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EXTORTION IN SALONIKA.

SOLDIERS^

LIFE IN THE OCCUPYING

ARMY:

A ■soldierwhose letter, written on December 3, is published in an English newspaper, thus describes the life of the British troops occupying Salonica:—

I am now with the British troops in Greece, and am at present camping out on the top; of one of the innumerable hills overlooking Salonica. Things have been a bit rough since our move began, and I can only describe the weather : as abqminable. When we embarked ! "i it was raining heavily; , ' and : our march to our camp (about four miles from the town over heavy roads) was^the?: revise' 1 ; of pleasant. Arrived at we found it We"pitched our tents on an isolated hill, emptied our transport waggons, etc., but when this job was completed an officer toddled along to tell us we would have to shift as we were in Greek territory. After a let of parleying we trekked to another place, but found we were once more on prohibited ground, so-off we went again to another point. There is not a piece of a tree in sight, nothing but bleak, waste land all-around.

Our clothes, and blankets were wet.through, and as it blew a blizzard that night very few slept well on the wet ground. The wind blew so fiercely* that is was necessary to detail men to take their turn to go,o>ut withfa mallet to hammer down the tent-pegs when the gale;pulled them out of the soft ground. All next day the weather remained unchanged, and I imagine the job of the poor cooks wag.about the toughest around.Without any cover, standing exposed to the vile weather, they battled like heroes to light fires with only rain-soaked- ration boxes for their fuel, but hot bully beef stew was a very welcome tonic indeed to the boys.

In the evening of the second day hail began to fall. Snow came down heavily during the night, and the following morning our mountains were snowcapped. Then it began to freeze, and we could not keep our feet warm.

French Soldiers' Huts

The French occupy the opposite side of the-road along which our camp stretches, and they seem to - haVtf- befeh • betteF prepared for combating the weather than we were. They had had long rows of wooden hutments, erected, upon which I am told; French troops just arrivinf? hoVe first claim. T.heyv ; must have proved worth tKeir weight in gold. Among',.the thousands of our fellows I hardly think there was even one wooden

shed; but .things are changing every hour for the better, for the pioneers are busy digging to make dug-outs everywhere, and timber is rolling merrily along.

After the storm comes the calm. Yesterday the weather changed for the better, although the nights are still ,very cold. To-day the "sun is shining brightly, and hundreds of fellows are washing their underclothes and socks in the stream which runs through our camp, and leaving them on the ground ito dry in the sun.

The people round Salonica inclined :■ towards us. If their don't seem over-sympathically behaviour represented the feelings of the country there is not much chance of Greece joining ;the Allies. then Salonica iis a cosmopolitan place, and it is nothing unusual to see the shop 'signs painted in three or four or maybe five languages. Shopkeepers' Charges. 1 The placje abounds with Turks, •aand Germans are, of cotirse, not conspicuous by their abserice. The shopkeepers of every nationality are of one mind, and that is to extract as much money as possible from one's pockets, giving the minimum, of exchange for it. I was down in the city on duty recently and went into a decent-looking cafe with another sergeant. I for two" small coffees and rums and was charged" three drachmae (2/6). I thought the price at the most would have been one drachma (10d).

We are not supplied with bread,- only hard biscuits, and we have to pay.fi/- V \6p.i for bread in the shops and 8/8 per lb for. butter, everything else being as dear in proportions' Our fellows are not allowed 'in

the town except on duty.

About 11 o'clock last night I heard a noise. I grabbed my revolver, crept out of the tent, and saw a man. I covered him and caUed for the guard. • We are making new roads and dugouts near the spot. He stood rigid and when the guard came and flashed his lamp it temporarily blinded me, and although we searched for 20 minutes we couldn't find him again. They'd steal the cross off a donkey's back round these parts.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19160222.2.27

Bibliographic details

EXTORTION IN SALONIKA., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3524, 22 February 1916

Word Count
764

EXTORTION IN SALONIKA. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3524, 22 February 1916

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