Most Cypriots and British today do not know that Cypriots even served in the Great War. This book contributes to the growing literature on the role of the British non-settler empire in the Great War by exploring the service of the Cypriot Mule Corps on the Salonica Front, and after the war in Constantinople. This book speaks to a number of interlocking historiographies, contributing to various debates especially around enlistment/volunteerism, imperial loyalty and veterans' issues. At the most basic level, it reconstructs the story of Cypriot Mule Corps' contribution, of transporting wounded men and supplies to the front, across steep mountains, with dangerous ravines and in extreme climates. The book argues that Cypriot mules and mule drivers played a pivotal role in British logistics in Salonica and Constantinople, especially the former. It explores the impact of the war on Cypriot socio-economic conditions, particularly of so many men serving abroad on the local economy and society. The issues that arose for the British in relation to the contracts they offered the Cypriots, contracts offered to the muleteers, and problems of implementing the promise of an allotment scheme are also discussed. Behavioural problems one finds with military corps, such as desertion and crime, were not prevalent in the Cypriot Mule Corps. The book also explores the impact of death and incapacity on veterans and dependants, looking at issues that veterans faced after returning and resettling into Cypriot life.
The reader may ask, Who cares about a group of Cypriot muledrivers and a handful of interpreters in the British army serving in
Macedonia and Constantinople during and immediately following the Great War?
The importance is not merely in that nobody has written about them. This
should be important to Cypriots, who have a highly nationalistic view of
their past that excludes ‘the other’ and
of laws to procure mules more or less forcibly.
In Salonica they were worked very hard. Yet it was soon realised that
mules, no less than men, needed to be rested to reduce sickness and
casualties, and extract more effective work out of them. This meant that
there was a need to properly train and supervise the muledrivers.
Given the almost total, if not always effective, control
that the British
been trying to fill the want of muledrivers by recruiting Macedonians.
As early as March, 25 had been recruited 12 and more followed, but on 9 May Long
was advised that the Greek Royalist government had forbidden the Allies
to recruit Macedonians, leading him to conclude that Athens
‘wishes to place all possible obstacles in our way’. 13 The Venizelos
government also disappointed him. Despite the first 100 Macedonian
intimacy of the two is thus suggested: sameness within an image of departure, departure within an image of sameness. Two paintings by Rosa Bonheur – Spanish MuleDrivers Crossing the Pyrenees (1857) and her most famous work, The Horse Fair (1852–55) – intimate as much. The two men to the fore of the former painting adopt quite different stances – one standing, one astride a mule – while, at the same time, closely resembling one another in looks and dress. They could be, but are not quite, transpositions of each other; they could, but do not quite look set to move to
ever heard. Dorothea wakes Clara to hear the
mule boy, and Clara immediately identifies the voice as that of Don
a noble youth who is in love with her – like Figaro, she has
no difficulty recognizing the voice that she adores. He has indeed
disguised himself as a muledriver, but the disguise is basically
irrelevant. Here is the story
Seychelles, stating that Cypriots had served as muledrivers in
the Great War and that she and her husband had presided over the
distribution of their medals in 1920. 51 Someone still had a memory.
The Argus also got it right when it stated that
the Cypriot muleteers were ‘serving again’, because there
were some who served in both World Wars. The only corroborating evidence
comes from the Europeana project