sheen.
- The sun sank behind this pall of smoke, presenting an unreal face
deprived of its piercing rays and glittering lustre.
- Human comfort in the hot season depends largely on whether the wind blows
from the North or from the South
- The heat becomes insufferable in this stagnant air;
not even the nights give relief.
- We observed a remarkable outburst of sunspots; of these one was very large
it must have been an enormous area of disturbance.
- It is this junction of the rivers that is one of the supposed sites of the Garden of Eden
a supposition which, I think, geology can fully disprove
- Above the confluence the Tigris flows almost due north and south
the Euphrates almost due west and east.
- Pencil sketch of the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates
The Tigris is the greater.
- The Euphrates is obliged to conform the thrust of partner.
It is divided into two smaller channels.
- Shallow graves were exposed, “dish-cover coffins” broken
human bones scattered about.
- The tower or temple stood in three stages
superimposed on one another
- There was something solemn in standing on this temple of the moon-God
where Chaldean priests fell down in worship.
- This desert is a graveyard of mighty nations.
it carries our mind back to the royal pride of Babylon.
- Crumbling ruins choked with the desert sand.
Arabs raise their villages on the most inviting of them
- Lying on the ruin-dust is geological evidence
that Ur was a seaport town.
- Basrah now thrives, owing its prosperity to ocean trade.
But year by year it is passing further from the sea.
- Basrah is already stranded beyond the reach of the greatest ships
its facilities for trade must proportionately diminish.
- If this project materialized, then would Kuwait rise in greatness
and the town of Basrah hasten to oblivion.
- It surprised me that the delta of this river should have advanced
to so great a distance.
- We might reckon the time when the Persian Gulf will be silted up
and converted into dry land.