Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Frank Valentine Weir letter diary, 19 December 1914-31 December 1915
MLMSS 1024/3/Item 1

[Page 1]

Miscellaneous Collection of maps letters – orders etc.
Re Peninsular etc –
From F.Weir Major

[Page 2]

Your name in full. Frank Valentine Weir
Rank and regiment. Major 1st L.H.
Date and place of enlistment. Sydney Sept 1914
Date of discharge. June 1919
Military engagements, wounds, distinctions received, etc.
S.African war *2 years 2 mos, Kings Queens Medals 7 Bars –
Mentioned in Despatches –
Wounded bullet [indecipherable] head at
Broukhurst Spruit Transvaal
Promoted 1st Lieut:-

German War
Lone Pine, wounded, returned to Peninsular in Sept 1915 remained till evacuation, was in charge of one portion of the Rear Party – Dec 20 ? 1915 (I think or was it Dec.22nd) Anyway there [indecipherable] the last as per Diary – Then on Western Frontier, till Canal was crossed wounded again at Romani, thence rejoined in time for Rafa Magdhaba [indecipherable] & all fights up to occupation of Jerusalem, thence took part in raids on Essalt & AmMon & received the D.S.O. for counter attacks on Germans July 14 1918 at Mosselabeh

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1st L.H. Regt.
Diary F.Weir Deniliquin
During 1915 – in envelopes as posted
With letters, [indecipherable] rough Plans etc –
Gallipoli & Egypt –
All original

[Page 4]

19th Dec,

Arrived at wharf Wooloomooloo 7 a.m.
Refused admittance boat not ready so were ordered to Engineers Depot with Horses camped without Blankets or Kit in the sand, Active Service Conditions for a send off.

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Dec 20
Went to A42 & saw the 6th Reg embark on Sueric
Lunched University Club & returned to Depot.

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Dec 21
Revielle 4 & Marched to ships after handing in all – Saddlery to ordinance – in addition to own Horses had to take 281 from [indecipherable] Depot unbroken a lot of them some strangles and ringworm. Raining all hands wet I went ashore to Wilkinson & Lavenders for £S.D. returned per Motor Launch – sailed at 4 p.m. a tough night & raining

[Page 7]

Boat in great muddle Timber everywhere both [indecipherable] etc men sick & wet.
Carpenters still working forage everywhere.

[Page 8]

Dec 23
Passed Wilsons Promontory & are now off Melbourne but we do not call in anywhere till we arrive at Albany –
Men better Horses better. Good Skipper & agreeable ship’s crew.

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Dec 24
Rifle inspection, all hands now well, but strangles and ringworm in horses give trouble - 3 Japanese cruisers are escorting us, & when all the transports foregather at Albany there will be 16 of us.
Xmas Eve we are getting up a Concert & some cakes bought.

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Dec 25
Xmas Day
I know the little Mother will be at Church & the lines she has written me ‘Till we meet again’ I have just re-read. Capt. White is O/C & there are only the Q’land Reinforcements & my own on board.
Our boat is a German Prize boat originally the Pfalz & had only made one voyage when we boarded her –
Wool, Ores, frozen Meat Crew are all strangers to each other, the Skipper a good man
concert in the evening

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Dec 26
"Berrima" is now in sight accompanied by a Submarine, let me know if these notes reach you as Censor may stop them & it would be loves’ labour lost
Dec 27th Sunday Church service, at 9.30,
Stables all day & every day –
Inoculated for Typhoid today.

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Dec 28th Monday
Arrived Albany 6.30 a.m.
Borda. )
Berrima ) here.
Inoculated for Typhoid yesterday & will be vaccinated in 2 days

Dec 29th Tuesday

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Dec 30th Wed
Dec 31st Thursday

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January, 1915
Wednesday 13
Went ashore & had dinner at the Grand Oriental Hotel then a car to Mrs [indecipherable] & the [indecipherable] Gardens. Finishing up with a box at Grace Palottas show.
Washing sent ashore came back beaten to pieces & yellow.
The currency here is Rupees & cents. But English gold is always acceptable.
Soldiering is an expensive luxury.

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January, 1915.
Thursday, 14
Left Colombo at noon, a pretty Harbour & sight all these big boats steaming out. A lot of trouble over men leaving the ship & getting drunk.
And many Rickshaws were broken out.
I sent some Post Cards which I hope arrived safely – I bought some Mangos, PawPaws Bananas Green sweet oranges etc:- sufficient to see us to Aden.
The Chief Officer got locked up in the civil gaol, & several of our men fell off the Anchor Chain trying to get on board.

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January, 1915.
Friday 15
Many men are suffering from sore heads, over Colombo grog & we had a lot of defaulters at the Orderly room.
Now Ivory Carved Elephants, Moonstones, etc are in every Cabin.
White "suits" only cost 2 Rupees 50 cents but the washing done for the Officers of this ship was sand belted to pieces on the Rocks. We are now in full sail for ADEN. As usual no War news worth reading in Colombo, but we got what papers there were.
At Cairo I hope to get some letters, we heard at Colombo that Alexandria was to be our port of call.

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January, 1915
Saturday 16
We altered our course due North – the Indian Coast last night towards Bombay as 2 Cruisers are supposed to be on the look out for us, but all the trade Routes from Colombo to England are Patroled by the Navy – our "Chips" has been busy painting out the German name "Plaz" (not PHAZ as I at first wrote you) on the boats lifebuoys etc: This boat was only built last year & fell a prize to the Victorian Govt. on the outbreak of war.
If attacked our orders are to scatter & then rendezvous at an appointed place.

[Page 18]

January, 1915
Sunday 17
I shall not become too soft I have my [indecipherable] Uniform C/- under my bed, to sleep on, but all hands are getting very fat. A detonator, dynamite, & fuse were found in the Chart room ere we sailed, some kind German friend no doubt.
Vaccinated for Small Pox today & Church parade. "Skippers" I find are very human – We passed the "Port Macquarie" because one could not keep her place, & ever since then her Skipper has been trying to pass us again, our Engineers enjoy the sport & will not give way We are supposed to keep 800 yards apart, one boat behind the other & 3 columns abreast.

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January, 1915
Monday 18
Re Pillow Rutter that Mother gave me it has been most useful on board ship, but I did not get the [indecipherable] Bucket; so I hope you did not pay for more than the Pillow. We should arrive at Alexandria in about a fortnight from now.
Morse & Semaphore signaling daily we are becoming quite experts.

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January 1915
Tuesday 19
The days are becoming shorter & the nights colder as we move away from the Equator it is winter in Egypt & I expect cold enough at night.
To date 7 horses have died, mostly from Pneumonia –
Day follows day, stables routine broken by Rifle inspection, we are able to walk the horses all the way around the ship.
Orderly officer today.

