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WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 




iPhoto S. Ashinead-BartUtt 

Savinc; the Guns after the Batti.k of Lule Burgas. 



WITH THE TURKS 

IN THRACE By ELLIS 
ASHMEAD-BARTLETT 

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE LONDON "DAILY 
TELEGRAPH " Author of "PORT ARTHUR, THE 
SIEGE AND CAPITULATION," "THE PASS- 
ING OF THE SHEREEFIAN EMPIRE" 
In Collaboration with SEA BURY 

ASHMEAD-BARTLETT 



ILLUSTRATED 



NEW YORK MCMXIII 
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY 






V 



Printed in England 



PREFACE 

This book is intended as a record of those dramatic 
days my brother and myself passed with the Turkish Army 
in Thrace during the battle of Lule Burgas and in the 
subsequent retreat on the lines of Chataldja. I have 
to acknowledge my great indebtedness to him for the 
assistance he has given me in writing parts of it, and also in 
preparing it for publication. 

My thanks are also due to the Daily Telegraph for 
allowing me to reproduce articles which originally appeared 
in its columns. 

Since the last chapter was in print the revolt of the Young 
Turkish party against Kiamil's Government, because of its 
decision to surrender Adrianople to the Bulgarians — fore- 
shadowed in the last chapter — has actually taken place, and 
Nazim Pasha, the late Minister of War, and Commander-in- 
Chief of the Army, has been assassinated. 

Whether the Young Turks will endeavour to carry on 
the war only the future can show, but all the arguments set 
forth in the concluding chapter against such a course of 
action still hold good, and a revolution in Constantinople in 
no wise alters the strategical and financial objections to a 
renewal of the campaign. Turkey's European Provinces 
and the fortress of Adrianople are irrevocably lost, and any 
effort to regain them can only lead to further disasters. 

E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT. . 

London : January 26/A, 1913. 

V 

258377 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

I Watting for the War 1 



II Scenes in Constantinople 12 

III The Efforts of Diplomacy 22 

IV The Military History of the Turks 29 
V The Modern Turkish Army 50 

VI The Authorities and the Correspondents 59 

VII The Early Operations 77 

VIII Departure of the Correspondents for the Front 93 

IX My Journey to Chorlou 108 

X My First Meeting with Abdullah 120 

XI Lule Burgas— The First Day 139 

XII Lule Burgas — The Second Day ^ 152 

XIII The Rout 171 

XIV How WE Sent the Story of the Battle 182 
XV The Retreat from Chorlou to Chataldja 203 

XVI The Migration of a People 217 

XVII The Capture of Rodosto 229 



XVIII The Chocolate Soldier 242 

vii 



viii CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

XIX The Cholera 250 

XX The Attack on Chataldja 263 

XXI The Turn op the Tide 278 

XXII The War Against the Correspondents 292 

XXIII The Future op the Turks 313 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Saving the Guns after the Battle of Lule Burgas Frontispiece 



Constantinople 


facing page 
10 


Nogi and Abdullah, our two Saddle Horses, with Hadji, 
the Albanian Groom 


18 


feefugees on the March 


26 


Our Cart with Bryant and Beavor 


36 


A Turkish Colonel 


36 


Retreating from Lule Burgas along the Roman Road 


44 


Greek Villagers and our Motor-car 


60 


The Track to Stamboul 


68 


Overturned Train 


68 



Nazim Pasha, Minister for War, leaving the Sublime 

Porte on the Eve of Hostilities 74 

Refugees' Train Overturned at Seidler 96 

Our Tent at Chorion 106 

Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett's Motor-car being pulled out of a 

Rut by Men 112 

Turkish Infantry driven out of Lule Burgas by the^ 

Bulgarians 142 

Plan of the Battle of Lule Burgas page 143 

facing page 
Artillery advancing to support the hard-pressed 2nd 

Army Corps at Lule Bui^as 154 

The Turkish Retreat 162 

Retirement of the 2nd Army Corps at Lule Burgas 168 

Wounded Turkish Soldiers in Bullock Wagons 172 

Passing the Bridge at Chorlou after the rout of Lule 

Burgas 176 

A Halt during the Retreat ' 184 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

facing p 

Crossing the Bridge at Chorlou 194 

The Camp of the Routed Army at Cherkeskeuy 204 

Turkish Artillery Leaving the Field of Lule Burgas 212 

Refugees 224 

Train Crowded with Refugees and Soldiers escaping from 

the Front 234 

Artillery on the March 244 

Victims of Cholera 258 

Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett and Mr. Martin Donohoe, of the 
Daily Chronicle, with an Armenian Priest, in whose 

house they stayed at Aya Yorgi 260 

A Trench hastUy built by the Turks at Chataldja 268 

The Trenches at Chataldja 280 

Waiting for the Bulgarians at Chataldja 280 

Turkish Soldiers Saving their Wounded Captain 290 

The Turks Retreating from Lule Burgas 302 

Soldiers and Refugees Escaping from Lule Burgas 310 

Map of Thrace at end of volume 



With the Turks in Thrace. 



ERRATA 

PAGE LINE 

34 24 for Mahomed II read Mahmoud II. 

283 16 for Erzeroum r^od Erzerum. 

91 26 'i 

I ^'^ Karagac rmd Karagach. 

274 28 f(yr Kuyuk read Kuchuk. 



Before the Volume was completely passed for press Mr. Ellis Ashmead- 
Bartlett was forced to return to Constantino}jle. The Publisher asks for 
indtdgence if the traiiditeratio7is of Turkish names vary here and there, especially 
between text and map. 



CHAPTER I 

WAITING rOR THE WAR 

I HAD just returned from the great French manoeuvres in 
Touraine when the outlook in the Balkans became threaten- 
ing. There I had followed the operations of five Army- 
Corps, and had seen them handled with machine-like pre- 
cision, controlled, fed, and concentrated with such ease that 
war was made to appear a ridiculously easy game. Over- 
head seventy aeroplanes, assisted by dirigibles, kept the 
opposing commanders-in-chief fully informed from hour 
to hour — one might almost say from minute to minute — of 
every fresh disposition of the enemy's forces, until many 
eminent critics declared that anything in the nature of 
grand strategy or of a surprise was eliminated from war for 
ever, and that the battles of the future would be won by the 
side which could concentrate the greatest number of troops at 
a given point and strike home first. " The age/' they declared, 
" of the gi-eat general is gone ; battles will now be lost 
or won by the station-masters along the main lines of com- 
munication to the front." 

There is doubtless a great deal of truth in this. Never- 
theless we were reminded that surprises might still occur 
by an incident on the last day of the first period of the 
manoeuvres, when General Marion, the commander-in-chief 

B 



2 t#ttf¥Hfi TURKS IN THRACE 

of the Army of the East, together with the whole of his 
staff, and his Corps Artillery, were captured during the battle 
fought round Craon by two brigades of Blue Cavalry under 
the command of General Dubois. This incident showed that 
mistakes will happen even in the most highly organised and 
scientific armies, and that there is still scope for the in- 
dividual brain of a commander to seize the psychological 
moment and change the fortunes of the day by a brilliant 
coup de main. To outward observation the five French 
Army Corps in Touraine were manoeuvred with consum- 
mate ease, yet the machinery which guided and controlled 
them was of an extremely delicate construction, and, 
should a hitch have occurred anywhere, the whole complex 
organisation was liable to be thrown out of gear. 

I recall how often it was remarked by critics how hopeless 
a modern army would be unless its organisation were perfect ; 
how it would flounder about, its units without cohesion and 
hopelessly intermixed ; its supply trains gone astray, and how 
finally it would blunder up against the enemy's position 
without having any definite objective to attack, its weight of 
numbers entirely lost by lack of co-operation. Little did I 
think at the time, that within a month I would find myself 
with just such an army, and take part in the most crushing 
defeat of modern times. 

On Monday, September 30th, I returned to London from 
a visit to the country to find urgent messages from IVIr. 
Harry Lawson to come down to the office of the Daily 
Telegraph immediately. I went there and was instructed 
to hold myself in readiness to start at a moment's notice for 
Constantinople to join the Turkish Army in the event of 
war breaking out in the Balkans. I will not relate in detail 
here the contradictory rumours of peace and war, which 
kept the whole civilised world in a ferment of hopes and 
fears for the next fortnight, before little Montenegro finally 



IN SUSPENSE 3 

threw down the gauntlet and commenced the Twentieth 
Century crusade against the Turk without waiting for 
her aUies. On Tuesday, October 1st, I spent most of the 
day at the Daily Telegraph office waiting for the latest news 
from the Near East and hesitating whether to commence 
my preparations or to wait just one day longer in case 
events should take a favourable turn. On Wednesday, 
October 2nd, I received an express letter telling me to come 
down to the office without a moment's delay and on 
arriving there I was informed by Mr. Le Sage, the 
Managing Editor, that I must start that very night for 
Constantinople, as the prospects of preserving peace now 
seemed hopeless. 

These days, and I have known many in my time, when 
one has to rush off to a far distant land at a moment's 
notice, pass in a whirl of things remembered and things 
forgotten. You seem to crowd into twelve hours the 
concentrated effiDrts of a week, and then, when you are 
finally seated in the train and hope to obtain a few hours for 
calm reflection, you invariably find you have forgotten to do 
many of the most important things you had thought of 
earlier in the day, and have also left behind numberless 
articles which you imagine will be of supreme importance to 
you at the front. 

At five that afternoon 1 happened to meet my brother 
Seabury, and said to him, " I am off at nine to-night for 
Constantinople." He replied, " I wish I were going too." 
I said, " Why don't you come ? It may be worth your 
while ; once you are on the spot I am sure I could get 
you a job with some paper, although you have not had 
any previous experience, or in any case I am sure to 
need an assistant and you might be very useful." For 
some time he hesitated, but finally made up his mind to 
come with me and rushed off to pack a few clothes. He 

b2 



4 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

would never have hesitated, had he known the dramatic 
events which were in store for us both before the month 
had expired. 

At nine p.m. on Wednesday, October 2nd, we left 
Charing Cross for Paris and spent the following day there. 
We learnt from Cook's that the line to Constantinople via 
Sofia had been taken over by the Bulgarian Military 
Authorities, and that the last Orient Express had passed 
through the day before. We had, therefore, to travel 
out to Constantinople via Constanza, in Roumania, passing 
through Vienna and Bucharest, and from Constanza to 
take the steamer to Constantinople. We found every seat 
in the Orient Express booked as far as Vienna, and were 
obliged to take an intermediate train as far as the Austrian 
capital. 

As we had a few hours to spare in Paris, we went to 
call on M. Normand, the editor of IVie Illustratio7i, for 
whose paper I had written an article the year before on the 
*' Massacre in the Oasis " on my return from the Italian 
campaign in Tripoli. M. Normand, a handsome black- 
bearded man with a clever, alert, humorous face, received us 
in his office, which was superbly decorated in the style of 
Louis Quinze and looked less like the dreaded editorial lair 
than a lady's boudoir. He greeted us with great polite- 
ness saying, ** M. Ashmead-Bartlett, je suis enchante de 
vous revoir, bien que votre article sur les atrocites Italiennes 
en Tripolitaine nous ait perdu six cents abonnes en Italic, 
et qu'on ait meme brule rillust?'atio?i sur les places pubhques. 
Mais, M. Bartlett," the editor went on with a serious air, 
*' il y a encore pire — le Saint Siege a mis T Illusti'ation sur 
rindex." He ended up with a magnificent gesture ex- 
pressive of mingled horror and amusement. 

At five o'clock we left Paris for Vienna. As we had no 
time to complete our packing in a scientific manner, we had 



SUSPICIOUS TEUTONS 5 

with us in the carriage a miscellaneous collection of bags 
and packages, including a tent in a canvas bag and a saddle 
wrapped up in a sack. Our belongings completely filled up 
a first-class compartment, rendering it impossible for any 
other would-be passengers to enter. All went well as long 
as we were in France, the officials being prescient of the 
pourboii^e which was certain to arise from the chaos 
around us. 

The situation, however, changed for the worse as soon 
as we crossed the German frontier. A horde of fat but 
alert-looking officials gathered in the doorway, contem- 
plating with mingled suspicion and horror the amount of our 
hand baggage, which included a typewriter, a suit-case, a 
hat-bag, a Gladstone bag, a rug-strap and a dispatch box, as 
well as the saddle and tent. " JVIein Gott, how many pas- 
sengers are there for all this baggage ? " asked one of them. 
We replied, " Two." " Is such a thing possible ? " he faltered. 
Then, after a few minutes' conversation with his companion, 
his face lighted up and he said, " Have you the first class ? " 
We realised we were objects of intense suspicion. The 
flaxen-haired, vicious-looking conductor gazed in anticipated 
triumph at the disreputable-looking packages containing our 
tent and saddle. He was sure that such travellers could only 
have second-class tickets, and when we proved the contrary 
he was keenly disappointed. Then, after another guttural 
conversation with his companions, he asked, " Are you 
Enghshmen ? " " Yes," we replied. A look of under- 
standing brightened up their heavy Teutonic faces. Later 
on another conductor came and eyed the tent and saddle 
with suspicion. " You should not bring meat with you into 
a first-class compartment," he said. " Meat ? " we answered, 
in astonishment. " Yes," he answered, " have you not got a 
ham in that sack ? " 

On Friday, October 4th, we reached Vienna, where we 



6 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

were obliged to break our journey, as the train for Constanza 
did not leave until the following evening. We stopped at 
the Bristol Hotel, and found several well-known war cor- 
respondents already there, likewise bent on reaching 
Constantinople. I was delighted to find amongst others my 
old friends Lionel James, of The Times, and M. H. Donohoe, 
of the Daily Chronicle. It is always pleasant to know you 
are going to campaign amongst friends, even though you 
know them to be the keenest of competitors, who will keep 
you on the qui vive from start to finish, unless you wish 
to find your best endeavours ever anticipated by the coups 
of these highly trained and skilful colleagues. 

We spent Saturday seeing the sights of the town, and in 
the afternoon my brother and myself visited the battlefield of 
Aspern-Essling on the other side of the Danube. At five 
o'clock we entered the Orient Express for Constanza. On the 
train we met Reshid Pasha, who was returning from conduct- 
ing the peace negotiations with the Italians at Ouchy. Poor 
Turkey ! Here was her representative returning from what 
proved to be a successful mission of peace, only to find his 
country on the brink of war with four other nations. He 
was accompanied by Colonel Aziz, who had been Military 
Attache in Washington, and who had also accompanied the 
British Army during the South African War. He told me 
he was on his way to join his regiment at Mustafa Pasha, on 
the Bulgarian Frontier, and that he regarded war as certain. 

We reached Constantinople on Monday, October 7th. 
The last time I had visited this picturesque blot on the face 
of Europe, was fourteen years before, at the time of the 
Greco-Turkish war, when Abdul Hamid still reigned 
supreme, and all one knew of the Young Turks was the 
sinister fact that from time to time their bodies were found 
floating in the Bosphorus, being carried slowly by the tide 
out towards the Sea of Marmora. 



THE NEW BYZANTIUM 7 

I had heard so much of the Young Turks and the miracles 
they were going to accomphsh once the country had obtained 
a Constitution that I hardly expected to recognise Constanti- 
nople, but to find it a city transformed. I found nothing 
changed except that the dogs had gone, although, by the way, 
a fresh generation of these noisy pests is already springing up. 
Constantinople remains to-day the city of many colours and 
of decay ; the city which nature designed to be a paradise 
on earth and which man has transformed into a cesspool of 
vice, decay, and blood ; a city which from the waters of 
the Bosphorus looks like a dream of marble hanging on the 
slopes of purple hills, and which on closer inspection turns 
()ut to be a hopeless jumble of tumble-down houses with 
gangrened and mouldering walls, built along the sides of 
l^adly-paved, precipitous streets, down which tired horses 
glide and stumble, with here and there some beautiful 
marble mosque rising above the gaudy rubbish-heap of an 
out- worn faith. The Turks have done nothing constructive to 
beautify the city since their inruption in 1453. They have 
merely added minarets to the old Byzantine churches, or 
erected mosques in garish imitations of the Greek buildings. 
For the rest, they have allowed the city to fall into hopeless 
decay. 

We were delayed at the Customs House by an official who 
insisted that our tent in its canvas case was the envelope of 
a dirigible balloon. It was only by a liberal donation of 
backsheesh that we convinced him of the innocent nature of 
our baggage. 

We found the wildest rumours floating about the city. 
Everyone held different opinions and had a different tale to 
tell on the prospects of peace or war. Some declared war 
to be absolutely certain and others were equally confident 
that peace was assured. At the Pera Palace Hotel we 
found a motley collection of war correspondents of all 



8 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

nations, who, like vultures, had gathered in anticipation of 
the horrid feast of death. 

In official and diplomatic circles the opinion prevailed that 
peace was assured because the Turkish Cabinet had agreed 
to apply the Law of 1880 to Macedonia. This concession, 
combined with the efforts of the Powers to bring pressure 
on Bulgaria and Servia to preserve peace, caused a highly 
optimistic tone to prevail in Constantinople on the day of 
our arrival, and until we got in touch with the true facts of 
the position it really seemed as if our journey to the Near 
East would be in vain. However, on visiting Sir Gerard 
Lowther I found that he was far from sharing the general 
optimism and regarded the situation as extremely grave. 
His views were confirmed and amplified by Count Leon 
Ostrorog, the Special Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph 
in Constantinople, who was always better informed on the 
true situation than anyone else. 

Europe had up to this time quite failed to grasp the true 
significance of the Balkan League. It had been built up by 
years of patient endeavour with the proclaimed object of 
obtaining the freedom of Macedonia, but with the real 
intention of proclaiming a twentieth century crusade and 
of driving the Turks once and for all out of Europe. The 
only hope for Turkey lay in the jealousies of the Great 
Powers, and especially in the much-vaunted, but now dis- 
credited, friendship of Germany, which, the Turkish Govern- 
ment hoped, would postpone the blow until a more favour- 
able season, if it could not permanently prevent it. To this 
hope Turkey clung, until in the end the demands of the 
Coalition left no alternative but war. 

Immediately on arrival in Constantinople we began to 
experience the difficulty of getting at the truth of anything. 
The Press is not allowed to publish any news of importance 
without official sanction, but nevertheless the most intimate 



COUNT OSTROROG 9 

Cabinet secrets are common property within a few hours. 
No one seems capable of keeping a secret, and all news 
filtering from mouth to mouth in the coffee-houses and 
mosques becomes hopelessly garbled and distorted, with the 
result that in the course of a few hours a score of people Avill 
tell you different stories of events which have obviously 
originally emanated from the same source. 

For two days we wandered around Constantinople en- 
deavouring to get in touch with the true situation, so as to 
find out whether it was worth while going to all the trouble 
and expense of making preparations to take the field. On 
the second day Count Ostrorog invited my brother and 
myself to lunch, and finally removed all doubts in our 
minds. Count Ostrorog had all along unhesitatingly 
preached the certainty of war in his despatches to the 
Daily Telegi^aph. He was on intimate terms with everyone 
in the diplomatic and official world ; he possesses a sound 
knowledge of the Turkish character, history and politics, 
and always had access to the Sublime Porte. He was at 
one time legal adviser to the Young Turks and to the 
Committee of "Union and Progress," and has had much 
practical experience of the difficulties of attempting to graft 
modern civilisation on to a Mahommedan community 
without infringing the sacred code of Islam. 

At lunch Count Ostrorog told us that there was a rumour 
that the Montenegrin Minister had asked for his passports and 
was about to leave Constantinople. In the middle of lunch 
the Count's secretary, M. Pech, arrived and confirmed the 
report. The surprise of everyone in Constantinople was 
intense when it became known that Montenegro, the smallest 
and weakest State of the Coalition, the " opera bouffe " State 
of the Balkans, had thrown down the gauntlet and declared 
war. On hearing this all-important piece of news, I lost no 
time in visiting the War Office, known in Turkish as the 



10 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Seraskerat, in the hope of seeing Nazim Pasha, the Minister 
of War, as I wished to find out what facilities would be given 
to war correspondents to carry on their work at the front. 

Great excitement prevailed in the streets of Stamboul 
through which we had to pass on our way to the 
War Office. Military preparations were being hastily 
pressed forward. The narrow, filthy, cobbled streets were 
crowded with Turks, reading the little sheets issued by 
the Ottoman Agency, announcing the outbreak of war 
with Montenegro. There were young Turks dressed in 
the latest European fashion, with little save the red fez 
to denote that they were children of the Prophet ; old men 
in gaudy turbans and coloured robes sitting cross-legged in 
front of their tumble-down shops ; wild-looking individuals 
from Turkestan in long smocks embroidered with gorgeous 
flowers ; negroes with their happy, smiling faces, to whom 
war made apparently not the smallest difference ; here and 
there veiled Turkish ladies in black satin dresses and shoes 
from the Rue de la Paix ; fat Jewesses and crowds of peaceful- 
looking peasants from Anatolia who had come to the capital 
out of curiosity, or who were obeying the summons of the 
mobihsation. Many of them had brought their sheep and 
their turkeys or their oxen with them, hoping to do a good 
" deal " before leaving for the front. Sometimes the crowd 
would be ruthlessly pushed aside to make room for detach- 
ments of fully accoutred Turkish infantry marching to the 
station to entrain for the front. 

On reaching the War Office we found large numbers 
of troops being drilled and equipped in the great court- 
yard in front of the building, while a band was playing 
Turkish military airs to stir up the patriotism of numbers 
of recruits and reservists who were endeavouring to master 
the intricacies of the Mauser rifle, which large numbers 
had never seen or handled before. The courtyard in 



COLONEL IZZET 11 

front of the Seraskerat was a great centre of attraction for 
the people of Constantinople, who spent the day gazing 
in wonder and admiration at the splendidly-equipped 
battalions as they were in turn marched off to the station 
to entrain to join the army of Thrace, which was now 
being formed between Adrianople and Kirk Kilisse. We 
were unable to see Nazim Pasha, the Minister of War, on this 
visit, but my brother and I here made the acquaintance for the 
first time of Colonel Izzet Bey, who was destined to play a 
very important role in our lives, as he was placed in charge of 
all the war correspondents and military attaches. We hoped 
to learn much valuable information from Izzet, but quickly 
found that he expected us to keep him informed of what was 
happening. He started by asking us whether we had heard 
any news of a declaration of war by Bulgaria, Servia, and 
Greece. I very soon learned to know also that it was 
utterly useless to hope for any reliable information from the 
War Office, as Colonel Izzet did little to assist the corre- 
spondents except to invent a daily victory for the Turks. 
The information which he gave us regarding the movements 
of troops and the concentration of the various army corps 
was generally fabulous, and consisted of what the army 
should have done rather than what it actually did. This 
mania for dissimulation and for keeping up false pretences 
when the truth must eventually leak out is a marked charac- 
teristic of Turkish officialdom. 



CHAPTER II 

SCENES IN CONSTANTINOPLE 

On the following morning my brother and myself accom- 
panied Count Ostrorog to the Sublime Porte to visit Ghazi 
Moukhtar Pasha, the Grand Vizier. The Sublime Porte is 
sublime only in name, being an unpretentious, dilapidated 
and rather dirty square building, while the paving stones 
in the courtyard have subsided in many places, allowing the 
water to accumulate in pools. A number of troops were 
concentrated in the courtyard to cope with a possible 
outbreak, as disturbances had been freely threatened unless 
the Government showed a firm front to the demands of the 
Balkan States. 

We were received on every hand with the greatest cour- 
tesy and politeness, the Turk being by instinct the first 
gentleman in Europe. But, on the other hand, we were 
kept waiting nearly three hours before the Grand Vizier 
arrived at his office from his country seat, it being typical 
of Turkish methods that he should arrive at two o'clock 
at his office, when Islam was on the verge of one of 
the greatest crises in its history. We waited in the room 
of Ghazi Moukhtar 's Chef de Cabinet, a handsome and 
very smartly dressed young Spanish Jew. The room was 
thronged all the time with an anxious crowd of deputies, 
journalists and the like. They discussed the situation from 
a variety of standpoints, all their arguments leading by 



GHAZl MOUKHTAR 13 

devious routes to the certainty of war. Presently an old 
man, an ex-deputy, came up, and bid Ostrorog farewell, 
saying that together with his two sons he had volunteered 
for service in the army and that all three were leaving for 
the front that afternoon. At length, about two o'clock, the 
Grand Vizier drove up. 

Ghazi Moukhtar, the celebrated defender of Kars in the 
Russian War of 1878, is a splendid specimen of the old 
type of Turk, and showed but few traces of his ninety 
years. On the other hand, it was easy to see that a man 
of such advanced years must be lacking in that vigour of 
mind and quickness of decision necessary to cope with the 
tangled and troubled situation in which the Ottoman 
Empire was placed. Ghazi Moukhtar has been nicknamed 
the MacMahon of Anatolia, and this title well describes 
him. He is a simple, honest soldier, possessing none of 
the brains or finesse or far-seeing ability so necessary in 
the statesman who hopes to guide his country successfully 
through troubled waters. The Ghazi is very plain and blunt 
in his speech, and did not hesitate freely to express his 
views before Europeans who could at once make them 
public. The Ghazi's colleagues in the Ministry knew 
his proclivities for free speech, which had frequently 
landed them in trouble before, and finally they had induced 
him to promise never to grant any further interviews, but on 
this occasion, having escaped from his chaperons, he quickly 
forgot his promise and indulged in a torrent of opinions. 
He spoke French slowly and distinctly, but seemed to have 
some difficulty in grasping what was said to him. 

I asked him what the attitude of the Government would be 
now it had consented to apply the Law of 1880 to Macedonia. 
He replied, " Turkey has reached the limit of her concessions 
in Macedonia, and nothing but war remains unless Bulgaria 
and Servia consent to demobilise." I told him I had been 



14 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

with the Itahan Army in Tripoli and had been responsible 
for exposing the massacre in the Oasis. This seemed to 
please him very much. Then the tactful Count Ostrorog, 
who always knows how to say the right thing at the right 
moment, referred to his glorious defence of Kars against the 
Russians which had earned for him the title of Ghazi, which 
means, " the man who has defeated Unbelievers," and 
expressed the hope that he would again take the field in 
command of the Turkish armies. The old warrior was 
delighted at this piece of obvious flattery, and the recollection 
of his former glories coming into his eyes, he replied, " I 
often think of it and long to be in the saddle at the head of 
my troops, but I am old and infirm." " But Highness, one 
could never take you for an old man," the diplomatic Count 
Ostrorog replied, " you are surely not so old as Fouad Pasha, 
who commands the cavalry." " Ah, my friend," the old man 
replied, '' I was a marshal when Fouad was only a colonel." 

Ghazi Moukhtar has all the charming simplicity of the 
peasant. His face is full and of a healthy colour ; his beard 
thick and white. Save for a slight palsy and hesitation in 
his speech, one would never suspect his age. 

Afterwards we touched on the question of Montenegro's 
declaration of war, and he expressed himself as totally 
mystified by the attitude of the httle mountain State in 
precipitating the struggle. " Why has Montenegro declared 
war on us, apparently without consulting her aUies?" he 
said. "1 always thought that Montenegro worshipped 
Russia as a god, and that a single word from the Russian 
Government, which professes to be so sincerely anxious to 
preserve peace, would have held the Montenegrins in 
check." 

The old warrior made no further comment, but his 
remarks showed clearly the intense and very natural 
suspicion with which the pacific efforts of Russia and 



THE ANATOLIAN PEASANT 15 

Austria were regarded by the Turks. Poor old Ghazi 
Moukhtar only remained Grand Vizier for a few weeks 
longer. The defeat of Lule Burgas discredited his Ministry, 
and he was obliged to resign to make room for Kiamil 
Pasha, who was supposed to be an Anglophil. 

At this time there was ample evidence in Pera and 
Stamboul of the activity with which preparations for war 
were being pushed forward. Regiments of Turkish infantry 
were being constantly marched through the streets to 
entrain for the front at the Cirkedge railway station in 
Stamboul. Most of the men were Redifs, and had been 
hastily called up from all parts of the empire. Physically 
they could hardly have been bettered. Tall, strong, 
deep- chested, and accustomed to hardships and to a meagre 
diet from earliest childhood, they were defenders of which 
any nation might have been proud. They showed but little 
trace of enthusiasm, marching through the streets with dull, 
expressionless faces, more like animals than men. 

Reservists were arriving from Anatolia at the rate of seven 
thousand a day, and were immediately marched off to the 
various barracks to receive their uniforms and equipment. 
These peasants were intensely picturesque. They were dressed 
for the most part in bright-coloured cotton shirts ^nd ragged 
trousers, with coloured turbans wound round their heads. 
Many arrived in Constantinople barefooted, and strongly 
resented having to wear military boots. As they were quite 
unaccustomed to foot-gear their feet speedily became sore, 
and two weeks later, during the retreat from Lule Burgas, 
it was a very common sight to see men deliberately throw 
away their boots in order to facilitate their escape from the 
stricken field. y 

Although the conscription had only called for men between 
the ages of twenty and forty-five, there were many above and 
below this age who had volunteered to serve with the army. 



16 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

The hard lives of the peasantry in Anatolia cause men to 
age rapidly, and thus a great many of these reservists had 
an appearance of extreme age and venerability, and looked 
as if they ought to be on their way to collect old age pensions 
rather than to shoulder a Mauser rifle. These reservists 
seemed extremely cheerful and full of fight until they 
reached the barracks, but the finished article turned out 
there seemed to lose most of his patriotism and enthusiasm 
for the war. 

I suppose a few nights in crowded quarters with barrack 
fare, and a few days spent in long hours of drill, carrying 
heavy packs on the back, caused these simple Anatohans to 
take a different view of the struggle. Possibly also for the 
first time the awful state of confusion which prevailed every- 
where was brought home to them, and they began to have 
serious misgivings as to the outcome of the war. 

The recruits and reservists, as soon as they arrived in Con- 
stantinople, were marched to the barracks. The men formed 
up in double file or in fours, and, holding each other's hands, 
marched through Pera and Stamboul to the music of 
primitive flutes and diminutive violins, played by the 
shepherds among them, whilst the others chanted monoto- 
nous refrains. From time to time the music would stop and 
the whole group would utter a deep-throated cheer. 

In the mosque of St. Sofia we saw numbers of these Redifs, 
who had obtained an afternoon's leave after receiving their 
uniforms and kits, gazing in wonder and awe at this miracle 
of marble and mosaic and at the golden dove above them, 
before kneeling in silent prayer to Allah. It was an object 
lesson to watch the sublime faith which these innocent 
victims of oppression had in the justice of their cause and in 
the certainty of their victory. How few realised that within 
three weeks nearly all would be dead or back at the lines of 
Chataldja, and that St. Sofia would have been turned into a 



THE CORRUPT VET. 17 

vast hospital for the wounded or for the countless victims of 
cholera ! 

The Turkish Government, having little or no money to 
spend on the war, adopted the very simple expedient of 
commandeering anything it might require for the service of 
the army. Receipts were given for horses and carts, the 
money to be paid after the war in the event of the property 
not being returned to its rightful owners. No one had the 
slightest faith in the ability or even in the intention of the 
Government to meet its liabilities, and there was a rush of all 
cab owners or horse dealers in Constantinople to sell their 
animals to Europeans, before they could be commandeered by 
the agents of the Government. Thus, excellent horses could 
be obtained at about half their usual price, the attraction of 
cash down in the place of a Government receipt proving 
irresistible. 

The veterinary surgeons hired by the Government to 
pass horses as fit for service made large fortunes in bribes, 
and many a horse owner saved his animal by a timely gift of 
a couple of sovereigns to the veterinary surgeon, who would at 
once pronounce it as lame or permanently unfit for service. 
I know of one man who made £1000 in this way alone. 

The first to be taken were the tram horses which were 
required for the use of the artillery, after which the cab 
horses were gradually snatched up. In consequence, only 
the most wretched old screws were left to drag one about 
Constantinople, and as the insatiable maw of war gradually 
made fresh demands, these also were commandeered, and 
very frequently one would see a two-horse carriage being 
dragged along by a single animal which would not have 
fetched two pounds as sausage meat in normal times. 

On the way back from the Sublime Porte, where we had 
visited the Grand Vizier, our carriage was stopped in order 
that the two fine Arab horses which dragged it might be noted 



18 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

by the military authorities. This was probably the last drive 
they ever took through the streets of Pera, as few of the horses 
survived the hardships of the campaign in the cold table- 
lands of Thrace. They were too hght for the heavy Turkish 
cavalrymen or for the heavy transport wagons, even if 
proper care had been taken of them. But in the care of 
their horses, as in everything else, the Turks showed lament- 
able negligence. The horses seldom, if ever, received 
sufficient food, and their saddles fitted so badly and were 
kept on for such long periods that they developed huge 
festering sores, until, finally, at the end of their powers of 
endurance, they dropped by the roadside to die of hunger 
and exposure. 

Toward the end of the mobilisation in Constantinople 
the city was almost without wheeled transport. Only the 
horses of the ambassadors and a few old screws remained 
in the streets. A few days later the Government decided to 
seize the horses of all foreigners resident in the city, with 
the exception of those belonging to ambassadors and 
bankers, the exemption of the latter being delightfully sig- 
nificant of the empty state of the Treasury. We encountered 
great difficulty in buying horses to take us to the front. 
Such animals as remained were leading much the same 
existence as the Huguenots after St. Bartholomew's Eve. 
They were hidden away in obscure streets, behind locked 
doors, in stables to which admittance could only be obtained 
by knocking the requisite number of times. Then the bolt 
would be stealthily withdrawn a few inches, a head would 
look out to see if you were a friendly cash-down purchaser 
or a vile confiscatory soldier, who would not only take the 
horse in return for a worthless bit of paper, but also the 
harness and cart and any fodder which happened to be in 
the stable. 

As the days passed and the male population was 




\l'hoto S. Aslimcad-BartUtt 

NoGi AND Abdullah, our two Saddle Horses, with Hadji, the 
Albanl\n Groom. 



WAR'S INSATIABLE MAW 19 

gradually drafted to the army, Stamboul grew more and 
more to resemble a city which had been swept by a great 
pestilence. The shops and booths were almost deserted and 
the contents were being disposed of by boys in their teens 
or by old men too worn out for service in the field. None 
but old men were to be seen in the shadowy bazaars, where 
beneath vaulted Byzantine arches they sat cross-legged all 
day before a jumble of carpets from Aleppo, silks from 
Damascus, gold- work, jewels, silver, and shoddy trifles from 
Birmingham and Manchester. Almost the entire able- 
bodied male population had been swept northwards by the 
tide of war, leaving their homes, their families and their 
countless petty trades to take care of themselves. Sir 
Walter Scott's words describe the state of Stamboul, and 
indeed of every hamlet in Turkey, better than any words of 
mine can do : — 

" For naught, he said, was in his halls 
But ancient armour on the walls. 
And aged chargers in the stalls. 
And women, priests and grey-haired men. 
The rest were all in Twisel glen." 

Throughout the whole of European Turkey and Anatolia 
the men had been called to the front. Every village, town 
and hamlet had sent its tale of men. War is an insatiable 
maw which gathers to its cruel feast whole provinces at a 
time. The normal Hfe of the nation must be carried on by 
old men and women and beardless youths, whose turn is 
likely to come at any moment. The loss in wealth which 
this represents to a community is far greater than the 
amount of money consumed by the war. The sacrifices 
demanded of Turkey in this most fateful winter in her 
chequered history are horrible to contemplate. The sulFering 
and poverty in many a home in Asia Minor will only be 
known to the sufferers themselves — who will bear them 

c2 



20 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

without a murmur — and to the bread-winner, if by chance he 
survive the struggle and return to his native village the 
richer only in glory and in his hopes of eternal salvation. 

From the very day the first shot was fired by Montenegro 
the Turks began to disseminate false news of purely 
imaginative victories. They were published broadcast in 
their local Press and by the Ottoman Agency, an institution 
which works hand in glove with the Government. I myself, 
and many of my colleagues who knew little of Turkey or of 
the Turkish character, were taken in at the start, because we 
never believed that a reputable Government would adopt such 
childish measures to conceal its reverses. 

Yet officers, including Colonel Izzet, who, I really think, 
himself believed some of the stories he told us, were 
instructed to send news to Europe w^hich did not contain 
a single element of truth. The first night he came to dine 
with us at the hotel he gave us the news of the fighting on 
the Montenegrin frontier. " The Montenegrins," he said, 
" have crossed the Turkish frontier, capturing several villages 
and massacring the inhabitants without distinction of race 
or creed, sparing neither old men, women nor children. 
Afterwards three battalions of Turkish infantry advanced 
and defeated the Montenegrins, driving them back across 
the fi-ontier." " But," I asked, " if we telegraph this news, 
will the censor pass it ? " " Yes, he will pass it all right," 
replied Colonel Izzet. " Will he pass the part about the 
massacres ? " " Yes," came the prompt response, " I can 
assure you he will pass the massacres." We could hardly 
restrain our laughter. 

The above is typical of the methods of the official 
Turkish Press Bureau. We were repeatedly officially 
informed by the Headquarters Staff, as the above example 
shows, of successes gained by the Turkish troops on the 
Montenegrin frontier, and were given the names of towns 



OFFICIAL LIES 21 

and villages taken from the enemy. Yet, when the English 
papers reached Constantinople a few days later, and we read 
for the first time the Montenegrin reports of the engage- 
ments, we found that they claimed the victory and the 
possession of the same towns and villages, with the not 
inconsiderable addition of more than three thousand Turkish 
prisoners. When the war became general we heard equally 
divergent reports from the Servian, Bulgarian and Greek 
frontiers, until the task of the wretched war correspondent 
became hopelessly bewildering as long as he remained in 
Constantinople. It was not until we started for the front, 
and could see for ourselves, that the veil fell from our eyes 
and the naked truth stood revealed in all its dramatic 
intensity. 

The Turks, following the unfortunate precedent of 
the Turco- Italian War, embarked on a vast campaign of 
make-believe, in order to throw dust in the eyes of the 
public, and would in no circumstances admit a reverse 
until the truth became so obvious that it could no longer be 
concealed. This is both a foolish and a short-sighted policy. 
Sooner or later the truth always comes out, and as the 
Government had systematically announced decisive victories, 
the ultimate revelations were all the harder for the public to 
bear. In addition, this campaign of lies effectually alienated 
the sympathy of most of the correspondents who had 
arrived in Constanza pronounced Turcophils. 



CHAPTER III 

THE EFFORTS OF DIPLOMACY 

Although the war was certain from the very first, dull- 
witted, hea\'y-footed diplomacy went on playing its hollow 
farce right up to the moment when the first sound of the 
cannon brought down the fragile edifice of pretence and 
conceits about the ears of the diplomats like a pack of cards. 

On Sunday, October 6th, the Sublime Porte, anticipating 
that the Powers would bring pressure to bear on Turkey for 
the enforcement of the reforms in Macedonia, announced 
that it was prepared to enforce the Law of the Vilayets of 
1880, which the Sultan Abdul Hamid had refused to ratify. 
The news of this became public on Monday, the day we 
arrived, and in consequence superficial observers imagined 
that peace would be preserved. But the Turk had been 
promising reforms in Macedonia for nearly a century without 
any practical betterment of the lot of that unfortunate 
province. It was unlikely, therefore, that the Balkan 
Coalition, which had been preparing for the war to save 
their co-religionists in Macedonia for more than twenty years, 
would withdraw at the eleventh hour and declare themselves 
satisfied with a hollow promise, which had so often been 
made and so often broken in the past. 

On the same day the Powers agreed to M. Poincar^'s 
proposals that they should unite to bring pressure to bear in 
the Balkan capitals in the interests of peace. This was 



A FUTILE DEMARCHE 23 

done quite seriously three weeks after the Balkan States 
had begun mobilising with the avowed object of driving 
Turkey out of Macedonia. Russia and Austria, as the 
Powers most directly interested, were to make joint demands 
at Sofia, Belgrade, and Athens, while the Powers were to 
present a collective Note to the Porte demanding the 
practical fulfilment of Article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin. 
Russia and Austria were to make their demands on Tuesday, 
October 8th. By a strange coincidence, on the morning of 
that day, before the Ambassadors had had time to present 
their Note, Montenegro, the smallest of the Leaguers, 
declared war on Turkey. Now, Montenegro has always 
been guided in her actions by Russia, and Russia has 
provided her with both money and arms. Yet on the very 
day that Russia was presenting a Note in the interests of 
peace to the Balkan Allies, little Montenegro declares war. 

A general war might surely now have been regarded by 
European statesmen as inevitable, but still diplomacy con- 
tinued its policy of pretence, and the next step was the 
presentation of the Austrian and Russian Notes to the 
Balkan Allies, a few hours after the news of Montenegro's 
action had come to hand. The Notes formulated the 
following demands : — 

(1) That the Powers will energetically reprove all 
measures tending to bring about a rupture of peace. 

(2) That, taking as their basis Article 23 of the Treaty of 
Berlin, they, the Powers, will take in hand the reahsation 
of the reforms in the administration of Turkey in Europe, 
it being understood that the reforms will not infringe the 
sovereignty of the Sultan or the territorial integrity of the 
Ottoman Empire. 

(3) That should war nevertheless break out, the Powers 
will not permit at the end of the conflict any modification 
of the territorial status quo in European Turkey, 



24 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

This sounded very virtuous and to the point, and must 
have soothed the amour propre of the statesmen who 
drew it up. Unfortunately, it was presented three weeks 
after the mobihsation had begun and when the angry armies 
were already facing one another on the borders. Also the 
statesmen of Sofia and Belgrade were sufficiently astute to 
know that the Powers were far too busy quarrelling amongst 
themselves to take any effective collective action. Had not 
Montenegro already crossed the Rubicon and defied the 
Concert of Europe, which in spite of the frantic efforts of its 
conductor Poincare was already playing hopelessly out of 
tune? 

As a matter of sober fact, although unknown to European 
statesmen at the time, the Balkan question had passed 
entirely beyond the powers of diplomacy to influence the 
issue one way or the other once the mandate had gone forth 
for the forces of the Coalition to mobilise. All the well- 
meant efforts of Europe to preserve peace, although out- 
wardly accepted with good grace and fervent thanks by the 
prospective combatants, who were determined to preserve 
all the etiquette and outward formula of diplomacy until the 
first shot was fired, were being secretly laughed at by the 
military authorities of all five interested parties, who were in 
entire control of the situation and determined to make war 
just as soon as their military preparations were complete and 
at that psychological moment when they could strike with 
most advantage. 

In Europe the idea was generally held, and diplomacy 
seems to have accepted it as well, that the real issue at 
stake was the question of Macedonia. This was an entirely 
erroneous outlook. The Macedonia question has been 
going on for thirty-two years and will probably continue for 
a good many more before it is finally settled. Macedonia 
was merely the preliminary dry bone, over which the dogs 



THE TWENTIETH CENTURY CRUSADE 25 

of war were quarrelling, in order to obtain an excuse to 
reach the rich meat which lies behind. The struggle had 
been working up for years and nothing could settle it 
except the arbitrament of arms. The issue at stake was a 
national one and was regarded as such not only by the 
Turks, but by the Slavs. It was the final effort to drive 
the Turk out of Europe across the Hellespont, into Asia. 
That is how the Turks read the situation and that is why 
they were determined to fight the matter out once and for 
all, even though they had been caught at a great military 
disadvantage. 

There were many who believed up to the last moment 
that there would be no war, because neither Turkey nor the 
Balkan States would dare disobey the mandate of the Powers 
that they must not fight, and that even if they did so none 
of the combatants would be allowed to reap any rewards 
either territorial or pecuniary from their victory. This last 
threat, however, hit both ways, because if the victors are to 
gain no material laurels, the losers cannot suffer any loss. 
But in reality the beseechings and threats of the Powers 
carried very little weight with the Turks or with the Balkan 
States. Both knew perfectly well that throughout the 
negotiations Europe had been hopelessly divided, and that 
concerted action to preserve peace had been brought about 
only with the utmost difficulty, in spite of the repeated 
declarations of Foreign Ministers that all the Powers were 
in complete accord. 

For instance, over the question of the guarantees, every 
Turk thoroughly believed, whether it was true or not, that 
Sir Edward Grey only consented to bring pressure to bear 
on Turkey with the utmost reluctance and as a very last 
resource. Thus the collective Note was still-born before it 
was delivered. The Turkish Government, and also the 
AlUes, knew perfectly well that, however much the Powers 



26 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

might threaten and back up their threats with a united 
protest, the moment the first shot was fired the collectiveness 
of Europe would at once evaporate into thin air, and that an 
entirely new diplomatic situation would be created, over 
which the Powers would be hopelessly at loggerheads and 
unUkely ever to agree, so that there would still be an 
excellent chance of the victor reaping material as well as 
moral rewards from the war. 

All the good offices of Europe were brought to naught 
by the mistrust in which both Russia and Austria were 
held by the Turks, as well as by the Balkan States. 
No one in Turkey believed that Austria and Russia were 
working in the interests of peace from the humane stand- 
point, but merely to postpone the struggle, because they 
themselves were not ready to take part, and to fish 
for spoils from the troubled waters of the Near East. 
To make an analogy showing the true position of Russia 
and Austria ; here was a case of vast importance which had 
suddenly come into court for settlement. Austria and 
Russia were the two K.C.'s who were to lead either side, but 
who happened at the moment to be busy elsewhere. They 
were not, however, willing to see their junior counsel, Turkey 
and the Balkans, fight it out between them, and they were 
thus making frantic efforts to have the case postponed until 
the next sessions, when they hoped to be present and play 
the leading role. 

At the same moment that the Russian Note was presented 
in Sofia, Russian officers were giving their Bulgarian and 
Servian cousins, who were leaving St. Petersburg to join 
their regiments on the frontier, such an enthusiastic send-off 
as effectually to calm any misgivings which might have been 
felt in Bulgaria as to the ultimate attitude of Russia. The 
scenes at the railway station in St. Petersburg were de- 
scribed as foUows in The Times of Saturday, October 5th. 



RUSSIAN SYMPATHIES 27 

"Although the hour of departure had been kept secret, 
the station was crowded by an enthusiastic throng, cheering 
and singing ' Shumi Maritza ' and * Bozhe Tsurya Khrani.' 

" Hundreds of Russian officers were present. They carried 
their Bulgarian comrades on their shoulders into the railway 
carriages. In the Imperial waiting-room a delegate of the 
Slavonic Society, in an impassioned speech, acclaimed the 
present union of the Balkan Slavs, and wished them a speedy 
victory. But if Providence ordained reverses, let them 
remember that their Russian brothers would not forsake 
them. All the Russians present shouted * Verno,' •' Verno ' 
(true, true). A Servian priest then solemnly blessed the 
departing warriors, bidding them restore the Cross on 
St. Sofia." 

The next move in this stupid game of make-believe was 
the presentation by the Powers on Thursday, October 10th, 
of a collective Note to the Sublime Porte, demanding the 
fulfilment of Article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin. This 
provided for the reform of Macedonia under European 
control, and would have meant in effect the virtual loss of 
that province to Turkey. Everyone knew that the Turkish 
Government would have had to face a counter-revolution if 
it had acceded to the demands of the Powers. The Com- 
mittee of Union and Progress had very cleverly announced 
its intention of supporting the Government in defence of 
Ottoman Rights, thereby ensuring its return to power if the 
Government should give way to the pressure brought to 
bear on it by the Powers. Nevertheless the Note was pre- 
sented with all due ceremony, diplomacy thinking, like a 
second in a Prussian duel, that if men were to kill one 
another they might as well do it according to the strict 
rules of etiquette. 

Turkey, of course, politely and vaguely expressed her 
inability to comply with the demands of the Powers, 



28 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

and Europe waited for the next move in the game. This 
was to come on Sunday, October 13th, when the Balkan 
League, its war preparations completed, threw off the veil, 
repudiated the authority of the Great Powers, and declined 
to accept their promises to take in hand the realisation 
of reforms in Turkey. Further, it declared it would only 
be satisfied with radical reforms, sincerely and honestly 
carried out, and in conclusion the League invited Turkey to 
apply the reforms indicated in Article 23 of the Treaty of 
Berlin. It insisted that the principle of Nationalities must 
be observed, called for the administration of the Provinces 
under Belgian or Swiss Governors, required the formation 
of elective assembhes, and the formation of a local gen- 
darmerie and militia, and stipulated that reforms must be 
applied by a council composed in equal numbers of Christians 
and Moslems under the superintendence of the Ambassadors 
of the Powers and the Ministers of the Balkan allies in 
Constantinople. Further, Turkey was asked to complete 
the changes in six months and to recall her orders of 
mobilisation. 

The Powers were aghast. The naughty children of the 
Balkans had actually dared to defy their mandate and it now 
dawned on European statesmen, apparently for the first 
time, that there was no possible means of bringing them to 
order. Any attempt would probably have meant a general 
conflagration in Europe. Of course the end had now come. 
On Tuesday, October 15th, Turkey decided to break off 
diplomatic relations with the Balkan States, and on the same 
day the preliminaries of peace with Italy were signed at 
Ouchy. On October 16th, the Turkish Ministers left the 
respective Balkan capitals and on Thursday, October 17th, 
Turkey declared war on Bulgaria and Servia and we enter 
upon the last phase of Turkey in Europe. On the following 
day, Greece followed suit by also declaring war on Turkey. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE MILITARY HISTORY OF THE TURKS 

Before the outbreak of the present' war there was a 
widespread belief in the mihtary prowess of the Turks, the 
average person regarding them as a warhke nation who 
have been trained in the use of arms ever since Constanti- 
nople was captured by Mahmoud in 1453. As a matter of 
fact, this is an error. 

After the first wav^e of Mahommedan fanaticism had 
spent itself, the military power of the Empire was fur- 
nished by the Janissaries, who were not in the first place 
Mahommedans, but Christians in the employ of the 
Sultans. One hundred years before the conquest of 
Constantinople the Sultans hit upon the idea of forming 
a personal bodyguard by seizing the children of their 
Christian subjects at a tender age, forcibly educating 
them as Mahommedans, and training them in the use of 
arms. These troops were called " Yeni Tcheri," or *' new 
soldiers," a term which afterwards became corrupted into 
Janissary. Celibacy was imposed on them, and they were 
enrolled in a sort of military family and supported at the 
Sultan's personal expense. Their very banner bore as its badge 
a saucepan with the arms of the Padisha upon it — a potent 
reminder of the source of their sustenance. The idea was to 
form a Pretorian Guard of soldiers, having no ties or affinity 
with the conquered peoples from among which they were 



30 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

seized, or with the turbulent conquering castes which were 
a constant source of unrest in the Empire. 

The Sultans were not slow to discover that in the 
Janissaries they had found an excellent instrument of 
despotism, for they were not only useful as a conquering 
foil, but also as an infallible means of maintaining order 
amongst the heterogeneous medley of creeds and races 
within the borders of the Empire. Their institution was 
rendered additionally necessary by the fact that the Turkish 
population of Anatolia could no longer support the terrible 
drain of human life which the constant wars of the Sultans 
imposed upon it, and this was the only safe means of ob- 
taining recruits from the subject Christian races. At the 
beginning of the sixteenth century Suleiman the Magnifi- 
cent, the Conqueror of Rhodes, multiplied the Janissaries 
into a huge standing army. In one year he caused to be 
circumcised no fewer than 40,000 Christian children. 

The Turks then began to lose their warlike habits 
and the Janissaries fought all their battles for them. 
They remained almost invincible up to the year 1580, but 
then the decUne set in, and so rapid was the process of 
disintegration that early in 1680 Savary de Breves, the 
French Ambassador in Constantinople, wrote a book on the 
approaching break up of the Ottoman Empire. He had 
never heard of the status quo and could not foresee that for 
two and a half centuries the pariah dogs of Europe would 
be too busy quarrelling amongst themselves to devour the 
putrefying corpse of Islam. 

Under a strong Sultan the disciphne of the Janissaries was 
maintained and they were a source of strength to the Empire. 
When the ruler was effete, discipline was relaxed and the 
Janissaries degenerated into a horde of proud Pretorians 
running the country in their own interests and setting up or 
pulling down the principal Ministers of State at will. By 



THE TURBULENT JANISSARIES 31 

1622 they had abeady become such a nuisance that Osman II. 
decided to disband them and to substitute a national army 
recruited from all classes of his subjects. A horde of Ulemas, 
Sipahis, and other palace parasites, fearful that their privileges 
and perquisites might be cut short by a Sultan with such a 
misplaced passion for reform, joined hands with the Janissaries 
and applied to the Sheik-ul- Islam for permission to dethrone 
a ruler who dared to flaunt the sacred Code of Mahomet in 
such a flagrant manner. The Sheik-ul- 1 slam, whose posses- 
sions were also in danger, readily acceded to their request. 
So the Janissaries, after massacring Osman and his Grand 
Vizier, indulged in an orgy of pillage which had never been 
equalled even in the troubled history of Islam. 

It was not until 1826 that any Sultan found himself 
strong enough to disband these dreaded Pretorians. Then, 
at the order of Mahmoud II., twenty thousand of them 
were massacred and the remainder, sixty thousand in 
number, were disbanded ; the Nizam, or recruited army, 
being substituted. Henceforth, by a strange anomaly, 
the recruits for the army were drawn from amongst 
the least warlike section of the people, namely, the 
peasants of Anatolia, the reason being that the Ottoman 
Government has never been sufficiently strong to subdue 
the warlike tribes — which inhabit, for the most part, the 
mountainous districts — and to enforce military service on 
them. 

The Kurds in the Caucasus, the Arabs in the Yemen, 
and the Albanians on the Adriatic have been in more or less 
open rebellion for some years. Against these hardy warriors 
the peaceful peasants of Anatolia are constantly being 
mobilised, only to perish in battle, or more often from 
neglect and starvation, in the outlying provinces of the 
Empire. The best blood of the nation has been drained 
from the heart of Anatolia to be spilt in the burning sands 



32 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

of the Yemen or in the mountains of Albania and the 
Caucasus. The wastage of hfe has been tremendous. 

Meanwhile the fertile soil of Anatolia is deserted by 
all save old men, women, and children. The Anatolian 
peasants who were marching to do battle against the 
Balkan Crusaders, knew that a similar measure of neglect 
and suffering would be their only reward. Thus it was they 
marched in silence and sadness to sell their lives like heroes 
at the command of a Government which had not even made 
arrangements to supply them with the bare necessaries of life. 

If we briefly survey the history of Turkey in the last 
100 years, since the abolition of the Janissaries, we shall 
find that she has been beaten in every war in which she 
has been involved, with the exception of the war of 1897 
against Greece, when she possessed such immense numeri- 
cal superiority as to render victory over the none too 
courageous Greeks inevitable. In the defence of armed 
fortresses, however, the Turks have repeatedly shown proof 
of astonishing courage and endurance, and it is on this 
trait in their military character that their reputation as 
soldiers is based. But the defence of fortresses, however 
stubborn and prolonged, is not sufficient of itself for the 
winning of wars, although it may seriously delay an 
invader and inflict severe losses upon him. It is merely a 
useless waste of life when there is no field army to give 
battle to the enemy, when his forces have been weakened by 
a prolonged siege, or prepared to take the offensive after 
relieving the beleaguered fortress. 

But whenever the Turks have given battle in the open 
field, or essayed an offensive movement of any kind, they 
have been badly beaten, not because they lack courage, 
but by reason of the inefficiency of their officers, the want 
of training among their men, and a general deficiency of 
any form of military organisation. 



THE TURKS IN DEFENCE 33 

The heroic defence of Plevna in the war of 1878, when 
40,000 Turks, under Osman, held more than 100,000 
Russians at bay for nearly six months, and were only finally 
defeated by the slow process of a regular siege and by the 
arrival of two Roumanian Army Corps, is the latest and 
greatest feat of arms upon which the reputation of the 
Ottoman army is based. It should be remembered, how- 
ever, that after Osman had surrendered while trying to 
fight his way out of the beleaguered fortress, the Turkish 
power collapsed, and within a few weeks hordes of Cossacks 
had overrun the whole of Turkey in Europe, while the 
main Russian army was encamped at San Stefano within 
ten miles of the Capital and only prevented from setting 
up the Cross in Byzantium by the presence in the 
Bosphorus of the British Fleet. 

The course of nearly all Turkey's wars in the nineteenth 
century has been much the same. First a few successes, 
then a mismanaged advance ending in disaster, followed by 
the heroic but useless defence of some fortress, and after that 
the deluge. Unfortunately for Turkey, the jealousies of the 
European Powers have always saved her Empire in Europe 
from dismemberment, and she has been allowed to remain in 
possession of territories which she was unable to defend, and 
which were involving her in constant and bloody wars. 
The loss of life and the suffering which this policy of the 
Powers has involved, are appalling to contemplate. The 
best blood of Turkey has been drained from the fertile 
vilayets of Asia Minor to be spilt in a hopeless struggle in 
the land of the giaours ; thousands of Russian peasants have 
perished fighting for a country in which they had no interest, 
and the Christian, Greek, and Bulgarian inhabitants of the 
Balkans have been repeatedly ravaged and decimated. 

When we consider the terrible list of wars which Turkey 
has had to fight in the last century, and when we consider 

D 



34 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

that her armies have been almost entirely recruited from 
among the Mohammedan subjects of the Empire, we no longer 
wonder that the country is backward and misgoverned, our 
only surprise is that the Turkish race has not ceased to exist. 
The strain upon the vitahty of the Ottoman Turks has, of 
course, been very severe, and to-day they number less than 
one-third of the total population of the Empire. 

All over Europe the nineteenth century was marked by 
the awakening of national feeling among subject races. 
Italy was destined to free herself from the Austrian yoke, 
but the first rising was that of 1821, when Greece revolted 
against Turkish rule and the Turks retaliated by hanging 
the Patriarch on his own church door in Constantinople, 
and by massacring or reducing to slavery the 70,000 
inhabitants of the island of Chios. The war was destined 
to last eight years. During this time the Turks, unable 
to subdue the Greeks, sent to Mehemet Ali, the Pasha 
of Egypt, for assistance. The latter with his very efficient 
fleet and army was on the point of reducing the Greeks to 
submission or rather annihilation, when the Powers stepped 
in and destroyed the Turkish fleet at Navarino. Soon 
afterwards Russia declared war and occupied Adrianople 
in 1828 without encountering much resistance. Meanwhile 
Mahomed II. had in 1826 disbanded the Janissaries, and 
made futile efforts to carry on the war with a hastily 
recruited Nizam (regular) army. 

At the Conference of London in 1830 the Powers 
ordained that Greece should become an independent 
kingdom, and the Russian army was politely but firmly 
requested to leave the neighbourhood of Byzantium and to 
return to its native lair. 

Turkey was only to enjoy two years of peace, for in 1832 
Mehemet Ali, who was nominally only the Governor of 
Egypt, appointed by the Sultan and removable at will, 



THE FIRST CONSTITUTION 35 

declared himself independent and quietly annexed the whole 
of Syria to his newly-created kingdom. Mehemet's son, 
Ibrahim, at the head of an Egyptian army, easily destroyed 
all the Turkish troops that were sent against him, and the 
Sultan in his extremity was constrained to call upon his 
old enemies the Russians for assistance. Mehemet made 
peace, but obtained the Viceroyalty of Syria for his life- 
time. Soon afterwards, however, having reformed his army 
under French supervision, he proceeded to invade Turkey, 
annexed Crete, and destroyed all the Turkish armies which 
were sent against him. 

The break-up of the Ottoman Empire appeared to be 
inevitable, when, by a stroke of genius, the Sultan sum- 
moned representatives from among all nationalities and 
creeds of his subjects and read the famous Hatti Sherif 
of 1839, which, besides granting a constitution, proclaimed 
the equality of all races wdthin the Empire, and generally 
promised the dawn of a golden age in Turkey. The 
apparent intention of the Sultan to reform his decaying 
Empire so worked upon the sympathies of the Powers, and 
more especially upon those of England — to whom incidentally 
the break-up of Turkey was by no means welcome — that they 
intervened, and after a blockade of Alexandria by the allied 
fleets, the rebellious Pasha of Egypt was constrained to 
abstain from further assaults on his master's property. 

But even now, after almost twenty years of continual 
warfare, Turkey was not destined to enjoy peace in which 
she could recover from her almost mortal wounds. An 
insurrection broke out in Kandia, and the Emir-el-djebel 
(Prince of the Mountains), not at all liking the equality 
of all races and religions which the Hatti Sherif had pro- 
claimed, raised the Holy Standard in Arabia, and massacred 
all the Christians whom he could lay his hands on. The 
insurrection spread so wide, and was accompanied by such 

d2 



36 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

fearful bloodshed and atrocities, that the Powers were once 
more obliged to intervene in order to rescue the Sultan from 
his unruly subjects. 

Europe now looked forward to a few years of peace in 
the Near East, as all possible combatants were apparently 
exhausted, but such hopes were vain, for no sooner had the 
Emir-el-djebel been subdued than the Shah of Persia 
suddenly invaded Turkish territory. This attack was rather 
like the case of one old inmate of a workhouse attacking 
another with his crutch when the master had his back 
turned, for the Shah ruled over the only Empire in the 
world which for decrepitude and bad government could 
compare with Turkey. The Shah was repulsed after much 
bloodshed, but in the meantime anarchy broke out all over 
the Turkish Empire, due chiefly to the reforms which the 
Sultan was misguided enough to attempt to enforce. Sixty- 
eight years later, the Young Turks were destined to pro- 
duce an exactly similar state of affairs by their ill-fated 
Constitution. 

Anarchy reigned supreme in Turkey for years, but 
without any interference of the Powers, who were for the 
most part far too busy in quelling their own disturbances 
at home, which culminated in the revolutions of 1848. 
During this time the awakening of national spirit among the 
Slavs of the Balkans began to take definite form. They 
were too weak to free themselves from the Turkish rule 
by their own unaided efforts, and so their hopes were centred 
on Russia, who was looked upon as the great liberator. So, 
in 1853, Russia, stimulated by the weakened state of the 
Ottoman Empire, embarked on her great attempt to drive 
the Turks out of Europe, and to set up the Czars in 
Byzantium. 

Europe, and more especially Austria, had been so shaken 
by the revolutions of 1848, that Nicholas I. expected to be 



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AN ITINERANT SULTAN 37 

allowed to fulfil his crusade in peace, but he reckoned 
without the ambition of Napoleon III. and the fears of 
England. 

At first the Russians were everywhere successful, the 
Turks, however, distinguishing themselves for the heroic 
defence of Silistria in Bulgaria, and of Kars in Asia Minor. 
Then England and France invaded the Crimea, and Russia 
was compelled to abandon all hope of reaching Byzantium. 
The Turkish troops which were attached to the allies in front 
of Sevastopol proved themselves of little value in the field. 

Once again the Turkish Empire in Europe was only saved 
from complete disintegration by foreign intervention. Left 
to themselves the Russians would in all probability have 
succeeded in setting up the Cross on St. Sofia. 

After the Crimean War, the intercourse of Turkish 
rulers and statesmen with Western civilisation proved a 
further source of weakness for the Empire, in that it 
rendered them less and less qualified to govern their 
Mahommedan subjects. The Sultan Abdul Aziz in 1867 
took the unprecedented step of visiting Queen Victoria, 
Napoleon III., and the Emperor of Austria. There 
was a terrible outcry among Mahommedans against this 
unheard-of innovation, but the Sheik-ul-Islam, hard-pressed 
to justify his master's breach of the laws of the Koran, 
invented the fable that " The Sultan had embarked on a 
voyage of conquest, and that so great was his prestige and 
the fear of his power, that each country in which he had set 
foot had at once submitted to his rule. By an extraordinary 
act of magnanimity, however, he had personally visited each 
sovereign and restored his possessions to him." 

This childish fable quelled the outcry in Islam, and had 

the additional merit of giving rise to some admirable hons 

mots on the subject in Paris at the expense of Napoleon III. 

Turkey was now entering on the last phase of her 



38 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

chequered history in Europe, and the final struggle of the 
Slav nationalities for independence was about to begin. The 
foundation of a Bulgarian Exarchate — independent Bulgarian 
Church — in 1842, was their first step toward independence. 
In 1875 isolated rebellions broke out all over the Balkans, 
but were subdued by the Porte without much difficulty, 
and Bismarck was able to declare in the Reichstag shortly 
afterwards that the "Political heaven had never been 
clearer." Three weeks later the Servians rose to a man in 
revolt against the Turkish yoke and the Balkan Peninsula 
was plunged in the throes of a ghastly war. 

European diplomacy was destined to prove equally badly 
informed in 1912. Turkey's situation was complicated by the 
fact that Gladstone had allowed himself to be hoodwdnked 
by the Russians into believing that the Turkish troops 
possessed a monopoly of the atrocities committed in the 
Balkans, whereupon he started his Turkish atrocity cry and 
turned away the sympathies of Europe from the Ottoman 
army. Meanwhile, the Sultan, Abdul Aziz, was deposed, 
through the machinations of the newly-founded "Young 
Turks" under Midhat Pasha, and the Sultan Murad sub- 
stituted for him. Abdul Aziz shortly afterwards committed 
suicide with the assistance of two assassins whom Murad 
sent to him, and Murad soon going mad, the notorious 
Abdul Hamid was set up in his place. The Servians were 
getting the worst of the war, and practically all their 
resistance had been crushed when, in 1877, Russia declared 
war against the Porte and marched to the assistance of 
her Slavonic cousins. Then came the heroic defence of 
Plevna, after which the Russians occupied the whole of 
European Turkey up to the walls of Constantinople. 

By the Treaty of San Stefano Turkey granted autonomy 
to the Bulgarians and ceded the whole of the Eastern Balkans 
up to Adrianople to them. To the Servians was given a large 



THE BILL OF INEFFICIENCY 39 

portion of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to Montenegro a 
portion of Northern Albania. Roughly speaking, these 
nascent Balkan States were given the territory that they are 
now claiming after the accomplishment of their successful 
crusade. Once again Russia was to be baulked of the fruits 
of victory. The Powers stepped in, revoked the Treaty 
of San Stefano, and at the Congress of Berlin in 1878 
Roumania and Bulgaria were created autonomous princi- 
palities to serve as a buffer to the ambitions of Russia, a 
large portion of Roumelia being restored to Turkey as well 
as the fortress of Erzerum in Asia Minor. 

Some idea of the drain which these successive wars made 
on the resources of Turkey may be gathered from the fact 
that the Crimean War cost Russia £160,000,000 and some 
100,000 men. For the war of 1877-8 she brought some 
460,000 men into the field at a cost of £200,000,000. The 
cost to Turkey and her losses in men are not known, but 
they must have been almost as great. At this time began 
the migration of the Turks out of the conquered provinces in 
Europe back to Asia Minor, rather than live under Christian 
rule. The migration was destined to culminate in the war 
of 1912, when practically the whole Ottoman population 
abandoned Turkey in Europe. 

