An Afghan Sentry at Kandahar
Sketch by
Lieutenant Robert Baden-Powell


The Image of War—Patrols and Picnics A Curious Superstition—Jock Fights a Wild Cat—Afghan Depredations—Relics of Alexander the Great—Camp Rumours —Abdurrahman Waits—The Horses Stampede—A Subaltern’s Opinion of the Government—A Study in Contrasts—Rifle Stealing—An Ingenious Plan—Further Losses—I Shoot Myself—I Hear my Death Announced —Digging for the Bullet—Convalescence—Stalked by a Leopard—A Rough and Tumble

THE process of settling the country after war was like Jorrocks’ fox-hunting, "the image of war with only twenty per cent of its danger!" It was the best possible form of military training for us youngsters; it taught us by actual practice in the field rather than through the tedium of barrack-square instruction all the dodges and all the responsibilities of soldier-craft; it put us into closest touch and comradeship with our men, a big step to successful work in campaigning; and it showed us that the Drill Book is not a fetish that will carry you through every difficulty if you only adhere blindly to its letter, but is rather a statement of general principles which will guide you aright if you appreciate their spirit; that Tactics are after all not so much a science as the application of commonsense to the situation.

I found myself thoroughly happy in the life I was leading. "I enjoy this business awfully, there is always something to do," I wrote in my diary. There was indeed no lack of occupation. One day we would be hunting up one of the bands of robbers in an adjacent pass, only to find that "the brutes had gone," as I phrased it, so I made a map of the pass for Sir Baker instead. Another day I would be sent out reconnoitering with a troop; or enjoying a picnic as if war were a thing unheard of; a third would find me in charge of an in-lying picket, which meant sitting all ready in my tent, with my horse saddled the whole day and my troop the same, ready to turn out and to march within two minutes of the alarm. Then at dusk we would go out of camp about a mile, post vedettes and send out patrols every hour throughout the night to examine the neighbourhood. We would take two tents with us but keep dressed with our horses saddled, all ready to turn out. At daybreak we would move out to examine a post some five miles off and then back to camp. Sometimes it was so cold at night that instead of putting up the tent our men would prefer to roll themselves up in it on the ground. They had to wear Balaclava caps, that is, knitted night-caps which came down all over their head and neck, with eye-holes to look out from. We succeeded in getting a great deal of experience, as we were constantly expecting attacks, and the long and bitterly cold nights on outpost duty hardened us thoroughly.

"If anybody ever talks to me again about the honour
and glory of soldiering, I’ll be b—-y rude to him."
Sketch by Lieutenant Robert Baden-Powell

At Kokoran we had some pretty bad weather, first in the shape of heavy snow; but living in tents was not so bad as we had expected because, by building round our tent a low wall of mud bricks about two feet high, and making a fire-place at the end, one kept very warm in spite of the cold weather outside. Then came gales, and downpours of rain and sleet which meant much discomfort for us living in the open. On one occasion our native grass cutters were caught in a kind of blizzard and one of them was stunned by hail-stones and frozen to death. I have not forgotten his return to the regiment. He was brought in by his fellows across the back of a pony, and one of the men who had charge of the grass-cutters took him in his arms and carried him through the horse lines trying to find which troop he belonged to, calling out as is usual with soldiers when they have found something: "Does anybody own this?" Finally, being unable to find an owner, he put the poor thing in a sack and buried him outside the camp.

This soldier was one of the old type that are seldom met with nowadays, a splendid rider and swordsman, very smart and clean in his ways and devotedly loyal to his officers. With is brick-dust face and red hair he was just the type of British soldier that one likes to have with one on service. He had a peculiar superstition that you should never pass by a dead body on the right-hand side of the road, so on the line of march whenever he saw the corpse of a native—and one passed a good many of them—on the wrong side of the road, he would carefully dismount and carry or drag it across to the other side and deposit it there. Fortunately for him, by the time we returned from Afghanistan most of the remains had been buried, otherwise he would have had the trouble of doing the whole of the work over again.