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January, 1915
Wednesday 20
This Convoy apart from the troops & horses is loaded with valuable Cargo for London – thousands of carcases of sheep, wool, Ores, etc. so Germany would have secured a good haul had she been able to catch us. Have been reading about German atrocities which for a civilized nation are appalling.
The White Star boats - [indecipherable] & Versic which left us to Coal at Aden should be waiting for us there.

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January 1915
Thursday 21
Tonight we give the ship’s officers & engineers a dinner, what with the purchasing of hoses to clean decks & subs to sports etc: there are a good many Exps’ for Officers – But we have a good ship’s company & are glad to have the opportunity to show our appreciation.

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January, 1915
Friday 22
Arab Dhows are sailing past, the sea is full of Red Kelp, Two men are in Hospital seriously Pheumonia & [indecipherable] self great fettle. Buried another private "Thermistocles" midday –

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January, 1915
Saturday 23
Arrived Aden midday – high rocky cliffs, not unlike Gibraltar or Quebec:-
As we passed the lighthouse, we noticed the attendants cottage was on fire.
Arab "Dhows" sailing all around but no permission for boats to come near ships & no man or officer is allowed ashore.
Orderly officer today.
Sick men better.
Will post this here & hope you may get it.

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January, 1915
Sunday 24
After all I did not post these notes at Aden as we only stayed a few hours & did not go ashore.
This morning we are in the Red Sea & many boats of many nationalities pass us including a patrolling Cruiser, keeping the trade Routes open.
A P & O Mail boat also passed, we exchanged greetings –
The Coast is rugged & date palms grow at intervals.
Patients in hospital are better I am glad to say

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January, 1915
Monday 25
Out of sight of land again. The Red Sea is between 80, & 100 miles wide here, & the Arabian Coast is a hostile one.
We pass several P & O boats en route Australia & Singapore & I wish I was able to send you greetings by them.
Nights are very bright now & heavy dew falls – We have lost the Southern Cross & have instead the Great Bear & the North Star.
Regret to say 4 of my men refused to be vaccinated & must be sent back & replaced by others.
Later above men changed their minds.

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January, 1915
Tuesday 26
It is amusing how keen the Skippers are to pass the boat ahead if possible & now we are next the flagship, as the "Ajana" has fallen out. Weather warmer again, we expect to disembark at Alexandria on Saturday next after 6 weeks at sea.
Foundation day & the Skippers gave half a bottle Beer to every trooper, & whiskey to the Mess. I will send you the name of where I leave my "mufti" Kit-bags etc: as you know I have dress clothes & good suits with me. Gold links Sovereign C/- etc presented by Mulberry gong men which I would not care to be lost.

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January, 1915
Wednesday 27
Wireless operator picked up news of the sinking of the "Blucher" & German Raids – day & night the operators wear the receivers on their ears, but are sworn to secrecy as to what they hear. Measles have broken out unfortunately among the men, we hope not in bad form as we should disembark on Saturday next.
This afternoon we pass the spot where the Israelites are supposed to have crossed the Red Sea!! "Ajana" dropped out of sight astern, something gone wrong with machinery.
Vaccination took well on me.

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January, 1915
Thursday 28
At "Suez", [indecipherable] barracading the Bridge & wheel house with Bags of Oats as "snipers" line the Canal to have a pot shot at Steamers as they pass if conveying Troops.
Will endeavour to post at Alexandria on arrival.
Among my Pictures at [indecipherable] was a colored photo of a steamer ‘in’ the Canal I think both banks look like the backcountry after a drought!!
As the boats go along, from the harbour, they have the appearance of steaming across a sandy plain the entrance not being visible from where we lie at anchor.

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January, 1915
Friday 29
The mornings at first like Riverina weather & here at Suez, not a ripple, about 20 large Steamers guarded by a Battleship & Destroyer, with one submarine are ready to go thro’ the Canal –
Great Oil Tanks line the bay, throwing their reflection on the water, with Date Palms in the background but no grass to be seen anywhere. Our Chief Mate who has spent his life in the Kanaka trade of the Islands has been making Dynamite Plugs as a farewell present to we officers to use among the Turks & Dervishes, he is a character; & thought this the best way to show his appreciation & as a farewell gift.

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January, 1915
Saturday 30
We anchored all night in the Bitter Lake, protected by a French Cruiser the old Himilaya converted into a Cruiser & the "Minerva", having no Searchlights on board, 6 of the others went on to ‘Ismalia’ as they had lights.
Aeroplanes scouted around this morning ere we moved off. If the Turks come they will get a hot reception as the Canal is protected by trenches along each bank. Cavalry & Camel Corps Field artillery etc: from whom we get Who are you? Got any papers? Are we downhearted etc:-

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January, 1915
Sunday 31
Today I posted at Port Said my Diary - & will hold on now until I hear from you as to whether you receive it before sending more as all letters are still under Censor.
In company with 3 other officers we did the slums of Port Said the seamy side of life, the dregs of the world & the dirtiest city:- Pigs, Goats, Dogs, Fowls run freely about the street & I did not see a single Motor. We move into the Mediteranean today & disembark tomorrow morning at Alexandria, but got little news of the world; or the war, Torpedoes guard entrance of Canal & Hydroplanes & Aeroplanes fly overhead.

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February, 1915
Monday 1

Moved out to Mediterranean & going very slowly to allow other Transports to get unloaded at Alexandria.
Statue of de Lesseps the great engineer who made the Canal what it is stands at the entrance
Weather cold, all horses [indecipherable].

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February, 1915
Tuesday 2
Arrived Alexandria 10 a.m. & waited all day for orders to go along side wharf –
Night came & still here Very many captured Turkish German boats are here & the American Battleship Tennessee sailed out as we entered; our men fell foul of their Sailors had a fight.
[indecipherable] O.B. Rylie met me on board, from the Reg gave all the news was glad to see him & went ashore.

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February, 1915
Wednesday 3
Got home to A42 at 3.30 A.M. we had a rough passage back to ships in a "Felucca" manned by Arabs Head wind & rough sea we tacked backwards & forwards for 2 ½ hours & got wet through & chilled to the bones.
Alexandria a great city of learning in the past is now very squalid in places & cosmopolitan Many Refugees from Jerusalem are here & wounded soldiers are brought from the Continent.

[Page 36]

Disembarked at last & enroute for Cori per rail. Various rumours as to future.
Glad to get Mail from [indecipherable] Mr Ferrar Mrs Cotton & photographer in Melbourne!!! wanting me to sit "Punch" rather [indecipherable] to receive 1 here. Money is all Piastres & Baksheesh always wanted.

