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"That man's a lunatic. He almost got me killed."
Indiana Jones[src]

Richard Meinertzhagen was a British officer in British Intelligence during World War I.


In 1916, Major Richard Meinertzhagen was helping General Jan Christiaan Smuts in Africa over a mysterious German cannon which had their forces pinned down on the beach. Though he couldn't confirm how, he knew that the cannon which seemed to match battleship specifications was not naval, but it was shelling them from inland.

Before the "Old and the Bold" team led by Frederick Selous set out for their mission, he warned that they should disable the cannon in six days, as that was when German reinforcements would arrive.

In a week, when the band returned after successfully destroying the Phantom Train, he provided them with information that their nemesis, Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, was to be found at a nearby lake, 35 miles southwest of their position, posing an extraordinary opportunity for his capture.[1]

By October 1917, Meinertzhagen was a colonel in Egypt. During their plan to assault Beersheba, he pointed out to his general that his armies could reach Jerusalem if the men traveled light and made a lightning dash across the desert. The whole operation, however, would depend on the wells in Beersheba being full of water. They would also need to begin a major espionage campaign to make the Turks believe that they intended to continue their main attack on Gaza and put a trusted agent in Beersheba who spoke both Arabic and Turkish to keep a watch over the wells. T.E. Lawrence said he knew the man they wanted who was none other than Indiana Jones. Upon learning of the operation, Indy said that Meinertzhagen was the lunatic who had almost got him killed in Africa, remembering his earlier adventure.

Meinertzhagen took Indy and John "Jack" Anders of the Australian Light Horse Brigade 'bird watching'. They were attacked by the Turks and Meinertzhagen feigned taking a bullet to the shoulder. The three managed to escape while Meinertzhagen aptly dropped the bag they were carrying containing their orders. Indy almost foiled his plan by retrieving it, but Meinertzhagen directed Indy to throw the bag to him and made the drop again. It was then taken by the Turks. When the three returned to the base camp, Meinertzhagen showed them the fake wound with the use of calf's blood and revealed that he had intentionally allowed the Turks to take the bag as it contained fake plans for an attack on Gaza.

Lawrence and Meinertzhagen explained to Indy how 50,000 British troops would march across the desert over two days to attack Beersheba and would only be carrying one canteen of water each. Thus if they couldn't take Beersheba the same day they arrived with the wells full and intact they would be stranded in the middle of the desert and die. Indy's mission was to do everything he could to protect the wells.

The next day Ned and Meinertzhagen woke Indy and told him that he was to travel to Beersheba disguised as a merchant and contact an agent called Kazim traveling with another who would be traveling in the guise of a belly dancer.[2]


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