Men become curiously callous about death when on service. I remember one of our officers shouting violently for his servant, and unable to get his attendance. He was very angry with the absentee, until someone told him the man had died of cold on which the officer said: "Why couldn’t somebody have told me before instead of letting me shout myself hoarse? Where is he now?" He found the poor body being used by his fellow servants as a saddle rack on which to clean their saddles until it was time to take him out to be buried.

My little dog Jock was a great comfort and companion to me at this time, and he distinguished himself at Maiwand by having a fight with a wild cat which nearly put an end to his career. He formed a great attachment for my charger, and when she was still in the riding school he used to trot off at her heels from the stables to the school and keep the same position all through her training lessons, faithfully following her in all her evolutions as she was walked and trotted to and fro, circling and turning for an hour or two in every direction.

I took a lot of trouble about the horses of our troop, feeding up the thin ones and giving extra work to the fat ones, visiting them at night to see that they had blankets and were able to lie down, etc. All this took up much time but it brought its reward in the shape of special praise for our troop from the General at the inspection.

Sometimes we would form a picnic party and I remember one that was nearly fatal to Jock. We had lunch in an orchard, but before that we climbed half-way up a mountain to look at a great cave there. This continued for some few hundred yards and then branched off into four passages, one of which was said to have no end to it. In one place they pointed out there was a sort of bottomless pit. Of course Jock ran up to see too, and, with one short squeak, immediately fell down into it. We gave him up as lost and peered over the edge to look at his mangled remains, when we saw him running about ten feet below us hunting imaginary cats. The hole in that part was not very deep although in one corner it became a well, so Jock scrambled up again out of the place all right, though all night he kept me awake with his groaning, as he had sprained both his forelegs, but he soon recovered.

We were hard up for news just then; the telegraph had broken down, the rivers were so swollen that no travellers had come up lately, and about three out of every four mail runners seemed to get caught and killed by Afghans.

One night a sentry over our transport animals was attacked by an Afghan with a long knife and was wounded in the arm; he shot at the fellow but missed him. The Afghan was probably coming to steal a mule or camel. Several had recently been stolen in Kandahar. A camel and some mules had disappeared a few nights previously, stolen by Afghans from a spot from which one would have thought it would have been impossible to do so. The transport animals were herded inside the circular enclosure of a mud wall about seven feet high. The gate was barred, and the sentry walked round and round the place keeping a constant watch on it. The thieves worked it thus. One got over the wall with one end of a rope in his hand and one remained outside with the other end. A third got on the top of the wall and lay flat there with a pot of water. The two on each side then sawed the rope backwards and forwards while the top man watered the wall at that spot. In this way they managed to cut down through the wall by sawing the rope across it. Then they made another cut a few feet further on and knocked down the piece of wall between the two cuts, thus making a doorway through which they were able to run out some of the animals from inside. Of course they kept a good lookout for the sentry and every time he came by they lay low, and he had no warning of what they were doing until he heard the rumbling of the falling wall and the rattle of the hoofs of the animals as they were led away.

The first intimation that we were shortly to leave Kandahar and return to India came to us indirectly. One day the price of jam went down to one rupee a pot, which showed that the Parsee merchants were expecting that we should leave soon and were selling off accordingly; and they generally know things before anybody else does. In the bazaar at Kandahar one of the money-changers had an old Greek coin lying amongst his cash, for which I gave him a rupee. Later I found that a very large number of such coins had been bought here, as they were those of Alexander the Great. When I was at Chakdara in 1897 a Greek signet ring was found while the troops were digging rain-trenches round their tents. This helped to give colour to the contention that Alexander’s route into India was through the Swat Valley at the Chakdara crossing. Very little money is used in this part, people much prefer to barter and exchange things. For instance, an Afghan who had a pony for sale would not take rupees for it, but was very glad to exchange it for an English coat, waistcoat, and breeches.

Rumour is nowhere busier than in camp, and we were always hearing of what was about to, but never did, happen. The following is a characteristic page from my diary.

