1. Heliopolis Camp. (Visited on January 2, 1917.)
This camp is laid out quite close to the new city of hotels and villas founded in 1905 under the name of The Oasis of Heliopolis. The camp site is 134 feet above the level of Cairo.
Strength.—3,906 Turkish non-commissioned officers and men.
3 Turkish soldiers of the Sanitary Corps.
2 Armenian doctors (officers in the Turkish Army).
The camp is arranged to hold a total population of 15,000 men. A barbed-wire fencing separates it from adjoining property.
Accommodation.—The barracks for the prisoners are arranged in groups, in parallel lines separated by passages 65 feet wide. These barracks, built under the supervision of the Egyptian Engineering Department, are of uniform construction, and about 42 feet long by 30 feet wide. They are solid frames of wood with the spaces between filled in with reeds arranged vertically and held in place by crossbars. The roof is of reed thatch edged with tarred felt. Thanks to the design, the ventilation is perfect. The sandy soil shows hardly a sign of dampness. The passage between the rows of beds is made of hard-beaten earth which is very dry and easily kept clean. All along this corridor, as in all the camp roads, buckets full of water are arranged in readiness to meet an outbreak of fire. The water in these buckets is not meant for drinking, and therefore contains a little cresol to prevent prisoners drinking it. The danger of fire is further reduced to a minimum by the fact that the men smoke only out of doors and that the mildness of the climate does away with the use of stoves. Each barrack accommodates 50 men.
Bedding.—Each prisoner lies on a mat of plaited rush, and has four blankets. Every morning the mats are brushed and rolled up and the blankets folded, so that during the day there is a large clear space inside the building. The detention cells have the same sleeping accommodation.
Exercise.—The space left between the barracks of the separate sections is amply sufficient for exercise, which is quite unrestricted during the regulation hours.
Food.—Provisions are purchased by the commissariat and brought every morning into a special barrack, whence each section draws its daily rations. Bread comes from the Cairo bakeries. It is of good quality and agreeable to the taste. The kitchens are in the open and heated by wood fires. They are staffed by a detachment of prisoners under a head cook. At meal times each section sends men to draw the rations for each room in large metal bowls. Every man has his own spoon, bowl and drinking cup, all of metal. The hours of meals are ordinarily as follows:5 a.m.; 11 a.m.; and 4 p.m.
The last meal is the principal one of the day.
We have examined the various food materials given the prisoners and found them to be of excellent quality.
The menu of the Turkish prisoners of war now interned in Heliopolis Camp consists of bread, meat, vegetables, rice, butter, pepper, salt, onions, tea (7-1/2 grammes), sugar (42 grammes), cheese and jam or olives....