[Page 37]

February, 1915
Friday 5
Yesterday went to Pompie Pillar & the Sphinx & then on to Catatombs passing Natives quarters where incerinator buried up the dead on one side of street & Baker cooks on the other – Afterwards to the museum to see Mummies from the different Tombs – 5000 years or more!!! old 3 Trains today for Cairo.
Off in March we hear for France – only hope it is true.
At 1 A.M. more tired & colder than ever.

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February, 1915
Saturday 6
Arrived 2.30 Am bitterly cold Horses taken away by Remount officer.
All through the Delta country, growing crops, & wooden plows, drawn by oxen as depicted 1000’s years ago & then Cairo Electric trains Motors etc:-
All was muddle at the Abassia siding where we detrained & we were cold & hungry – you will have read [indecipherable] of the fighting in the Canal. Col. Meredith met me in the afternoon & we went to Shepherds Hotel, interviewed General Birdwood & got orders for our horses to be sorted out [indecipherable] Remounts" & returned to us. In the evening I went through the Bazaar & got back to the [indecipherable]

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February, 1915
Sunday 7
Straightening up Cargo & held Church parade all the Reinforcements are here together - arrived crowd of infantry, artillery, & Light Horse, Camels, Guns, Wagons Remounts, - Hospitals, Veterinary Sections etc:-
Gravelly pebbly sand the Desert has no vestige of grass or herbage & "boots" wear out very quickly.

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February, 1915
Monday 8
Go to Pay Office for Pay & left old Canvas Bag for safekeeping also New Big Kit Bag with mufti and Trouser Stretches covered in oilsheet containing Rug, Mufti Overcoat, & Trousers – opening a/c with Anglo & Egyptian Bank for Pay & deposit Gold. Cairo is a beautiful city & Shepherds Hotel is better & larger than the Australia or Menzies. Last night went to the Casino dancing girls, Bar, etc. etc:-

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February, 1915
Tuesday 9
Met Col White of Gen Staff & went Ordnance at Citadel the most beautiful morgue built by Mohammed Ali, it was here that the Mamluk were invited to dine & then were murdered, I cannot describe the Alabaster columns, Marble floor & colored glass all most beautiful, it is the Tomb of the Rhedive. Many dying beggars hanging around & starving – Came back & had Bath at Shepherds Hotel & paid men in the evening – quite a brain worry converting LSD into Piastres.
Much sand blowing today.

[Page 42]

February, 1915
Wednesday 10

I am doing all I can to see the Historical places while here & at [indecipherable]. Went to the Pyramids yesterday, rode camel with the Medical Officer & returned by Donkey – the Sphinx lies [indecipherable] beyond – I went into the heart of the Pyramid & saw the tomb of an ancient monarch buried 4000 B.C. Statistics as to size etc. can be read in Encyclopedias but the atmoSphere inside is filthy the Catacomb passage like a combat hole.
In the evening went to Meddi Camp finished up at the Casino. My French is very rusty & if a boy could only look ahead at school he would pay more attention to his languages - [indecipherable] in the Casino can speak 5 or 6 languages.

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February, 1915
Thursday 11
On duty all day & night tonight we are camped in the Desert & it is very sandy & bare, dust everywhere. Camels, Donkeys, etc. but climate lovely –
Arabic men women & children swarm everywhere. French principal language spoken.
Will cut this out and send on Saturday held back as anticipated hearing but no doubt letters are on the way.
No word from [indecipherable] yet met Henry of [indecipherable] P.P.B.o

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February, 1915
Friday 12
Great excitement orders came to join Camp at Heliopolis [indecipherable] up, but had trouble over Horses so were detained from moving, till next Monday. My Horses in great form fat.
Received letters from Laura [indecipherable] Anna but none from Australia.

[Page 45]

February, 1915
Saturday 13
Went Pyramids with 3 officers per Donkey, & 4 Ladies Russian Dancers were also visiting, we did it by moonlight more impressive.
Please return these notes-

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February, 1915
Sunday 14
Birthday in Camp, branded all Horse Rugs
In the afternoon went to an old part of the Desert where Napoleon buried many slain & the Tommies were digging up the bones to get earrings, rings, etc:- bones skulls were very plentiful but ghoulish work especially as Smallpox Kills a good many.
An Australasian would be acceptable now & again if you would post me one I’ll let you know if they arrive.

[Page 47]

February, 1915
Monday 15
Moved out at 7 am for Heliopolis to join the regiment, leading out Horses from Remount Depot – Said Goodbye to Abassia still no Mail –
The men gave me a good Welcome & I am once more beded down in a fresh Camp,
Horse feed is bad. Rice Straw a sort of Alfafa & Maize & the horses are getting badly sanded.
Hope you can read this scribble.

[Page 48]

February, 1915
Tuesday 16
Col re Camp Cooker
Major Smith 10 A.S.C.
More Desert here, dust thick & 50000 men ready to March if needed, we hear now that France is our objective but at this game one never knows what is in front. This Camp Heliopolis is the site of an immense aerodrome or place for flying machine races etc. alongside are the old posts the "Mamelukes" & Napoleons old & new, mixed up together, wooden plows & Electric Motors & Flying Machines.

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February, 1915
Wednesday 17
Horses are very afraid of Camels & Donkeys, but are looking well.
Mens boots are wearing out owing to the gravelly sand, along the Canals plenty of boots were to be had the Turkish soldiers having thrown theirs off when sneaking on to our trenches.
I have been made Assistant Adjutant of the Cos Regiment I hear Tommy Redford is a Major on the way over now.
Weather getting warmer.
Just received Mothers letter of January with Daisy’s enclosure, so glad to hear all is well.

[Page 50]

February, 1915
Thursday 18
No word from Mr J.A. Campbell so take it he intends to ignore my letter reTestimonial. The verses Mother sent me I am keeping at the end of this book. They are very beautiful & I know them nearly by heart.
Did a Division day today & I did first day as Adjutant assistant - I am afraid I shall NOT be very popular, as it means I am promoted over other Lieutenants in the Regiment
The dust is terrible here, just as like a drought stricken country, & when the Column moves off nothing can be seen.

[Page 51]

February, 1915
Friday 19
Brigade training for outpost work towards the Canal. All sorts of Rumours float round that we go to Marseilles in a month but nothing is known definitely the youngest sub usually having the latest news.
Posted an Egyptian Paper home today. Censor less strict here.
Sore eyes, measles & cold seem to be the chief troubles among the men.

[Page 52]

February, 1915
Saturday 20
Divisional day today 20000 men out, including Batteries Hospitals etc. etc:-
The 1st Brigade of Light Horse did some smart work in attacking blank ammunition being used.
Horses getting more used to Rice Straw or Tebren & as the Camels bring us green alfalfa daily the horses are becoming more used to them & the Donkeys. I have told Grazier people not to send Grazier after [indecipherable] I think about March.