In 1885 Eastern Roumelia fell to Bulgaria, which kingdom 
remained under the nominal suzerainty of the Sultan until 
1908, when Prince Ferdinand seized the opportunity afforded 
by the Young Turk revolution of declaring his principate an 
independent kingdom, with himself as Czar. 

At the close of the campaign of 1877-8, national senti- 
ment had not reached a high state of development among 
the Bulgarians, so that when Bulgaria was made an 
independent principate by the Treaty of Berlin, she was only 
too contented to become the instrument of Russia, and 
would have offered no resistance to being incorporated in 



40 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the Empire of the Czar. But the spread of Western ideas 
and education soon began to foster the spirit of independence 
in Sofia, and before long the statesmen of St. Petersburg 
were obhged to recognise that they had created a nation 
with definite ambitions, which would block the road to 
Byzantium to them for all time. Accordingly, after a short 
time, they began to devote their energies toward the 
acquisition of territory in the Far East. 

Meanwhile, the tyranny of Abdul Hamid was to ensure 
to Turkey thirty years of comparative external peace ; but 
they were dark years for the Christian subjects of the 
Empire. This tyranny of Abdul Hamid was merely the 
policy which the Turkish Government has always pursued, 
carried to its highest form. 

The Turks are the fruit of the blending of the warhke 
autocracy of the JNIongols with the religion of the ascetic 
Arabs of the desert. The result of this combination 
was a fanatical and courageous race, which, after flooding 
the fertile lands of Asia Minor, swept on over Byzan- 
tium, and only exhausted its force against the waUs of 
Vienna. Upon their inruption into Byzantium, however, 
these fanatical and ascetic warriors came into contact with 
the most effete and corrupt civilisation that the world has 
ever seen. Byzantium was a cesspool of vice and corruption, 
polluting all streams which flowed through its foetid waters. 

So the Sultans of Turkey left their tents and went to live 
in the palaces of the Greek Emperors, where, in the scented 
luxury of the harem, their energy was sapped by a life of 
erotic indulgence. As their love of luxury and extravagance 
increased, so arose the necessity of draining more and more 
money from their conquered provinces, and as they no 
longer possessed the physical energy to initiate sound methods 
of government, they entrusted the task of collecting their 
revenues to the corrupt Pashas of the different provinces, to 



THE DECAY OF ISLAM 41 

whose interest it was to extort the uttermost farthing from 
their down-trodden subjects, regardless of all the economic 
principles of taxation. 

The Turks have never been a constructive race, or 
attempted to create a centralised Empire like the Romans. 
Their object has been to obtain as rapidly as possible, and 
with a minimum expenditure of effort, a land in which to 
live and a plentiful revenue. 

They have conquered those who were too weak to resist, 
but with the strong — the inhabitants of the mountains or 
the frontier districts — they have compromised, so that their 
Empire is a patchwork of races and creeds ; some enjoying 
complete autonomy, others a modified form of vassalage ; 
others again being subjected to heart-breaking subjection. 

The orthodox Christians have from the earliest times 
formed a State within the State, having their own patriarch, 
archbishops, and bishops, and enjoying complete religious 
freedom. This has not saved them, however, from the most 
appalling economic oppression, for the Turkish Government 
of the European provinces has always resembled the head- 
quarters staff of an army camped in a hostile country, only 
anxious to draw the maximum of supplies for its men, 
regardless of the fact that in doing so it is reducing the 
land to a desert. 

To-day in Thrace, the only roads, the only wells and 
fountains, the only decent buildings, are those left by the 
Romans, and the country which 1000 years ago was one of 
the principal granaries of Europe, is now one of the world's 
waste places. 

The same ruin and decay are to be seen in Constantinople, 
which, when Constantine was Emperor in Byzantium, must 
have been one of the wonders of the world. Now the 
statues have disappeared from the Hippodrome ; the palaces 
of the Greek Emperors no longer hang like marble dreams 



42 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

upon the shores of the Bosphorus ; the streets of Stamboul 
are badly paved, decrepit, and narrow as rabbit warrens ; the 
sanitary arrangements of the city are non-existent, and when 
a house tumbles or is burned down, it is not rebuilt for 
years — the great fire of four years ago destroyed 15,000 
houses in Stamboul, and no attempt has been made as yet 
even to clear away the ruins. 

The policy of extortion was never more ruthlessly pursued 
than during the reign of Abdul Hamid. The ambition 
of this modern Nero, so soon as he had got rid of the 
constitutionally-minded Midhat Pasha by having him 
strangled in some remote Arabian gaol, was to awaken the 
primitive fanaticism of the Mahommedan world by stamping 
out all Western ideas and innovations with a ruthless hand, 
and to weld together his empire by appealing to the spirit 
of Pan-Islamism. 

A study of history had taught him that directly any 
section of the Christian subjects of the Empire became too 
prosperous or powerful, they purchased arms and revolted 
against the tyranny of the Khalifate. Accordingly, when 
any of his Christian subjects showed signs of incipient 
prosperity, agents were instructed to excite the fanaticism 
of their Mahommedan neighbours, until such time as they 
should faU upon the rebellious Christians and reduce their 
villages and lands to a wilderness. In this way he caused 
some 30,000 Armenians to be massacred in cold blood by 
the savage Kurds, not because he disliked them as a 
race — his own mother was an Armenian — but because he 
thought that they were becoming politically dangerous, and 
because he wished to nourish the spirit of Pan-Islamism with 
a little Christian blood. 

The Albanians he kept in hand by taking the best of 
their manhood to serve in his own highly-paid bodyguard. 

In Macedonia, which was inhabited for the most part by 



TURKTSH JUSTICE? 43 

Greek and Bulgarian Christians, he pursued a poHcy of 
rigid repression which effectually stifled the economic and 
intellectual progress of the province. The different vilayets 
were abandoned to the tender mercies of corrupt Pashas, 
whose instructions were to extort the uttermost farthing 
from their Christian subjects. The principal instruments of 
extortion which the Pashas employed were the army, the 
law, and the roads. Any Christian with property was liable 
to be seized and imprisoned repeatedly, each time having 
to pay the tax for exemption for military service, irrespective 
of the number of occasions on which he had already paid all 
that was due from him. 

Christian landowners also frequently found that their 
property had been claimed by a Mahommedan, who was in 
reality an agent of the courts. The claimant would produce 
perhaps twenty professional witnesses — of whom a large 
number were attached to every court — in support of his 
claim, and the landowner would find himself involved in 
litigation culminating probably in the loss of his land, and 
even imprisonment, unless, being wise in his generation, he 
went immediately to the judge and paid his price, in addition 
to rewarding the claimant and his regiment of professional 
witnesses. 

Then, too, light women of Christian origin were induced 
to supplement the wages of sin by coming to court 
to swear that they were Mahommedans and had been 
violated by a number of unfortunate Christians who had 
fallen victims to their charms. This is a capital offence in 
Turkey, and the whole lot were immediately arrested and 
left to rot in gaol, until such time as their families should 
purchase their freedom. 

Road-building, however, was the sport in which the 
Pashas most dehghted. The order would go out from the 
Sublime Porte that a road was to be built — say, from 



44 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Monastir to Uskub. The simplest way to construct it was 
by means of the corvee, and a few weeks' work from the 
inhabitants of each village would probably have completed 
the road. But this did not suit the Pashas, so they took the 
peasants from the neighbourhood of Monastir and sent them 
to work around Uskub, while the peasants from Uskub 
were sent into the Monastir district. There these unfor- 
tunates were left without provisions or instructions until 
such time as they should begin to murmur at their treat- 
ment. The Pasha at once announced that a revolt had 
broken out, and would descend with a swarm of gendarmes 
and Bashi-Bazouks upon the villages of the unfortunate men 
of the corvee, pillaging their homes and confiscating all that 
they could lay their hands on. In the end the road would 
remain unbuilt, while the Pasha and his minions pocketed 
about five times the amount of money necessary for its 
construction. 

It is only fair to say that, in the Mahommedan province 
of the Empire, the unfortunate Mussulmans were equally, if 
not more, oppressed by the Pashas and other officials. 

Gradually, and as education spread in Macedonia, the 
Macedonian revolutionary committee sprang into existence, 
and unrest among the Christian population became wide- 
spread. Then the Nero of the Bosphorus set in motion his 
pet policy of atrocities, in order to crush the spirit of the rebel- 
lious Macedonians, with every refinement of cruelty. Word 
was passed to the Bashi-Bazouks to massacre and plunder 
the Christians, which they at once proceeded to do with the 
best will in the world. 

The Albanians, also, were told that there was no objection 
to their crossing the frontier and enjoying themselves in 
Macedonia, which they proceeded to do with the peculiar 
ferocity of this race. A typical example of the atrocities 
is that of the three Albanian landowners, who, having 



MIGRATION OF THE CHRISTIANS 45 

drunk rather too freely at luncheon, went out into the 
fields and started shooting at their Christian labourers, 
three of whom were wounded and one killed. When an 
old workman cried shame on them, saying that the dead 
man had left a wife and children to starve, they became 
penitent, and, sending for his family, proceeded to kill them 
also to save them from the horrors of penury. 
But the Turks had yet to 

" Learn in some wild hour 
How much the wretched dare." 

Many of the Christians, after seeing their houses burned 
and their women outraged, took to the mountains, and, 
forming themselves into bands, offered effective resistance to 
the Turkish police and Bashi-Bazouks. Then Abdul Hamid 
sent an army to subdue the province, and in 1901 no fewer 
than 100,000 Turkish soldiers were quartered in Macedonia. 

As the Government failed to provide these soldiers vdth 
any of the necessaries of life, they soon started to roam 
about the country pillaging the peasants for food — although, 
being drawn from among the peasants of Anatoha, they 
were by nature the kindliest and gentlest of men. The 
situation was further complicated by the fact that the Greek 
Christians started to massacre the Bulgarians, and the 
Bulgarians the Greeks, while both equally massacred and 
were massacred by the Turks. So that complete anarchy 
reigned in Macedonia, and Abdul Hamid had attained his 
object, in that he had rendered the province too weak to 
revolt against his will. 

Things became so bad that by 1902 the major portions of 
the educated Bulgarians had migrated across the frontier to 
Sofia, where they filled many important positions. In that 
year 20,000 out of Sofia's population of 60,000 were refugees 
from Macedonia, and their total number in Bulgaria 
exceeded 200,000. The sight of half-starving Macedonian 



46 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

refugees arriving at the frontier with fearful tales of persecu- 
tion and outrage excited the most intense feehng among all 
sections of the Bulgarian and Servian populations. It is, 
in fact, twenty years since these two little States first 
started arming with the definite purpose of ending an 
intolerable situation, and of winning freedom for their 
fellow Slavs in Macedonia. 

The expediency of declaring Macedonia an autonomous 
province was more than once discussed among the Powers, 
but on each occasion they allowed themselves to be seduced 
into inaction by that red-handed old tyrant of Yildiz Kiosk, 
Abdul Hamid, who used to meet their ultimata with a 
semblance of penitence, and produce an elaborate scheme of 
reform for Macedonia, which was immediately afterwards 
restored to the shelves of the Sublime Porte, until such time 
as another ultimatum necessitated its re-appearance in 
public. 

Fortunately for him, the Powers were at this time too 
much occupied with their own schemes of robbery to bother 
about Macedonia. England had the Boer War on her hands, 
Russia was busy making conquests in the Far East, and the 
German Emperor was busy fraternising with Abdul Hamid, 
with the object of obtaining railway concessions in Asia 
Minor. So that in the end all that was done was the 
creation of an international gendarmerie in that country. 

All this time, unobserved by the Powers — save perhaps 
by Russia and Austria — the little Slav nationalities of the 
Balkans were arming, arming, arming, and looking forward 
to the moment when they could start their heroic crusade 
against the putrefying Colossus of Turkey, and win freedom 
for their brethren in Macedonia. 

In 1908 came the Young Turk revolution, which was 
heralded as the dawn of a golden age for the Ottoman 
Empire. Racial animosities were to disappear, constitutional 



THE ATTACK ON THE KORAN 47 

government was to take the place of a soul-killing despotism, 
the finances and the army were to be reformed, and a new 
Turkey was to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the 
old regime. Government by " atrocities " was to end, and 
so confident, or rather ignorant, were the ambassadors of 
the Powers that they allowed the international gendarmerie 
to be abolished, upon which the old atrocities at once broke 
out again in Macedonia. What a harvest of disillusionment 
the Young Turks were destined to reap I Their Western 
education had taught them to care nothing for the Koran, 
and so, in the circumstances, they saw no reason why the 
different races of the Empire should not become united 
despite the differences of religion which had always separated 
them. 

They made the same mistake that had been made in the 
Hatti Firman of 1839 ; they tried to unite all their subjects 
with the spirit of Ottoman nationality, irrespective of the 
Ottoman creed. They were foredoomed to failure, because 
the Ottoman has no nationality apart from his religion. 
Islam is at once his fatherland and his religion. So it was 
impossible to Ottomanise the Christian subjects of the 
Empire without converting them to Mahommedanism. 

Incidentally, the Koran had taught the Turk to consider 
himself as belonging to a superior caste, so the Arabs of 
the Lebanon, among whom the Mahommedan religion had 
preserved a large measure of its primitive purity, objected 
strongly to being told that they were brethren with the 
despised Christians of Jerusalem and straightway broke out 
into open rebellion. 

The Albanians, too, had no desire to abandon their 
proverbial freedom and anarchy for the taxes and military 
system of a well-ordered Government. They had no objec- 
tion to belonging to the Turkish Empire as long as the 
honour brought no unpleasant obligations with it. When 



48 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the Young Turks tried to recruit them for service in the 
Yemen they flatly refused to go and fight against the Arabs, 
with whose cause they rather sympathised. So Albania 
broke out into open revolt. 

We have already pointed out how in the first glow of 
good intentions, the Powers had consented to the abolition 
of the international gendarmerie in Macedonia. But the 
Greek and Bulgarian bands saw no fun in abandoning 
their dreams of freedom for the sake of being Islamised. 
So anarchy broke out worse than ever, and was compli- 
cated by the depredations of Turkish soldiers, who, having 
been sent to fight the Albanians and not being supplied 
with any food, became disbanded and prowled about 
Macedonia in search of the necessaries of fife. 

The Young Turks were awakening from their dream of 
a golden age, to find the Empire breaking up around 
them. The possibility of Ottomanising the Turkish Empire 
had passed for ever. The Ottoman population only 
equalled about one-third of the total population of the 
Empire, and so dead was the spirit of Islam, so incapable 
the Turks of government, that for sixty years Turkey's 
Grand Viziers had been almost exclusively Christians, 
Catholic Albanians, Jews, Armenians, or Greeks. 

In other ways the Young Turk Revolution dealt a 
serious blow at the old faith of Islam. First of all the 
committee dethroned Abdul Hamid, who, despite his corrupt 
and cruel government, was none the less respected by his 
people as a religious symbol. In his stead they tried to 
set up a constitutional Government, which was manifestly 
absurd in a nation consisting of thirty-two different races, 
and where the only education of the majority of the 
people consists in a mechanical knowledge of a few 
religious shibboleths. 

The doctrines of the Young Turks were in no sense 



"OUR HOME IS ANATOLIA" 49 

national. They were but lightly planted in a thin soil of 
European customs and beliefs, and had no root in the 
fertile flower garden of picturesque customs and beliefs, 
which was Islam. To the masses of the Mahommedan 
subjects of the Empire, the rule of the Young Turks 
meant little less than foreign domination. 

In the old days, when the soldiers of Islam marched to 
war they marched at the call of the Padisha to do battle in 
the sacred cause of Islam against giaours whom they had 
been taught to despise and hate. They marched with 
enthusiasm because, although perhaps personally they had 
no interest in the war, they were marching to fulfil a 
religious obligation. On the present occasion they were 
marching at the orders of a Government in whom they had 
no belief to do battle against Christians, whom they had 
been told to regard as brethren, for a land in which they 
had no interest. 

So little interest in Turkey in Europe have the Turks 
from Asia Minor, that on one occasion when an officer 
endeavoured to excite his men by telling them they were 
fighting for their country, the men replied, " But this is not 
our country ; our country is in Anatolia." 

In 1911 Italy made her sudden descent on Tripoli, and 
in October, 1912, the Balkan League, judging the moment 
propitious, began their twentieth century crusade for the 
liberation of Macedonia, to the horror and astonishment of 
the virtuous Western Powers, and to the secret amusement 
of Russia, who, after all, could reasonably expect to see one 
day a Slavonic emperor enthroned in Byzantium. 



E 



CHAPTER V 

V 

THE MODERN TURKISH ARMY 

Amongst the radical changes which the Young Turks 
hoped to bring about was the complete reform of 
the Army. To aid them in their task, instructors were 
hired from the German Army, and the work proceeded 
apace. For the first time annual manoeuvres were instituted, 
and I have read a report on those which were held around 
Adrianople in 1910, which shows the army in a very 
favourable hght. It is WTitten by a French officer. How- 
ever, it is one thing to manoeuvre four divisions of picked 
troops in time of peace, and quite another to handle four 
army corps in time of war. One of the generals in com- 
mand in 1910 was the unfortunate Abdullah Pasha, and I 
believe he largely owed his promotion to the command of 
the army of Thrace to the fact that he was considered to 
have done so well in the manoeuvres of 1910. 

As I have already remarked, a study of the military history 
of the Ottoman Empire during the past century will show that 
the Turks have always been beaten in war — with the single 
exception of the war with Greece in 1907 — but that isolated 
bodies of troops, when well commanded and placed behind 
entrenchments, have often put up the most heroic resistance. 
This seems to point to the fact that the senior officers have 
never been capable of handling large bodies of men; that 



THE OLD REGIME 51 

grand strategy in war is almost unknown in Turkey, and 
that the soldier himself lacks that dash and initiative in 
offensive movements which are so characteristic of the 
French and also of the Japanese. 

The old type of Turkish soldier who existed up to the 
end of the Hamidian regime possessed many excellent 
qualities which rendered him individually a stubborn and 
formidable opponent for the best of troops. He was 
hardy and could exist on rations which would spell 
starvation for the troops of any other race. He was 
willing and obedient, and would follow his officer any- 
where. He was accustomed to look after himself in the 
field and to regard the commissariat train as a doubtful ally 
which might, but which probably would not, be available 
at critical moments on a campaign. Therefore he learnt, not 
to be dependent on it, but to shift for himself, to collect 
provisions when they were available, and to husband them 
carefully against a rainy day. He cared little about the 
outward trappings of war. In appearance he was slovenly 
to a degree which would have made the Potsdam Guards 
blush with shame and horror ; but on a campaign each man 
collected those articles of clothing and more especially of 
foot-gear which he found the most useful and the most 
comfortable. 

Thus, even as late as the war with Greece in 1907, it 
was very seldom one saw a battalion with a common 
uniform. The troops resembled a collection of unemployed 
on a hunger march rather than a regular army. Some of 
the men wore boots, some sandals, some merely had rags 
tied round their feet, and some preferred to go barefooted. 
Of tactics and battalion manoeuvres the Turks knew little 
and cared still less. In their place they possessed a natural 
instinct for war which caused them to stick together in 
moments of emergency and invariably to choose a strong 

e2 



52 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

defensive position without having to have the ground 
carefully selected for them by their officers. 

The old regular battalions possessed another great 
advantage, namely, that the men served together for very 
long periods at a time, knew and trusted one another, and 
resembled a large, united, and happy family. Great numbers 
of the men served long beyond the period rendered com- 
pulsory by the conscription. This was due to the fact that 
no register of births existed throughout the Ottoman 
Empire under the Hamidian regime and therefore many 
were able to escape the conscription altogether, while 
others were able to purchase exemptions, with the result 
that the authorities, in order to fill the ranks, often kept 
unfortunate paupers with the colours after their time was 
up, or would force them to serve afresh after they had 
been released from their first term. 

The officers of the old Turkish Army were on a par 
with their men. They were superannuated, ignorant, 
almost untrained, totally devoid of any knowledge of the 
science of war and slovenly in their outward appearance. 
They served in the junior grades of subaltern and captain 
all their lives, but few ever obtaining promotion, in fact, 
the majority never expected promotion and were quite 
content to fill their humble roles. A very large proportion 
also were promoted from the ranks, and had nothing to 
qualify them save their knowledge of the men. They 
served for years in the Yemen, in Macedonia and in the 
wilds of the Caucasus, forgotten by the War Office, often 
going for long periods without their pay, but nevertheless 
faithful to Islam. 

These old officers were the backbone of the old Turkish 
Army. They knew- their men and were respected and 
loved by them. On a campaign the men had the most 
implicit confidence in them, and would follow them anywhere. 



THE GERMAN MODEL 53 

The whole army marched to war at the command of the 
Padisha, not in defence of the territorial possessions of the 
Ottoman Empire, but in the cause of Islam against the 
infidel. Such was the old army which generally managed 
in the midst of reverses to cover itself with glory and to 
maintain the reputation of the Turkish soldier for stubborn 
courage. 

The advent of the Young Turks to power brought about 
changes in the character of the army, which have had the 
most disastrous results during the present campaign. An 
army can only be reformed from the top, not from the 
bottom, but the Young Turks tried to change the rank and 
file without first reforming the War Office and creating a 
General Staff; for without efficient organisation and leader- 
ship, all drastic reforms in the men and material must 
necessarily be wasted in time of war. 

The Young Turks wished to create an army on the 
model of the German, without stopping to consider if the 
material they were handling could be moulded into a new 
form without destroying all the durable qualities which 
had so often saved the Empire from complete disaster and 
disruption in the past. They set themselves the task, with 
the aid of German instructors, of substituting a national 
spirit, based on the territorial boundaries of the Empire, 
for the old cry of Islam, which had so often aroused the 
patriotism of the Turkish soldier in the past, and of sub- 
stituting science, tactics, and the stern discipline of Prussia 
for the old natural instinct for war and self-rehance which 
had characterised the troops of the old regime. They 
thought that by changing the outward trappings of the 
soldier ; by clothing him in the most modern of khaki 
uniforms ; by placing putties round his legs and boots on 
his feet, and a khaki-coloured kalpack on his head in place 
of the traditional fez, and generally making him outwardly 



54 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

up-to-date in appearance, they could construct an army on 
the model of the German, equal to it in efficiency and 
ability for the grand manoeuvres of war. 

It was the outward appearance of the soldiers as they left 
Constantinople for the front, which led so many critics to 
believe that the Turkish army was highly organised and more 
than capable of holding its own against the Allies. Truly 
the appearance of some of the battalions, as they paraded on 
the great square in front of the War Office before marching 
to the railway station, was magnificent, and seemed to ensure 
success. The Turk is naturally big and deep-chested, and 
when clothed in khaki with his great-coat strapped to his back, 
with the peculiar headgear consisting of a kind of combined 
shawl and hood, which could be passed over the kalpack to 
protect him from the cold, and which added several inches 
to his height, and with his brand-new Mauser rifle at his 
shoulder, he looked a warrior of which any nation might 
be proud. 

But a closer examination, more especially when the troops 
were on the march, showed defects which were not at first 
apparent. The uniforms, which on parade seemed to fit so 
closely and to be so comfortable, soon began to lose their 
smart appearance and to sag ominously ; the men began 
to stoop under the weight of ill-fitting knapsacks held to 
their backs by unaccustomed straps, and to fret at the great- 
coats slung round their bodies. Ill-arranged putties began 
to get loose and to flap round the legs of the marchers, who 
looked down at them in dismay, and after a few hundred 
yards many were already limping from sore feet, and hating 
the sight of their new boots. Many of the reservists 
carried their Mauser rifles in that gingerly manner in which 
a man will hold a young child, if suddenly called upon to do 
so, being totally unaccustomed to this new army, and having 
been schooled in the simplicity of the old Martini, 



CHANGES IN PERSONNEL 55 

Thus long before the station was reached the illusion had 
vanished, and it was obvious that these Anatolian peasants 
were being sent to the front ill-trained and ill-disciplined, 
with ill-fitting and unaccustomed kits, and armed with a rifle 
which but a small proportion knew how to handle. From 
the very first we noticed a remarkable shortage of officers. 
Whole battalions would be equipped and drilled, and 
marched off with hardly one officer per company. 

In their dealings with the old type of regimental officer 
the Young Turks made the most fatal mistake of all. 
Because they saw European armies with young regimental 
officers who enjoyed steady promotion, they said, " We 
must get rid of all these old subalterns and captains who were 
promoted from the ranks, and who are old enough to be 
colonels and generals, and replace them by young officers." 
Therefore, with a stroke of the pen they placed all the 
regimental officers over a certain age in retirement before 
they had a sufficiency of young officers to take their place. 
Thus for the last three years the Turkish Army has been 
woefully short of officers, and when the war broke out it was 
no fewer than two thousand below its proper establishment. 

This fatal step destroyed the efficiency of the battalions 
to a lamentable extent. The old idea of the battalion 
being a happy family, where men and officers knew 
one another and had served together for many years, dis- 
appeared, and the confidence of the men was shaken by the 
introduction of a younger generation with new ideas of 
discipline, which did its utmost to impress on the men 
that the significance of their faith was as nothing, compared 
with the necessity of maintaining the territories of the 
Empire intact. 

Neither was the new generation of officers prepared to 
lead the lives of their predecessors, who always remained 
with their battalions and shared the hardships and dis- 



56 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

comforts of their men. The one idea of the new type of 
officer was to obtain a billet on the Staff which would give 
him an easy berth, and they spent every spare moment they 
could obtain in applying for leave and hastening to Con- 
stantinople, where they delighted to parade their fine new 
uniforms among the foreigners in the cafes and hotels of 
Pera, for even Stamboul no longer possessed attraction for 
their Europeanised minds. 

Large numbers of officers were also sent to be educated 
in Berlin, Vienna, and Paris, and this move — sound in 
theory — has also had a highly detrimental effect on the 
character of the Turkish officers and discipline of the Army. 
The primitive fighting virtues of an Oriental race almost 
invariably disappear in the ratio in which the individuals are 
brought in contact with, and imbibe the ideas of, more 
civilised communities. We saw this among the European- 
trained Japanese officers in the Russo-Japanese War, and 
we see it still more clearly marked in the case of the Turk. 
A few years amongst the gaieties of the capitals of Europe 
invariably gives the Turkish officer a distaste for the hard life 
and poor fare of his own country. His faith in his religion 
disappears, and his patriotism weakens because he asks him- 
self, " What am I fighting for ? Merely a worn-out religion 
and a crumbling empire which offers me none of the 
attractions provided by the higher civilisations." 

But worse than this. Having received a scientific military 
training and having been brought into contact with European 
armies and European methods, he returns to his own country 
full of his own importance and possessed with a profound 
contempt for his less fortunate comrades who have not 
received the same education as himself. He believes himself 
to be their superior because of his theoretical knowledge, and 
entirely forgets that all theoretical knowledge is quite wasted 
without practical experience of regimental Hfe and the 



THE OCCIDENTAL ORIENTAL 57 

handling of troops in the field. His natural desire is to 
avoid serving with his regiment at any price. He feels 
that only a billet on the Staff is good enough for him, 
for this will not only enable him to show his scientific 
knowledge of war, but also to remain in the capital 
and to live under conditions which approximate more closely 
to those he has been accustomed to in the European capitals. 
If he is obliged to join his regiment he looks upon 
his superior officers, trained in the old school, with con- 
tempt, considering himself vastly their superior. He is 
continually levying veiled criticisms at his superiors, and 
undermining the discipline of the regiment by the open 
disapproval he displays for the orders he receives. His 
outwardly smart appearance is in glaring contrast with the 
slovenly uniforms of his comrades, and he feels himself 
entirely out of harmony with those whom he now regards, 
from his enlightened standpoint, as little better than 
barbarians. In consequence of the fatal step of having 
got rid of nearly aU the old officers without having others 
to take their place, whole battalions left for the front 
with hardly any officers at all, whilst the cafes and 
hotels and streets of Pera and Stamboul were crowded 
with young officers in beautiful uniforms, who had nothing 
in particular to do, who were too proud to serve with 
their regiments and who had nominal, or were awaiting 
billets on the staff. Many of them never went near the 
front, and many who eventually did find their way up there, 
only stayed for a few days and seized the first available 
opportunity to return to the more congenial haunts of 
Pera, where, over coffee, liqueurs and cigars, they would 
describe the lamentable state of the army to an admiring 
circle of friends, and explain the causes which led to its 
defeat, without realising that they themselves were largely 
responsible for the debacle. 



58 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

In the early stages of the war many officers, as soon as 
the retreat on Chataldja had begun, left the front without 
leave and hastened to Constantinople, without reporting 
themselves to anyone. Thus the generals had no idea 
what had become of them and could take no steps to 
recall them to the front. This finally became such a 
scandal that Nazim Pasha took drastic steps to check the 
evil. No officers were allowed to leave without permission, 
and they were obliged to report themselves to the War 
Office on their arrival in the capital. 

This brief summary will show the lamentable state of 
the Turkish Army when the war broke out. The Army 
Corps were split up and scattered over the Empire ; the 
battalions were short of officers ; the men had lost confi- 
dence in themselves and in their officers, and, above all, 
they were called upon to march to the defence of territories, 
in which they had but little interest, for the first time, not 
because Islam was threatened, but because the integrity of 
the Empire had to be preserved. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE AUTHORITIES AND THE CORRESPONDENTS 

The life of the modern war correspondent cannot be 
described as being exactly a bed of roses. The glorious 
days of the profession, when William Russell and Archibald 
Forbes and their like flourished, have gone, never to return. 
Then the war correspondents were few in number, their 
papers were in no great anxiety to receive news almost 
before the event to be described had taken place, and the 
war correspondent would stay at the front for a certain 
period, then make his way leisurely to the nearest pillar box 
and slip in an uncensored letter describing his experiences. 
He did very little cabling, except on occasions of extreme 
importance, and then he had the entire field to himself and 
had nothing to fear from rivals hastening to get in their 
despatches ahead of his. 

I often wonder [how the great ones of the past would 
have fared under modern conditions, when competition is 
so keen that the war correspondent is kept in a continued 
state of nervous unrest from the moment he arrives at 
the scene of hostilities to that happy hour when he receives 
a cable to the effect " come home at once, spend no more 
money and all will be forgiven." 

At the date when war broke out on October 16th, some 
thirty-five odd correspondents were assembled at Con- 
stantinople waiting for the first sound of the guns and for 



60 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the desired permission to accompany the army. Of these 
by far the larger number represented Enghsh papers, and 
almost every journal of note had a representative at the 
front, while some, like the indefatigable Daily Mirror, for 
instance, had a perfect bevy of photographers. Amongst 
well-known men assembled in Constantinople were Lionel 
James, The Times, M. H. Donohoe, the Daily Chronicle, 
Ward Price, the Daily Mail, Pilcher, The Morning Post, 
Allan Ostler, Daily Express. The French Press was also 
well represented ; M. Rodes was there for Le Temps, 
M. Raymond for U Illustration. The German Press was 
represented by Major von Zweiter, and the Austrian by 
Baron Binder von Kriegelstein. Then there were war 
correspondents representing papers in Denmark and Scan- 
dinavia, also two Russian correspondents who were believed 
by the Turks to be officers on the Headquarters Staff in 
disguise, and, as soon as the peace was signed at Ouchy, an 
Italian turned up to act for the Corriera della Sierra. It 
will be seen that we were a very representative body. 

Now it is always necessary to pick out at the start of 
a campaign those who are likely to be formidable rivals, 
and those who can be more or less disregarded in the great 
race to get off news first. For instance, I knew from the 
start that my most dangerous rivals on this campaign would 
be my old friend Lionel James, the doyeii of the war cor- 
respondents with the Turkish Army, and M. H. Donohoe, 
the highly experienced correspondent of the Daily Chronicle. 

It is now generally the custom for the representatives of 
at least two papers to work together so as to save expense, 
and also to obtain that feeling of comradeship which is 
always agreeable on a campaign. On this occasion Lionel 
James and Ward Price were working together, the old 
threepenny Thunderer linked for the first time with the 
famous halfpenny on account of the affiliation between 



•«f * " • 



^^ 



FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS 61 

those two journals at home. In these circumstances, 
Donohoe and myself agreed to work together, and it was a 
great relief to me to feel I had such a formidable and enter- 
prising rival acting as a friend to share my fate for better 
or worse, rather than having to keep an eye on him all the 
time for fear he should steal a march on me over some 
important battle. 

The English war correspondents have little to fear 
from the competition of their foreign rivals. I do not 
wish in any way to belittle the efforts of the Frenchmen, 
who are charming writers and still more charming 
companions ; but the French system is entirely different 
from our own. They go in very little for cabling, 
they do not spend nearly so much money on their work, 
and, therefore, they are hardly in a position to compete 
for speed with ourselves. The Germans are much the 
same. They are so wedded to discipline that they obey 
every order given them by the authorities, and, in fact, seem 
hopelessly at sea unless they are being watched over by the 
Censor and his colleagues. They are themselves the first 
to admit that they lack that spirit of enterprise, which 
renders the English Press supreme during campaigns, when 
every opportunity must be seized like hghtning, and not a 
minute lost if a rival is not going to beat you and obtain a 
" scoop." 

The success or failure of the war correspondent depends 
almost always on the preparations he has made for 
sending off news from the front, before he actually starts on 
the campaign, and the men with experience are always certain, 
unless by a remarkable series of unforeseen occurrences, to 
beat those who are without experience and who are making 
their first campaign. The campaign in Thrace was an object 
lesson in this respect, and the old hands scored time and time 
again over their inexperienced rivals. 



62 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

It is no use starting for the front with the intention of 
finding means to send off news after you have arrived on 
the battlefield, although of course unexpected means which 
you have not included in your pre-arranged plans may present 
themselves, and should be taken immediate advantage of. 
The first thing the war correspondent should say to himself 
is, " Where is the nearest point for sending off censored tele- 
grams, and where is the nearest point for sending off un- 
censored despatches should the necessity arise ? " Having 
decided upon these two points, he should ask himself this 
question, " What will be the quickest means of getting news 
to the telegraph stations ? " Having decided on the most 
suitable means of communication, he must take steps to 
complete the organisation necessary to carry his good inten- 
tions into effect. 

It was obvious in the present campaign that Constantinople 
was the only place from which to dispatch censored cables, 
and that Constanza in Roumania was the only place from 
which to send uncensored cables. The latter would have to 
be sent by the Roumanian boat which leaves Constantinople 
for Constanza every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It 
was obvious, therefore, that if you missed sending your cable 
on Tuesday, it could not be sent until Thursday, and that if 
you missed Thursday, it could not go until Saturday, and 
that, if your rival sent his by the boat you had missed, he 
would have his news in the paper two clear days before you 
could have yours. 

There was also one other means of speeding up a cable, 
namely, to have it sent by wireless telegraphy from the 
Roumanian boat to Constanza, the moment she was outside 
territorial waters. But this was made very little use of 
during the war, as the wireless was found to be far too 
unreliable for long and important messages, and cost two 
shillings a word just to reach Constanza. 



BUYING A MOTOR-CAR 63 

It became obvious from the start that the authorities in 
Constantinople would only allow news favourable to Turkey 
to be sent from the capital, and that in the event of a reverse, 
Constanza alone would be available. The old hands, there- 
fore, made elaborate preparations to have their cables 
dispatched to Constanza with a minimum of delay. 

Then we had to consider how we could get messages 
rapidly from the front to Constantinople, in order that they 
might be sent on by the Roumanian boats. Donohoe and 
myself had many an earnest conversation on this all-important 
subject, and finally decided that a motor-car was essential. 
I will never forget as long as 1 live the troubles we had 
over obtaining a car suitable for a country where roads are 
non-existent, and where every ounce of petrol has to be 
carried. 

I first of all entered into negotiations with the Pera 
garage for the hire of a car. I was shown one which, 
I was assured by the Greek proprietor, had frequently 
made the road to Adrianople without difficulty, and that 
he would guarantee it would do so again. I mistrusted 
the look of the old machine, but he reassured me, and 
as the price seemed reasonable, namely, one hundred pounds 
per month, I decided to hire it. The proprietor was exceed- 
ingly anxious that I should sign the contract and pay him 
one month's hire in advance without giving the car a trial, 
as he explained this was quite unnecessary, and he was busy 
overhauling the machinery and repainting the chassis. The 
contract contained a clause that in the event of our losing 
the car or it falling into the hands of the enemy, we should 
pay the modest sum of £600 by way of compensation. 
However, I refused to sign or to pay a penny until Donohoe 
and myself had given it an exhaustive trial by taking it out 
on a trip to San Stefano. 

On the afternoon of the trial, my brother, Donohoe, and 



64 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

myself repaired to the garage, where we found many 
mechanics putting the finishing touches to the old buz box 
and tuning her up. The owner had so carefully painted 
and polished up an old taxi - cab that its material 
defects were not apparent to the inexperienced eye. 
But the bluff was short-lived, for we never reached the 
Galata Bridge. The old machine smoked and roared and 
groaned, but could not even take the smallest hills, and 
finally caught fire in the high street ; the tyres fell off at the 
same moment, and the chauffeur announced that he must 
return for repairs, as he did not quite understand the 
machinery. We returned and told the owner exactly what 
we thought of him. 

It turned out on inquiry that this car was one of the 
original taxi-cabs introduced into Paris, and that, after 
serving a long term in the Parisian streets, it had been 
sent to the Near East. The papers the owner had shown us 
were all forged, and the value of the car was perhaps fifty 
pounds, yet he had tried to get us to pay £600 in the event 
of its being lost. 

We confided our troubles to the obliging Colonel Izzet, 
who was one of the first to advise us to take a car to 
the front, declaring that it would be invaluable, as the 
roads were excellent, and that we could reach Adrianople 
in it in about five or six hours. Colonel Izzet then 
produced a sinister-looking Persian, whom he declared 
was the owner of a splendid new forty horse-power 
Panhard Limousine — the finest car in Constantinople, 
which could go anywhere and carry any number of 
passengers. He offered to give us a trial by motoring us 
out that very afternoon to San Stefano. This we accepted. 
The car went very well, negotiating all the bad spots on 
the road, passing through mud feet deep, and crawling up 
all the hills without much difficulty. 



THE MODEST PERSIAN 65 

Then came the most troublesome task of all, namely, to 
settle on the terms of hire or purchase. Colonel Izzet acted 
as our interpreter and intermediary, and the meeting between 
the Persian, Donohoe, my brother, and myself took place 
in the War Office. The Persian turned out a hard task- 
master and demanded the modest sum of £1000 for the 
purchase of the car or £lO a day for the hire of it. As 
these terms proved too stiff we haggled and bargained, and, 
after threatening to break off the negotiations several times, 
we got the purchase price down to £900, and the rate for the 
hire by the day to £8. 

Finally, we decided to take it for one month on trial, 
as we were not wholly convinced of what value the car 
would be at the front. Then a contract was drawn up in 
French by Colonel Izzet, who took the greatest pains to be 
fair to us both. This took an endless time, as all sorts of 
unexpected difficulties arose on such questions as to who 
was to supply the oil, and how much we were to pay for the 
car in the event of its being captured or destroyed. The 
Persian insisted on a guarantee of £1000, minus any sums 
we had paid by way of hire, but finally we got him down to 
£850. At last the contract was completed and he was very 
anxious we should sign it then and there, but this Donohoe and 
myself declined to do until we had made some independent 
inquiries to find out if the car was really what the owner 
professed it to be. 

That evening we set our independent agents to work, 
and received two reports on our prospective purchase. It 
was nearly four years old and had been the property of 
an Egyptian prince for two years. The prince finally 
sold it for £450 to a merchant in Constantinople, who, 
in turn, parted with it a year later to its present owner, the 
Persian, for £350. The latter had done it up and had hired 
it at so much a day to tourists visiting Constantinople. It 



66 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

was not a forty horse-power car at all, but only a twenty. 
This was the car for which our good friend the Persian 
had demanded £1000 or a guarantee of £850. Needless 
to say when he arrived at the Pera Palace Hotel that 
evening, all smiles, with the contract ready for signature, he 
received a somewhat cold reception and was politely shown 
the door. 

This, however, did not help Donohoe and myself much, as 
at any minute we might be allowed to start for the front, 
and without a car how could we hope to compete with our 
leading rivals. The Times and the Daily Mail, who had pur- 
chased one second-hand for a considerable sum? It was 
utterly useless trying to hire one, as we knew we were bound 
to be swindled, and had no guarantee that the chauffeur, who 
was the servant of the owner, would not fail us at a critical 
moment in the campaign, or perhaps even decline to carry 
us near to some stricken field. 

I then went to the principal agents in Pera and 
examined a new Panhard which they had for sale. It 
was an excellent car, having just arrived from Paris, 
very strong, and of 18-24 horse -power. The agents 
were very agreeable and honest in all their dealings, and 
produced all the necessary papers from the Panhard Com- 
pany, showing the actual price they had paid for the car, the 
cost of its passage to Constantinople, and the Customs duty. 
They consented to forgo half their usual commission, and 
the car became our property for £700, which price included 
accessories and a spare pair of tyres. We thus had a great 
load off our minds and could now start on equal terms with 
The Times and the Daily Mail. 

Little did we realise at the time the endless trouble and 
bother we would have with the car, with the various 
chauffeurs who attempted to handle it, and, above all, with 
the roads, which proved to be totally unsuitable for wheeled 



THE DRAGOMEN 67 

traffic of any sort, except a country cart drawn by four 
strong oxen. However, let me say here in justice to the 
car and to our own judgment that it saved us at the most 
critical moment of the campaign, and enabled us to get off 
the news of the great defeat of Lule Burgas ahead of all 
our rivals. I had two rides in it, and Donohoe two also, 
and as the price paid for these rides was over £700, they 
were the most expensive journeys we had ever taken or ever 
wish to take. 

The experiences I have just related were typical of many 
others endured by us whilst we were engaged in making our 
preparations to leave for the front. Every single detail had 
to be thought out beforehand, and every single article, from 
a horse to a tin of sardines, had to be purchased from people 
whose sole idea was to cheat and swindle you. 

The fitting out of an expedition, the purchase of suitable 
horses, stores, and equipment, sounds a simple enough under- 
taking, but, in reality, in Constantinople the task was one of 
stupendous difficulty, exhausting both to the body and to the 
patience. The dragomen you engage, who carry about with 
them pages of references, cannot be trusted a yard, and are 
an additional burden, rather than an assistance. I and my 
brother had personally to superintend the buying and 
packing of every single article we might require for 
the campaign. The country through which the army would 
pass on its way to Sofia, which we were assured was our 
destination, would speedily be swept bare by the passage 
of two large armies, and we had to take everything necessary 
in the way of food supplies with us. I therefore bought 
provisions for two months. 

We had ample opportunity of studying the character of 
the Christian population of Constantinople, both Greek and 
Armenian, and we often wondered at the moderation of the 
Turk at not having exterminated the lot years ago. There 

f2 



68 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

is an old saying amongst the Turks that it takes two Jews to 
get the better of one Greek, and five Greeks to cheat one 
Armenian. These bastard races, which have dwelt for 
centuries amid a corrupt and effete civilisation, having 
no tradition of race, have not the slightest trace of 
a sense of decency or honour. 

In fact, it seems that almost everyone who comes in contact 
with Constantinople becomes corrupted by the atmosphere of 
dishonesty and stagnation. Even Europeans seem to develop 
a sort of moral anaemia after a few years' residence in the 
Scarlet City. The Turks of the upper classes, and of the 
official world, are better than the Christians in one sense, in 
that they are honest in their dishonesty. They are all open to 
bribery, but can be trusted once they have taken the bribe, 
if they see the opportunity of doing any further business on 
the same terms. Corruption and vice have flourished for so 
many centuries in Constantinople, that there seems but 
little hope of stamping it out. The effete civilisation 
of Byzantium corrupted the Roman Emperors and the 
Greek and the Ottoman Dynasties in turn, and, until the 
entire population is replaced by another, Constantinople is 
likely to enjoy her evil reputation. 

Before we left we were forced to the conclusion that 
the best thing that could happen to the town would be 
its complete destruction by fire, and for the inhabitants to 
perish in the flames, or to migrate in order to make way 
for a different race. But would this drastic step have any 
effect ? Is the character of a race formed by the climate ? 
as Mr. Maurice Baring believes. These questions cannot 
be dealt with here. 

Finally, after endless trouble our preparations were com- 
pleted, and we sat down at the Pera Palace Hotel to wait 
in patience for leave to join the army. 

One of the first steps we took on arriving at Constanti- 





U'liJto S. Askine-id-Bartlett 



Tiii: Track 'lo Stamkoui 






\Photo S. Ashviead Barilctt 



OVEUTURNKD TRAIN. 



^ 



DIPLOMATIC RED TAPE 69 

nople — and it is one of the most important for the war 
correspondent, to place himself on a satisfactory footing at 
once — was to find out the attitude of the authorities towards 
us, and to ascertain what facilities would be given us to carry 
on our work in a legitimate manner, and at the same time 
insure to the newspapers that we represented, that they 
should receive some value for the large sums expended on 
sending us to the Near East and in fitting us out for service 
in the field. 

I do not intend at this stage to deal with the very 
comphcated question of the future of the war correspondent, 
but I shall do so at a later stage, when the reader has been 
able to gauge, from a perusal of this work, the pros and the 
cons that both sides can bring forward in favour of their 
arguments for continuation or abolition. 

On the occasion of our first visit to the War Office, we 
were received most politely, but, at the same time, informed 
that all who wished to accompany the army must obtain a 
recommendation from their respective Embassies. This was 
quite a reasonable request, but when I applied to Sir Gerard 
Lowther, I was informed by him that he could give no 
recommendation without the sanction of the Foreign Office 
in London. This really seemed a little absurd, Sir Gerard 
Lowther having known me personally for several years, 
while, at the same time, I came fully accredited from the 
proprietors of the Daily Telegraph. But Sir Gerard 
declared that, the Foreign Office having made such a regula- 
tion, he must abide by it. Why could not the Foreign Office 
have informed newspapers of their intention before we left 
for the Near East ? It caused a delay which in this instance 
did not matter, but which might have had very serious 
results had we been granted permission by the Turkish 
Government to join the army immediately after our arrival. 
As it was, it entailed much cabling and inconvenience. 



70 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

This little incident is typical of the methods of the 
procedure of the British Foreign Office and Diplomatic 
Service, which is a gigantic and highly organised piece of 
machinery for shifting responsibility from one person to 
another. All other Foreign Embassies appear to exist for 
the purpose of helping the subjects of their respective 
nations. The British, on the other hand, appear to exist 
for the express purpose of placing difficulties in the 
way of anyone who applies to them for assistance. Then, 
again, the British Embassies are invariably the worst- 
informed on what is passing in the country to which they 
are accredited. The British Embassy in Constantinople 
was a by-word in this respect. You could obtain more or 
less reliable news at the French, and Austrian, and German 
Embassies, or could, at any rate, carry on an intelligible 
conversation with someone who had some knowledge of 
the country, and who took some interest in his work, but 
the inmates of the British Embassy, with one notable 
exception, were always shrouded in a black mist of blissful 
ignorance and seemed to feel a personal resentment 
against the Turkish Government and all the Balkan 
States for having declared war, thus disturbing the even 
tenor of their peaceful and harmless, but almost useless 
lives. 

The whole Service wants to be thoroughly reorganised on 
a basis which would make it of more value to England and 
to English commercial enterprises abroad. It is now a 
kind of happy hunting ground for youths who v^dsh for an 
easy life amidst pleasant surroundings in foreign countries, 
where they suffisr the fond illusion that their social position 
is bettered by being able to print " Attache to the British 
Embassy" on their cards. It wants fresh blood and new 
brains, and men trained in commerce and in the fierce 
competition which English merchants abroad understand so ] 



I 



DELAYS 71 

well. Then it might be worth all the expense and pomp 
which now attach to it. 

The greater part of the money spent by the State year 
after year on ambassadors, first secretaries, second secre- 
taries, councillors, dragomen, and a horde of lesser minions, 
is thrown into the gutter. Of course, amidst the gloom of 
ignorance, apathy, and general physical and mental debility 
which hangs over our Embassies like a leaden pall, there 
are some brilliant exceptions, but, in the main, few will 
gainsay the truth of the strictures I have made on a 
Service which is hopelessly out of date in this age of 
commercial competition. 

It was obvious, even after presentation of the necessary 
letters of recommendation from the Embassy, that the 
military authorities were determined to delay our departure 
as long as possible. Day after day we visited Colonel Izzet 
at the War Office and were informed by him that a Code 
of Regulations was being drawn up and would be duly 
presented to us, after which passes to enable us to 
accompany the army would be issued by the War Office. 
Day after day we waited, and on each visit we were put 
off by an evasive reply. It recalled the long, dreary wait 
in Tokio, which I had experienced before being allowed to 
join the Japanese troops in Manchuria. The Oriental hates 
to give a decisive answer either by way of assent or refusal 
to a proposition, and prefers to keep negotiations running on 
indefinitely. 

But Lionel James, Donohoe, and myself had aU had 
previous bitter experience in the Russo-Japanese War of 
this love of procrastination, and were all three deter- 
mined not to put up with it again. We decided to 
make a joint protest to the officers of the General Staff, 
and, unless we obtained a satisfactory reply, to leave Con- 
stantinople and to abandon our mission. This joint demarche 



72 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

had the desired effect. The War Office realised that it 
was ahenating the Enghsh Press, and gave us a definite 
assurance that we should leave for the front as soon as the 
Commander-in-Chief of the army of Thrace, Abdullah 
Pasha, had started himself. 

Meanwhile the Code of Regulations was drawn up, and 
we were all asked to sign a document undertaking to 
remain with the army until the end of the war. This 
seemed rather hard on us, and we pointed out to Colonel 
Izzet that our papers might wish to recall us and that 
the South African War had lasted no fewer than three years. 

Colonel Izzet reassured our minds on this point in his 
own inimitable manner. He said : " Do not worry, we 
have made this regulation in order to discourage too many 
correspondents from going to the front ; we do not wish 
to have people remain up there for a few days and then 
to hurry back to give away our military secrets. But 
rest assured, any time you wish to leave you have only to 
say you are ill, and you will find our doctors very lenient, 
more especially as I shall be the doctor to decide if your 
state of health warrants your leaving the army." 

The next point we raised was the all-important one of the 
censorship of telegrams and letters from the front. The 
Regulations prescribed that all telegrams must be sent in 
French, if they were to pass over the military wire to 
Constantinople. We pointed out that this was a distinct 
hardship on the English war correspondents, many of whom 
possessed a most rudimentary knowledge of that language, 
and but few of whom could profess to write it with any 
attempt at accuracy. 

The kind-hearted Colonel Izzet promised to try to obtain 
an English operator who could handle our despatches, and 
thus place us on an equal footing with our French 
colleagues. But this promise was never carried out, and 



THE REGULATIONS 73 

what is more, as the sequel will show, the Headquarters 
Staff even failed to provide a French operator, and when 
we reached the front we were politely informed that all 
our messages must be sent in Turkish. 

This was the initial source of all the bitter quarrels 
between the correspondents and the authorities, for it is easy 
to imagine the value a despatch would be to a paper, which 
was first translated into bad French, then from French into 
Turkish, and then back again into French, and finally from 
French once more into English. 

Finally, nearly all the outstanding questions were settled 
or left in abeyance, and in accordance with the demand 
of the War Office we were each asked to subscribe our 
signatures to a document in which we promised to remain 
with the army until the termination of the war, and also 
promised not to enter the territory of any of the belligerents 
engaged in hostilities with Turkey. Lionel James, Donohoe 
and myself, however, were too old at the game to give away 
our freedom without the certainty of corresponding facilities 
with which to carry on our work, and we each signed a 
document drawn up on much the same lines, which allowed 
many loopholes of escape. 

But even after all the formalities had been complied with, 
the authorities were in no hurry to hand over our passes, as 
they feared we would disperse and make for the front on our 
own account. We were told that a day would be fixed for 
our departure, and that we would all be sent north together 
in a special train with our horses and baggage. We waited 
patiently for this day, which was a long time in coming. 

Meanwhile Colonel Izzet, who was sincerely anxious to 
assist Lionel James, Donohoe and myself in any way in his 
power, proposed that we should take into our employment a 
special agent well-known to the Headquarters Staff, who 
would accompany us everywhere and act as interpreter, so 



74 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

that we could enjoy a measure of freedom greater than if we 
were tied up all the time with thirty odd other correspon- 
dents. This gentleman waited on us at the hotel, and we 
discovered that he was a police spy who was being fastened 
on to us to watch our every movement and to make reports 
to the Staff on our daily deportment. Even at this stag^ 
the Headquarters had gained an inkling as to who wouhj 
probably be the dangerous ones on the campaign, and it wsl^ 
hoped to checkmate any attempt we might make to bring off 
a coup by this means. As this gentleman could not speak 
one single word of English or French, he was of absolutely 
no value as an interpreter, and therefore we politely^ 
but firmly declined to take him into our service, more 
especially as we were expected to pay him for spying 
on us. 

It was a week after the declaration of war, on October 
16th, that Abdullah, the Commander-in-Chief of the army 
of Thrace, left for the front. We, however, were destined 
to enjoy a fuller measure of Oriental procrastination. On 
Wednesday, October 16th, we were all asked to attend at 
the War Office in order that a photograph might be taken 
of us in one large group for the Minister of War to keep 
as a souvenir. I expect he is not so keen on having it in 
his office now. 

We were then informed that the special train would 
be ready for us on Friday, and we broke up like a 
crowd of happy schoolboys dispersing for the summer 
holidays at this good news. Friday came and we were 
told we must wait until Saturday, as the railway 
authorities could not find a spare train. On Saturday there 
was a further postponement. On Friday I had an interview 
with the aged Kiamil Pasha at his private house. He struck 
me as being a very shrewd old man with a distinct liking at 
this time for the English. He told me how he hoped 




{rhoto ■■ J\iily Mh,or 

Nazim Pasha, Minister for War, leaving the Sublime Porte on the 
Eve of Hostilities. 



<^ 



THE ULTIMATUM 75 

Turkey would retain the friendship of England throughout 
the war. 

There were rumours at this time that Ghazi Moukhtar 
Pasha would shortly resign, or be driven from the Grand 
Vizierate, and that Kiamil Pasha would replace him. In 
consequence the old man's ante-room was packed with a 
crowd of political followers and office seekers, who were 
hoping for places as soon as the expected change should be 
made. On Saturday we were told that there would be a 
further postponement. I spoke to Kiamil on the subject of 
our departure for the front, and he promised to see the 
Minister of War, Nazim Pasha, after the council on the 
following day, and to urge on him the necessity of allowing 
us to leave without further delay. On Saturday we were in- 
formed we must wait for a few days longer. 

By this time we were almost in despair, as the fighting had 
already commenced round Kirk Kilisse and at any moment 
we expected to hear the news of a decisive battle. That 
afternoon I went and called on the Minister of War, Nazim 
Pasha, who received me in his room at the War Office. 
He gave me a definite assurance that we should start on 
Monday, and I hurried back to the Pera Palace Hotel to 
communicate the glad tidings to my friends. Monday came, 
but no permission, and we made further protests at the War 
Office, threatening to leave Constantinople and to join one 
of the armies of the Balkan States, if we were detained 
longer. 

This had a decisive effect. That very evening Colonel 
Izzet came to the hotel, and told us that everything had 
been arranged at last, and that we were to be at the 
Cirkidje Station at half past four in the afternoon of 
Wednesday, October 23rd, to leave for Kirk Kilisse. 

Meanwhile I had been seized with a violent attack of 
fever and influenza and was obliged to stay in bed, but 



76 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

hoped to be well enough to leave with the others on the 
appointed day. On Tuesday evening my temperature was 
still high and I was in no condition to start, much to my 
mortification. In these circumstances I decided to send on 
my brother with all our horses, servants, stores, and camp 
equipment, and to follow myself in the motor-car as soon as 
I was well enough. I will, therefore, leave him in due 
course to tell the story of his departure from Constantinople, 
and of the adventures which befell him en route to Chorion, 
but before doing so it will be well at this point to give a 
brief account of the disposition and organisation of the 
Turkish armies at the outbreak of war, and of the early 
operations which led up to the final disaster of Lule Burgas. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE EARLY OPERATIONS 

At the outbreak of the war the Ottoman forces in 
European Turkey were widely scattered and hopelessly 
disorganised. It was the intention of the general staff, had 
they been given sufficient time by the Balkan Coalition, to 
form four armies, namely: No. 1, the Grand Army of 
Thrace ; No. 2, the Army of the River Struma, concen- 
trating at Serres ; No. 3, the Army of the River Vodena, 
point of concentration Uskub ; No. 4, the Army of Thessaly, 
point of concentration Elassona. 

I am only concerned in this book with the operations of 
the Grand Army of Thrace, and I shall say nothing further 
of the fate of the other three armies, except that they 
existed only on paper and in the imagination of the 
Headquarters Staff. They were never organised ; the 
machinery for forming them was non-existent ; they were 
devoid of transport and short of artillery. They were 
little more than hordes of undisciplined men, short of 
officers, badly commanded and incapable of either taking 
the offensive or even of holding a strong defensive position. 
All three were in turn defeated and broken up by the 
Servians, Montenegrins, and Greeks. 

The Turks had a pre-arranged plan of campaign which they 
were never destined to carry out. It was based on the mis- 



78 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

taken assumption, which the Turks in their self-pride and 
contempt for the Balkan States could never get out of their 
heads, that neither Bulgaria, Servia, Greece, nor Montenegro 
would ever dare take the offensive against the Ottoman 
Empire, but would remain quietly behind their frontiers 
until the Turkish troops were mobilised, concentrated and 
in a position to attack them. The Turks rightly considered 
that a success against Bulgaria, in Thrace, would be decisive 
throughout the whole theatre of war, and that, once the 
Bulgarians were decisively defeated, the whole coalition would 
collapse like a pack of cards. Therefore, from the first, their 
main efforts were devoted to mobilising a powerful Field 
Army for the invasion of Bulgaria under cover of the 
fortress of Adrianople. 

The confidence of the Turks was amazing. I had an 
interview with Nazim Pasha, the Minister of War, a few 
days after the outbreak of hostilities, and he expressed his 
utmost confidence as to the result of the campaign. He 
said, " We have only two months' more good weather for 
fighting, as it is too cold in the Balkans for winter operations, 
but that should give us ample time to cross the frontier and 
take Sofia." 

Shortly afterwards, when bidding farewell to some officers 
who were leaving to join their regiments, Nazim addressed 
them as follows : " Farewell, my comrades. Do not forget 
to take with you your full-dress uniforms, because you 
will need them for the grand entry into Sofia two months 
from now." 

These words sound rather funny in the fuller know- 
ledge of the subsequent debacle. But did Nazim really 
beheve what he was saying, or was he merely talking to 
keep up the spirits of the troops, and to put a bold face 
on what he knew to be a critical situation ? I heard, both 
before and after the battle of Lule Burgas, that he had 



NAZIM'S OFFICIAL BOAST 79 

warned the Sublime Porte in the strongest language that 
it would be hopeless to take the offensive in the present 
state of the army ; that it was inviting disaster to attempt 
to concentrate on the line Adrianople-Kirk Kilisse, and that 
the only safe plan of campaign would be to sit behind 
the lines of Chataldja until the army had been reorganised 
and the picked troops brought up from Smyrna, Trebizond, 
and other parts of Asia Minor. 

At the same interview I had with Nazim he assured me 
that he himself would personally command the army of 
Thrace. Yet, a few days later, Abdullah was sent to fill 
this thankless position and remained in command until the 
flight from Lule Burgas to Chataldja, when he was 
removed, or voluntarily resigned, I do not know which. 

I have always had a strong suspicion that Nazim, anti- 
cipating a disaster which could not be prevented, purposely 
refrained from assuming the command at the start of the 
campaign in order that he might escape the odium attaching 
to defeat. Whether this surmise is true or not, the fact 
remains that Nazim, even after one of the most crushing 
disasters in military history, did not resign his position as 
Minister of War. He not only retained it, but also took 
personal command of the army at Chataldja, thus gaining 
the prestige of having repulsed the Bulgarian attack on the 
famous lines. 

Although the Turkish Headquarters Staff never seem to 
have grasped the extent of Bulgaria's preparations for war 
and her ability to take the offensive long before the Turkish 
armies were in a position to offer any sustained resistance, 
they nevertheless had anticipated that some Bulgarian 
divisions might cross the frontier by forcing the Mustafa 
Pasha Pass. But they did not regard such a move very 
seriously, firmly believing that it must come to a full stop in 
front of Adrianople, which fortress they regarded as quite 



80 



WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 



impregnable and capable of holding its own for a long time 
even although faced with a regular siege. 

Their confidence in the ability of Adrianople to hold 
out has been justified by future events. What they entirely 
failed to grasp was the ability of the Bulgarians to mask 
Adrianople and to concentrate the bulk of their forces south 
of it, and to fight a decisive battle with the fortress garrisoned 
by more than fifty thousand of picked Turkish troops in 
their rear. 

This certainly did appear to be an extremely hazardous 
undertaking, and few military critics believed before the war 
started that the Bulgarians would invade Thrace, attack the 
Turkish main army, and actually advance on Constantinople 
without first reducing Adrianople. But then the Bulgarian 
General Staff knew to the last letter the utter state of 
demoralisation and disorganisation prevailing in the army of 
Thrace, and their daring plan justified its conception by the 
rapidity and certainty of its execution. 

At this stage it will be as well to give a brief summary 
of the respective strengths of the Turkish forces and those of 
the Allies. According to General Von Bernhardi, the 
nominal strength of the Turkish army in time of peace is 
275,000 men. The actual strength of the Nizam, or regular 
army, in 1910 was as follows : — 



Infantry 


... 133,000 


Cavalry 


26,000 


Artillery 


43,000 


Engineers 


4,500 


Special Troops (Sultan's Guards, &c.) ... 


7,500 


Commissariat 


3,000 


Various 


3,000 


Total 


... 220,000 



In addition to these there were 25,000 men in the 
permanent Cadres, into which the Redifs are incorporated 



THE TURKISH ARMY SI 

when mobilised, and 30,000 regular and reserve officers, 
a total of 275,000 officers and men. 

The war strength of the Turkish Army is nominally 
700,000 men, which includes troops in Europe, Armenia, 
AnatoUa, and Syria. Owing to the lack of railways, the 
general incapacity of the Turks for organisation, and the 
necessity of maintaining strong garrisons in the various 
disturbed districts of the Empire, probably not half this 
number could ever be concentrated in European Turkey in 
time of war, and not more than 300,000 ever reached 
Constantinople in time to take part in the present struggle. 

In addition to the regular army and Redif reserves there 
is the levy en masse (Mustafiz), consisting for the most part 
of old and non-effisctive men, who could only be utilised for 
the purposes of local defence and policing. Liability for 
service begins at the age of 20 and lasts for twenty years ; 
nine years in the Nizam, followed by nine in the Redif and 
two in the Mustafiz. The organisation of the Turkish army 
is by Army Corps. 

3 Divisions equal 1 Army Corps (war strength about 50^000). 
3 Brigades „ 1 Division (18,000 men). 
3 Regiments „ 1 Brigade (6,000 men). 
1 Regiment „ 3 Battalions (2,000 men). 

The Grand Army of Thrace, which should have been con- 
centrated between Adrianople and Kirk Kilisse at the out- 
break of hostilities, ready to take the offensive or to meet 
the attack of the Bulgarians, was, in point of fact, hope- 
lessly scattered and some of its regular units were never 
brought together in time to take part in the battle of 
Lule Burgas. 

The lack of these trained battalions was largely responsible 
for the crushing nature of that disaster. The Army Corps 
had to be brought up to war strength, which they never 
actually reached, by the incorporation of large numbers of 



82 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Reservists, and by the addition of ill- trained Redif Divisions. 
The Grand Army of Thrace consisted of four Army Corps, 
the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. 

At the outbreak of hostilities the 1st Corps, under Yavir 
Pasha, was split up as follows. The 1st and 2nd Divisions 
were in Adrianople, forming part of the garrison of that 
fortress, and the 3rd Division was in Smyrna, where it had 
been sent during the war with Italy to meet a possible 
descent of the Italians on the coast. 

The 2nd Army Corps, under Shef ket Torgut Pasha, was 
also split up. The 4th Division was between Rodosto and 
Adrianople ; the 5th at the Dardanelles, and the 6th at 
Smyrna. 

The 3rd Army Corps, which was placed under the com- 
mand of Mahmoud Mukhtar, was concentrated round Kirk 
Kilisse. 

The 4th Army Corps, under the command of Abouk 
Pasha, was partly in garrison at Adrianople, and during the 
campaign one of its Divisions remained in the fortress and 
the other two formed part of the Field Army routed at 
Lule Burgas. 

Neither of the Divisions stationed at Smyrna reached 
Thrace in time to take part in the campaign, as they did not 
arrive at the front until the army fell back on the lines of 
Chataldja. Their place was taken by Redif Divisions, which 
in discipline, training, and military spirit could not compare 
with the regular army. 

According to the same authority. General Von Bernhardi, 
Bulgaria, with a population of 4,000,000, has an army the 
peace strength of which is 59,820 officers and men, and the 
war strength 330,000, of which 230,000 are infantry and only 
6,500 cavalry. The actual number of men in the artillery 
and commissariat trains is not known, but the army possesses 
884 field and siege guns and 232 machine guns. With the 



THE FORCES OF THE COALITION 83 

auxiliary troops formed of men between the ages of forty-one 
and forty-six, which could be employed in garrisoning 
fortresses, or on the lines of communication, the total 
strength of the army could be raised to 400,000 men. 

Servia, with a population of three millions, has an army 
28,000 strong in time of peace, but this number is seldom 
reached, and sinks in winter to only 10,000 men. The war 
effective strength of the army is 250,000, of whom 165,000 
are infantry, 5,500 cavalry, and the rest artillery, transport, 
etc. The Servian army possesses 432 field and mountain 
guns (108 batteries of four guns each). In addition, six siege 
batteries of six guns each and 228 machine guns. With 
third class reservists the total strength of the army could be 
raised to 300,000 men. 

Greece, with a population of 2,600,000, has an army which 
in time of war can be brought up to 100,000 men. 

Montenegro, with a population of only 250,000, can place 
45,000 men in the field, of whom 4,000 are mounted. There 
are in addition 11 reserve battalions only fit for service on 
the lines of communication. There are 104 field and 44 
machine guns. 

