By Gertrude BellGertrude Bell Project
[July 2, 1924]
Darling Father. Here is the first letter to go to you in Ceylon [Sri Lanka] via Mother. But I shall try to catch you next week on the Moldavia at Port Said which will be a very intelligent thing to do. You should arrive there about the 17th I reckon.
The most interesting thing which happened during this week was a performance by the R.A.F., a bombing demonstration. It was even more remarkable than the one we saw last year at the Air Force Show because it was much more real. They had made an imaginary village about a quarter of a mile from where we sat on the Diyala [(Sirwan)] dyke and the two first bombs, dropped from 3000 ft, went straight into the middle of it and set it alight. It was wonderful and horrible. They then dropped bombs all round it, as if to catch the fugitives and finally firebombs which even in the bright sunlight, made flares of bright flame in the desert. They burn through metal, and water won't extinguish them. At the end the armoured cars went out to round up the fugitives with machine guns. "And now" said the AVM wearily, "they'll insist on getting out and letting of [sic] trench mortars. They are really no good, but the men do love it so that I can't persuade them not to." Sure enough they did.
I was tremendously impressed. It's an amazingly relentless and terrible thing, war from the air.
[July 6, 1922]
In conclusion I may mention that there is a gathering cloud in the north. The Turks are assembling troops in Van and have sent fresh officers and promised reinforcements at Rawanduz [Rawandiz]. An exceedingly lively propaganda is being conducted among the Kurdish tribes and our General Staff regards the situation as grave. Meantime in Sulaimani [Sulaymaniyah, As] we have not yet caught the murderers of Capt Bond and Capt Makant who are in close touch with the Turks at Rawanduz. The RAF has done wonders bombing insurgent villages in extremely difficult country, but it takes them all their time to keep a sufficient number of machines in the air and now if we are called upon to bomb Rawanduz intensively, our resources will be strained to the utmost.
Our Kurdish policy needs revision, as you will see from the enclosed Memo (strictly confidential) which I have submitted to H.E. But we cannot hope for any permanent settlement till we have peace with the Kamalists - if ever.
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