[Page 53]

February, 1915
Sunday 21
Colonel Meredith returned from a visit of inspection of Canal he tells us that dead Turks are coming to the surface now being loaded with [indecipherable] rounds of Ammunition they did not float so soon as an ordinary corpse [indecipherable] they are blown up & float
Attended Church Parade. The Colonel tells us the Turks are still hovering across the Canal, & have carted hundreds of Iron boats from Damascus to cross the Canal in.

[Page 54]

February, 1915
Monday 22
Scouting & advanced work
Just received Days & Mothers letter of the 10th January. Be sure & address me in future 1st Light Horse Regiment 1st Light Horse Brigade New Zealand & Australian Division Egypt.
Was very glad to hear your [indecipherable] news & to know all well – I am A.1 but lighter I am glad to say camped for dinner along side of a Harem I tried to see the inmates – but they are very shy, Donkeys, [indecipherable], & a Camel appeared to be in the Hall.

[Page 55]

February, 1915
Tuesday 23
Scouting Regimentally today Last of the gallant 52 Reinforcements joined Reg today Attended Lecture given [indecipherable] Owen RHA (General who had just returned from Aisne & was in the Mon fightings, it was most [indecipherable] & interesting, & that large ordinance store was packed as for [indecipherable] Wild flowers are very [indecipherable] in the flooded Nile canal & similar to English – Wallflowers Mignonette and the [indecipherable] of Desert & cultivation is bounded by the flood waters of the Nile.

[Page 56]

February, 1915
Wednesday 24
Received letter from May today dated 28/12/14, also a letter from Sydney – more talk of moving very soon it is hard to tell whether I go or stay, as the Regiment is full of Officers – but Col [indecipherable] wants me so he says & I know it is true. When we drill in the Desert [indecipherable] boys seem to spring out of the sand at every [indecipherable] "Orangie big one [indecipherable] piastre" or Eggs "cook" two for one (piastre) [indecipherable] cooked eggs – they wear robes of white or [indecipherable] & add color to the landscape.

[Page 57]

February, 1915.
Thursday 25
Just had a letter from [indecipherable] who writes from the Abysinian frontier E Sudan, with little hope of coming my way – Divisional day today, the desert is hot, covered with flinty stones, [indecipherable] & sand except for the want of trees not unlike the Murilla Ridges near the Opal fields of Lightning Ridge. Recd letter from Laura dated Dec 17th & saying Charlie had heard from War office that I am entitled to any second Medal or Rings, i.e. 2 Ribbons.

[Page 58]

February, 1915
Friday 26
Australian Papers mention I believe letter from Lieut Weir [indecipherable] is a military crime to publish war news, even if the Censor is dodged, so better not allow any names dates or places to appear in print from me. Had a Divisional Field day today about 20000 troops manouvering & sham fighting in the Desert.
I do not expect to be here very much longer in Egypt but where we go is a secret & will till we land again somewhere!!
[indecipherable] Austin the Nuggety Cot turning out a tip top horse.

[Page 59]

February, 1915
Saturday 27
I’ll cut this out today & send with love –
If wealthy people want to know the best gift to a Squadron it is a portable Kitchen
Very few are here & they are a boon to Soldiers.
Pow-Wow on yesterdays work which is most interesting. Hope all are well. If possible I’ll ride to the tombs of the Kaliphs this afternoon not far away.

[Page 60]

February 1915
Sunday 28
Went to a Ball at the Continental Hotel last night, it was very gay with Uniforms, but not enough girls, if any girls want a gay life they should come to Cairo at once.
It is strange returning to a Dusty Tent in the Desert after the Brilliancy of a beautiful Ballroom, but decent girls do a man a lot of good at this game. I am afraid I cut the leaves too carelessly of my last posting & you will have difficulty in reading. Going to the tombs of the Kaliphs this afternoon.

[Page 61]

March, 1915
Monday 1
Dog tired from doing all I can to see the old Mosques & Drill etc. too but feel the opportunity should not be let go to see these wonderful old places. Beautiful Glass stained windows, black granite pillars, Alabaster columns & inlaid marble floors built 1000’s of years ago & Tombs in every one.
As for the present diseased beggars die daily around walls & are carted away & the drab slums are filthy but the Architects of old knew how to build.
Trench digging & outpost work today.

[Page 62]

March, 1915
Tuesday 2
Went Abajsia re nose bags & Remnants.
Horse fell stroke iron, lamed himself & me, camels coming around the corner make horses very nervous & ashphalt roads are slippery.
No wood on the desert so all manure is dried & used. Very few carts all loading packed. Prickly pear is used for wood & cultivated, fewer spines than the Q’land variety. All fencing is made of mud walls & most of the Houses for Natives built likewise.

[Page 63]

March 1915
Wednesday 3
Field Day today and the 20000 men and Guns of Division out – Good training but very hard on horses, flinty Desert & no water.
Recd letter from Laura Dated Feb 11th from England. Arranged for £ 110 to go to Gov: [indecipherable] London making 210/-/- there close a/c Anglo Egyptian Bank also arranged Thos Cook & Sons to send surplus luggage to C/- [indecipherable] Union BK of Australia Cornhill London Laura’s address, as we go Constantinople in about 10 days or so. Am still a bit lame & hand in a sling result of fall off horse.

[Page 64]

March 1915
Thursday 4
"Pow Wow" re yesterday’s manouvres & going Cairo for new Riding Trousers. Went Museum & saw many mummies & strange things impressed on my mind was a good old leg of mutton embalmed & mummied 3000 years B.C.!!!!
Would that I had longer to see these things, but the egotistical bombastic Australian may realize he is very young when seeing & living in the past as we are here. Truly in the midst of life we are in death.

[Page 65]

March, 1915
Friday 5
Going out Bivouac tonight at 9 p.m. 20000, 2 Divisions night operations, cold at night warm days no wood for fires we use old Sleepers in camps on the Desert nil this place is like the Old Man Plain in a drought & the MUMMies are like the Hay Show side shows "Petrified woman [indecipherable] has never been decayed" as I remember one year. Murgha Mack is here as a Sergeant Bob ramsay a Motor ADC or something. I hear Tom McKellar is coming over, & many more men & boys
Major Tommy Redford is in the Suez Canal now.

