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> Walter Burton Harris, my own Lawrence of Arabia...
topaz
post Feb 10 2008, 12:39 AM
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some of the names I'm researching are;
Fenenga, Wagner, Nienhuis, Cross, Pearson, Wyruck, McDonald, Collins, Jaarsma, van Dam, Atkinson, Ross, McPhail, Weyrauch, Peyton, Smith, Aitken, Young, Chittenden, Richards, Airey, Plummer....etc...
my brick walls are among these, and I have others I'll post to the board at a later date.




this is my favorite, a British cousin of mine-what a character!;

Obituary
Mr. Walter Harris
-----|-----
MORROCO CORRESPONDENT
OF "THE TIMES".
We announce with much regret that Mr. Walter Harris, for many years Correspondent of The Times in
Morocco, died at Malta yesterday morning at the age of 66.
Walter Burton Harris was born on August 29 1866, the second son of Mr. Frederick W. Harris, of Messrs.
Harris and Dixon, shipowners, London, a well-known member of the Society of Friends. His elder brother was the late Right Hon. Frederick Leverton Harris, M.P., and his younger brothers were Sir Austin Edward Harris and Clement Harris, who died young as a captive in a Turkish hospital during the Greeco-Turkish war of 1897. Walter was educated at Harrow, The Grove (Mr. E. E. Bowen's house), and at an unusually early age his brother
Clement and he began to travel together. Already at 18 Walter had been round the world when in 1887 he first went to Morocco, accompanying the mission of Sir William Kirby-Green to Marrakesh. Besides speaking French and Spanish he acquired a fluent command of Moorish colloquial Arabic.
Harris's exploits as a traveller in the primitive, largely closed, fanatical Morocco of those days aroused highest admiration among those qualified to judge. In one art, that of disguise, he was unexcelled, with the exception of de Foucauld, in Morocco these 50 years. Nature had favoured him as to eyes (hazel), complexion, and features and still more, in a gait which was not that of a person habitually wearing heeled shoes. to these he added talk, gestures, deportment, and, above all, dress to the life. His favourite disguise, that of a Riff, "Shilha" speaking people, diverted attention from anything strange in his Arabic. In that disguise he was the complete fanatical looking type, with shaven head but for a foot long lock hanging from the crown, red guncase for turban, short brown jehab, bare reddish tanned neck and legs, carrying a long native musket, and glancing furtively as he went, just as men from home do.
These early exploits, such as his ride to Sheshouan and his journey over the Atlas to Tafilelt, were undoubtedly the foundation of that singular popularity which Harris came to enjoy among all classes of the Moors, humblest to highest. Their interest was instantly excited and held for life by a man (at first also so very young a man) who had visited so many of their own venerated, but distant and dangerous, places and famous fellow Moslems, and who discoursed on all this so readily and amusingly. His generosity to the poor was large and unostentatious. His easy circumstances, moreover, in the beautiful Moorish home and garden which he built for himself in those years on the east side of Tangier Bay, enabled him to return much of the kindness and hospitality he received. Whether to European or to Moor, a more genial host would be difficult to imagine.
As a connoisseur and exponent of Moorish architecture and arts generally Harris will always be remembered together with the late Baron d'Erlanger of Tunis. He interested himself very much in the restoration of old Moorish houses. One of the first he took in hand is now the centre of a large pleasure resort, a short distance from Tangier, called Villa Harris. He personally supervised the planning of its many acres of gardens, which contain numerous trees which he imported from Belgium. It was in this villa that two guests were murdered by bandits, and Harris himself had a miraculous escape. Another Moorish house which he restored is now occupied by Prince de Croy, the Belgian Consul-General. Some years ago he acquired a very old house in the heart of the Moorish quarter of Tangier, attached to which is a mosque; Harris was the only Englishman allowed to enter it. since he took it over he had three Moors-craftsmen highly trained in mosaic work-constantly engaged in the work of restoration. His furniture was half Moorish and half Chinese art which he had collected on his various travels.
Harris's first contributions appeared in The Times in 1887, and the long association then begun was fortunate both for this journal and for the nation, which received early and trustworthy information all through the years when Morocco was a storm-centre of European politics. In June 1894, the Sultan Mulai Hassan died while on one of his military migrations. No fixed law of succession existed, and the Sultan's death was kept secret, even from the Army, until the Court was near Rabat, when one of his younger sons, Mulai Abdul Aziz, then 13 years old, was proclaimed. By arrangement with the British Minister, Mr. (afterwards Sir Ernest) Satow, Harris undertook to visit both Wazzan and Fez, where rival candidates for the throne were living. This dangerous mission he accomplished, being peaceably acknowledged, and he received the thanks of the British Minister and a cheque for L100.
