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Recruitment and Volunteerism for the Cypriot Mule Corps, 1916-1919. Pushed or Pulled?

  • Andrekos Varnava

In the summer of 1916, the British Salonica Army and the Cyprus colonial government established the Cypriot Mule Corps (officially called the Macedonian Mule Corps), composed of mostly of Christian (Eastern Orthodox, and smaller numbers of Catholics, Armenians, and Maronites) and Muslim Cypriot muleteers and interpreters. These men served mostly in Salonica during the war and in Istanbul after the armistice. Although given the title of “Macedonian” Mule Corps, it was almost exclusively Cypriot in composition, with a staggering enlistment of about 12,000 Cypriots from every religious group in Cyprus. This article explores the formation of the corps, muleteer numbers, and recruitment strategies. It argues that there were both push and pull factors in understanding the striking enlistment of between 20 and 25 per cent of peasant and labouring men aged between 18 and 39.

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