[Page 66]

March, 1915
Saturday 6
You will think we are very gay & perhaps not serious enough when I tell you that we all went to another Ball at Continental Hotel – Dinner & danced till 4 A.m. being second night out without sleep – 1st in the trenches on the Desert, 2nd in electric lighted beautiful hall – but it all helps to keep a man fit, & the scene is a gay one, nearly all soldiers – expensive also!!! Friday night we Marched 18 miles & dug ourselves in & awaited Infantry attack at dawn got back to Camp 9 A.m.
Received letters from Aunt Louie Jan 22 & another from Laura Feb 19 – please thank them for me.

[Page 67]

March, 1915
Sunday 7
Church parade, very sleepy – Went Zoo in afternoon. Have been warned to take thick clothing when we leave here in 10 days, but no one yet knows where we go, they manage these things well at Head Quarters, not even the wives know.
Tried to be interested in Giraffes, etc etc, but got back to Camp early and had a glorious sleep. War Office advises I can wear both ribbons, I have been trying for this for some time, as the bars were issued years ago.

[Page 68]

March, 1915
Monday 8
Flowers blooming at present are [indecipherable] Geraniums, Bougainvillea everywhere, Sunflowers, Marigolds & Zinnias – At the Zoo I saw two of the boats brought from Damascus by the Turks to cross the Canal into Egypt, they were riddled by bullets & shells. We still wonder where we go. Terrible Dust storm today off the Desert, blinding & hot like a [indecipherable] shower. I hear that Tommy Redford should be arriving today & to be camped at Maedi. My hand is better but still swollen & sore.

[Page 69]

March, 1915
Tuesday 9
Divisional day again, it takes 14½ miles long in column of 4 Marching, our Brigade just 880 yards – Dust again is dreadful – Donald Campbell is a Private in the Infantry – but I have not seen him yet, Received letters from Mother 2 written from Katandra Paper from Mrs Riordan Enclose Photo of Canal boat who bring Horses feed. Mothers letters January 31st & Feb 8th Note re Kitchen these are the most suitable gifts that could be given, some Regiments have 4, i.e. 1 per Squadron we have none.

[Page 70

Wednesday 10
Did musketry today at Abassia Range & shot well, the Dust & heat are getting worse –
This country is very rough on your skin being so dry only 2½" per annum yet the natives celebrate the time when the winter is over & the warm weather begins –
We are still uncertain of our destination, but all will be glad to leave Egypt now that the Sarroceo winds blow daily & the heat is like the Back country.

[Page 71]

March, 1915
Thursday 11
Pay day today we get paid every fortnight, it costs me 20 Piastres per day = 4/- for Mess & many of us go to the Continental & Shepherds at week ends. The wags say these are the Bars we will get on our Medals:-
Tomorrow we have a Divisional day, fighting the Lancastrian Brigade & Artillery good instruction, so I’m off to bed early.

[Page 72]

March, 1915
Friday 12
Letter from May 28/1/15 please thank her when writing also one from Mr Fenai asking me again to write him & come to Ireland.
We also got Papers Australasians Bulletins, Sydney [indecipherable] etc: Mrs Riordan also wrote, but I cannot possibly reply to all many friends –
Am glad all is well at Home & that you & Day are at Katandra with Aunt Louie Have sent C/- Thos Cook & Son my Uniform steel Case
Big Kit Bag leather
Holdall Canvas –
Trouser Stretcher (covered oil cloth)
To C/- Mgr [indecipherable] of Australia [indecipherable] Cornhall London & advised Laura my money 100/-/- I have paid into

[Page 73]

March, 1915
Saturday 13
my a/c No 10850 with the Commonwealth BK of Australia London making 200/-/- there to my Credit.
We spend a lot here, an officer is expected to go to all the most expensive parts of every place & every one is out to rob & get Backsheesh.
We only take 35 lbs luggage from here & our Blankets, & expect to leave on Tuesday the 16th Mar probably Alexandretta, but will let you know later meantime I post you this with love to you all.

[Page 74]

March, 1915
Sunday 14
Posted Diary yesterday –
Ball at Continental last night very gay & very expensive –
Reveille at 2 A.m. & Marchat 3 tomorrow – latest rumour now is Marseilles – in a week – Quite a town has sprung up around Camps – Bag & Canvas House & signs as follows –
Kangaroo Tea room very good
Shirts made & good Pizamas
Soldies come welcome –
Rule English fine Barter,
Boots very good big ones.
"Egyptian Mail" tomorrow – etc:-
Turkish prisoners continue to arrive in small batches but we have not had a fight yet.

[Page 75]

March, 1915
Monday 15
Reveille at 2 A.m. Marched at 3 A.m. Morning star very bright & like all tropical countries the stars shine brightly – it was cold but the sham fight kept us warm, we got home at Sundown, good training, but rough on horses. Raining tonight the 2nd time since we’ve been in Egypt. Only 3 inches per annum fall here, & 15 points at a time hence you can guess what vegetation grows, on the desert. [indecipherable] I have not mentioned if you wish to draw the attention of a waiter in any Hotel or Restaurant, you clap hands mostly French is spoken I can understand it & make myself understood, but I am not au fait.

[Page 76]

March, 1915
Tuesday 16
There are many improvements in communications in the field since I served in S.A. We have each day a portable Wireless station, in communication with Camp Head Quarters perhaps 20 miles off, which can be erected & worked in 5 minutes, also 2 Cable detachments of 28 miles each, capable of being laid before the horses can move. Reconnaissance by Aeroplane etc:- and at night Helios for 10-15 miles keep winking on the Hills, these latter are of course nothing new.

[Page 77]

March, 1915
Wednesday 17
Projected move is knocked on the head we hear owing to Constantinople being evacuated, however we go on a 4 days Bivouac soon & all are ready to go Marseilles England Syria or the Canal – All horses now clipped tell H.L.A. the Cob (young one) has learnt a lot & is a good horse. I have been lucky to keep my 3 alive & well.
Letter card from May re Ralph Arnold I will look him up also one from Joe & enclosure from Mother of one from Laura addressed to Deniliquin.

[Page 78]

March, 1915
Thursday 18
Beautiful mornings now, but the Dust & sand is desperate, Had a long day out by Moses Well, (where he used to camp) about 3000 mounted men doing quick work. You should read W.N. Willis Book on Egypt, I think it is called, Before Christ came to Egypt – one can realize many things in the Testament now, such as stoning a man to death – the Desert is all small stones just the size to throw well & the prickly thorn bush, with which they crowned the Saviour grows in the sandy patches.

[Page 79]

March, 1915
Friday 19
Saw a Desert Hare today, a whitish grey with Brown ears & a little smaller than our English Hare –
Dogs (pariah) come in from the Desert at night & prowl around our Camp, picking the Refuse pits, all breeds & shapes, & ferocious from starving – On Reconnaissance today I rode over to what is known as Virgins Tree, the spot where Virgin Mary camped on old Heliopolis
You would enjoy going to see all these Historical places.