I shall not relate in detail the extraordinary rumours in 
circulation in Constantinople during those weary days when 
we were still awaiting permission to leave for the front ; 
neither will I give in detail the appalling amount of false 
information served out by the Headquarters Staff to the 
Turkish Press in order to calm the public, and to bluff 
Europe into believing that all was going well with Ottoman 
arms. 

The daring of these senseless fabrications beats anything 
ever attempted before in war. We were told of the bombard- 
ment of Varna and of the dispatch of a Turkish army thither 
to invade Bulgarian soil in order to cause a diversion and 
force some of the enemy's troops to leave the neighbourhood 

g2 



84 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

of Mustafa Pasha. We were told of the dispatch of an entire 
Army Corps to Media, in the Black Sea, under Mahmoud 
Mukhtar Pasha, which was to form behind the Istrandza 
Mountains and to act on the right flank of the main 
army. Then came successive victories over the Servians 
at Kumanova, the rout of the Greeks near Elassona, 
the total disruption of the Montenegrin army and finally 
the successful invasion of Bulgarian territory through the 
pass of Mustafa Pasha. 

Finally, it became the fervent wish of every war corre- 
spondent in Constantinople to leave for the front at the 
very first opportunity, so that he might pass from the 
realm of fictitious rumour, which hovered over the city 
like a dense mist, into the realm of facts which he might 
see with his own eyes. To have remained in Constantinople 
much longer would have driven earnest seekers after 
truth almost to despair, as it was utterly impossible to 
trust any of the official or unofficial news which circulated 
hour after hour throughout the town. The Turks kept 
up the bluff* right to the last minute, and the Sultan issued 
a proclamation to his armies ordering them to take the 
offensive everywhere against " Our little neighbours, Greece, 
Montenegro, Servia, and Bulgaria." 

The veil was suddenly lifted from all these doubts and 
uncertainties in the most dramatic manner on Friday, 
October 25th. On that morning rumours began to circulate 
throughout the town that Kirk Kilisse had been captured by 
the Bulgarians and that a Turkish Cavalry Division under 
Prince Aziz had been almost entirely destroyed. The day 
will be known in future as Black Friday, because for the 
first time the authorities made no effort to conceal the truth 
and published an official account which, of course, minimised 
the full extent of the disaster, but which nevertheless did not 
attempt to deny the main facts. 



NEWS FROM THE FRONT 85 

Constantinople was profoundly stirred by the bad news 
from all parts of the theatre of war, and the feeling of 
the public was akin to that of the British people on 
receiving the news of the successive reverses of Colenso, 
Stormberg, and Magersfontein in a single week. The 
capture of Kirk Kilisse and the retirement of the Army 
of Thrace on Baba Eski and Lule Burgas ; the defeat of 
Zekki Pasha's army at Kumanovo, after his reported victory 
over the Servians three days previously, and the advance 
of the Greek Army on Classo came as a complete surprise 
to the Turkish public. 

To crown these misfortunes, reports came to hand that 
the Albanians were wavering in their allegiance, no doubt 
influenced by the adverse turn events were taking against 
Ottoman arms. They delivered the following ultimatum : — 
" We are tired of the war and of the perpetual disturbances 
in our country. We do not wish anyone to fight over our 
lands, and unless we are guaranteed peace and liberty 
we will call upon Austria to come to our assistance." 

I received confirmation of these reports in a most dramatic 
and unexpected manner. I have already mentioned that my 
brother had left for the front with the other correspondents 
two days before, on Wednesday, October 23rd, and that 
I had been detained at the Pera Palace Hotel owing 
to an attack of influenza. 1 was upstairs in my room 
making preparations to leave for the front on the 
following day, when there came a knock at the door 
and a very much travel-stained individual entered the room, 
and handed me a dirty envelope. I tore this open and found 
three messages, one from my brother, addressed to myself; 
one in code from Lionel James, addressed to Mr. Graves, 
The Times correspondent in Constantinople ; and the third 
addressed by Donohoe to Dr. Sadler, the correspondent of 
the Daily Chrojiicle. 



86 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

My brother's message was as follows : " We arrived at 
Seidler on Thursday morning, after spending all night in 
the train. Owing to a railway accident, a train having gone 
off the line, it was necessary to wait until the evening. It 
appears that the Turkish population are in a state of panic, 
owing to King Ferdinand's proclamation declaring a war 
of the Cross against the Crescent. The trains returning 
from the neighbourhood of Burgas are filled with women 
and children who have lost everything. There are large 
numbers of them, and even the roofs of the railway carriages 
are crowded. During the night we were ordered to retire 
on Chorion. It is rumoured the Bulgarians have crossed the 
frontier, have defeated the Turks, and have taken Kirk 
Kilisse. I am sending this down by the engine driver, who 
has promised to deliver it to you." 

I sent for my interpreter and talked to the engine driver, 
who had no very clear idea as to what had happened, except 
that the Turks had undoubtedly suffered defeat. 

These were the first messages sent by correspondents from 
the front in the course of the campaign. 

That evening Colonel Izzet came in to see me, in order to 
make some final preparations, as I was to leave for the 
front by motor car on the following morning. 1 was 
anxious to see how he took the news of the disasters and 
how he reconciled them with all the reports he had been 
persistently circulating of Turkish successes everywhere. 

The gallant Colonel, who suffered, up to the time of the 
debacle of Lule Burgas, from a persistent optimism, which 
nothing could check, addressed me in the following strain : — 

"Naturally, we are disappointed at the news from the 
front, and of our retirement from Kirk Kilisse, but in reality, 
what is our position ? We are now concentrated on the very 
ground previously decided for the concentration of the Army 
of Thrace, as laid down by Field-Marshal von der Goltz and 



COLONEL IZZET'S VIEWS 87 

our own strategists. Even if Adrianople were to fall into 
the enemy's hands, it would make not the smallest difference 
to our originally-formed plan of campaign, which is to con- 
centrate all our forces, and then gradually force the 
Bulgarians back across the Balkans. Had our precautions 
on the frontier met with success, it would have been gratifying, 
but, contrary to our expectations, as it is, they have had the 
effect of delaying the enemy's advance, and of giving time to 
our troops to concentrate. 

" It must be remembered under what difficulties the 
Turks commenced this campaign. In their earnest desire to 
preserve peace, they delayed their concentration until the 
very last minute compatible with their national safety, 
although they knew Bulgaria was fully prepared for war. 
The men, munitions, and provisions had to be brought long 
distances from widely-scattered districts of the Empire, and 
the Balkan Coalition, therefore, possessed every strategical 
advantage at the start of the campaign. The delay in the 
Bulgarian offensive caused a sudden change from pessimism 
to optimism, which has led to temporary discomfiture, 
because the sound plans of the recognised masters of 
strategy were temporarily abandoned. But the check will 
have a wholesome effect, because it will at once cause the 
spirit of contempt for our little neighbours to give way to a 
truer appreciation of their fighting capacities." 

Before I relate in detail the strange adventures which 
befel me on my journey to the front and during the battle 
of Lule Burgas, I will give a 7^esume of the opening opera- 
tions of the campaign which led to the capture of Kirk 
Kilisse and to the failure of the Turkish plan of campaign, 
which was to concentrate the whole of the Grand Army of 
Thrace along the line Adrianople-Kirk Kilisse. 

The battle must be considered as a whole with the 
operations which commenced with the capture of Kirk Kilisse 



88 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

on the night of October 22nd and morning of October 23rd. 
Kirk Kihsse was held by a portion of the garrison of 
Adrianople, in no great force, although it was the right of 
the base of operations against Bulgaria, and contained large 
accumulations of food, ammunition, and supplies. The 
garrison were totally inadequate to withstand the shock of 
the Bulgarian troops, and the mobilisation of the Army 
of Thrace was so behindhand that no force was ready to be 
pushed forward to its support. 

The original Turkish plan of campaign was to concentrate 
the whole of the Army of Tlirace, under the command of 
Abdullah Pasha, along the lineAdrianople-Kirk Kilisse, where 
its left flank would be protected by the fortress of Adria- 
nople — from which it could draw its supplies — and at the 
same time the right of the army would rest on Kirk Kihsse, 
and would be covered by the Istrandza mountains, behind 
which it was proposed to form an army under Mahmoud 
Mukhtar, landed at Midia, on the Black Sea, and having that 
port as its base. 

This was doubtless a sound plan of campaign, and the 
natural one in the circumstances, always supposing that 
the mobilisation of the Army of Thrace could be completed 
either before or at approximately the same date as that of 
the Bulgarians. If the mobilisation were delayed even for a 
few days, it would at once become the most dangerous plan 
of campaign that could possibly be chosen, because the 
various corps arriving one after another on the line 
Adrianople- Kirk Kilisse would render themselves liable to 
be attacked and destroyed in detail, should the enemy take 
the offensive in force. 

This is exactly what happened, and the failure of the 
Turkish General Staff to gi*asp the time-honoured axiom 
of war — that an army must be concentrated before battle — 
is responsible for the crushing disaster which has over- 



FAULTY STRATEGY 89 

whelmed Turkey. At the outbreak of war the Turkish 
troops were hopelessly scattered throughout Macedonia, 
Albania, on the Greek frontier, in the Yemen, in Asia 
Minor, and Tripoli, and from the very commencement it 
became obvious that, as the conditions on which the plan of 
campaign were originally based were no longer normal, it 
would be quite impossible to mobilise the Army of 
Thrace within the period calculated for that purpose by 
Von der Goltz and his German advisers. 

It is extremely doubtful, even if the conditions had been 
normal, whether the Army of Thrace could have been 
mobilised and concentrated in time to meet the first shock 
of the Bulgarian advance. Everything essential to a rapid 
mobilisation was lacking. There was no efficient railway 
organisation for transporting troops ; no commissariat for the 
Army Corps once they left the line of the railway; no 
adequate supplies of food and ammunition ; no hospital 
arrangements of any sort ; and, even if the material had been 
at hand, there was no trained staff capable of handling an 
army of more than 100,000 men. 

Therefore, it may well be asked. Why did the Turkish 
General Staff proceed with a plan of campaign which, 
according to the generally accepted maxims of war, seemed 
to play right into the enemy's hands and to invite certain 
disaster ? 

I think the answer is to be found in the utter lack of 
all knowledge of strategy in Turkish military circles ; their 
entire failure to grasp the true significance of Bulgaria's 
twenty-five years of steady preparation for war ; and, above 
all, in the overwhelming self-confidence and conceit of the 
Turkish character which caused them to despise all infidels, 
and more especially the Balkan States, until the debacle 
of Lule Burgas finally opened their eyes to their own 
inefficiencies. The Turks never believed that the Bulgarians 



90 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

could, or would, dare to take the offensive against the 
Ottoman Empire, and they seemed to think that the Czar 
Ferdinand's legions would quietly sit still behind the 
Balkans, scared to death, until the Turkish concentration 
was completed, and an offensive campaign begun. 

This, then, was their state of mind when the startling 
intelligence became known in Constantinople, on October 
23rd, that Kirk Kilisse had been captured, its garrison routed 
and put to hopeless flight. But even then the true signifi- 
cance of the disaster does not seem to have dawned on 
them, and no steps were taken to avoid a still greater one. 

It is obvious that, the moment the General Staff became 
aware of the Bulgarian forward movement on a vast scale, 
it was hopeless for them to attempt to concentrate so close 
to the hostile frontier as the line Adrianople-Kirk Kilisse, 
and, therefore, the only sound course would have been 
to order the immediate retirement of the advanced corps 
to some strong central position, where they could have 
entrenched themselves and waited, until the rest of the 
army had come into line. 

The most natural position would seem to be that between 
Baba Eski and Lule Burgas, where the army could protect 
the line of the railway, and at the same time draw its food 
and supplies. In view of the utter disorganisation which, it 
has since been proved, prevailed everywhere, the still sounder 
course would have been immediately to order the 
retirement of the whole army behind the lines of Chataldja, 
where it finds itself at this hour. But I suppose the 
military authorities did not dare make this confession of 
failure, and preferred to run still greater risks than admit 
defeat. 

At any rate, the original plan of a concentration 
between Adrianople and Kirk Kilisse was proceeded with, 
and I will now relate the sequence of events which brought 



THE FIRST DEFEAT 91 

about its failure and which led to the utter disruption of the 
Army of Thrace. 

At the time of the defeat of the garrison of Kirk Kilisse 
three Turkish Army Corps, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, were 
being mobilised and gradually pushed to the front. The 
1st Army, under Yavir Pasha, was the most forward, and 
its three divisions, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, were echeloned 
between Kavakli, south-west of Kirk Kilisse, and Jenidze, 
about six kilometres further north-west. On October 24th 
and 25th the three divisions of the 1st Corps — the Constan- 
tinople troops, and considered one of the crack corps — 
were attacked and beaten in detail by the Bulgarians who 
had been victorious at Kirk Kilisse. The 1st Corps was 
completely broken up, practically all its artillery being 
captured, and the remnants fled in confusion to Baba Eski. 

While this disaster was taking place the 3rd Corps, under 
Mahmoud Mukhtar, was at Bunar Hissar, where it was also 
attacked by a portion of the Bulgarian army. There was 
some fighting, but the utter rout of the 1st Army Corps, 
which exposed his left flank, forced Mahmoud Mukhtar to 
retire on Viza, which he reached safely. 

Even this second crushing disaster failed to bring wisdom 
to the Turkish General Staff", and, instead of a general 
concentration being ordered of all the corps farther south, 
troops were pushed to the front, and an effort was made to 
concentrate the army between Lule Burgas and Karagac. 

Thus, when the battle of Lule Burgas opened on Monday, 
October 28th, the position was this : — The 4th Corps, under 
Abouk Pasha, but not up to its full strength, was in and 
around Lule Burgas. The remnants of the 1st Corps, which 
had been routed on the 24th and 25th, had been hastily 
collected and brought into line, but without guns, as practi- 
cally all had been lost ; the 2nd Corps, under Shefket 
Torgut, had come up on the right, and was between Turk- 



92 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Bey and Karagac ; whilst the 3rd Corps, under Mahmoud 
Mukhtar, was still a long way to the rear at Viza. 

It will thus be seen that Abdullah's army was in a hope- 
less state of confusion and demoralisation before the battle 
began, whilst, on the other hand, the Bulgarians were flushed 
with two great successes. 

In addition, the Turkish Commander-in-Chief was taken 
completely by surprise, which is proved by the fact that, 
when I saw him at dawn on Monday, October 28th, he 
told me he had no immediate intention of proceeding to 
the front, and yet later in the day he hastily departed for 
Sakiskeuy with his staff, without even having time to 
forward his personal baggage, and was thus left for two days 
without food or spare clothes. I have since learnt that 
such was the confusion amongst the corps, that many of the 
men never reached their proper divisions, but were hastily 
snatched up by other commanders and hurried to the 
fighting-line. 

As soon as the men were brought up by rail they were 
dumped down, given vague instructions, and expected to 
find their proper commands ; and when the battle opened 
many regiments were wandering about hopelessly lost. Thus 
some of the 4th Corps fought with the 2nd, and some 
of the 1st with the 4th, which naturally added to the 
general demoralisation. 



CHAPTER VIII 

DEPARTURE OF THE CORRESPONDENTS FOR THE FRONT 

We left Constantinople at seven o'clock on the evening of 
Wednesday, October 23rd, for Kirk Kilisse, the headquarters 
of the right wing of the Turkish Army of Thrace commanded 
by Abdullah Pasha. 

The train was due to start at 4 o'clock, and by 2 p.m. 
a small army of fifty dragomen and servants, eighty horses, 
and as much baggage as would have sufficed for a Turkish 
army corps, had arrived at the station. It was raining 
hard, and when I went down to see the horses entrained 
I found the utmost confusion prevailing. The station yard 
was blocked by a medley of carts and horses, the latter 
kicking and plunging about in the mud, refusing to be led 
into the open cattle trucks which were provided for their 
accommodation. The voluble Greek dragomen added to 
the confusion by shouting and abusing each other and 
everyone in general, as is their wont, but finally, by some 
miracle, horses, baggage, and servants were bundled into 
the trucks. 

Meanwhile some thirty-two correspondents, photographers, 
and cinematograph operators, representing almost every 
European nationality, had assembled on the station platform. 
Their costumes were varied, some of them grotesque. One 
cadaverous Frenchman, who arrived mounted on an 



94 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

emaciated cab horse, decked out with an abnormal quantity 
of obsolete saddle-bags, revolvers, waterbottles, filters, etc., 
was at once christened Don Quixote, and an obese German, 
who followed him, was nick-named Sancho Panza. 

The correspondent of the Kreuz-Zeitung wore the largest 
sombrero that it has ever been my lot to see, with one side 
looped up after the manner of Roosevelt's Roughriders, or 
of the C.I.V. As it rains continually at this season, I 
imagine that he must have intended to use it as an umbrella. 

We had to wait three hours at the station, but there was 
so much incident that the wait did not seem dull. A 
number of Turkish infantry had stacked their rifles and 
were squatting about on the platforms waiting to entrain. 
Two of them had pulled out rustic pipes, and were playing 
a monotonous wailing melody, while a dozen other rough- 
bearded soldiers danced a slow measure round and round in 
a circle, waving their arms in rhythm with the music. 

Later on, a regiment marched into the station with its band 
playing, while the crowd pressed round clapping and cheering. 
We were allotted carriages in the same train as this regiment. 
A number of the correspondents' friends, among whom were 
several ladies, and a number of Turkish officers had come 
to bid us farewell. Everyone was in the best of spirits at 
getting away from Constantinople at last, after the weeks of 
tedious waiting and uncertainty. 

The Turkish officers assured us that they would join us 
in a few days, and invited us to dine with them in Sofia, 
and other equally unlikely places. I don't think that anyone 
had an idea of how quickly disaster was destined to 
overtake the Turkish Army, or of how, within a few weeks, 
most of these fine soldiers who were being despatched to 
the front daily would have either been killed on the battle- 
field, or have perished of disease by the roadside, uncared 
for and unmourned. 



OFF TO THE FRONT 95 

Hundreds of people had gathered along the railway line to 
cheer and burn torches and fireworks as the train steamed 
out through the shadowy suburbs of Stamboul, while a 
tuneless brass band was playing in an open truck. 

A few miles outside Constantinople we had a first glimpse 
of the realities of war when we were halted in a siding, while 
a train-load of badly- wounded men on its way back from the 
front crawled slowly by. By the light of the carriage lamps 
we could see the men lying about on the floors and seats of 
the carriages in varying attitudes of suffering. One young 
officer, his clothes soaked in blood, lay pale and rigid on the 
floor of a first-class carriage. He had died of his wounds 
during the journey. 

A little farther on we passed a train-load of refugees flying 
from Adrianople and the surrounding villages. Women and 
children were packed in first-class carriages or cattle-trucks, 
with the wreck of their homes scattered in confusion around 
them. 

I shared a second-class carriage with Lionel James of 
The Tivies, and Martin Donohoe of the Chronicle, both of 
whom afterwards became my constant companions. Having 
had some experience of Turkish methods, we had brought 
provisions for four days in the carriage with us, although we 
were due at Kirk Kilisse on the following day at noon. We 
ate an impromptu supper of sardines and tongue and cocoa, 
which we boiled over a portable spirit lamp, and then, worn 
out by a fortnight of procrastination and preparations in 
Constantinople, settled down to sleep as best we could in 
the railway carriage, which was crowded with our camp 
equipment. 

Few things are more ghastly than dawn in a railway 
carriage. If you have the window open at night the draught 
becomes intolerable, and if it is shut one awakes in an atmo- 
sphere sodden and foetid. It is bad enough in a sleeper on 



96 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the Orient Express, but here, in a second-class Turkish 
railway carriage en route for the front, it was infinitely 
worse. 

A large measure of our first enthusiasm evaporated when 
we awoke in the morning and found ourselves halted at the 
little wayside station of Seidler, twenty miles from Lule 
Burgas, and on the main line to Adrianople. There were 
no signs of a village, only a few station buildings, while as 
far as the eye could see stretched a brown and barren plain 
like the South African veldt. It was raining hard, and in 
the grey light of dawn the landscape looked indescribably 
desolate. 

We were told that we should have to wait two or three 
hours to allow train-loads of wounded men to pass, so, stiff 
and tired, we turned out to refresh ourselves by a wash 
under the station pump. 

Towards noon we sighted a long line of wagons and 
people on foot winding across the hills from the direction of 
liule Burgas. At first we thought that it was an army in 
retreat, but after a time we could make out that they were 
women and children, tramping across country with all their 
worldly goods packed in bullock- wagons. They went bare- 
footed for the most part, and in places had to wade up to 
their knees through mud and water. 

One pretty little dark-eyed girl was riding astride on an 
ox, and other little children were urging on the patient 
bullocks with their goads. An old man who was limping 
down the road, moaning as he went, told me that the 
Bulgarians had captured Kirk Kilisse, and that the villages 
were in flames. Then he shook his fist towards the north 
and swore a vengeance that he could never hope to take. 

We were told that we should be taken back to Chorion 
at once, but a train became derailed behind us and we were 
compelled to wait until the line could be repaired. 



i^<i 



THE FIRST REFUGEES 97 

All day long an endless line of refugees wound across the 
plain, and towards evening a train arrived from Burgas with 
women and children clinging to the front of the engine and 
the tops of the railway carriages. 

King Ferdinand's proclamation of a crusade of the Cross 
against the Crescent had spread a panic among the Turkish 
population. As it grew dark the panic increased, and 
women and children came staggering across the fields 
panting and dishevelled. Among them was a number of 
Turkish soldiers who had become involved in the flight. The 
soldiers were starving, and when some of the officers in our 
train remonstrated with them, saying that if they did not 
return to the front they would be shot, they replied, " We 
would rather be shot than return there to be starved to 
death." 

As night set in the confusion increased. On all hands 
one heard the lowing of oxen, the cries of children, and 
a babble of angry voices raised in dispute. The officers 
accompanying us asked us to remain in our carriage, as the 
sight of Christians would hardly be welcome to those poor 
people, who had lost everything, and who, in their ignorance, 
knew only distinction of creed and not of race. 

The Turkish army had suffered its first reverse and the 
fortified town of Kirk Kilisse, headquarters of the right wing 
of the army, had been captured by the Bulgarians at the 
point of the bayonet at midnight on Wednesday. 

I gathered all the details that I could, and wrote out a 
hasty despatch describing the capture of Kirk Kihsse, and 
our own adventures. This despatch I addressed, 

"Pera Palace, 

Room 60," 

which was the number of my brother's room, and gave the 
Greek engine driver of one of the down trains a sovereign to 
deliver it to the porter at the Pera Palace Hotel. I did 

H 



98 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

not care to put my brother's name on the letter, as I thought 
we might get into trouble from the authorities, if the Greek 
engine driver betrayed us. The letter was, I afterwards 
heard, delivered to my brother on the following day, and 
enabled him to send the first authoritative account of the 
capture of Kirk Kihsse. 

By 10.30 on Thursday night the line in our rear had been 
cleared and we were able to return to Chorion, some 20 
miles in the rear, arriving at dawn on Friday. Even there 
the station and all its approaches were crowded with refugees. 
We gave bread to some of them and they went down on 
their knees to thank us. 

At about 7 o'clock we detrained, and the general scramble 
for the few bullock- wagons available to carry our stores and 
equipment to the camping ground afforded an interesting 
example of the enterprising nature of war correspondents. 
There were further interesting, but rather expensive examples 
when it came to sorting out the baggage. 

Then the horses were detrained and freely manifested the 
resentment that they felt at two days' imprisonment in cattle 
trucks. 

The stout German correspondent, whom we had nicknamed 
Sancho Panza, was soon afterwards seen disappearing in the 
distance in pursuit of his two saddle horses, which were 
making for Adrianople at full gallop. 

When we reached the camping ground there was another 
undignified scramble for the best spots in which to pitch the 
tents, in which the halfpenny papers rather worsted their 
more dignified penny colleagues. 

We were camped in a pleasant vaUey v^dth high tablelands 
all round us. That evening I sat in my tent in the hour of 
shadows. It was a beautiful evening, peaceful as the 
summer-time in England. In front were the horse lines, 
and beyond them lay the white road, along which wound an 



DISORGANISATION 99 

endless train of refugees flying blindly toward Stamboul — 
that mirage city of prosperity — from before the crusaders of 
the twentieth century. As evening fell a crimson glow spread 
over the hill and the road became veiled in purple shadows, 
until the long line of refugees looked like an army of 
phantoms. From over the hills came their flocks of sheep 
and goats, and the night was restless with the music of 
cattle-bells and the groaning of the heavy ox-wagons. 

At Chorion, which was the advance base for the left and 
centre of the Turkish Army, which was concentrated on the 
line Lule Burgas-Baba Eski-Viza, some 40 miles to the 
north-east, we had ample evidence of the activity of the 
Turkish preparations. Regiments were arriving at all hours, 
either by railway from Constantinople or by road from 
Rodosto on the Sea of Marmora, some 20 miles distant. 
From Chorion they were hurriedly dispatched by rail and 
road to the front. 

There was a complete lack of organisation. Regiments 
would arrive in the camp worn out and hungry after a long 
day's march, and instead of finding food and the shelter of a 
tent, would be left to spend the night without shelter in 
pelting rain and a bitter north-east wind. The nights were 
intensely cold, there being on several occasions 12-14 
degrees of frost. There seemed to be an almost complete 
lack of food, or of any form of organised commissariat, and 
so the half-starved men were dying like flies of dysentery, 
pneumonia, and other diseases. 

There was also a great shortage of officers, many 
regiments having only one to a double company. 

In the course of a day's march about half the men in 
the regiment would fall out from sore feet, exhaustion, or 
disease. The utmost demoralisation and apathy prevailed 
among the men, and we had little doubt, after a few days 
spent at Chorion, which would be the victorious army. 

H 2 



100 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Our own position was not of the happiest. We were 
camped forty miles from the scene of the mihtary operations, 
with armed sentries on guard night and day with orders to 
prevent us escaping, while our only news consisted of daily 
reports of Turkish victories, which were announced to us by 
the fatuous censor. We had been told before leaving Con- 
stantinople that all our despatches would have to be handed 
in in French, but when we got to Chorion we found that 
there were no facilities of any kind for sending telegrams. 
We made a collective protest, and after twenty-four hours' 
delay were informed that we might send telegrams which 
were handed in in Turkish, of which language we were 
completely ignorant. 

This rather limited the sphere of our usefulness, and we 
began to wonder what the editors would say when they saw 
the long tale of our fruitless expenditure. We were destined 
to spend three days in the camp at Chorion, and during that 
time I had the opportunity of getting to know my fellow 
correspondents, and, with a few exceptions, I never hope to 
meet a nicer lot of fellows. 

In one way only did they disappoint me. I had expected 
to meet a hardy band of buccaneers, trained in the ways 
of camp life, and inured to the hardships of war. Some of 
them, it is true, were experienced campaigners, but a great 
many had never been out of Fleet Street oi;* seen a shot 
fired in anger in their lives. Several of them, even, had 
never been on a horse's back. 

One correspondent in particular had reached an age which 
cannot have been far short of 40, without ever having 
exposed himself to the fearful hazard of the saddle. He 
had purchased the quietest steed that he could find in Con- 
stantinople, but when, on his trial run in the camp at Chorion, 
the animal broke out into a spirited hackney trot, the corre- 
spondent felt his tenure of office so uncertain, that he hastily 



DONOHOE PASHA 101 

dismounted in a none too dignified manner. After this he 
confided his horse to the care of a more experienced com- 
panion, with a request to so break it in that it should never 
go out of a walk. It was a jaded and dispirited animal, 
about the number of whose ribs there could be no possible 
doubt, and everyone who rode it had difficulty in getting 
it to go at anything faster than a walk, but, with the strange 
perversity of its kind, it indulged in the wildest affectation of 
activity directly the unfortunate one from Fleet Street got 
on to its back. 

Finally he abandoned his horse and went everywhere on 
foot. How he managed it will ever be a puzzle to me, but 
he was always present where there was anything to be seen, 
and his energy appeared inexhaustible. I have ever since 
had a profound admiration for him, because he behaved in a 
most gallant manner, although I believe that from the first 
he found his unusual situation in the midst of a routed army 
both embarrassing and alarming. 

Lionel James of The Times, and Martin Donohoe of the 
Chronicle, were my two best friends, and we had all three 
pitched our tents together in one corner of the camp. 
James, a charming companion, used to amuse himself 
by telling me horrible tales of the atrocities which the 
Turkish soldiers were likely to practise on me, in the 
event of their being defeated and getting out of hand. 
He entertained us very much by sitting in front of the 
tent and chanting erotic Hindoo songs in nasal monotonous 
tones, to the astonishment of the Turkish sentries. He was 
an experienced campaigner, having himself served in the 
army, while at present he commands a regiment of 
Yeomanry. In addition, he is a very able war correspondent, 
and in that capacity has taken part in numerous campaigns, 
including the South African and the Russo-Japanese wars. 

Martin Donohoe, an Irish- Australian, is a journalist of 



102 WITtt THE TURKS IN THRACE 

great experience, and is a most entertaining companion, 
having amusing stories to tell about every part of the world. 
In appearance he reminded me of the stout robber baron 
in Reinhardt's " Miracle " at Olympia. I am sure that in a 
more primitive state of existence he would have spent his 
time ravaging other people's lands and driving off their 
cattle, or in burning their castles and carrjring off their wives 
across his saddle bow. Living in the twentieth century, he has 
turned his hand to the only legalised form of brigandage — 
the profession of a war correspondent. He is a large, rather 
stout man, with a round, reddish face and a bristling mous- 
tache. When one day he appeared wearing a black fur cap 
and a grey overcoat of military pattern, he looked so like a 
Bulgarian, that we were all afraid for his life. 

He used to ride the most extraordinary horse that it has 
ever been my lot to see ; such a horse as one sees portrayed 
in story books for children or in effigy in a toy-shop. It was 
a strongly-built animal, abnormally long in the barrel, with 
the sturdy foreshortened legs of a carthorse, which, however, 
tapered down to the hocks and hoofs of a thoroughbred 
racer. These legs, with an excess of affectation, it used to 
lift high in the air in an effort to imitate the exaggerated 
gait of a prize hackney. In addition, it had the head of a 
'bus-horse, and the delicate, sensitive nostrils of an Arab. 
Donohoe used to ride a Turkish military saddle with a brass- 
capped back piece, underneath which was a sky-blue numnah 
cloth, with a red border, so that, later on, when he discarded 
his Bulgarian costume and adopted a fez and grew a beard, 
he looked for all the world like a Turkish Pasha, and inspired 
superlative respect among all the soldiers whom he 
encountered. 

Among the other correspondents, I have particularly 
pleasant memories of Mr. Alan Ostler, the very able and 
energetic representative of the Daily Express, who had been 



VASFI'S LAMENTS 108 

with the Turco- Arab forces in the deserts of Tripoh for more 
than a year. He had finally fallen a victim to typhoid fever, 
and had experienced all the horrors of a Turkish field hospital. 
He had been left alone in a tent with various other more or 
less moribund unfortunates, and was on the point of death 
when rescued by an English doctor. None the less, after 
six months of convalescence, he had volunteered for service 
in the present war. 

On the whole the foreign correspondents were a very nice 
lot of fellows, although the Frenchmen were rather inclined 
to behave in a childish manner. They treated the censor, 
Major Vasfi, as though he had been their nurse, and were 
constantly gathering in a gesticulating mob round his tent 
to make what they described as a ^'demarche collective'' 
This generally meant that they had come to abuse him 
because one of them had lost his horse, or some of his 
baggage, or because another was cold and had not enough to 
eat. They tormented poor Major Vasfi almost to death, 
and on several occasions he came to my tent for a little 
peace, exclaiming, as he sank with a sigh of rehef upon the 
camp bed, " But, Monsieur Ashmead-Bartlett, what would 
you ? Am I their nurse ? Can I look after their luggage, 
their horses, and their cold feet ? " 

Of the German correspondents. Baron von Kriegelstein 
and Major von Zweiter, I have nothing but pleasant 
memories. They were both brave and able gentlemen, but 
— in common with all the other foreign correspondents — they 
were hampered in the execution of their work by a lack of 
funds. 

The two Russian correspondents were persona ingratissima 
with the Turks, who suspected Russia of having instigated 
the crusade of the Balkan States. To make matters worse, 
one of the correspondents was an officer of the Headquarters 
Staff in St. Petersburg, and the Turks insisted, not without 



104 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

reason, that he had been sent by his Government to act as 
a spy. FeeHng was very bitter against him, and he had been 
told by Izzet Bey before leaving Constantinople that he 
accompanied the army at his own risk, and I myself more 
than once heard Turkish officers express the wish that he 
might be found shot by the roadside. The limit was reached 
when he handed in his despatches to the Censor, addressed 
to the Russian Embassy in Constantinople. Then for the 
first time did Major Vasfi's habitual calm desert him, and 
he pointed out some unpleasant truths to Captain W . 

Personally, I liked the Russian, for he was a man of great 
experience and culture, and we went for several long forbidden 
rides together. Officially, the only exercise we were allowed 
was a tour, which took place daily after lunch, when 
we were expected to ride two and two behind a 
Turkish officer, like schoolgirls out with their mistress 
on the parade of some South Coast watering-place. 
Personally, 1 refused to take part in these rides after the 
first occasion, when the whole cavalcade of riders, good, bad 
— for the most part — and indifferent, clad in the most 
heterogeneous and ridiculous costumes I have ever seen, 
trotted back into camp led by a tiny stray donkey which had 
joined them during the ride. That donkey seemed so aptly 
to symbolise us and our fruitless mission at Chorion. 

The first day and night in the camp at' Chorion were 
pleasant enough, as the weather was warm and sunny, but 
on Saturday evening a bitter wind sprang up in the north- 
east and it became very cold. I found it impossible to 
keep warm even in a tent, and a few such nights as we ex- 
perienced on Saturday would have proved fatal to the 
horses, unaccustomed as they were to the hardships of a 
campaign. Luckily, by a supreme and united effort, we 
succeeded in rousing the Censor from his habitual sluggish- 
ness and prevailed upon him to find stabling for the horses 



MY VILLA AT CHORLOU 105 

in Chorlou, while we ourselves moved into houses in the 
village. 

Major Vasfi, the Censor, was always very kind to me, 
I think chiefly because I was always polite to him, and 
for the sake of my father, who had been a life-long friend 
of Turkey. So, when on the morning of Monday, 
October 28th, we moved from our camp into the village 
of Chorlou, he went on ahead and obtained one of the 
best houses in the place for me. 

It was a large wooden house with projecting bay windows 
on the upper floors, rather like the houses that were built in 
London in the seventeenth century. It belonged to a family 
of Greeks, and was kept remarkably clean. Two large wooden 
coach doors gave access to an atrium with a floor of earth 
and paving stones, which occupied the whole of the ground 
floor, and in which the family lived and performed all 
their household duties. The family consisted of an old 
bearded man, two old ladies, his daughters, and a young 
man, his grandson, and they seemed to spend most of their 
time squatting on the earthen floor in one corner of the hall, 
around a brazier of coals, smoking and drinking coffee. 

Upstairs the rooms opened on to a hall, in the centre of 
which was a plain deal table on which we used to have our 
meals. In one corner a lamp was suspended above a photo- 
gravure of the Virgin Mary. It should, strictly speaking, 
have been kept burning continually, but the old ladies, being 
of an economical turn of mind, used only to light it at 
sunset, and put it out again when they went to bed. The 
rooms were large and airy, and the deal floors were scrubbed 
as white as snow, but they were bare of all furniture, save 
for divans arranged around the walls, upon which we 
used to sleep. 

All this time I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival 
of my brother, of whom I had had no news since I left 



106 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

him lying ill in the Pera Palace Hotel. On Monday 
afternoon, just as I had got installed in my house, Sir Bryan 
Leighton arrived from Constantinople in my brother's motor- 
car. He said that they had taken three days to cover the 
intervening 150 miles, owing to the absence of proper 
roads, and that the previous evening they had broken down 
15 miles outside the town, and my brother and Ismet Bey, 
a young Turkish officer, had left the motor in order to walk 
on to Chorion in search of assistance. 

I began to wonder what had happened to them, as 
24 hours had by now elapsed since they had left the motor-car. 
At first I thought that they must have taken the wrong road 
and gone some miles out of their way before discovering 
their mistake. But when on the following morning there 
was still no news, I began to think that my brother might 
have fallen ill again, or met with an accident by the roadside. 
At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, therefore, I visited the Censor and 
informed him officially that my brother and Ismet-bey were 
missing. Major Vasfi was very kind, promising to make 
all inquiries and to send a patrol out to search the roads. 

Soon afterwards we heard the distant sound of guns to the 
north, and during the day the cannonade increased in 
violence, until, toward evening, it had deepened to a con- 
tinual murmur of far-away thunder. The great battle that 
was to decide the fate of the Turkish Empire had started, 
but the Censor hardened his heart and refused to allow us to 
leave Chorion. My situation was horrible ; here I was, a 
prisoner in Chorion, while 40 miles away the greatest battle 
of modern times was being fought out on the heights around 
Lule Burgas. 

I felt bound to wait for my brother until the evening, as I 
had all the stores and equipment. Finally, at five o'clock in 
the afternoon, I could bear it no longer, and as I was still 
without news of him, I decided that he must be either dead 




Our Tent at Chorlou. 



iFlwto S. Ashmead-BartUtt 



S5 < 



tiot- 



PARTING WITH THE CENSOR 107 

or else had got on to the front by some miracle. 
Accordingly, I purchased a cart for £14, loaded it up with 
a tent and sufficient food for four days, and the next 
morning, accompanied by Sir Bryan Leighton, I escaped 
from Chorion and the Censor before dawn, and rode toward 
the sound of the guns. 



CHAPTER IX 

MY JOURNEY TO CHORLOU 

On Saturday, October 26th, I left Constantinople. On 
Saturday, November 2nd, just one week later, I was back 
again in the city. During this brief period I was destined to 
make my way to Lule Burgas to take part in the great 
decisive battle of the campaign, to retreat with the routed 
army of Thrace as far as Chorion, and then to make my 
way back to Constantinople via Rodosto. I passed through 
the most exciting, fatiguing and instructive week of my life ; 
such a one as I never wish to endure again. Looking back 
now, it all seems like some wild dream, so unnatural were 
the scenes which I witnessed and so strange the adventures 
which beset my path from the moment I left Constantinople. 

Colonel Izzet arranged for a charming young Turk, Ismet 
Bey, who is employed in the service of the Ottoman Public 
Debt, but who volunteered to serve with the army when the 
war broke out, to accompany me to the front to act as my 
interpreter. Ismet turned out to be a great deal more to 
me than a mere interpreter. He became my guide, philoso- 
pher and friend, and but for his assistance I do not know 
what would have become of me, when for days I was 
wandering about the battlefield hopelessly lost and almost 
starving. 

Ismet is not a pure-blooded Turk, for his mother 



ISMET BEY 109 

is French ; he was educated in France, and is the possessor 
of a charming French wife. He speaks Enghsh and French 
with the utmost faciUty, has innumerable friends in the 
Turkish army — as the sequel will show — is a sportsman to 
the backbone, and prepared to rough it to any extent. 
Thus a more valuable companion for such a week of 
excitement and exertion could not have been found 
anywhere in the Turkish Empire. 

The night before I left Constantinople I had no sleep, as I 
had to make my final preparations, and then to sit up writing 
a long despatch to the Daily Telegraph on the news 
which had come in that day of the defeat of the 
Turkish army and the capture of Kirk Kilisse, while on the 
following morning — Saturday — I was up at 4 a.m. I was 
to be accompanied as far as Chorion by Sir Bryan 
Leighton and a young English cinematograph operator called 
Gordon, neither of whom had reached Constantinople in 
time to go to the front with the other correspondents on 
October 23rd. I offered to take Sir Bryan Leighton in my 
motor-car. Gordon had a seat in the car which had been 
bought by Lionel James and Ward Price for the use of The 
Times and the Daily Mail It had been arranged for this 
car to accompany me in order that I might see it safely to 
the front. 

My car was driven by a young French chauffeur who, 
despite his good recommendations, turned out to be about 
the worst of all the mongrel chauffeurs who feed on the 
unwary in Constantinople. There were the usual delays 
at the start. The hotel servants brought breakfast late ; 
it was found almost impossible to carry all our effects in the 
two cars, and many articles had to be rejected at the last 
moment. Then the cars were late in turning up, and it 
was near eight o'clock before Ismet, Sir Bryan Leighton, 
and myself were seated in our brand new Panhard. 



110 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

We started amidst the encouraging cheers of the 
entire staff of the Pera Palace Hotel, who had turned 
out en masse to receive their tips. The packing of two 
motor cars had also caused a dense crowd to gather in 
front of the hotel, and, when they realised we were off to 
join the army, they too joined in the chorus of farewell until 
the streets of Pera fairly resounded with their shouts. It 
was a beautiful morning, fine and clear, but somewhat cold. 
It had rained hard on the previous day, but the sky had 
now cleared, and there was every prospect of our 
having good weather for the journey. 

It was our avowed intention to reach Chorlou, where 
Colonel Izzet had told me we would find all the correspon- 
dents assembled, that same afternoon. He assured me we 
would not have the slightest difficulty in doing so, as 
the roads were excellent. However, there were others 
who did not share his optimism. The agents from whom 
I had bought the car warned me that the roads were 
practically non-existent, and that, although in dry weather 
it would be practicable to pass over them, the task became 
almost impossible after heavy rain such as we had had on 
the previous day. 

The day before starting I went to the French company 
who hold the contract for the making of roads through- 
out the Ottoman Empire. The director was even more 
pessimistic. He showed me on a map the best route to 
take, but also warned me that I would come to places, 
over which it would be almost impossible to pass. My 
chauffeur, who had once, so he said, driven a car as far as 
Adrianople, would not commit himself to any definite state- 
ment, simply saying, '* I will try my best, and I think I can 
get this car through anywhere." I stupidly allowed myself 
to be deceived by the wild statements of Colonel Izzet, and 
was also influenced by the fact that I heard that the military 



THE START 111 

authorities had commandeered a number of cars and taken 
them up to Chorion for the use of the General Staff of the 
Army. 

Just as I was leaving, an Englishman called Bryant, 
in the employ of the French Road Company, came to see 
me at the hotel. He had actually been charged with the 
task of making the road, and said that with fine weather I 
might get through. His job had now come to an end, as it 
was impossible to find labour for road-making during the 
war, and he asked me if I would employ him as a despatch 
rider, as he thought his knowledge of Turkish and his 
acquaintance with the people and with the country would 
prove invaluable. I therefore arranged for him to make his 
own way up to Chorion and to join me at the earliest 
possible date. 

The two motors rolled over the Galata Bridge, through 
the crowded streets of Stamboul and out by the Adrianople 
Gate to the open country beyond. For the first ten kilo- 
metres the road is fair and we made rapid progress. It 
was obvious from the start that a friendly rivalry existed 
between the two chauffeurs, the driver of The Times- 
Daily Mail car being a powerful Turk and an excellent 
driver, but lacking the mechanical knowledge possessed by 
my driver. 

We were all in high spirits and had begun to congrat- 
ulate ourselves on the rapid progress we were making, 
when the first of many subsequent disasters overtook us, 
effectually subdued our premature pride, and warned us of 
still worse evils to come. 

Descending a hill close to San Stefano, the road suddenly 
ended in a sea of mud. It would have been wiser to leave 
it and to try to pass over the meadow-land on either side, 
but the chauffeur, without waiting for instructions, drove 
bUndly into the morass. The gaUant car did her utmost to 



112 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

get through. The momentum of the descent carried her 
to the centre, then she slowed down, the wheels began to 
churn the mud with a furious roar, while we made no 
further progress and gradually sank up to our axles in this 
liquid slime. We jumped out and pushed and tugged, but 
in vain. It was obvious that only one course remained 
open, namely, to lighten the car by unloading all our 
baggage and the eight cans of petrol which we were 
carrying. Standing knee-deep in the mud we proceeded 
with this thankless task, and, when everything had been 
removed, we again turned on the engine and pushed behind. 
Again the wheels went whirling round, again the mud 
was thrown up in all directions, but it was impossible to 
obtain any grip, and the car refused to budge. 

Meanwhile the other chauffeur had succeeded in passing 
the morass by taking his car off the road. He now 
suggested that we should send to the nearest farm and 
secure two strong oxen to drag the motor out. We 
were saved this necessity by the passing of a wagon 
with two powerful beasts. The owner was not very 
willing to let us have them, but Ismet cut him short 
by commandeering them in the name of the Sultan, the 
Army, and the Koran. Fortunately we had taken the 
precaution to supply ourselves with a strong piece of rope 
before leaving Constantinople. This was tied round the 
front axle and harnessed to the two oxen. The gallant 
beasts put their shoulders to the yoke, at the same time 
the engine was started, and the great tug began. But 
although the oxen fell in the mud from their exertions, 
and although all of us pushed from behind, the car would 
not budge an inch. 

We were almost in despair, and sat down by the 
roadside wondering what to do next. It seemed impossible 
for us to release the car until the roads dried, and 



MY JOURNEY TO CHORLOU 113 

another shower might retard this indefinitely. From 
this predicament we were saved by the arrival of a party 
of soldiers, twelve in number, who had been attracted 
to the spot by the noise of the engine and the shouts of 
the bullock driver. Ismet commandeered them, with the 
promise of liberal backsheesh, to assist us. They put their 
shoulders to the wheels, and once more the oxen were 
harnessed up and the engine started. This time our joint 
exertions succeeded. The car began to move and amidst 
loud cheers we got her through the morass. But at 
what a cost ! That morning she had left Constantinople 
on her maiden journey, brand new, her beautiful green 
paint and smart appearance a source of constant delight 
to myself, who had never owned a car or ridden in one 
of which I was at any rate the temporary master 
before. Now she was covered with mud and the spokes 
of the wheels had completely disappeared. Her paint 
had been scratched off outside by the soldiers and inside 
by the packing and unpacking of the baggage and tins 
of oil. She had, in fact, ceased to have any likeness to 
a new car, and resembled an old and sorely battered 
wreck. 

However, to our infinite relief, we found the machinery 
had in nowise suffered, and after paying the bullock-owner 
and soldiers liberally, we resumed our chequered way. 
We had, however, lost two precious hours, and had to 
abandon any idea of reaching Chorlou that day. As if 
to lure us on to our eventual doom, the road now became 
much better, having lately been repaired by the French 
Road Company, and we made rapid progress as far as the 
village of Kuyuk Chekmedche, where we crossed the 
bridge spanning the inlet to the lake. On the other side 
we were delayed for some time by soldiers and transport 
carts making their way to the front, but, having shaken 



114 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

them off, we soon reached Buyuk Chekmedche, which forms 
the left wing of the famous Chataldja Hnes. 

The road here is carried over the lake by a giant causeway, 
some three hundred years old, built by one of the Sultans. 
It is a beautifully artistic structure, but, as the road has never 
been repaired since it was built, it is extremely difficult 
to avoid falling through holes, and we were obliged to 
proceed with extreme caution. On the other side of the 
causeway we halted for lunch, having brought provisions for 
a couple of days in the cars. Our passage through the 
country excited the wildest interest among the inhabitants, 
many of whom had never seen a motor-car before, and were 
astonished beyond measure at our progress without horses, 
and by the strange noises of the machinery. Above all, 
these simple-minded folk loved to sound the tooter. We 
had to keep a guard on the car to prevent spare parts and 
our personal effects from being stolen. 

We now had to decide which road we would take. 
We could either follow the sea-shore, or else turn inland 
and try a new road which the French Company had told 
me existed. We had many anxious consultations with the 
local villagers, and in the end the weight of opinion was 
strongly against our turning inland, as we were told the 
road was almost impassable, and would lead us up amongst 
the hills, which our cars would very likely be unable 
to climb. 

On the other side of the village of Kalikratia we 
met with our second mishap. We chmbed the steep hill 
all right and then found ourselves on an upland close to 
the sea shore, where the road disappeared altogether and we 
had to follow stray tracks left by bullock-wagons, or made 
by the passage of the transport and artillery on their way to 
the front. The cars could easily have passed over these 
tracks had there been no rain, but now they were soft beds 



THE SECOND BREAKDOWN 115 

of mud, and we were in constant danger of sticking once 
again. At length we came to a ditch and stream which 
completely cut the road, and there was no way round. My 
car, with infinite difficulty, managed to get across, but as it 
was mounting the further bank it struck a rock with terrific 
force and I thought something must be smashed. However, 
we saw no damage at the time. 

Then came the turn of the Daily Mail car. Its chauffeur 
had been abusing mine ever since we had stuck earlier in 
the day, on account of his bad driving. He now tried to 
cross the brook at another point by driving at a terrific 
pace right through it. The result was awful ; the car 
entered the water with a mighty splash, refused to budge 
another inch, and sank in the mud until the hind wheels 
had completely disappeared and the water was almost 
entering the body. We got out and looked at it in dismay. 
We tried to move it by pushing, but it was hopeless. 
Then we tried to improvise a bridge by placing boards under 
the wheels, but it never stirred. 

At the end of an hour's work we knew we were beaten, 
unless we discovered some oxen. Ismet volunteered to go 
in search of some, and half an hour later returned with 
two bullocks and their driver, which he had commandeered 
out of a plough in a neighbouring field. Again we were 
successful, but we had lost another two hours, and it was 
now three o'clock and by six it would be almost dark. 

When we went to start my car we found to our horror 
that the starting lever had not been fastened up, and that 
it had received the full force of the blow when we struck 
the rock, with the natural result that it was badly bent 
and we could not start the engine. This time I thought 
we were absolutely done, but by the joint efforts of the 
two chauffeurs we managed to hammer it back more or 
less into shape. 

I 2 



116 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

By four o'clock we had reached a village called Kum- 
burgas on the sea shore. The head man, or mayor, told 
us it would be useless to follow the road along the shore, 
as at high tide it was washed by the sea and the water 
would be three or four feet deep. He advised us to keep 
on the road as far as possible, and then to turn inland 
and go across country until we had passed the danger 
points. His words were true. Long before we had reached 
the village of Bogados we were stopped by the waves and 
had to drive across country at a very slow rate, guessing 
what tracks to foUow and frequently having to retrace our 
steps, as the road we were on ended in a morass. 

We passed through several small villages and close to 
one of these, called Jalos, the Daily Mail-Times car came 
to an abrupt stop, and the chauffeur announced he could 
go no further as his pump was broken and the gasoline 
would no longer percolate through the machinery. I 
decided to abandon him and the car together with Gordon, 
and to push on with Sir Bryan Leighton. We promised 
to send back the first brass-mender we could find in any 
of the villages to help him make good the damage. 
Gordon we advised to try to find a horse and to make his 
own way to Chorion or else to return to Constantinople. 
It was impossible to take him with us as our car was 
already overcrowded, and he refused to abandon his cine- 
matograph. 

About six o'clock we reached the large village of Bogados, 
where we made a short halt to refill the engine, and we also 
found a workman who volunteered to return and help mend 
the Daily Mail car. Then we pushed on to Silivri. If the 
road was bad before, it had now become worse and our 
progress was merely a jolting crawl. To make matters 
worse, darkness began rapidly to set in and, unless we 
succeeded in reaching Silivri, we would have to spend 



OUR FIRST BIVOUAC 117 

the night in the open. Finally it became so dark that 
Ismet, Leighton, and myself were obliged to walk in 
front and select the most favourable route for the car to 
follow. 

Suddenly the road bifurcated and we had to select which 
one to follow. In the darkness we took a track which led 
us to the edge of a minor precipice and very nearly ended 
our ill-starred expedition. Then we had the stupendous 
task of turning the car round. This took quite half an hour, 
but at length we succeeded and got on the right road. It 
was now quite dark, the sky was clouded and there 
was no moon or stars to help us on our way. We had to 
admit we were beaten and to reconcile ourselves to spending 
a night in the open. 

Fortunately, we had stuck near a fountain close to the 
roadside, and a small hut, evidently a shelter intended for 
belated travellers. The interior of the hut was too filthy 
for Ismet, Leighton, and myself, but it served for the 
purpose of cooking in. There was some dry brushwood 
inside and with this we made a fire and heated some cocoa. 
Then, with sardines, bread, and a tongue, we had a toler- 
able evening meal. Sir Bryan Leighton had with him a 
small shelter tent, supposed to be waterproof, which he 
had bought just before leaving England. We decided to 
sleep in this, while Ismet and the chauffeur took shelter 
in the motor, which had a hood which completely covered 
it in. 

We had hardly got the tent up when the rain began tc 
fall in a deluge, the like of which I have never seen before 
in any part of the world. It came down in one great sheet, 
like a wave. In less time than it takes to write these words 
it had completely soaked through the tent and lay an inch 
deep on the canvas floor. However, this made no difference 
to me. I had no sleep the night before I left Constantinople, 



118 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

and the exertions of the journey on the top of my illness 
had completely worn me out. I fell asleep and neither the 
rain, nor the howling of the wind, nor the curses of Leighton 
disturbed my slumbers. 

I had gone to sleep about nine o'clock and did not wake 
until 3 a.m. Then I was aroused by a feeling of being icy 
cold. I had one of those patent electric lamps, which I 
turned on, and to my astonishment found I was alone in 
the tent, for Leighton and all his belongings had dis- 
appeared. My own plight was a sorry one. I was lying 
in two or three inches of water, I was soaked through to 
the skin, and my teeth were chattering from the cold. 
The rain was still coming down in torrents. Along 
the road I saw dim figures, mysterious in the darkness, 
and heard the rumble of wagons. It was the transport 
train which we had passed earlier in the day and which was 
pushing on to Silivri. 

Several soldiers came to the fountain for water and were 
amazed to find our motor-car, the interior of which they 
proceeded to investigate, arousing Ismet from his slumbers 
and calhng forth from him a torrent of Turkish invective, 
which, by the way, is in no way inferior to our own. 

I then went inside the hut and lit a candle. There I 
found Bryan Leighton comfortably installed on Ismet's 
camp bed, which he had taken from the motor-car. I felt 
inclined to turn him out and have a share of it, but 
1 was so cold and wet that rest was impossible. I 
was very afraid of getting a return of influenza from my 
immersion, or else of having an attack of rheumatism. I 
managed with difficulty to light the fire once again and to 
set the kettle boiling. Then I took a large tumbler and 
filled it half full of Black and White whiskey, taking nearly 
a third of the bottle. Then I poured the boiling water into 
the glass, put in two lumps of sugar, and drank the whole 



SOAKED THROUGH 119 

down. This was the strongest drink I have ever had in my 
Kfe and I never wish to take another hke it. However, it had 
the desired effect and restored my rapidly- vanishing circula- 
tion. I then took off the wettest of my garments, stole 
two rugs off Leighton's bed, lay down on the floor and once 
more fell asleep. 



CHAPTER X 

MY FIRST MEETING WITH ABDULLAH 

At six I again woke up frozen through, for the weather 
was bitterly cold. I aroused the others and once more 
the kettle was put on to boil, and we had a frugal breakfast, 
as our provisions were rapidly running out. The chauffeur 
now set to work to tune up the car. The first delay 
was caused by the gasoline having frozen into a yellow 
jelly during the night. This took some time to put right. 
Then the tank had to be refilled with petrol. This was a 
very difficult task, because we had had a rest fastened on the 
back of the car to carry baggage, and the idiots in Constan- 
tinople had almost covered up the entrance to the tank. 

Then commenced the fearful task of trying to start the 
engine. The starting lever was useless as, owing to 
being bent, it would not enter the socket, and the only 
way of starting the engine was by pushing the car uphill 
and allowing it to run down again. At half-past eight 
the engine began to work and we were feeling more 
light-hearted, when we found one of the tyres required 
pumping up. Then slowly the horrid truth dawned 
upon us that it was punctured. This was the last 
straw. But there was no help for it, and we set to 
work to assist the chauffeur to change the tyre. It was a 
long and difficult process, because the wheels were absolutely 



SILIVRI 121 

caked with mud, and every screw and nut had to be washed 
in the fountain. The cause of the trouble was found to be a 
nail two inches long, which had passed completely through 
the outer cover on into the inner tube. 

It was nearly ten o'clock before we were once more under 
way. How can I describe the state of the road ? It baffles 
my poor descriptive powers to do so. It was bad enough 
on the previous day, but after the night's downpour it had 
lost all semblance of being even a track, and was feet deep 
in mud and slime. How the car ever managed to get 
through is a mystery that I will not attempt to solve. 

We climbed a gentle slope, from the top of which we 
saw the village of Silivri at our feet. We had camped 
within about two miles of it without knowing. The descent 
into Silivri is very dangerous, and was rendered additionally 
so by the slippery nature of the mud. The car side-slipped 
in all directions, and frequently turned right round. Just 
as we were entering the village we came to a high cause- 
way with an unprotected drop of some twenty feet. I 
begged the chauffeur, who had now completely lost his 
nerve, to take care, but it was in vain. The car got out of 
his control and side-slipped absolutely to the edge of the 
embankment. I thought that it was all over with us. There 
was not an inch to spare when he managed to jamb on the 
brakes and bring it to a standstill. 

We found the village of Silivri blocked with the great train 
of bullock- wagons which had passed us in the night, and which 
was just preparing to continue its dreary crawl to Chorion. In 
the village we bought some steel chains and bound them round 
the wheels to act as non-skids. On the other side of Silivri 
the road passes over a causeway which is in a terrible state 
from lack of repair, and then makes a very steep ascent up 
an old Roman-paved road to reach the tableland beyond. 
The road was almost blocked with bullock-wagons, and it 



122 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

was with the utmost difficulty that we made our way 
through. 

We met some refugees and one old Turkish woman 
mounted on a horse which took fright at the car and 
deposited the poor old girl in deep water, from which she 
was rescued by some soldiers. We paid her liberally for her 
misadventure. 

We encountered terrible difficulties in climbing the old 
Roman road out of Silivri. The surface was almost com- 
pletely destroyed ; ancient cobbles lay about obstructing the 
wheels, which from time to time would sink deep into 
holes that had once provided beds for these obstructions. 
To add to our troubles, the rain had rendered the stones 
extremely greasy. About half-way up the car came to a 
dead stop and commenced to run backwards. We checked 
this movement to the rear by placing stones behind the 
wheels. The car had come to a standstill sideways across 
the road and completely blocked the passage of the great 
bullock train, which also came to a compulsory halt. 

Here I made the acquaintance for the first time of the 
officer in charge of the train, whose name I have unfortunately 
forgotten, for he proved himself a veritable friend in need. 
He ordered one of the bullock-wagons to be fastened to the 
car, and by this means we were able to get it to the top of 
the incline. But our troubles were not over. The grassy 
plateau close to the sea shore, over which we now passed, 
was a quagmire from the rain which had fallen during the 
night, and, try as we would, the wheels would only revolve 
impotently beneath us without enforcing any propelling 
motion. 

Again the officer in charge came to our assistance. 
He pointed out that the road was in the same condition all 
the way to Chorlou, and that there was absolutely no 
chance of the car ever reaching that haven of refuge, unless 



THE CONVOY 123 

the bullocks dragged it there. He offered to have one of the 
bullock-wagons unloaded and its contents placed on other 
carts, so that it might be free to drag us all the rest 
of the way. To this proposition we agreed reluctantly, 
because it meant another two days on the road, and 
I was dreadfully worried lest a great battle should take 
place in my absence. Throughout the morning we 
thought we heard the sound of guns, but I believe it 
came from our imagination rather than from the hostile 
armies. 

The same officer also lent me a horse to ride, and it 
was pleasant to leave the old car and canter ahead of 
the great train of wagons, and to feel I was free and not 
stuck in the mud for the rest of my natural existence. 

The soldiers with the convoy were engaged in clearing out 
the country as they passed through it. They visited every 
village, farm, and hamlet, and seized all the horses and 
commandeered all the able-bodied men, whether Turks, 
Bulgarians, or Servians, to serve in the ranks. These came 
very reluctantly, but there was no help for them, and soon 
there were several hundred of the ill-clad unfortunates walking 
parallel with the train under the escort of armed sentries, 
to discourage them from attempting to escape. 

Shortly after this we came to two streams which were 
extremely difficult to cross on account of the mud and the 
shelving banks. Even the stout oxen had trouble in pulling 
the lightly laden wagons through them, and our motor car 
could never have crossed but for their assistance. I watched 
the whole train pass and found the motor was a long way in 
the rear. I rode back and found it had been in endless diffi- 
culties, chiefly owing to the bad steering of the chauffisur, 
who would allow too sudden strains on the rope attaching 
it to the ox-wagon, with the natural result that the rope was 
continually breaking. However, after endless exertions, 



124 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

we at length got it across the two brooks. Shortly after- 
wards the road became much better for a stretch. 

Here 1 did a foolish thing. I was led to believe the car would 
be able to go without assistance, and, as we were only making 
a mile an hour with the oxen, I ordered them to be cast off, 
and the soldier driving the cart was only too pleased to 
accede to my request. The cart went on and was soon 
out of sight over a rise in the ground, before we had even 
succeeded in starting the engine, owing to the bent lever. 
When the engine was at length started we moved forward 
fairly rapidly for about a mile and then came to a morass 
of mud and ruts. We put on all speed and endeavoured 
to force our way through it, but it was all in vain. The 
car stuck and sank above the axles in the mud until the 
machinery of the engine was also resting in the shme. 

This time we were down and out. The bullock train 
was already some three miles away, and there was no likeli- 
hood of anyone returning to assist us. Every horse, ox, 
and able-bodied man capable of bearing arms, had been 
swept up by the onward march of the column, and we were 
stranded at 4 o'clock, on a bitterly cold afternoon, on a high 
plateau, close to the sea, without shelter, without water, 
almost without food — for only some chocolate and a few 
biscuits remained of the store which we had brought with us 
from Constantinople. 

I think, for the first time, a feeling akin to despair 
crept over us all. For some time we said nothing, but 
sat ruefully contemplating the car, the wheels of which 
had almost completely disappeared. Then we held a 
consultation. I suggested that Ismet should return to 
Silivri and endeavour to obtain oxen to drag the car back 
into the village, and at the same time hire horses to enable 
us to continue our journey to Chorion. Suddenly a bullock- 
wagon appeared. It belonged to a party of refugees on 



I ABANDON THE MOTOR-CAR 125 

their way to Stamboul. The oxen were, however, in poor 
condition, and they could not budge the car an inch. In 
fact it was painfully obvious that, until the roads dried, the 
car would remain stuck exactly where it was. In these 
circumstances we felt it would be useless to return to Silivri 
and I was extremely reluctant to retrace my steps, as my 
one desire at this moment was to press on to Chorion, so as 
to be in time for the great battle. 

At last we agreed on an alternative plan. It was decided 
that Ismet and myself should walk on and endeavour to 
overtake the convoy at its halting place, and ask the 
commandant to send back soldiers and bullocks, and to 
take charge of the car until we reached Chorion. Sir 
Bryan Leighton and the chauffeur were to remain with it 
during the night. Ismet and myself lost no time, but set 
off through the mud. I looked back and saw two melan- 
choly figures. Sir Bryan and the worn-out, miserable 
chauffeur, endeavouring to obtain some shelter from the icy 
wind by erecting the wretched shelter-tent that had taken in 
so much water on the previous evening. 

I shall not forget in a hurry that horrible tramp through 
the mud, which Ismet and myself had after the bullock train. 
It was 4 p.m. when we started — that day we had only made 
5 kilometres in the car — and only two hours more remained 
of daylight. I detest walking at any time, and had on a 
pair of field-boots, which, having been soaked through on 
the previous evening, now stuck to my feet and hurt them 
horribly. 

We came to a river which cut the road, and wondered 
how we were to cross it without becoming soaked up to 
our waists. There was a small party of Turkish soldiers 
encamped on the bank, and they were good enough to 
make us some tea. They also told us that the convoy 
had split in two portions on the other side of the river in 



126 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

order to find shelter for the night at two farms. One 
powerful soldier then volunteered to carry us through the 
river on his back, an offer which was gratefully accepted, as 
neither Ismet nor I wished to be immersed in the icy cold 
water just at sunset. 

It was half past six when, footsore and weary, we reached 
the farm. Here we found our friend encamped. We told 
him of our troubles and difficulties. I believe the Captain's 
name was Fouad, but if it was not, I hope, if he ever reads 
these lines, that he will accept for himself the infinite 
thanks I tender him now for all that he did for us on this 
critical evening, when any delay would have meant failure 
to witness the battle of Lule Burgas. 

Both Ismet and I were worn out, but we agreed we must 
push on to Chorlou that night, even if we had to do so on 
foot. The Captain then suggested the following plan, which 
we adopted. He undertook to send back that same night 
to the car an escort of twelve soldiers, four strong oxen, and 
some stout rope, as well as spades, so as to dig it out of the 
mud. He undertook to find two horses for Ismet and 
myself and to put us on the road to Chorlou. The horses 
we were to hand back to him on his arrival in Chorlou, 
which place he hoped to reach in two days' time. He said 
he would accept full responsibility for our motor-car and for 
the baggage, and would undertake to deliver the lot safe and 
sound to us. He also said that he would look after Sir 
Bryan I^eighton and the chauffeur. 

He advised Ismet and myself to stay the night at the 
farm and to push on to Chorlou at dawn, as it was an 
eight hours' ride and the temperature had fallen below zero. 
Although the temptation to remain was almost irresistible 
Ismet and I resolutely refused, and this decision to push 
on at all costs just brought us to the front in time, as the 
sequel will show. 



A NIGHT RIDE 127 

But we were hungry. We thought that Captain Fouad 
would offer us something to eat before we started on our 
night ride, but unfortunately the owner of the farm had 
fled and his house was shut up, so the unfortunate officers of 
the convoy had little to eat themselves. However, he did 
give us a cup of Turkish coffee. Then he announced the 
horses were ready. 

To our surprise, on entering the farm-yard we found an 
escort of twelve soldiers under a sergeant, whom Captain 
Fouad announced were to accompany us to Chorion. It 
seemed little short of cruelty to ask these men to walk some 
forty kilometres after they had been on the march all day 
and for several previous days, and we begged him to allow 
us to proceed alone, as we felt sure we could find the road. 
But the Captain would not hear of this. He said the 
country was infested with brigands, Bulgarian sympathisers, 
and disbanded soldiers, who might murder us without com- 
punction, in which case he would be responsible. There 
was no help for it, so mounting our horses, we set off in the 
darkness with our escort in front. 

I do not think that Ismet and I will ever forget that 
night ride to Chorion. For the first two hours all went 
well, but then an icy cold wind sprang up and chilled us to 
the bone. We were soon glad to dismount and warm 
ourselves by walking. We became more and more hungry, 
until the feeling of emptiness became almost insupportable. 
Ismet found unexpectedly in his pocket a cake of chocolate 
which, to use the well-known advertisement, was " both 
grateful and comforting." He also had a small flask of 
brandy, of which we took mouthfuls at intervals throughout 
the night just to restore a temporary warmth to our bodies. 

