A Knight’s Tale (13: A Second Revolution)

By July 1933, Mabel was to take up a post at Chanak (now Canakkale) in the Dardanelles, then under Turkish rule. This was to prepare a boy and girl for an English school. Although there appears to be no record of this engagement it is highly likely that it was with

the Whittall family, as attested by my great aunt’s water colour of 1936 of the group sharing a duvet. There is much material on the history of this influential family on Google, and the gentleman with the book does bear some resemblance to published portraits.

After 2 1/2 years in Turkey Mabel returned to England two months before her 94 year old mother died from a fall on the stairs.

Her next post was in Ceuto, Spanish Morocco, in time for the Spanish Civil War to break out and subject Miss Knight to a second Revolution. This was bad enough, but not as dangerous as the Russian one, even though the Communist party was dropping bombs on the oil tanks at the location.

The house was close to the refinery and, therefore, in a very dangerous spot. Mr Delgado, father of Mabel’s two girl pupils, had charge of the oil supply for the ships.

On one occasion, seeking safety from the bombing, my father’s aunt fled into the market, where, in the street, she was horrified to meet a man carrying his child’s head in his hands.

The position near these oil tanks became so dangerous that Mabel and the girls were sent to Mr Delgado’s olive plantation near Seville, where they remained until the war was over.

Whilst in Seville, Mabs accepted an invitation to watch a bull fight. She records that “I shall never forget the horror I experienced seeing the torture of the animal. And I would advise no lover of animals to witness this horribly cruel sport”.