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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918



The Bedouins were certainly a leading factor in the wonderful clean-up which followed our grand flood of conquest. But our own troops were a good second and were especially deadly on all the wood work.page 3For a fertile region the country which lies between Gaza and Damascus 240 miles away is perhaps the barest in the world. You could almost count the trees within sight as you went through in the train. On this campaign, as in all the earlier ones, the soldiers chief anxiety was firewood. Over hundreds, even thousands of square miles, the troopers sought in vain for sticks enough to boil their billies. The importance of tea increases during a long advance; give a man strong, sweet tea two or three times a day and he will care little about the quality of his hard biscuit and salt bully. But the tea he will have. Today you would notice a string of little Turkish wagons on the road-side Tomorrow you would discover there only the heavy timber of the undercarriages and perhaps the wheels. The rest of those wagons would have gone up in smoke while the Light Horse or the Indians or Yeomanry boiled their quarts. The destructive power of the bayonet upon woodwork is amazing. What was not burned at the moment you would see attached in small bundles to the saddles of each horseman. Then in places hundreds of these vehicles were of necessity used for fires to burn up the dead horses and cattle which had drawn them and had fallen in the fight. This happened in the Adana Gorge near Damascus, where the Light Horse, in destroying an enemy column, which persisted in its endeavour to escape, shot 370 of the enemy dead and also many hundreds of transport animals. The dead horses and cattle and camels were an immediate menace to the water supply of Damascus. After the fight the road was impassable with vehicles. A couple of days later little heaps of twisted fire iron were all that remained. No other fuel offered, nor could the carcases be buried. So the hundreds of wagons and carts were used to burn the fallen animals. At such a time values are relative.