Online Distributed Proofreading Team AT SUVLA BAY BEING THE NOTES AND SKETCHES OF SCENES, CHARACTERS AND ADVENTURES OF THE DARDANELLES CAMPAIGN MADE BY JOHN HARGRAVE ("White Fox" of "The Scout ") WHILE SERVING WITH THE 32ND FIELD AMBULANCE, X DIVISION, MEDITERRANEAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, DURING THE GREAT WAR To MINOBI We played at Ali Baba, On a green linoleum floor; Now we camp near Lala Baba, By the blue Aegean shore. We sailed the good ship Argus, Behind the studio door; Now we try to play at "Heroes" By the blue Aegean shore. We played at lonely Crusoe, In a pink print pinafore; Now we live like lonely Crusoe, By the blue Aegean shore. We used to call for "Mummy," In nursery days of yore; And still we dream of Mother, By the blue Aegean shore. While you are having holidays, With hikes and camps galore; We are patching sick and wounded, By the blue Aegean shore. J. H. Salt Lake Dug-out, September 12th, 1915. (Under shell-fire.) TURKISH WORDS Sirt--summit. Dargh--mountain. Bair or bahir--spur. Burnu--cape. Dere--valley or stream. Tepe--hill. Geul--lake. Chesheme--spring. Kuyu--well. Kuchuk--small. Tekke--Moslem shrine. Ova--plain. Liman--bay or harbour. Skala--landing-place. Biyuk--great. CONTENTS CHAPTER I. IN WHICH MY KING AND COUNTRY NEED ME II. A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY III. SNARED IV. CHARACTERS V. I HEAR OF HAWK VI. ON THE MOVE VII. MEDITERRANEAN NIGHTS VIII. THE CITY OF WONDERFUL COLOUR IX. MAROONED ON LEMNOS ISLAND X. THE NEW LANDING XI. THE KAPANJA SIRT XII. THE SNIPER-HUNT XIII. THE ADVENTURE OF THE WHITE PACK-MULE XIV. THE SNIPER OF PEAR-TREE GULLY XV. KANGAROO BEACH XVI. THE ADVENTURE OF THE LOST SQUADS XVII. "OH, TO BE IN ENGLAND!" XVIII. TWO MEN RETURN XIX. THE RETREAT XX. "JHILL-O! JOHNNIE!" XXI. SILVER BAY XXII. DUG-OUT YARNS XXIII. THE WISDOM OF FATHER S---- XXIV. THE SHARP-SHOOTERS XXV. A SCOUT AT SULVA BAY XXVI. THE BUSH-FIRES XXVII. THE DEPARTUR XXVIII. LOOKING BACK AT SUVLA BAY CHAPTER I IN WHICH MY KING AND COUNTRY NEED ME I left the office of The Scout, 28 Maiden Lane, W.C., on September 8th, 1914, took leave of the editor and the staff, said farewell to my little camp in the beech-woods of Buckinghamshire and to my woodcraft scouts, bade good-bye to my father, and went off to enlist in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I made my way to the Marylebone recruiting office, and after waiting about for hours, I went at last upstairs and "stripped out" with a lot of other men for the medical examination. The smell of human sweat was overpowering in the little ante-room. Some of the men had hearts and anchors and ships and dancing-girls tattooed in blue on their chests and arms. Some were skinny and others too fat. Very few looked fit. I remarked upon the shyness they suffered in walking about naked. "Did yer pass?" "No, 'e spotted it," said the dejected rejected. "Wot?" "Rupture." "Got through, Alf?" "No: eyesight ain't good enough." So it went on for half-an-hour. Then came my turn. "Ha!" said the little doctor, "this is the sort we want," and he rubbed his gold-rimmed glasses on his handkerchief. "Chest, thirty- four--thirty-seven," said the doctor, tapping with his tape-measure, "How did yer do that?" "What, sir?" said I, gasping, for I was trying to blow my chest out, or burst. "Had breathing exercises?" "No, sir--I'm a scout." "Ha!" said he, and noticed my knees were brown with sunburn because I always wore shorts. I passed the eyesight test, and they took my name down, and my address, occupation and age. "Ever bin in the army before?" "No, sir." "Married?" "No, sir." "Ever bin in prison?" "No, sir." "What's yer religion?" "Nothing, sir." "What?" "Nothing at all." "Ah, but you've got to 'ave one in the army." "Got to?" "Yes, you must. Wot's it to be--C. of E.?" "What d'you mean?" "Church of England. Most of 'em do." Awful thoughts of church parade flashed through my mind. "Right you are--Quaker!" said I. "Quaker! Is that a religion?" he asked doubtfully. "Yes." I watched him write it down. "Right, that'll do. Report at Munster Road recruiting station, Fulham, to-morrow." We were all dressed by this time. After a lot more waiting about outside in a yard, a sergeant came and took about eight of us into a room where there was a table and some papers and an officer in khaki. I spotted a Bible on the table. We had to stand in a row while he read a long list of regulations in which we were made to promise to obey all orders of officers and non-commissioned officers of His Majesty's Service. After that, he told us he would swear us in. We