- Trimmer, L.S. Henry
- Biographies and personal histories, History - WW1
- RAN Ships
- HMAS AE2
- December 1984 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
We were bootless, but still they made us go out into the town and break stones from sunrise to sunset, with two hours off for dinner. The only extra rations we received were six or eight olives at midday. All of us now were very thin and weak and some were suffering from diarrhoea. On complaining of the inability to work the Commandant ordered the guard to beat us.
During June the American Ambassador sent us clothing, books, etc. The Commandant issues each man with one article, and the remainder was for sale in the prison canteen.
The latter end of October a party comprising British and Russian prisoners was sent to a town called San Ter Kely. This was a four days march, with hardly any clothes or boots on. On the outward journey we had rain; coming back snow. It was very noticeable that French prisoners were treated very different to ourselves. Before I close with Afion Kara Hissar, I must remark that this was the worst treatment I ever received in Turkey. It was one perpetual display of petty torments both by officers and men.
On January 18th 1916 we left Afion Kara Hissar for Belinedik. On arrival there we were handed over to a German company for work. As regards the company, if a man worked there was his money, if he did not work he received nothing. For the Turks, they inconvenienced us over parcels and letters – everything being tampered with. On one occasion I took my parcel to a Turkish officer to have it censored and in my parcel was a photograph of my sister, this officer took the photograph, did not destroy it, but hung it in his room. I endeavoured to get it back, but I was only insulted. During the time we were at Bilimedih many restrictions were removed from us.
On 23rd April 1917 I was sent to Raselain to work. We arrived at a station called Dirbera, about 40 miles from Raselain. Although we were sent under a company, at the place we had to work with the Turks as the company was not prepared to accept us. We worked for about one month, received no money, and our rations were a teacup of flour, one cup of cereal, some day meat. Working hours, sunrise to sunset. An Arab guard with us all the time who was very brutal.
I now jump over a period of one year. I was working at Nisibin and while there I join an escaping party on the 1st June 1918. We made an attempt to escape but the same night were captured by Arabs. We were beaten and taken before a Commander named Nurry Bey who ordered me to have forty lashes across my seat with a stick. This I received. One hour afterwards we were taken before another Commander named Solly Bey who ordered me to have 20 lashes on my bare feet. This I also received, afterwards I was put in an absolutely dark prison for ten days, receiving only three loaves of bread for rations.
All stated above I declare to be true.
(Sgd) Henry Trimmer
Late Submarine E15
Aleppo, 21st November 1918
(This article was kindly passed to ‘Naval Historical Review’ by Mr. Barry J. Frame, President of the Sawtell Sub-Section of the Naval Association of Australia.)