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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Andrae, Walter
Iraq ยป Hatra

35.5759256, 42.7344873

Sat Ap 8. [8 April 1911] Rain in night and still raining in early morning
but it cleared about 7 and I went out and photographed. Presently
one Hikmet, a major, sent for me and I found that he was in command
and that I ought to have paid him a complementary visit. But he was
soon pacified after he had seen my papers. The soldiers and all their
equipment in splendid care, only one man had died (2 days before)
while they had been here. But no sanitary arrangements and the ruins
filthy dirty. Made great friends with a young lieutenant of the mountain
battery, Mehmed Mehdi from Baghdad. He had been a soldier 2
years and all the time at war, first in the Muntefiq expedition (which
Nazim Pasha recalled, Yusef Pasha was in command) and then in the
Shammar ditto. He wd hear no good of Nazim, said he had nearly
turned him anarchist. All the credit of the Shammar expedition due to
Riza Beg. He talked much, as Andrae had done of the wealth and
splendour of the Muntefiq. At midday it clouded over again and
heavy rain fell while I lunched. Major Hikmet paid me a visit and then
came Mehmed Mehdi and 'Abd ul Latif Effendi. The Major is a Kurd
from Suleimanyeh [Sulaymaniyah, As]. When it cleared Mehmed
Mehdi and I went to the ruins and found a way into the closed room
where we photographed the doorway with Trajanic reliefs with flash
light. Kheir Inshallah. Then I had coffee in his tent and went with him
and 'Abd ul Latif to see the tombs by the east gate of the town. One
has 2 rudely corbelled domes, another engaged columns. So back
to the roof of the palace to photograph and sat there some time with
Mehmed, Hikmet and the Idara Raisi who was just off with the
sandah[?] to the Khabur. Mehmed Mehdi came to tea with me and we
talked politics for a long time. They are all very pro English
apparently. He says they had 5000 Shammar tents here, a third of the
tribe. Another third is on the Khabur and some of the others east of
Tigris. He rather expects to be sent now on the Muntefiq expedition.
There are a good many soldiers now at Kut [Kut, Al (Kut al Imara)] (but
I think this may be only a blind.) He says at least 15000 men are
needed for that job. I doubt whether they have them.

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