"Here’s a jolly lark! A heliogram has just come: ordering us to be ready to march at a moment’s notice within the next forty-eight hours, but as it was sent by the last rays of the setting sun, I do not suppose they will turn us out until to-morrow morning at any rate. However. I have been down to my troop and warned them to be ready, and my servant has meantime got my necessary things packed for two mules. The worst of it is we have no clue as to where we are to go; some say it is only to Maiwand again to bury the dead whom we found lying about there last time. The General believes that we are going to take a certain town about seventy miles off where the people are said to have captured our native cook and refused to give him up without a ransom of 300 rupees. We are all in great hopes that at last we are going to get a shot at the Afghans—the worst of it is it looks as if it were going to snow like fits."

Then follows the inevitable climax—or rather anti-climax:

"Still here. The orders were never carried out after all, but we know now that we are to evacuate Kandahar and to return to Quetta. Report says that the first brigade starts in two days, if so, we shall start four days afterwards, being the rear guard. However, I am glad we are not on the march just now; the mornings are fine but in the afternoon it pours, with thunder storms and hail. Three days ago it came down in sheets and hailed tremendously for two or three hours. We are on the side of a hill but in spite of that the whole place was flooded, about two to three feet of water in one great sheet carrying away the tents, etc. It also undermined our big outer wall, which fell in in two places, making a gap of about fifty yards: then in another place the near wall bulged so badly that we pulled it over with a rope. The orderly belonging to the 8th Bengal Cavalry, who brings out our letters from Kandahar here, was carried away and drowned, although mounted and having no regular river to cross. The men’s barrack-room and the native buildings here were flooded with water, and when that ran off a sea of mud was left. I saw my sergeant-major just now examining all the likely lumps of mud for one of his boots which was missing; he went about with a kettle pouring water on to each lump as the easiest way of dissolving it and showing what it contained!"

One night I had to wear a bonnet in a piece that we were acting; I had one of my old maps of the Maiwand battlefield and thought it would make good stiffening for the bonnet, so I sent it over to the tailor to make up. Later he told me that there were sergeants and other people wanting the loan of the bonnet after I had finished with it. At first I was greatly puzzled: but I discovered that it was to copy out the map of the battle to send home to their pals.

The Artillery had a lot of ammunition for which they could not get carriage down country, so they used it up by practicing battering the walls of the deserted city of Old Kandahar. I sent a sketch of it to the Graphic as "a parting shot at Kandahar." Abdurrahman with 8,000 men of the Afghan army was camped about twenty miles off waiting for us to clear out before he took possession of Kandahar, everything having been arranged peaceably by the political officers.

One night towards the end of our time it blew a hurricane and hailed heavily. I heard the orderly officer being called about midnight, so I got up and went out with him and found that nearly all the horses in my troop and the next one had broken loose and were galloping about in the dark. A tent had blown straight up into the sky and had flown right over one troop and dropped in the middle of mine and the next, and had naturally frightened the horses out of their lives. They had strained at their head and heel ropes and, the ground being wet, had torn the pegs out and were rushing all over the place. Some of them had the sense to form up amongst the other horses and had remained there until fastened up again, others returned when the trumpeters sounded "Feed," but a number had galloped off into the country and the men had to go out to find them and collect them.

All were eventually recaptured except one, A44, the horse ridden by the Regimental Sergeant-Major and therefore about the best in the regiment. I was very anxious to find this horse, so I took a long ride round on "Dick" to see if I could find its tracks anywhere. I had long practiced the art of tracking and was now able to put it to some use: also I had taught "Dick" among other circus tricks to stand alone when I left him and wait till I returned. These two accomplishments came in useful on this occasion. After some searching I came across the trail of a horse galloping away from the camp. I followed this up for two or three miles until it struck up into the mountains over such steep rugged ground that I left "Dick" standing where he was and clambered on foot after the runaway. After a time I spied him outlined against the sky, right on the top of the mountain, and after a long time I got to the place and found him standing there shivering with cold, apparently dazed and very badly cut about the legs with the iron tent peg which was still hanging on to his head rope. It was an awful job to get him down the mountain side, but at last I managed it, and was very pleased when I got him safely back to camp. The Colonel also was delighted.