Once we lost the road, some of the escort going one 
way and some another. This caused a delay, before the 
stragglers were found again. As we drew nearer Chorlou 



128 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the ground rose, and we passed over a high plateau, across 
which the wind swept in an icy blast, until even the patient 
Turkish soldiers began to grumble. By this time they had 
become so exhausted that two of them could hardly keep up 
with us, and we were obliged to make frequent halts. We 
gave them rides on the horses, but this was not much 
relief, as the weary beasts were continually stumbling over 
the ruts which had by now hardened. 

We came upon some refugees, who were camped close to 
the road, endeavouring to warm themselves by a fire. It was 
a sad sight. The oxen lay round in a circle so as to obtain the 
benefit of the friendly blaze ; the women and children lay 
mixed up with the oxen, obtaining warmth from their bodies 
on one side and from the fire on the other. Our escort 
immediately surrounded the camp and demanded if they 
had any arms. This the spokesman of the party denied, but 
the sergeant was not satisfied. He ordered his men to turn 
everything out of the wagons and to search them. Beneath 
a miscellaneous and filthy collection of old clothes, house- 
hold furniture and bags of oats, two rifles, a Mauser and a 
Martini, were unearthed. The sergeant cursed the refugees 
for having lied to him, and then we proceeded on 
our way. Shortly afterwards we came upon a second 
camp and secured two more rifles. 

It seemed cruel to disturb these poor wretches, who were 
only bent on reaching Stamboul and crossing into Asia Minor, 
but the soldiers had received stringent orders to disarm all the 
civilian population and these orders had to be obeyed. They 
soon found the additional burden of these four rifles unbear- 
able, and I think were extremely sorry they had ever found 
them. I relieved them of two and carried them for a time 
across my saddle, but the cold steel soon froze my fingers and 
I returned them to their owners. Long before we reached 
Chorion they had disappeared. I did not see actually what 



WE REACH CHORLOU 129 

became of them, but I fancy the soldiers, without consulting 
the sergeant, chucked them aside, after first removing the 
bolts from the breech blocks. 

Between one and two a.m. we saw the glare of some 
lights in the distance, which the soldiers declared must come 
from the camps round Chorlou. This welcome sight roused 
our drooping spirits, but it seemed an endless time before 
we reached the outskirts of the village, and it was not until 
close on two-thirty a.m. that we finally entered the streets 
of the town. 

Ismet and I expected on reaching Chorlou to have no diffi- 
culty in finding the camp of the correspondents. Naturally at 
this hour there were but few astir, except the sentries over the 
buildings which were being used by the military authorities. 
Ismet made careful inquiries of them as to the whereabouts 
of our colleagues, but could obtain no satisfactory reply. 
One of the soldiers, however, at length declared they were 
in certain houses in the town. We repaired to one of the 
houses he had named, but found it full of weary soldiers. 
We continued our search, but without success. At length 
an officer told us they were not in the town of Chorlou, but 
were camped close to the railway station two miles away. 

This was bad news as it meant we would have to take the 
road once more. However, the prospect of food and 
shelter proved irresistible, and after thanking him we once 
more, rode out of Chorlou. Meanwhile, our escort had 
disappeared. The moment they reached Chorlou, without 
even bidding us farewell or giving us the opportunity of 
handing them over any backsheesh, they bolted to the 
nearest local inn to obtain rest and refreshment. We soon 
reached the neighbourhood of the railway station, passing 
through endless standing camps of white tents, the larger 
number of which seemed to be deserted, as the troops had 
been pushed on to the north. There was no one about at the 

K 



130 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

railway station except a sentry who could give us but little 
reliable information. He said he had heard that some 
Europeans had been camped there, but he thought they 
had already left. 

He gave us one piece of news which seemed to offer 
a ray of hope, namely, that Abdullah, the Commander-in- 
Chief, and his Staff were in a barrack placed on a high 
hill about a quarter of a mile from the station. 

By this time Ismet and I were thoroughly fed up with 
life. We were almost frozen, worn out with fatigue, and so 
hungry that the mere mention of food almost caused tears 
to fall from our eyes. We lost no time in hastening up the 
steep hill to the barrack, where we expected to learn 
definitely what had become of the correspondents. 

A sentry was on guard, and he was greatly surprised at our 
sudden apparition in the middle of the night. Ismet explained 
the position. The sentry replied that there were no corres- 
pondents at the barracks, and that he had not heard of any 
at Chorion. He advised us to see the officer in charge of 
the guard who might be able to give us some information. 
We found the officer asleep in a room. He was very agree- 
able, but had no news. He showed us where Abdullah was 
sleeping and advised us to ask one of his staff officers. 

I said to Ismet, " It does not matter where the camp is. 
We must have shelter for the night. I don't care where we 
find it, but I shall freeze if I have to stay out in the cold any 
longer." Ismet quite agreed with me and whilst I held both 
horses he knocked at the door and was admitted by a sleepy 
orderly. It seemed an endless time before he again made 
his appearance, and I began to think he had gone to sleep 
and had forgotten all about me, when he appeared at the 
door, his face wreathed in smiles. 

"It is alright," he said; "you can come in, for the 
Commander-in-Chief, Abdullah Pasha, wants to see you." 



ISMET WAKES ABDULLAH 131 

*' What have you done, Ismet ? " I replied. " I hope 
you have not awakened the Commander-in-Chief." 

'* Yes," he rephed. " I went inside and found his two 
staff-officers asleep in bed. I woke them up, and explained 
matters ; but they only replied, * We can do nothing for 
you. You must go and find shelter in the village of 
Chorion.' Suddenly I remembered that Abdullah is a 
distant cousin of mine, so I went to his room feeling quite 
desperate from the cold and hunger, and woke him up, to 
the horror of his aides-de-camp. Abdullah was immensely 
surprised to see me, and thought I had dropped from the 
skies. I explained to him our position, and that you were 
outside in the cold, and he immediately told me to bring 
you up to him. Now we are sure of shelter for the night." 

Ismet and I then entered the Commander-in-Chiefs 
presence, who greeted me as if I were his best friend, and 
had known him all my life. Abdullah is a big man with a 
splendid head, rather grey hair and a moustache. He 
has the most kindly expression always on his face, and looks 
the typical English country squire of tradition. He was 
seated on the edge of his bed, clad in pyjamas, with his 
great-coat wrapped round him. I apologised for disturbing 
him at such an hour, but he merely laughed and said : " It 
matters little to me these days what hour I am awakened, 
because telegrams are coming in at all hours of the night, 
and I am only too glad to be of any assistance to you. You 
must be hungry. Unfortunately, my cooks left last night 
for another destination, but I will get my servant to make 
you some tea, and I think I can find you some cheese and 
biscuits." 

Shortly afterwards Abdullah's servant appeared with tea, 
biscuits and cheese, which was one of the most welcome 
repasts I have ever sat down to. After I had eaten for 
some time Abdullah insisted on my telling him every detail 

k2 



132 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

of my journey from Constantinople, and laughed heartily at 
the picture I drew of the motor, moving at two miles an 
hour, drawn by oxen. 

I asked him where the correspondents were quartered, to 
which he replied : " I have not seen them yet. They were 
here for a few days, but they have now gone on to Lule 
Burgas. I suppose you want to get there as soon as 
possible. Well, I will see if you can go by train to-morrow." 

I then asked the Commander-in-Chief if I had missed a 
big battle, to which he replied : " No ; you have missed 
nothing. There has only been some desultory fighting 
round Kirk Kilisse, and we have not yet had 300 wounded. 
So do not worry ; you will see a big battle yet." 

How little did I realise then the dramatic manner in 
which the general's prophecy would shortly be realised I 
Neither did Abdullah himself foresee that the great battle 
would come so soon, because he told me he expected to 
remain in Chorion for another two days. He then went on 
to speak of the immense difficulties which confronted his 
army in the campaign, of the terrible state of the roads, of 
the insufficiency of transport, and of the poverty of the 
country, which was quite incapable of supporting a large 
army of more than 100,000 men. He spoke with the greatest 
misgiving of the prospects of a winter's snows. 

We talked for nearly an hour, and then the Mushir said, 
"You must be worn out, and sleep will do you good. 
There is no place to put you here, but I will turn out some 
of my staff-officers and make them give you their beds." 

I begged Abdullah to do nothing of the sort, but he 
laughed and replied, " Do not worry ; they have slept quite 
long enough. I have lots of work for them to do, and it 
won't hurt them to get up now." 

The two staff-officers were therefore aroused from their 
slumbers, and, although they displayed no outward annoy- 



BAD NEWS 133 

ance, must have inwardly cursed our intrusion on their 
well-earned repose. 

Ismet and myself only had four hours' sleep, for at 8 a.m. 
on Monday, October 28th, we were roused by one of 
Abdullah's A.D.C.'s, who came to tell us that a train was 
expected from the south, bearing the Minister of War, 
Nazim Pasha, and would afterwards go on to Lule Burgas, and 
that if we cared to travel by it we might do so. We got up 
at once, and one of the A.D.C.'s, who apparently bore us no 
grudge for having been turned out of his bed at 4 a.m. 
to make room for us, brought us a cup of coiFee and some 
biscuits. 

I then went to bid farewell to Abdullah, and to 
thank him for the great kindness which he had shown us 
both. The Commander-in-Chief was sitting at a table 
poring over the Turkish Staff Map of Thrace. He did 
not seem nearly so cheerful as a few hours before, and I am 
inclined to think he had received some bad news that 
morning. It was probably the news of the defeat of the 1st 
Army Corps between Kavakli and Jenidze, on October 25th, 
but it is almost incredible that this information did not reach 
him before the morning of October 28th. However, 
considering the appalling state of confusion which reigned 
everywhere, and the almost entire absence of any means of 
communication, it is feasible that it did not reach head- 
quarters until the dawn of October 28th. At any rate, 
in the course of his conversation with me in the middle of 
the night, Abdullah made no mention of this reverse, and to 
judge from his outward demeanour he was perfectly cheerful 
and confident, and he declared emphatieally that the 
army had suffered only three hundred casualties up-to- 
date. 

Abdullah also promised to look after Sir Bryan Leighton 
on his arrival, and to send him on to Lule Burgas by the first 



184 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

available train. I then bade him farewell, little dreaming 
that a night later I would meet him in such dramatic 
circumstances. 

Monday, October 28th, was one of the coldest days I have 
known since the closing months of the siege of Port Arthur, 
and we had a long wait at the station before the train came 
in sight round a bend in the line. 

Meanwhile, several trains full of refugees passed through 
on their way to Constantinople. Never have I seen more 
strange sights. So crowded were these trains with Mahom- 
medans fleeing from the Bulgarian invasion, that men, 
women, and children preferred to sit on the bare roofs of the 
carriages, desperately clinging to one another to save 
themselves from falling off, rather than risk being left 
behind. Many had been without food for days, and there 
was none to be obtained at Chorion, an alarming fact, which 
did not augur well for the troops in the field. Ismet and 
myself managed to procure a loaf, which we shared with 
several officers also waiting to leave for Lule Burgas, but tea 
and coffee were quite unobtainable. 

When the train did at length arrive, it did not contain 
Nazim, but Zia Pasha, his Chief of Staff, who had come to 
Chorion to have an interview with Abdullah Pasha. At 
the station to greet him was a common soldier in a dirty 
war-worn khaki uniform, whom Zia Pasha shook warmly by 
the hand. Ismet said to me, " Do you see that man ? He 
is Telad, the late Minister of the Interior, who is serving as 
a volunteer." 

I regarded this patriot with amazement, and wondered if 
one of our ministers would have acted likewise. Telad was 
one of the most prominent men in the revolution, and used 
to pass his time at Salonika, where he was a telegraph clerk, 
tapping the wire and reading Abdul Hamid's plans for the 
destruction of the Young Turks. When the present war 



WE REACH LULE BURGAS 135 

broke out he paid his forty pounds exemption fee, and then 
volunteered as a private soldier. 

It was twelve noon before the train left Chorion for Lule 
Burgas, and it was one of the very last which made the 
journey during the war, for on the following day the station 
of Lule Burgas fell into the hands of the Bulgarians. The 
journey up was uneventful. We saw from the window 
crowds of refugees slowly making their way towards 
Chorion, and we also passed the remains of a train which 
had left the metals and had been overturned at Seidler, but 
except for these incidents there was little or nothing to show 
that a great battle was imminent. As we neared Lule 
Burgas, we thought we heard the sound of a distant 
cannonade, and later in the afternoon we learnt we had not 
been mistaken. 

It was 3 p.m. when we reached Lule Burgas station, 
which is some six kilometres from the town. It was 
crammed with soldiers, transport, and refugees. Zia Pasha, 
Chief of Staff to Nazim, left the train and, accompanied 
by two staff officers, entered a broken-down cart and 
drove towards the town. He persistently refused to take 
any notice of Ismet and myself, and it was obvious that his 
attitude was not friendly towards Europeans. We went to 
the officer in command at the station, and asked him if he 
could provide us with a carriage to enable us to reach the 
town of Lule Burgas. Just before we left Chorion, 
Abdullah gave Ismet and myself a pass written in his own 
handwriting, requesting all and sundry to assist us in any 
way in their power. This proved an invaluable document 
on several occasions, and the officer soon found us an old 
victoria drawn by two broken-down horses, which speedily 
carried us to Lule Burgas. It was somewhat ominous that 
at the station, in reply to our inquiries, no one seemed to 
have heard of the correspondents, and the station-master 



136 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

most emphatically declared they had not come by train. 
However, we thought they had probably ridden up from 
Chorion. 

Ismet and myself were now in excellent spirits at the 
prospect of shortly seeing our friends, our horses fed, and 
our camp, but the sound which cheered us up the most was 
that of cannon, which we could hear rumbling away in 
the north, showing that an engagement was already in 
progress. 

On reaching Lule Burgas, a small town situated in a 
valley surrounded by a low range of hills, we inquired for 
the camp of the correspondents, but, to our amazement, 
could find no trace of them. We repaired to the town hall 
and were heartily greeted by the colonel in command 
whose name, I believe, was Fouad Bey. He said, " No 
correspondents are here. Abdullah must have made a 
mistake. They have never come." Ismet and I looked 
at one another in amazement and felt depressed, as we had 
had nothing to eat all day and had no shelter for the night. 
Colonel Fouad then said : 

" I suppose you want to see the fighting. Well, you can 
go and see it. Follow the sound of the guns. They 
commenced at three o'clock and seem to be coming nearer 
every minute." 

We explained our difficulty to the colonel, as we had no 
horses, no food, and no tents. He said, " There are no 
horses to be had in the town, as all have been seized by the 
troops who passed through here yesterday, but I will do my 
best to find you some by the morning. In any case, it is not 
worth your while going out to-night, as there are only two 
hours' more daylight, and the fighting will be over before 
you get there." 

The mayor of the town then came to our aid and said, 
" I will arrange for you to pass the night in a local inn (or 



THE LOCAL HAN 137 

han, as they are called in Roumelia), and afterwards the 
proprietor will also find you some food." 

The news that the correspondents were not in Lule Burgas 
and were not even expected there caused Ismet and myself 
furiously to think. It was obvious from the sound of the 
guns, which kept on booming until nightfall, that they could 
not be nearer to the probable scene of hostilities than our- 
selves, and we could at least congratulate ourselves on being 
well placed for the ensuing battle. 

On the other hand, we were without any tents, without 
any equipment, or even a change of clothes, but, what was 
worst of all, we had no horses. We also had no food, 
but expected to be able to live on the country for a day 
or two. But the absence of our horses worried us most ; 
for without them it would be almost impossible to follow 
the various phases of the battle. I told Ismet we must 
obtain horses at any price, and gave him carte blanche to 
buy any that he could discover in the town, together with 
two saddles. I had plenty of money, having more than 
two hundred pounds in gold strapped round my waist. 
We decided that, with or without horses, we would make no 
further effort to find our missing colleagues until after the 
battle. In fact, I would have made no effort to find them 
at all, except for the fact that I was anxious for my brother 
to rejoin me, and above all to obtain my horses, my camp 
equipment, and my supplies. 

We accompanied the proprietor of the han to his hostelry. 
It had been closed up, as the majority of the Turkish 
inhabitants had fled from Burgas some days before, and 
were now well on their way to Stamboul. Ranged round 
a very dirty deserted courtyard were several small rooms, 
each containing a still dirtier bed covered by a thick quilt. 
The proprietor did his utmost to make us comfortable. He 
managed to secure a chicken and some eggs, a loaf of bread. 



138 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

and three bottles of local wine which, on an ordinary 
occasion, would not have commanded our favour, but which 
seemed delicious in our exhausted and semi-starving 
condition. 

The cooking, however, was not equal to the materials. 
The eggs were ruined through being fried in some rancid oil, 
and the chicken was likewise spoiled to the European palate. 
However, this mattered but little. We made a substantial 
meal and retired to rest, having secured some extra coverings 
from the spare beds as the night was bitterly cold. 



CHAPTER XI 

LULE BURGAS THE FIRST DAY 

We passed a fairly comfortable night, and were astir at 
dawn, aroused by the cannon, which again commenced to 
boom from the north-east far more vigorously than on the 
previous day. We hastened to the town hall to inquire if 
the colonel had succeeded in finding us horses ; but he had 
not, and sent us on to the commander of the independent 
cavalry division, Sali Pasha, who was quartered in the town. 
We found the general in a local wine shop with his staff, 
snatching some refreshment. All the officers were most 
agreeable, but explained that for days they had not seen their 
baggage or spare horses, and therefore could not procure us 
a mount. 

We were in despair, and I was suffering greatly from sore 
feet, as my field boots had been soaked for three days and 
had become frozen to my feet. Ismet suggested that I 
should try to buy a new pair in the town in case we had to 
walk, and I managed to procure a strange outfit from a 
local Jew for a very high price, and also a pair of puttees. 
Thus I could manage to walk with difficulty. 

Once more we returned to the town hall, where we 
found the colonel and the mayor in a great state of excite- 
ment. The colonel said, " You are just in time. I have 
received news that a large force of Bulgarians is advancing 
from the north-east, and we have only one battalion of 
infantry with which to defend the position. If you want to 
see the fight come along with me." The mayor at the same 
time came up and said, " I have found two horses, but only 



140 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

one saddle." Ismet and I examined these animals. Both 
were old and almost past work, but we decided to take the 
one with the saddle, and ride and walk alternately. 

Meanwhile the colonel had disappeared, so we followed 
two squadrons of cavalry, which were hastily leaving the 
town and making for the hills half a mile away, from which 
the sound of violent musketry fire was just breaking out. 
We had only gone a short distance when the enemy's shells 
began to burst amongst the infantry on the ridge. The 
volleys became heavier ; the great battle had begun. I 
glanced at my watch. It was exactly eleven o'clock. 

As we advanced to the ridge a crowd of wounded men 
began to trickle away from the firing line towards the town, 
and also a great many stragglers who were not wounded. 
An officer stopped and spoke to us. 

" Do not go on any further. It is awful up there. The 
enemy are in tremendous force. I have already been 
wounded, and we cannot hold the position." 

Ismet and I soon learned the truth of his words from the 
bullets which began to fly around us in ever-increasing 
numbers, and, not wishing to become mixed up in the 
conflict, we moved more to the left to join the cavalry, who 
had dismounted and were taking up a position on a hill, 
evidently with the intention of checking the enemy's 
advance towards the railway station, as it was obviously 
their intention to try to cut the line. 

Suddenly the Turkish infantry broke, and made for the 
shelter of the town, running in complete disorder in small 
groups. Ismet and I were swept away in the general. 
sauve qui pent, and beating our wretched horse to make 
him move more quickly, were soon across the bridge and 
under the shelter of the houses. 

Here we found a half-battalion of infantry strongly 
entrenched, and evidently determined to defend the town 
to the end. Their attitude was splendid. They were 



"THERE ARE THE BULGARIANS!" 141 

in no way demoralised by the sudden abandonment of the 
hills, and each man, as he lay behind an entrenchment or 
stone wall, seemed determined to hold his ground or die. 

The refugees from the hills soon recovered from their 
temporary panic and joined their comrades in the town. 
The wounded from the hills began slowly to trickle in, 
most of them making their way on foot, as there were 
no ambulances, as far as I could see, anywhere. 

At this moment Sali Pasha and his cavalry dashed 
through the opening in the ranks of the infantry and 
hastened to join the remainder of his dismounted cavalry, 
who were already engaged with the enemy. At 11.30 masses 
of dark-clothed figures began to appear among the trees 
on the low ridge of hills lately evacuated by the Turks. 
A great shout went up : " There are the Bulgarians I " 

For a few minutes the enemy withdrew from sight, and 
then reappeared in the form of a strong firing line, steadily 
advancing. The Turkish soldiers around me commenced 
to ply them with long-ranged fire, which did not check 
the advance for a moment. A staff officer dashed up 
shouting : " Everyone must clear out of the town and make 
for the higher ground behind, where you will find our 
infantry entrenched. The town cannot long be held. Only 
the rear-guard can remain." 

Ismet and I then made our way slowly to the rear, but 
were dragged into a vortex of men, women, children, carts, 
stray soldiers, unarmed men and wounded, all hastening to 
escape from the enemy's shrapnel, which had commenced to 
burst over the town itself. The confusion was awful. A 
complete panic had seized the flying mob, and every minute 
we expected to have the enemy's shells burst in our midst. 

I had no time to save my boots, which later in the day fell 
into the hands of the Bulgarians. The road outside the 
town was a mass of fleeing refugees. A magazine of old or 
obsolete arms and ammunition had been hastily burst open. 



142 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

and all were invited to help themselves to the contents. 
The road led up to a high plateau, for, as I have said, Lule 
Burgas lies in a valley, through which there runs a shallow 
river, and on the crest of the plateau I saw long lines of 
Turkish infantry entrenched, together with two batteries of 
artillery in position. 

Having reached the crest, Ismet and myself refused to 
flee any further, and stayed with the guns to watch the 
Bulgarian attack on Lule Burgas, which lay at our feet only 
a short mile away. 

Two separate engagements were now taking place in this 
portion of the field, for part of the Bulgarian infantry had 
right- wheeled, and were making a desperate attack on Sali's 
dismounted cavalry, who were nobly trying to check the 
advance on the railway station, the capture of which would 
mean the cutting of the line and the isolation of Adrianople. 
The fighting in this quarter was of the fiercest character, and 
the Turkish cavalry, only about 800 strong, lost 150 men 
before being obliged to retire. 

But the sight which interested me the most was the 
attack on Lule Burgas. The Bulgarians now half-surrounded 
the town, and had advanced half-way down the hill, where 
they lay firing at the entrenched battalion of Turks in 
the town. The latter had inflicted very heavy losses on 
the invaders, who were quite devoid of any cover. But 
now the Bulgarian artillery had been brought up to the 
crest of the ridge, and commenced to shell the town and the 
Turkish entrenchments on the higher ground where we 
stood. Their fire was wonderfully accurate, but the Turks 
stood their ground well and refused to leave the town. 

For more than two hours this rear-guard held out heroically. 
About two o'clock fresh masses of Bulgarian infantry 
debouched from the hills and rushed down into the firing 
line, and the whole line dashed forward with magnificent 
elan. The fire from the Turkish entrenchments now rose 



CAPTURE OF LULE BURGAS 



143 



into a sullen roar. It was independent, and as rapid as each 
man could load and fire. The Bulgarians fell in scores, and 
the advance came to an end only a few hundred yards 
away from the entrenchments. 

But the defence had shot its last bolt, the ammunition 




Plan of the Battle op Lule Burgas. 

was exhausted, and much against its will the heroic rear- 
guard was obliged to fall back. 

I was much struck by the failure of the Turkish artillery 
to take advantage of the splendid target afforded by the 
Bulgarians as they advanced on Lule Burgas. When we 
asked the commander of the battery why he did not fire, he 
said, "I am not sure if they are Bulgarians or our own 
people, and I have received no orders to fire in any case." 



144 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Finally he did condescend to drop a few shells at them, but 
these were badly aimed and fell short. 

On the retirement of the Turkish rear-guard the Bulgarians 
entered Lule Burgas and hoisted a flag on the mosque, but 
for some time they only managed to maintain possession of 
one-half of the town, on account of the Turkish shell fire 
which was now concentrated on them. 

Hitherto 1 have only attempted to describe what was 
taking place on the extreme left of the Turkish line and 
extreme right of the Bulgarian, but once Lule Burgas was 
taken I was able to look round, and I will now attempt to 
give an account of what was going on in other directions 
stretching nearly twenty miles to the north-east. 

The ground, over which six army corps were contending, 
is a vast undulating plain, with shallow valleys, in which are 
half-buried, scattered villages, which naturally played a very 
important part in both the attack and the defence. So open 
is the ground, that from the higher ridges it was possible to 
follow the movements of all three Turkish Army Corps 
although, naturally, those individual incidents which make 
war so fascinating could only be followed close at hand. 

On this day's fighting, namely, Tuesday, October 29th, 
the Turks had three Army Corps engaged ; the fourth, under 
Abouk Pasha, was in and around Lule Burgas. From this 
point the line stretched north-east to the village of Turk 
Bey, where the ground was held by the 1st Army Corps, 
under Yavir Pasha, and from here was carried on to the 
village of Bunar-Hissar by the 2nd Corps, under the com- 
mand of Shefket Torgut Pasha. The extreme right of 
the line was at Viza, where was stationed the Third Corps 
under Mahmoud Muhktar. 

Along the whole of this front the battle raged furiously 
throughout Tuesday, October 29th. All along the line 
the Bulgarians were on the offensive, and, to gauge from 
the severity of the artillery fire, their evident object was 



A COUNTER ATTACK 145 

to break through between the right of the 1st Corps and 
the left of the 2nd Corps, between Turk Bey and Karagach. 

It is utterly impossible for me or any single eye-witness 
to describe the whole of this great conflict in detail. It 
will be months before the reports of all the commanders 
are collected and collated and the whole story rendered 
intelligible to the military reader. I can only put on paper 
that which I saw with my own eyes. 

The whole of the battle front for twenty miles was clearly 
shown by the masses of bursting shrapnel shells. Never 
before have I seen such an artillery fire. For every battery 
the Turks seemed to have in action, the Bulgarians were 
able to produce half a dozen, and, whereas the Turkish 
fire was desultory and generally ill-directed, the Bulgarian 
shells burst in a never-ceasing storm on the Turkish 
positions with a maximum of effect. In fact, the enemy 
seemed to have so little respect for the Turkish batteries 
that they seldom directed their fire against them, but 
concentrated it on the infantry, who suffered enormous 
losses, and became sadly demoralised. 

There seemed to be no escaping from these Bulgarian 
shells. Ismet and myself were kept continually on the 
move, for, whenever we took up a position from which 
to watch the fight, we were sure to be driven from it by 
the enemy's fire, and what rendered the plight of ourselves 
and of the Turkish troops all the worse, was the impossibility 
of obtaining any cover on this bare plateau of grassy land 
or ploughed fields. 

After the taking of Lule Burgas, the Bulgarian advance 
against the left flank of the Turkish line was checked for 
the remainder of the day by the artillery, and towards 
evening, an hour before darkness set in, Abouk Pasha, the 
commander of the 4th Corps, decided to deliver a counter- 
attack on the town mth one of his divisions advancing from 
the high ground into the valley. This attack was well- 

L 



146 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

directed, and seemed to meet with success. 1 was talking 
to the commander of the 12th Division, which made this 
attack, and he was highly pleased with its success. 

" The enemy," he said, " seems to be retiring, and is only 
offering a feeble resistance with his artillery and mitrailleuses." 

I saw a portion of the Bulgarian infantry all run away 
back towards the hills, but the Turkish counter-attack, 
which seemed to offer hopes of great things, came to an 
abrupt stop with the fall of night. For two hours, between 
four and six, the fighting on the extreme right of the 
Turkish line became furious. The artillery fire on both sides 
swelled into a crescendo, and the rifle fire was so incessant 
that it seemed to come from one huge machine. We could 
see the smoke moving slowly forward on the right, which 
meant that the 2nd Army Corps was not only holding its 
own, but was actually advancing, and all the officers with 
whom I spoke were confident that the day was going well 
for the Imperial army. 

But just before dusk the Bulgarians made a supreme effort 
against the 2nd Army Corps, and not only stopped its 
advance, but actually pushed it back, recovering some of 
their lost ground. 

Now for the first time the unpleasantness of our own 
position dawned upon Ismet and myself. Throughout the 
day we had been too busy watching the fighting and moving 
from point to point to avoid the shrapnel shells to trouble 
about our future. But directly the night fell, we were most 
unpleasantly reminded, by cold and the pangs of hunger, 
that we had nowhere to spend the night and were without 
food. We might have taken some from Lule Burgas, but 
the capture of the town came so suddenly and unexpectedly 
that we left without anything. 

In the early morning I picked up and placed in the 
pocket of my overcoat half a loaf of bread, but on entering 
the han to speak with Sali Pasha, I placed it for a moment 



ABOUK PASHA 147 

on the table, and it must have been immediately snatched 
up by some hungry soldier, for I never saw it again. Fortu- 
nately, on the previous evening Ismet had taken the pre- 
caution to fill his water bottle with the one remaining bottle 
of wine, but by the evening this had been entirely consumed. 

A feeling of complete desertion settled over us both. We 
felt we had not got a friend in the world and were entirely 
dependent on our own exertions. Fortunately, at this 
moment Ismet met a staff officer with whom he was 
acquainted, and who said he was on his way to the head- 
quarters of Abouk Pasha, the Commander of the 4th Army 
Corps, and advised us to come along with him. 

Abouk, who is a very big thick-set man, received us in 
the most friendly manner, but he seemed somewhat 
depressed over the result of the day's operations. When he 
heard of our plight, he said : 

" I would like to give you food and shelter, but I am no 
better ofF myself, as I have nowhere to go, and I shall have 
to spend the night riding around with my escort. Last 
night was bitterly cold, and I think to-night will be just as 
bad. I do not advise you to remain out in the open, and 
therefore I think the wisest course would be for you to 
make for the headquarters of Abdullah Pasha, the 
Commander-in-Chief, which are at the village of Sakiskeuy, 
about ten kilometres north of here. I will give you two 
soldiers from my escort, who know the road, and who will 
conduct you there." 

Abouk Pasha then went on to talk of war, which he 
described as a miserable game, only fit for barbarians, and 
having nothing glorious about it. 

Having thanked the general, Ismet and myself set off in 
the darkness towards Sakiskeuy. The spectacle now was 
extremely majestic. The firing had almost entirely died 
down, and only an occasional cannon shot, or the distant 
crackle of musketry reminded one that 200,000 combatants 

l2 



148 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

lay ready to fly at each other's throats directly dawn should 
appear. The whole of the horizon as far as the eye could 
reach was lit up by a chain of burning villages and hamlets, 
for the Bulgarians set every village they took on fire, and 
the Turkish soldiers, careless after the fatigues of the day, 
often involuntarily brought similar disaster to the homes of 
their unfortunate countrymen. These fires led many of the 
Turkish generals to believe that the Bulgarians were retiring, 
and that dawn would find the positions in front of them 
evacuated. 

Our course to Sakiskeuy led us in the rear of the hnes of 
the 4th and the 1st Army Corps. We passed innumerable 
stragglers searching for their regiments, ammunition trains 
lost in the darkness, deserters from the fighting line who had 
had enough of war, and hundreds of wounded men, looking 
either for shelter or for field dressing stations. For these latter 
they looked in vain, for they seemed almost non-existent. 

The plight of the wounded was awful. So inadequate 
was the Turkish medical service, that the wounded could 
hardly secure first aid. There were no mounted ambulances, 
and hardly any stretchers. Thus every wounded man who 
could possibly walk had to make his own way to the rear, 
and the serious cases were either left to perish miserably on 
the ground, or were carried, to meet a similar fate, into the 
nearest village, where they were abandoned, as there was no 
possible way of carrying them off when the army was in 
full retreat. 

Hundreds of wounded stopped us on our way to Sakiskeuy, 
and asked us if we could tell them where they could find the 
ambulances or the hospitals. Alas ! neither existed. 

We reached the village at 9 o'clock and found it full 
of exhausted troops and wounded men, who had taken 
possession of every house. The village had been formerly a 
prosperous one, and contained considerable stores of grain 



A TALK WITH ABDULLAH 149 

and straw, but absolutely no food. The men, many of 
whom had eaten nothing for two days, were eating raw 
mealie cobs, or else grinding them to flour and making a 
coarse, almost uneatable bread, which at least was better than 
nothing. 

We found Abdullah and his staff installed in a miserable 
little four-roomed hut, crowded together like flies. The 
general was very much surprised to see us, but greeted us 
with his usual kindliness, and said we might stay with his 
staff for the night. Ismet and myself were glad of shelter, as 
we were thoroughly exhausted after our long wearying day 
without a particle of food, and nothing to drink except one 
bottle of local wine, which we had saved from Lule Burgas. 

But the General Staff of the army were in almost as bad 
a plight. They had come from Chorion at a moment's 
notice, leaving all their baggage behind and were almost 
without food. The staff officers and ourselves dined off one 
plate of pilaf and two loaves of stale bread of the worst 
quality, and of such a taste that one felt after each mouthful 
that one had robbed the museum at Pompeii. 

However, we made the best of it, and were all very 
cheerful, for the day's operations seemed to have taken a 
favourable turn and the general impression at headquarters 
was that on the following morning the Bulgarians would be 
found in full retreat. 

After dinner Abdullah came in and talked to me for a 
quarter of an hour, and gave me a splendid cigar, which, 
in the circumstances, was about the greatest luxury 
anyone could have provided. He inquired carefully of 
what I had seen during the day, and seemed greatly 
surprised when I told him that Lule Burgas had been taken, 
a piece of information which had hitherto not reached him. 
He then pointed out to me on the map the various positions 
of his army corps, and told me several details of the fighting 
of which I was hitherto ignorant. He laid special stress on 



150 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the success of the 2nd Corps, which for some time had 
carried all before it, and had only been checked by the 
desperate counter-attack of the Bulgarians just before dusk. 
The general said, " The Slavs always make their final effort 
before dusk. It is the hour they like best for fighting." 

Then he went on to explain his plans for the following 
day, and used these memorable words : 

" Mahmoud Mukhtar with the 3rd Army Corps is coming 
up from Viza to-morrow. I shall be able to throw him on 
the enemy's left wing, and I trust this movement will lead 
to good results and force the Bulgarians to retire." 

At the same time, Abdullah told me he had another 
Army Corps in reserve, the 17th, which was coming up from 
Tatarli, and that he would reinforce the 2nd Corps with 
it on the following morning. 

Now what became of this mysterious 17th Corps which 
does not apparently exist in the Turkish organisation ? Did 
Abdullah mean the 17th Division of Redifs ? Whether 
it was a Division or a Provisional Army Corps, it never 
came to the assistance of the 2nd Army Corps on the 
following day, Wednesday, October 30th, and its movements 
have remained a profound mystery ever since. I was under 
the impression that it never reached the battlefield, but 
broke up and dispersed en route. I have, however, since 
heard from a reliable officer that this mysterious division 
or corps, instead of reinforcing the 2nd Army Corps, joined 
the 3rd Corps under Mahmoud Mukhtar and was involved 
in his fight and subsequent retreat. 

That night I listened to many strange tales of the 
fighting, brought in by aides-de-camp from all quarters of 
the field. Most of these officers were highly optimistic, 
and prophesied a great victory on the following day, but 
there was one whose name I cannot recall who said to me : 

" Things are not going well. Up to a certain hour the 
2nd Army Corps was making considerable progress, but 



A COMFORTLESS BIVOUAC 151 

the final Bulgarian attack drove it back. To-night there 
is tremendous concentration of the enemy in front of the 
2nd Army Corps, and to-morrow we shall see the bloodiest 
fight of the battle there." 

All the Turkish officers were loud in their praises of the 
bravery of the Bulgarian troops. They described how, when 
determined to gain a position, they came on regardless of 
their losses. Their bodies were literally piled up in heaps 
after the fight in front of the 2nd Corps. 

Having bid good-night to Abdullah and having 
wished him every success on the morrow, the junior 
officers of the staff*, Ismet and myself proceeded to make 
ourselves as comfortable as we could for the night. We 
dispersed through the village, stole all the straw we 
could find and piled it up in the little room where we 
were to pass the night. It was not more than twelve feet 
square, and there were some sixteen of us to sleep there, as 
many staff" officers, having come in with reports from other 
corps, were to remain at headquarters until the morning, and 
then to carry back fresh orders. 

I remember that evening, in spite of our hunger; our 
anxieties and the general uncertainty of our position, we 
were all very cheerful and sat up for a long time telling 
stories and listening to each one's experiences during the 
day. One officer who had come in from Sali's Cavalry 
Division was better supplied than his comrades, and gave 
me a stick of chocolate, which helped to stave off* the pangs 
of hunger just a little longer. Hardly any of us had any 
blankets and I was continually awakened during the night 
by the bitter cold, and I do not think any of us really slept 
except for half an hour at a time. However, the feeling of 
excitement and the prospects of further dramatic develop- 
ments on the following day kept up our spirits and caused 
us to bear the cold and the ever-growing feehng of star- 
vation without complaint. 



CHAPTER XII 

LULE BURGAS THE SECOND DAY 

I WILL now describe the second day of this disastrous 
battle, which has settled the fate of Turkey in Europe. 

At dawn on Wednesday, October 30th, Abdullah Pasha 
and his staff were early astir. It was bitterly cold, but 
fortunately the weather remained fine and clear. All of us 
had passed a miserable, sleepless night, lying amidst the 
straw hastily collected on the previous evening. Neither the 
general nor anyone else had a scrap of breakfast or even a 
cup of tea, for not a morsel of food remained in the village 
of Sakiskeuy. 

If this was the lot of the Commander-in-Chief of the army, 
imagine that of his troops. For .three days the majority of 
the men had had absolutely nothing to eat, and very many 
of them but little to drink, as water in many parts of the 
field was scarce, and often whole regiments had to fill their 
bottles from muddy ponds, in which horses and oxen had 
trampled and stirred up the sediment. For three days the 
troops had lain out on the bare hills in the icy cold with no 
covering except their coats. The majority of the wounded 
lay exactly where they had fallen on the previous day, and 
only the minor cases had been able to drag themselves to the 
rear. But as there were no hospitals or field dressing 
stations, the wounded had to make their own way for fully 



THE DAWN OF OCTOBER 30 153 

forty miles to Chorlou, before they could hope to find any 
succour. A few may have eventually reached shelter, 
thanks to the wonderful constitution of the Turkish soldier, 
but the majority must have succumbed en route. 

If ever an army was not in a position to renew a battle, 
it was the Turkish army on the morning of Wednesday, 
October 30th. Without food, without ammunition for 
the artillery, without supports for the firing-line, it was 
obvious that nothing could stave off the disaster unless 
Mahmoud Mukhtar and the 3rd Corps could make a 
diversion on the enemy's left flank, or unless the Bulgarian 
offensive had spent its force, and they, too, were in as equally 
bad plight as the Turks. 

Reports which had come in at dawn from Shefket Torgut 
Pasha, the commander of the 2nd Corps, showed that a great 
concentration of the enemy was taking place in front of his 
army corps between Turk Bey and Karagach. And to meet 
this fresh concentration Abdullah had not a single fresh 
battalion to throw into the firing line. Only one thing could 
save the day, namely, for the 2nd Corps to hold its own until 
Mahmoud Mukhtar and the 3rd Corps could come up. 

I had a few words with Abdullah at dawn. He was calm, 
but it was easy to see that inwardly he was beset with 
anxiety. He asked me what I was going to do. I replied : 
" I shall stay with you, with your permission, to see the end 
of the battle, after which I shall try to make my way to 
Chorlou, where perhaps I shall find my horses." Abdullah 
replied : " Go straight out in front of the hills towards Turk 
Bey. There you will see the real struggle." 

The general and his staff rode off. Ismet and myself 
followed the road they had taken, which led up to the low 
hills in front of Sakiskeuy. On my way I was amazed by the 
number of stragglers from the fighting line. Hundreds, even 
thousands, of men, who should have been with their regi- 



154 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

merits, were strolling about the country, searching for food 
and taking no notice of the efforts of staff officers to induce 
them to return to the front. Many were in a pitiful state, 
so weak from two days' fighting and three without food, 
that they could hardly drag themselves along. 

On the low hills in front of Sakiskeuy Abdullah and his 
staff took up their stand on an ancient mound about fifty 
feet high, of which there are many scattered over the country. 
They are said to be tombs marking the burial-places of the 
victims of former battles in this dark and bloody land. 
To-day this proved to be the tomb of Turkey's hopes, for 
from this mound Abdullah Pasha watched the defeat and 
destruction of his army. 

Neither of the combatants seemed anxious to renew the 
struggle, and it was nearly eight a.m. before the Bulgarian 
artillery commenced a furious bombardment all along the 
line from Lule Burgas to Karagach. In spite of the 
immense expenditure of ammunition on the previous day, 
the enemy apparently had an unlimited supply left, for he 
did not use it sparingly, but fired with rapidity and precision. 

Against this storm of shells the Turkish artillery could 
return but a feeble reply, for not a scrap of fresh ammunition 
had been brought up during the night, and those batteries 
which still possessed a few shells in their caissons were loth 
to use them until the decisive moment had arrived. 

It was a sad sight to watch the long lines of infantry on 
the hills, a mile to our front, the batteries of artillery and 
the horse teams lying for hour after hour under this storm 
of shrapnel, unable to reply, unable to advance, and un- 
willing to retire. Men and horses fell in scores, and soon 
the dismal procession of wounded men, bleeding from feet, 
hands, faces, shoulders, from anywhere where the hurt was 
not vital, came dribbling back past us into the village of 
Sakiskeuy. 



THE TOMB OF TURKEY'S HOPES 155 

The hill on which Abdullah Pasha had taken up his 
stand was about the centre of the arc of a semicircle, 
extending from the railway line at I^ule Burgas station to 
Karagach, in the north-east. It speedily became obvious 
that the object of the Bulgarians was to break or turn the 
Turkish left flank, and if possible cut off the retirement of 
the army from Chorion, and at the same time to crush 
Abdullah's centre, or at least, hold the 2nd Army Corps 
and prevent it from advancing. 

The plan of Abdullah, the only one which offered the 
smallest hope of success, was to hold his left wing with 
the 4th and 1st Corps, to attack with his centre now formed 
by the 2nd Corps, and to crush the enemy's left wing by 
hurling the whole of the 3rd Corps under Mahmoud 
Mukhtar on to it. To gain time for the 3rd Corps to come 
up from Viza, Abdullah ordered Shefket Torgut Pasha, the 
commander of the 2nd Corps, to attack the enemy with his 
entire army corps, or what was left of it, united and massed 
on a small front. 

The ground over which the troops had to advance to 
the attack was a plateau similar to those I have already 
described, only having this difference, that it was covered 
with very small trees and shrubbery, which gave a certain 
amount of concealment, but absolutely no cover against 
artillery fire. 

This attack was supported by several batteries of artillery, 
which were pushed up close to the firing line, and in 
consequence suffered enormous losses. Abdullah, I fancy, 
had imagined that the enemy would take the offensive 
against the 2nd Corps, and, when they displayed no 
inclination to do so, he decided to take the offensive himself. 

As a matter of fact, the Bulgarians, having suffered 
enormous losses in their final effort to hold the 2nd Corps 
on the previous night, had now entrenched themselves, 



156 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

determined, as was proved later in the day, to act on the 
defensive in this part of the field, and furiously to attack 
Abdullah's left wing. Had the Turkish Commander-in-Chief 
had a fresh army corps in hand, or had he even possessed a 
spare division of infantry, some more batteries of artillery, 
or even ammunition for the batteries he did have, it is 
possible the attack of the 2nd Corps would have been 
crowned with success. But as it was, his troops were 
already worn out and decimated, his artillery had only a 
few rounds left, and the moral of the army had sunk to 
the lowest ebb. 

Nevertheless, the troops of Shefket Torgut advanced 
bravely to the attack. A firing hne, nearly half a mile long, 
was formed and swept forward over the open ground until 
it became almost hidden from view amidst the low 
shrubbery of which I have already spoken. 

For a short time it really seemed to us spectators as if 
the advance v/ould be successful, for the infantry pressed 
steadily, and only the enemy's artillery opposed the onrushing 
Turks. But suddenly a deafening roar of musketry rent the 
air, intermingled with the tragic hum of innumerable 
machine guns. The noise was infernal, but it only lasted 
for a short time. 

Then suddenly there appeared rushing from the wooded 
ground the remnant of the Turkish firing-line. Full fifty 
per cent, had fallen, and the remainder, losing all semblance 
of order, dispersed in small groups, and under a perfect rain 
of shrapnel, dashed back on to the supports and reserves. 
Even here their flight did not end ; for in spite of the eiForts 
of the officers, the fugitives pressed on to the rear until they 
had reached safety behind the ground on whieh we were 
standing. 

The supports and reserves of the broken firing-line were 
hurried to the front. They, too, reached the edge of the 



DEFEAT OF THE 2nd CORPS 157 

wooded ground, where they were met in turn by such a hail 
of shrapnel and bullets that the lines seemed Uterally to 
melt away to nothing under the withering blast. 

Two Turkish batteries, the only ones which seemed to 
possess any ammunition in this part of the field, attempted 
to relieve the pressure by opening up on the enemy's 
guns, but as the latter were invisible, it made not the slightest 
difference to their volume of fire. The only effect was to 
attract to the artillery some of the shrapnel which had played 
such havoc with the infantry. The two Turkish batteries 
were speedily placed out of action. One of them lost all its 
men except seven, and had 150 horses placed hors de 
combat. Fresh teams were sent up later in the day to bring 
them to the rear. 1 examined this battery carefully on 
the following day during the retreat. The shields were 
bespattered with shrapnel bullets, and an entire shell had 
passed through the shield of the gun. 

Immediately after the failure of the attack of the 2nd 
Army Corps, I suggested to Ismet that we should ride to 
the position now held by the defeated Corps and examine the 
condition of the troops, and also endeavour to ascertain their 
losses. Ismet, however, pointed out that we had only one 
horse and that it would be very poor fun for the one who 
had to walk. I then said to him : " You stay here and I 
will go and have a look and will return in an hour." Ismet 
advised me not to go, saying I would probably get into 
trouble and might be mistaken by the ignorant soldiers for 
a Bulgarian. 

However, I decided to go, and mounting the worn- 
out, half- starved old nag, was soon on my way. I was 
approaching my destination when I encountered some 
mounted Turkish soldiers accompanied by an officer. I was 
immediately seized by them in spite of my protestations. I 
showed them the badge which I should have worn on my 



158 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

arm, but which I was carrying in my pocket. It made not 
the slightest difference. They seized me by each arm, took 
away my revolver and field glasses, and almost every odd 
and end I happened to have in my pocket. They then 
dragged me before Abdullah and his Staff, who laughed 
heartily and ordered my immediate release and the restitution 
of my few effects. Abdullah then sent for Ismet and told 
him he was not to allow me to go off alone again. There 
was no chance of this, as I had had quite enough. 

The incidents I am now relating took place about twelve, 
midday. For the time being the forward movement of the 
2nd Corps came to an abrupt stop, and the infantry fell back 
a considerable distance, where they remained for hours, ex- 
posed to the enemy's shrapnel fire, unable to advance and 
unwilling to retire. 

While this desperate struggle was raging in fi-ont of the 
2nd Corps the Bulgarians were engaged in delivering a series 
of equally desperate attacks on Abdullah's left wing and 
centre, held by the 4th Corps on the extreme left, and by 
the 1st Corps between Lule Burgas and Turk Bey. The 
brunt of this attack fell on the weakened 4th Corps, which 
the night before still held its entrenchments on the hills 
facing Lulu Burgas. 

Here again, the Turkish defence was crushed by the 
immense superiority of the enemy's artillery fire. Here 
again, the old story was repeated of Turkish batteries unable 
to play any part in the battle from lack of ammunition. 
Here again, a half-starved and worn-out infantry were 
expected to fight like men. 

Throughout the day the Bulgarian advance against the 
left wing made steady progress. Having gained possession 
of the railway station, they were able to outflank the 4th 
Corps and force it to retire, through fear of having its 
retreat cut off altogether. 



MAHMOUD MUKHTAR 159 

The efforts of Sali Pasha's cavalry to stem the advance 
proved utterly futile. They in turn had to give way before 
the terrible rain of shell. The gradual outflanking and 
retirement of the 4th Corps was plainly visible to 
Abdullah and his staff in front of Sakiskeuy, from the clouds 
of smoke thrown up by the enemy's shells, which were now 
bursting over the left wing of the army, and threatened 
every minute to envelop our rear and jeopardise the retreat 
of the 1st and 2nd Corps on Chorion. 

By two o'clock in the afternoon the position of Abdullah's 
army was critical, almost desperate, and the glasses of the 
staff were all turned towards the north-east in the direction 
of Viza, from which point Mahmoud Mukhtar with the 
3rd Corps was making tremendous efforts to come up. 
An engagement of a desultory character had been taking 
place in that direction throughout the morning, but the 
smoke of the bursting shells showed that up to the present 
the 3rd Corps had been making steady progress. 

Messengers had arrived with the news that Mahmoud 
Mukhtar was driving all before him, that the enemy were 
becoming steadily demoralised in his front, and that he 
hoped to come up on the left of the 2nd Corps in the 
course of the afternoon. 

This news temporarily raised the spirits of the General 
Staff, and for hours all our glasses and all our hopes were 
fixed on the 3rd Corps. About two o'clock this engagement 
to the north-east became furious. It was obvious that the 
Bulgarians had detached large reinforcements from the front 
of the 2nd Army Corps or else had brought up fresh troops, 
and had passed the right wing of the 2nd Corps, until they 
were almost in its rear and were concentrating every man in 
this part of the field to hold Mahmoud Mukhtar back. 

In the whole course of the battle I never listened to such 
an artillery fire as that which arose from the contact of the 



160 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

3rd Corps with the enemy. Mahmoud Mukhtar not having 
been engaged on the previous day, was able to employ his 
artillery to good advantage, and to meet the Bulgarian guns 
on more equal terms. But even here, in spite of its previous 
exertions and vast expenditure of ammunition, the Bulgarian 
artillery soon gained the upper hand. 

Throughout the campaign the Creusot gun has proved its 
immense superiority over the Krupp in a manner which has 
amazed the Turkish artillery officers, but how far this 
superiority is due to the weapon and how far to superior 
handling it is premature to say. 

Even the heroic efforts of Mahmoud's hitherto unbeaten 
infantry could not drive back the enemy, who fought with 
unparalleled determination and ferocity, absolutely throwing 
away their lives in the Japanese manner whenever a point 
had to be won or held. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon it became obvious 
that Mahmoud Mukhtar's advance had been completely 
checked. The smoke of his guns no longer steadily 
approached the right flank of the 2nd Army Corps. Rather 
it seemed to recede, as if he were being slowly driven back. 
In any case the great gap between the 2nd and 3rd Corps 
had not been filled. 

I will interrupt a further description of the day's fighting 
to present to the reader the hopeless position of the 
Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish army, directing as he 
was, or as he should have been directing, the movements of 
four army corps, ranged over a front of twenty-five miles. 
Abdullah remained throughout the entire day, except for 
one brief interval, on the mound of which I have already 
spoken. His sole companions were his staff and his personal 
escort, and his sole means of obtaining any information as to 
what was happening elsewhere were his pair of field glasses. 
Not a line of telegraph or telephone had been brought to the 



A GENERAL IN THE DARK 161 

front, and not a single wireless installation, although the 
Turkish army on paper possesses twelve complete outfits for 
its army corps ; and not an effort had been made even to 
establish a line of messengers by relays to connect head- 
quarters with the various army corps. I need hardly add 
that not a single aeroplane was anywhere within 100 miles 
of the front, and if any exist there was no one to fly them. 

Thus, throughout the entire day, Abdullah remained for 
hour after hour without any exact information, except that 
which he obtained hours too late by dispatching various 
staff officers to his corps commanders. In the course of 
the day I only saw one orderly ride up with a message, from 
which I gather that the corps commanders did not even 
take the trouble to communicate with the Commander-in- 
Chief. 

No one can blame Abdullah ; it was not his fault ; he was 
the victim of a vicious system of bluff and make-beheve 
and self-deception which has brought such crushing disaster 
on Turkey in the present war. But in all my experience I 
have never seen a more pathetic or instructive spectacle than 
that of this Commander-in-Chief of more than 100,000 rtien 
sitting on the tomb of a former generation, as helpless as a 
blind-fold man, searching in vain for his enemy. 

Thus the battle, instead of being directed by one 
master-mind, practically resolved itself into four isolated 
engagements with four separate commanders, each com- 
pletely ignorant of his comrade's movements, and each 
having the same difficulty as his Commander-in-Chief in 
communicating with his divisional and brigade commanders. 

At about four o'clock I received the first tidings of the 
other correspondents. Suddenly Lionel James's dragoman 
and his groom came up riding two horses. I was extremely 
surprised to see them and asked for their news. They told 
me that several of the correspondents who had been 

M 



162 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

imprisoned at Chorlou ever since their arrival at the front, 
had broken loose that morning at the sound of the guns 
and v^^ere making every effort to reach the battlefield. 
Lionel James himself, so his dragoman told me, had left for 
Lule Burgas by motor-car, and he had sent on his two 
horses with orders to make for that town with all rapidity. 
Of course, he did not know when he gave these instructions 
that the town had been captured. I told the dragoman he 
was some eight kilometres from Lule Burgas, and he asked 
me what I thought he should do, saying plaintively, "It 
has taken me eight hours to come from Chorlou here, and 
I can't wander all over the battlefield in search of Mr. 
James, who may be anywhere now, and in two hours it will 
be quite dark." There was truth in this, and I advised him 
to remain with myself and Ismet, as Lionel James would 
probably try to make his way to headquarters. But no 
advice or words of mine would have changed the dragoman's 
resolution to remain under my protection. He was delighted 
beyond measure at finding himself amongst friends once 
again. On the way up he had been arrested by parties of 
soldiers who had threatened him, and he was half scared to 
death. Later in the afternoon Ismet and myself com- 
mandeered the two horses and rode a mile to visit the 2nd 
Army Corps. I also learnt from this dragoman some 
interesting news of the trials, sufferings, and indignities 
which all the correspondents had suffered since their 
departure from Constantinople. He told me that both the 
motor-car of the Daily Mail and Times and my own had 
reached Chorlou safely on the previous day, and that 
Donohoe had left Chorlou and had gone down to Rodosto 
in ours in search of more petrol. To my unspeakable regret 
this man had brought no food with him, so we were but 
little better off. 

I wiU now describe the dramatic closing stage of this 



THE TURKISH GROUCHY 163 

battle, which may prove to be one of the decisive battles 
of the world. I have already said that by three o'clock 
in the afternoon Mahmoud Mukhtar's advance had been 
completely checked, and that he was being slowly driven 
back. Abdullah and the General Staff recognised clearly 
that the situation was almost desperate, unless something 
could be done at the eleventh hour to change the fortunes 
of the day. Napoleon at Waterloo never waited more 
anxiously for Grouchy to come up, than did Abdullah for the 
advance of Mahmoud Mukhtar, and now it was obvious 
that the battle was lost unless the enemy's line in front of 
the 2nd Army Corps could be broken. 

Let me describe once again the position of the Turkish 
army at this hour. The left wing was completely enveloped 
owing to the repulse and retirement of the 4th Corps. The 
1st Corps, next in line, was gradually giving way, whilst the 
2nd, although still holding its own under tremendous 
artillery fire, seemed incapable of any further offensive 
movement. On the extreme right and in the rear of the 
line the 3rd Corps was also held in check. Thus, should 
Mahmoud Mukhtar be still driven back, and should the 4th 
and 1st Corps retire much farther, the 2nd Corps in the 
centre of the arc of the semicircle would be in danger of 
being cut off and enveloped on both its wings. 

However, on the other hand, the strategical position of 
the Bulgarians was also extremely dangerous, because they 
had been obliged to detach a large portion of their forces, and 
of their artillery, from the extreme left wing, to check the 
advance of the 3rd Corps. Thus the Bulgarians had passed 
the right flank of the 2nd Army Corps, and were almost in 
its rear. 

Now Abdullah still had a chance of retrieving the fortunes 
of the day, if he could successfully attack the enemy in 
front of the 2nd Army Corps, because if this attack was 

m2 



164 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

successful and forced the enemy to retire, the Bulgarian 
force attacking Mahmoud and the 3rd Corps would be 
taken in flank and rear, and its retreat entirely cut off 
from the rest of the army. Attacked in front by 
JNlahmoud, and in the rear by Shefket Torgut, its position 
would have been critical in the extreme. 

Again, as in the morning, had the Turkish general had 
but a fresh corps in hand and a few batteries of artillery the 
day might have been saved. Nevertheless Abdullah, like 
Napoleon at Waterloo with his Old Guard, determined to 
risk all on one final effort with the exhausted 2nd Corps. 

Staff* officers were sent to order an immediate advance. 
The wearied troops, their moral half gone under the terrible 
rain of shells to which they had been subjected throughout 
the day, once more pulled themselves together and advanced 
over the ground covered with corpses of their comrades. 

This time no single firing line with supports was formed. 
The whole corps, or what was left of it, moved forward in 
close formation to the edge of the plateau, where disaster 
had overtaken them in the morning. No sooner had this 
movement begun than the enemy sighted it, and I am told 
that no fewer than twelve batteries of artillery concentrated 
their fire on the doomed troops. The white puff's of smoke 
burst in an unceasing stream above the serried columns, 
which were met by a fearful storm of musketry and 
mitrailleuse which no troops could face. The column 
seemed to be bathing in a surf of shrapnel. The ranks 
wavered, then broke, and made precipitously for the rear. 

In vain did those behind attempt to check the rush. No 
amount of reinforcements could have brought success at this 
moment. The Turkish soldier was being asked to do more 
than human nature could stand. 

Having regained the old ground which they had held aU 
day, the fugitives halted, and some semblance of order was 



THE END OF THE DAY 165 

restored to the ranks, and the corps held its ground for two 
hours until darkness set in. 

Now it was obvious to all that the battle was irretrievably 
lost, and the important question was : Could the half- 
destroyed corps hold their ground until the following 
morning, or would they be obliged to retire during the 
night ? 

About half-past five Abdullah Pasha and his staff, seeing 
that the game was up, left the mound on which they had 
stood all day, and returned to the village of Sakiskeuy. I 
took a final glance round the field of battle. Everywhere it 
was obvious that the Grand Army of Thrace had been 
beaten, and was in full retreat or else barely holding its 
ground. The artillery fire still continued, and the smoke of 
the shells both to the north and south seemed almost to 
envelop both its wings, leaving clear only a gap right in our 
rear. 

Ismet and I rode over to the ground where the 2nd Corps 
had been fighting throughout the day. The dead and 
wounded littered the soil in every direction, and the survivors 
sat around with a hopeless, listless look on their faces, all 
fully realising that the battle was lost. We soon had to 
return on account of the enemy's shells, which never ceased 
to play over the Turkish position until complete darkness, 
at six o'clock, put an end to the struggle. 

Both armies were too worn out to molest one another 
during the night. 

During the day Ismet and myself had been too busy 
following the various phases of this stupendous combat to 
realise our own plight, but now it had come to an end a 
reaction from the intense excitement speedily set in, and 
pangs of hunger brought home to us the realisation of our 
own position. During the entire day we had not had a 
morsel of food or anything to drink except dirty water, and 



166 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

now darkness had set in we were without either food or 
shelter for the night, intensely weary, and with only one 
equally tired old horse between us. 

The General had told us in the morning that we could 
pass the night again with the staff, but on arriving once 
again in Sakiskeuy we found only Abdullah's servant, who 
had been wounded in the head on the previous day, at the 
house which the staff had occupied. This man told us he 
had received orders to pack up Abdullah's baggage and to 
be ready to leave at any moment for a destination he did 
not know. 

This was the final straw, and Ismet and myself both felt 
on the verge of despair. Without horses it would be 
impossible to retreat with the staff, and we both felt that, 
weakened as we were from want of food, it would be 
impossible for us to make our way on foot the fifty odd 
miles to Chorlou, the nearest point where we could hope to 
find food or horses. We asked the Mushir's servant if he 
could obtain us any food, but he only replied, " There is 
none to be had. The only thing my master has had to eat 
all day has been a toasted mealie cob. There is absolutely 
nothing left in the countryside." 

I sat down on a chair, and Ismet did likewise, both of us 
too apathetic to care what happened, and both too weary to 
move another yard. I remember an endless procession of 
wounded men passing through the village, some dragging 
themselves along, others carried on improvised stretchers, 
others supporting one another, others falling to the ground 
as soon as they saw a pile of hay on which to throw 
themselves. 

I also recollect seeing some desperate cases brought up to 
a surgeon, who was gesticulating wildly, explaining, Ismet 
told me, that it was useless bringing them to him as he had 
no bandages, no medicine, and no means of performing any 



A DRAMATIC MEETING 167 

operation. The stretcher-bearers — hurdle-bearers, as it 
would be better to call them — took them to the nearest 
house, and left them inside. 

Yet throughout all these horrid scenes I never heard even 
a groan or a reproach escape from the sufferers. Each 
seemed to realise that his number was up, and accepted 
his hard lot with superb dignity and fortitude. Shortly 
afterwards a dying officer was brought in and laid in 
Abdullah's house, as no accommodation could be found 
elsewhere. 

I sat debating in my mind what to do. At that moment 
I would have paid any price for a couple of good horses, for 
a biscuit, or for a bottle of whiskey. I thought how ironical 
it seemed that I should be sitting there with £200 in gold 
strapped round my waist, and yet be unable to buy even 
a cigarette. It is surprising how quickly one becomes 
apathetic to the sufferings of others, when one is faced 
with necessity oneself, and even the lot of the wounded 
aroused but little interest amongst those of us who were 
unhurt. 

It was now a question of sauve qui peut, and that feeling 
had taken possession of the whole army. I had almost 
made up my mind to pass the night in Sakiskeuy, and in 
the morning to surrender to the Bulgarians, rather than 
make any further effort requiring physical exertion. 

I was sitting there, half asleep in the semi-darkness, when 
I suddenly heard my brother's voice calling me by name. I 
looked up, and there, to my unutterable amazement, I saw 
my brother riding a horse. Sir Bryan Leighton on another, 
a young English photographer called Gordon mounted on a 
third, two or three servants and grooms, and a covered-in 
country cart loaded to the brim with tents and baggage. 

Had a celestial caravan suddenly tumbled from the skies I 
could not have been more surprised, and, for a few moments, 



168 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

I thought I had been dreaming. My brother told me after- 
wards that the only question I asked him was, " Have you 
brought any food and drinks ? " 

To the infinite joy of Ismet and myself, they had brought 
supplies for three days. Without waiting to ask any 
questions, we rushed to the wagon and devoured anything 
in sight. Then it occurred to me to inquire of my brother 
how they had happened to turn up in Sakiskeuy, and 
whence they had come. 

This is the story they told me. 

All the correspondents since their arrival at the front had 
been locked up in Chorion and closely guarded. They were 
all so closely guarded that sentries were even placed round 
their camp. On the night that Ismet and myself arrived in 
Chorion all were safely quartered in houses in the town, and 
yet this fact was unknown to Abdullah Pasha and his staff 
when they sent us on to Lule Burgas. 

On Tuesday the sound of the guns of the great battle 
aroused all the prisoners to frenzy, and they determined to 
break way on the following morning and make their own 
way to the battlefield. The officer in charge of them, 
hearing of this project, said he would conduct them himself 
to Lule Burgas, being ignorant that the town had fallen 
into the hands of the Bulgarians, and he gave a general 
rendezvous for half-past seven. 

But the more enterprising Englishmen, especially, had 
lost all faith in Turkish promises, and long before that hour 
the Anglo-Saxon section had cleared out, and were well on 
their way to the front 

My brother bought a cart, harnessed my two strongest 
horses to drag it, and made for Lule Burgas. By 
one of those strange chances which cannot be explained, 
they took the wrong road, and instead of arriving at Lule 
Burgas, or near it, they wandered quite by accident into 




5 



WE FEED ABDULLAH 169 

the village of Sakiskeuy, where they found us in such dire 
distress. 

But for this accident I do not know what would have 
become of us on the following day. I do not think I 
could ever have reached Chorion on foot, and certainly not 
in time to send my account of the battle to the Daily 
Telegraph. 

The arrival of food, tents, and our baggage soon caused us 
to forget all our miseries and misfortunes, and, as all the 
houses were occupied, we pitched a tent, collected some com 
for the horses, which had done forty miles that day over bad 
roads, and proceeded to cook our evening meal. 

About eight o'clock Ismet came to me and said : "Abdul- 
lah has returned with his staff. They are once more in the 
house, and do not intend to leave to-night, but all are starving, 
and have not so much as a loaf of bread between them." 

I collected half our stores, had a hot kettle of cocoa made, 
and carried them to Abdullah Pasha myself. It was indeed 
a pleasure, at such a moment, to be able to repay in some 
small measure his many acts of kindness and hospitality 
towards Ismet and myself. The General was sitting on the 
floor of his little room, surrounded by his staff, and with 
many general officers, including Shefket Torgut Pasha, who 
had been summoned to a council of war. 

Abdullah Pasha looked worn out and cast down. The 
faces of all present reflected the deepest depression, almost 
amounting to despair, and if any further confirmation were 
needed as to the plight of the army, it was to be found in 
the appearance of the Headquarters Staff. 

The Commander-in-Chief rose when I entered and ex- 
plained my mission, and thanked me profusely, saying that, 
without my coming to his aid, he would have been obliged 
to go without any supper. I wished him success, and 
expressed a hope that the enemy, exhausted by their 



170 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

exertions, would be found to have retreated on the fol- 
lowing day. Abdullah Pasha merely shook his head and 
rephed : " I am afraid not. Our army has made tremendous 
sacrifices, especially the officers, of whom the majority have 
fallen, including some of the youngest and most promising." 

Then I withdrew. Ismet remained behind to talk with 
some of his friends on the staff, and a little later returned to 
my tent and asked if I could let Abdullah have a little 
brandy. We searched the wagon in vain. In the general 
confusion of an early morning departure it had been for- 
gotten, and also the whiskey, but fortunately Sir Bryan 
Leighton had half a bottle on him. We sent half of this 
by Ismet to Abdullah, who sent back word to say it was 
the best drink he had ever tasted. 

