Remembering Salonika

Poems by Edward G Evans – Chaplain, 10th (Irish) Division – published in The Mosquito, No. 7 September 1929

With the Tenth Division

Macedonia, Summer 1916

There is nothing doing on the Salonika front.

Official communique

In Camp

The temperature’s a hundred in the shade;

Our bivouac but mocks us with its rubber canopy;

The Salonika Army sweats and lies upon its back,

And prays the gods for sunset and for tea.

From out the brown heat-haze the motor-lorries loom and raise a never settling dust-storm in their train;

We’re just one desperate longing for the homeland’s foggy days;

Dear God! We’ll never swear at them again.

Mosquitos

But when at last it’s time for us to take our lawful ease,

Like the sound of trumpet, hark, the dread “ping-ping,”

Reveille for mosquitoes (and they’re all anopheles) that make us itch and scratch like anything.

From morn to dewy eve (but there’s no dew) and through the night to rise of sun we’re insects’ helpless prey;

And gradually, wolfed by their voracious appetite,

The Salonika Army fades away.


Troops sleeping at the entrance to their tent, Salonika, April 1916. BRITISH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915-1918 Troops sleeping at the entrance to their tent, Salonika, April 1916. BRITISH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915-1918 (Click on image to see full size) © IWM (Q 31864)

Author: Robin B

Robin's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Robin joined the SCS in 2003 and served on the committee for 18 years as journal and web editor. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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