WAR SCENES IN SERVIA DURING THE TURKOSERVIAN WAR —BY AN ENGLISH VOLUNTEER.
Waikato Times, Rōrahi X, Putanga 802, 7 Hereturikōkā 1877, Page 2
WAR SCENES IN SERVIA DURING THE TURKOSERVIAN WAR — BY AN ENGLISH VOLUNTEER.
[Specially Wbitten fob the Waikato Times.] The motives which led me, though an Englishman, to join the Servian forces m that disastrous campaign whicu preceeded the war now wagiug on the Danube, need not be enumerated here. I had watched the struggle m Montenegro with interest, and waa not surprised when Prince Milan, of Servia, declared war againat the tyrant Turk, who had bo long opreased, not only Servia, but all the Christian Provinces under his rule. Soon after the commencement of hostilities, a whisper was heard io Englaud to the effect that a company of i£ugiish voluuteers were going out to assist the Servians to defend their homes aud their religiou. I was, at that time, reai<iLig m a large town m the North of Ei.gfaud, wheu I received a letter from Belgrade, inviting me to join this company, and proceed with them to tiervia. Af ler some correspondence, I received a commission, and, at once, placed myself m couiinuuication with the officer who was moving m the matter m England. I'heie was, of course, no formal enlistment of the members of the company. The Foreign Enlistment Act effectively preveuts tbe adoption of euch a proceeding. <he conditions of service, however, were, each volunteer to pay hid ovrn expense* to Belgrade, and provide his own uniform. Alter our arrival m Belgrade, we w«-re to be turmshed with arms aud accoutrements. Having joined tbe c>oipauy, which bore the name of "Nucleus," a d had for its crest a bunch of acorus, with the motto, " From Acorns Spri. g Oaks," I waited some time for marctu g orders, which, at length, arrive], aud on the morning of the 29 h of September, 1876, I found myself, with abouc forty o uera, at a large railway station, en route lor London, where we were to muter. On tbe journey, by Pulmann Palace Car, to the " little village, 1 ' we speedily bee me acquainted witn eaoh other, and discovered, to our* mutual surprise and satisfaction, that almost the whole o; our number had seen service m some fa h ape or another, whilst all had a thorough knowledge of drill, and not a few were celebrated marksmen. Arrived m Londou, we dispersed to various hotels, and on the following mo.mng, assembled at our rendezvous, a well-known hotel not a hundred imles from St. Paul's. There wo were joined by a faw adherents from tue South of England, and we held a meeting umier the presidency of the officer before alluded to. At this meeting, tne details of our proceedure were arranged, and our uoncommissionsd officers appointed. I foun I that the oiher officers, us w« 11 as myself, had been commiseioutd direct fiom Belgrade. We agreed that, m order to avoid arousing suspicion, our company (m number only fifty-one) sbouid go to the seat of war m small parties, and by different routes, and, also, that we should start from London at different times. The party to which I wa3 attached took the route via Brussels, Vienna, aud I sth. We were the first to leave Londou, and th< first to arrive m the country which some mignt never leave, and which one ot us did never leave. On arriving at the railway station at Belgrade, we were received by an officer who announced himself as Captain Schultz, of ttie Prince's Guard. We were oonducted by this gentleman to the Hotel Couronne, where good accommodation bad been provided for us at our own expense. After a delay of a few days we were joined by our other contingents, and at once proceeded to the front. We were now only forty-three Btrong, the remaining eight of our original number having, while waiting m London for their turn to start received letters recalling them "on urgent private affairs." Of course there was any amount of chaff on account of this deter i ion, and many jokes were ciacked at the expense of the abeentees. During our short stay m Belgrade, we of the early arrivals were feted to our hearts content. The officers of the guard were extremely energetic m their efforts to afford us pleasure and enjoy* ment while we were with them All these gentlemen spoke the English and French languages fluently, bo that tuch of our number who were not well versed m the Sclavonic tongue were able to converse with ease upon the all absorb* ing topic — tbe progress of the war. Some of the younger members of our company became so engrossed with this subject that, afte. having discußßei it for three or four hours after mess, the kindly offioes of an escort were necessary to convey them to their quarters. This might have been attributed to the excessive hospitality of the regiment with which they had happened to be dining ; but they solemnly averred "that the constant conversation m a foreign tongue for such a lengthened period upon the same subject had made them elmhtlv giddy." ; But wine partiei, aud flowery
Bpeecfaea, ztalteihdiflirtMi&i* were food left behind Tib, and th? item realities ol Inft %^ faog in;i»»'y thei ' ghaptly hideonsneea. Jn BelprarteJ[ul] ,>waa merriment, pleiM»«tej and^enjov^ient A few mileß'out,:Bnd we.,feeUfJld ; »|,, ty* a idenoe thatiwe wem matching tlirongh evQOuntry whiofe.,w,asj|iewg,djßySßtated l>j the rnde, band of war. Parties of womei and children were to he observed encam ped m tho woods, whfoh ever nnd nnm .'bordered oiir lineof marchi tiHty Bja< been driven from their bomeß by-en< . rothleas Ttfrfe W Theift villages bad beei plundered and destroyed, m fact tltej had lost their: all, and had^ fled topre-t serve their honor. Tbeee wretched beings, many ; of . whonuhad been comparer lively wealthy, were now cowering and ehiverine m scanty olothingoyer tbe fires they had. kindled 'under the' shelter o ( the leafless trees ; for had no* ■et m, an 4 the- weather was bitterly cold tboagh not so severe as it afterwardi becainfl . * 3 We .conversed; with ,~«eVera 1 individuals ffdm these p'articß,^and;thej ' all told üß'theßaWes&d 'story* of mnrder plunder, and rapine.. One poor wpmir had seen her- only child, a 'baby of tei . weeks old, tossed on the bkyonets of: a body of Bashi-Bozouks ; pointing to two gaping wonnds m her ears, phe told us that she had had her earrings forcibly dragged off, a finger had been severed m order to obtain possession of the rings wbioh encircled it, and she only escaped a worse fate by hiding m a dung-hill, until tbe destroyers had departed. Another case, was that of a beautiful girl of about sixteen years of age, whose father and two brothers, were .with/the^ army, find whose mother and elder tisterhad been H^trageji and tttsnmurdere.d before her eyes. She, herself, escaped by taking refuge m a dog-kennell. . r , ; i i . Stories such as these, and worßo/ were related to us on "our Jmaroh fr by the victims themselves, 'and- it 'was only then that we obtained a really adequate idea of the kind of enemy! .We were about to face. . .-•... ...■ Just imagine, if, you c»n, gthe, feelings of the father and brothers above abided to. . At the call of T their Prince and Country they had left' their peaceful home nnd happy family m order to defend tb>m'. 'And wbatf awaited them on their retnrn ? A borne raaed to the ground, wife and daughter, mother and sister, weltering m their blood, and little Annie, the pet of the family, fled, no one. knew whither,^carried of ito grace the harem of gome lnatful Pusba,^ for anything they knew to the contrary. , Snoh accounts, I reed not say, excited our British bile, and, we ardently longed for the monr.ent when we might have the opportunity of nieasnring pur strength with the authors of so much misery. ...... (Zo, I<b coptinuedr), .