[Page 80]

March, 1915
Saturday 20
Lecture from General [indecipherable] – Owen who has just come from the front, My conclusion he said, in a fortnight we would be side by side with English & French
Troops, so we now expect it to be the Dardanelles – news just arrived re loss of the 3 Battleships which is unfortunate.
Papers arrived today from Mrs Collin Bystander & the Sphere – Did not go to the Military Ball at Shepherds, felt off color & so saved money.

[Page 81]

March, 1915
Sunday 21
I am at last going to see Tommy Redford, he is at Mena, near the Pyramids –
Suffering from "Boils" on arms & neck, silly thing for a soldier but most uncomfortable, also had to pay a Dentist in Cairo to refill a tooth, minor troubles one forgets –
The Arab waiters are very amusing in endeavouring to speak English, a blood orange, is called Chicken orange, i.e. like an egg with a chicken in it. Called on Sister Jennie Lemporine but found she had gone back to Australia, found Myra [indecipherable] poor girl she has been very ill with Pneumonia, which one is it? Better tell Murray she is now getting on A.1.

[Page 82]

March 1915
Monday 22
March past High Commissioner today the Desert dust rose in clouds - All arms represented the whole Army Corps, on parade – Forgot to mention I found one of the Hill Girls from Banabogie Mollie nursing at Mena – Sister Ryde is at the Palace Hotel now Hospital at Heliopolis, beautiful building cost one £ 1,000,000 marble staircase & columns, marble floor Alabaster wainscots – etc:- lot of material off the Pyramids was used on this building built by a Belgian Syndicate – all modern Heliopolis was built to rival Monte Carlo, then the war came.

[Page 83]

March, 1915
Tuesday 23
Started on 4 days Bivouac to Helonan 26 miles x Cairo, Camped one night Maidi & saw many of my old mates of the 6 Regiment who asked us to diner at their Mess.

[Page 84]

March, 1915
Wednesday 24
Camped tonight at Helonan great Tourists resort an Oasis of Sulphur springs, Camels Donkeys more numerous than elsewhere.
We were awakened at 3 Am by a devout worshipper singing at the top of his voice the Koran from one of the house tops.

[Page 85]

March, 1915
Thursday 25
Started on return journey & expect to Camp Maidi again tonight – Camped in the sand again, a beautiful starlight night like the Next: & as I lay in my blankets I thought of you all at home.
Also got letter from Walter Campbell & Lizzie Davy England - [indecipherable] had 5 inches rain at Xmas. Papers come from Mrs Cotton, & Joe & Mrs Ferrark. We hear next week we are really off, but I hope I am not committing myself & so getting Diary stopped by Censor I will post this tonight -

[Page 86]

March, 1915
Friday 26
Today we fought the New Zealanders back to camp, across a petrified forest ; each tree plainly turned to stone, thrown up no doubt in the past years & years ago.
Had a quick drink at Moses Well where he tapped the rock & made the water flow.
On arrival in Camp found letters from Mother 27/2/15 please remember I am now 1st Regiment Light Horse not Reinforcements & not 6th Regiment but Acting Adjutant 1st don’t put in Acting adj just address Lieut Weir 1st LHAIF as I sent you some time back but expect my letters are stopped or crossed.

[Page 87]

March, 1915
Saturday 27
I wish you would look up from S.A, Diary, dates, as follows –
When I left Africa in Hospital ship for England date I left Folkstone & got my discharge. Date I left Capetown in Sherie with 1st Aust.Com Horse, on my return home the second time.

[Page 88]

March, 1915
Sunday 28
Posted diary yesterday will be glad to hear if you receive these notes. Am trying to get leave to go to "Luxoor" to see Temples etc & Karnuak – said to be the oldest buildings in the world & temples of rameses & duron etc; with [indecipherable] of Sphinxes etc 4000 B.C. Terrific Duststorm today & the camp obliterated in the desert sand with millions of Locusts darkening the sky, quite droughty weather but it never rains in Egypt.
Saw Miss Alice McCulloch (Colin’s daughter) & Audrey Chirnside at the Continental Balls, but of course they did not know me. Sheila Chisholm also there.

[Page 89]

March, 1915
Monday 29
You will think me very gay going to these Balls, but all officers who can manage it do so, the Hotels are ahead of anything in Australia & the Dining Halls magnificent with Granite Columns inlaid wooden block floors Colored fountains playing tables decorated with Bouganvilia waiters all in white with Red Tarbouches Regimental Band Playing & then at 3 in the morning off out to the Desert again! & Camp in the sand. Received letter from Laura & 2 ribbons on brooch also Packet from Ferrar containing Prismatic Compass. Posted Egyptian Paper to Mother today.
Surprise inspection by Sir Ian Hamilton today – everything OK

[Page 90]

March, 1915
Tuesday 30
Altho’ a Cosmopolitan town, one notices the absence of Chinamen, I have never seen one since leaving Colombo, all other nations here. Boils are better, never had such things but were they not one of the seven plagues of Egypt? 10% of the men have them.
Periscope – Charlie letter
Letter from Charlie I will enclose with this, I am getting made in Cairo 6 Periscopes out of Plate Glass to offer to Rifles for use in the trenches ‘a la submarine we hear on the Continent they are most useful – Mrs Ferrar sent me from BelFast a Tin of Cakes & Chocolates it was nice to be remembered.

[Page 91]

March, 1915
Wednesday 31
Squadrons go to the [indecipherable] Barrage to learn to swim horses. I hope to go later Luxor post-poned on eve may go any time took Papers & Chocolates to Myra Nyse in Hospital she is getting on A.1. & will soon be fit again.
My knowledge of Perspective & Drawing is coming in very handy in preparing outpost skeches Reconnaisssance, all boys might be taught general principals of sketching – I wish I had paid more attention sometimes to all you could have taught me. Wireless troop left for Alexandria this morning, destination unknown, but we think

[Page 92]

April, 1915
Thursday 1
Went via Cairo route March to Barrage on Nile & bivouac for the night, wrote Laura & Mrs Ferrar this morning – The Gardens here are the prettiest I have seen since leaving Australia. There is also a Museum, showing plans of all the Dams, Locks & Weirs.
At night there is a continual roar of Rushing water & the mosquitoes were very bad – The men camped among the trees, quite a treat after the Desert.
Every tree is covered with Bougainvillia or Roses, a most artistic spot.
We swam all the horses across the Nile on an endless rope, it took about 20 minutes for Squadron 164

[Page 93]

April, 1915
Friday 2
Left my horse & returned by Boat with the 4 Infantry Battalion, their Colonel met them on the wharf & told them to pack up as they were leaving tomorrow.
X Good Friday today – Unfortunately last night there was a riot in Cairo, some troopers tried to burn a house down & would not let fire Brigade work, it ended in the [indecipherable] firing on them & killing 1 & wounding 4 others. X
X not to be printed

[Page 94]

April, 1915
Saturday 3
Easy day today, but off duty with Tonsilitis.
I am anxious to know if you have received any of this Diary, no acknowledgement so far & I would not post if I thought never to reach you. My French is improving & I can manage the garcons & waiters easily now. Am enclosing Charles letter from Ypres.