A British subaltern is apt to fall into the error of hasty judgment, especially where his own immediate affairs are concerned. A little matter of transport seems, if I may trust my diary, to have drawn from me the following uncompromising opinion of the ruling powers of India:

"We are on our way down from Kandahar. The dirty Government sent us up here with orders to bring our whole kit, which means they give us three and a half mules for transport to each subaltern. Now they suddenly tell us we shall have to go back on a reduced scale: each mule is supposed to carry about 160 pounds so we came up with 560 pounds, and now they say we must only take 160 pounds, including one’s tent and bedding—the tent weighs 80 pounds and bedding about 40—which does not leave much margin for three boxes of uniform, clothes, boots, books, horse-clothing, servants’ baggage, stable gear, etc. It is not because they have not enough transport animals either, for the snivelling fiends are offering to take it down for us if we like to pay! It would cost me about £16 to take down the things that I brought up here as far as Sibi where the railway begins. However, I am going to chuck away my old things, load up my second charger with baggage and buy a pony or mule of my own, and by so doing shall save something; but is it not beastly of the Government?"

It was rather amusing to us to see it stated in the newspapers at home that the chief reason why Kandahar had been held so long was that the officers and men liked it so much that they were unwilling to leave it. As a matter of fact the opposite was the case. Officers and men alike were most anxious to get back to India out of that unhealthy desert. At one time, for instance, there was immense excitement at Kandahar because three days had passed without the 11th Regiment losing a single man. However, the balance was restored on the fourth day by five men dying. We of the 13th were lucky, losing only one man up there through pneumonia. The 11th lost an average of one man a day all the time they were there, and all the other regiments lost large numbers.

When at last we received orders to leave Kokoran and Kandahar the 13th was ordered to form the rear guard and to parade at a certain hour so as to move off from Kokoran immediately in the rear of the infantry, but the Colonel had told me to find out the best road to follow, and I found that by one particular short cut we could save at least two hours’ marching. So he ordered the regiment to delay its departure accordingly. The General heard of this and asked his reason. When the Colonel gave it the General said that his staff officers knew the country perfectly well and would not have given the order for parade for that hour had it been possible to economise time as he suggested. The Colonel replied more politely but generally to the effect that he did not care what the staff officers’ ideas of the country were, he knew better and proposed to rest his men and horses until the last moment and he used my short cut accordingly, and we were exactly at the right time at the appointed place. I mention this little incident because it was from it that I date my ultimate promotion at the hands of Sir Baker Russell.

On the day we were to march from Kokoran our mounted sentries were relieved by those of the Afghan army of Abdurrahman, and it was an amusing contrast to see the Hussars, who for this occasion were dressed in full kit, relieved by rough looking "catch-’em-alive-o" warriors who while on duty carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. After we had marched out same distance I suddenly recollected that we had left in our mess a coloured print from the Graphic of Millais’ "Cherry Ripe." I somehow did not want it to fall into the hands of the Afghans, so I rode back and fetched it away with me, and for a long time afterwards it decorated my tent and bungalow; so, accidentally, I was the last Britisher to leave Kandahar.

The march down country was chiefly remarkable for the number of attempts made by the hill tribes to steal horses, rifles, and ammunition from the troops. The Afghans are wonderfully keen thieves and will risk anything to get a rifle or ammunition. Many of them come into the camp as spies, working as camel-men or mule-drivers. They find out how the arms are stowed at night and then let their friends outside know, and this has been the cause of many very clever thefts of rifles from time to time.

In one regiment the rifles were piled up round the poles of the tents and then locked there by a chain which was passed through the trigger guard of each rifle and then padlocked. In the big two-pole tents this seemed to be an absolute safeguard, especially with the men sleeping all round the tent and the entrances laced up. But the thieves got over the difficulty in this way. With their knives they cut all the tent ropes on one side of the tent and threw the tent over on the top of the sleeping men. Then, seizing the rifles underneath the canvas, they simply slipped them off the foot of the tent poles still chained together, made off with the two bundles, loaded them on to camels and were well away before the men had struggled out from under the canvas trap in which they found themselves.

