Fit as fiddles and as hard as nails

TCD MS 3416 page 35

TCD MS 3416 page 35

[June 1916]

set up men I had yet seen in the Turkish Army. A heavy thunderstorm announced our arrival at Ras-el-Ain, and we turned in, thanking our Maker that our desert trip was safely over, for there had been rumours of typhus at the start of our journey. We left two officers behind early in our journey from Baghdad to Mosul, both of whom returned to Baghdad: one of these officers, who was seriously ill, had the good fortune to meet a German officer who took him down from Sharget on a raft. Our medical officer Capt John Startin R.A.M.C. was fortunate in being able to rescue his Medical panier with a certain amount of drugs with which he was able to treat the many cases of dysentry that occurred amongst us; thanks to him we all arrived in excellent health. The open air, strenuous exercise exercise [sic], simple diet and total abstinence form liquor made us as fit as fiddles and as hard as nails by the time we reached Ras-el-Ain.

Ras-el-Ain is a small desert town, and the railway terminus lies two miles away to the N.W of the town. The railway has been exploited some 8 miles beyond the terminus, towards Mosul, but the track was not then laid: The Turks intend to use all our Hindu and Indian-Christian troops on this section, for here