Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 347
Going all that night we came to the Sea of Galilee at Tiberius just as dawn was breaking and that is where I received your mail dated August 17th., so it came very quickly. I fell asleep reading it.
After a while we had a swim in the Sea which is fresh and felt much better. Our squadron under Clive Bleachmore had to push on that afternoon to reconoitre a couple of Jewish villages. They were pretty places, red-tiled houses and gardens. The people were pleased to see us but half an hour after we were there were trying to sell us bread for 3/- a loaf. The Jews!
We were going on practically all that night and the next morning I found myself detailed as "screen" – that is, out in front of the whole Division. I had to reconoitre the Jordan to see if they had blown up a bridge. Then within a mile or so of the River one of our planes came over flying very low. He had been brought down but managed to land safely and I rode across to him. The pilot was shot through the leg and the observer said 'the bridge is blown up and about a dozen of the enemy are holding it with a machine gun'. I pushed on but making the next ridge I could see nearer 1,200 and we were shelled. I got a section right down to near the river into a village but they were soon emptied out with the guns. The lance-corporal got the Military Medal for this as he gained valuable information for me. Well it was all day before we could cross the River. We had to climb a hill like Mount Lofty leading our horses. I never felt so tired in all my life. We had a spell that morning and then pushed on.
We ran into the enemy again about 5 pm. They were holding a high hill commanding the road and waited till we were right up to them and then opened up with 10 machine guns and a battery of big ones. A fair number were hit but I managed to get away to the left over the rough country. At night we made a dismounted attack on the place and soon had it. Chiefly Germans were holding it, and they said they never thought it possible for horses to get off the road like we did and they reckoned to kill us all. That night after we got the position we put out our posts all round. A couple of hours afterwards I went fossicking among the rocks and dragged out four Germans who were hiding there. One started to cry because he made sure I was going to shoot him. The big kid. I punched him in the jaw and told him to "shut up".
Pushing on from here, Damascus was our objective, and it was a long ride. The country right through was very rough. High, rocky hills everwhere and the flat country was also rocky.
As we approached Damascus we met with a little opposition but there was not much fight left in them. We had taken in all some 70,000 prisoners. I was in the "screen" the afternoon approaching Damascus and our brigade had to move right round to the North to cut off a road. We got right up into the high hills and suddenly we ran into a place where, looking down, we could see the enemy retiring along this road through a very pretty village. Well in no time we had a hail of lead along that road and the next morning, when we passed