On another occasion in a regiment which had suffered from these thefts the men dug a hole under the floor of each tent and buried their rifles there and slept on the top of them, but even this precaution did not stop the thieves, for having found out exactly where the rifles were stowed they carefully and silently dug from outside the tent a small tunnel leading down to where the rifles were buried, and thus abstracted them without disturbing the men sleeping above them.

Having seen in South Africa the way of stopping diamonds from being stolen by the diamond-thieves, which was by lighting up the whole place brilliantly at night, I used the same principle when marching with my regiment through Northern India. Rifles are of no use at night for sentries, since they carry far and may miss a foe and hit a friend, so every night we had all the rifles collected and stacked in front of the guard tent and carefully covered by tarpaulins. A ring of lamps was posted round them and two sentries were placed in charge with shot-guns loaded with slugs and with orders to fire on anyone entering the circle of light. This had the desired effect, as we never lost a rifle during our long march, and yet a native regiment which was brigaded with us and was largely composed of men of similar propensities, who ought to have been able to catch their thieves, lost rifles on more than one occasion.

During the march down the Afghans gave us a lot of work at night. They would creep into camp in spite of the fact that there were sentries every hundred yards with two or three natives in between, and the tents were pitched in a square with the horses and mules inside it. At one camp four rifles and a heliograph were stolen out of a tent in my troop which was inhabited by four infantry soldiers attached to us. Later an Afghan galloped up in the middle of the night, cut the head and heel ropes of the end horse in my horse lines and was trying to make off with it when two of our men went for him and he galloped away.

That same night we also had a camel, a pony, and a donkey stolen. The next night I had two grand horses put at the flanks of my troop line; one was an animal that would never leave the stable under any persuasion unless he saw all the rest of the troop going; the other was quiet enough in the day, but went mad with excitement at night and would yell, kick, and bite at anyone who went near him. Some thieves tried to cut them adrift early in the evening but could do nothing with either, and had to bolt on the approach of the sentry. They had better luck in "E" troop, where they cut a horse’s lines and were walking off with him when the sentry saw the horse going but did not see the men, so he called to the sergeant of the guard that a horse had broken loose and was trotting away from the lines. The sergeant went out and made a detour to catch the horse, and to his surprise found it in the charge of three Afghans, who promptly heaved stones at him and bowled him over. However, they let go the horse, which went straight back to his lines.

This was all early in the evening. I got up about 1.30 to go round the sentries and if possible to do a bit of thief-catching. I hid myself in a good spot between two horses and waited for ever so long with a sword ready; but none came, so I left them and went to another place. I had not been gone ten minutes before four Afghans were seen by the sentry crawling along the ground at that very spot, and the idiot did not shoot one of them: so I turned in disgusted at 3.30. Next night, however, I was resolved I would get one, and after mess went to my tent to get my revolver out. I was examining it previous to loading, to see it was properly oiled, when I heard the sentry close by challenge someone in the dark. I knew what that meant, for generally the Afghans work in pairs; one of them will crawl about in front of the sentry and attract his attention, while the other sneaks up behind the man end states him, or goes for the horse and cuts it loose, and gets away with it. As I ran out of my tent to help the sentry I clicked my pistol to see if it worked right before shoving the cartridges in. By Jove, it did work all right! To my great surprise it went off and hit me in the left leg. At the same time that this happened Tommy Tomkins, the man in my troop who is so fond of corpses, ran up with his gun and made a corpse of one of the two Afghans, while the other got away safely. I found afterwards that my servant had loaded the pistol for me in anticipation of my wanting it, when I had left it purposely unloaded. The bullet went in at the top of the calf and settled somewhere down about my heel. The doctor, after probing for it nine times without success, said it was not worth while bothering to cut it out as it would be quite comfortable there. The only drawback was that I had now to ride in a dhooli, that is a covered stretcher, instead of on horseback with my troop.

While I lay in my tent next morning waiting to be carted off I heard the voices of two of my men close by. "Have you heard the news, Tom? Poul has shot himself." "No, has he?" "Yes, and the corpse is in there." Then there was some fingering at the lacing at the back of my tent with a view to a peep, till I called to ask who was there, and some startled scampering took place.