Sir Bryan Leighton and my brother told me of the 
alarming state of the army they had passed on their way to 
the front. They calculated they had passed at least seven 
thousand wounded men dragging themselves to the rear on 
foot, and thousands of stragglers fleeing, many having 
thrown away their arms. They told me that regiments 
leaving Chorion for the front, melted away to the size of 
companies before they had gone half-a-dozen miles, and that 
even these fresh troops had been two days without food. 
They were amazed by what they had seen, having been told 
in Chorlou that everywhere the army was victorious and the 
Bulgarians beaten back. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE ROUT 

It now remains for me to describe the last tragic day 
in the break-up of Abdullah Pasha's army, of how the 
troops who had faced every adverse condition and who 
had fought heroically throughout three days, finally gave 
way under the strain of starvation and exposure, and each 
man, thinking only of his own salvation, sought safety in 
flight. 

At five a.m. on Thursday, October 31st, I was aroused by 
Ismet shaking me. These were the words he whispered 
in my ear, not wishing to disturb the other weary sleepers 
in the tent : " Come outside quickly ! We can stay here 
no longer. Abdullah and his staff have left. The village 
has been evacuated. At any minute the Bulgarians may 
enter." 

I was astonished at the news, because it seemed so strange 
that no member of the staff had warned us when they left, 
but I suppose in the general confusion of a sudden departure 
we had been forgotten. I lost not a moment, but aroused 
the camp and set everyone to work packing the wagon and 
harnessing the horses. Just as dawn was breaking, a rattle 
of musketry from the hills outside the village from which 
I had watched the fight on the previous day showed that 



172 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the Bulgarians were already advancing, and that the rear 
guard was engaged. 

Everyone had cleared out of Sakiskeuy during the night, 
with the exception of the seriously wounded, who were 
unable to move. They were abandoned to the mercies of 
the villagers or else to the care of the enemy. 

By six o'clock we were packed and on the march, and just 
as we cleared the village the enemy's guns roared. Then 
we found ourselves amidst a crowd of stragglers and 
wounded, ox-wagons, stray batteries of artillery, and all the 
manifold debris of a defeated army. All had one object in 
view, namely, to put as great a distance as possible between 
themselves and the enemy. 

We decided to take the road to a village called Ahmed 
Bey, six miles behind Sakiskeuy, where we were told we 
would find Abdullah Pasha and his staff; but on reaching 
Ahmed Bey we found the village had been evacuated and 
was only filled with stragglers and wounded. I therefore 
decided to make for Ciiorlou, forty miles away, and to 
endeavour to reach it that night. 

The country from Sakiskeuy to Chorion is the same broad 
undulating plateau, dotted with villages and traversed by 
innumerable bridle-paths, nothing in the nature of a high 
road existing. Almost all these roads or paths converge on 
Chorion, and every one of them was blocked with the fugi- 
tives of three beaten army corps. Behind us we could hear, 
from the noise of the guns, the bursting of shells ever nearer 
our rear, and the incessant rattle of musketry, that a 
desperate rear-guard action was taking place, and the sound 
nerved us on to fresh exertions. Away to the east a pitched 
battle seemed to be raging, showing that Mahmoud Mukhtar, 
with the 3rd Corps, was making desperate efforts to retire 
from the exposed position in which he had been placed by 
the break-up of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Army Corps. 



"SAUVE QUI PEUT " 173 

I do not know to this hour if the retreat was ordered by 
Abdullah Pasha, or if the troops voluntarily abandoned their 
positions and took to flight. Probably an orderly retreat 
was arranged, but speedily developed into a sauve qui pent. 

The scenes on the road baffle description from my pen. 
They recalled to mind a picture I have seen somewhere of 
the flight of the French army after Waterloo, or one of 
Napoleon's retreats from Russia. Not a vestige of order 
remained. Whole brigades and divisions had broken up. 
The men made no efforts to preserve their places in the 
ranks. The strongest speedily got to the front, and the 
weak, sick, and wounded struggled painfully behind. 
Thousands of wounded made pathetic efforts to keep up 
with their comrades, but each had to shift for himself, as not 
even the unwounded were in a condition to lend a helping 
hand. Many of the unwounded were so weak that they fell 
by the roadside and made no further effort to save them- 
selves. 

For three days all these men had been without a morsel 
of food, and many for even a longer period. Only soldiers 
possessing the wonderful constitutions of the Turks could 
have stood the strain. As our wagon lumbered along 
amidst the ruts, at times threatening to collapse altogether, 
many a wounded man begged for a lift, holding up their 
hands imploringly. It was awful having to refuse them, for 
once we had taken two inside, the cart would not hold 
another person, and as it was, the worn-out horses could 
hardly drag it along. At times we dismounted and gave 
exhausted officers a lift on our horses, for which they were 
profoundly thankful. 

We distributed the remains of our food to the starving, 
but amongst such a multitude our little store could only 
supply the wants of a very few. When we came to a 
village some way away from the battlefield we were obliged 



174 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

even to abandon our two wounded men to the care of 
some wagon-drivers, as the horses began to show signs of 
breaking down. 

The further we receded from the battlefield, the worse 
the scene became, because many of the wounded, having 
dragged themselves thus far, could go no further, and, 
crawling off the track, lay down to die by the roadside 
without a curse or reproach at the authors of all their 
miseries. Sometimes when a man had died his comrades 
would stop a moment and dig a shallow grave, but the 
majority of the corpses were left just where they fell. 

Amidst the fugitives were many country-people fleeing 
from the tide of war; many great trains of ox-wagons, 
creaking painfully along ; many stray batteries of artillery, 
with the horses so lean that they could hardly drag the 
guns, and with the exhausted gunners asleep on the 
Umbers. Amidst these thousands of fugitives, the remnants 
of three army corps, hardly an officer remained. 

At the commencement of the campaign the Turkish 
army was no fewer than 2,000 short of its proper quota 
of officers. Its loss in officers in this great battle was 
enormous, and in consequence whole battalions were left like 
sheep without a shepherd. If ever officers are most 
necessary, it is when troops get out of hand, as they did on 
this retreat, but without officers it was impossible even to 
attempt to restore some semblance of order amongst the 
flying horde. 

On the road we were met by fresh bodies of troops 
coming from Chorion, on their way to the front, and ignorant 
of the great disaster. They, too, joined in the flight, and 
speedily deserted their ranks and dispersed. At every 
village crowds of stragglers invaded the houses in search of 
food, digging up roots in the gardens and eagerly devouring 
raw cabbages and turnips — anything edible they could find. 



AMAZING SCENES 175 

Every stream of water was turned into a mud-pond by the 
general rush of men, horses, and oxen to be the first to 
obtain a drink. 

After we had marched for several hours, and had placed a 
considerable distance between ourselves and the enemy, we 
halted for half-an-hour to give the horses a rest, but, with 
this exception, we never once stopped, except when obliged 
to do so by the block on the roads, between six a.m. and ten 
o'clock at night. 

On the high ground, half way to Chorlou, we had a good 
view of the whole of the countryside, which presented a most 
extraordinary sight. Along every road men, horses, guns, 
and ox-wagons were pressing forward, all converging on to 
the two roads which lead into Chorlou. There must have 
been forty or fifty thousand stragglers scattered over the 
plain, all bent on reaching the town before nightfall. Many 
became so exhausted from want of food that they simply 
could not go any further, and lay down to sleep where they 
were. What became of them I do not know. I suppose 
a large number came in the next day. Others were doubt- 
less captured by the enemy, and the majority of the 
wounded left on the bare plateau, swept by an icy wind, 
must have perished during the night. 

I have no time to relate here the varied tales of the great 
fight told us by the fugitives — of whole battalions cut to 
pieces by the enemy's fire ; of men starving in the ranks 
or dying of exposure ; of thousands of Bulgarians slaughtered 
in the attacks ; of artillery captured ; of guns abandoned ; 
of the mistakes of Generals ; of the awful confusion and 
lack of method which prevailed everywhere. 

Many of the fugitives had abandoned their kits and 
equipment to lighten their burdens. A still larger number 
flung away their boots, preferring to march with bare feet. 
But to their credit let it be said that very few abandoned 



176 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

their rifles. One old, worn-out soldier with nothing left 
except his beloved Mauser, and so weak that he could hardly 
stumble along, said to Ismet as we passed : "A Turkish 
soldier is not worth the price of a dog these days." 

We were yet a long way from Chorlou when night hid 
from view these horrid scenes of human misery. If our 
progress had been difficult before, it now became infinitely 
more so, and finally, as a crowning misfortune, a wheel came 
off" our cart. 

The screw was lost and we searched for it in vain in the 
dark. But as we had no certain proof that it had not come 
off* some way back we were obliged to abandon the quest as 
hopeless. For some little time we contemplated spending 
the night on the road and going on to Chorlou on the 
following morning, but all our servants were dead against 
this, as they were anxious to obtain food and shelter. The 
faithful Hadji then suggested that he could tie on the wheel 
of the cart and although it would not go round any longer 
he thought the horses would be able to drag it into Chorlou, 
exhausted though they were. There was no alternative, so 
we accepted his proposal although it seemed extremely cruel 
to ask the two horses to drag a heavily laden wagon five 
miles on three wheels. I do not know how we ever got 
over this last stretch of the road. It was pitch dark and 
over and over again the cart was on the verge of turning 
over on account of the deep ruts and banks which we were 
obliged to negotiate. At length, about nine p.m., we came 
to the bridge spanning the river which had to be passed in 
order to enter the town. Here the scene absolutely baffles 
description. The only road leading to the bridge was com- 
pletely blocked by an immense train of ox-wagons, refugees' 
carts, stray commissariat wagons, soldiers, and masses of 
men having no semblance of order. We saw at once that 
it would be utterly impossible to hope to get across the 



^^wppf' 




THE FORD m THE DARK 177 

bridge that evening, and that if we were to obtain food 
and supper we would have to find another way round. 
The only alternative course was to ford the river beneath 
the bridge, but this was not an encouraging outlook because 
some of the ox-wagons had already tried the ford, and had 
stuck in the mud in the middle of the stream. However, 
Ismet, my brother, and myself plunged in the river and 
found the water only up to our girths, and we called upon 
the party to follow. It was a desperate experiment, but 
the faithful Hadji was equal to the occasion. Calling upon 
Allah to protect him and to give his horses ten times their 
normal strength, he took the river at a rush, and after a 
fearful struggle the cart somehow got through and mounted 
the further bank, amid shouts of joy. The following day 
a French correspondent tried to get his cart over the 
bridge and was pushed over the side, losing his cart, 
his horses, and his dragoman. 

But our difficulties were not at an end even after we had 
crossed the stream and our efforts to regain the road almost 
ended in further disaster and we were very nearly pushed 
over an embankment, but by a miracle we escaped. After 
that we crossed the railway line and soon found ourselves 
in Chorion, where at least we had a temporary home. 
Throughout the day we had all been wondering why the 
Bulgarians had not pursued the masses of fugitives stream- 
ing over the open plain without any semblance of order, 
who would have offered no resistance had they been 
attacked. But the Bulgarian infantry were exhausted after 
their tremendous exertions, and the cavalry of the Bulgarian 
army is almost non-existent. But what a unique oppor- 
tunity was lost of finishing off the war then and there I 
How fortunate it was for the Turks that the Bulgarians had 
no cavalry at hand with which to pursue the beaten army 
over the broad undulating plain between Lule Burgas and 

N 



178 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Chorlou I Had a few brigades been let loose on this mass 
of fugitives, thousands of prisoners would have been captured, 
and I would never have escaped to write this account of 
the battle. The thousands of fugitives crowded on to the 
banks of the river at Chorlou, who had only one bridge 
over which they could pass, would have been at the mercy 
of the cavalry, and, had the latter possessed a few batteries 
of horse artillery, it is awful to contemplate the disaster 
which would have ensued. But these things were not to 
be, and the Army of Thrace was allowed to retire on the 
lines of Chataldja without a shot being fired. But the lesson 
is obvious. Had the Bulgarians been able to follow up their 
victory, they could have occupied the famous lines almost 
without firing a shot, they would not have lost both time 
and men in their abortive attempt to carry the works three 
weeks later, and Constantinople would have been captured 
from Islam after an occupation of six hundred years. 

Looking back on the great debacle now, the more natural 
does it seem. 

As long as I remained in Constantinople and was unable 
to see with my own eyes the true state of the army, I was 
perforce obliged to accept the Turkish tales of its readiness 
for war. 

But from the very moment I arrived amongst the troops 
the great bubble burst, and the great illusion was shattered. 
I found that the mihtary authorities in Constantinople had 
deliberately deceived the outside world, and had embarked 
on a gigantic system of calculated lying in order to keep 
the truth from coming out, hoping against hope that the 
bravery and determination of the Turkish soldier would pull 
them through at the eleventh hour. 

The responsibility for the disaster cannot be laid on the 
Turkish soldier. He in innumerable instances has proved 
himself as brave as ever he was, and only his stubborn 



CHAOS 179 

determination and unparalleled hardiness prolonged the battle 
of Sakiskeuy throughout three days. The responsibility rests 
solely on the administrative classes and high officials, who, 
eaten up with pride and self-confidence, and regarding all 
the Balkan States with the utmost contempt, believed the 
Turkish army to be invincible. The army was caught 
utterly unprepared for war, and the military authorities 
remained blind in their belief that mere numbers set forth 
on paper and published broadcast in the Press would win 
the day against an army smaller in numbers, but which had 
been carefully organising and preparing for war for twenty- 
five years. 

It is impossible for me to describe severely enough the 
utter state of chaos, of mess, muddle, and make-believe, 
which exists throughout all branches of the army. Had the 
Turkish soldier been supplied vdth even one biscuit a day he 
might have held his ground against the invader, and I am 
convinced that he has been defeated more by sheer starva- 
tion than by any other single factor. 

Looking back on the great tragedy, it is almost 
impossible to understand how the wretched private soldier 
existed for three days without a scrap of food, without 
any shelter, and yet covered himself with glory. The 
most splendid material has been sacrificed on the altar 
of stupidity, conceit, self-satisfaction, and the grossest 
ineptitude. 

The Turkish army has no general staff capable of running 
a country circus. The army has no generals who seem to 
have grasped even the most elementary principles of modern 
warfare. The army has no commissariat-train of any sort, 
and yet four army corps were despatched on a vast offensive 
movement. With a whole line of railway behind them, 
within fifty miles of the capital, the authorities could not 
feed a brigade, and, realising this fact, they, with true 

N 2 



180 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Oriental apathy, made no effort to feed four army corps, but 
left them to starve, trusting to Allah to produce manna 
and quails from the skies, and water from the rocks. 

The greatest battle of modern times was entered on 
under these conditions, with an utter, callous disregard of the 
consequences. The victims were marched to the slaughter 
without the smallest preparation having been made to 
succour the wounded. Not a field dressing-station existed, 
not a field hospital was established, and the few surgeons 
up at the front lacked every necessity, and were obliged 
to see thousands of wounded pass to their doom who might 
otherwise \ have been saved, without being able to lift a 
finger to help them. 

The artillery was sent into action with a few hours' 
supply of shells and not a reserve within fifty miles, with 
the result that on the second day of the battle the Turkish 
soldier had to fight practically unsupported by this arm. 

Whole battalions and brigades of ignorant peasants from 
Anatolia were sent to Constantinople, dressed up in khaki, 
handed a rifle, some hundreds of rounds of ammunition, kits 
which they hardly knew how to fit to their backs, counted 
at the railway station with glee by the authorities, and 
officially described as *' our invincible infantry." 

Thousands of these men had never had a Mauser rifle in 
their hands, and had to be shown how to use it under the 
enemy's fire. Entire battalions, unused to this new arm, 
and never having been trained to shoot, would loose off all 
their ammunition in a short hour, and only hit the ground 
fifty yards in front of them, inflicting absolutely no damage 
on the enemy. 

I never saw a single Turkish machine-gun in action, and 
if they exist I do not know what became of them. 

The Bulgarian artillery played a matchless role in the 
action. It overwhelmed the Turkish defence, and crushed 



THE NEW POWER 181 

every offensive movement by the rapidity and deadly 
accuracy of its fire. The number of guns, which the 
Bulgarians were able to bring into action, astounded the 
Turks, and the way in which they replenished their ammu- 
nition supply was a masterpiece of organisation. 

The fire of their machine-guns, of which they possessed 
great numbers, was also extremely deadly, and played a very 
important part in the victory. The heroic courage of the 
Bulgarians excited the admiration of their opponents. 

A new military power has arisen in Eastern Europe, which 
even the Great Powers will not be able to disregard, to 
threaten, or to attempt to coerce. 



CHAPTER XIV 

HOW WE SENT THE STORY OF THE BATTLE 

It is all very well for a war correspondent to see a battle 
and to note carefully what has happened throughout the 
whole struggle and during the retreat, but his exertions are 
absolutely wasted, unless he is able to dispatch the news to 
his paper without delay and before his rivals. This is the 
only way that the paper can obtain any adequate return for 
the large sum of money spent in fitting him out, buying 
him motor-cars and horses, and sending him to the front. 

I reached the house my brother had taken at Chorion at 
ten o'clock on Thursday evening. I was very tired after 
the last four days of sustained exertion, little sleep, and 
semi-starvation, and my natural inclination was to have a 
good dinner and then to lie down and go to sleep until 
I woke up again. But I knew I could not allow fatigue 
or hunger to overwhelm me at this critical juncture. I 
knew I must find out at once exactly what had become of 
aU the other correspondents, but more especially of Lionel 
James and Donohoe, whose enterprise I feared. 

Therefore, immediately on my arrival, my brother took me 
round to the house where he had last left James and 
Donohoe. By banging on the door we obtained admittance 
to Donohoe's room, where we found him asleep in 
bed, or rather on the verge of going to sleep. He was 



A CONSULTATION 183 

immensely surprised and pleased to see me again, as we had 
not met since he left Constantinople, and he knew nothing 
of my movements, except that he had heard vaguely that I 
had reached the front. Donohoe told me that all that day 
he had been out in the motor-car watching the retreat, and 
that on the previous day, Wednesday, he had been obliged 
to rush down to Rodosto to buy some more petrol, as the 
supply we had brought to the front had given out. He 
gave me a very sketchy account at the time — as we had 
more important matters to discuss — of his adventures in 
the car ; of how it had stuck, and how he thought at one 
moment that it would be necessary to abandon it altogether. 
But the most welcome news of all was the safety of 
the car and the fact that he had secured sufficient 
petrol to carry us back to Constantinople if necessary. 

Then I asked for news of James, and what Donohoe told 
me of his movements was profoundly disquieting. He said 
that James had left Chorion in his motor car that morning, 
and had gone down to Rodosto, evidently with the intention 
of making his way to Constantinople by steamer. Of course, 
I knew from this that James had not witnessed the retreat 
of the army, and therefore could have no clear idea of the 
result of the battle except what he had learnt from being 
present at it on the Wednesday. 

We then considered the question carefully. It was 
obvious that James must arrive in Constantinople ahead of 
Donohoe and myself, provided he could find a steamer, 
and that he could thus send a censored account of the battle 
to The Times from Constantinople, before we could send a 
censored one from the same place to the Daily Telegraph 
or to the Daily Chronicle. On the other hand, the last 
boat left Constantinople for Constanza on that day, Thurs- 
day, at three p.m., and there would not be another until 
the same hour on Saturday. It was, therefore, absolutely 



184 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

impossible for James to send an uncensored despatch by 
the Thursday's boat and unless he hired a special steamer 
he would have to wait until Saturday afternoon. The fact 
that he could send a censored despatch from Constantinople 
ahead of us caused me but little anxiety, as in view of the 
Turkish defeat it was quite obvious that such a despatch 
would be of small value, as the Censor would never allow 
the true facts to be known. 

Therefore, Donohoe and I were faced with this problem : 
Could we reach Constantinople on Saturday morning in time 
to catch the steamer at three p.m. for Constanza ? If we 
could do this, it would be impossible for James to get any- 
thing of value in The Times ahead of us. We decided that 
at all costs we must make the attempt, and debated long 
into the night, which would be the wisest route to take and 
the one which offered the largest number of chances of 
success. At first we thought of starting at daylight and 
motoring the whole way down to Constantinople, as we just 
had enough petrol for such a trip, but I vetoed this idea 
and Donohoe quite agreed with me after I had given him a 
cursory review of my experiences on the way up. It is true 
that it had not rained for five days and that, therefore, the 
roads were in better condition ; but, if we punctured a tyre 
or if the fool of a chauffeur made the smallest mistake, we 
would be liable to be stranded on the road without any 
possible means of reaching our destination. 

We decided that there was only one possible course which 
offered the least chance of success, and that was to motor 
down to Rodosto at dawn the next morning, Friday, and to 
take the chance of finding a steamer going to Constantinople, 
or else to hire a tug or even to take a sailing vessel as a 
very last resource. Donohoe undertook to have the motor 
ready at seven a.m.; it was no use trying to start any earlier 
as there would not be enough light. I asked Donohoe if 



A GOOD DINNER AT LAST 185 

he had any news of the other correspondents, but, although 
he knew nothing for certain, it was quite obvious that none 
of them could have stolen a march on us, even if they 
had seen anything of the battle, and, therefore, our minds 
were set at rest. 

My brother and I then returned to our house, where we 
found Goupa had prepared an excellent dinner, the first 
good meal I had tasted since I had left Constantinople. 

Of course I told Ismet nothing of my intention of 
leaving the front, because it would have placed him in 
an awkward position, as he was semi-officially charged 
with looking after me, although I knew perfectly well that 
personally he had no objection to my leaving the front. 
It has often been brought up against war correspondents 
attached to the Turkish Army, that they deliberately 
disobeyed the orders of the authorities and broke their own 
written word by leaving the army without permission. But 
this is quite untrue. I only signed with the stipulation that 
I would remain as long as I could carry out my work in a 
satisfactory manner and be of some value to the Daily 
Telegraph. None of these conditions existed. I had no 
idea where to find the Censor, even if I had desired to do so. 
If I found him and showed him a despatch, there was no 
possible means of sending it off from the front, as there was 
no French or English operator and all messages would have 
to be dispatched in Turkish. 

Also the conditions had entirely changed. The Turkish 
forces as an army had ceased to exist, and although we were 
supposed to be attached to headquarters, it was impossible 
for us to find headquarters, as they were now in full flight 
somewhere down the line to Constantinople. Again all the 
correspondents had dispersed and were on their own, each 
doing his best to send off the full news of the disaster before 
his rivals. Lastly, there was no question of giving away 



186 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

military secrets, as nothing I or anyone else could write was 
as bad as the truth, which would at once be made known to 
the whole world through Bulgarian channels. 

In the circumstances the reckless charges made against all 
correspondents by a certain Mr. Bennet in the Nineteenth 
Century are childish in the extreme. I never met this 
gentleman and know nothing of him. I see he claims to 
have been appointed a Censor by the Turkish military 
authorities. I never heard of his appointment in Constanti- 
nople, and he certainly never saw any of our despatches, as 
we would not for a moment have tolerated such an inter- 
ference from an outsider. He was certainly never at the 
front with the correspondents, so I am quite unable to say 
where he carried on his duties. But I am amazed to learn 
from his article in the Nineteenth Century^ that an English- 
man could have been found to do this donkey work for an 
oriental race, namely, to censor the despatches of his fellow 
countrymen. 

I have since learned that Mr. Bennet is an Oxford Don 
who was once employed as a war correspondent himself. 

But to continue my narrative. That night I did not retire 
to rest until very late, as I had to make all my preparations 
to be off at dawn. Thus it seemed to me I had hardly been 
asleep more than a few minutes, when the faithful Goupa 
was shaking me by the shoulder and whispering in my ear 
that it was five a.m. I never felt less inclined to turn out of 
bed, but there was no help for it, and, cursing my hard lot, 
I proceeded to dress. By seven a.m. I was ready, when I 
heard the toot of the motor coming to a stop in front of the 
door. 

Now it had been carefully arranged on the previous 
evening that in no circumstances was the motor-car to 
come round to my house, through fear of waking Ismet; 
besides which, we did not wish to wake up the entire town. 



THE FLIGHT TO RODOSTO 187 

and thus announce the news of our departure. We were 
afraid that we might be stopped by some officer, or by 
gendarmes, or that some unknown trouble would cross our 
path and ruin our chances of bringing off a coup, at the 
eleventh hour. Goupa was hastily dispatched to send the 
motor back to Donohoe's house, and I followed it a few 
minutes later with my few belongings. 

I found Donohoe sitting in the car and fuming at the mouth 
because it had attracted an immense concourse of spectators, 
who completely surrounded him and shouted with glee at 
any strange noise it made. He said to me in an agonised 
voice, "Come quickly, we shall certainly be stopped unless 
we get off at once." I lost no time and the next minute 
we were tearing out of Chorion, which I was never 
destined to see again during the campaign, pursued by a 
crowd of children. We passed the sentries without being 
questioned or stopped, and once we had obtained the open 
country beyond we were able to breathe more freely again. 

It is only about 35 kilometres from Chorion to Rodosto, 
and the road is rather better than it is customary to find in 
Thrace, so we were able to make rapid progress. But I 
must confess I was more nervous on this ride than on any 
previous occasion, because I felt that my labours were for 
the time being at an end, that success lay within my reach, 
and I trembled lest at the last moment a smash up on the 
road should dash all my hopes to the earth once more. To 
make matters worse, the chauffeur, a bad driver at any time, 
who invariably selected the worst part of the road, was in a 
peculiarly reckless mood that morning and seemed to take a 
fiendish glee in bringing us to the brink of disaster, but our 
luck was in and, except for one short delay to extricate the 
car from a ravine full of mud which had not dried, we 
reached Rodosto without incident. 

But, just as we were entering the town, our spirits once 



188 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

more fell to zero. We heard the whistle of a steamer and 
saw a small vessel rapidly leaving the shore and making in the 
direction of Constantinople. Donohoe groaned aloud. " That 
is the tug I proposed to hire," he exclaimed. " Someone has 
got in ahead and has taken her. We are done ! " I tried to 
comfort him, saying, " But surely we can find another." 
" No, that is the only one in the port. I made inquiries 
when I was down here two days ago, and there is not 
another to be had for love or money." Then I pointed out 
to him two steamers lying off the port with steam up and 
suggested they might shortly be leaving for Constantinople. 
This brought a respite and we said no more, only gazing 
with longing eyes at the rapidly disappearing cloud of 
smoke out at sea. "James has got her," Donohoe kept 
on repeating. " Oh, why did we not start two hours 
earlier, then we would have been in time." I refrained 
from any further comment, for at such a moment all 
regrets were quite useless. 

We soon reached Rodosto, left the car at the local han, 
and rushed down to the British Vice-Consulate to find Mr. 
Streater, the acting Consul. He took some time to find, but 
at length turned up. We explained our position simul- 
taneously, until the poor man was so confused that he 
begged us to speak more calmly. Then he said, " What a 
pity you were not an hour earlier, you could have gone in 
the tug." " Has James taken her ? " we demanded. " No," 
replied the Consul, "James left by the Marmora express 
last night, and will be in Constantinople this morning." 
This news did not serve to soothe our ruffled spirits. " Then 
who has hired her ? " we asked. " Oh," Streater replied, 
"There are no correspondents on board, but there are 
a great number of refugees here who wish to leave for 
Constantinople, so the agent has fitted her out and is taking 
them down at so much a head." 



"THE CONSUL'S BROW WAS SAD" 189 

We then told the Consul we must have a steamer 
even if we had to hire a special one. We asked him the 
destination of the two vessels in port, and he replied, " One 
is a French boat and the other a Turkish one, and both are 
bound for Asia Minor with refugees." We asked him if 
they would agree for a fixed sum to take us to Constan- 
tinople before calling at any of the Asiatic ports, but 
Streater only shook his head and replied, " I am afraid 
not." However, he said he would go off and negotiate with 
the agents on our behalf. It seemed an age before he 
returned. Whilst waiting, Donohoe and myself stood at the 
window of the Consulate gazing out to sea, hoping against 
hope that the smoke of some other steamer might suddenly 
appear. But, like Bluebeard's wife, we waited in vain. 

Presently Streater came back, and his looks told us plainly 
he had failed. " I am very sorry ; it is impossible. The 
Turkish captain dare not take you to Constantinople, as he 
fears a revolution on board amongst the emigrants unless 
he carries them direct to Asia Minor, and as most of them 
have rifles he won't take any risk. The agent of the French 
boat says he must first cable down to Constantinople, but it 
is extremely doubtful if the line is working, and, in any 
case, there is sure to be a long delay and we might not get 
a reply until to-morrow." 

We were in despair. Every hour lost was of paramount 
importance to us, and, unless we could leave at nightfall, we 
would never reach Constantinople in time to catch the 
steamer to Koumania. Streater then suggested it might 
be possible to get a tug up from Silivri or from Evekli, 
where he knew there was a salvage boat. We begged 
him to cable at once and gave him carte blanche to 
arrange terms. He returned shortly afterwards with the 
news that the operator could not be found, which, translated 
into the language of Turkey, meant that the operator would 



190 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

not send any telegram, unless he received some backsheesh. 
This was quickly forthcoming. 

Meanwhile a slimy Levantine in a morning coat and 
greasy bowler hat came into the Consulate and asked whether 
he could assist us. His appearance was not prepossessing, 
but in such an emergency we could not be particular with 
whom we had deahngs and we explained to him fully our 
position. He then said, " I think I can arrange for the 
Turkish steamer to take you, or if not the Turkish perhaps 
the French boat will ; if you will come along with me we 
will see what can be done." 

Again our drooping stocks rose a point and we followed 
our would be benefactor, the Turkish term for which is 
*' The man who receives a commission," to the office of the 
Turkish boat. Here we found the agent, the captain, and a 
horde of other hangers-on, all of whom would share in the 
disbursement we might make. Our guide explained our 
position, which was quite unnecessary, as they knew it 
already, and then asked what terms they would require for 
the short eight hours' easy steam to Constantinople. The 
reply staggered even Donohoe and myself, though by this 
time we thought we had become accustomed to almost 
any shocks. The mild figure demanded was three hundred 
pounds Turkish. We refused to negotiate on these terms 
and, as they would not bring their price down, we tried 
threats and said we would go to the Governor. I also 
produced the letter from Abdullah, the Commander-in- 
Chief, but this was simply brushed aside. They knew 
too well that order no longer existed in the army and 
that Abdullah's days as Commander-in-Chief were already 
numbered. Shortly afterwards, Streater joined us and 
took up the case on our behalf, offering two hundred 
pounds as our maximum, but they stuck to their three and we 
left the office. 



" PIRATES " 191 

Streater then said to us, " It is no use paying three, 
two, or one hundred pounds to those people. They 
will take your money, carry you out to sea and then refuse 
to go to Constantinople on the grounds that they fear a row 
with the refugees." This thought had long been in both 
our minds, and we at once put aside as hopeless all hope of 
getting the Turkish steamer. We then tried the French 
boat, but the agent wanted two hundred pounds and per- 
sisted that it was necessary to await a reply to his telegram 
from Constantinople. It was now nearly two o'clock, and 
our case seemed almost hopeless. We returned to the ban 
and had one of the most melancholy lunches I have ever 
known. The Consul did his best to raise our spirits by 
assuring us that very often some stray steamer looked in 
unexpectedly at Rodosto ; or by saying he was sure the tug 
would come up from Evekli in lots of time to reach Con- 
stantinople. He also remarked, " There is just a bare chance 
that the Austrian Lloyd boat may put in here to-day. She 
was due yesterday, but never turned up and is now 
twenty-four hours overdue. But you cannot rely on her 
as in all probability she is held up indefinitely at the 
Dardanelles." 

He then brought the captain of a sailing boat, who 
guaranteed to deliver us in Constantinople in eight hours if 
the wind held. But what chance was there of the wind hold- 
ing ! It almost invariably dies down at nightfall in the Sea of 
Marmora. We felt the risk was too great and put that scheme 
also amongst the discards. We felt there was nothing to do 
but to wait. We repaired to the Consulate and sat upstairs 
scanning the horizon, examining every distant speck which 
might possibly be a steamer, but which invariably turned out 
to be clouds or small fishing craft. I have never spent a more 
miserable afternoon. We were dead beat, too upset to work, 
and roamed about the little room like criminals in their cell 



192 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

awaiting the verdict of the jury or the advent of the hang- 
man. Thus the afternoon wore on. 

At four o'clock I became quite desperate, and determined 
to make one final effort to secure the French boat on my 
own account. I went to the agent and found his demeanour 
somewhat changed. He seemed more anxious to do business 
and said nothing further about first waiting for the reply 
from Constantinople. He made all sorts of difficulties and 
pointed out it would be impossible for him to land us 
actually in Constantinople, but that he could take us as far 
as San Stefano, from where we could take a local service 
running to Stamboul, or else we might hire a carriage and 
drive the remainder of the distance. I suppose his change 
of attitude was due to our not having accepted his original 
terms, and therefore he was afraid our emergency was not so 
great as he had imagined, and he feared lest the golden 
harvest should slip through his fingers altogether. When I 
saw he was wavering, I proceeded to beat down the terms 
and finally got the figure down to £150, of which sum the 
Steamship Company was to receive one-third, and the rest 
was to be divided between the agent and the captain, and 
one or two other interested parties whose mouths it was 
necessary to stop. But, when I thought all was settled, the 
agent suddenly declared nothing could be definitely arranged 
until he had been off and seen the captain, who, he said, 
might not be satisfied with his share, in which case I would 
have to pay a trifle more. I was desperate and told him to 
go, and to come back at once so that the money could be 
paid over and the ship made ready to start. He promised to 
be back in half-an-hour. 

I returned once more to the Consulate and found 
Donohoe, his face hidden in his hands, a victim of the 
profoundest melancholy. " Donohoe," I said, " we will 
get there, but it will cost us not less than seventy-five 



SAVED 193 

pounds apiece." His spirits rose a trifle. Then I sat down 
and waited for the agent to return. Streater, the Consul, 
had also joined us. One by one the minutes passed. 
Twenty-five had gone by and still the agent had not arrived. 
" He does not mean to take us, after all," groaned Donohoe. 
" You must give him time," said Streater, strolling across to 
the window and gazing seawards. 

Another five minutes had gone by when suddenly the 
Consul gave a wild yell, sprang into the air, rushed towards 
us, and, seizing our hands, dragged us towards the window, 
shouting out, " Look, look, what is that I " There, still far 
out to sea, way down on the horizon, was a thin trail of 
smoke. " It's a steamer. It's a steamer," yelled Streater. 
" Yes, but how do you know it's coming here ? " " They all 
come here." " Yes, but it may be a warship going direct to 
Constantinople." "No, I am quite sure it's the delayed 
Austrian Lloyd boat." We were in a state almost of 
frenzy. We seized our field glasses and glued them on the 
spot. Gradually the smoke grew denser and soon the out- 
lines of a large steamer were plainly visible. We uttered 
no further word but watched her course. Suddenly Streater, 
who had been using my glasses, broke the silence. " Yes, it's 
the Austrian Lloyd. I know her by her funnels. In an 
hour she will be in port and will leave to-night for Constan- 
tinople, for they never stay longer than two or three 
hours." 

But even now Donohoe and I remained in a painful state 
of anxiety and asked the worried Consul more foolish ques- 
tions in a given space of time than I am [sure he has ever been 
asked before. Such as, " Don't you think she will go direct 
to Constantinople without stopping, to make up lost time ? " 
Answer : " She cannot. The terms of her contract with 
the Turkish Government oblige her to put up in here." 
" Look, she is not coming this way, she is keeping out to 

o 



194 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

sea." Answer : " She has to take that course to avoid the 
shallow water." " Do you think there will be any room on 
board ? " " WeU, there may be no cabins, but the captain 
can hardly refuse to take you on deck." 

But at length all doubts were set at rest. She was 
obviously coming into port. We closed our glasses, opened 
a bottle of whiskey, and drank long and deeply. Then, 
joining hands, we danced a sort of farandole round and 
round the room till the crazy old building fairly shook. 
We forgot all about the French agent and hastened to the 
han to make ready our slender baggage. Now we had our 
revenge. The unexpected arrival of the Austrian Lloyd 
boat came as a bitter shock to all the gentry who had hoped 
to make large sums of money by catering to our misfor- 
tunes. The price of steamers fell almost to zero. The 
Turkish boat was ready to take us for £50 and the 
French boat for £25. But we laughed in their faces. 
Their chance had gone. They could have gained their 
money, had they been able to make up their greedy minds 
earher in the day. The golden harvest had slipped through 
their hands at the last minute. There was wailing and 
gnashing of teeth amongst the Levantines that night in 
Rodosto. They learnt a lesson which they will not forget 
in a hurry, namely, that " he who asks too much is Uable to 
get nothing at all." 

As soon as the ship came alongside we went on board. 
Our surmise that there would be no cabin accommoda- 
tion turned out to be only too correct. The ship was 
absolutely packed with Turkish refugees who had come 
from Greece and from every port of call. Not only 
were all the cabins full, but men, women, and children were 
sleeping on the decks and in the holds of the vessel. 
However, we did not care. Without even a place on which 
to recline my weary head, the great vessel seemed a paradise 



THAT STRENUOUS WEEK 195 

of luxury after all I had gone through. After I had been on 
board a short time 1 met the captain, who, hearing of all our 
hardships and privations, said he would allow us to sleep in 
the hospital, as there happened to be no sick on board. This 
was a dirty cabin situated right forward, and to reach it we 
were obliged to climb over a mass of struggling humanity, 
weeping women, gesticulating men, and children howling for 
their bottles. On any ordinary occasion I would have 
hesitated about sleeping in the cabin which had been used 
as a hospital during a fairly long voyage by countless 
refugees, but I was too weary to be fastidious, and after a 
hearty dinner and a bottle of sweet, almost undrinkable 
champagne, I was soon sound asleep. At nine a.m. on 
the following morning, Saturday, November 2nd, we reached 
Constantinople. 

It was exactly a week since I had left Constantinople, but 
as I drove up through Galata and Stamboul it seemed as if 
months had passed, and at times I thought I had just 
awakened from a dream. But what a week it had been 1 
Here is a brief diary, day by day. 

Saturday, October 26th. — I left Constantinople at eight a.m. 
All the day in the motor-car on my way to Chorion. 
Passed the night in the rain on the road. 

Sunday, October 27th. — Still struggling to reach Chorion by 
motor. Four p.m. abandoned car and walked for three 
hours. Seven p.m. reached convoy, obtained horses and 
rode for eight hours, reaching Chorlou between two 
and three a.m. Spent the remainder of the night with 
Abdullah. 

Monday, October 28//i.— Left Chorlou by train. Three p.m. 
reached Lule Burgas. Spent the night there. 

Tuesday, October 29th. — I spent the morning looking for 
horses. Eleven a.m. Lule Burgas attacked by Bul- 
garians. 11.30. I am forced to fly from the town. 
AH day on the battlefield. Lost at nightfall, but finally 
reach Abdullah's headquarters at Sakiskeuy at 9.30 p.m. 

o2 



196 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Wednesday, October 30th. — At 5 a.m. we once more leave 
Sakiskeuy and ride to the battlefield. All day I watch 
the fighting. At 6 p.m. I return to Abdullah's head- 
quarters. At 7 p.m. my brother and Sir Bryan 
Leighton arrive in Sakiskeuy. Spent the night in 
the village. 

Thursday, October Slst. — I leave Sakiskeuy at daybreak. 
All day retreating on Chorlou. Reach Chorion at 
10 p.m. 

Friday, November 1st. — I leave Chorlou at 7 a.m. for 
Rodosto. Leave Rodosto at 9 p.m. for Constantinople. 

Satm^day, November 2nd. — Arrive in Constantinople at 
9 a.m. At 3 p.m. I leave for Constanza, Roumania, 
by steamer. 

Sunday, November Srd. — I arrive at Constanza at 1 p.m. 
All Sunday cabling account of the battle to the 
Daily Telegraph. 

Monday, November 4>th. — All day cabling account of battle 
and the retreat. 

Tuesday, November 5th. — The same. Sailed for Constanti- 
nople. 

But here I am anticipating. Donohoe and I were to 
receive some further shocks before we finally reached 
Constanza. On our arrival in Constantinople we went 
to the Pera Palace Hotel and had a wash, the first one 
either of us had had since we had left Constantinople. 
The luxury of a bath compensated us for a great many hard- 
ships, and the joy of putting on clean clothes was immense, 
and cannot be appreciated until you have known what it is 
to wear the same garments for a week or ten days on end. 
The surprise of the manager of the hotel and his underlings 
was immense at seeing us so soon again, as they thought we 
had left Constantinople for at least a month or six weeks, 
and there were not a few who never expected to set eyes on 
us again, fully believing we would return to England via 
Sofia, after Nazim's triumphal entry into that city. 



WE RETURN TO CONSTANTINOPLE 197 

There were rumours in Constantinople of a great battle 
and a Turkish reverse, but not a soul had the least idea of 
the extent of the disaster and of the entire break-up of the 
Turkish Army. We guarded our secret most carefully and 
refused to commit ourselves or to answer the most pressing 
inquiries, always replying, " We do not know what has 
happened, as we were kept locked up and allowed to 
see nothing." We also kept very closely to our rooms 
until the hour arrived for us to board the boat for 
Roumania, as we were afraid our presence in the town might 
become known to the authorities, who might take steps to 
keep us in confinement so as to prevent the truth becoming 
known to the whole world. 

We learnt that Lionel James had reached Constantinople 
on Friday morning and had sent off despatches through the 
Censor exactly as we had anticipated, but, as I have already 
said, this caused us but small misgiving, as a censored 
despatch of the battle would be of small value, and our 
descriptions of the full extent of the disaster would only 
gain in comparison. James was not in Constantinople, as 
he had left early that morning in a small tug for Rodosto, 
evidently intending to rejoin the army, and hoping to be 
in time to watch the closing stages of the battle. After- 
wards, when I saw James at Rodosto a week later, he told 
me he had left the front when he did because, .having 
heard I was with the army, he feared I might steal a march 
on him by slipping down by train to Constantinople 
with or without the permission of the Headquarters Staff. 
However, he need not have had any fears on that score, 
because nothing would have induced me to leave the 
army until the battle was over and I had learnt for 
certain what had happened. He also told me another 
reason he had for leaving the front when he did was the 
fact, that he had learnt in Rodosto, that the only steamer 



198 WITH THE TURKS iN THRACE 

for Constantinople left on Thursday and there would be no 
other for four days. His feelings may therefore be imagined 
when, as he lay horribly sea sick in a terribly rough sea, he 
saw the Austrian Lloyd boat go by, because his instinct told 
him that Donohoe and I would be on board, and therefore 
would be in time to catch the mail for Constanza. 

It was not my original intention to go myself to Constanza, 
but to send my despatches across by a trusted agent and 
then to return to the front without delay. But this was 
impossible, as neither Donohoe nor myself had a single line 
written when we reached Constantinople, and we had no 
time to write a lengthy despatch before the boat left. We 
therefore had no alternative but to cross ourselves. At 
2 o'clock we slipped quietly from the Pera Palace Hotel and 
went on board the boat. It was very crowded and most of 
the good cabins were already occupied, but we found a fairly 
comfortable one. 

Almost the first person we met on board was Mr. 
Fitzmaurice, the chief dragoman of the British Embassy, 
who went up to Donohoe and told him the authorities were 
looking for us on board and had asked him to point us out 
to them. This Fitzmaurice declined to do, saying he had 
not seen us. Donohoe came and communicated this awful 
news to me and we both were terribly scared. Supposing 
that even now all our hopes were cast to the ground ! 
Supposing we were prevented from reaching Constanza ! 
Then all our efforts, and trials, and troubles would be 
wasted. We decided to go down below and sit in an 
obscure cabin and remain there, until the ship started. 

That was an awful hour we passed. Donohoe was quite 
desperate, and, taking out his revolver, swore he would not 
be taken alive. We heard voices inquiring for "Mr. Bartlott" 
and "Mr. Donohague" of the stewards, but the latter could 
give no information. The clock seemed literally to stand still. 



THE STORM 199 

The boat was due to start at 3 p.m., but she was late, and in 
our nervous state we thought she was being purposely held 
up in order that a more stringent search might be made. 
But at last we heard the gentle switch of the screw and the 
welcome sound of the ladder being raised. We were under 
way and knew at last that we were safe. 

But now for the first time our luck deserted us. The 
boat was due to reach Constanza at 4 a.m. on Sunday 
morning, but, unfortunately, we encountered the worst 
storm of the year in the Black Sea and the steamer could 
make hardly any progress against it. All night long we 
were tossed about in the trough of the sea. Not a single 
passenger was present at dinner, and the majority were very 
sea sick. Donohoe and I had come on board with the noble 
resolution of working all through the night at our 
despatches, but this was quite impossible, and at six o'clock 
we were only too glad to retire to our berths, where we 
remained until the good ship entered the port of Constanza at 
1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, more than ten hours late. 

We rushed to the Hotel Carol, engaged rooms, and 
hastened up to the cable office to arrange with the manager 
for the prompt dispatch of our cables to London. I never 
felt less inclined to sit down and write, and Donohoe was in 
an equally bad condition. We were both worn out from 
the horrible baffling we had received from the waves, and 
my head swam. The manager of the cable office was most 
obliging and helped us in every way in his power. We 
handed over to him most of the gold we had strapped round 
our waists, and told him to come for more when it was 
exhausted. He gave us a special messenger who was to go 
to and from the hotel to the telegraph station in a cab, 
engaged by the day, as each sheet of our telegrams was 
ready to be sent off. 

Then we returned to the hotel, had a hasty lunch and 



200 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

commenced to write. We each had a typewriter and kept 
at work the whole of the afternoon, until our minds were so 
weary we could no longer think and our fingers so sore we 
could hardly hit the keyboard. The messenger thought we 
were quite mad to send off so many thousand words, as he 
had no knowledge of English and could not understand 
what it was all about. But he entered fully into the spirit 
of the occasion, and, whenever one of us managed to get a 
page ahead of the other, he would point this fact out, and 
beg each of us in turn to make an additional spurt. By 
eight o'clock I had only finished about one half of my cable, 
and the manager told us it would be no use writing any 
more that night as it could not be sent through to London 
in time. We were glad to desist and to sit down to a good 
dinner. 

All through the following day, Tuesday, we were hard at 
it again, and I was even obliged to write for another two 
hours on Wednesday morning. Then for the first time we 
could breathe freely once more. We knew we had beaten 
everybody else and that no other accounts of the battle, 
uncensored, could appear in the London Press until 
Thursday morning. 

On Tuesday evening, at eleven o'clock, we once more 
boarded the boat for Constantinople, and after an extremely 
calm voyage reached the city at two o'clock on Thursday 
afternoon, wondering what had happened during our 
absence, and more especially interested to learn what 
sort of a reception we would receive from the authori- 
ties, after the full exposure we had made of the Turkish 
disasters. 

Now that I had finished my work for the time being 
and had a few minutes for calm reflection, I became 
painfully anxious to know what had happened to all the 
other correspondents and more especially to learn the fate 



THE MISSING CORRESPONDENTS 201 

of my brother. I now realised for the first time that he 
might be in a serious position, left as he was at Chorion 
with all our baggage and stores and with all my precious 
horses on his hands. I felt certain the Turkish Army 
would never rally at Chorlou and feared lest the town had 
already fallen into the hands of the Bulgarians, and thought 
it more than likely that by this time the unfortunate 
Seabury was well on his way to Sofia as a prisoner of 
war. 

I had one ray of hope. Just as I was leaving Chorlou 
on the Friday morning, MacCulloch, the special corres- 
pondent of the Daily News, who was afterwards captured, 
handed me a letter from Bryant, the Englishman I had 
engaged to join me at Chorlou to carry despatches. In 
this he said he had reached Chorlou and was hiding in a 
house in the town, so as not to attract the attention of 
the authorities. I had no time to find him or even to write 
him a note, but I hoped he would learn of my brother's 
presence and would join him. I had great faith in Bryant's 
knowledge of the Turkish language, the character of the 
race, and more especially of the country, and I hoped he 
would bring my brother safely through all difficulties to 
C onstantinople. 

As soon as I reached the Pera Palace Hotel I inquired 
if he had arrived, but, to my dismay, they told me no 
English correspondents had as yet reached Constantinople, 
and there was absolutely no news of my brother or of 
any of them. This filled me with anxiety. I went 
upstairs to my room and sat down to think over the whole 
position, to decide what steps I would take to go in search 
of my brother, Sir Bryan Leighton, my stores, my camp 
equipment, and my horses. 

I had hardly sat there for half an hour, when the door 
of my room opened and in walked my brother, very dirty, 



202 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

very weary, and with a ten days' growth of beard on 
his face. In a few words he gave me a brief summary 
of his own adventures after I had left Chorion, and I will 
now leave him to tell his own tale of his personal experiences 
and of what he saw of the retreat of the routed Army of 
Thrace from Chorlou to the lines of Chataldja. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE RETREAT FROM CHORLOU TO CHATALDJA 

My brother left Chorlou for Rodosto at seven o'clock on the 
morning of Friday, November 1st. I did not expect to see 
him again during the war, as I knew that it was his intention 
to go to Constanza in Roumania in order to send off his 
despatches describing the battle of Lule Burgas, and I did 
not think the Turkish authorities — supine as I knew them to 
be — would ever allow him to return to Constantinople, much 
less to the front. Indeed I feared that when his uncere- 
monious departure became known, I should be arrested and 
summarily executed or expelled, or, worse still, incarcerated 
in some vermin-haunted ergastula. 

It was impossible to ride out on Friday in order to see 
what had become of the defeated army, as the horses had 
done one hundred and fifty miles in three days over rough 
country, and were badly in need of rest. 

About lunch time I sauntered out to see some of the 
other correspondents, and to learn of their adventures. As 
I was passing down the principal street, an unknown man in 
the dress of a Greek peasant accosted me and then thrust a 
crumpled piece of paper into my hand. I was greatly 
astonished and turned round to ask the man what he wanted, 
but he was already disappearing up a side street. I examined 
the piece of paper and on it was written : " I am at the 

208 



204 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

house of the Greek priest, in the street of the tanners.— 
Bryant." 

I was quite at a loss as to what this could mean, and 
was about to throw away the paper, thinking that the 
man had made a mistake, when I suddenly remembered that 
after the battle of Lule Burgas, my brother had asked me if 
I had seen or heard anything of one Bryant, an Englishman 
in the roads department, whom he had engaged as a drago- 
man and despatch rider a few minutes before leaving Con- 
stantinople. Bryant had undertaken to break through the 
Turkish lines and to get to Chorion by the previous Monday, 
but since then we had heard nothing of him, and my brother 
thought that he had probably abandoned the attempt as 
hopeless, or else that he had been caught and shot as a spy. 

With some difficulty I found the house of the Greek 
priest in the street of the tanners. Bryant was hiding in a 
back room, and was in a sad state of dilapidation, his clothes 
being torn and covered with mud, and the soles of his very 
inadequate boots worn completely through. He told me that 
he had been five days getting through Constantinople and 
that after passing the lines of Chataldja on foot, he had 
made his way to the sea coast and had come thence in a row 
boat to Silivri. From the latter place he had walked to 
Chorion, and had been hiding for twenty -four hours in the 
house of the priest, who was an old friend of his, not daring 
to go out for fear of being arrested as a spy. 

I was very glad of his arrival, as I was badly in need of 
an interpreter whom I could trust and who knew the 
country, so I took him back to where I was lodging, and 
provided him with some clothes and a badge certifying 
that he was our dragoman. 

Signs of the rout were becoming more and more apparent 
in the peaceful little town of Chorion. One by one the 
shutters were being put up in the front of the shops, and the 



"".I)' t o „at '"'o 



GOUPA'S FAREWELL 205 

Ottoman subjects were beginning to pack their worldly 
belongings in bullock- wagons and to trail out of the town 
toward the sea coast. The streets also were becoming more 
and more crowded with hungry and dispirited looking soldiers, 
wandering around in search of something to eat. Fearing 
that at any moment the patience of these unhappy men 
might become exhausted, and the town given over to pillage 
and loot, I decided to leave my comfortable quarters, and to 
move to a room in the inn — or ban as they are locally 
called, — above the stables in which our horses were kept. In 
doing this I was chiefly actuated by the thought that, in the 
event of trouble, the horses would at once be looted, and I 
was anxious to be able to protect them. 

As I was packing up our things, Goupa, my brother's 
Greek dragoman, came to me, and, after taking up an attitude 
much resembling that of the Chevalier Grasso in Othello 
when he discovers the supposed treachery of Desdemona, 
began pouring forth a flood of eloquence in bad French, 
accompanied by an extraordinary exuberance of tragic 
gesture. It was some minutes before I could make out 
what he was talking about, then I grasped that he was 
imploring me not to stay in such a danger spot as Chorlou, 
but to take the train back to Constantinople at once. 

I told him that such a thing was utterly impossible, 
whereupon he went on with greater vehemence. *' Here we 
are exposed to the rapacity of the Turks, and to the 
vengeance of the wild Bulgarians. This is alright for you. 
You are an Englishman, and do not mind to die — all your 
race is so. They are a nation of madmen. It is alright for 
me also, for I am a man and know not fear." His attitude 
became more and more heroic. " It does not matter for 
my wife ; when I am gone she can take another husband." 
Here he actually shed a tear. " But it is of my daughters 
that I think. If I perish and can no longer protect them, 



206 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

they will go on the streets ; I know it as sure as my name 
is Goupa, they will take to the streets." 

There was so much pathos, nobihty of gesture, and 
paternal affection in his voice that I was quite moved. As 
there was a train leaving that evening, I told Goupa to take 
all the heavy baggage and to go with it to Chataldja, or 
Constantinople, at which he was highly delighted and left 
in due course. Bryant, who knows the country, afterwards 
spoilt the effect of Goupa's heroics by telling me that the 
man had been in the last extremity of fear for some time 
and was thinking solely of his own safety. 

I had the remainder of the things carried round to the 
han, where Bryant and I were accommodated in a dirty, 
little, tumble-down room, with whitewashed walls, and a 
broken window. It contained two large beds, which 
occupied practically all the floor space. The room was 
on the first floor, directly above the stables which occupied 
the whole of the ground floor, and in which were 
housed some thirty horses. Outside the room was a large 
square atrium, where some twenty soldiers and peasants 
were sitting round in a circle eating their meal out of an 
iron pot. The stench from the stables was indescribable, 
and 1 think a few nights in that han would have meant 
typhoid fever. 

Ismet Bey came in to dine with us, and the dinner, which 
consisted of dry biscuits, potted meat, sardines, and cocoa, 
was spread upon my bed, upon which we also sat cross- 
legged while we ate. 

Ismet is a young Turk and a good example of the new 
school, and is at once one of the most delightful and 
cultured of the Turks that I met during my sojourn in 
the country. His family have discarded the old Turkish 
fashion of locking up their womenfolk in a harem, and 
of never allowing them to be seen with uncovered faces 



ISMET ON THE CHRISTIANS 207 

by a man, and he himself is married to a charming French- 
woman. 

He appeared to feel the disaster which had fallen on his 
country at Lule Burgas very much. When I remarked 
that the general disorganisation had surprised me, as I 
had understood that the Young Turks had entirely reformed 
the army since their advent to power in 1908, he said : 
" How could we ? We did our best, but we were never 
given a chance. First there was the rising of the Arabs 
in the Yemen, then the Albanians revolted, after that it 
was the Kurds of the Caucasus, and then came Italy's 
attack on Tripoh." He was silent for a few moments, 
overcome by the memory of so many disasters. Then he 
went on : " Besides how can we hope to govern the Turkish 
Empire by constitutional means ? There are no less than 
thirty-two different races and one hundred different creeds. 
Most of the people, too, are quite ignorant, their only 
education being a knowledge of a few religious shibboleths." 

"Yes," I answered. "You did, indeed, undertake a 
hopeless task. Only a dictator could hope to govern such a 
discordant conglomeration. Your task was further compli- 
cated by half the sects being Christians." 

" Yes," Ismet answered, " and what Christians some of 
them are ! At Jerusalem at least twenty different sects 
wage incessant warfare round the birthplace of your beautiful 
gospel of peace." 

" Yes," I replied, " I have always understood that it 
was hard for a man to visit Jerusalem and to remain a 
Christian." 

" My cousin," Ismet continued, " was for a long time 
Governor of the Holy City before he went to Smyrna, and 
his life was rendered intolerable by the quarrels of the 
Christians. One night when I was staying with him," Ismet 
went on, " a soldier came to the palace at two in the morn- 



208 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

ing and awakened him, begging that he would come at 
once to the sacred shrine of Bethlehem, where a terrible 
fight was going on between orthodox Greeks and Roman 
Catholics. It appears that the Roman Catholics are allowed 
to pass before the shrine from nine o'clock till midnight, and 
the Greeks from midnight until three a.m. Each supnliant 
is supposed to make three genuflexions before the sacred 
relics and then to pass on out of the shrine. On the night 
in question three Catholics were still in the shrine, when the 
Greeks entered. The first made his three genuflexions 
and passed on. The second became excited, and in his 
confusion made four, whereupon the Greeks seized the third 
suppliant and insisted that he should only make two genu- 
flexions, in compensation for his comrade's excesses. Other 
Roman Catholics ran back to join in the altercation, and 
finally a free fight ensued, which became so violent that the 
Turkish soldiers were obliged to lock the shrine and run to 
fetch the Governor. My cousin found these good Christians 
pulling each other's beards out and scratching each other's 
faces with fearful energy," Ismet continued, "and it was 
only with great difficulty and after sending for the French 
Consul, that he could restore order. If he had used force 
and some of them had been hurt, there would have been an 
outcry in your papers that the Turks were interfering with 
Christians in the celebrations of their religion." 

I was very much amused by Ismet's story, and begged 
him to tell me more tales of Jerusalem, so after a little 
while he began. 

" At a certain time of the year — I think it is during your 
Bairam (Easter) — Greek pilgrims gather in the temple to light 
their lamps at the sacred fire which is supposed to burn forth 
on a certain day by divine inspiration. Sometimes the 
pilgrims wait in the temple for days, never leaving it for 
one instant, and praying continually for the sacred fire to 



THE SACRED FlRE 200 

burn. Meanwhile the priests go round telling them that 
the difficulties of combustion are caused by their parsimony 
in giving alms, and exciting them to a high degree of 
fanaticism. The people grow hysterical from much fasting 
and praying, and free fights often ensue. The temple also 
becomes so dirty, and the stench so foul, that there is serious 
danger of disease breaking out. 

" On one occasion, a few years ago now, things got so bad 
and the priests kept the people waiting so long, that my 
cousin sent for the Greek patriarch and said to him : — * If 
your God, whoever he may be, does not light the sacred 
fire to-night, I shall send my soldiers to clear out your 
temple.' " 

" Well, and what was the result ? " I queried : *•' That night," 
Ismet concluded with a smile, " A thousand happy pilgrims 
lit their lamps at the sacred flame amid scenes of unparalleled 
rejoicing." 

Then the conversation turned on the question of chance. 

I told the story of M Bey, the Governor of Pera, who 

at the battle of Lule Burgas had lost 300 men of his 
regiment killed, and practically all the rest wounded, while 
he himself had sat on a white charger all through the battle 
and had escaped unhurt. " His escape was little less than 
miraculous," I concluded. 

" How miraculous ? " Ismet replied. " It is written in the 
Book of Fate that he should escape." Then he went on to 
tell me of a Mollah, who had been shaken out of the bracelet 
of a minaret, while proclaiming the Muezzin during the 
recent earthquake, and who, falling into the basket of a 
melon seller, had escaped unhurt. "It is Kismet," Ismet 
concluded. " The destiny of every man is written in the 
Book of Fate." 

Then I knew that Ismet, too, despite his western education 
and general enlightenment, was a believer in Kismet, that 



210 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

blind faith in predestination, which has strangled the energies 
and vitality of his race. 

Later on in the evening Major Vasfi Bey, who was in 
charge of the correspondents, sent round to say that, as the 
left wing of the Turkish Army had suffered a reverse, it was 
impossible for us to remain any longer in Chorion, and that 
accordingly we must leave with him at eight o'clock on the 
following morning to proceed to Cherkeskeuy, and thence 
to Sarai. He gave me to understand that the object of the 
move was to transfer us from the beaten left wing of the 
army, to the right, which, he said, had held its own. I was 
very sceptical, as Cherkeskeuy was on the road to Constan- 
tinople, and I had little faith in his statement that we should 
advance from thence to Sarai. 1 had also been told by a 
Turkish staff officer, that the major portion of the beaten 
army had called about ten miles north of Chorlou, and was 
entrenched there with a view to offering a desperate 
resistance to the Bulgarian advance. 

So, as I was anxious not to miss the battle, I decided 
not to leave Chorlou with Major Vasfi and the other corres- 
pondents. 

The next morning it was raining hard when, at ten o'clock, 
Major Vasfi, and all the correspondents he could collect, 
started on this melancholy ride to the rear ; nearly all 
those who went with him were either Frenchmen or 
Germans ; the Enghsh, being of a more adventurous 
disposition, had either remained behind or vanished with 
their despatches after the battle of Lule Burgas. Most 
of them ultimately rode to Rodosto on the Sea of Marmora 
about 15 miles from Chorlou, and went thence by sea 
to Constantinople, so that, with the exception of one 
German, I think that I was the only correspondent to 
accompany the routed army on its terrible retreat to 
Chataldja. 



DESERTED CHORLOU 211 

The aspect of the erstwhile prosperous Httle town of 
Chorlou had completely changed. All the shops were now 
closed and barred, and the streets deserted by the inhabi- 
tants. Scores of hungry wolfish soldiers were wandering 
round the desolate town in search of a scrap of bread 
to eat, but everywhere they found the doors shut and 
bolted in their faces. Several soldiers came to the door 
of our inn, which had been left temporarily open. Inside 
were a number of Greeks and a few Turkish officers 
smoking in front of a warm fire, and drinking coffee or 
rakki. The men stood for a few minutes at the door, 
looking with envious eyes at the warm room and at the 
food and drink. Then the Greek proprietor came forward 
and asked if they had money, and when they shook 
their heads, he slammed the door in their faces and bolted 
it. I expected to see them storm and pillage the inn, 
but instead they just slouched off in the rain, shivering 
as they went. Poor wretches, all the spirit had been 
starved out of them, and I shall never forget the look 
of patient suffering in their faces. 

All Saturday, more and more hungry soldiers came pour- 
ing into Chorlou, and more and more of the inhabitants put 
up their shutters and fled towards the coast. The two old 
Greek ladies, in whose house I had lodged before taking up 
my abode over the stables, came to me in tears to ask 
if they were safe. I comforted them as best I could, but 
it was with the conviction that they were doomed. 

All day long the rain came down in torrents, and all day 
long I sat at the window of my attic watching the wrecks of 
the grand army dribble through the town. From time to 
time there was a loud rumbling, and the clatter of horses' 
hoofs on the rough cobble stones, as a gun went by drawn 
by six tired and starving horses. 

The next morning, Sunday, November 3rd, the rain had 

p2 



212 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

ceased, and at dawn I rode out in the direction of Lule 
Burgas to see the last stand, which I beheved to be imminent, 
accompanied by Bryant and a young Enghshman who was 
serving as a volunteer with the Turkish Army. The road 
was strangely deserted and quiet ; only a few stragglers in 
the last stages of exhaustion, a number of dead horses and 
broken down transport wagons were to be seen. 

The twenty-four hours' continual rain had rendered the 
rough cart tracks a sea of mud, while raging streams were 
tearing along the bottom of what had been dry nullahs when 
we had returned from Lule Burgas three days previously, 
and several times we were in water up to our saddle girths, 
when crossing the so-called fords. We rode for about ten 
miles over the barren table-land, until from a high plateau 
we got a view of the country for fifteen miles around. 
There was no sign of any army, nor the sound of a single 
shot ; only in the distance the smoke of many burning 
villages. 

In that moment we realised that the Turkish Army 
had retreated, leaving Chorion and the railway wholly 
unprotected. We turned and rode for Chorion, for it was 
evident that the Bulgarians might at any time come down 
the line and cut off our retreat, and I was anxious to save 
both myself and the baggage. 

Chorion in a few short hours had become like a village 
of the dead. Hadji, the old Albanian groom, who always 
seemed to know by instinct what was going to happen, 
and who incidentally regarded us as quite mad for 
wanting to come near the war — had already harnessed 
the two country-bred ponies into the Araba, and was 
awaiting our return with the peculiar impassiveness of his 
race. 

After half an hour's halt to feed ourselves and the horses, 
we got under way, and by noon were leaving Chorlou by 



"MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU!" 213 

the road which leads to Cherkeskeuy, thirty miles to the 
south-east. 

We travelled fast and soon began to overtake the 
remnants of the army tramping to the rear, and all the 
way to Cherkeskeuy, a march of thirty miles, this long line 
of stragglers continued. The men were trudging along 
sullenly, and without a vestige of order. Many had thrown 
away their rifles and ammunition, others were wounded and 
soaked in blood, having dragged themselves forty miles from 
the dreadful battlefield of Lule Burgas. Only a few of the 
latter could hope to escape, for in their weak and starving 
condition, another night in the open would mean death. 

I saw one man fall by the roadside. He at once took 
off his boots, which were in good condition, and, caUing to 
a comrade who was staggering along in bare feet, handed 
them to him and then lay down to die. I held out a piece 
of dry bread to another soldier, and he snatched it eagerly, 
crying, '* May Allah bless you ! I have eaten nothing for 
five days." Several times my horse shied, and, looking 
down, I saw staring up at me with wide open eyes the face 
of some dead man lying half buried in the mud and 
trampled on by all who passed. 

Before we had gone very far it came on to rain. The 
soldiers around us presented a most melancholy spect^icle. 
Most of them had lost all their kit. Their mud-bespattered 
grey overcoats were in rags, and they wore the hoods turned 
up over their heads, while their feet were wrapped in 
sandals which they had cut from the hide of some dead ox. 
Their faces were covered with thick black beards, and were 
so drawn with hunger, privation, and horror that they looked 
like an army of ghosts, as they trudged along with bent 
heads and shuffling footsteps. 

The track lay over barren hills, and the rain came driving 
down before the bitter north-east wind, enveloping the 



214 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

remnants of the Grand Army of Thrace in grey mist clouds. 
Many men fell by the roadside to die from exhaustion, 
exposure, or the loss of blood from wounds incurred three 
days before. Others more fortunate were riding lean pack 
horses or donkeys ; aU were starving. 

Sickened by all we saw, we pushed on to Cherkeskeuy, 
fuU of the hope that there the fearful ebb-tide from the 
battlefield would cease, and that we should find an army 
ordered and prepared for battle. But as we marched, the 
fine of stragglers thickened, and the confusion increased, 
until, just as it was growing dark, we came to Cherkeskeuy, 
to find pandemonium, but no army. 

