Encounter with a beautiful female Turkish sniper


Pte Albert Titmuss, one of two sons of Mr and Mrs George Titmuss, of 40 Milton Road, Luton, tells a remarkable story of his discovery of a beautiful Turkish woman who had been shot in the leg while acting as a sniper, and who was bandaged and taken back to her own lines by Pte Titmuss.

He is at present in the Gloucester Red Cross Hospital and writes to his parents: "I went in a big procession last Saturday - a recruiting procession. We had bands to play us through different places. We were in motor cars, and we didn't half get a reception. There were only about ten wounded, but the other cars were got up to present different nations. How would you like to be driven through the streets on show! It's worse than sticking Turks.

"I think I must have been mad after Alf [his brother] was hit. I was told he had been hit, and I didn't care what became of me. All I wanted was to get at the Turks. When you have got a bayonet through two or three you don't trouble. You should have heard them yell when we got them on the run. For the sake of the poor chaps they had of ours I could have gone on bayoneting them till now.

"It's the women snipers we have to watch. They are painted green and are hidden in rocks and trees. I saw a Gurkha pull one out of a haystack by the hair of her head. She was a beautiful woman and it seems a shame women should be made to fight. She had killed over 50 of our chaps, for she had over 50 identification discs of our soldiers on her.

"I was out looking for wounded early Sunday morning when I came across a woman who had a bullet in her thigh. I took my puttee off and bound her leg up. After I had dressed the wound and smashed her rifle and got her on her feet, I took her along the best I could, not towards our lines, but towards her own lines.

"She could talk English, and told me that the women had been forced into it. I went until I was about 50 yards off the Turks. I could see them looking up out of the trenches. She waved to them not to fire. They sent two stretcher bearers out, and I helped them to get her on the stretcher. They never attempted to do me any harm.

"The two Turks shook hands with me, bade me goodbye, and said "Turkey finished". The woman wanted me to go with her, and said I would be well looked after. The rings and jewellery she had were splendid. She offered me her rings, but I would not have them.

"As I bade her goodbye and shook hands with her, she begged me to go to Constantinople with her. She said I should be quite safe. She pulled me down and kissed me, and said with tears in her eyes she would be pleased to tell them at Constantinople she had been dressed by a British soldier.

Pte Titmuss said this woman, and other Turkish women he has seen, are very beautiful.

His brother, Pte Alfred Titmuss, who is in hospital at Malta, writes that his wound is healing quickly, and that he may have to go back to the Front later on. If he does, he will go with a good heart and trust in God to bring him through the campaign safely. He says the hospital is some miles from the City, to which passes have to be obtained.

He added: "We have YMCA and Church Army tents here, so have plenty of games to pass weary hours away, and as to those who are miserable, it is entirely their own fault."

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: October 9th, 1915]

Pte Alfred Titmus died on the 23rd April 1917, and is remembered on the Arras Memorial.