At length there came a day when it was possible to feel the bullet inside my leg. It was where I had expected to find it, just below the ankle-joint and not where the doctor had assured me it was, close to the knee. After fingering it about for some little time, the medico assured me it would require but a very simple operation to get it out. "A slit with a penknife through the skin would do it," he said; "you will merely have to squeeze with finger and thumb and the bullet will squirt out like a cherry stone." He would come along in the afternoon and do it for me.

I thought little or nothing of it until his servant arrived with a huge case of instruments which he laid out in my room, and then prepared basins, waterproof sheets, sponges and all the paraphernalia of a major operation. Then the assistant doctor came upon the scene and talked about the weather to such an extent that I began to realise that something serious was on hand. Finally the boss doctor himself arrived; he had been lunching, and when he lunched he lunched well. He asked if all was ready and whether or no I wanted chloroform. I said certainly not, as it was only a small matter like squeezing out a "cherry-stone," and that I should like to watch how it was done. He asked with some concern if there was any brandy in the place. I said: "Yes, but I shall not want it." He said: "No, but I do." And he took it. A pretty stiff nip too!

The junior doctor then took his seat upon me, and the old one got to work, jabbing a knife into me. He apparently took a bad shot the first time and jabbed it in again in another place, and then proceeded to do the "squeezing the cherry-stone " business. He found that the bullet had no intention of popping out as he expected, but was in reality embedded underneath a thin muscle and had got a hardened shell round it. This needed a certain amount of mining operation with a thing like a spoon with sharp edges. His hand was not steady, and he kept diving into the wrong place and then correcting his aim. Finally he commenced what turned out to be like the old Moore and Burgess entertainment, "ten minutes genuine fun without vulgarity." I had got the corner of my pillow in my mouth, and the servant mopped my brow and fanned me, but all came right in the end, and after a good deal of jabbing and digging and pulling with tweezers the old boy triumphantly held up the bullet before my eyes. And I was mighty glad to see it!

Sir Oliver St. John took me in at the Residency at Quetta and made me comfortable while I was getting over my wounded leg. And I shan’t forget my first day in his charming garden. I was brought in on my stretcher and left on the lawn under the shade of a tree to enjoy life by myself. Presently I saw with some apprehension a great big leopard stalking quietly about among the flower-beds. Suddenly he saw me, and, after looking at me coldly for a few moments, he gradually crouched lower and lower until he was flat with the ground, and then he calmly proceeded to stalk me, creeping nearer and nearer, inch by inch, and going more and more slowly as he got the nearer. All I seemed to see was a horrid grinning mouth, yellow-green eyes, and ears laid back, with a black tip of tail switching to and fro behind him. Meantime I was lying perfectly helpless in my cot and fascinated with terror; for, although I knew him to be a tame beast, with these grown-up cats you never know where you are. Nearer and nearer he came! Then he seemed to knot himself together, and with one mighty bound he was on top of me, with all the weight of a nightmare. I no longer pretended coolness, but simply yowled for help, with his grinning face about an inch from my own. Fortunately help was close at hand, and Sir Oliver’s Afghan orderly, the same who had rescued his dog on the battlefield at Maiwand, ran up and tackled the leopard. In a few moments they were wrestling and rolling over each other, in what appeared to be a desperate struggle, but which, as a matter of fact, was all play, for they were the best of comrades. However, to prevent recurrence of such an incident the leopard was after this chained up to its tree, and I used to watch it by the hour and try to sketch it in its beautiful, graceful movements and positions. I was genuinely sorry when some weeks later it got its chain caught up in the tree and so hanged itself.

It was at Quetta that I got my first trial as a Scout. Some of our regiment were told off to act as enemy in some night operations for the protection of the cantonment, and we were told to creep in as far as possible and find out how the sentries, supports, and pickets were posted. Eager to do the work well, we of course started the moment that we were allowed to try and carry out our duties. Naturally the sentries were very much on the qui vive, and a good many of our scouts were observed by the sentries and either captured or driven back. Some of us managed to find out a good deal as to the location of the enemy’s outposts and were then glad to lie down and have a sleep on some heaps of bhoosa (chopped straw). Waking up some hours later, from the cold, I thought it might warm me up to go and try again to get more information. Knowing pretty well where the sentries were posted, I was able to evade them and to crawl past them to one of the supports.