had to hold up the right hand above the head, and say, all together: "Swhelpmegod!" I immediately realised that I had taken an oath, which was not in accordance with my regimental religion! No sooner were we let out than I began to feel the ever-tightening tangle of red tape. What the dickens had I enlisted for? I asked myself. I had lost all my old-time freedom: I could no longer go on in my old camping and sketching life. I was now a soldier--a "tommy"--a "private." I loathed the army. What a fool I was! The next day I reported at Fulham. More hours of waiting. I discovered an old postman who had also enlisted in the R.A.M.C., and as he "knew the ropes" I stuck to him like a leech. In the afternoon an old recruiting sergeant with a husky voice fell us in, and we marched, a mob of civilians, through the London streets to the railway station. Although this was quite a short distance, the sergeant fell us out near a public-house, and he and a lot more disappeared inside. What a motley crowd we were: clerks in bowler hats; "knuts" in brown suits, brown ties, brown shoes, and a horse-shoe tie-pin; tramp-like looking men in rags and tatters and smelling of dirt and beer and rank twist. Old soldiers trying to "chuck a chest"; lanky lads from the country gaping at the houses, shops and people. Rough, broad-speaking, broad-shouldered men from the Lancashire cotton-mills; shop assistants with polished boots, and some even with kid gloves and a silver-banded cane. Here and there was a farm-hand in corduroys and hob-nailed, cowdung-spattered boots, puffing at a broken old clay pipe, and speaking in the "Darset" dialect. At the station they had to have another "wet" in the refreshment room, and by the time the train was due to start a good many were "canned up." Boozy voices yelled out-- "'S long way . . . Tipper-airy . . ." "Good-bye, Bill . . . 'ave . . . 'nother swig?" "Don't ferget ter write, Bill . . ." "Aw-right, Liz . . . Good-bye, Albert . . ." We were locked in the carriage. There was much shouting and laughing. . . . And so to Aldershot. CHAPTER II A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY Aldershot was a seething swarm of civilians who had enlisted. Every class and every type was to be seen. We found out the R.A.M.C. depot and reported. A man sat at an old soapbox with a lot of papers, and we had to file past him. This was in the middle of a field with row upon row of bell-tents. "Name?" he snapped. I told him. "Age?" "Religion?" "Quaker." "Right!--Quaker Oats!--Section 'E,' over there." But my old postman knew better, and, having found out where "Section E" was camped, we went off up the town to look for lodging for the night, knowing that in such a crowd of civilians we could not be missed. At last we found a pokey little house where the woman agreed to let us stay the night and get some breakfast next day. That night was fearful. We had to sleep in a double bed, and it was full of fleas. The moonlight shone through the window. The shadow of a barrack-room chimney-pot slid slowly across my face as the hours dragged on. We got up about 5.30 A.M., so as to get down to the parade-ground in time for the "fall in." We washed in a tiny scullery sink downstairs. There was a Pears' Annual print of an old fisherman telling a story to a little girl stuck over the mantelpiece. We had eggs and bread-and-butter and tea for breakfast, and I think the woman only charged us three shillings all told. Once down at the parade-ground we looked about for "Section E" and found their lines in the hundreds of rows of bell-tents. Life for the next few days was indeed "hand to mouth." We had to go on a tent-pitching fatigue under a sergeant who kept up a continual flow of astoundingly profane oaths. Food came down our lines but seldom. When it did come you had to fetch it in a huge "dixie" and grope with your hands at the bits of gristle and bone which floated in a lot of greasy water. Some one bought a box of sardines in the next tent. "Goin' ter share 'em round?" said a hungry voice. "Nah blooming fear I ain't--wot yer tike me for--eh?" Every one was starving. I had managed to fish a lump of bone with a scrag of tough meat on it from the lukewarm slosh in our "dixie." But some one who was very hungry and very big came along and snatched it away before I could get my teeth in it. We had continually to "fall in" in long rows and answer our names. This was "roll-call," and roll-call went on morning, noon, and night. Even when your own particular roll-call was not being called you could hear some other corporal or sergeant shouting-- "Jones F.