Every approach to the station was blocked by artillery, 
ammunition wagons, transport carts, and crowds of excited 
soldiers and refugees fighting their way towards the trains. 
In a sleeping car which had once done service with the 
Orient express, I found Nazim Pasha and the whole of 
the Headquarters StaiF. Behind it were two sumptuous 
motor-cars on open trucks. In another wagon-lit were aU 
the military attaches. 

The four other trains which were waiting their turn to 
steam off down the single line of railway to Constantinople, 
were packed as I have never seen trains packed before. 
Women and children were piled into cattle trucks one 
above another, together with their household goods, in 
such a manner that numbers must have perished from 
suffocation. Other women with young children strapped 
to their backs were running about like frightened, sheep, 
looking in vain for places in the already overcrowded 
trains. I saw one old bearded man carrying his pretty 
young wife upon his shoulders. Wounded men were being 
thrown pell-mell into second-class carriages, to fall hope- 
lessly on the floor or seats. 

I met Major Vasfi, in charge of the correspondents. 



POOR VASFI 215 

He was in a great state of excitement, and told me that 
he was going off to Constantinople with all the corre- 
spondents he had been able to collect — mostly Frenchmen 
and Germans. At that moment, a young Frenchman came 
up, and as usual started abusing the unfortunate officer 
because he had lost some of his baggage. " But, Monsieur," 
the ever courteous Major Vasfi replied, " Why do you 
blame me ? In war it is every man for himself, and besides, I 
cannot personally look after each correspondent's luggage." 
Then the Frenchman complained because the officer had 
brought them to Cherkeskeuy, and they had nothing to eat. 
" Monsieur, you forget! that the whole army is starving, and 
how can I feed when I have nothing to eat myself? " 

Major Vasfi then offered me a place in the train with the 
other correspondents, but I refused, sa5dng that I could 
not abandon my two companions, and my brother's horses 
and baggage ; so he bade me farewell with an air of depress- 
ing finality, murmuring something about the danger from 
disorganised soldiery. 

Then I chanced on Goupa, the dragoman whom I had 
sent on from Chorion on Friday evening with the heavy 
baggage and who had been delayed at Cherkeskeuy ever 
since. He was in a state of great excitement and terror, and 
began crying : " Monsieur, I love you as my son, but if you 
do not come in this train, you are a man lost." I told him 
not to be a fool, and he then started to tell me how to say 
in Bulgarian : " Please do not shoot me, I am a harmless 
British War Correspondent." 

Night had by now set in, and in the existing state of 
confusion it was hopeless to attempt to move with the cart 
to the village of Cherkeskeuy, so we had perforce to camp 
in the low-lying, fever-haunted ground round the station. 
We paddled about in the dark, sinking from time to time 
well above our ankles in filthy mud and water, until we 



216 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

found a dry spot — dry only by comparison, for in reality it 
was little better than a marsh. 

When we started to pitch the tent, we found that one 
of the tent poles had disappeared, and it took us over 
an hour improvising an impromptu pole with the shaft of 
the cart. Then, just as we had squatted down to an excellent 
dinner of tinned meats, for 1 had saved most of our stores, 
there was a crash, the sound of ripping canvas, and the head 
of a derehct artillery horse appeared through the side of the 
tent, bringing the w^hole thing down about our ears with a 
run. I appropriated the animal by way of compensation for 
the damage*d tent, but in the morning he was reclaimed by 
some angry gunners. 

We took it in turns to keep watch over the horses all 
night, and the first watch fell to my lot. Hadji had 
purloined some coal from the station, and lighted a fire, but 
even so the cold was intense. The hill beyond the station 
was ablaze with a thousand camp fires, and the night filled 
with an indescribable medley of sound — the shouting and 
screaming of men and women struggling for places in the 
trains, the incessant whisthng of engines crawling slowly 
through the crowds on the lines, the wailing of children 
exposed to the bitter cold, and the ceaseless coughing of 
soldiers Ipng without covering or shelter in the foetid marsh 
around us. From time to time hungry, wolfish-looking soldiers 
came prowling round our tent in search of loot, only to dis- 
appear at the sight of my revolver like shadows in the night. 

Towards midnight there came a great wailing from 
the hill behind us, and turning I saw the village of 
Cherkeskeuy going up in flames. For a few moments the 
white mosque was surrounded with a halo of light, and then 
was swallowed up in black clouds of smoke. There would 
be no stand at Cherkeskeuy, and at dawn we struck our tent, 
and trekked off in the direction of Chataldja. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE MIGRATION OF A PEOPLE 

It was the same weaiy spiritless tramp to the rear, save 
that now most of the sick and wounded had dropped out and 
perished. There was not a vestige of order. Some of the 
men were riding on donkeys, others on broken-down horses. 
The majority having thrown away their boots, to which 
they were not accustomed in everyday hfe, were trudging 
along in blood-stained socks or bare feet. 

There was no complaining ; only a vast silence as of the 
grave, until I felt that T was marching in the midst of an 
army of corpses without souls. A field gun was being drawn 
by two horses and two white oxen. Mingled with the rabble 
of soldiery, were thousands of bullock- wagons, in which the 
mussulmans, inhabitants of the country, were driving off all 
their worldly goods towards Stamboul. 

It was the migration of a whole people, the return of the 
Turks to Asia. Barefooted women, in bright-coloured, 
baggy, cotton trousers, with gaudy yashmaks, were driving 
their flocks along the road, and httle children were goading 
on the oxen. Many of them had unfastened their veils, and 
I was able to see how beautiful they were. 

One magnificent Georgian woman, with skin of alabaster, 
proud aquiline features, and hair of burnt gold, was sitting in 
the front of an ox-wagon, a yellow quilt wrapped around her 



218 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

shoulders, while she held a tiny child to her heart. By the 
side of the wagon walked a handsome, old, bearded man, with 
a turban of green and rose. They were the living image of 
a picture of the flight into Egypt, by an Italian master, 
which I had seen some years ago — I think in the picture 
gallery at Dresden. 

Soon after leaving Cherkeskeuy, the road passed into 
mountainous country covered with thick oak scrub. It is 
called a road only by courtesy and became completely blocked, 
so that the bullock-wagons could not progress more than a 
mile an hour. Therefore, had the Bulgarians possessed 
adequate cavalry, in a position to push on after the battle of 
Lule Burgas, they might have captured the whole of this 
great convoy of women and children, together with the 
greater part of fugitives from the once Grand Army of 
Thrace. 

About ten miles out we came to a spot where the mud 
track dived precipitously into a nullah about two hundred 
yards below, and then mounted almost at right angles on the 
other side. Down the centre of the nullah a torrent was 
raging, the result of Saturday's rain. Three field guns, each 
drawn by six emaciated horses, were about to essay the 
passage of this impasse. The first gun plunged down 
the slope into the stream, well above the axles. The 
horses plunged and struggled half-way up the far bank, 
then one of the wheelers fell, and the gun and horses 
slid back in a hopeless jumble into the torrent, the gun 
overturning and the horses kicking and plunging in wild 
confusion. 

The major in charge came up to me and begged for a 
little brandy, and I handed him my water-bottle full of 
whiskey. He told me that he had commanded the eighteenth 
regiment of artillery. For two days they had fought at Lule 
Burgas against the most fearful shrapnel fire that he had 



WHERE ARE THE GUNS? 219 

ever seen. He showed me the shields of his guns, which 
were battered almost out of shape. 

After the army broke up on the fearful night of the 31st, 
he had been left behind with the rear-guard to cover its 
retreat, and in the night the Bulgarian cavalry had sur- 
rounded them. " They captured eighteen of my guns," he 
said ; " I myself only just escaped with these three, and 
now I must abandon them, for they can never pass these 
roads." He seemed broken-hearted. I asked him to ride 
on with us, but he refused, saying, " No, I will stay with 
my guns. You had better push on as fast as you can. 
For us it is the end. But what would you ? We have 
no roads, no food, no organisation." 

A little further on I was surprised to hear myself 
addressed in excellent French by an emaciated and ragged 
private soldier. I stopped and looked hard at him. It was 
Macksoud Bey, a young Armenian and an attache at the 
Foreign Office, who had volunteered for service with the 
army. Although one of the richest young men in Constan- 
tinople, he was starving on the roads less than 100 rniles 
from the capital. He told us that he had been marching 
for sixty-five hours without a scrap of food to eat. 

Poor Macksoud! I think the longest walk he had ever taken 
in his life, before the war, was from the Sublime Porte to 
Tokatlians, where he was in the habit of dining, and to go 
there he generally took a cab. He was pretty nearly at the 
end of his powers of endurance, but we gave him something 
to eat and a lift in the cart. Later we were unfortunate 
enough to lose sight of him in the general confusion. I 
afterwards learnt that he had developed dysentery, and 
would have died on the road, had not someone put him in a 
cart and brought him to Constantinople, where he recovered. 

Soon afterwards we came in sight of the railway. As far 
as the eye could see, the track was covered with soldiers 



220 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

taking the quickest route to the rear. A train was 
approaching from the direction of Cherkeskeuy — one of the 
last to leave that place. It was drawn by two powerful 
engines which steamed at a snail's pace along the line, 
whisthng continually to clear a way through the rabble on 
the permanent way. Women, children, and soldiers were 
clinging to the front of the engines, the couplings of the 
carriages, the footboards — everywhere where they could get 
a hold. The roofs of the carriages were crowded, and the 
train was literally festooned with humanity. As it passed 
at the rate of four or five miles an hour, a number of soldiers 
tried to board it, but those in the train drew their bayonets 
to prevent them. 

Towards evening we sighted Sinekli, after a day's march 
of only ten miles, so blocked were the roads. Just outside 
the station I was accosted by a fantastic-looking individual 
riding on a donkey. He was a very fat man in the uniform 
of a colonel, and although the weather was fine and sunny, 
he rode beneath the shelter of an umbrella. He told me that 
he was a colonel in the Army Medical Corps, and begged me 
to take his photograph, which I did. He had no 
surgical instruments ; only an umbrella. For three weeks 
he had been wandering about the country completely 
lost, in search of the army. Now, through no fault of his 
own, he had found the army, it having come to him, so he 
had determined to return to Stamboul and there to await 
further orders. 

I asked him if it had not occurred to him to go on, 
and to look after the sick and wounded, to which he 
replied : " What good can I do ? I have no instruments, 
no bandages, no medicines. I have not even got a thermo- 
meter, only an umbrella." I gave him some whiskey, and 
he introduced me to a Mend of his, a colonel in the Army 
Service Corps, who wanted us to spend the night with them 



ONE BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE 221 

in a shed at the railway station. They also gave our horses 
shelter in another shed, and gave them a feed of barley, for 
which we were very grateful, horses' fodder being extremely 
scarce. 

I wanted the officers to dine with us, and we made 
an excellent meal of a pilaf of chicken and rice ; the 
chicken we had looted on the way down, and the Army 
Service Corps colonel gave them to one of his soldiers to 
cook, which he did in a most accomplished manner. We 
also had some sardines, a tin of jam, and a tin of apricots, 
the latter articles being very much appreciated by the Turks, 
who are fond of all sweet things. 

They had spread a mat of honour for me, on which I had 
to sit cross-legged and dispense hospitality. The climax was 
reached when I produced a bottle of champagne. These 
two old men then shook me by the hand and swore eternal 
friendship. The colonel waxed loquacious under the 
influence of the champagne and many libations of whiskey. 
He told me that he had been one of Abdul Hamid's 
physicians. He also remembered my father — and ended up 
by growing quite maudlin at the memory of the good old days, 
when, under Abdul Hamid's corrupt regime, he was able to 
line his nest with golden feathers at the expense of the 
general public. 

In the night I was awakened by the noise of someone 
moving in the room, and, sitting up, I saw the fat colonel 
opening my packing case of provisions, and taking out a 
bottle of whiskey, the major portion of which he proceeded 
to drink. 

Unable to sleep again, I wandered out into the night. 
Sinekli lies very high and the whole line of our retreat was 
marked by flame and smoke, for the soldiers were burning 
the villages behind them. Soldiers were squatting round 
fires, which they fed from the stacks of coal in the station. 



222 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Further on, I came upon a large encampment of refugees. 
The children were crying faintly, for it was bitterly cold, and 
their sufferings must have been terrible, as they were only 
clad in thin cotton clothes. A number of women with 
babies in their arms were sitting round a feeble fire which 
they had lighted with brushwood and straw ; their heads 
had sunk forward on their breasts and they slept. Others 
lay huddled up in each other's arms in the wagons, or 
nestled close to the sleeping oxen in search of a httle 
warmth. 

At dawn we left for Chataldja. The road was so blocked 
by the bullock- wagons of the refugees that I decided to ride 
on, leaving the cart to follow. I asked Hadji, the Albanian 
groom, whether he thought that he could bring it through 
safely, whereupon he undid his waistcoat, displaying a row 
of knives and an antiquated revolver, and swore by the 
beard of the Prophet to do so or perish in the attempt. 

We now took to the railway line, but even here progress 
was slow, so dense was the crowd of fugitive soldiers on the 
line. 

About 15 miles beyond Sinekli the fugitives suddenly 
began to run. I trotted along wondering if the Bulgarians 
were upon us. Then 1 heard a murmur of " Eckmeck ! 
Eckmeck I " (Bread I Bread I), and round a bend in the line 
we came upon two abandoned truck-loads of bread, for 
which an excited crowd of soldiers were fighting with their 
bayonets. 

As we neared Chataldja our spirits rose, as we heard on 
all sides that it was an impregnable position. We left the 
railway and took to the old Roman road, which wound down 
a green valley, between great purple hills. These Roman 
roads are the only real roads that the country boasts, but as 
the Turks have never even bothered to keep them in repair, 
the great square paving stones, of which they are built, have 



A PHANTOM ARMY 223 

sunk in places, leaving gaping holes, and rendering progress 
along them both slow and dangerous. 

Three miles from Chataldja we found a village in flames 
and soldiers looting it for food, and our spirits began to sink. 
Then we came to Chataldja itself, nestling on the slope of a 
great bar of hills which block half the valley down which we 
had been riding. Chataldja was deserted, but this was 
not surprising, as the tovsni itself is about seven mOes in 
advance of the so-called lines of Chataldja. 

Nowhere could we see any signs of an army, nor signs of 
a camp, nor signs of a fortified position. We met a 
lieutenant-general riding aimlessly about the country 
followed by an escort of four orderlies v^dth lances, and 
preceded by two aides-de-camp. He told us that he had 
an army of 150,000 men and that 200,000 more were 
coming from Constantinople. Then he rode off, apparently 
in search of something. Poor fellow, he was looking for a 
phantom army which existed only in his imagination. 

At Chataldja railway station we found the usual scene of 
pandemonium and trains, crowded with refugees . and 
wounded, with women and children on the roofs of the 
carriages. We halted for an hour to feed the horses on 
some chopped straw and barley, which we found in the 
station. Some cavalry officers invited me into their 
carriage and gave me coffise and sweet native brandy to 
drink. Like all Turks, they were courtesy itself They 
told me that the sufferings of the women and children on 
the tops of the railway carriages had been terrible, many 
of the children having died of exposure and hunger in the 
night. 

While we were talking a private soldier, wearing a 
captain's overcoat, tried to enter the carriage. A major 
told him to get out and to hand over the coat, which he 
had doubtless pillaged from some dead officer's body. The 



224 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

man refused, whereupon the major seized the coat, but the 
man struck him and the officer was obhged to draw his 
sword in self-defence. 

The officers seemed broken-hearted. They said that 
disciphne had ceased to exist, and repeated the old cry 
which we had heard all down the line — No roads, no food, 
no organisation. They advised me to ride on to 
Hademkeuy and to ask the commanding officer there for 
an escort, as the roads were unsafe. 

A few miles beyond Chataldja night overtook us and we 
became completely lost. A bitter east wind was blowing, 
and it began to rain in torrents. We were chilled to the 
bone, and had almost abandoned all hope of finding shelter 
for the night, when towards midnight we sighted a blaze 
of light in the distance. It was Hademkeuy, and the 
soldiers had set fire to some of the outlying buildings to 
keep themselves warm. 

We tapped at the door of a shepherd's wooden hut, 
through the chinks in the walls of which we could see a 
light burning. We were hospitably received by some 
Turkish officers, who invited us in, set us down before a 
brazier of red-hot coals to dry our clothes, and made us hot 
tea. There were about thirty officers and men in the hut, 
lying on the mud floor wrapped in their overcoats, or 
squatting about smoking cigarettes and narghilis. They 
were in complete ignorance of the military situation, but, as 
the conversation warmed, I told them, little by little, of the 
disaster of Lule Burgas, and of how the routed army was 
coming back on them in a state of complete disorder. 

I had expected the awakening of strong emotion, some 
bitter manifestation of grief. But instead they received the 
news quite calmly ; one or two of them exclaimed, " Allah, 
Allah ! " and then sank once more into their habitual 
apathy, and a private soldier, who was squatting on the floor 



KISMET ! 225 

smoking a narghili and talking to his colonel, ceased for a 
moment and exclaimed, " Kismet ! " Upon which they 
all — the colonel included — looked at the soldier as though 
he had said something very profound and, nodding their 
heads, repeated his exclamation of " Kismet ! " After that 
they seemed to forget all about the war, and became 
absorbed in the study of us, our manners, equipment, and 
life in general. 

Hademkeuy is in the centre of the so-called lines of 
Chataldja, which should more properly be called the lines 
of Chekmedche ; a natural position on the slope of the hills 
stretching from the head of Lake Chekmedche on the west 
to the head of lake Derkos on the east in the shape of a 
semicircle, the concave edge presented to the enemy. The 
slopes of the hills are clothed with several lines of forts and 
trenches, which, if properly defended, should offer an impreg- 
nable front. 

On the morning of Wednesday, November 6th, there were 
few signs of preparation for defence. There were only some 
four thousand troops in Hademkeuy, of which the majority 
were wandering about the village in a semi-starved condition, 
although only twenty miles from the capital. The remnants 
of the Army of Thrace were coming back toward the position 
and would begin to arrive on the morrow, but it seemed 
doubtful whether this rabble could ever be reorganised in 
time to offer an effective resistance to the enemy. 

In the end, to the great surprise of everybody, the slow- 
ness of the Bulgarian advance was destined to give the Turks 
time to bring up a fresh army, composed almost entirely of 
Nizam troops, from Asia Minor — but of this in due season. 

Later we rode on by crazy goat paths to Constantinople, 
over rugged mountains and beautiful green valleys, down 
which veiled women and little children were driving their 
flocks of silken-fleeced sheep. 

Q 



226 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

We halted for a short while in a pretty little mountain 
village called St. George. Here there was food in plenty, 
for the army had not as yet passed through the district, and 
we were able to give the horses a much-needed feed — they 
had had nothing since the previous day at noon. We 
ourselves were not much better off, having had nothing but 
a few sodden biscuits to eat during the last twenty-four 
hours, owing to our unwise generosity in sharing what small 
stock of provisions we carried in our saddle-bags with hungry 
Turkish officers and men, and to the non-arrival of Hadji 
with the cart of provisions. 

The innkeeper gave us rye bread and a bowl of steaming 
goat's milk, and I have seldom eaten a meal that tasted 
better. While we ate, the inhabitants of the village, who 
were nearly all Ottoman Greeks, and who appeared to have 
nothing on earth to do, gathered in the room of the inn 
and watched us eat with great interest. The long-haired, 
chimney-pot-hatted Greek priest also came to bid us 
welcome to the village, while a picturesque Albanian with a 
white cap and an embroidered waistcoat, who was hung all 
around with antiquated knives, pistols and cartridge bando- 
liers, looked with longing eyes at our modern revolvers, and 
at the gold coin which I produced to pay for the meal. 
Then on to Stamboul. 

At sunset we reached the hills of the dead on the outskirts 
of the city. Around us stretched hill after hill, covered 
with the tombstones of the long-forgotten dead. There 
were some stately sarcophagi, now crumbling to ruin, but 
for the most part the tombstones consisted of flat slabs of 
marble or stone. The majority of them were prostrate, 
piled up in a jumble of putrefaction and decay — thousands 
were leaning over as if about to fall, a few were upright. In 
the half light of the evening they looked like myriads of 
white shrouded ghosts, streaming forth from their tombs to 



THE HILLS OF THE DEAD 227 

share in some ghastly midnight orgy. Purple shadows were 
creeping over the hills, but in the east the sky was a sea of 
blood and fire, while ahead we could see the pale silver 
outline of the Golden Horn and the minarets of Stamboul. 

As it grew darker we could no longer see the path, and 
our horses stumbled over the broken and prostrate tomb- 
stones, from time to time snorting and trembling as if 
oppressed with some strange fear ; nor am I surprised, for 
even to my human senses it seemed as if myriads of ghosts 
were stretching forth their cold fingers to drag me down to 
the realms of putrefaction. Then we saw figures moving 
ahead of us, and as we got closer, found that this ghost 
world was peopled with hundreds of women and children 
who were crying faintly as if weary, hopeless, and hungry. 
They were refugees, who, debarred entrance into the city, 
had taken refuge among the tombs, where soon hunger, 
exposure, and disease would drive many of them to find a 
lasting resting-place. 

We rode in through the Adrianople gate at Stamboul, 
down the narrow streets, past the Hippodrome and the War 
Office, across the bridge into Pera and then on to the Pera 
Palace Hotel. I was a sorry-enough looking object ; my 
horse was lame and exhausted ; my khaki suit bespattered 
with mud and torn in several places, while 1 had a fortnight's 
growth of a miserable-looking beard on my chin. As I 
entered the hotel, the well-dressed crowd drew back before 
an object at once so dirty and so wild-looking, and the 
porter came forward with the obvious intention of asking 
me to leave, when, suddenly recognising who I was, he 
received me with open arms. 

I little expected to see my brother again in Constantinople 
after his flight from Chorlou with the despatches, and was 
surprised when the porter informed me that he was upstairs, 
having returned from Constanza only a few hours previously. 

q2 



228 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

I went upstairs and found my brother, who was as astonished 
to see me as if I had been a man who had returned from the 
grave. 

Little remains to tell, save that on the following morning 
Hadji arrived with the cart, which in one week those two 
wonderful little black horses had drawn 200 miles up hill 
and down dale, through rivers and seas of mud, over stony 
mountain paths and through raging torrents. 

I gave Hadji a sovereign for his pains, whereupon, in the 
foyer of the hotel, he kissed my hand, saying that he desired 
nothing save that Allah might bless and protect me, and 
then went oif to buy a young wife, whom he had long 
coveted — at least so Goupa assured me, and Goupa had a 
long record of mendacity to atone for. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE CAPTURE OF RODOSTO 

To judge from the description which my brother gave me 
of the state of the Turkish Army between Chorion and 
Chataldja, I thought it extremely unlikely that the fugitives 
would ever stop at the famous lines. In common with 
almost everyone else in Constantinople, I expected to see a 
mass of starving, disbanded soldiery back in Stamboul, and 
possibly an uprising against the Christian section of the 
inhabitants. But we did not reckon on two factors which 
saved the situation. The first was the extreme sta e of 
exhaustion of the fugitives, which caused them to halt at 
Hademkeuy, where an eiFort was made to supply them with 
food, and the second, the large reinforcements of Nazim 
(regular troops) which the Turks were just beginning to 
bring up from Smyrna and from the Armenian frontier. 

These men were pushed to the front with great rapidity, 
and it was their bayonets which finally checked the rout at 
the lines of Chataldja. But for nearly two weeks after the 
battle the situation was extremely critical, and had the 
Bulgarians been able to follow up their victory more 
quickly, they would have encountered no organised 
resistance, and a few rounds from the dreaded Creusot field 
guns would have started all the fugitives on the run once 
again, and even if the fresh arrivals from Asia had put up a 



230 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

good fight, they were not numerous enough at this time to 
check an attack in force. 

Nazim Pasha, the Minister of War, left Constantinople 
and took up his quarters at Hademkeuy, living in a railway 
train just outside the town. It was at this time that we first 
learnt of the outbreak of cholera at the front. It originally 
started amongst the troops of the 3rd Army Corps at Viza, 
having been brought from Asia by the fresh battalions. But 
it was not amongst the fresh arrivals that it made its greatest 
ravages, but amongst the unfortunate survivors of Lule 
Burgas. 

These men had, by the time they reached Chataldja, been 
practically starving for ten days, their only food consisting 
of raw mealie cobs and anything they could pick up in the 
countryside. They were thus in a terribly weak state, 
and fell easy victims to the great epidemic, which spread with 
extraordinary and almost uncanny rapidity throughout the 
whole countryside. Not only were they swept away in 
thousands by cholera, but also by dysentery and enteric, and 
many cases of dysentery were put down as cholera. It 
mattered little whether the unfortunate Anatolian peasant 
paid his last debt to his country by one or by the other 
of these diseases. 

The news of the rout of Lule Burgas caused the utmost 
consternation in diplomatic circles. A general attack on all 
Europeans was feared, and warships were hastily demanded. 
Each nation sent two, and more than three thousand blue- 
jackets were landed and remained on duty until after the 
signing of the armistice. It was doubtless a wise and 
necessary precaution, in view of the bloody history of Con- 
stantinople, but, as all remained perfectly peaceful, it did 
look a little absurd to see the Embassies protected by armed 
men, and with machine guns behind sand bags on the roofs. 
The Turks looked on and smiled, and on the whole the 



ART DEALERS 231 

bluejackets were extremely popular with the local towns- 
people. 

The prospect of the taking of Constantinople and the 
possible looting of the town attracted art dealers from all 
over the world. They hoped that the priceless heirlooms 
contained in the Museum, the mythical hordes of gold 
and silver ware, and heaps of unknown but suspected 
jewels, including the famous Persian throne, would fall 
into the hands of the looters, who, in turn, would be 
only too pleased to part with them for a tenth of their 
value for cash down. As day by day went by and only a 
comparatively small number of fugitives, who were easily 
kept in hand, returned to Constantinople from the front, the 
disappointment was keen, and these gentry, who had come 
so far to fill Bond Street, the Rue de la Paix, and Fifth 
Avenue with the spoils of Byzantium, went away very 
disapppointed. 

I think almost every European and certainly every war 
correspondent hoped to see the triumphal entry of King 
Ferdinand, at the head of his legions, into Constantinople. 
This was needed to give a grand dramatic finale to the 
campaign. There were many who wished to be present 
at the solemn ceremony of substituting the Cross for 
the Crescent on the dome of Saint Sofia. Many well- 
known writers commenced their accounts of the march of 
Ferdinand's legions through the Golden Gate, and the exit 
of the Turks into Asia Minor after an occupation of six 
hundred years. 

It seemed to us, who had come straight from the battle- 
field, that the Bulgarians could perform any miracle or feat 
of arms they chose. They appeared now as a mythical 
monster, who had only to open his jaws and swallow up 
whole tracts of country and whole armies. It seemed 
incredible that the beaten Turk, worn-out, starving, and 



232 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

hopelessly mismanaged, could ever again rally or offer any 
resistance in the field. For a few days it was continuously 
rumoured that the Bulgarians had swept past Chataldja and 
were hammering at the gates of the city. But it took a 
very short time for these wild fancies to pass, and then 
those of us who settled down to examine the situation 
calmly and dispassionately, soon realised that it would be 
quite impossible for the Bulgarian armies to advance against 
Chataldja for a very considerable period of time. 

The distance from Lule Burgas to Chataldja is, I believe, 
some hundred and forty kilometres. This takes time for an 
army to travel, more especially in a country where there are 
no roads and where the railway is no longer available. We 
knew the Bulgarians must be absolutely exhausted after 
their prolonged exertions, and that, before they could risk 
an advance on the capital, they would have to look after the 
immense number of wounded on their hands, replenish 
their ammunition supply, and entirely reorganise their 
commissariat, so as to be able to feed a large army, three 
hundred miles away from its base, in a country which had 
already been swept by the ravages of war and which could 
offer them nothing. 

Then, again, we knew they had Adrianople on their 
hands, and there were some who were of the opinion 
that they would rest content with having driven the 
Turks back to Chataldja and would now concentrate all 
their efforts on taking the fortress, using the army 
which had been successful at Lule Burgas, as a covering 
force. 

In these circumstances, Donohoe and myself decided 
it would be useless to go to the lines of Chataldja for some 
days, and that we would learn more by hovering on the 
flank of the army, or even by remaining between the 
advancing Bulgarians and the retiring Turks. We there- 



SALVING THE MOTOR 233 

fore decided to leave for Rodosto by the first available 
steamer. Our main object in going there was to recover 
our motor-car, which we had left in charge of Mr. Streater, 
the Consul, and also of Donohoe's dragoman. 

We felt it was of the utmost importance to bring the car 
to Constantinople, so as to be able to pass rapidly to and fr6 
between the city and the lines of Chataldja, and also to have 
it at our disposal for the rapid dispatch of cables from the 
front. Therefore on Saturday, November 9th, we left 
Constantinople in a small steamer for Rodosto, where we 
arrived the same evening at 5 p.m. 

On our arrival at this prosperous little port, we found 
many Turkish merchant vessels, both steamers and sailing 
craft, anchored in the roadstead, together with the old 
Turkish battleship " Masudia " and a torpedo-boat. 

All was quiet, as the Bulgarians had not yet approached 
the town, although their presence within eight kilometres 
(five miles) had been reported. There was, therefore, a 
strong undercurrent of unrest running throughout the 
Levantine population, whilst hundreds of others were only 
awaiting some means of transportation. 

On my arrival I dined with Mr. Streater, at whose 
house I found Lionel James, who kindly gave me a resume 
of all that had passed since my departure for Constantinople. 
I learned definitely that the Bulgarians had not occupied 
Chorion until Thursday night, November 7th ; up to 
which day a small force of Turks, remnants from the 
field of Lule Burgas, had remained in possession, but had 
retreated on Chataldja on the approach of the enemy's 
cavalry. The Turkish force, which numbered about 3,000, 
was composed of some infantry and the remainder of Sali 
Pasha's independent cavalry division. I also learned that a 
large force of Servians, with artillery, had been seen passing 
through Muradli, evidently with the purpose of strengthen- 



234 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

ing the Bulgarian army in its assault on the lines of 
Chataldja. 

The proximity of the Bulgarians at Chorlou had natur- 
ally aroused the alarm of the citizens of Rodosto, who had 
been expecting a visit from the enemy all the previous week. 
On Thursday, November 7th, the advance posts of the 
enemy were reported to be only seven kilometres off on the 
Rodosto- Muradli road, and therefore, after a consultation 
with the foreign Consuls, the heads of the various religious 
communities, who make up these Levantine towns, sinking 
their life-long quarrels on dogma in the face of the common 
danger, sallied forth for the first time in their lives with a 
common policy, namely, formally to hand over Rodosto to 
the enemy. Unfortunately, on their arrival where the 
Bulgarians had been reported, they found no trace of the 
invader, and were obliged to return to the town with their 
formal act of submission unaccomplished. 

On Friday, November 8th, the battleship " Masudia," 
together with a torpedo-boat, arrived off the port, and the 
military authorities under Colonel Remzi, either on receipt 
of instructions from Constantinople or else gaining confidence 
from the big guns of the warship, decided to defend the town, 
in spite of the sustained supplications of the united divines. 

This was the position on our arrival on Saturday night, 
November 9th. We found our motor safe where we had 
left it, and on Sunday morning Donohoe and myself 
motored out. We found the Turkish advance posts just 
outside the town, but they made no effort to stop us, and 
we motored on for another mile, when, on some high ground 
we discovered a line of vedettes, whose soldierly bearing and 
military formation aroused our suspicions as to their identity. 
We therefore alighted from the car, turned it hastily round, 
so as to be ready for immediate retreat, and examined them 
at our leisure. 




i 




THE "MASUDIA " 235 

Beyond a doubt they were Bulgarians, and as we were 
only a quarter of a mile away from them, we hastily retired 
to the line of the Turkish outposts. Here a further examin- 
ation showed Rodosto to be completely surrounded by the 
enemy's cavalry, and all the roads radiating from it cut off. 
Here we also encountered Colonel Remzi, the commandant, 
who informed us that he intended to defend Rodosto with 
the aid of the warship. The force at his disposal was quite 
adequate for such a task, consisting of isolated detachments 
from the 2nd Army Corps, some of whom, after the debacle 
at Lule Burgas, had taken the road to Rodosto to make 
good their escape, rather than the common line of retreat to 
Chataldja. 

Together with some gendarmes and old reservists collected 
in the town, the total force at Colonel Remzi's disposal 
numbered about 1,000 men. Of these, only about half were 
properly armed, the rest carrying old, obsolete, worn-out 
Martini and Gras rifles. The Turks, with their customary 
apathy, were leaving everything to chance and making no 
effort to entrench their position, preferring to save themselves 
this unpleasant labour, but utilising some petty rises in the 
ground, or else hiding behind the outer houses of the town. 
There was no scheme of defence, no supplies of reserve 
ammunition, no guns, and no dressing stations. 

We then returned to the house of Mr. Streater to lunch, 
and had just sat down when a mighty roar from one of the 
guns of the " Masudia " brought everyone to his feet. This 
was followed by a series of broadsides from the four-inch and 
eight-inch guns of that vessel, which shook every house in 
the town and caused an almost indescribable panic amongst 
the Greek and Armenian population. There was a general 
stampede of gesticulating men, panic-stricken women, and 
howling children towards the Consulates, which are all 
situated close together on the sea front. 



236 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Never have I seen an entire population so scared. They 
tumbled over one another to obtain shelter under the foreign 
flags, and every time a gun of the " Masudia " thundered 
forth, it was followed by a prolonged echo of shrieks, 
howls, groans, and wailing, such as only a mixed Levantine 
community can produce in times of trouble. Lionel James, 
Donohoe, and myself did our best to calm the fear of the 
women and children, but for some time with little effect, the 
populace not being able to discriminate between a gun being 
fired and a bursting shell, and thinking the Bulgarians were 
shelling the town. But after a time, the novelty of the 
sound having worn off, the tears were dried, the men 
ventured to saunter forth into the streets, and the women, 
pressing their children closely to them, took shelter in the 
cellars. 

We were besieged with anxious inquiries. Would the 
enemy fire on the town? Would the warship bombard 
the town ? \\^ould the Bulgarians take it by assault ? Would 
there be a general massacre ? Of course we replied in the 
negative, without having great faith in our own optimism. 

About two o'clock the sound of rifle fire from all sides of 
Rodosto showed that the enemy were approaching, and soon 
the defenders were replying vigorously. Having calmed 
the populace, we climbed the highest pinnacle to view the 
engagement. We saw the Turkish outposts rapidly retiring, 
firing at long range on the Bulgarian or Servian infantry. 
I am unable to say to which army they belonged. It was a 
pathetic sight to watch the blue-coated gendarmes doing 
their best to keep off the invaders with rifles out of date 
twenty years ago, and sending up great columns of smoke 
after each discharge. 

The Bulgarians developed a strong attack on the west of 
the town over ground which gave them considerable cover, 
but the Turkish regulars in this quarter vahantly held their 



A HOT CORNER 237 

own, encouraged rather than materially assisted by the 
deafening broadsides from the " Masudia," which fired all 
her guns at objects the marksmen could not possibly see, 
and with little harm to the enemy, but which only served 
still further to terrify the good citizens. In fact, it seemed 
as if the Turkish sailors, in their efforts to reach the enemy, 
would blow off the upper stories of the houses near the 
seashore, and some of the Consuls, to avoid this contingency, 
took down their flags, which were facing landwards, and 
hoisted them seawards, to remind the '* Masudia," which 
was evidently revelling in this opportunity of distinguishing 
herself, of her international responsibilities. 

The engagement now became hotter, and Donohoe and 
myself, having captured our chauffeur, who, evidently 
anticipating some such move, had carefully hidden himself, 
entered our car, and motored out towards the Muradli 
road. Having turned the car round, and leaving it under 
cover, we joined the advanced Turkish posts, which were 
firing from behind houses, chiefly without even looking over 
the walls or taking aim. It was evident that Rodosto could 
be carried at any moment the enemy developed a sufficient 
force at any one point, but throughout the afternoon they 
contented themselves with feeling the position, and evidently 
were without artillery, as they made no effort to fire on the 
" Masudia " or on the town. 

The moment our car had moved to the front, the Turkish 
unemployed, men and boys, gained courage and followed 
us in hundreds to the firing line, saying they were quite 
safe as long as they remained with Englishmen. But this 
concentration, which we tried in vain to break up, speedily 
attracted the enemy's fire, and, thinking discretion the 
better part of valour, we retreated to the motor-car, 
followed by the whole crowd, running as fast as their legs 
would carry them. 



238 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

For some time the car stuck and refused to move, but 
fortunately the defence held good, and we got her back 
to the Consulate. The enemy's bullets were now whistling 
in hundreds over the tops of the houses, and hardly a soul 
was to be seen, all having taken to their cellars, but the 
" Masudia's " guns still thundered forth, and the enemy, 
uncertain what force was on his front, did not press home 
and carry the outskirts with the bayonet. 

I have already mentioned that a number of Turkish 
vessels, steamers, and sailing ships were anchored in the 
roadstead early in the day, engaged in taking off refugees. 
As soon as the " Masudia " started shooting they all, without 
exception, hauled up their anchors and made for Constanti- 
nople, leaving Rodosto to look after itself. 

We three English correspondents thus found ourselves in 
an awkward position, as we had no means of escape, and 
should the town be taken by the Bulgarians, we would 
become prisoners of war, and thus cease to be of any further 
utility to our respective papers. We tried to secure a 
sailing ship, a fishing smack, or even a rowing boat, but 
in vain, and things were looking extremely black for us 
when about five o'clock the " Marmora " mail boat, flying 
the French flag, put into the port, anchoring a long way 
out. 

Immediately there was a rush of refugees to make their 
escape in small boats to her. Thanks to the French agent, 
we secured a boat, and were allowed to leave after a 
prolonged parley with the authorities, who required passes 
from us. Our departure was the signal for a fresh panic, as 
those citizens of Rodosto attributed it to fear alone. There 
was a general rush for the quays, but the soldiers, hearing 
that the " Marmora " express was already crowded, refused to 
allow others to embark, which caused the wildest lamenta- 
tions. With the utmost difficulty, and by sheer fighting. 



IMPLORING A PASSAGE 239 

we reached the ship and fought our way aboard. The 
gangway was then hoisted. 

From that moment, until we sailed, a crowd of boats 
hovered round us, the refugees imploring to be taken on 
board, and offering to pay any sum for a passage ; but as the 
boat is built to carry about 200 persons, and some 1,600 
were crowded on her, the captain remained adamant. When 
his decision became known a perfect babel of discordant 
cries, shrieks, curses, and prayers arose from the darkness, 
which had now settled over this unpleasant scene, and lasted 
until we sailed. Some in their desperation tried to climb 
up the sides, abandoning their baggage, their friends, and 
relatives. 

The " Masudia " continued her bombardment until night- 
fall, and almost the last shot she fired burst prematurely, 
sweeping the harbour with fragments of an 8-inch shell. We 
were obliged to abandon our motor-car, and Lionel James 
was also obliged to abandon his, to the care of the British 
Consul, hoping to ship them to Constantinople under more 
peaceful conditions, if the enemy did not seize them as spoils 
of war. I learnt later from a refugee, who came by an 
Italian ship which called at Rodosto after our departure, that 
the miUtary authorities had temporarily commandeered our 
cars to carry petrol to the Turkish quarter of the town, as 
they intended to burn it down if the Bulgarians attempted 
to enter. 

Neither James, Donohoe, nor myself were ever destined to 
have another ride in our cars during the campaign, and I am 
extremely doubtful if we shall ever see them again. When 
we left Rodosto we placed them in charge of Streater, 
the Consul, and also left Donohoe's dragoman and our 
chauffeur with instructions to ship them by the first avail- 
able steamer to Constantinople. Our former chauffeur, 
whom we had with us at Lule Burgas, had had enough of 



240 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the campaign and ran away to Roumania, and we never saw 
him again. We were therefore obhged to obtain another in 
Constantinople, and we took this man with us to Rodosto. 
Sunday evening, November 10th, was the last time we have 
ever heard of or seen either the car, the chauffeur, or the 
dragoman. The protection of the Consul was of little use, 
as Streater left his post early on Monday morning, November 
11th, and decided he would be more safe and comfortable in 
Constantinople. Two days later the Bulgarians occupied 
the town. 

After this, all remains a blank, and, up to the time of 
writing we have never heard a single word from either the 
chauffeur or the dragoman, neither have their despairing 
mothers, wives, sisters, and children in Constantinople. 
The mystery is almost inexplicable, unless both were seized 
as prisoners and sent back to Bulgaria. Of course there 
remains the alternative that they may be dead. But who 
would kill them? If they are alive, why have they not 
written, if not to us, at least to their wives ? Steamers 
have called there many times since, and I believe a regular 
service was resumed after the signing of the armistice, but 
not a sign has either of these men made to anyone of his 
safety. 

Of course it is useless to comment on the fate of the 
cars, until we know what has become of those who were 
left in charge of them. Perhaps they are running cheap 
trips to the neighbouring battlefields. Perhaps the Bul- 
garians have forced them to work in their service, and our 
beautiful Panhard may now be conveying some Savoff or 
Popoff on his daily rounds. Personally, I am not very 
hopeful of ever seeing it again. 

We had a terrible time after our return to Constanti- 
nople, and until we finally escaped to England, trying to 
comfort the wives, famiUes, friends, and relatives of these 



THE CAPTURE OF RODOSTO 241 

two men. They would besiege the Pera Palace Hotel, 
begging us for information which we were quite unable to 
give them. Sometimes in their frenzy they declared we 
knew they were dead and were merely concealing the 
truth. What could we do ? We knew no more than 
they did. 



CHAPTER XVIIl 

THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER 

On Wednesday, November 13th, Donohoe, my brother, 
and myself left Constantinople for the lines of Chataldja. 
The appearance of the city was even more desolate than 
before we had left to join the Grand Army of Thrace. The 
last vestige of wheeled traffic had disappeared from the 
streets, and Stamboul had more than ever the appearance of 
a plague-stricken city. The gold-merchants, the dealers in 
precious stones, and all those who traded in wares of value, 
had removed their goods from the bazaars to the vaults of 
the foreign banks ; for there was considerable apprehension 
among certain sections of the community lest, in the event 
of the lines of Chataldja being forced by the Bulgarians, 
the routed Turkish soldiers would pillage and burn the city, 
sooner than allow it to fall once more into the hands of 
Christians. 

The Turkish Cabinet itself was doubtful as to whether 
an effective resistance could be offered to the enemy at 
Chataldja, so disheartening were the reports of disorder and 
disease among the remnants of the Grand Army of Thrace. 
Even Nazim Pasha at one time gave way to the general 
despondency and declared that he could not hold the lines, 
and on Sunday, November 10th, the Cabinet seriously 
discussed the advisability of abandoning Constantinople and 



VASFI AND HIS FLOCK 243 

of transferring the seat of government to Brusa in Asia 
Minor. 

Meanwhile, fresh troops belonging almost entirely to 
the Nizam army, and of a far better quality than the 
undisciplined Redifs that had fought at Lule Burgas, were 
being hurried to the front from the vilayets of Asia Minor. 
The Turks at the eleventh hour had decided to denude the 
Armenian frontier of troops, upon which some of their 
best divisions were stationed. We saw several regiments 
belonging to the army corps from Trebizond pass through 
Constantinople, and were very much struck by their appear- 
ance. The troops from the Yemen under the command 
of the famous Izzet Pasha were also beginning to arrive, 
and the Government had by now brought up most of the 
regular troops from the vilayet of Smyrna, whither they 
had originally been sent to cope with a possible Itahan 
invasion. 

As before the outbreak of hostihties, it was utterly 
impossible to obtain any reliable news of what was happen- 
ing in the trenches at Chataldja, although they were only 
twenty miles distant from Constantinople, but, as one by one 
the correspondents arrived from the front, each had a 
different story to tell of the sufferings and disorganisation of 
the Turkish Army. 

On Friday, Major Vasfi, the Censor, sent a message 
to the correspondents, saying that he would like to see them 
all at the Pera Palace at six o'clock. Donohoe and I 
thought it advisable to stay away after our flight from 
Constanza, and so my brother was deputed to attend the 
conference. 

At six o'clock a score or so correspondents were seated 
round Major Vasfi in the hall of the hotel. Major Vasfi 
started by reproving us for our unceremonious departure from 
him and the army, whereupon a dispute at once broke out as 

r2 



244 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

to whether the correspondents had abandoned the army or 
the army the correspondents. It was finally settled that the 
army was at fault. Then a Frenchman started blaming 
Major Vasfi, because he had not been informed in time of the 
departure of the Circassian horsemen to the front on the 
previous day, so that he could take a photograph of them, 
whereupon I suggested that, as they would probably be 
coming back in a few days, he would then have an excellent 
opportunity. After which an Austrian started a long tirade, 
in the course of which he pointed out that he was a hero who 
had given his life blood for the Turks in Tripoli, and in return 
he had overheard Turkish officers calling him a dirty spy. 
I pointed out to him that, being a correspondent, that was 
exactly what he was. Finally, the Censor gave us the daily 
account of a Turkish victory ten miles north of Viza, and 
offered to pass any telegrams that we might wish to send on 
the subject. 

We were now able to glean a knowledge of what had 
been happening in the other theatres of war from the 
European papers arriving in Constantinople. Uskiib, 
Monastir, and Salonica had fallen in turn, and from every 
side came the same story of the Turkish lack of organisation 
and failure to provide the army with food. We were also 
able to read the lurid reports of Lieutenant Wagner, the 
correspondent of the Reichspost with the victorious Bulgarian 
Army. 

Writing from the " Headquarters of the Bulgarian 
Army," Lieutenant Wagner described a bloody battle, in 
which the Turks lost 40,000 men killed and wounded, as 
having taken place in and around Chorion a few days after 
the battle of Lule Burgas ; and yet we who were there 
saw nothing of the battle. He ends up his despatch 
with the following words : — 

" Still more terrible was the fighting at Chorion, which 



WAGNER'S FIRST INTERMEZZO 245 

must have resembled that at the Beresina. Even to-day in 
many places the water is dammed by corpses and war 
material, and red with the blood of dead and wounded." 

They must have been very sanguinary wounded, for the 
river at Chorion, being swollen by heavy rains at that time, 
was running at about 12 knots, and yet for days after the 
fight it was stained with blood and blocked with corpses ! 

There is another peculiarity I have noticed amongst the 
soldiers of all nations, they do not fight for preference in 
the middle of a river, and whenever possible the wounded 
avoid crawling into a river to die. 

In addition, the following despatch from Lieutenant 
Wagner appeared in the Reichspost, of Thursday, November 
7th :— 

" It had already been seen in Turkish military circles that 
the defence of the Chataldja line was untenable and useless. 
The Turkish troops fled in breakneck style to Constanti- 
nople, without paying regard to the cries of their officers. 

" The situation at Constantinople is desperate. The city . 
is full of refugee soldiers, who, half-starved, take revenge 
upon the defenceless Christians. 

" The left wing of the Bulgarian army, after a determined 
struggle, reached the heights east of Strandja, driving the 
right Turkish wing into the forest district west of Derkos 
Lake. The Bulgarians are strongly reinforced at Strandja 
and Yenikoei to give a final blow to the Chataldja positions 
south of the Derkos Lake. The centre and right Bulgarian 
wing forced the conquered Turkish rearguard along the 
railway line and through Cauta, and will continue the attack 
upon the Turkish positions on both sides of the village of 
Chataldja. 

" The immediate fall of all the Turkish positions is now a 
dead certainty. The Turkish artillery has very insufficiently 
supported the infantry thus far, and has seldom remained 
till the last moment. Insufficient action with the too early 
retreat of the Turkish artillery left the retreating Turkish 



246 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

infantry defenceless against the attacks of the onstorming 
Bulgarians and firing of the Bulgarian batteries so that the 
retreat almost resembled a flight. 

Lieutenant Wagner heads his despatch " Bulgarian Army 
Headquarters," but he does not say where the headquarters 
were, neither does he date his despatch. The despatch 
appeared in the Vienna Reichspost of November 7th, and 
must, therefore, have been sent off at the latest on the 
previous day, which brings us to Wednesday, November 6th. 
The battle which it describes, therefore, must have taken 
place on Tuesday, November 5th, at the latest. Now on 
Monday, November 4th, Seabury Ashmead-Bartlett was at 
Cherkeskeuy, 80 miles north-east of Chataldja, and there 
was no sign of the Bulgarians ; on Tuesday he was at 
Sinekli — still no sign of the Bulgarians, while the Turkish 
peasants and soldiers continued their retreat unmolested. 
On Wednesday, November 6th, he was actually at Chataldja 
and yet he saw no signs of an attack on the lines, no signs 
of the taking of Derkos — which, incidentally, lies behind 
the Turkish position — while the Turkish headquarters were 
still in telegraphic communication with Cherkeskeuy. 

The remnants of Abdullah's army of Thrace only began 
to reach the lines on November 7th, whereas Lieutenant 
Wagner describes how, at least two days previously, they had 
abandoned their positions and " fled in breakneck style to 
Constantinople. " 

Then he goes on to describe how Constantinople is 
" full of refugee soldiers, who, half-starved, take revenge 
upon the defenceless Christians." At the time there were 
no starving soldiers in Constantinople, and later on, when 
a certain number of sick and stragglers found their way 
to the city, they were segregated in the mosques under 
a strong guard, and at no time did they "take revenge 
upon the Christians." 



WAGNER CAPTURES CHATALDJA 247 

In a later despatch dated " Bulgarian Army Headquarters, 
Nov. 7 (10 p.m.) " Lieutenant Wagner goes on to describe 
how: — 

" The Bulgarian attack on the Chataldja positions goes 
successfully forward. The positions taken by the Third 
Bulgarian Army on the Turkish right wing at Delijunus, 
form an excellent centre for the continuation of the 
attack. 

" On the south hne, also, the Bulgarian troops have 
already taken possession of the principal positions. The 
fall of the whole of the Chataldja positions is imminent. 

"Already yesterday the advanced troops of the Third 
Army, fighting continually, had pressed forward to the 
Tarfa-Kalfakeni line, and early this morning the First 
Army drove the Turkish troops from the heights near 
Chataldja. 

" The battle is now raging along the whole line, and 
Europe may expect to receive at any moment the laconic 
announcement of the fall of the famous lines of Chataldja. 

" Once more the Bulgarians are acting with unexampled 
dash. 

" I just learn that the columns of the Third Army, 
proceeding south of the Derkos Lake, have captured the 
positions at Delijunus, on the Turkish right wing, and 
that the columns of the Third Army, also going southwards, 
are advancing victoriously." 

Truly prophetic utterances, in view of the fact that the 
Bulgarian attack on the lines of Chataldja did not begin 
until November 17th, and that it was then easily repulsed 
by the Turks. When this faint-hearted attack of the 
Bulgarians on the Turkish positions did begin, Lieutenant 
Wagner, undeterred by the exposure of his former 
prophecies, reported : — 

" After four days of sanguinary fighting, the Bulgarian 
army has succeeded in breaking through the centre of the 
Turkish positions at Chataldja in the direction of Hademkeuy, 



248 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

and in completely rolling up the Turkish defences. The 
advance will be continued with the greatest energy, in order 
to force the Turkish troops as far as possible from 
Constantinople. " 

The course of events will show that the fighting at 
Chataldja was never of a sanguinary nature ; that the battle 
only lasted two days, and that, far from rolling up the 
Turkish forces, the Bulgarians were themselves forced to 
retreat. 

But Lieutenant Wagner did not hesitate to state in the 
course of another despatch, that the gallant, but defeated 
Turkish troops behaved with shocking brutality. 

*' The atrocities committed by the retreating Turks are 
awful. All the villages were burned to ashes ; all the 
Christians were massacred, and dozens of female corpses 
have been found with mutilated bodies. The Anatolian 
Redifs, especially, behaved like wild beasts." 

Poor, gentle and kind-eyed, courteous Anatolian Redifs ! 
You were starving and disorganised, and yet we marched 
with you all the way from Lule Burgas to Chataldja, rather 
more than 140 miles, without a passport or any other paper 
to show who we were, and with a cartload of equipment and 
stores, and none of you ventured to molest us. We were 
Christians, and King Ferdinand had proclaimed a Holy War, 
and yet one of you offered to share his last crust of bread 
with us, because we gave him a drink of water. 

Nor did we see you massacre and ill-treat Christians or 
mutilate their women-folk, although, when you were starving, 
they used to shut their doors in your faces and refuse to give 
you of the food which they possessed in plenty. Their flocks 
also you left untouched in your extremity, and their chickens 
and their com. Few European armies would have behaved in 



NO TURKISH ATROCITIES 249 

such a gentle and forbearing manner as you. Few races 
could show such a spirit of tolerance. 

One day at the height" of the crisis, when the Bulgarians 
were said to be on the eve of entering Constantinople and 
of setting up the cross on St. Sofia, we watched a Greek 
religious procession passing through the streets of Pera. A 
priest dressed in robes of silk and gold went before, carrying 
high the cross, while others in gaudy raiment followed after, 
chanting a solemn hymn as they went. And no attempt was 
made by the Turks to molest these Greeks. We wondered 
what would have happened in Piccadilly if, when the army of 
a Roman Catholic nation, which had invaded England with 
the avowed intention of stamping out Protestantism, was 
on the eve of entering London, the Roman Catholic Arch- 
bishop of Westminster had gone in procession through the 
streets carrying the Host. We remembered the outcry in 
the Press, when he had mooted doing such a thing in a 
period of profound peace, and trembled for the fate of him 
and his priests. 



CHAPTER XIX 



THE CHOLERA 



We were much amused to read one evening an official 
announcement by the Ottoman News Agency, that forty of 
the most prominent Ulemas had been dispatched to the army 
at Chataldja, in order to excite the fanaticism of the soldiers 
by preaching an " official Holy War." They did not, how- 
ever, succeed in awakening any fanaticism, and the dispatch 
of forty train loads of bread would probably have been more 
efficacious. 

Meanwhile thousands of refugees with their bullock- 
wagons and flocks were arriving daily at the city's gates. 
To most of them entrance was debarred, and they had to 
take refuge in the cemeteries beyond the city walls, but 
many were camped in the streets of Stamboul. The 
resultant filth and congestion beggars description and was 
certain to cause a lot of disease. These unfortunate women 
and children were being transhipped as fast as possible to 
Asia Minor ; but what will happen to them there and who 
will provide for their support, none can tell. Their fate is 
in the lap of the gods. Many of them have lost their 
fathers, sons, or brothers. Even if their menfolk should 
escape death in the war, they will never be able to find their 
famihes again, for the people do not mean to return to 
Europe. I talked to one old peasant, and he said : — ** We 



BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY 251 

are going to seek in Asia the peace that we have never 
found in the land of the Giaours." 

Meanwhile we heard that cholera had broken out among 
the troops at Chataldja, and that a number of cases had 
arrived at Constantinople. One day therefore we visited the 
Cekedje railway station at an hour when we knew that a 
train load of sick and wounded men was expected from the 
front, and we were able to see for ourselves the truth of 
the report. With characteristic carelessness, the Turks had 
placed a number of cholera cases among the non-infectious 
patients, and quietly sent them off to Stamboul to spread 
the dread disease among its teeming population. At the 
station the cholera patients were sorted out from among the 
others, and placed in sheds which were already half full of 
dead and dying men, while those who handled them were 
profusely sprayed with disinfectant. Then they were left 
uncared for until such time as death should end their 
sufferings. 

We afterwards visited the British Red Cross Society's 
admirable hospital in the old Museum, where we were 
able to see the condition of the wounded men arriving 
from the front. Only about 20 per cent, of those who 
had been wounded at the battle of Lule Burgas ever got 
back to Constantinople, the remainder perishing from 
exposure and neglect, while trying in vain to drag them- 
selves away from the battlefield. Many of those who did 
survive, only reached the hospitals in the capital ten or 
fifteen days after the battle, during which time their wounds 
had remained untended, with the result that they had 
festered and were covered with maggots and vermin. 
Still in most cases they managed to recover, thanks to their 
wonderful constitutions and non-alcoholic habits. 

On the evening of Tuesday, November 12th, the Turkish 
Government announced, through the medium of the Otto- 



252 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

man Agency, that no correspondents could be permitted to 
return to the front. 

Nevertheless, as our preparations were completed, and we 
believed an attack on the lines of Chataldja to be imminent, 
we decided to start at dawn on the following day, Wednes- 
day, November 13th. As on the occasion of our first 
departure for the front, we were obliged to take all supplies 
with us, as we could hope to find but little food in the 
country through which the Turkish army had passed. We 
did not know how long the second phase of operations was 
likely to last, and so we had purchased supphes for one 
month. 

Our party consisted of my brother and myself, Martin 
Donohoe of the Chronicle, Bryant, our guide and interpreter, 
Goupa, dragoman and cook, Hadji, our old Albanian groom, 
and another groom of Donohoe's. To carry the food and 
equipment necessary for seven persons, we were obliged to 
hire a second cart and two horses, in addition to the araba 
drawn by the two little black ponies, which had done such 
wonders on the retreat from Lule Burgas. We also hired a 
Minerva motor-car for the purpose of getting back quickly 
to Constantinople with our despatches, should occasion 
arise. 

We were up by six in the morning packing up the two 
carts, which were sent on in charge of Goupa, with orders to 
proceed to the station at Kuchuk Chekmedche, and there 
to await our arrival. 

Kuchuk Chekmedche is situated on the coast about 14 
miles from Constantinople, on the banks of the lake of 
Chekmedche, and is about seven miles distant from the lines 
of Chataldja. We ourselves arranged to follow at about 
12.30 p.m., Donohoe in the motor-car, and myself and my 
brother with our guide Bryant on horseback. Shortly 
before that hour my brother went round to the stable to 



A FIGHT 253 

fetch our saddle horses, and was met by the Greek pro- 
prietor, who presented a bill for £10 for the five days 
which our horses had spent in his stable, and this despite 
the fact that we had provided their food ourselves. We 
told him as politely as possible that his bill was excessive 
and that, as we were pressed for time, we could argue the 
matter out after our return from Chataldja. He also 
told him, as he raised objections, that the Pera Palace 
Hotel or the Ottoman Bank, where we had our account, 
would give security for the money that we owed him. But 
this did not suit the rascally Levantine, who, never having 
done an honest action in his life, was incapable of trusting 
anybody else. 

Unwilling to continue a discussion which was becoming 
undignified, my brother started to lead his horse from the 
stable, whereupon the proprietor seized the bridle in an 
endeavour to prevent him. My brother was so exasperated 
by this traditional insult from one whom experience had 
taught us to consider as an inferior species, that he struck him 
in the face, knocking him down. The man picked himself 
up, screaming like a woman, and disappeared into the coach- 
room, whence he reappeared a moment afterwards armed 
with an iron bar, and followed by three stablemen armed 
with heavy sticks. In face of such overpowering odds my 
brother was obliged to beat a strategic retreat to the hotel, 
whence we returned a few minutes later armed with hunting 
crops. 

We found that the stablemen had closed the coach door 
and were prepared to stand a siege, but we at once delivered a 
frontal attack, forced open the door, and precipitated our- 
selves on the enemy's forces within. A free fight ensued, in 
which first fists, then hunting crops and sticks were freely 
employed. Finally, the Greeks drew their knives and 
attempted to mutilate the horses, but my brother drew his 



254 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Mannlicher automatic pistol, and drove them trembling into 
a corner, while we led the horses round to the front of the 
hotel. We were followed by the proprietor and his under- 
lings, whose gesticulations, remonstrances, and bleeding faces 
soon caused a large and excited crowd to gather round us. 
Then a policeman arrived on the scene, and, fearing 
detention and endless litigation, we told Bryant to calm the 
proprietor's anger with a sovereign. But Bryant, who 
knows the country, gave the money to the policeman, upon 
which our path became strewn with roses. 

We were doubtful as to whether we should be allowed to 
pass the city gates, in view of the official announcement that 
no correspondents would be allowed to return to the front. 
And, sure enough, we were stopped by the military police at 
the Golden Gate, and questioned by the officer in charge as 
to whether we were war correspondents. We replied that 
we were not, but harmless English gentlemen in the act of 
taking a little ride out to San Stefano — and this despite the 
fact that we were laden with water bottles, revolvers, haver- 
sacks, and all the varied equipment of war. 

The officer took our names and telephoned to the War 
Office for instructions, receiving the order to send us back 
immediately. We feigned complete indiffisrence, chatted 
with the officer in a friendly manner for about a quarter of 
an hour, offisred him cigarettes, and finally pointed out what 
a pity it was that we should be deprived of our ride on such 
a fine day. We so worked on his better feelings that, in 
direct contravention of his orders, he informed us that we 
might go on our way to San Stefano, and begged us to stop 
and take coffise with him on our return. This example is 
typical of the anaemia of the Turkish character, and the 
laxity of officials. 

It was a lovely day — bright sunshine and almost tropical 
heat, despite the advanced season of the year. We rode 



BACK TO THE FRONT 255 

out through the Golden Gate, through which the Turkish 
conquerors rode into the city five centuries ago, leaving 
behind us the noble castellated walls of the city, built when 
it was Byzantium ; now crumbling to ruin and seared with 
deep cracks. The Sea of Marmora was all golden in the 
sunlight and beyond we could see the faint outhne of the 
purple hills of Asia Minor with their mantle of eternal 
snow. The country round us was covered with the flocks of 
refugees searching the sun-baked soil in vain for pasture. 
Women from one of the refugee camps were filling their 
pitchers with water from a stagnant pool, oblivious of the 
fact that in it lay the putrefying body of an ox. We saw 
a large number of sick and useless soldiers straggling off to 
the rear, while many men were lying untended by the road- 
side in a dying condition — and that within ten miles of the 
capital. Some of them had the appearance of cholera 
victims. We reached Kuchuk Chekmedche about four 
o'clock in the afternoon after a very hot ride, and there 
we found Donohoe in the motor car and Goupa with 
the stores awaiting us. 

We decided to spend the night in the inn at Chekmedche, 
as we only had about another hour and a half daylight, and 
it was useless to think of pushing on before the morrow. 
Chekmedche lay very low on the shores of the lake ; it was a 
miserable, dirty village, and must have been a fever-stricken 
haunt, for the atmosphere was foetid and sodden, and peopled 
by myriads of mosquitoes. The village was crowded with 
troops and we had some difficulty in finding stabling for our 
horses. We found a room with three beds for ourselves in 
the local inn, and Goupa prepared our evening meal in the 
common room downstairs, which was crowded with Greek 
peasants and Turkish soldiers. 

We found Nicholson, a cinematograph operator, and 
Grant, of the Daily Mirror, in the inn, and they dined 



256 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

with us at the httle deal table which Goupa had spread with 
a white cloth in one corner of the bar, while the natives 
looked in astonishment at the lavish meal of which we 
partook. 

It was very hot cholera weather, and mosquitoes were 
dying in battalions against the glass of our lamp, but from 
outside the moan of the waves brought a little coolness to 
our parched senses. 

When it came to the opening of the whiskey we discovered 
to our horror that the soda water had been left behind. Here 
was a predicament, indeed, for we were in a country where 
cholera was raging and all the streams and springs were 
contaminated by the insanitary customs of the Turks. So it 
was decided that my brother should return to Stamboul at 
dawn in order to get the two large cases of Mattoni water. 
Next day, after he had returned with two huge cases of 
Mattoni water, each containing twenty-five quart bottles, we 
decided to make for the village of Aya Yorgi (St. George), 
which was some five miles in rear of Hademkeuy, the centre 
of the Turkish position, and there to estabhsh our head- 
quarters. We chose Aya Yorgi because it lay in the hills off 
the main road, and we hoped to find it free of soldiers, for we 
were anxious to avoid camping in proximity to the Turkish 
army, owing to the terrible stories of cholera that we had 
heard. 

For some distance our road lay along the shores of the 
sapphire blue lake, past banks of golden rushes peopled 
with wild duck and other waterfowl, and then wound on 
into a well-watered valley lying between rugged volcanic 
hills. From time to time the sight of the decaying corpses 
of oxen or horses, or of some sick man who had lain down 
by the roadside to die, reminded us that we were in the 
midst of war. 

We watered our horses at a spring flowing over moss 



OUR HOUSE AT ST. GEORGE 257 

and ferns from out the heart of a great white rock, 
such as Moses must have struck with his rod when the 
children of Israel were dying of thirst in the wilderness; 
then we started on a long climb up to the hills. We 
reached St. George about four o'clock in the evening, only 
to find, to our dismay, that a brigade of the second division 
of the reserve was quartered in it. Every house appeared 
to be fully occupied, and the atmosphere was full of that 
peculiarly foetid scent which always accompanies the insani- 
tary Turkish Army. 

We contemplated leaving the village and pitching our 
tent in the open, but at that moment a staif officer came 
up to us, and after inquiring who we were, asked us to 
wait while he made a report to the commandant. He 
returned shortly afterwards to say that the commandant 
had ordered him to place a room at our disposal, and to 
find stabling for our horses. We thanked him, and he com- 
mitted us to the care of a lieutenant in the Army Service Corps, 
who was at least fifty years old, and who evidently belonged 
to the old class of officer promoted from the ranks under the 
Hamidian regime. The antiquated Heutenant found us a 
room in a house which had once been the summer home of a 
bygone Sultan's favourite, and which was now occupied by 
an Armenian priest. It was a handsome room of many 
windows, looking out over the valley up which we had 
climbed to the sea beyond, but was devoid of all furniture, 
save for two divans upon which we slept. After he had 
seen us comfortably installed, the patriarchal lieutenant 
informed us through the medium of Bryant that he would 
not scorn to accept a little backsheesh, and we were only too 
glad to reward the poor fellow, as he had probably received 
no pay for months. 

