We had to search dirty Arab huts for eggs

TCD MS 3416 page 12

TCD MS 3416 page 12

[May 1916]

Chapter II

“Our desert march to Mosul”

The railway station of Samarra is about 3 miles from the town so we had no opportunity of visiting the five mosques with their beautiful golden domes which could be seen in the town to the east of us. Our great trouble was feeding ourselves; we had to search dirty Arab huts for eggs, milk, flower, fowels & ghi or clarified butter, which were always offered at exhorbitant rates, since our Arab guards purchased or stole all the local produce from the Arab villagers. We were therefore obliged to buy at very high prices or starve; complaints to the Commandant availed us nothing – surely he must also have his prerequisites? This was the state of affairs at every halting place throughout our journey through Turkey in Asia, where bribery & corruption are at their zenith & honesty and straight dealing are unknown. Unfortunately as a prisoner of war one is powerless in their hands.

Our eye for food soon excelled the hawk; an Arab woman might be seen in the far distance carrying a goat skin – Someone would cry out “Liban”! and at once