A CARAVAN OF 15 MEN AND 37 CAMELS
At Jalo the preparations for the
big march to the south were completed. My reorganized caravan consisted
of 15 men and 37 camels.
The arms for the trip were a
motley assortment —9 rifles, 4 revolvers, and 3,000 rounds of
ammunition. Three of the rifles were old Egyptian army weapons. The
others were Italian, Russian, and German guns smuggled into the Senussi
country by the German submarine gun runners during the World War, and
used in the Senussi attacks upon the western frontiers of Egypt under
the leadership of Sayed Ahmed, cousin of Sayed Idris, who was under the
influence of Turkish and German officers.
During the desert journey these
guns were seldom used except upon our approach to a Bedouin settlement
in an oasis, on which occasions I ordered each man of the caravan to
fire three rounds, ostensibly as a salute, but in reality to impress the
possibly hostile natives with our armed strength. Sometimes, also,
gazelles and other game were shot to provide meat for my men.
THE OASIS OF
This is an important trading
center for caravans en route to Benghazi, on the Mediterranean coast,
from French Equatorial Africa. It has many wells and date palms,
sustaining a population of 2,000. [photo page 242]
Most of the members of the
caravan remained with me throughout the journey, going back to Cairo,
and, as a tribute to their loyalty and indefatigability, I can only say
that, in the event I should ever attempt to repeat the journey, I could
wish no better fortune than to have every man of them in the party.