In 1895 the Sultan returned from Fez to Marakesh, where he remained for upwards of six years, until the death of the Grand Vizier, Buhamad, in whose hands all real power had lain. Harris was attached to the special mission of Sir Arthur Nicolson (afterwards Lord Carnock) to the new Sultan, with whom he was soon on excellent terms and to whom he paid long visits. By the prolonged immobility of the Court in the South the seeds were then sown of those disorders which ended in the collapse of the old Moorish Government and its coming under the French, Spanish and international regimes now exising. Of these eventful years the history was chronicled in The Times by Harris's telegrams and articles with such sparkling wit as not only to seize the attention of the reader but to excite the liveliest interest in the personality and doings of the writer.
The inhabitants of Tangier, labouring under an international administration which the working was continually nullified by the jealousies of the Powers and of their local representatives, owed Harris a special debt of gratitude. For he was wont to describe the ludicrous incidents that were constantly occuring in such a way that the serious side of them, as illustrating an impracticable regime, was never obscured by their absurdity.
In 1903 Harris was captured by Raisuli, the celebrated cheiftain, who was no ordinary brigand but an inordubately ambitious man carrying on a private war. The chief's stronghold was at Zinat, about 12 miles from Tangier, which had been attacked by the Sultan's troops, and there Harris, having fallen into an ambush, spent nine miserable days in a dark and verminous room. Raisuli brough him food and was polite, but said that he would immediately be killed in the event of a further attack. It was agreed to exchange him for a dozen prisoners, and ultimately he was carried off by his friends of the Anjera tribe and brought back to Tangier, where an informal exchange took place. In the following year Harris narrowly escaped a second capture, this time in his own villa. A few years later Raisuli nearly captured a picnic party consisting of Harris, Sir Gerard Lowther, then British Minister, M. amd Mme. de Beaumarchais, of the French Legion, and Mr. Christopher Lowther, son of Lord Ullswater. They escaped through an elaborate piece of deception on Harris's part, but the incident in no way impaired the friendship between him and Raisuli.
Some of his adventures were related by Harris in "The Land of an African Sultan", "Tafilet" the narrative of a journey of exploration in the Atlas mountains and oases of the North-West Sahara, "Modern Morocco" (with the late Lord Cozens-Hardy) and "Morocco That Was". He also contributed to the "Proceedings" of the Royal Geographical Society.
Besides his literary gifts and his wit and perennial gaiety, Harris had other qualities which account for his success. However many friends he gained, he never made enemies. To say that he never offended or upset anybody would be an exaggeration, but deep or lasting ill-feeling towards him was impossible. His financial disinterestedness, a common enough virtue in many countries, was much rarer and respect-compelling in the loose, corrupt Morocco of those days. Also, although most sensitive, he was without rancour. Few men could, for example, have been treated so odiously by the Moorish authoraties at Tafilelt, or by Raisuli near Tangier, as he was, and have lost all resentment and been good friends with them again so soon. Another trait was his unconcern about consistency. His famous jest about the armies of Mulai Abdul Aziz and Mulai Hafid being composed chiefly of deserters from each other will be remembered. But had anyone twitted him for having himself changed sides, he would simply have laughed, or thought the saying stupid.
After 1912, when Morocco ceased to be the cynosure of Europe, Harris's telegrams and articles, though of less political importance, were as witty and entertaining as ever. But he was able to travel in Egypt and the Near East, and in 1930 in the Far East, and he published "France, Spain, and the Rif" and "The East for Pleasure". Our readers will remember also the humorous letters which he addressed to the Editor from time to time. There was no subject which he could not adorn, an unwanted umbrella which kept on returning to him; handshaking, pyjamas on board liners, a Berber chieftain's innocent request for a machine to translate all wireless into Arabic, and currency and credit among the simple Yap islanders of the Pacific.
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Shanifaye
post Feb 10 2008, 08:58 AM
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thats absolutely fantastic!!! I bet he would have been great to know
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Steph
post Feb 10 2008, 01:37 PM
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A cousin??? How lucky you are. I wonder if any of his books are still available?. Do you have copies yourself??
Fascinating !!!! Thanks for sharing

Steph
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