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By Donald Maxwell

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The Turks lost Fao, the fort that commanded the entrance to the Shatt-el-Arab, within a few days of the opening of hostilities. They had imagined it such a formidable obstacle to our approach that they were thrown suddenly on their beam ends when we took it. Consequently they could not keep us out of Abadan, but fell back on Beit Naama vainly attempting to block the river by sinking ships. One of the hulks, however, swung round and left a channel through which a passage was simple. I once sketched some of these old ships as they lay throughout the period of hostilities.

Huge lengths of pipes creep from the shadows on one hand into the far-off regions of blackness on the other. Armed with an electric torch, which the Chief carried, and a large sketch-book which I regretted taking almost as soon as we started, we set out on our quest of Dantesque scenery. At first our road ran along the quays by the river side. A camouflaged Admiralty oiler was loading fuel oil by means of three pipes that looked like the tentacles of an octopus clutching on to the side of the ship.

2 60 Tower of Babel. Fig. " 85 Showing the Simplicity of Mesopotamian Domestic Architecture. " 105 The Walls of Hit 110 Hit 120 Samara 121 I THE FIERY FURNACE Abadan. There is an unenviable competition between places situated in the region of Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf as to which can be the hottest. Abadan, the ever-growing oil port, which is in Persia and on the starboard hand as you go up the Shatt-el-Arab, if not actually the winner according to statistics, comes out top in popular estimation.

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