The Six Month Kingdom: Albania 1914 by Duncan Heaton-Armstrong

By Duncan Heaton-Armstrong

In January 1914 the eccentric adventurer Captain Duncan Heaton-Armstrong, "on the glance out for a extra good career", utilized for the put up of personal Secretary to the newly appointed King of Albania--the German Prince William of Wied. Heaton-Armstrong describes, with vibrancy, directness and humor, a miniature royal courtroom in a desperately terrible and distant nook of Europe. because the First global conflict engulfed the Balkans in August 1914, royal babies have been escorted again to Germany by means of Heaton-Armstrong, who was once quickly made the 1st prisoner of struggle. His amazing account has been edited for this, the 1st common edition.I.B.Tauris in organization with the Centre for Albanian reviews

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We reached Wirballen, the frontier station, at midday and were received by a Russian colonel, who showed us to the Imperial waiting room, where we had lunch, while he attended to our luggage and passports. The remainder of our journey we completed in a Royal saloon car, in which we were made most comfortable. In the evening we had a slight contretemps, which is worth narrating. Not being able to speak Russian, we were rather handicapped in ordering our dinner from the attendant, who spoke no other language; however we, by signs, made him understand that we were hungry and left the rest to his discretion; in due course he came to lay the table and at 8 o'clock dinner was served.

Next evening we left Neuwied for Waldenburg in Saxony, Queen Sophia's old home; the town was gaily decorated and the population had turned out "en masse" to witness our departure. We started our travels badly, as Fräulein von Pfuel felt so ill that I had to dose her with brandy in the waitingroom while the King was inspecting the local veterans and fire-brigade; her condition did not improve during the night and when we reached Waldenburg next morning it was discovered that she was suffering from measles.

The episode conveys the difficulties of families with German or Austrian blood in the intensely nationalist atmosphere of the First World War. Meanwhile, Duncan spent two years as a prisoner of war before being released on exchange on July 1916. After a spell at the War Office in London, he was at last able to rejoin his old regiment in France in January 1917, but in an non-combatant roll as a pay-master. While on leave he met Thelma Eileen Scott, whose father was a politician and MP in Tasmania; she had come to work in England as a nurse.

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