[Page 95]

April, 1915
Sunday 4
Went to the oldest obelisk in the world at old Heliopolis created by rameses II & brought from Luxor, one solid piece of Granite 3000 B.C.
Near here is the Virgins Tree where she rested with Joseph & also the old Church with Dado showing Josephs flight x Egypt-
Terrific Dust storm.

[Page 96]

April, 1915
Monday 5
Hamaseen = "Sirocco" the start of warm weather & usually blows at Easter certainly the worst sand storm I was ever in, poor Horses on Lines must have suffered –
You will smile at my remarks re Rabbits, the men make pets, buy young ones in the Bazaars & in the moonlight they gambol among the Tents –
Just rec letter Joe 28/2/15 & very sorry to hear no letters have been recd since a P.C. to Diary at Ceylon, I have written every 10 days at least & sent Diary – I’ll send no more till I hear you have rec..d Home letters have gone to 6 Reg no doubt’ & I’ll get them in few days

[Page 97]

April, 1915
Tuesday 6
Divisonal Hd Qts & infantry leave today for Alexandria thence across the Mediterranean it seems useless omitting names etc: when none of my Diary notes apparently have reached home.
Cooler after the Dust storm. Here is one re Nurses –
When the Sultan heard of the 100’s of pretty!! Australian Nurses he sent 4 of his Court to Port Said to pick out 6 & if they did not obtain 6 as pretty as where in the Harem, they need not come back – They came & saw, & then jumped overboard!!

[Page 98]

April, 1915
Wednesday 7
Recd P.C. from Day 3/3/15 evidently – Post Cards are the only safe means of writing as when I wrote P.C. to Kathleen I had written letters to Mother of course.
Please note to drop the 6 Reg:- I am now 1st Reg L.H.A.I.F.
Also recd letter card from May 7/3/15 – surprised to hear that Harry Phillips is coming – Regimental drill on the Desert over the old Necropolis of Heliopolis & where the Arabs & Egyptians fought more than once, & where Beads, Skulls, bones & earrings may be often picked up one N.Z. soldier found about 100/-/- worth in a Tomb.

[Page 99]

April, 1915
Thursday 8
1. Massacre des Innocents
2. Ordre du Depart
3. Faite vers L’bgyote
4. Entrιe a la Heliopolis
5. L’arbre de la Vierge
6. Entrιe a la Heliopolis
Above 6 Pictures represent painting around Hall of the [indecipherable] Church at old Heliopolis and very beautiful they are – Mural full length. Old Heliopolis is now only seen by mud hills covered with broken pottery along the Topgia Canal – The ancient Egyptian built mostly of mud & when one house fell down another mud one was built on the top.

[Page 100]

April, 1915
Friday 9
Left today for Luxor 400 miles South – the site of Ancient Thebes & the Libyan mountains – I have posted a Photo-book showing these Temples & would advise you reading Baedeker on Egypt or Encyclopedia for information – all very wonderful to think of 3000 years B.C. & yet the Paint in the Tombs is as fresh as if only done the day before. Karuak on one side & Thebes on the other side of the Nile with the Tombs of Kings & Queens in splendid condition.
I took many photos & will only hope they reach home. One really wants longer time, but we were lucky to get off.

[Page 101]

April, 1915
Saturday 10
Along the Nile, it is all Agriculture just one long strip of fertile valley about 8 miles wide & the same implements are used as in 3000 years ago –
Luxor Hotel lives on the Tourists in fact, Agriculture & Tourists are the sole product or money making part of Egypt.
Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Donkeys has done a lot for these beasts of Burden. I rode one 10 miles & he carried me well. Shelters and drinking troughs have been erected by rich American Heiresses etc.

[Page 102]

April, 1915
Sunday 11
Returned to Camp travelled all night in wretched train but I am glad to have had the opportunity to see so much of Egypt –
Hear today Myra Nyse has had a relapse I am sorry for her.
We are all grieved to think the Infantry have gone & we are left behind no doubt our time will come tho; it is hard on the men to damp their ardour;

[Page 103]

April, 1915
Monday 12
Received papers from Ferrar & have just read that Heliopolis is known in the Bible as "ON" see Genesis Xll 45. re Pharoah & Joseph.
Many troops have left us. Papers from Joe. Grazier Pastoral Times –
Sorry drought still so bad note HLA may buy property near Hay – I expect I shall be back some day & might be glad of a job if he wants a man.

[Page 104]

April, 1915
Tuesday 13
Sister Myra Nyse had relapse & has to be operated on again 10 weeks in bed. bad luck. Very Hot weather now & all hands impatient at being kept in Egypt.
Am posting Prints of Karnak Luxor, Camp life etc. and if Censor destroys them. I still have to Negatives – Have not seen Tommy Redford yet.

[Page 105]

April, 1915
Wednesday 14
Baedacker’s Egypt gives a good history of this country which like Ireland has been a most distressful one.
Promised 8 day trek tomorrow. Have been feeling off color, cold throat; etc. etc:- but do not want to miss that. Altogether the health of the men & horses has been very good -
I am thinner but no worse for that.

[Page 106]

April, 1915
Thursday 15
Posted a lot of snapshots of Luxor & myself & Horses hope you may receive safely – Recd letter from May 22/2/15 from Beerwah, I have written but she may not receive it so please if you get this do so the pet Rabbits belonging to the Infantry who have left are now camped in our Lines a white one in my Tent & I give an allowance of Horse feed daily – trek postponed till next week.
Better today, weather getting hot. I think it is the Desert sand getting to ones innards.

[Page 107]

April, 1915
Friday 16
Brigade day today fighting the New Zealanders, near Mataria & the old Suez Road.
Personally I am better, but ever since the bullet went thru’ my nose, the Doctors say I’ll sniffle with my throat as I breath per mouth. Am feeling A.1. again. Myra Nyse very ill & I am told at Hospital she has only a fighting chance.

