Volume 1: Letters written on active service, A-L, 1914-1919 - Page 161
due Nth to a place named Homs, which is on the Main Railway to Aleppo, & about 100 miles distant from the latter place.
It was at Homs we received news of the Armistice with Turkey & of course went no farther as another Division was then moving up the coast & ultimately occupied Aleppo.
After a spell at Homs of about 3 weeks during which time I had a trip to Tripoli 75 miles distance on the coast, we received orders to move south to a very historical place on the main railway line named Baalbeck.
Now Baalbeck has some magnificent old Roman ruins which to my mind out rivals anything I have seen in Egypt. so we just had a look round the place when my Squadron got orders to march on to a place called Rayak about 13 miles farther south, leaving out Regt. Hd. Qrs. & two Sqdns at Baalbeck.
However on reaching Rayak, our Troop had still farther to go, so we marched on again to a place called Shtora another 12 miles on the Beirout line, and it is at this place where our little party of 16 men, "a sadly depleted Troop" is now stationed.
I will enclose a rough sketch of our position to convey to you some idea where to look for our position on your Map if you have one, which I no doubt you have. [See hand-drawn map on page 159.]
Rayak you will find is the termination of the broad gauge line from Constantinople, also the junction of the two narrow gauge lines running to Damascus & Beirout respectively. It is at Rayak our Sqdn Hdqrs & two Troops are. So our little party is somewhat isolated. We are just here to keep order amongst the inhabitants & protect them from bands of robbers which occasionally come down out of the Mts & carry off stock & foodstuffs of the unfortunate populace in the valley below. Our troops at Rayak have experienced one raid since we have come down here, but these brigands suffered pretty heavily, 6 or 7 being killed & 20 or so taken prisoners.
This occured about a fortnight ago, but since then everything has been OK out our way.
You will see by my insignificant sketch we are situated in a valley or at least on a plateau, being 3000 ft above sea level with Mts on either side of us, towering up to 8,000 or 9000 ft in height.