Having had all their excitement in the earlier part of the evening in driving us back, they apparently supposed we had retired for good and therefore the look-out was not so sharply kept as in the earlier part of the night. I had therefore no difficulty in getting past the support, and then in keeping along in rear to find the position of other supports, and eventually by following one of their visiting patrols I found the exact location of the reserve. Having gone as far as I could, I left my glove under a bush on the bank of the ravine by which I had arrived, and made my way back with my report to my own people, just as dawn was breaking. Later on, when the dispositions of both sides were being criticised by the General, a doubt was expressed whether our scouts had really gathered their information from personal observation or had merely made guesses of the outposts, since the defenders maintained that it was impossible for scouts to get through at the spots mentioned. I was able, however, to prove our case by directing them where to find my glove.

I was at that time a smoker, but I afterwards learnt from some American scouts how helpful it was on such occasions to be able to smell the whereabouts of the enemy’s outposts and thus to creep past them. These scouts did not smoke because they held that such practice is apt to destroy or to deaden very much the sense of smell. I therefore gave up smoking and have never taken to it since, and I certainly found the value of being able to smell an enemy at night; it has been useful to me on more occasions than one. But whether it is actually the case that smoking handicaps one in this way I cannot say.

Sketch by Baden-Powell

From: Baden-Powell, Memories of India, 1915.

  Forward by Sir Robert Baden-Powell
  From Chapter III. The Sport of Kings and the King of Sports. B-P tells an amusing story of Young Winston Churchill, his devotion to the sport of polo, and early evidence of his talent for public speaking.
  Chapter VIII. When the Tribes are Out. The Afghan War—The Great March—Ordered up to Kandahar—A Warlike Atmosphere—The Expedition of I842—The Camel and His Ways—Kandahar—A Dangerous City—Theatricals Under Difficulties—A Serious Mistake—Afghan Nerve—Attacked by Ghazis —The Crack of Doom—The Field of Maiwand—A Broken Square—A Heroic Chaplain—A Narrow Escape
  Chapter XI. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright. A Possible Interrogation—I Go in Pursuit of Tigers— Smith-Dorrien at Work—The Party Meets—The Old Hands—A Native Weakness—How to Beat for Tigers— A Dead Enemy—A Native Village—Nearly a Fatality— Camp Literature—I Become Doctor—I Get a Bear— Camp Life—A Tiger’s Wings—The Mahout—The Tables Turned—Table Delicacies—Jungle Yachts— The End of the Ghost
  Chapter XII. A Frontier Row. The Value of the North-West Frontier—Village Warfare —Readiness and Efficiency—How an Irishman Got a Dog and a Breakfast for Nothing—Trouble in the Buner Country—The Subaltern in War-time—The Pessimistic Afridi—A Terrified Jehu—Sniping—The Morning of the Fight—Sir Bindon’s Dispositions—The Artillery Triumphs—Touching the Button—Rock-rolling—An Exciting Race—The Bravest Man I Ever Saw—The Enemy in Retreat—An Exhausting Climb—The Tribute of a Foe—The Trophies of War—Our Casualties
  Chapter XIV. The Elephant as Gentleman. Sentiment About the Elephant—His Mathematical Mind—"Dandelion’s" Idiosyncrasies—Her Courage in the Face of an Enemy—The Elephant Who Died—A Problem in Sanitation—The Jungle Ship—Sea Legs— The Genius of the Elephant—His Timidity—Jock’s Victory—The Duchess of Connaught’s Adventure— The Elephant’s Caution—He Utilises Human Material— A Malefactor Flogged by Elephants—The Elephant in War—An Elephant Fight

  The Baden-Powell Library
A Selection of excerpts from the works of Sir Robert Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career.
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Last Modified: 2:50 PM on August 9, 1997