ALLENBY AND THE ANZACS
THE SURAFEND INCIDENT
NATIVE MURDER AVENCED. LIGHT THROWN ON GENERAL'S
WELLINGTON. - In reference to General Ryrie's cabled comment on New Zealanders' responsibility for the Surafend incident, a New Zealand sol- dier writes to the press protesting against General Ryrie fastening the blame on New Zealanders. The writer says:—
"General Ryrie should haye pro- tested to General Allenby on the day the latter called his men 'a pack cf cowards and murderers.' If he thought the Australians were not blameworthy. General Ryrie should, in fairness to them, have resigned as the only course left to a soldier and a gentleman." The writer does not justify the men's actions at Surafend, but protests against New Zealanders alone being blamed. He proceeds. "Native pilferers had made camp life
unbearable. A New Zealand machine
gunner 'felt it' being pulled from un- der his bivouac at dead of night. He jumped up and was shot dead instant
ly by a native, who presumably escap- ed to a nearby-by village. This was the culminating point of the men's suf- ferings at the hands of thieves. Gen- eral Chaytor, commanding the Anzac Division at the time, was absent. The men met and formed a committee, which requested headquarters to take prompt action to avenge the New Zea- lander's death and stop Bedouin thiev- ing. The meeting, which was repre- sentative of the whole division of the Australians, were very emphatic that something must be done to avenge a foul murder. The men were thus in no
mood for trifling. Had headquarters confided in the committee as to what was being done to remedy matters, all would have been well. Time passed, and nothing happened. A mass meet- ing of the men then decided upon a course of action, which was that the village should be burned. Loss than half the N.Z. Brigade participated in this
reprisal. No arms were taken—only pick handles and sticks, the idea being to get the women children out (and thrash every male Arab and, if neces- sary, hold the shieks until the mur- derer was given up. The news leak- ed out, and instead of a few hundred colonials, there was thousands of sol- diers representing Great Britain and the Antipodes. Some of the natives showed fight, and about 30 males were killed in the melee. The women and children were removed before the fight started. Some days later General Al- lenby had the division paraded, and
he addressed the men in this strain:
"There was a time when I was proud of you, men of the Anzac Mounted Division. To-day I think you are nothing but a lot of cowards and
Slowly the "count" was taken up, "One, two, three, four, five!" With- out waiting to acknowledge the di- visional commanders' salute, the com- mander-in-chief wheeled his horse and galloped off the parade ground.
"That," the writer concludes, "is why Australasian troops are ignored in General Allenby's account of the campaign."