We were very tired, having had a long and hot march, 
so after we had eaten some dinner we settled down for 



258 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the night. We had just turned out the lights and were 
lying in a semi-somnolent condition, congratulating ourselves 
on having found such comfortable quarters for the night, 
when there came a loud knocking at the door. We jumped 
up and opened it, and our friend the staff officer entered, 
followed by four other persons, saying : " Messieurs, je 
vous ai apporte vos camarades." We had not the least 
idea who " vos camarades " were, but we were in no mood to 
receive visitors, had they been our oldest and dearest friends. 
From the babel of guttural sounds which issued from them 
we were able to distinguish that they were Germans, and on 
striking a light we found ourselves confronted by three 
German war correspondents and Mr. Frank Otter, the war 
correspondent of the Pink-un. All were without baggage 
or provisions and announced their intention of billeting 
themselves on us. This we did not at all relish, as the room 
was already overcrowded, so we requested them to find 
shelter elsewhere. This annoyed the Germans very much, 
and they made angry remarks about our total want of the 
spirit of comradeship, and of how in war it was share and 
share alike. This argument naturally appealed to them as 
they, through their own improvidence, were without pro- 
visions, while we showed obvious manifestation of having 
food and drink in plenty in the room with us. When our 
first annoyance at being disturbed had subsided, we gave 
them something to eat and drink and handed them over to 
our dragoman, with orders to find them a lodging elsewhere. 
Frank Otter we invited to spend the night with us. 
He told us that he had come by motor car to Chekmedche, 
and had strolled from that village to St. George. He 
did not seem to know where he was going, or what he 
was going to do. He had no stores, not even a horse, 
but this did not seem to trouble him in the least. He 
presented a very picturesque appearance, being dressed 



FRANK OTTER AND THE "PINK-UN" 259 

in exquisitely fitting tight khaki breeches, a pair of New- 
market leggings, a dark coat, a green waistcoast, and a 
large white stock, while his face, upon which is the glow 
of many matutinal libations, was crowned with a scarlet 
fez. Next morning we had some difficulty in explaining 
his presence to our friend the staff officer, who said that 
he had heard of The Times^ the Morning Post, and the 
Telegraph, but never of the Pink-un. So we assured 
him that it was a military journal which owed its name 
to the peculiar colour of the British soldiers' coats, upon 
which he became very friendly, and to Otter's considerable 
embarrassment started telling him a number of technical 
and strategic details. 

Fond as we were of Frank Otter's company, it was 
impossible to keep him with us owing to the difficulties 
of commissariat, and he willingly consented to return to 
Constantinople when he discovered the denuded state of the 
country and the ravages of cholera, not wishing — as he 
quaintly put it — "to die twenty miles away from the 
nearest bar." 

In the afternoon we decided to ride out to Hardemkeuy, 
in order to reconnoitre the lines of Chataldja, a ride that 
was destined to be the most gruesome we had ever taken. 
First we passed through the beautiful valley of Chekmedche 
which presented an ideal picture of peace. In it were 
grazing the flocks of the migrating Ottoman peasants, 
nothing in whose dress, manners, and customs has changed 
for a thousand years. Pretty veiled women were carrying 
water on their heads in great pitchers to their camp, where 
their children were playing in the shelter of some silver 
birch trees. In the distance the blue lake lay in the 
sunhght, and the air was filled with the music of many 
cattle bells. 

But on the slope of the hill beyond we were suddenly 

s2 



260 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

brought face to face with the horrors of war. There was a 
httle encampment of brown shelter tents, in front of which 
were half-a-dozen newly covered-in graves. Beside the 
graves lay three corpses with blackened, distorted faces, 
while all around sat or lay some twenty or thirty soldiers in 
the last stages of disease. Several of them lay on their 
faces writhing and uttering horrible groans. Several more 
sat in silence waiting for death to overtake them, gazing 
with misty, apathetic eyes at the beautiful valley at their 
feet, down which perhaps their own wives and children were 
fleeing into Asia, driving their flocks before them. It was a 
cholera isolation camp, and the men we saw were all dying 
of that dread disease. 

A little further on we met a band of some fifty soldiers 
coming over the hill. They were staggering along with the 
hoods of their grey overcoats turned up over their heads. 
Every now and then one of them would totter and fall by 
the roadside unheeded by his companions. They were sick 
men, who, after having rifles and equipment taken from them, 
had been ordered to march to the rear in search of a 
hospital. 

But these fearful scenes in the rear of the army paled 
into insignificance when compared with the horrors of 
Hademkeuy, the headquarters of the Turkish Army, where 
the remnants of the troops routed at Lule Burgas were 
finally rallied. As we mounted the last slope which hides 
the valley in which Hademkeuy lies, we were brought to a 
standstill by the awful babel of sounds that came from 
beneath us. We were gazing into the valley of the shadow 
of death. 

In the centre of Hademkeuy lay a great square formed 
on one side by some barracks, on two others by lines of 
white hospital tents, and on the fourth by the high road. 
This sq^uare resembled a successful fly-paper in midsummer. 



THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH 261 

It was covered with the corpses of the dead, and the writhing 
bodies of the hving in all attitudes. Some prone, some 
sitting, some kneehng, some constantly shifting, some with 
hands clasped as if in supplication. In some parts of the 
arena the dead were piled in heaps ; in others those still 
living were almost as closely packed. 

This shocking lake of misery was being constantly fed by 
rivulets of stretcher-bearers, bringing in fresh victims from 
the camps and forts, and by others who crawled in of their 
own accord, seeming to prefer to end their days in the 
company of their fellow-men, or else expecting to find 
succour or relief from their immediate torments. All the 
tracks leading to this impromptu morgue were clothed with 
the bodies of those who had died on the road. From time 
to time empty bullock-wagons would pass through, and the 
bodies of those in whom life was extinct would be dumped 
into them, carted out of the village, and thrown into great 
pits, where sleep thousands of unhappy Anatolian peasants. 

There is a station at Hademkeuy, and a train was in the 
station. It was black with the most wretched specimens of 
sick humanity seeking to escape from the dread spectre of 
cholera. The train was leaving for Constantinople, and all 
who could crawl were endeavouring to secure a place in it, 
hoping thus to reach a haven of refuge. Some were 
wounded, some were down with dysentery, others with 
enteric ; others were feeling the spirit spasms of the scourge 
itself; others were merely sick at heart, unable to stand 
any longer the constant strain of waiting for an unnatural 
death ; all were trying to escape. 

It is the men who went through the awful hardships and 
sufferings of the retreat after Lule Burgas, who lived for ten 
days on green corn and on scraps of offal picked up as they 
marched, who yield up the greatest number of victims on 
the altar of Asiatic cholera. 



262 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Such is the fear of infection that once a soldier is seized 
with cholera he is regarded by his comrades with whom he 
has lived, and by whose side he has fought, as a pest to be 
avoided as if he were the devil himself. Those who fall are 
left to die where they drop, and no pleadings or prayers will 
move the living to raise a helping hand, even if they are in 
a position to do so. We Europeans, who happened to be 
with the army, were obhged to play the role of the Pharisees 
who passed the sick man lying by the roadside without raising 
a finger to help him. There are many Turkish soldiers and 
many Europeans who possess the inclinations of the good 
Samaritan, but in war, when cholera claims its victims by 
the thousand, those who fall by the way must look for no 
human assistance. The most distressing feature of the 
disease is the rapidity with which it works. A man may be 
perfectly well in the morning ; a few hours later he may be 
writhing on the ground in agony, and a corpse by nightfall. 

In the village of St. George, where we were stopping, 
cholera had broken out. As soon as a man was seized with 
the disease, he was thrown over the back of a horse, carried 
beyond the outskirts of the town, and laid on the first patch 
of open ground, there to die, and when dead his body was 
covered with a thin layer of earth. These ghastly mounds 
litter the country. There is no escaping from them. Every 
village through which we passed has its victims ; every road, 
over which the troops move to the front, is marked by a trail 
of corpses or of men djdng by the roadside ; the very air 
seemed foul with the germs of disease, putrefaction, and 
decay. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE ATTACK ON CHATALDJA 

We had hoped to remain in concealment at Aya Yorgi 
until the fighting commenced at Chataldja, and then to ride 
forward the short remaining distance to the lines and watch 
the fighting, but all our plans were upset by the arrival of 
the German correspondents, who were shortly afterwards 
followed by a number of our English confreres. This 
number of Europeans concentrated in a small village 
aroused the curiosity of the commandant, and, unknown to 
us, he communicated with Constantinople, and received 
orders to send us all back to the town. 

All went well until Sunday, November 17th, up to which 
date we were left unmolested and allowed to ride about the 
country. At dawn on that day we were aroused by a 
continuous detonation which sounded Hke distant thunder, 
and it became plain that at length the suspense of the last 
few days was at an end and that the Bulgarian onslaught 
had commenced. We sent for our horses, and, taking some 
provisions, were about to ride out to Hademkeuy, when an 
officer came from the commandant of the village saying we 
were all to return to Constantinople immediately. This 
news came as a thunderbolt, and could not have arrived at 
a more inopportune moment, just when the attack on the 
lines of Chataldja had commenced. We asked for an 



264 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

explanation of this strange treatment, and the A.D.C., who 
seemed very sorry to turn us out, said that an order had 
been issued by Nazim Pasha on the previous afternoon for 
the expulsion of all foreigners from the front. 

But it is one thing for a Turk to give an order, and quite 
another for him to enforce it, and neither Donohoe, my 
brother, nor myself had the least intention of returning to 
Constantinople. We held a hasty council of war and decided 
to pack up all our baggage and stores, ostensibly to take the 
road to Constantinople, and then to turn off and take 
another route, which would lead us to the front. Packing 
the carts caused an hour's delay, for on this, as on every 
other occasion, there were endless difficulties to be over- 
come. But at length all was ready, and after bidding 
farewell to the Armenian priest in whose house we had 
lodged, we mounted our horses, and personally I was very 
pleased to shake the dust of Aya Yorgi from my feet. 

We rode out at the back of the village, pretending to take 
the route to Constantinople, but the commandant sent after 
us and said we must take the road to Buyuk Chekmedche, 
and we had no alternative but to obey his orders. We saw 
the other correspondents in the village also on the move, for 
all had received similar orders. We passed down the valley 
until we came to the railway hne, and then turned inland 
towards the lines of Chataldja. Hidden behind a hill we 
found a deserted farm, and decided to leave our servants and 
our baggage there and to ride on to the front. We left in- 
structions with our dragoman to have a meal ready for us on 
our return, but not to unpack the wagons in case we found 
it necessary to move elsewhere. Our party was now reduced 
to four : Donohoe, my brother, Bryant, whom I took as 
interpreter, and myself. We cantered over the country at 
a rapid pace, nerved on to fresh exertions by the sound of 
the cannon, which grew louder and louder every minute. 



A WANTON'S CHARM 265 

We had not gone far when we met M Bey, an 

educated Turkish officer who had been miUtary attache in 
several European capitals, and who spoke French and German 

fluently. M Bey was now attached to the headquarters 

staff, being actually employed in looking after the foreign 
military attaches. We had every reason to fear, therefore, 
that he would order us to the rear, as he must have been 
cognisant of the order prohibiting correspondents at the 
front. Instead, he received us most politely, and proceeded 
to explain carefully to us the situation of the Turkish Army, 
ending by saying: *'Do not forget to mention in your papers 
that M— Bey told you so." 

We then made some banal remark about the horrors of 
cholera, but he seemed indifferent, and proceeded to tell us, 
with every manifestation of naive delight, how he carried in 
his sword-knot a charm presented to him by an English lady. 
He even went so far as to undo his sword-knot and to 
produce a vulgar little enamel charm with " Dinna Forget " 
written upon it in gold — or brass. It had probably been 
given to him by some light o' love in one of the many cafds 
chantants in Constantinople, and we went on our way 
wondering what manner of nation it was that produced staff* 
officers capable of taking joy in such trifles, when all around 
them the Empire was crumbling to ruin amid scenes of 
unparalleled horror. 

We thought we were clear of all interference and would 
encounter no further difficulty, but here we made a mistake 
which landed us in endless trouble and considerable expense. 
We followed one of the high roads leading to the lines, 
when we should have cut right across country, avoiding all the 
roads. We had almost arrived at the point we had selected 
two days before from which to watch the attack, when, as we 
were crossing a superb old Roman bridge which spanned a 
deep gorge, we ran right into a patrol of six gendarmes, who 



266 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

immediately stopped us and said that they had received 
orders to send us back to Constantinople. They told us 
they formed part of a body of seventy gendarmes, especially 
told off by Nazim Pasha to watch all the roads and to stop 
any Europeans from approaching the front. 

The situation was maddening, as just beyond the ridge 
was taking place the battle that was to decide the fate of 
Constantinople. We thought of riding for it, but Bryant 
assured us that the gendarmes, who were all mounted, would 
follow us and shoot us down. He begged us to have 
patience, while he bargained a while with them. " Every 
man has his price in this country," exclaimed Bryant cheer- 
fully, " only as these fellows are Turks we must go slowly 
with them, captain. Mustn't hurt their feelings. Nice 
fellows, very nice fellows. You leave it to me, captain." So 
we left it to him, and, sitting on the parapet of the bridge, 
he began an animated and genial conversation with the 
sergeant in command. Bryant has a wonderful way with 
the Turks, among whom he is very popular. First of all he 
offered the lieutenant a cigarette, then a drink of whiskey, 
shortly after which they embraced, and their conversation 
became more and more animated. 

All this delay was extremely annoying to us, who were 
longing to put spurs to our horses, and to gallop up to the 
ridge whence we could see the battle. When we suggested 
to Bryant that he should hurry, and offered the gendarmes 
a sovereign each, he appeared greatly shocked and replied 
in his peculiarly disjointed style : " Can't hurry these 
fellows, captain. Wouldn't like it. Must go slowly, slowly. 
Very decent fellows, these gendarmes." 

The gendarmes are a fine body of men and up to the time 
of the Young Turks' revolution were under the command of 
European officers. Their uniform consists of a tight-fitting 
blue tunic, blue breeches, top boots, and a cloth turban. 



LOCAL BECKERS 267 

They carry a Mauser or Martini carbine, and two cartridge 
bandoliers slung across their tunics. They are well-mounted 
for the most part on hardy Circassian ponies, and also use 
the wooden Circassian saddle. They possess considerable 
authority, having the power to arrest any officer found 
drinking spirits, this being contrary to the Koran. This 
rule is never enforced, except as an excuse for arresting an 
officer for political motives, and we afterwards found they 
had a very pretty taste in whiskey themselves. Finally 
Bryant concluded his bargains, and we learned that the 
sergeant in charge of the party, who at first had been loth to 
disobey his instructions, had finally decided to sell his 
military virtue and to conduct us to the battlefield at the 
price of £l per head for himself and his men. 

We breasted the last slope, and there, before us, lay the 
battlefield, majestic and infernal. A delicate bluish haze lay 
over all the valley, which was filled vvdth one long continuous 
roar of gun-fire. On our left was the Lake of Buyuk 
Chekmedche, and beyond it the open sea. Two Turkish war- 
ships were bombarding the Bulgarian outposts on the black 
mountain ridge that bordered the far side of the lake and 
extended inland to Chataldja, forming a wall across the centre 
of the valley. Their shells had destroyed two arches of the 
Roman causeway which had spanned the head of the lake 
for nigh two thousand years. Now they were bursting high 
on the purple hills above the lake, in clouds of smoke and 
dust. They had set fire to two villages, and two black 
columns of smoke were rising straight in the air and spreading 
out like a vast funereal canopy over the valley, which looked 
like a seething inferno in which Titans were playing some 
fiendish game of death. 

But before I come to my description of the actual fighting, 
I wish to give a short sketch of the Chataldja lines, and of 
the position of both armies. They are erroneously called 



268 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the lines of Chataldja, because the village of that name is 
situated at the foot of a high hill some two miles in front of 
the most advanced Turkish works. They should really be 
called the lines of Hademkeuy, because this village hes in the 
centre of the position, half-way between the Sea of Marmora 
and the Black Sea. The lines run in a semicircle from 
Buyuk Chekmedche on the Sea of Marmora to Kara Burun 
on the Black Sea. 

The centre of the semicircle recedes to take advantage of 
the high ground, but a line of earthworks has been con- 
structed on a lower ridge, about a mile in advance, thus 
forming an additional strong protection to the position. 

The full extent of the hne from the Marmora to the 
Black Sea is from twenty-five to thirty miles, following 
the line of the works. But the whole of this distance does 
not have to be defended by the Turkish army, as the 
Lake of Buyuk Chekmedche forms a natural protection on 
the south of the position, and the Forest of Belgrade and 
Lake Derkos serve a similar purpose to the north. Thus 
the extremities of the line need only be held by a skeleton 
force, as it would be almost impossible for an invading 
army to break through. 

In front of the position extending from the north of 
Lake Buyuk Chekmedche to the Forest of Belgrade is a 
broad open valley that stretches right up to the base of 
the hills, at the foot of which lies Chataldja. The position 
is naturally strong, and could have been rendered almost 
impregnable, had the work been undertaken in time. 

The centre in front of Hademkeuy is, perhaps, the weakest 
point, although the ground offers but little cover to an 
attacking force, because here the hills recede, and should it 
once be forced, both wings of the position would be taken 
in flank, and the defenders cut off altogether unless they 
eifected their retreat in time. 



THE LINES OF CHATALDJA 269 

Behind the hnes lies the fertile valley of Samarkoff, down 
which the Russian army advanced in the war of 1878. On 
the other side of the valley is another line of hills, which 
would make a second almost impregnable position, were they 
fortified, but the Turks have erected no works or entrench- 
ments of any sort on them. 

Situated amongst these hills are many once prosperous 
villages, and in them the reserves of the army had been 
living during the past two weeks, but they were pushed to 
the front when the action commenced at dawn. 

The defences of the lines have been sadly neglected. The 
so-called works consist merely of infantry lunettes dug out 
of the earth, and only reinforced by concrete magazines and 
barracks in a few of the main works round Hademkeuy. 
The armament of these positions along the main line consists 
merely of some old Krupp guns, and throughout the engage- 
ment I never saw them employed. 

The position had not even been connected up by lines of 
entrenchments, but a good deal had been done to remedy 
this defect during the previous few days. Field artillery had 
also been placed in many of the existing works, and special 
gun emplacements, affording some protection against the 
enemy's fire, had also been dug. 

No good roads connecting the various positions have been 
made, allowing of the rapid transit of artillery and supplies, 
and, as far as 1 know, none of the positions were connected 
up by telephone or telegraph until after the retreat from 
Lule Burgas. Yet, in spite of its many defects and the 
infinite neglect from which the place has suffered in times 
of peace, 70,000 men, if armed with modern weapons, should 
be able to hold it indefinitely against any army of any size, 
provided that their moral had not suffered too much from 
repeated reverses, bad handling, and the ravages of a nerve- 
destroying disease. 



270 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

Almost every advantage rests with the defence, because 
the invading army has to advance over ground affording 
very little cover, and unless that army possesses siege 
artillery, which the Bulgarians did not, the field works and 
so-called forts can only be weakened before an infantry 
assault by shrapnel. It is true that a certain amount of 
cover is afforded by an army advancing through the forest 
of Belgrade, but in this section of the field the Bulgarians 
could not employ their artillery to the same advantage, and 
would have to meet the Turkish infantry on ground broken 
and affording splendid cover. 

They were hardly likely then to deliver their main attack 
on the extreme right of the Turkish line. 

Since the debacle of Lule Burgas, an effort had been 
made to reorganise the army of Thrace and to reform the 
scattered army corps. Abdullah had either voluntarily 
retired, or else had been relieved of his command, and 
Nazim, the Minister of War, was now the supreme chief 
in the field. 

Three of the army corps which took part in the battle of 
Lule Burgas now occupied the main line of the defence. 
The first, under Yavir Pasha, held the position from Buyuk 
Chekmedche to the Ahmed Pass. From the Ahmed Pass to 
Yasoren, the line was held by the 2nd Corps, and from this 
point to the Black Sea the defence of the line was entrusted 
to Mahmoud Mukhtar and the 3rd Corps, which up to the 
present had distinguished itself more than any other during 
the war, and was less demoralised than any of the others 
after the battle of Lule Burgas. 

The 4th Corps, under Abouk Pasha, was not in the front 
line, but was held as a general reserve to the 2nd Corps, to 
be pushed forward in case of need. Reserves had, in fact, 
been collected behind all three corps ; but the lack of moral 
amongst these men was painfully evident, and they, like the 



THE BOMBARDMENT 271 

troops on the main position, were suffering terribly from 
sickness. 

The battle which took place on Smiday, November 17th, 
was an artillery engagement on an immense scale, with but 
little infantry fighting. It was evident that the Bulgarians 
were preparing for an assault on the outlying works by 
a concentrated bombardment on the advanced positions. 
From seven in the morning to five o'clock in the afternoon 
the artillery fire was incessant, and was occasionally broken 
by the rattle of rifle fire and the buzzing of the machine 
guns as the enemy's infantry advanced across the valley 
leading from Chataldja to obtain a footuig under the 
advanced works, which, reading from the Marmora to the 
Black Sea, are called Hamidiyeh, Mahmudiyeh, Nakashkeuy 
Kurd Dere, and Gazi Bajir. 

During the last few days the Bulgarians had been 
occupied in placing their artillery in advantageous positions 
along the whole front of the Turkish lines. Their efforts 
to establish themselves on the high ground overlooking 
Buyuk Chekmedche were rendered futile by the concentra- 
ted fire of the Turkish warships, which are said to have 
completely destroyed one battery. Therefore, they were 
obliged to place their batteries in emplacements at the foot 
of the hills in front of the Turkish advanced works, in order 
to cover the advance of their infantry across the open ground 
which leads up to these positions. 

Throughout the morning the roar of the artillery was so 
severe that it sounded like thunder. When I arrived at the 
high ground at the top of Lake Buyuk Chekmedche I saw 
before me one of the most magnificent spectacles that war 
provides. I overlooked the whole field of battle, and could 
follow every movement of both armies. On my left lay the 
Lake of Buyuk Chekmedche, and out at sea two Turkish 
warships were concentrating a furious bombardment from 



272 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

all their guns on the Bulgarian positions on the hills on the 
farther side of the lake. 

Huge columns of smoke and flame arose wherever a big 
shell from one of the naval guns burst, and speedily every 
village and farm in this quarter was in flames. 

The Bulgarian artillery at the foot of the hills, protected 
from the fire of the warships, concentrated on the Turkish 
advanced works, which were completely enveloped in smoke 
from the bursting shrapnel. The guns were fired in salvoes 
to keep down the fire of the Turkish guns, which however 
maintained a desultory reply throughout the day. 

The Turks are very careless in the manner in which they 
place their men. The whole plain below me was covered 
with camps placed in close proximity to the advanced works, 
so that the Bulgarians could shell all the reserves, the tents, 
and the long line of pack animals taking food and 
ammunition to the front. They did not fail to take 
advantage of this, and at times neglected the works and 
concentrated their fire on the camps, but the range was too 
great and but little damage was inflicted. 

This was the game the Bulgarians played so successfully 
at the battle of Lule Burgas, namely, to demorahse the 
Turkish reserves by pounding them with shrapnel. As a 
consequence when they delivered their assault on the front 
lines, these reserves were in no condition to advance. 

The front of this great artillery duel extended from the 
northern shore of Lake Buyuk Chekmedche until it was lost 
in the distance as far as the eye could reach towards the 
Black Sea. There must have been from 500 to 600 guns in 
action, and the little white puffs of shrapnel burst so 
continuously, that at times it was almost impossible to tell 
which were the Bulgarian and which the Turkish shells, and 
the valley became so choked with smoke that a mist seemed 
to be rising from the ground. 



THE GENDARMES AGAIN 273 

Then the g\i ns would stop for a few minutes to allow the 
smoke to clear, so that the gunners could obtain a fresh 
view of their objective. At times the whole Turkish line 
was completely enveloped by bursting shells, and the 
infantry in the advanced works and entrenchments could 
not show their heads for a moment above cover ; but the 
casualties were extremely small. 

At two o'clock the bombardment became more furious 
than ever, and for some time the Bulgarian artillery left the 
camps alone, and concentrated every gun on the advanced 
works in a manner which seemed to be the prelude to an 
infantry assault. Heavy rifle fire broke out at several 
points, but during the afternoon the attack was not pressed 
home, and the Turks remained in possession of all their 
positions. 

The bombardment continued almost without cessation 
until darkness fell, and then gradually ceased. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon, it being quite evident 
that no decisive move would be made that day, and as the 
light was extremely bad for seeing, we decided to ride back 
to the small farm where we had left our baggage and to pass 
the night there. I hoped that, as soon as we took the road 
to Buyuk Chekmedche, our friends the gendarmes would 
leave us, but the sergeant declared his orders were personally 
to conduct us to Buyuk Chekmedche, and therefore he 
would ride with us the whole way. I do not believe these 
were his orders and his main reason, I am sure, for accom- 
panying us was the hope of obtaining further backsheesh. 

It took us two hours to ride back to the farm, and on the 
road I had a long consultation with Bryant as to our future 
plans. I was determined in no circumstances to leave the 
front until the result of the fighting at Chataldja was 
definitely known, and I told Bryant he must arrange with 
the gendarmes to pass the night with us at the farm and to 

T 



274 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

take us out to the front again on the following morning in 
return for a further payment. It was almost dark when we 
reached our camp and the sergeant was obliged to admit 
himself that it was too late to leave for Buyuk Chekmedche 
that evening. We therefore had the carts unpacked, our 
beds got ready, and made ourselves as comfortable as circum- 
stances would permit. 

The faithful Goupa had prepared an excellent dinner and 
we feasted our guardians and gave them whiskey to drink, 
until they became in an exceedingly amiable mood. Then 
Bryant reopened the negotiations and suggested that they 
should conduct us to the same spot at dawn, so that we might 
follow the operations. The poor sergeant was placed in a 
painful dilemma. He declared his instructions were most 
stringent and that if he disobeyed them, he might get into 
most serious trouble with the Headquarters Staff. On the 
other hand he was quite a sportsman, was anxious to see 
the fighting himself and was not at all averse to making a 
little money. I suggested to him that, if we were discovered 
by Headquarters on the lines, he should say we had passed 
through his patrol during the night and that he had no idea 
we were there. He said this scheme was not feasible, 
because we would be almost certain to be arrested by other 
gendarmes, as they were now everywhere, and, even if we 
went across country, it was extremely unlikely we could 
escape them. Finally he agreed to take us out at dawn, 
if we would promise him faithfully to return before night- 
fall to Kuyuk Chekmedche. Content with this arrangement 
we retired to rest. 

We spent the night in what were evidently Byzantine 
ruins, which the peasants had roofed in to serve as a dwelling 
place. The ragged walls were blackened with age and smoke, 
and in the notches Goupa had stuck tallow candles, so that 
it looked like a sepulchre. I think originally that it must 



FIGHTING IN THE MIST 275 

have been a tomb ; anyhow, it was well in keeping with the 
surrounding atmosphere of death and corruption. 

In the night I was awakened by warm breath upon my 
face, and by the light of the moon, which came streaming 
in through the open door, I could see the snarling fangs of 
a pariah dog, which had left feeding off the carcass of a dead 
horse in the tobacco plantations to enter our tomb in search 
of choicer prey, while outside, his companions were raising 
a melancholy chorus to the moon. 

Donohoe had been taken ill on the previous evening and 
could not leave, so he remained in the farm all day, and I 
told him I would tell him all that passed up at the 
front. Just as we were starting, another gendarme arrived 
from Buyuk Chekmedche, and told the sergeant he was to 
take us back immediately to that village, as the major in 
command there had heard we were at the farm, and had 
issued orders for our immediate arrest. But my brother 
and myself, on hearing this news, immediately rode off in 
the semi-darkness, and the sergeant, having quieted the 
new arrival by telling him we would come to Kuyuk 
Chekmedche that evening, followed after us. 

As we rode to the position from which we had viewed 
the fighting on the previous day, we did not hear any 
artillery fire and believed the attack of the Bulgarians had 
been suspended, but as we drew nearer the sound of guns 
reached us in a muffled roar. We had not heard it before 
owing to the strong wind which carried the sound away 
from us. When we reached the high ground overlooking 
the valley in front of the Turkish positions, it was very 
difficult to see anything or to make out the positions of the 
troops and batteries on either side, as they were almost com- 
pletely hidden by a drizzhng Scotch mist. It was a very 
weird sight, because you no longer saw the white puffs 
from the bursting shrapnel, but the red flashes of the ex- 

T 2 



276 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

plosions in the air, as they appear during night fight- 
ing. 

We met several soldiers and one or two gendarmes, who 
were making for the rear. They gave us the most alarmist 
accounts of the situation. They said that some of the 
underlying works had been captured by the Bulgarians 
during the night and that the latter were now preparing 
for a general assault against the centre of the position, and 
were actually shelling Hademkeuy itself. Shortly afterwards 
an officer came up and told me w^hat had happened. He 
said that at one o'clock that morning the Bulgarian infantry 
had delivered a desperate attack against some of the out- 
lying works and had taken them by assault after three 
quarters of an hour's fighting. 

When the mist cleared somewhat, it certainly looked as 
if this statement was true. The advanced works were 
apparently deserted by both sides, and the Bulgarians were 
concentrating their artillery fire on the Turkish camps and 
on Hademkeuy itself This was the disaster of which the 
retiring soldiers had spoken. But they were somewhat 
premature in leaving the field. If the Bulgarians had 
really captured the advanced works in front of Hademkeuy, 
the position of the Turkish Army would have been 
extremely precarious, because the enemy would be estab- 
lished in the arc made by the receding circle of the hills, 
formed by the main line of defence, and if they once pierced 
the centre of the position they could enfilade both wings by 
their artillery fire, and very possibly cut off the retreat of 
the troops holding them. But none of these things happened, 
and the day was devoted to a heavy artillery fire, which, 
being at too great a range, inflicted but very little damage on 
the Turks, whose total casualties during the attack on the 
lines only amounted to seven hundred kiUed and wounded. 
I have never yet been able to arrive at the truth about the 



HARMLESS SHRAPNEL 277 

capture of these advanced works and their occupation by the 
Bulgarians on the night of November 17th and early 
morning of the eighteenth. I heard so many contradictory 
reports, that it is almost impossible to say exactly what did 
happen. I was assured by many Turkish officers that the 
advanced positions were actually carried at the point of the 
bayonet, but were abandoned by the enemy after a very short 
time. Others assured me that the advanced positions were 
never taken, but remained in the hands of the Turks until 
the Bulgarians finally retired and ceased their attack. My 
own opinion is that some of the advanced works were either 
captured, or abandoned by the Turks, but the Bulgarians 
found them untenable, and, after holding them for a few 
hours during the night of the seventeenth, retired at dawn. 

Throughout Monday, November 18th, the Bulgarians con- 
tinued to shell, not only the Turkish works, but also all the 
camps in the vicinity. From where we stood there seemed 
to be a continuous rain of shrapnel bursting over the troops 
of the 1st Corps, and we saw large numbers of men 
apparently abandon their positions and retire for safety to 
the rear. But as a matter of fact, as I learnt subsequently, 
this shrapnel fire inflicted but very little damage. The 
Bulgarians, having been unable to find any suitable artillery 
positions close to the lines, had to fire at too great a 
range, at from five thousand to six thousand yards, and in 
consequence the shells burst far too high seriously to incon- 
venience the Turkish troops exposed in the open. 

It was a bitterly cold day, and, having watched the bom- 
bardment for several hours, at 2 p.m. my brother and 
I decided to return to the farm where we had left Donohoe 
and the baggage, as it was fairly evident from the absence 
of all movement that no decisive attack would be attempted 
that afternoon. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE TURN OF THE TIDE 

At four o'clock we were back again at the farm, where I 
am happy to say we found Donohoe somewhat recovered 
and with no immediate symptoms of developing cholera, 
which we all feared so much. I was considerably mystified 
by the day's operations. The Bulgarians had expended an 
enormous amount of ammunition in an utterly futile bom- 
bardment and had pressed home no decisive infantry attack. 
It was obvious they could not continue this expenditure of 
shrapnel indefinitely such a long way from their base, and I 
felt sure that, if they intended to make a decisive and 
sustained effort to take the lines, it would be on the 
following day. 

Try as we would, we could not induce the sergeant to 
allow us to remain at the farm another night. He insisted 
on our returning to Buyuk Chekmedche and, in spite of 
our protests, we had to pack up the wagon and take the 
road. I was determined to break away again on the 
following morning, to move right over to the right wing of 
the Turkish lines and to endeavour to get through from that 
side. At six o'clock we reached Buyuk Chekmedche and put 
up at the inn. Here we found one or two correspondents, 
who all had the same tale of woe to tell about having been 
arrested and turned back whenever they tried to reach the 



A CROSS-COUNTRY RIDE 279 

front. That evening I was very busy writing despatches 
which had to leave Constantinople for Constanza by the 
boat the following afternoon. 

At dawn on Tuesday we were astir and the carts were 
once more packed. Donohoe and my brother were to return 
to Constantinople, as the latter was now going back to 
England. They took the road in the motor-car we had hired, 
which had remained at Buyuk Chekmedche ever since our 
arrival there a week before. Goupa was to take charge of 
the wagon and the stores and to see them safely into the 
town. Bryant and I took the two freshest horses, abandoned 
everything except two days' supplies, and followed by two 
gendarmes who, I fancy, suspected some new move on our 
part, we ostensibly took the road for Constantinople also. 

But after having ridden for two miles and having shaken 
off the gendarmes, we turned inland, and, avoiding all villages 
and all roads where we would be likely to find gendarmes 
stationed, we made for the extreme right of the line. All 
that day we rode through hilly country, having at times to 
make long detours and more than once becoming lost. But 
Bryant, who knows the country well, and who has a natural 
instinct for finding his way about, always managed to get 
on the track again. Knowing Turkish methods, I was 
inclined to think that, once we had arrived on the right 
of the line, no one would interfere with us, as it was 
more than probable that Nazim's order to expel all foreigners 
from the front had only been issued in the neighbourhood 
of Hademkeuy. 

It was an extremely hot day, our horses were tired and 
our progress was not rapid, but we were comforted by the 
entire absence of any artillery fire. A few rounds were 
fired early in the morning, but it quickly died down again 
and everything remained still throughout the rest of the 
day. This showed that the Bulgarian attack had been 



280 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

suspended and at least we were missing nothing for the 
time being. About four o'clock in the afternoon, having 
covered some thirty-five miles, we entered the hilly and 
wooded country which extends all the way to Derkos and 
which forms part of the Forest of Belgrade. It was im- 
possible to pass through this and we were obliged to strike 
the Derkos road. We very soon came to a transport train, 
which was resting on the roadside, and also to a post of 
gendarmerie, but the latter took not the slightest notice of 
us. It was therefore evident that Nazim's order of expulsion 
was unknown to the officials on this side. 

As it was now growing dark, we decided to pass the night 
at the first village we came to, and this turned out to be 
Arnautkeuy, pleasantly situated just off the high road and 
inhabited by Greeks. There was a large field hospital 
established in the village, and the Colonel in command 
of the hospital, having discovered our presence, sent for 
us. I showed him my pass, and he received us most 
graciously and at once sent for the head man of the village 
to find us a house in which we could pass the night. This 
Colonel was one of the most intelligent and enlightened 
Turks I met during the campaign. He had only been at 
the front a few days, as he was in Paris studying bacterio- 
logy when the war broke out, and was recalled by telegraph 
to join the army in the field. He had made a special study 
of cholera and told me many interesting details about the 
disease. He was an out and out Young Turk and had been 
obliged to live abroad for many years during the reign of 
Abdul Hamid. 

The head man of the village found us a very comfortable 
house, which was kept by a Greek lady and her husband, who 
made us very comfortable for the night, and we were also 
able to procure some chickens and eggs. It was evident 
from the Colonel's attitude towards me that he knew 




^ k 



■^ 



i 



The Trenches at Chatai.dja. 




..j<* u '■'M^ 

\Photo '-Daily Mirror" 

Waiting kor the Bulgarians at Chataldja. 



ARNAUTKEUY 281 

absolutely nothing of Nazim's order in regard to all 
foreigners, and he was only too anxious to assist me in 
every way in his power. He warned me that it would be 
extremely dangerous to move off the high roads, as the 
Bulgarian peasants and sympathisers in the villages had 
commenced to snipe Turkish patrols and to kill off any 
fugitives who were trying to make their way to Constanti- 
nople. Bryant and I were amazed on our ride across 
country at the number of stragglers we found hidden in the 
villages and amongst the hills. These men all gave a most 
gruesome description of the state of the army. They said 
that men were starving and that it would be impossible for 
the army to hold the line, if the Bulgarians only attacked in 
force. I determined to lie low in Arnautkeuy until the 
fighting actually started again, so as not to attract attention, 
and to risk the chance of being arrested by meddlesome 
gendarmes. 

On Wednesday morning there was no firing at the front, 
so I remained in the village and gave the horses a good 
rest of which they were badly in need. About four o'clock 
in the afternoon we were surprised to hear a motor 
approaching, and, going out on the high road, I found 
my brother and Donohoe and a doctor from the British Red 
Cross in the Minerva car. They had left Constantinople 
that morning and could only get out of the town, all the 
entrances to which were stopped, by bearing the red cross 
on their arms. I told them that all was quiet at the front 
and they returned to Constantinople the same evening. 

On the following morning, Thursday, November 21st, all 
was quiet, but, as I was tired of being shut up in Arnautkeuy, 
I decided to make my way once more to the front, to 
examine carefully the positions of the opposing armies 
and to find if the fighting was really over, or if the 
Bulgarians meditated any further attack on the Chataldja 



282 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

lines. At eight o'clock Bryant and myself left the village 
to ride across country to endeavour to reach Yasoren, 
where we learnt we would find Mahmoud Mukhtar, the 
Commander of the 3rd Corps. As a matter of fact, he 
had been wounded whilst making a reckless reconnaissance 
on Tuesday morning and had been taken back by train 
to Constantinople, but I had not heard this news at the 
time. 

Just outside the village we were surprised to find the 
bodies of no fewer than 130 Turkish soldiers who had 
died of cholera in the houses of Arnautkeuy during the 
previous 48 hours. They were all thrown into one big 
pit dug by the Greek villagers and covered with a thin 
layer of earth. On our way to the front we passed through 
several villages containing troops but no one inquired 
our business and we got through the permanent camps 
of the troops holding the advanced line of works, without 
any difficulty. There was no sign of any enemy in the 
immediate vicinity and not a shot was fired throughout 
the morning. I saw at once that a great change had come 
over the spirit of the Turkish Army, now that the Bulgarian 
attack on the lines had been successfully repulsed. 

As I rode along the positions over the open plateau 
behind the forts it was difficult to believe that the army 
was not merely engaged in peace exercises. Bands were 
playing in the camps and the men one met on the road 
looked both cheerful and confident and had a very different 
demeanour from the sullen, depressed, careworn crowd who 
had survived the debacle of Lule Burgas. The infantry 
were being drilled in open order exercises, close order 
ormations, bayonet charges, and rifle practice. Numerous 
targets had been set up and squads of men were endeavour- 
ing to hit improvised bullseyes, but generally with very 
poor success. 



PEACE MANCEUVRES 283 

This spectacle of a large army, which had been fighting 
three days previously, being drilled and taught to shoot, 
with the enemy only a few miles away, is surely almost 
unique in the annals of war. I was amazed at all I saw. 
It was almost impossible to believe I was in the presence of 
the same army, which a fortnight before had been streaming 
back to Constantinople without officers, without discipline, 
the men starving and hopelessly demoralised. Certainly 
Nazim Pasha and his fellow workers deserve every credit 
for the remarkable transformation they worked in a short 
time. 

This recovery shows clearly of what the Turkish Army is 
capable, if only it is properly handled and given anjrthing 
like a chance. I have already mentioned the vast improve- 
ment in the moral of the Army, which followed the arrival 
of the picked battalions from Erzeroum, Trebizond, and 
Smyrna. These men had not suffered defeat or privation. 
They were being fairly well fed and kept clear of cholera as 
far as possible, and in consequence, having successfully 
resisted the Bulgarian attack and having suffered but very 
few casualties, they were spoiling for another brush with 
the enemy. Of the original army which was defeated at 
Lule Burgas, most of the weaklings were now under the 
soil and the old and useless reservists had been sent back to 
their homes. Thus there was now concentrated along the 
lines of Chataldja a powerful army, the organisation of 
which was improving every day. Trains were regularly 
bringing up food and medical stores from Constantinople, 
and already a reserve supply of five days' provisions had 
been collected at the front. 

It was calculated that the Turks had at this time one 
hundred thousand men concentrated along this strong de- 
fensive position, and that reinforcements were arriving at the 
rate of two thousand a day. I also noticed a very great 



284 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

improvement in the hospitals. The whole of the cholera 
patients had been cleared out of Hademkeuy and were now 
isolated in special camps, where the victims could obtain 
some attention. The cholera itself was showing pronounced 
signs of diminishing, which was partly due to the more 
sanitary arrangements now in vogue, but chiefly to the cold 
spell, which had lasted for three days. Nevertheless it was 
far from being at an end, and every day hundreds of fresh 
victims were borne away from the camps to the field hospitals 
or taken back by train to San Stefano, where the main cholera 
camp had been established. When the cholera was at its 
height, it claimed no fewer than three thousand victims per 
day, and it was calculated that, in all, the army of Thrace 
lost more than 20,000 men from this disease alone, in 
addition to large numbers from dysentery and enteric. 

I was told by a medical officer that when the epidemic was 
at its worst, only 8 per cent, of those attacked ever recovered, 
but afterwards, when the victims received proper attention, 
a very much larger number were saved. But even now the 
medical authorities were greatly alarmed and feared an even 
worse outbreak in the future. The season was abnormal 
and the rains long overdue. If the wet spell came before 
the cold weather set in, they feared the cholera would spread 
with terrible rapidity. On the other hand, three days of 
snow and frost would wipe it out altogether, and these 
happily, arrived, so that as far as I know, cholera has 
now disappeared altogether from the Turkish camps. 

I now learnt from my own observation that the Bulgarians 
had definitely retired from the immediate vicinity of the 
lines, and I was told they had abandoned and burnt 
the railway station at Chataldja. This retirement took 
the Turkish Army completely by surprise, as for three days 
past they had been expecting a decisive assault on the centre 
of the position between Hademkeuy and Yasoren. To meet 



"INSH ALLAH" 285 

this attack they had brought up all their reserves, but even 
then were not confident of being able to hold the position, 
and arrangements were made for a general retirement, should 
the necessity arise. That they contemplated a defeat, is 
shown by the fact that another defensive position was being 
prepared in the immediate vicinity of Constantinople, where 
the Ottoman armies, animated by the sight of Stamboul 
with its many mosques and minarets in their rear, were to 
make one desperate stand in defence of Islam. Now 
without any apparent reason, before his attack had even 
been pressed home, the enemy had abandoned aU his 
positions, withdrawn his artillery and had retired, occupying 
the high ground facing the right wing of the Turkish Hne, and 
was reported to be strongly entrenching himself. 

What was the reason for this sudden abandonment of the 
offensive by the Bulgarians ? No one has ever answered the 
question satisfactorily, and the Turks, who were absolutely 
amazed, could only reply " Inshallah " (God knows !). The 
conduct of the campaign after the battle of Lule Burgas 
cannot be said to reflect any great credit on Bulgarian 
generalship, and until we learn the official explanation of the 
indefinite attack on the lines of Chataldja and the sudden 
withdrawal, the Bulgarians must be blamed for having made 
a very false move. It seems fairly obvious that in their 
wildest dreams the Bulgarian General Staff never expected 
to gain such a decisive victory as Lule Burgas, and had never 
calculated on finding themselves within fifteen miles of Con- 
stantinople less than four weeks from the declaration of war. 
They probably calculated that the occupation of the capital 
would at once bring them into political conflict with Europe, 
and that in no circumstances would they be permitted by 
the Great Powers to remain in permanent possession of the 
city. Therefore they had made no arrangements for a 
rapid advance after Lule Burgas, as in all probability, after 



286 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

defeating the Turkish Army of Thrace, their original plan 
was to take up a strong defence position in the neighbour- 
hood of Lule Burgas and there cover the operations of the 
First Army which was besieging Adrianople. They 
never anticipated, and neither did anyone else for that 
matter, the complete break-up of the Turkish army and 
its retreat without order or discipline as far as the lines of 
Chataldja. 

The Bulgarians doubtless expected to see the Army of 
Thrace rally at Chorion and there make a stand, or even 
take the offensive again after reinforcements had reached it 
from Constantinople. They did not realise that there was 
no accumulation of food supplies nearer than Constantinople 
itself, and that a defeat anywhere in Thrace must cause the 
retirement of the Turkish Army to the vicinity of the capital 
itself. The Bulgarians, in fact, under-estimated their own 
successes, and when they discovered their error they could 
not take immediate advantage of the new situation, which 
offered them every chance of finishing the campaign with 
a thunderbolt, of capturing the whole of the Turkish Army, 
and also of taking the capital. Had they realised the 
decisive nature of their victory, or rather had they antici- 
pated such a victory at the commencement of the war, they 
would surely have made every effort to pursue the routed 
army and to pass the lines of Chataldja, before it could be 
rallied or reinforced. They would surely have kept all their 
cavalry in hand and also have borrowed cavalry from their 
allies. They would surely have kept a couple of divisions 
of infantry in reserve and formed them into a flying column 
accompanied by a minimum of light transport, and have 
launched them against the mass of fugitives, thus keeping up 
the pursuit at all costs. But not a regiment of cavalry was in 
hand to follow on the heels of the Turks, as they swept 
in complete disorder across the plain between Lule Burgas 



THE CAUSES OF THE DELAY 287 

and Chorlou, and there was not a brigade of infantry in 
reserve to take thfe place of the non-existent cavalry. 

I suppose the Bulgarian offensive had completely spent 
its force when the Turks left the battlefield on the morning 
of Thursday, October 31st. Their army had been moving 
steadily forward ever since the declaration of war on 
October 16th. In that short space of two weeks it had 
captured Kirk Kilisse, defeated the 1st Army Corps on 
October 24th and 25th, and had then, after two days' respite, 
entered on the three days' struggle with the whole of 
Abdullah's army. Evidently every available man had been 
drawn into the struggle, and on Thursday morning, when 
the Turks retreated in disorder, the Bulgarian infantry were 
completely exhausted. They must also have been short of 
ammunition after the tremendous expenditure throughout 
three whole days, and I know for certain that the men, 
although not actually starving like the Turks, were on very 
short rations. 

In these circumstances Popoff could not follow up his 
victory. He had to reorganise his army, to collect his 
immense number of wounded, to reorganise his supply 
trains and to bring up fresh ammunition for his artillery. 
The Turks were therefore given eighteen days in which to 
reach Chataldja and to bring up reinforcements from Con- 
stantinople. Therefore the Bulgarian General Staff cannot 
be blamed for its failure to pursue the Army of Thrace after 
Lule Burgas. 

On the other hand, it cannot escape criticism for its sub- 
sequent conduct of the campaign. Probably the Bulgarians 
learnt through the European Press for the first time of the 
complete state of disorganisation and demoralisation which 
prevailed amongst the fugitives who fled from Lule Burgas. 
For weeks the English, German and French papers were 
full of descriptions of the scenes on the retreat. Many 



288 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

writers who were not on the spot, and who seem to have 
had but small idea of the distance to be traversed, or the 
immense difficulties to be overcome, or of the natural 
strength of the lines of Chataldja, assumed that it was only 
a question of two or three days before the Bulgarians would 
pass the lines and occupy Constantinople itself. 

Within a week Europe had become, so to speak, perfectly 
acclimatised to the idea of having Czar Ferdinand's legions 
march in triumph through the streets of Byzantium, and 
already many anticipatory descriptions appeared in the Press 
of the dramatic scene, when, after an occupation of six 
hundred years, the Turk was to be finally driven from Europe 
and the Cross substituted for the Crescent on the dome of 
St. Sofia. It was certainly a dramatic moment, and the 
possibilities of the situation were enough to flatter the pride 
of any nation and any army. Who in their wildest dreams 
a month before expected to see the army of little Bulgaria 
doing what Russia has so often tried and failed? No 
wonder, then, the Bulgarian General Staff acted against its 
better judgment and allowed sentiment to triumph over 
sound strategy. They were drawn into a false move, which, 
although it has not up to the present altered the result of 
the campaign, has nevertheless rendered the peace negotia- 
tions extremely difficult to bring to a conclusion, because it 
restored the lost moral of the Turkish Army in a manner 
which nothing else could possibly have done. 

King Ferdinand and his advisers seem to have argued thus. 
Here is a unique opportunity, which may never occur again 
and which is too good to be lost. There is nothing but a 
crowd of disorganised fugitives between us and Constanti- 
nople, according to the reports of the European Press. The 
Great Powers do not seem to care in the least if we occupy 
the capital, so why should we not enjoy the fruits of a 
truimph almost unique in the annals of war ? Let us march 



I 



THE LACK OF DECISION 289 

on Chataldja and see if we can take the lines and occupy the 
capital, temporarily at least. But then some misgivings 
seem to have entered into their minds. We have lost large 
numbers of men ; the army is exhausted by its exertions ; 
Chataldja is a very long way from our base, and we shall 
have extreme difficulty in feeding the army and in keeping 
the artillery supplied with ammunition ; also the country is 
very difficult and offers every advantage to the defence, and 
it may be the Turks are not so demoralised as some of the 
critics seem to think. Above all, it would be fatal for us to 
meet with a decisive check, which would undo all the good 
results obtained from our victory at Lule Burgas. There- 
fore it behoves us to act with extreme caution and to run no 
risks. We have Adrianople on our hands and, until the 
fortress is taken, it will be impossible for the First Army to 
go to the assistance of the Second. 

In these circumstances there were only two sound 
courses open which would have commended themselves 
to the great masters of war ; either to abandon the project 
altogether, to take up a strong covering position and 
concentrate every available man and gun on Adrianople ; or 
else to risk everything to obtain the great prize of the 
campaign, and to advance on the lines of Chataldja with 
every available man and every available gun. Neither 
course was adopted and a weak compromise was decided on 
instead; namely, to advance on Chataldja and to feel the 
strength of the lines by a cross between a reconnaissance in 
force and a half-hearted attack. 

Such a plan contains the germ of failure, if not of actual 
disaster, from its conception. PopofF was ordered to try to 
shell the Turks out of the lines and to see if he could carry 
the positions without difficulty, but in no circumstances to 
risk a heavy loss in an assault which might fail. It is no 
use the Bulgarians now making out that the attack on 



290 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

November 17th and 18th was merely intended as a recon- 
naissance in force to sound the strength of the lines 
and to test the state of demoralisation of the Turkish 
army. Such a plea will not bear examination. Every 
available gun was brought into action and a tremen- 
dous amount of ammunition, which could not easily 
be replaced, was expended without any effective results, 
and the advanced works were actually assaulted and some 
of them carried. 

The official excuse of the Bulgarian Government to 
justify the retirement, namely, on account of the cholera 
at Hademkeuy, was very lame, because it was well known 
that the Bulgarians were already suffering themselves 
severely from this dread disease. This was ascertained 
without a shade of doubt from prisoners who were captured 
in front of the Chataldja lines. All these men described 
the state of the Bulgarian Army as being deplorable ; the 
men as dying in hundreds from dysentery, cholera, and 
enteric, and the whole army almost on the verge of star- 
vation. These Bulgarian prisoners could only point to 
their mouths and murmur in their own tongue " Food, food," 
when brought into the Turkish lines. 

Therefore the Bulgarian attack can only be regarded as 
a misplaced forlorn hope, which cam^ too late after Lule 
Burgas to meet with any chance of success ; and in the 
circumstances, carried out as it was in a half-hearted 
manner, it should never have been attempted. It led, and 
could lead, to no definite result ; it involved a very serious 
expenditure of ammunition and considerable loss of life, 
and it naturally discouraged the worn-out, overworked, and 
underfed Bulgarian soldiers. But, as has been said, the most 
serious result of the failure was the effect it had in restoring 
the moral of the Turkish army. The effect of the retire- 
ment was almost magical. The Turks at once passed from 



TURKISH SELF DECEPTION 291 

an almost excessive gloom to an almost excessive optimism, 
and, to hear the officers and soldiers talk, one would have 
thought they had just w^on a decisive and glorious victory, 
which fully atoned for their failure throughout the entire 
theatre of war. 



tT2 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE WAR AGAINST THE CORRESPONDENTS 

On this particular day, Thursday, November 21st, Bryant 
and I had ridden close to the rear of the forts of Chataldja 
and watched the army being drilled and trained to shoot, 
without anyone attempting to molest us, but we were not 
destined to escape without a strange adventure, which might 
have had the most serious results, but which, fortunately 
for ourselves, terminated in nothing worse than a fright. 

About midday we sat down on a small hill and prepared to 
eat our frugal meal, which we carried in our haversacks. 
We had just dismounted and were eating when a bullet, 
which, to judge from the sound of the report, must have 
been fired at very close range, struck the ground with a thud 
quite close to us. We were both surprised by it, but I 
calmed Bryant's fears by teUing him it must have been from 
a rifle let off by mistake, as this was a very frequent 
occurrence in the Turkish Army. I had hardly uttered these 
words, when another bullet struck the earth even closer and 
threw Bryant into a worse state of panic. I then suggested 
to him the possibility of our having taken up a position in 
rear of one of the numerous targets which had been set up 
for the men to practise, but on investigation we could see no 
sign of any target and no sign of any soldiers. We resumed 
our lunch, but five minutes later three bullets fired in rapid 



SHOT AT BY SENTRIES 293 

succession all struck the little hill very close to us, far too close 
to be pleasant, in fact. I then suggested to Bryant that we 
should move elsewhere, an offer he was more than willing to 
accept. 

We mounted our horses and were just riding away, 
when another bullet whistled by our heads and caused us to 
put spurs to our steeds. About a quarter of a mile to our 
right we saw two Turkish soldiers minding a flock of sheep 
and goats, which were grazing on the long grass behind the 
forts. We rode towards them and as we came up one of 
them was in the act of inserting a clip of cartridges in the 
magazine of his rifle and the other one was handling his 
weapon in a manner which did not serve to ease our troubled 
minds. I told Bryant to relate to them our unpleasant 
experience and to ask if they could throw any light on the 
matter. One of the soldiers then replied, " Oh yes, we saw 
the men who fired at you. It was not a mistake, they did it 
on purpose." " But why ? " Bryant asked ; *' we have done 
them no harm and are friends of the Turks and have been 
with the Turkish Army ever since the commencement of the 
campaign." " Oh, have you not heard ? " the soldier replied 
in the calmest manner, "A line of pickets has been 
established, by order of the General Staff*, from Derkos on the 
Black Sea to Buyuk Chekmedche on the Sea of Marmora, 
with orders to shoot at any foreigners who attempt to cross 
the line formed by the pickets, unless accompanied by an 
officer or by a gendarme." This was pleasant news indeed, 
and Bryant said to me, " I think we had better return to 
Arnautkeuy at once." 

Our friend the soldier then said, " We form part of that 
line of pickets, and have orders to shoot at you as well." 
Bryant asked them whether they intended to do so, and 
could only obtain a very evasive reply. 

Meanwhile I took out my cigarette case and gave each of 



294 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

them a cigarette, which they accepted and which was a good 
sign that they would not put their orders into immediate 
execution. Bryant then said to me, " I think we had better 
come to terms with them." I was entirely of his opinion 
and gave him carte hlanche to arrange what he liked. A 
long and animated discussion then took place in Turkish, of 
which I did not understand a single word, but it finally 
ended in Bryant asking me for one silver Medjie (about four 
shillings). I was surprised at the smallness of the sum, but 
the soldiers were more than contented, and from their looks 
seemed to think we were a recklessly extravagant couple to 
have purchased our safety at such a price. 

We were about to leave our two corrupt friends, when 
the spokesman of the party further alarmed us by remarking, 
" If you go down that valley which you rode up, those men 
who fired at you just now will be waiting on the hill and 
will shoot at you again." This was not encouraging. The 
soldier then said, " I will conduct you to the camps in the 
valley behind the lines and when you have passed the 
danger zone I will leave you." We accepted his suggestion 
with alacrity and were soon under way. However, even 
now I was feeling far from comfortable and thought the 
soldier might be leading us off quietly, so as to claim the 
honour of having shot us for himself. 1 told Bryant of my 
fears, but he replied, " He has accepted your bread and 
salt and will not go back on you." 

Now from the first the soldier behaved in the most sus- 
picious manner. As we marched along, he loaded his rifle and 
would keep behind us. This was too much for my nerves, and 
I told Bryant to call him up and to engage him in friendly 
and sustained conversation on the weather or on any subject 
which entered his head. This carried us to the foot of the 
valley, but then our escort suddenly left us and climbed the 
bank, and insisted on walking parallel with us in a very 



THE CIRCASSIAN GENERAL 295 

commanding position from which he would be in an ideal 
situation to shoot. I was now thoroughly certain he medi- 
tated some treacherous attack, and got my Mauser pistol 
half out of its case, quite determined, if he shot at me, to 
shoot back at him and then to run away as fast as my horse 
could go. However, I was doing this man an injustice. He 
kept strictly to the terms of his contract, and had merely 
climbed up the side of the hill in order that the other pickets 
might see he was escorting us. When we reached the per- 
manent camps behind the lines, he showed no disposition to 
leave us, and said he must take us in person to his general, 
who would doubtless decide what steps to take. There was no 
help for it, so we accepted the situation with the best possible 
grace. At the same time he begged us to say nothing about 
the bribe. 

We found the general, a Circassian officer whose name I 
never discovered, outside a small house where he had his 
quarters. He did not receive us in a particularly friendly 
manner, and gruffly asked for my pass. This I was able to 
produce, together with Abdullah's letter, and his attitude 
changed at once. We then related to him what had passed, 
but he merely replied, " Yes, it is quite true, a line of pickets 
has been established with orders to shoot all foreigners at 
sight." This is the pleasant little way the Turks have of 
doing business. They give you no previous warning, 
but shoot you first and then explain their reasons after- 
wards. 

This incident did not augur well for war correspondents in 
the future, and I began sincerely to wish that the rumours 
of an armistice, which had filled the air ever since the retire- 
ment of the Bulgarians, would materialise. The Circassian 
general was a very good fellow, and, when he heard I was 
returning to Constantinople, gave me a pass authorising me 
to come back to his headquarters, and promised to give 



296 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

me an officer who would personally show me round the lines. 
Then we said good-bye and started on our return to 
Arnautkeuy. 

Bryant's nerves had now quite given way and, whenever 
we met a soldier, he was convinced he meant to shoot 
at us. He stopped behind at every village and declared 
the water was better there than elsewhere, but later on 
I noticed his courage had revived and he was willing to 
ride to any part of the lines at any hour of the day or 
night. I then found he had been indulging freely in 
the native "rakki," a foul brandy which is on sale in all 
the villages throughout Thrace. 

After what had happened I determined to return to 
Constantinople and to seek out the Censor, Major Vasfi, 
and to find out from him definitely what the position of 
correspondents really was, and if I would be allowed up 
to the front again in the event of the war being continued. 
I was now thoroughly weary of being continually arrested 
and hampered, and the affair of the afternoon had come as 
the final blow. On reaching Arnautkeuy, I was fortunate 
enough to find my brother, who had motored out for news, 
and, leaving Bryant instructions to follow with the horses 
and kit on the following day, I was soon being bumped 
over vile roads towards the Pera Palace Hotel. 

On my return to Constantinople I found the air full of 
rumours of the armistice. It was reported that at any hour 
Nazim and Savoff would meet and discuss the conditions for 
a temporary cessation of hostilities, and would then proceed 
to a discussion of the conditions of peace themselves. I 
found most of my friends under orders to return home. 
My brother sailed on the Saturday after my return, and 
both Lionel James and Donohoe, exhausted by their 
tremendous exertions and disgusted by their treatment at 
the hands of the authorities, were packing up and only 



MAJOR VASFI 297 

waiting the definite news of the signing of the armistice 
before taking the first steamer home. 

I found all the correspondents back in Constantinople. 
All had the same sad story to tell of having been arrested 
by gendarmes and placed on the road to Stamboul. This 
news and the departure of my friends made me doubly 
anxious to leave also and I telegraphed for permission, 
but received orders to "wait just a little longer." I soon 
grew weary of Constantinople and decided that, if I was 
obliged to remain in the country, I would prefer to be 
out in the open air with the army rather than pass my 
time in the enervating stuffy air of Pera with its foul smells 
and equally offensive rumours. I sought out the Press 
Censor, Major Vasfi, whom by the way I had never yet 
seen, but of whom I had heard many funny stories from my 
brother and from others who had been brought in contact 
with him. Therefore one morning, accompanied by the 
faithful Ismet, who was also anxious to return to the front, 
I waited upon him at his house. 

Major Vasfi is a strange type, a Turk who has been 
educated in the school of Prussian discipline and who has 
taken everything German as his model. He is not a soldier, 
but a civilian who was formerly a member of the Turkish 
Parhament. On the outbreak of war he was given the 
honorary rank of Major, and was appointed as Press Censor 
and general factotum to all the correspondents. A more 
unfitting choice could surely not have been made. He 
possessed truly Prussian ideas of discipline, but on the other 
hand he was totally incapable of carrying his resolutions 
into effect and was also incapable of making up his mind. 

When he was up at Chorion with the correspondents and 
the guns of Lule Burgas were heard for the first time his 
one object was to lead everyone away from the battlefield 
instead of towards it. In reply to all protests he would say, 



298 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

" But you cannot go there, they are fighting ; we must ride 
towards Constantinople." Of course after this the Anglo- 
Saxon element would have nothing more to do with him, 
and dispersed on their own account. On the other hand, 
the German correspondents, educated in the same school of 
Prussian thought and of Prussian discipline as himself, 
would never leave his side, and the Frenchmen, although 
they heaped abuse on his devoted head, also remained with 
him at the front and during the retreat. Thus poor Vasfi, 
after Lule Burgas, arrived back in Constantinople, surrounded 
by a crowd of disgruntled Germans and Frenchmen and 
other stray nationalities, but without one single Englishman. 
In consequence he was peculiarly bitter against all English- 
men and especially against Donohoe, who, I fancy, had told 
him exactly what he thought of him on more than one 
occasion. 

However, as he had never set eyes on me since the begin- 
ning of the campaign, Vasfi had nothing personal against 
me, and received both Ismet and myself in a most friendly 
manner in his house. We talked on general matters for 
some minutes, and then 1 broached the delicate subject of 
the censorship and of the future position of correspondents 
with the army. Then at once Vasfi's attitude changed. 
His face became pale with anger, he got up from his chair 
and walked about the room, heaping a torrent of abuse on 
all the English war correspondents, but on Donohoe in 
particular, and kept on saying, " Ah, if I could only meet 
him in the field. He has insulted me and disobeyed my 
orders, and all the English are the same. I took them up to 
the front, I kept them all together, and then, when we heard 
the guns, they all went away and I have not been able to 
collect them since. And what have you been doing? I 
have been looking everywhere for you and I have not seen 
you since the war started." Ismet and myself could hardly 



A STORMY INTERVIEW 299 

restrain our laughter at the sight of this funny httle fat man 
strutting up and down the room hvid with indignation that 
anyone should have attempted to disobey him. 

However, when he had calmed down, I pointed out that 
the authorities had not kept their word with the corres- 
pondents and had given them none of the promised facilities 
for the dispatch of news from the front. He was obliged to 
admit the truth of this, and confessed that the initial cause 
of all the trouble was the failure of the authorities to provide 
a French or English censor. 

But it was not so much the censorship which riled him, 
as the feeling that he himself had been personally slighted 
and ignored, and in a very few minutes he had worked 
himself into a passion. He went on, *' This evening I 
am going up to Hademkeuy to see Nazim. I am going 
to ask him for instructions. I shall advise him to keep 
all the war correspondents locked up in Constantinople and 
•refuse them any further permission to come to the front. 
But if he says they are to be allowed up, then I shall 
urge him to make the most stringent regulations and only to 
allow those of them up who are friendly to Turkey." Then 
in his rage he gave the whole secret away by saying, " We 
find we do not obtain enough advantage out of the European 
Press. The majority of the papers work against us, there- 
fore why should we give them facilities for seeing the war ? 
We admit we broke faith with you in the first place by not 
having the promised facilities for the dispatch of messages 
from the front, and therefore I don't blame any corre- 
spondents who left of their own accord to send off news, 
because they were quite unable to carry on their legitimate 
work. But, if the war lasts, we are going to make fresh 
arrangements. In future we will only allow the corre- 
spondents of those papers with the army, who will work in 
the interests of Turkey. The correspondents of all those 



300 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

papers which have been opposed to Turkey in the past or 
during the present war will be kept in Constantinople or 
else expelled from the Empire, and those who are officially 
allowed to accompany the army, will have to sign a document 
undertaking to remain until the war is over, and only news 
favourable to us, either political or military, will be allowed 
through." 

I pointed out to the irate Vasfi how absurd such a 
system was, and how no paper of any repute would consent 
to keep representatives up at the front under such conditions. 
I also asked him whether we would have to send defeats as 
victories, to which he replied, " You will have to send 
exactly what the Headquarters think fit." 

Thus it will be seen that the Turks were contemplating 
the organisation of a spoon-fed Press campaign in their own 
favour quite irrespective of the truth. Major Vasfi went 
so far as to declare that we had no right to report the battle 
of Lule Burgas as a defeat and that in future even a crushing 
disaster of this character would be suppressed. I left the 
gallant Major, feeling that from my point of view it would be 
much more satisfactory if the war came to an immediate 
conclusion. 

On Monday, November 25th, I left Constantinople for the 
front for the last time. I had made up my mind to ride out 
to Arnautkeuy to pick up my horses and Bryant, and then on 
the following day to make no effort at further concealment 
but to ride boldly into Hademkeuy and see Nazim or his 
Chief of Staff and find out definitely what arrangements 
would be made for correspondents in the future. I expected 
to find Major Vasfi and Ismet out there, as they both told 
me they were leaving on the night of my interview to consult 
with the Headquarters Staff. With great difficulty I hired 
a motor to carry me as far as Hademkeuy. I had not 
employed either the chauffeur or the car before, but just 



ESCAPING FROM CONSTANTINOPLE 301 

before starting I was warned by one of my German friends 
that the chauffeur was a scoundrel, who was in the habit of 
demanding money in advance, then taking his passengers 
half-way to their destination, and then saying the road was 
too bad to go any further and obliging them to return to 
Constantinople. I took a young Englishman named Morton 
with me, who belongs to Constantinople and who speaks 
the language perfectly. I was not much impressed by 
the look of the chauffeur or of his friend whom he 
brought with him as an assistant. 

By this time all the gates leading from Stamboul were 
closed and no correspondents could get out by them, as 
they were immediately stopped by the posts of gendarmes. 
We had, therefore, to motor out by way of the Sweet 
Waters, which route the Turks, with their usual short- 
sightedness, had omitted to guard, as they were under 
the impression no motor could negotiate the almost im- 
possible roads. However, some enterprising Germans had 
found a way through and explained the road I must 
take. At one point we had a fearful climb up an almost 
precipitous mountain side, but the car was a powerful one, 
and we reached the top and were soon on the main Derkos 
road. We thought our troubles were at an end, when 
suddenly an officer and four soldiers rushed into the middle 
of the road, holding up their hands to make us stop. We 
slowed down the car a trifle and as we came up to them 
Morton shouted out in Turkish, " Red Crescent," while at 
the same time I produced a badge with a large Crescent in 
red embroidered on it. The officer smiled, stepped back, 
and we were allowed to proceed. 

