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

Prisoners of War

Prisoners of War.

The average Turkish prisoner is a humorous individual. He generally has a smiling face instead of the surly scowl of the Bosche. A prisoner whom we captured at Rafa said to his guard, "You Australian birds, same Gallipoli." Of course "Abdul" was referring to our emu plumes.

Another "Jacko," captured at Maghdaba, was brought into one of our camps after the battle. As he looked a harmless old chap, we did not keep him closely confined. Wandering around the bivvies, he saw several of the lads playing cards. The stakes, which were lying on an outspread oil-sheet, were mostly half piastres. "Jacko" watched the game for a time, and then, seating himself amongst the players, produced from some portion of his ragged clothing several five-piastre Turkish notes, and volunteered to take a hand in the game. The notes being considered valuable souvenirs, the boys raised no objections, but "Jacko" was not a skilled player, and soon lost his roll. When his last note had changed hands, he arose with a smile, and strolled down the lines. Ten minutes later I noticed him sharing a tin of bully with some chaps.

One of our padres put in some fine work attending to the wounded during the second attack on Gaza. He was bending over a man who had been badly hit by shrapnel, and looking up suddenly, he was surprised to see a well-dressed Turkish officer standing beside him. The padre did not know how to take the presence of the Turk, but continued to dress the wounded man. Presently the voice of the officer startled him. Said that individual, in excellent English: "I think it would be a good idea to get this man to the dressing station as soon as possible. His wounds are very serious, and I've a hole here that wants attending to as well." The padre then noticed that the Turk's coat sleeve was saturated with blood. Between the two of them they managed to carry the wounded Australian to the dressing station, where both casualties were attended to;

During the same battle, the staff of a certain Headquarters were surprised to see a Turkish officer, with a valise in his hand, walk into the tent. "Where the dickens have you sprung from?" asked one of our officers. The Turk placed his bag on the ground, slowly wiped his face with a handkerchief, and said, "Just left our redoubt; its too hot for me. Someone else can carry on with the work."

I heard a yarn about a Turkish prisoner, who was captured in the Jordan Valley, but I'll not guarantee the truth of it. As he was being marched to Headquarters he asked one of his guards, "Where I go to?" "Cairo," someone replied. "It's a pity," said "Jacko," "I thought they might send me to Australia. I always did want to go to that country,, my brother lives there."