--Wiggins, T.--Simons, G.-- Harrison, I. . . ." and so on all day long. There were no ground-sheets to the tents. We squatted in the mud, and we had one blanket each, which was simply crawling. We were indeed in a far worse condition than many savages. Then came the rain. We huddled into the tents. There were twenty-two in mine, and, as a bell-tent is full up with eighteen, you may imagine how thick the atmosphere became. One old man would smoke his clay-pipe with choking twist tobacco. Most of the others smoked rank and often damp "woodbines." The language was thick with grumbling and much swearing. At first it was not so bad. But some one touched the side of the tent and the rain began to dribble through. Then we found a tiny stream of wet slowly trickling along underneath the tent-walls towards the tent-pole, and by night time we were lying and sitting in a pool of mud. About a week later when the sergeant-major told us on parade that we were "going to Tipperary" we all laughed, and no one believed it. But the next day they marched us down to the Government siding and locked us all in a train, which took us right away to Fishguard. Some of the men got some bread-and-cheese before starting, but I, in company with a good many others, did not. The boat was waiting when they bundled us out on the quay. It was a cattle-boat and very small and very smelly. There were no cabins or accommodation of any sort: only the cattle-stalls down below. Six hundred of us got aboard. Out of the six hundred, five hundred were sick. It was a very rough crossing, and we were all starving and shivering. I had nothing but what I stood up in--shirt, shorts, and cowboy-hat, and my old haversack, which contained soap, towel and razor, and also a sketch-book and a small colour-box. The Irish sea-winds whistled up my shorts-- but I preferred the icy wind to the stinking cattle-stalls and insect-infested straw below. We were packed in like sardines. Men were retching and groaning, cussing and growling. At last I found a coil of rope. It was a huge coil with a hole in the centre--something like a large bird's nest. I got into this hole and curled up like a dormouse. Here I did not feel the cold so much, and lying down I didn't feel sick. The moon glittered on the great gray billows. The cattle-boat heaved up and slid down the mountains. She pitched and rolled and slithered sideways down the wave-slopes. And so to Waterford. From Waterford by train to Tipperary. It was early morning. The first thing I noticed was that the grass in Ireland was very green and that the fields were very small. We had had no food for twenty-seven hours. I found a very hard crust of bread in my haversack, and eat it while the others were asleep in the carriage. CHAPTER III SNARED "CRIMED" "Off with his head," said the Queen.--Alice in Wonderland. "Charge against 31963-- Failing to drink some oniony tea; Ha! Ha! What! What! I can have you SHOT! D'you realise that I can have you lashed To a wheel and smashed? What? Rot! Yes--SHOT! D'you realise this? Right--turn! DISMISS!" Lemnos: October 1915. Born and bred in a studio, and brought up among the cloud-swept mountains of Westmorland, amid the purple heather and the sunset in the peat-moss puddles, barrack-life soon became like penal servitude. I was like a caged wild animal. I knew now why the tigers and leopards pace up and down, up and down, behind their bars at the Zoo. We only stayed a week in the great, gray, prison-like barracks at Tipperary. We looked about for the "sweetest girl" of the song--but the "colleens" were disappointing. My heart was not "right there." We moved to Limerick; and in Limerick we stopped for seven solid months. For seven months we did the same old squad- drill every day, at the same time, on the same old square, until at last we all began to be unbearably "fed up." The sections became slack at drill because they were over-drilled and sickened by the awful monotony of it all. During those seven dreary months, in that dismal slum-grown town, we learnt all the tricks of barrack-life. We knew how to "come the old soldier"; we knew how and when to "wangle out" of doing this or that fatigue; we practised the ancient art of "going sick" when we knew a long route march was coming off next day. We knew how to "square" the guard if we came in late, and the others learnt how to dodge church parade. "'E never goes to church parade." "No; 'e was a fly one--'e was." "Wotchermean?" "Put 'isself down as Quaker." "Lummy--that's me next time I 'list-- Quaker Oats!"
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