Unfortunately we had started from Constantinople some- 
what late and had taken longer on the road than we antici- 
pated, and the light was failing before we reached 
Arnautkeuy, but there was still ample time to arrive before 



302 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

it was too dark for the chauffeur to find his way over the 
very broken track on which we now entered. But now 
the warning of my German friend came true. The chauffeur 
started to create all sorts of difficulties and declared he could 
proceed no further and must return before night set in to 
Constantinople. I ordered him to go on, and, backing up 
my words with suggestive threats from my hunting crop, 
induced him to proceed a short distance further, when he 
deliberately drove the car into the worst part of the track. 
He then got out and said he must examine the road in 
advance before going any further. 1 told him my car had 
often been over it before and said I would show him the 
way, but he insisted on examining it for himself. In fact 
his one object was to dawdle about until he knew it would 
be too late to continue, and then to force me to return with 
him to Constantinople. He went on some distance, wasted 
a precious half hour and then returned saying it was quite 
impossible to proceed. 

I realised from the first he intended some move of this 
sort and I had meanwhile dispatched Morton a mile back 
to a point where we had left some mule-wagons on their 
way to Constantinople. I told him to hire one of these 
at any price and to return with it to the motor. When 
Morton came back with the cart, it was almost dark and 
too dangerous either to reach Arnautkeuy or to return to 
Constantinople in the car. I had all my baggage taken 
out and placed in the mule-wagon, and also every scrap 
of food and drink, and then, without another word to either 
the chauffeur or his companion, we mounted the cart our- 
selves and were soon on the road to Arnautkeuy. I have 
never seen two villains more completely sold. They had not 
received a penny. They could not return to Constantinople, 
and were left stranded in a rut in a lonely district without 
food, without drink, and without any shelter for the night. 



AN ORGIE 303 

which was bitterly cold. They thus passed a miserable 
night and returned to Constantinople on the following 
morning, having learnt a lesson they will not forget for 
many a long day. 

We had a three hours' ride over execrable roads before 
arriving at Arnautkeuy at nine that night. We went straight 
to the house I had occupied before, expecting to find supper 
awaiting us and my servants waiting to receive me. But, 
alas I this was not to be. I hammered some time on the 
door without obtaining any response, and it was fully five 
minutes before the old Greek lady crept downstairs and 
gazed gingerly at us through the keyhole, wondering who 
the intruders could be who disturbed her at this hour. We 
were then admitted and I asked where I would find Bryant 
and the dragoman. " They are upstairs, asleep," she replied 
in a strangely suspicious manner. No sooner had I entered 
the house than I was conscious of a strong smell of whiskey, 
cognac, and absinthe, which hung over the upper storey 
like the miasma from a bog. I entered the room which I 
had formerly occupied and there found Bryant asleep and 
snoring profoundly on my bed, and the other dragoman 
in a comatose position on the divan. Scattered in hopeless 
confusion about the room were the remains of a meal, 
empty bottles, and tumblers. I saw at once 1 was not 
expected that evening, and that my intrusion would be 
most unwelcome. However, I kicked both sleepers until 
they awoke, and their surprise at seeing me turn up at 
this hour was immense. They staggered to their feet, but 
experienced considerable difficulty in maintaining an upright 
position, and then it took them some time to collect their 
scattered thoughts. Then each in turn started abusing 
the other, and making mutual accusations of insobriety. 
I told them to cease endeavouring to saddle the other with 
his exact share of guilt, but to clear out of the room, open 



304 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

all the windows, remove the debris, and prepare supper. 
Very shamefacedly they went about their task and at length 
we obtained some supper. This is a typical example of 
what one has to put up with in Turkey. If your back 
is turned for a single instant, your servants at once take 
advantage of the fact. 

On the following morning I started for my last ride to the 
lines of Chataldja, accompanied by Bryant, and, leaving 
Morton in charge of the house and my belongings, promising 
to return that same evening. On the road I took the 
opportunity to admonish Bryant severely on his conduct. 
He promised not to offend again, but it was easy for us to 
see that his days of utility were numbered. His nerve had 
gone. He could not bear to approach a Turkish soldier, and 
expected every minute to be shot. He implored me not to 
attempt to pass through the lines again without first obtain- 
ing an officer or gendarme as an escort. I saw it was useless 
to attempt to go anywhere further with him, and agreed to 
pay a visit to the Circassian general at Tursunkeuy, who had 
promised to give us an officer to take us round the lines. 

This officer once more received us in a most friendly 
way, but I could see that his manner was somewhat 
restrained. Then he told us he had received orders from 
headquarters not to allow any Europeans to pass through 
the lines, and that he must send them all back to Constanti- 
nople. I told him I wished to go to Hademkeuy to see 
Nazim myself, and asked him to allow me to do this. To 
this arrangement he consented. 

Meanwhile a heavy rainstorm had come on, and we were 
delayed for a considerable time in the house. Here I had a 
long talk with the owner, a very enlightened Young Turk, 
who spoke French perfectly. He told me he had been exiled 
during the reign of Abdul Hamid, but had returned when 
the Young Turks came into power, expecting to see a 



A TRAGEDY OF WAR 305 

transformation worked in his country. But he found the 
Young Turks very Httle better than the old regime. He 
was extremely bitter against them for some of the political 
appointments they had made of men without abihty and 
without experience, who had done much harm to the country. 
I rather gathered he was angry at not having received some 
appointment himself. But whatever his reason, he had had 
enough of political life, and had decided to retire and devote 
himself for the remainder of his days to farming and wine- 
growing and tobacco-raising. He had bought a large tract 
of land behind the lines of Chataldja, had bought vines at 
great expense, and had built himself the house in which we 
were now sitting. 

He went on : " The first two years I did not do so very 
well, as numbers of my vines died from the blight, but last 
year I was more than compensated. Now look at this." 
He took me to the window, and I gazed on his land. The 
vines had been trampled down by the passage of armed 
men ; his garden had been denuded of everything, and was 
now the site of a camp, and the young trees which he had 
planted had either been cut down or were now resounding to 
the blows of the soldiers' axes. Nevertheless, like a good 
patriot, he had placed, without any hope of compensation, 
everything he possessed at the disposal of the authorities, and 
had given up his best rooms to the General and his Staff. 
He laughed at the idea of the Bulgarians being able to force 
the lines, and said, " We are far too strong ; there are now 
really three positions all fortified one behind the other. But 
it is impossible for the army to move from here. It has no 
organisation ; the roads are non-existent, and they have no 
means of feeding the men, if they lead them out against 
the Bulgarians." It was easy to see the truth of his 
words. 

The rain had now ceased, the soldier who was to act as our 



306 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

escort was ready, and, after bidding farewell to the General, 
we took the road to Hademkeuy. The town looked very 
different now from what it had ten days before. All the 
cholera patients had been removed from the immediate 
vicinity to a large camp of white bell tents some two miles 
away. The dreadful square, which I had last seen covered 
with victims, was now packed with wagons and material of 
war. Trains were daily bringing up food suppUes from 
Constantinople, which were stored in large depots near the 
station. The whole town was surrounded by the camps of 
the army, and thousands of soldiers were hurrying hither and 
thither, each playing his small but necessary role in this great 
drama of war. We rode through these camps to the 
railway station, and inquired where we would find the 
Minister of War. We were told he was living in a special 
train some two kilometres down the line towards Chataldja. 
We rode there and were molested by no one. 

We first came upon the train assigned to the Mihtary 
Attaches, who had now returned to the front from Con- 
stantinople. I met a Turkish officer, Moukbill Bey, who 
was attached to them, and who had formerly been Turkish 
Military Attache in Paris. He invited me inside his carriage 
and explained some of the details of the fighting at 
Chataldja. Before being allowed to enter, I was sprinkled 
all over with a variety of disinfectants. In fact the whole 
town of Hademkeuy and all the camps in the neighbour- 
hood sent up a strong aroma of disinfectants, as the 
authorities were making desperate efforts to stamp out the 
disease. I sent someone to Nazim's train to try to find 
Major Vasfi or Ismet Bey, but he returned with the news 
that neither could be found. As it was growing dark 
I decided to ride back to Arnautkeuy. Bryant and I had 
ridden some little distance and were passing through one 
of the camps, when we were completely surrounded by 



ORDERED BACK 807 

soldiers and officers, and politely informed that a train was 
waiting for us in the station. Bryant asked them what they 
meant, but we could obtain no further information. 

On our arrival at the station we were taken before the 
Commandant, who informed us we must leave immediately 
for Constantinople. I asked him at whose orders. He 
replied : '* Nazim Pasha has just heard you are here, and has 
ordered you to be sent down to Constantinople on the first 
train." I pointed out to the Commandant that we could 
ride back, as we had our horses and had left all our 
belongings at Arnautkeuy. But our protests made no 
difference. We were told we must enter the train and leave 
at once. I then asked what was to become of our horses 
and the Commandant replied : " You can leave them here." 
But on this point I was adamant. I refused absolutely to 
leave my horses, unless I obtained a receipt in full, and an 
acknowledgment of the exact sums I had paid for them. 
This the Commandant declined to give, and matters were at 
a deadlock, when the station master, an Austrian, suggested 
that he might add an empty truck to the train, in which the 
horses might travel. This was done. 

Then they tried to make us enter a third class carriage 
with a crowd of sick — cholera patients (for all I knew) — 
and wounded. This 1 absolutely refused to do, and said 
that nothing would induce me to enter the train, unless 
they gave me a first-class, thoroughly disinfected carriage 
to myself. This led to a further row, but in the end I 
gained my point, and Bryant and myself were allotted a 
very comfortable compartment. As a final straw, the con- 
ductor of the train came and said we had no tickets, and 
could not travel without them. I pointed out to him that 
we were being sent back against our wishes, as the guests 
of the Turkish Government, and therefore it was surely 
their duty to pay for us. But all my arguments were in 

x2 



308 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

vain. The officials said the company had no connection 
with the mihtary authorities, and had to collect all moneys 
from civilians for itself. 

In the end I had to pay up, and buy two first-class tickets 
and two horse tickets. It took us nearly five hours to cover 
the odd twenty miles between Hademkeuy and Constanti- 
nople. As we passed through the country, which was now 
so familiar to us, I will confess I was not altogether sorry I 
had been arrested and was seated in a comfortable train, 
which every hour was bringing me nearer to a comfortable 
hotel, rather than be riding in the cold, chased by gendarmes, 
and shot at by sentries. 

Thus ends my last excursion to the Turkish lines. 

All that now remains to be told is the signing of the 
armistice, which has for six weeks put an end to the bloody 
and disastrous struggle with three of the Alhes, Bulgaria, 
Servia, and Montenegro. On Sunday, November 24th, 
Edib Bey, a Staff Officer, was ordered to advance with a 
flag of truce and arrange for a meeting between Nazim 
Pasha and the Bulgarian Commander-in-Chief, or with the 
delegates appointed by him. Edib was led blindfolded to 
the town of Chataldja and there saw the general in com- 
mand, and a meeting was arranged for the following day, 
Monday, November 25th. 

The Turkish Headquarters Staff forgot to inform all the 
forts that a Staff Officer was leaving with a flag of truce, 
and when Edib was met some way outside the lines by 
a Bulgarian patrol, the latter were vigorously shelled 
with shrapnel, much to their amazement, since they had 
naturally imagined they would be safe under the 
white flag. The situation was becoming very awkward, 
when the mistake was discovered and the forts ceased 
fire. 

At eleven a.m., Nazim Pasha, accompanied by two Staff 



THE NEGOTIATIONS 309 

Officers, motored out as far as a damaged bridge over the 
river, where horses were awaiting him, and then rode into 
Chataldja, where he was received with full military honours. 
The meeting between him and General SavofF and the 
Bulgarian delegates was extremely cordial. Nothing was 
said about the war, and, after the customary formal cour- 
tesies, General Savoff said : 

" Have you full powers to negotiate peace ? " 

Nazim Pasha replied : "I am awaiting full instructions 
from my Government." 

General Savoff then said : " What day will you be ready 
to hold the first meeting ? " 

Nazim Pasha replied : " On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 
or Saturday ; any day will suit me." 

The Bulgarians then said they were most anxious to 
commence the negotiations at once, and Wednesday was 
finally agreed upon. 

The next point was to settle a suitable location for the 
conference. General SavofF suggested Silivri, a small town 
on the Sea of Marmora, but Nazim Pasha replied : " It is 
too far off, and would be inconvenient. I suggest that 
Chataldja would be the most suitable." 

To this the Bulgarian delegates agreed, and the first 
meeting terminated. 

Between Hademkeuy and Chataldja the railway line is 
intact, except for some slight damage to the bridge spanning 
the river. This was repaired on Tuesday by the Turkish 
engineers, so that on Wednesday morning, at eleven a.m., 
Nazim Pasha, accompanied by Reshid Pasha and Zia Pasha, 
Minister of the Erkaf or mosque properties, and by Ebro 
Effendi, the lawyer to the Sublime Porte, was able to travel 
in a saloon train to Chataldja, where they were joined by 
General SavofF, M. DanefF, and M. TchaprachikofF, King 
Ferdinand's private secretary. The negotiations subsequently 



310 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

took place inside the railway-car, for probably the first time 
in history. 

All the delegates were from the first on the best terms 
with one another. On Wednesday, Nazim Pasha, as host, 
offered the Bulgarians tea. On Thursday a modest soldier's 
luncheon of three courses was ordered from Tokatlian's 
restaurant and taken out to Chataldja, and this was followed 
on Friday by a magnificent repast of more generous 
proportions. 

The negotiations dragged on for nearly two weeks before 
the armistice was finally signed. During the whole of this 
period Constantinople remained in a continual state of 
unrest, hopes and fears alternating every hour of the day. 
But at length, on the evening of Wednesday, December 4th, 
the elusive armistice was signed just at a moment when 
Constantinople had begun to abandon all hopes of peace. 
Indeed, on December 4th the capital passed a very bad day, 
owing to the complete absence of any official news either 
confirming or denying the rumours of a rupture of the 
negotiations. 

Up to a very late hour on that night it was fully believed 
in official and diplomatic circles that the delegates had failed 
to come to an agreement, and that hostilities would recom- 
mence the next morning. Those of the correspondents who 
had sold their horses and kit in the anticipation of a peaceful 
issue, were in despair, and spent the afternoon obtaining 
options on fresh animals and tents. 

Pessimism reached its zenith after dinner, because we 
had been told that, if the armistice was signed at all, 
the hour would be two o'clock, in which case the news 
should have been known by five or six. Those of us 
who sat up later than usual, hoping against hope for a 
cessation of the bloodshed and a release from our labours, 
were rewarded at 11.30 p.m. by the issue of a semi-official 



WBSW' 




1 


^ 






i 





SUBLIME INDIFFERENCE 311 

statement from the Ageiice Ottomane, that the armistice 
had been signed by Servia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, but 
not by Greece. 

We retired to rest with our minds reheved, but, on 
awakening next morning, our hopes again sank to zero, 
because none of the early editions of the papers were pre- 
pared to stake their reputations for habitual inaccuracy, by 
declaring the report issued on the previous evening to be 
true. 

In the course of a short half-hour four persons, who were 
supposed to be in the know, assured me that no agreement 
had been signed, and that the negotiations had been 
definitely and finally broken off, as the AUies refused to 
sign without the acquiescence of the Greeks. I sent 
various messengers abroad to sound high officials and to 
visit the Sublime Porte, which was in its usual state of 
sublime ignorance as to what had occurred, was occurring, 
or would occur. 

I then sent to some of the Embassies, fully believing 
that the dove of peace would first visit those interested 
arks with the glad tidings, but I found all of them hope- 
lessly in the dark, devoid of any official news, and eagerly 
searching the rubbish heap of rumours for a scrap of fact. 
I then went myself to the War Office as a last resource, 
and saw the officer who sometimes distributes news. He 
had just arrived, and when I put the momentous question to 
him, he replied : 

" I saw in the papers that the armistice had been signed, 
but I do not know if it is true, as I have not yet been 
upstairs to the official bureau of information." 

We then talked for half an hour on the sins of the war 
correspondents and the omissions of the officials, and agreed 
that honours were about evenly divided, and that both sides 
were to blame, and, having arranged a modus vweiidi for the 



312 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

future, my friend went upstairs to seek the desired infor- 
mation. He returned in a few minutes with a telegram, 
which he said had been sent by Nazim Pasha on the previous 
evening to the acting Minister of War. He kindly trans- 
lated the contents, which were as follows : 

" Armistice signed this evening by Bulgaria, Servia, and 
Montenegro, and by our delegates. Greece alone refused to 
sign. 

" The armistice will last until the end of the peace 
negotiations. Adrianople and Scutari to remain as they are 
at present, but are to receive one day's rations for the soldiers 
and civil population each day of the armistice. 

"The line of demarcation between the armies at Chataldja 
is to be settled to-day. 

" State of war with Greece to continue. 

" Peace negotiations to be held at Chataldja." 

Such were the contents of Nazim's telegram. 

Right up to the very end the Turks continued to issue 
false statements. They circulated reports in Constantinople, 
which were believed by the populace, that all the beleaguered 
fortresses, such as Adrianople and Scutari, were to be 
revictualled day by day during the armistice. Therefore it 
came as a great shock of surprise to Constantinople to learn, 
some four weeks later, that Adrianople was receiving no 
supplies and might fall from starvation even whilst the 
Conference was sitting in London. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE FUTURE OF THE TURKS 

Peace has not yet been signed between Turkey and the 
Balkan League, but even if the war should be continued in 
the future, it is certain that Turkey cannot possibly regain 
the immense stretch of territory she has lost. The question 
of the future possession of Adrianople still blocks the way to 
a peaceful issue of the negotiations. Up to the present, the 
Turks still refuse to cede the fortress to Bulgaria, and Reshid 
Pasha, the chief of the Delegates, has made the remarkable 
declaration that even the fall of the fortress through starva- 
tion or other causes will make no difference in the attitude 
of the Turks, who will demand the restoration of it from 
the hands of the Great Powers. 

Of course this is mere word play, and, once Adrianople has 
fallen into the hands of the Alhes, Turkey need look for no 
aid from Europe to restore it to her possession once again. 
Therefore the position is this. Either Turkey must yield 
Adrianople by treaty ; or else she must be prepared to see it 
captured. If the war is renewed, it is obvious Adrianople 
must eventually succumb. It cannot hold out indefinitely, 
and already there is every reason to believe the civil popula- 
tion are suffering terribly from want of food, and from lack 
of fuel with which to keep themselves warm. To pass a 
winter in the Balkans without a fire is an experience which 

313 



314 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

few would care to undergo. Why then do the Turks refuse 
to accept the inevitable and to surrender the fortress, in 
which case the garrison would doubtless be allowed to march 
out with all the honours of war, whereas if the fortress is 
forced to surrender, or is taken by assault, they will naturally 
become prisoners ? 

The only logical view to take of their stubborn refusal 
to accept the inevitable seems to be that a lingering hope 
survives in the minds of the military leaders, that the army, 
which has now been concentrating at Chataldja for nearly 
three months, may yet be able to bring about the 
rehef of the beleaguered garrison. But, if the Turks 
really believed in the possibility of such a move, they 
would surely have broken off the negotiations long 
ago, and have marched against the Bulgarian covering 
army, because every day they delay helps to deplete the 
food supplies of the garrison, and to render the chances of 
success still more remote. 

In reality nothing short of a miracle can enable Adrianople 
to be relieved by the army under Nazim Pasha. I do not 
know what the actual strength of that army is at the present 
time, but, with the reinforcements which have reached it 
from Asia, it cannot be far short of two hundred thousand 
men, and it may greatly exceed this number. On paper 
it forms a formidable host, which should be able to render 
a very good account of itself if properly led and handled. 
Without a doubt it is a very formidable army, but only 
so long as it remains behind the famous lines. There it is 
placed in an extremely strong position, and by this time 
the troops must be entrenched up to their necks, and would 
fight, if attacked, under conditions in which the Turks have 
almost invariably given a very good account of themselves. 
So long as they remain at Chataldja, they have very little 
to fear from the superiority of the Bulgarian artillery fire, 



THE STRATEGICAL POSITION 315 

which, after their experiences at Kirk Kihsse and Lule 
Burgas, they dread more than any other arm. 

Personally, I am of opinion that as long as they remain 
entrenched at Chataldja, they have absolutely nothing to 
fear from the Bulgarians, and I do not believe the latter 
would dare take the offensive against the Turks, as not only 
would every advantage rest with the defence, but the attack- 
ing army would also be inferior in numbers, although 
superior in artillery. 

The superiority in numbers, which the Turks enjoy in 
front of Chataldja, will only last just so long as Adrianople 
holds out. According to the statements attributed to the 
Bulgarian generals, the latter have one hundred thousand men 
in front of the lines, consisting of the Second Army, which 
fought at Lule Burgas, while the First Army, of equal 
strength, is in front of Adrianople. In addition they have 
some thirty thousand young soldiers in reserve, and they 
can also call for aid from the Servians, as the latter have 
little on their hands. The Bulgarians also claim to have 
raised some twenty thousand men from Macedonia, but 
these cannot be very efficient. Thus, shortly after the fall 
of Adrianople, when the prisoners have been disposed of, 
the Bulgarians will have a field army at their disposal more 
than two hundred thousand strong of seasoned veterans, 
well trained, well organised, and well led. 

Is there anything in Turkish military history in the past, 
or are there any data to be drawn from the present war, to 
lead us to believe the Turks are capable of meeting such an 
army in the field ? Miracles of organisation cannot be 
w^orked in a few months, although large numbers of men 
may be concentrated at a given spot. Without organisation 
and skilful handling, the confusion only becomes the worse 
with every increase in numbers. But then, it may be asked, 
if the Turks are superior probably by one half, or even 



316 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

double, the strength of the Bulgarian army actually in front 
of Chataldja, why should they not march out and defeat 
that army before the First Army besieging Adrianople can 
come to its assistance ? 

Doubtless on paper such a scheme might seem feasible, but 
if put into practice it would be almost certain to fail. If the 
Turks take the offensive, all the advantages which they now 
hold are at once transferred to the Bulgarians, who, in turn, 
will find themselves entrenched in hill ground offering every 
advantage to the defence, especially to an army which is 
vastly superior in artillery. Both armies, if they endeavour 
to take the offensive, have the same difficulties to overcome, 
and both have the same advantages, if they remain on the 
defensive. They are facing one another in a narrow 
peninsula, very mountainous, which offers no room for the 
deployment of a large army in attack. Both would have to 
advance over a narrow front, which renders it impossible for 
a general to bring anything like an army of one hundred 
thousand men into action at the same time. Thus, any 
superiority in numbers which the Turks may possess would 
be entirely neutralised, because they would have to advance 
up a narrow funnel, so to speak, only to meet their enemy 
entrenched and waiting for them at the other end. 

The Bulgarians very quickly found, during their abortive 
attempt on the lines on November 17th and 18th, how 
impossible it was to find suitable artillery positions, from 
which to support the attacks of their infantry, imd it was 
doubtless this which caused their sudden abandonment of 
the attack. If the Turks take the offensive, they will find 
exactly the same difficulties, and will be overwhelmed by 
artillery fire. 

Hitherto I have only spoken of the difficulties which the 
country presents for the manceuvring of large armies. But 
if the Turks were even successful and forced the Second 



LACK OF TRANSPORT 817 

Army to retire nearer Adrianople, they would be no nearer 
the achievement of their objective, namely, the relief of 
Adrianople. In the first place, they must leave a very large 
force to hold the hnes in case of a disaster such as Lule 
Burgas, which would cause the Field Army to retire 
precipitously. This would, of course, lessen the numbers 
which Nazim could take with him on an offensive movement 
towards the north. But, in reality, leaving a large garrison at 
Chataldja is somewhat beside the point, because it would be 
utterly impossible for any general to feed his whole army if 
he took all his men with him, and I do not believe he could 
possibly feed an army of even fifty thousand men at any 
distance from his base. The Turks could not feed the army 
of Thrace under Abdullah Pasha, or even keep it supplied 
with ammunition, when they were in control of the line of 
the railway, and when the season was far more favourable for 
the passage of wheeled transport, than it is now. But, if they 
decide to advance, they will no longer have the railway at 
their disposal, because the Bulgarians are certain to destroy 
it if the latter see any chance of suffering a reverse and being 
forced to retire. Therefore, it is obvious that for some 
weeks, even months, the Commander-in-Chief would have 
to rely on wheeled transport, with which to keep his army 
supplied. But, as 1 have already pointed out many times in 
this book, roads in Thrace are almost non-existent. In the 
summer they are mere tracks covered with ruts, which are 
turned into pools of mud and slime after any rain ; but in 
winter, when they are covered with snow and frozen up, 
with the inequalities and holes partly hidden, they are 
infinitely more dangerous and difficult. 

The Turks have no mule carts, and all their supplies and 
ammunition would have to be drawn in bullock-wagons. 
Now the pace of bullock transport under summer conditions 
is only, in favourable circumstances, one and a half miles 



318 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

per hour, and in winter it would be even less than this. In 
the summer the bullocks were able to obtain sustenance, 
and this also applies to the horses of the cavalry and 
artillery, from the rich pastures of the grass lands of Thrace, 
and, therefore, the problem of feeding them presented but 
few difficulties. But in the winter, with the country frozen 
up or covered with snow, food will have to be carried, not 
only for the army, but for the immense pack of bullocks 
and horses, and this alone, apart from every other consider- 
ation, will prove an impossible task. 

Apart from the difficulties of transport and supply, all 
the old strategical and tactical faults will at once reappear, 
if the army leaves the friendly shelter of the lines. It 
is quite impossible, if we are to draw a precedent from 
any other army, for Nazim to have created a thoroughly 
efficient General Staff capable of handling one hundred 
thousand men in the field, since the battle of I^ule Burgas. 
A trained Staff can only be created after years of patient 
work, and it can only learn to handle an army after repeated 
practice under peace conditions. But it is fully in accord- 
ance with the Turkish character, as revealed by their actions 
in the present war, for them to believe that, because they 
are able to control the army scattered along the lines of 
Chataldja, they would be able to handle it with equal 
efficiency in the field. 

At Chataldja the various positions are now connected 
up by telephone ; the troops never shift their stations, 
and all the subordinate commanders are within touch of 
the Commander-in-Chief. But, once the army leaves the 
lines, there will be no field telegraph or field telephone, 
the Commanders of the various Army Corps will be out 
of touch with Headquarters, except by the obsolete system 
of orderUes and A.D.C.'s bearing written despatches, and 
we shall see once again the spectacle of three or four Army 



THE QUESTION OF ADRIANOPLE 319 

Corps manoeuvring as independent units without order or 
cohesion. When Abdullah's army was advancing towards 
the line, Adrianople-Kirk Kilisse, the troops could find 
some supplies, and the animals forage, from the villages 
which are freely scattered over its fertile plains, but now 
even this advantage will be gone, for the country is deserted 
and has been swept absolutely bare by the tide of war 
and the retreat of one army and the advance of another. 

1 think I have said enough to show how impossible it is 
for the Turks to relieve Adrianople and how that fortress is 
inevitably doomed. 

Why, then, in the circumstances, does the Turkish 
Government refuse to surrender Adrianople ? Is the cause 
sentiment, or simply the intense stupidity which refuses to 
acknowledge the facts of the situation ? I do not think 
sentiment accounts for much amongst the Turks in this age, 
and I know there are a great many Turks who, even before 
I left Constantinople, realised that Adrianople was lost to 
them for ever. The Turkish Government is holding out, 
because they stand in wholesome dread of the army at 
Chataldja. Soldiers do not think like statesmen. The 
ignorant private cannot look far enough ahead to grasp the 
fact that his country may lose more in the end by refusing 
to give up a beleaguered fortress. Probably more than two- 
thirds of the Turkish Army, which is now occupying the lines, 
have never fired a shot during the war. They do not know 
what defeat and starvation mean, and, with a pride natural 
in any army, they do not relish the idea of returning to their 
homes to announce that all the European provinces of 
the Empire have been lost to the faith, and then to have to 
admit that they themselves never fired a shot. 

The private soldier, and even many of the officers in 
subordinate positions, cannot see things in the same light as 
the Commander-in-Chief. So long as they are fed and 



320 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

clothed, and have a rifle and ammunition, they do not under- 
stand why they are not led against the enemy. They do 
not realise the difficulties of the Commander-in-Chief, who 
must keep each one of them supplied with food, clothing, 
and ammunition. Thus all the arguments which appeal so 
strongly to the commander of an army, and to the Govern- 
ment which he serves, are entirely lost on the rank and file. 
Therefore the Turkish Government is faced with a problem 
which must command the sympathy of every impartial critic. 
How can they surrender Adrianople and at the same time 
keep the army quiet ? The Turkish Army is within only 
fifteen miles of the capital. When it is demobilised, every 
man must be sent to his home from Stamboul, and, if the 
army feels that the honour of the country has been sacrificed, 
it is just as hkely as not to revenge itself on the Govern- 
ment, to cause a fresh revolution, and to run amuck in the 
streets of Constantinople. The only solution, so far as the 
Turkish Government is concerned, would seem to be for 
Adrianople to fall from starvation, and for the Government 
to say to the army, " This is not our act, but the will of 
Allah." 

Although Turkey has lost all her European possessions, 
and has suffered even more in loss of prestige in the present 
war, there are a good many of the more far-seeing Turks 
who are inclined to look upon the loss of territory as a 
blessing in disguise. From the military and strategical 
standpoint she has surely gained in strength. No patriotic 
man hkes to see whole provinces, which were conquered by 
his ancestors and governed by their successors for six 
centuries, suddenly lopped off, more especially when the 
unpleasant surgical operation is performed by races his 
country has formerly ruled. But, now that the first 
bitterness of defeat has worn off, the more far-seeing Turks 
are seriously asking themselves, " What have we lost and 



MACEDONIA 321 

what have we gained ? " " After all," they say, " we never 
looked upon European Turkey as forming part of sacred 
territories of Islam ; we have always regarded them as 
captured provinces, in which the Christian populations have 
outnumbered the Moslem, and in consequence we have 
always governed them as such. They were captured for the 
faith by the warriors of Othman six hundred years ago, and 
now Allah wills that they shall pass once again into the 
hands of the infidel. Well, so be it; it is fate, and no 
action of ours can alter the inexorable decrees of fate." 

Thus, when the war is brought to a conclusion, there will 
be none of that lasting rancour in the minds of the Turks, 
such as the French feel against the Germans for the loss of 
Alsace and Lorraine, and none of that unchanging deter- 
mination to regain that which has been lost. 

From the economic standpoint Turkey is well rid of the 
care of Macedonia. A precarious revenue of some five 
millions is drawn or forced from the unfortunate Christian 
population, but the country takes seven millions to ad- 
minister, and the odd two millions have to be provided out of 
the already sorely-pressed Exchequer. In fact, Turkey has 
never gained either in wealth or in strength from ruling over 
Macedonia, Albania, and Thrace. 

Now let us examine for a moment the strategical situation 
in which she is left, if the Allies' terms of peace are even- 
tually accepted or forced upon her. Turkey has drawn no 
recruits for her army in the past either from Macedonia 
or Albania, and extremely few from the Mahommedan 
population of Thrace. Therefore, as almost all Thrace is 
to be left in her possession, her army will lose no valuable 
recruiting ground which wiU seriously deplete its numbers. 
On the other hand, the Turks have always been obliged to 
maintain large armies in Macedonia and in Albania to put 
down periodical insurrections, and to preserve peace amongst 

Y 



322 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

the various nationalities and religions which make up that 
unhappy land. 

Having to keep a great part of its forces always ready for 
war and dispersed throughout Macedonia and Albania, has 
ever been a source of weakness to the Empire. It has 
also been a great drain on its resources, and was largely 
responsible for the disasters of the present war. In future 
the whole of the army, which the Turks have been obliged to 
keep in Europe, will be available for the defence of Con- 
stantinople and Gallipoli, or else it can be employed in the 
Caucasus, the Armenian frontier, and in the Yemen. It wiU, 
in fact, be available for the services of the Empire proper, 
and will not be frittered away in Europe in useless attempts 
to quell insurrections among the bands in Albania and 
Macedonia. 

One of the reasons which the Turks give for refusing to 
surrender Adrianople, is that it will leave them no frontier 
for the defence of Constantinople, and will also expose the 
province of Thrace to continual invasion. This plea will 
not bear examination. Adrianople is not the line of defence 
for Constantinople. If the Turks remained in possession 
of it, it could always be turned, isolated, and besieged exactly 
as has been its fate in the war. It would be a constant 
source of weakness to the Turks, because it would encourage 
them to keep a large army in Thrace, so as to go to the 
assistance of the fortress in case of need, and they would 
have to fight for the defence of Constantinople in a false 
position. 

There is only one true line of defence for the capital, 
and that is the lines of Chataldja. That position, if 
permanent works were erected on it, could be rendered 
absolutely impregnable, and it could not be forced, assisted 
as the army would always be by the fleet, except by the 
slow process of a regular siege. 



THE FUTURE OF CONSTANTINOPLE 323 

The Turks have left to them the one natural position 
essential to their remaining on the European shore of the 
Bosphorus, and it is their own fault if they do not insure 
the safety of the capital for all time by rendering that 
position impregnable. They will have left to them Thrace, 
up to the line of the Maritza, but excluding Adrianople. 
They can train their army there, if they wish to, and 
they can keep garrisons at important towns, but, if they are 
called upon to fight again, their only sound strategical plan 
is to retire at once behind the lines and there to await the 
onslaught of their foe, whoever he or they may be. 

The question of the future possession of Constantinople 
has frequently brought the Great Powers to the verge of 
war. If the Turks accept the inevitable and are content to 
regard the lines of Chataldja as their strategic frontier, then 
that question should never arise again. They should be able 
to hold Constantinople for all time, and it would tax the 
strength of the greatest of the military Powers to force a 
passage through that almost impregnable position. Thus, 
from the point of view of the peace of Europe, the war has 
been a blessing in disguise. 

It is too early to place on record all the lessons to be 
learned from the Balkan war. We must await fuller 
information from the victors, and from the defeated Turks, 
before we venture on a scientific analysis of the strategy of 
the two armies. But the war has proved, what has been 
proved so often in the past, namely, the strength of nations 
organised for the attainment of a definite ideal. 

For a century the Turks have blundered on, utterly 
unprepared for war, trusting to the dissensions of the 
Powers and to Allah to save them from the danger that was 
to come. When the " little Balkan States " had struck their 
first blow, and only then, did Islam awake from her 
perennial slumber and prepare for war. At the eleventh 

y2 



324 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

hour the Ottoman Government, unable to concentrate its 
regular army in time to meet the attack of the invaders, 
seized hold of all the old Redifs upon which it could lay 
hands, formed these harmless, untrained, peace-loving 
peasants into extemporary^ regiments without a proper quota 
of officers, or any previous organisation and training ; 
improvised these mob regiments into brigades, out of which 
the Headquarters Staff, with its peculiar faculty for self- 
deception, formed phantom divisions and army corps. 

Although fully aware that no effective stand could be 
made north of Chataldja, the Government dispatched the 
whole of this unwilling band of martyrs to do battle around 
Lule Burgas, merely because they wished to make a show 
of resistance near the frontier. They did not hesitate to 
sacrifice the lives of some eighty thousand soldiers, in order 
to postpone for a few weeks the inevitable disclosure of their 
unpreparedness for war. They rested secure in the delusion 
of numerical superiority. Was it not preposterous that 
puny Bulgaria and Servia, with their total population of 
some seven million souls, should dare to attack the great 
Turkish Empire, with its vast resources and its population of 
twenty-five millions ? But the Turks had yet to learn that 
numbers are of no avail against organisation. The Turkish 
army was not even concentrated when the battle of Lule 
Burgas was fought. Napoleon's maxim that an army must 
be concentrated before battle was forgotten. Having no 
supplies, or not having troubled to bring up supplies, they 
sent forth their army v^dthout bread to fight in a wilderness. 
Three weeks after the initial disaster of Lule Burgas the 
regular army appeared, strongly entrenched behind the lines 
of Chataldja, but it was too late, for by then their European 
possessions had been lost. 

The telegraph, the railway, and the aeroplane have made 
of war an affair of days, where it used to be an affair 



THE LESSON OF THE WAR 325 

of months. Armies can be concentrated with a speed 
undreamed of in bygone days. A decisive blow can be 
struck with almost lightning rapidity, and the fate of a 
nation decided in a few days. Nowadays a war is won in 
times of peace, and the army that is best organised at the 
moment of the declaration of hostilities, and that can be 
concentrated with the greatest rapidity, must be victorious. 
The war between Turkey and the Balkan Coalition began 
on October 16th. On the evening of October 31st the 
Turkish Army was routed and the fugitives were flying, 
without a semblance of order, back to Constantinople. In 
a campaign of two weeks the conquests of six centuries 
were lost. Comment would be superfluous. 

The days when recruits could be trained in the course 
of a laborious and prolonged march toward the scene of 
hostilities have gone for ever. Yet we in England are told 
with all seriousness that our Territorial Forces can be trained 
after the outbreak of war, on the hypothesis that six months 
must elapse before they could reasonably be called upon 
to fight, and that in the meantime our striking force of one 
hundred and fifty thousand regulars would amply suffice 
for our immediate defence. The striking force of the 
victorious Bulgarians at the battles of Kirk Kilisse and Lule 
Burgas amounted to between one hundred and one hundred 
and fifty thousand men. They admit that, in the first three 
weeks of the war, there was a wastage from that army of 
some fifty thousand men from casualties on the battlefield 
or from disease. What would have been the ultimate fate 
of that army if Bulgaria, with her scanty population of 
four millions, had not, as the fruit of twenty years of 
patriotic endeavour, had at least another one hundred thou- 
sand trained men to take their place ? 

Nations, like individuals, have their obligations, and the 
Turks, having proved wanting, must now pay the just 



326 WITH THE TURKS IN THRACE 

penalty of their incapacity. In the course of the five 
centuries which they have spent in Europe, they have 
proved that they are incapable of governing their conquests. 
They have not attempted to initiate a sound economic 
system ; they have not given their subjects the first postulate 
of progress, justice or education ; they have built no roads, 
neither have they cultivated the land. Thrace, which might 
have been the granary of the empire, they have left a 
barren wilderness. 

Nor is there any sentimental reason why the Turks should 
be left in possession of their European conquests, for, since 
the beginning of the war, practically the whole of the Otto- 
man population has migrated to Asia Minor, without the 
desire or the means to return. 

The future of the Turk lies in Asia. Let him return to 
the land of his fathers and develop those matchless resources 
which constant wars and preoccupations in Europe have 
caused him to neglect. I^et him subdue the Arabs of the 
Yemen and the wild hillmen of the Caucasus, and so con- 
solidate his Empire that a new Turkey may arise which will 
command the respect of European civilisation, and give to 
those Anatohan peasants, decimated by the successive wars 
of the last century, some measure of that peace and security 
which is vital to their survival as a race. 



INDEX 



r 



INDEX 



Abdul Aziz, 37, 38 

Abdul Hamid, 6, 22, 38, 40-46, 48, 134, 
221, 280, 304-5 

Abdullah Pasha, his command, 50, 72, 
74, 79, 88, 270 ; before Lule Burgas, 
92, 93; and Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett, 
130-35, 158, 190, 195-96, 295; at 
Sakiskeuy, 147-51 ; second day at 
Lule Burgas, 152-70; difficulties of 
his position, 160-66, 317, 319 ; and 
the Correspondents, 168-70 ; the 
retreat, 172, 246 

Abouk Pasha, 82, 91, 144, 145, 147, 270 

Adrianople, Russian occupation, 1828, 
34 ; army manoeuvres, 1910, 50 
garrison, 79-80, 82, 88; occupation 
95, 232, 289; revictualling, 312 
impossibility of relieving, 313-19 
reason of Turkey's holding, 319-20, 
322 

Adrianople Gate, 111, 227 

Adrianople— Kirk-Kilisse lines, 78, 79, 
87, 88, 90, 142, 319 

Ahmed Bey, village of, 172 

Ahmed Pass, 270 

Albania, Northern, ceded to Monte- 
negro, 39 

Albanians, the, rebellions, 31-32, 207, 
321-22; and Abdul Hamid, 42; 
massacres in Macedonia, 44-45 ; and 
the Young Turk policy, 47-48 ; 
allegiance of, 85 

Aleppo, 19 

\lexandria, blockade 1839, 35 

411an, Mr. Ostler, 60, 102 

Alsace-Lorraine, 321 

Anatolia, recruiting from, 10, 15, 16, 
19, 30-32, 45, 49, 180, 248. 

Arabs, the, types, 40 ; and the Young 
Turk policy, 47-48 ; rebellion of the 
Yemen, 30-32, 207 

Armenia, massacres in, 42 



Armstice, the, 308-12 

Arnautkeuy, village of, 280-82, 296, 
300-307 

Ashmead-Bartlett, Mr. Seabury, with 
the Correspondents, 3, 63-64, 65, 
85-86, 105-7, 137 ; at Sakiskeuy, 
167-70, 196 ; at Chorlou, 177, 182, 185 ; 
return from the front to Constan- 
tinople, 201-3 ; story of the retreat 
from Chorlou, 203-28 ; leaves for 
Chataldja, 242; and Major Vasfi, 
243 ; at Cherkeskeuy, 246 ; second 
departure for the front, 252-54 ; 
ordered to return to Constantinople, 
264, 279 ; at Buyuk Chekmedche, 
275 ; at Arnautkeuy, 277, 281, 296 ; 
return to England, 296. 

Asia Minor, Turkish migration to, 39, 
188-89, 250-51, 326 

Asperm-Essling, 6 

Austria, Turkish district, 14-15, 26 ; 
note to the Balkans, 23, 26 

Austrian-Lloyd boat, the, 191, 193-95, 
198 

Aya Yorgi. See St. George, village of 

Aziz, Colonel, 6 

Aziz, Prince, 84 

Baba Eski, retreat on, 85, 90, 91 
Balkan League significance, 8, 22, 49 ; 
Austrian and Russian notes presented, 
23, 26 ; reply to the Powers, 28 
Baring, Mr. Maurice, 68 
Bashi-Bazouks, atrocities by, 44, 45 
Belgrade, Forest of, 268, 270, 280 
Bennet, M., charges against Correspond- 
ents, 186 
Berlin, Congress of, 1878, 39 
Berlin, Treaty of, fulfilment of Art. 23 
demanded, 23, 27-28; Bulgarians' 
position, 39-40 
Bernhardi, General von, 80, 82 



330 



INDEX 



Bethlehem, 208 

Bismarck, remark of quoted, 38 

Black Sea, 199, 268 

Bogados, village of, 116 

Bosnia, part ceded to Servia, 39 

Breves, Savary de, 30 

Bristol Hotel, Vienna, 6 

British Embassy, Constantinople, 70 

British Red Cross Society, 251, 281 

Brusa in A.sia-Minor, 243 

Bryant, despatch carrier, 111, 201, 
203-4, 206, 212, 252, 254, 257, 264, 
266, 266, 267, 273-74, 279, 281, 282, 
292-96, 303-4, 306-8 

Buj-Chekmedche, 114 

Bulgaria and the Powers, 8 ; demobilisa- 
tion demanded, 13 ; war declared on, 
declared by Turkey, 17 Oct., 28; 
autonomy established, 38-40 ; Bul- 
garians in Macedonia, 45-46 ; Turkish 
plan of campaign against, 78-80, 87 ; 
armistice signed, 311-12 

Bulgarian Army in Thrace, the fight south 
of Adrianople, 80 ; strength, 82-83, 
315, 325 ; capture of Kirk Kilisse, 97 ; 
the attack on the town of Lule Burgas, 
142-44, 145 ; plan of campaign, 144, 
165 ; villages fired by, 147-48 ; brav- 
ery of, Turkish admiration, 151 ; the 
second day at Lule Burgas, 152-70 ; 
195-96 ; need of cavalry, 177-78 ; 218 ; 
the artillery, 180-81 ; slow advance 
after Lule Burgas, 225-26, 229-32 ; 
capture of Rodosto, 234-41 ; attack on 
the Chataldja lines, 263-91 

Bunar Hissar, village of, 91, 144 

Buyuk Chekmedche, village of, 264, 268, 
270, 271 ; correspondents ordered 
back to, 273 ,274, 278 ; pickets at, 293 ; 
lake of, 267, 268, 271 

Cadres, the, strength, 80 

Carol, Hotel, Constanza, 199 

Catholics in Palestine, 208-9 

Cauta, 245 

Cekedje railway station, 15, 251 

Censorship of telegrams. See Vasfi, 

Major 
Chataldja lines, 16, 82, 90, 114, 204; 

retreat to, 58, 178, 246-47 ; Turkish 

plan of campaign, 79 ; story of Mr. 

Seabury Ashmead-Bartlett, 203-28 ; 

rout checked by Nazim troops, 229 ; 

the Bulgarian attack on, 247-8, 263, 

267-71 ; outbreak of cholera at, 251 ; 

Bulgarians retire from, 284-91 ; 



position of the Turkish Army, 305, 
314-15 ; as a defence, 322-23 

Chataldja, town of, 223, 268, 308 

Chekmedche, Lake of, 225, 252 

Chekmedche, lines of, 225 

Chekmedche village, 265, 258, 269-60 

Cherkeskeuy, correspondents removed 
to, 210-15 ; the village burnt, 216 ; 
flight from, 220 

Chios, reduction, 34 

Cholera at the front, first news of out- 
break, 230 ; outbreak at Chataldja, 
251 ; at Hademkeuy, 259-62, 284 ; 
scene at Chekmedche, 260-62 ; scenes 
outside Arnautkeuy, 282 ; at San 
Stefano, 284 ; among the Bulgarians, 
290 

Chorion, Turkish retreat on, 86 ; the 
correspondents established at, 96, 98, 
99, 100, 104, 161-62, 168-70, 297- 
98 ; Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett's journey 
to, 108, 130, 172, 195-96 ; absence of 
food at, 134 ; departure from, 187 ; 
the retreat from, story of Mr. Seabury 
Ashmead-Bartlett, 203-228 ; date of 
Bulgarian occupation, 233 ; and the 
Bulgarian plan of campaign, 286-7 

Christian sects at Jerusalem, 207-9 

Christians, persecution of, in Turkey, 
40-44 

Classo, 85 

Colenso, 85 

Committee of Union and Progress, 9, 
27 

Constantine, 41 

Constantinople, scenes in, 6-8, 12-21, 
capture in 1453, 29 ; description to- 
day, 41-42, 68, 242 ; cable arrange- 
ments, 62, 183 ; departure of the 
correspondents from, 93-96 ; refugees 
in, 134 ; the museum, 231-251 ; the 
cholera in, 281 ; defence of, 322 ; 
question of possession, 323 

Constantinople Army Corps, the, 91 

Constanza in Roumania, cable arrange- 
ments at, 62 ; by steamer to, 183, 184, 
196, 198-99 ; the cable from, 199-200; 

Corriera della Sierra, Correspondent of 
the, 60 

Correspondents, the, number in Con- 
stantinople, 59-60, journey to Chorion, 
93-96, 108-30 ; the camp at Chorion, 
98-100, 104 ; sketches, 100-3 ; condi- 
tions imposed on, 106-7, 185-86 ; at 
Lule Burgas, 132-36 ; Mr. Seabury 
Ashmead-Bartlett, ]68-70; how the 



INDEX 



331 



story was sent, 182-202 ; removal to 
Cherkeskeuy, 210-11, 214-15 ; confer- 
ence with Major Vasfi, 243 ; Lieut. 
Wagner's reports, 245-247 ; forbidden 
to return to the front, 252 ; German 
correspondents at St. George, 268 ; 
ordered back to Constantinople, 263, 
266; at Chekmedche, 278; war 
against the, 292-312 ; Nazim and the, 
306-8 

Craon, M., 2 

Crete, annexation, 35 

Creusot gun, superiority, 160 

Crimean War, 37-9 

Daily C%ronicle, correspondent of the. 
See Donohoe, Mr. M. T. 

Daily Express, correspondent of the. See 
Ostler, Mr. Allan 

Daily Mail, correspondent of the. See 
Price, Mr. Ward 

Daily Mirror, correspondent of the. See 
Grant, Mr. 

Daily Telegraph, reports for the, 2, 8, 9, 
69, 109, 169, 182-202, 259 

Damascus, 19 

DaneflF, M., the armstice, 309 

Dardanelles, the, 82, 191 

Delijunus, 247 

Derkos, 246, 280, 301 ; line of pickets 
from, 293 

Derkos Lake, 225, 245, 247 

Disarming civilians, 128 

Donohoe, M. T., correspondent for the 
Daily Chronicle, 6, 60-61, 63-7, 71, 
73 ; letter from, 85 ; departure from 
Constantinople, 95 ; at the front, 
101-2, 162 ; sending of the news, 
182-202 ; plans, 232-33 ; at Rodosto, 
236, 237, 239-41 ; leaves for Chataldja, 
242, 252, 255 ; and Major Vasfi, 243, 
298 ; ordered to return to Constan- 
tinople, 264 : illness, 275, 277, 278 ; 
return to Constantinople, 279 ; at 
Arnautkeuy, 281 ; leaves Turkey, 
296-97 

Dresden gallery, 218 

Dubois, General, 2 

Dysentery, 230 

Earthquake, story of the, 209 
Eastern Balkans ceded to Bulgaria, 38 
Ebro Efi"endi, the armstice, 309 
Edib Bey, the armstice, 308 
Elassona, 77 ; Greek rout reported, 84 
Emir-el-djebel, insurrection, 35-6 



Enteric, 230 

Erzerum, fortress of, 39, 283 
Europeans, attack on, feared, 230 
Evekli, 189, 191 

Ferdinand of Bulgaria, declares the 

independence of his kingdom, 39 ; 

proclamation of, 86, 97, 248-49 ; and 

Constantinople, 231, 288-89 
Fitzmaurice, Mr., 198 
Forbes, Mr. Archibald, 59 
Foreign Office, London, methods, 69-70 
Fouad Bey, Colonel at Lule Burgas, and 

Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett, 126, 127,136- 

7, 140 
Fouad Pasha, 14 
French Road Company, 110, 111, 113, 

114 
French War Correspondents, 60-1 ; and 

the Censor, 103, 215 

Galata, 195 

Galata Bridge, the, 64, 111 

Gallipoli, defence, 322 

Gazi Bajir, 271 

German instructors in the Turkish Army, 

50, 53 
German Press Correspondents, 60-1 
Ghazi Moukhtar Pasha, 12-15, 75 
Gladstone, Mr., and the Turkish atroci- 
ties, 38 
Golden Gate, the, 231, 254 
Golden Horn, 227 

Goltz, F. M. von der, plans of, 86, 99 
Gordon, M., cinematographer, 109, 116, 

167 
Goupa, dragoman, 185, 186, 187, 205-6, 

215, 228, 252, 255, 256, 274, 279 
Grant, Mr., correspondent of the Daily 

Mirrm; 60, 255-56 
Gras rifles, 235 

Graves, Mr., Times correspondent, 85 
Greco-Turkish war 1897, 6, 32, 50, 51 
Greece, war declared, Oct. 18th, 28 ; 

independence declared, 1830, 34 ; 

army of, 83 ; refusal to sign the 

armistice, 311-12 
Greeks in Macedonia, 45 ; advance on 

Classo, 85 ; in Palestine, 208-9 
Grey, Sir Edward, Turkish reliance on, 

25 

Hademkeuy, lines of, 224-25, 248, 
256, 263, 268, 284, fugitives at, 
229-30 ; cholera scenes, 259-62, 284, 
290 ; town shelled, 276-77 ; Nazim's 
headquarters at, 299, 300, 304, 306 



332 



INDEX 



Hadji, Albanian groom, 176, 212, 216, 

222, 226, 228, 252 
Halli Sherif, the, reading of the, 35 
Hamidieh, 271 

Hatti Firman, the, of 1839, 47 
Herzegovina, part ceded to Servia, 39 
Hippodrome, the Constantinople, 41, 

227 
Horses for the army, 17-18 

Ibrahim, 35 

Illustration (The), 4, 60 

Ismet Bey, jouniey to Chorlou, 106, 
108-9, 112, 113, 115, 117, 118, 124- 
30; and Abdullah, 131, 133; and 
Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett. 134, 135, 136, 
297, 299, 300, 306 ; at Lule Burgas, 
136, 137, 139, 140, 141, 142, 145-47, 
162, 171, 176, 177 ; at Sakiskeuy, 149, 
151, 165, 166, 168-70 ; the second day 
at Lule Burgas, 153, 157, 158, ; at 
Chorlou, 185, 186, 206-7 ; stories told 
by, 207-10 

Istrandza mountains, the, 84, 88 

Italian Press correspondents, 60 

Italy and Turkey. See Turko-Italian 
War 

Izzet Bey, Colonel, and the war corres- 
pondents, 11, 71-74, 104, 108, 110, 
optimism of, 20, 86-87 : purchase of 
a motor-car, 64-65 ; after Kirk Kilisse, 
86 

Izzet Pasha, 243 

Jalos, village, 116 

James, Mr. Lionel, correspondent of 
The Times, 6, 60-61, 66, 71, 73, 85 ; 
departure from Constantinople, 95, 
296, 297 ; at the front, 101 ; buying 
a car, 109, 111, 115, 116, ; at Lule 
Burgas, 161-62 ; sending of the news, 
182-202 ; reasons for leaving the front, 
197-98 ; at Rodosto, 233, 236, 239 

Janissaries, the, 29-34 

Japanese, European-trained officers, 56 

Jenidzi, 91, 133 

Jerusalem, Christian sects at, 207-9 

Kalikratia village, 114 
Kandia, insurrection in, 35-36 
Kara Burun, 268 
Karagach, 91, 92, 144, 153, 155 
Kars, defence of, 13, 14, 37 
Kavakli, 91, 133 

Kiamil Pasha, Grand Vizier, 15 ; and 
the correspondents, 74-75 



Kirk Kilisse, news of the defeat, 11, 
84-87, 90, 96, 97, 109 ; fighting at, 
75, 82, 132, 287 ; operations leading 
to the capture of, 87-90 ; first 
authoritative account, 98 

Kretiz-Zeituruj, the, 94 

Kriegelstein, Baron von, 60, 103 

Krupp guns at Chataldja, 160, 269 

Kuchuk-Chekmedche, village of, 113, 
252, 255, 274 

Kumanova, 84, 85 

Kumburgas, village of, 116 

Kurd Dere, 271 

Kurds of the Caucasus, 31-32, 42, 207 

Law of the Vilayets of 1880, 8, 13, 22 

Lawson, Mr. Harry, 2 

Leighton, Sir Bryan. 106, 107 ; journey 
to Chorlou, 109, 116, 117, 118, 119, 
125, 126, 133 ; at Sakiskeuy, 167, 170, 
196 201 

London, Conference of (1830), 34 ; 1913, 
312 

Lowther, Sir Gerard, 8, 69 

Lule Burgas, 15, 67, 78, 79, 81 ; the 
army at, 82, 85, 86 ; operations 
before, 87-92 ; retreat of women and 
children, 96-97 ; the great battle 
started, 106-7 ; the correspondents 
at, 132, 133, 134, 135 ; the first day, 
139-51 ; second day, 152-70 ; rout of 
the Turkish Army, 171-81; Mr. 
Ashmead-Bartlett'.s diary, 195-96 ; 
news of the disaster, 224-25, 230; 
efiect on Bulgaria's movements, 285- 
291 

Lule Burgas-Baba Eski-Viza lines, 99 

MacCulloch, Mr., 201 

Macedonia, law of 1880, proposal to 
apply, 8, 13, 22, 46 ; importance of 
Macedonian question, 24-25, 27-28 ; 
repression in, 42-45 ; the interna- 
tional gendarmerie, 46-47 ; recruits 
from, 315 ; position in regard to 
Turkey, 321-22 

Macksoud Bey, 219 

Magersfontein, 85 

Mahmoud Mukhtar, command, 82, 84, 
88, 91, 144, 150, 270 ; retreat on 
Viza, 91-92; with the 3rd Army 
Corps, 153, 155, 159-60, 163, 164, 
172 ; wounded, 282 

Mahmoud II., the Janissaries dis- 
banded, 31, 34 ; and Mehemet Ali, 
34-35 ; the Halli Sherif, 35-36 



INDEX 



333 



Mahmudiyeh, 271 

Mahommedans, and Abdul Aziz, 37 ; 

persecution of, 44 ; and the Young 

Turk policy, 47-49 
Marion, General, 1 
Maritza, the, 323 
" Marmora," mail boat, 238 
Marmora, Sea of, 191, 255, 268 
Martini rifles, 235 
"Masudia," battleship, 233-39 
Mauser rifles, 10, 54, 180 
Media, 84 

Mehemet Ali, 34-35 
Midhat Pasha, 38, 42 
Midia, Port of, 88 
Mobilisation, 16-17 
Monastir, 44, 244 
Mongols, types, 40 
Montenegro, war declared by, 9, 14, 23 ; 

territory ceded to, 39 ; army of, 83 ; 

rout reported, 84 ; armstice signed, 

311-12 
Morning Post, correspondent of the. 

See Pilcher, Mr. 
Morton, 301-4 
Moukbill Bey, 306 
Murad, Sultan, 38 
Muradli, 233, 237 

Mustafa Pasha, army at, 6, 79, 83, 84 
Mustafiz, the, 81 

Nakashkeuy, 271 

Napoleon III., 37 

Navarino, Turkish defeat, 34 

Nazim Pasha, war minister, 10, 11, 58 ; 
and the correspondents, 75 ; on the 
situation, 78, 79, 242-43; expected 
at Chorlou, 133, 134 ; retreat to 
Chataldja, 214 ; at Hademkeuy, 230, 
300, 304, 306 ; order concerning 
foreigners, 264, 265, 279, 280, 299, 
306-8 ; supreme command, 270 ; the 
new troops, 282-83, 314-15; the 
armistice, 308-12 ; transport difficul- 
ties, 317-18 

Nicholas I., 36-37 

Nicholson, cinematograph er, 255-56 

Nineteenth Century, article by M. Bennet 
cited, 186 

Nizam Army, the, 31, 34, 80, 81, 225, 
229 

Normand, M., 4 

OSMAN, 31, 33 

Ostler, Mr. Allan, 60, 102-3 

Ostrorog, Count L^on, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 



Othman, 321 

Otter, Mr. Prank, 258-9 

Ottoman Bank, the, 253 

Ottoman News Agency, methods, 10, 20, 

250-52, 311 
Ottoman Public Debt, 108 
Ouchy, 6, 28, 49, 60 

Pan-Islamism, policy of Abdul Hamid, 
42 

Pech, M., 9 

Pera, 56, 63, 227, 297 ; war prepara- 
tions in, 15, 16, 18, 57 ; escape of 
governor of, 209 ; a Greek procession 
in, 249 

Pera Palace Hotel, 7, 66, 68, 75, 85, 97, 
98, 106, 110, 196, 198, 201, 227, 241, 
243, 253, 296 

Persian invasion of Turkey, 36 

Pilcher, Mr., 60 

Pink 'un (The), 258, 259 

Plevna, defence of, 33, 38 

Poincare, M., proposal to the Powers, 
22, 24 

Popoflr, General, 287, 289-90 

Port Arthur, 134 

Powers, the, peace efpjrts, 8, 22-27 

Press, Turkish, methods of dissimula- 
tion, 10, 20, 83-84, 250-52, 311 

Price, Mr. Ward, 60, 61, 66, 109 

Raymond, M., 60 

"Red Crescent," 301 

Redifs, the, description, 15, 16, 80-82, 
150 

Reichspost (The), Lieut. Wagner's re- 
ports, 244-49 

Reinhardt, "Miracle," 102 

Remzi, Colonel, defence of Rodosto, 
234-35 

Reshid Pasha, return from Ouchy, 6 . 
the armistice, 309-313 

Rhodes, 30 

Road-building under the Pashas, 43^4 

Roads, Turkish, 110-30, 222-23 

Rodes, M., 60 

Rodosto, 82, 99, 108, 162 ; the steamer 
from, 183-88, 194-96; Mr. Lionel 
James at, 197, 210, 233 ; capture of, 
234-41 

Rodosto-Muradli road, 234-37 

Roman remains in Thrace, 41 

Roosevelt Roughriders, 94 

Roumania, 189 ; autonomy established, 
39 

Roumelia, Eastern, 39, 137 



334 



INDEX 



Russell, William, 59 

Russia, Turkish mistrust of, 14, 26-27, 
103-4 ; note to the Balkans, 23, 26 ; 
war of 1828, 34 ; war of 1863, 36-39 ; 
war of 1877, 38 ; the war cor- 
respondent, 103-4 

Russo-Japanese War, 56, 71, 101 

Sadler, Dr., 85 
Sage, Mr. Le, 3 
St. George, village of, 226, 256, 257, 

262-64 
St. Petersburg, scenes, 26-27 
St. Sofia, Bulgariaand, 16-17, 37, 231, 288 
Sakiskeuy village, Abdullah's position 

at, 92, 152, 153, 154, 159, 365-70. 

Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett at, 147-51, 

195-96 ; the flight fiom, 171-81 
Sali Pasha, cavalry of, 139, 141, 142, 

146, 151, 159, 233 
Salonica, 244 
Samarkoff, 269 
San Stefano, 33, 64, 111, 192, 254; 

Treaty of, 38, 39 ; cholera camp, 284 
Sarai, 210 

SavoflF, General, 309 
Scott, Sir W., quoted, 19 
Scutari, 312 
Seidler, 86, 96, 135 
Seraskerat, the, 9-10 
Serres, 77 
Servia, peace efforts of the Powers, 8 ; 

demobilisation demanded, 13 ; war 

declared on 17th Oct., 28 ; rising in 

1875, 38-39 ; army, strength of, 83 ; 

at Muradli, 233 ; armistice signed, 

311-12 
Sevastopol, 37 
Sheik-ul-Islam, 31, 37 
Shefket Torgut Pasha, command of the 

2nd Army Corps, 82, 91, 92, 144, 153 ; 

attack by, 155-57, 164 ; at Sakiskeuy, 

169-70 
Silistria, 37 
Silivri, village of, 116-18, 121, 122, 

124, 189, 204, 309 
Sinekli, 220, 221, 246 
Sipahis, the, 31 
Slavonic Society, 27 
Slavs, "their hour for fighting," 149 
Smyrna, troops from, 79, 82, 243, 283 
Sofia, 40, 45-46, 67, 68 
South African War, 46, 72, 101 
Stamboul, military preparations, 10-11, 

15-19, 57; description, 42, 56, 111, 

192, 242, 285, 301 ; departure of the 



Correspondents, 96 ; the refugees, 
99, 125, 128, 137, 217, 229 ; return 
of Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett, 195; the 
hills of the dead, 226-27; cholera 
arrangements, 261. 

Stormberg, 85 

Strandja, heights of, 245 

Streater, Mr., assistance given to Mr. 
Ashmead-Bartlett, 188-93, 233-40 

Struma River, army of the, 77 

Suleiman the Magnificent, 30 

Sweet Waters, the, 301 

Syria, annexation, 35 

Takfa-Kalfakkui line, 247 

Tartarli, 150 

Tchaprachikoff, M., 309 

Telad, story of, 134-35 

Temps (Le), 60 

Territorial Forces, the, 325 

Thessaly, Army of, 77 

Thrace, ruin in, 41, 326 ; Bulgarian 
tactics in, 80 ; defence of, 322, 323 

Times (The), war correspondent. See 
James, Mr. Lionel ; article quoted, 
26-27 

Tokatlian's restaurant, 219, 310 

Tokio, 71 

Touraine, manoeuvres, 2 

Trebizond, troops from, 79, 243, 283 

Tripoli, the massacre in the Oasis, 4, 
14 

Turco-Italian war, 4, 21, 49, 103, 207 

Turk Bey, vUlage of, 92, 144, 163 

Turkey, reply to the collective Note by 
the Powers, 27-28 ; declaration of 
war, 28, 84 ; military history, 29-49 ; 
revolution of 1848, 36 ; revolution of 
1908, 46-49 

Turkish Army — Army of Thrace, 11, 
81-82, 86 ; reforms by Young Turk 
party, 50-58 ; ■ plan of campaign, 77- 
80, 87-89; strength of the forces, 
80-81 ; organisation, 81-82 ; absence 
of organised commissariat, 99, 162- 
53, 179-81 ; defeat of the 1st Army 
Corps, 133 ; absence of medical 
service, 148, 152-63, 179-81, 220-21 ; 
the 2nd Army Corps at Lule Burgas, 
149-50, 162-70 ; lack of ammunition, 
153, 154, 156, 157, 158, 179-81; 
rout after Lule Burgas, 171-81 ; 
bravery of the soldier, 178-79 ; 
retreat to Chataldja, 203-28; the 
new battalions, 229, 282-83, 314-15 

Tursunkeuy, 304 



INDEX 



335 



Ulemas, the, 31 
Uskub, 44, 77, 244 

Varna, bombardment, 83 

Vasfi Bey, Major, code of regulations, 
72, 185-86 ; and the correspondents, 
103-7, 300, 306; and the Russian 
correspondent, 104 ; takes the corres- 
pondents to Cherkeskeuy, 210-11, 
214-16 ; conference at the Pera 
Palace Hotel, 243 ; interview with 
Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett, 296-300 

Vienna, 5-6 

Viza, 144, 150, 155, 159 ; retreat on, 
91, 92; outbreak of cholera, 230; 
Turkish victory north of, 244 

Vodena River, army of the, 77 

VVagnek, Lieut., reports, 244-49 

War Office, Constantinople, methods, 

9-11, 20, 53-58, 69, 71-74, 83-84, 

227, 311 



Warships at Constantinople, 

267, 271-72 
Waterloo, 173 
William, Emperor, 46 



230-31, 



Yasoren, 270, 282, 284 

Yavir Pasha, command, 82, 91, 144, 
270 

Yemen, troops from the, 243 

Yenikoei, 245 

Young Turks, the movement, 6-10, 39 ; 
and the Constitution, 36 ; and Abdul 
Aziz, 38 ; revolution of 1908, 46-49 ; 
contemplated reform of the army, 
50-58, 207 ; Abdul Hamid and, 134 ; 
280, 304-5 

Zekki Pasha, 85 

Zia Pasha at Chorlou, 134 ; at Lule 

Burgas, 135 ; the armistice, 309 
Zweiter, Major von, 60, 103 



THE END. 



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