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
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.
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 (Click on image to see full size) © IWM (Q 31864)