[Page 108]

April, 1915
Saturday 17
Mothers letter from [indecipherable] 15/3/15 arrived safely, I am glad to hear my Diary arrived safely I shall be interested to hear the dates you receive it.
These fountain pens are not too good after a while so excuse scribble so long as you can read it. There is a Tea Room ‘Groppis’ on Continental style, Cakes etc all spreadout & each visitor wanders around with a plate & fork & spears what he likes then returns to a table in a Garden & Tea or Coffee is brought, it is a curious cusTom & amusing to see the different types & the seriousness of their choice.

[Page 109]

April, 1915
Sunday 18
Attended Church Parade & walked around Heliopolis a new suburb built by the Belgians to rival Monte Carlo – Casino Dancing etc. "Kamseen" or Sirocco [indecipherable] all day, sand inches deep in blankets & in the Tucker, it is the desert sand that gives the men Pneumonia both men & horses are getting sanded-up & "fed-up" at wasting so many weeks in Egypt.
Will look up Ralph Lorna’s fiancιe but I do not know his name, also others who are coming – Sunday is like any week day. Casino etc all open

[Page 110]

April, 1915
Monday 19
Field day on the old Suez Road after went Pay Office Cairo – Tomorrow we go on the promised 8 days trek to Saccora & Memphis – the old Capital Weather warmer & all Egypt goes to sleep midday, except we soldiers who train all day in the European fashion or should I say English.
Myra Nyse better, she had a close shave, & is still very weak.
My "Mufti" is still at the Pay Office & I will not send it till we move.

[Page 111]

April, 1915
Tuesday 20
Inspection by Brigadier today & trek put off till tomorrow All the Tents are struck & folded we do not lose any on Bivouac.

[Page 112]

April, 1915
Wednesday, 21
Moved via Heliopolis Cairo & the old Roman Aqueducts to Maidi – where the 2nd Brigade made us welcome. We messed with them & attended their Prize fights after – my orderly is going to ride their Buckjumper on our return.

[Page 113]

April, 1915
Thursday 22
trekked to Heloan again & camped on same ground as last trip.
Helowan reminds me of [indecipherable] built of white Sandstone & white streets with Minarets & domes very dazzling in the heat.

[Page 114]

April, 1915
Friday 23
Crossed the Nile & Canal twice 500 horses, saw & took photos of Memphis Tombs of Osiris
" " Ti
" " Sacred [indecipherable]
Statues of ramases II
The horse jumped off Darapeyeta.
The blind Mohommaden in the Temple opposite awaked us at dawn as normal calling the faithful to prayer.
Tomb of Osiris is 150 feet in the earth & the Paintings like at Luxor quite vivid & not a bit faded tho’ 3500 yrs B.C. The Sacred Bulls are in Black Granite Sarcophagi, of immense dimensions, floated from the Quarries of Asswan per Nile when in flood.

[Page 115]

April, 1915
Saturday 24
Exercise today around hills & Quarries, some of which would hold a Squadron of Cavalry. Went to the Hot Sulphur Baths & lay in them for 20 minutes, like all Turkish or other Baths, Sandglass, nigger, blanket, etc. etc:-
My watch changed color studs etc from the Sulphur. After the sand of the Desert it was like making [indecipherable] north of Bretonia were every Tommy got into a Bath some 3 deep, & washed their clothes – I will post this here & chance you getting it.

[Page 116]

April 1915
Sunday 25
Coming to Helowan we passed the Turkish prisoners, one interpreter says they are amazed at our good Horses & the size of the men compared to the Territorials & English Allies –
Turks continue to be captured in small numbers along the Canal but I must not go into details –
Will post you Phamplet re hot bath s here, which is rather interesting – I had every sort Electric, Spray, Sulphur etc etc & have not been so clean for a long time.
Met Major Midgley whom I had not seen since Piennars River S.A. he & I did a patrol together once.

[Page 117]

April, 1915
Monday 26
We leave tonight at 7 pm for a night March to Maidi. Bivouac there, & get back to Heliopolis tomorrow, my orderly is going to ride one of the 2nd Brigade’s Buckjumpers at Maidi in the morning –
This trek has been a most pleasant change does the men good - Fleas very plentiful in the sand now.

[Page 118]

April, 1915
Tuesday 27
My man Our got thrown off the Buck jumper making the 28th success for the Horse.
Came on to Heliopolis today & found mothers letter of 21/3/15 & one from Tommy Redford who comes near us now to Zeitoun.
Glad you have at last got a letter – Re Bucket – all I got was an Air Pillow – Sorry no rain – I note Ralph Arnolds name, & have written Charlie.
Did you hear ought of J.A.C. in Melbourne, [indecipherable] was [indecipherable] by 5" of rain at Xmas & there is grass to burn.

[Page 119]

April, 1915
Wednesday 28
Field day on the Desert & in the evening went to see Tommy Redford of Zeitoun he told me he had seen you ere leaving Australia. Hospital train arrived last night from –
Fleas bad now everywhere & flies in millions.

[Page 120]

April, 1915
Thursday 29
Field day at Ismalia Canal & went to Pyramids at night to Moonlight supper in honor of Australian success across the water great joy at our mates work but Censor will not let me give particulars, sorrow for the killed –
Letters from Laura 9/5/15 & P.C. from Charlie 28/3/15 N.A. Farrer all’s well.
We expect a move very soon now & are impatient at delay.

[Page 121]

April, 1915
Friday 30
On Board of Inquiry today & very hot in the Tent it was –
Afternoon visited our sick & wounded at Heliopolis Hospital – some grand work was done but you must wait for details. Whether this is all to be destroyed by Censor often makes me regret the time spent in writing we have so little time to ourselves for writing it seems a pity if all for nothing & if I knew definitely I would not post but hold till war is over.

[Page 122]

May, 1915
Saturday 1
May & here we are still, posted snapshots home yesterday & also sent some to H.L.A.
Last night went to the Opera for Belgian Relief funds. The Boxes are reserved for Harem ladies with Lace curtains in front through which they can see but not be seen –
All officers went in honor of our Allies & great enthusiasm was shown – Seats – cost 2/-/- each!!! plenty of use for a man’s money –
I could send you much news of our men at the Dardanelles but the Censor would block it – I am sure – so send Love instead.

[Page 123]

May, 1915
Sunday 2
Went to church under the Bough Shed of VMCA & could not but think of our dead mates I sent you a letter saying flourishing yesterday as you May not realize that the 1st L.H. were still here & had not crossed the water. Donald Campbell I hear is mortally wounded –
Daisy letter 28th March
Mothers " 4th April & papers arrived safely tonight so will post these notes now –
Love to you all. I see Joe has gone to Melbourne I trust nothing seriously wrong with eyes –

[Page 124]

May, 1915
Monday 3
Just received long letter from Daisy dated 28 March & yours of April 4 with Grazier & Australasian, so glad to hear all is well at home –
I posted more snapshots – some of myself, hair cut a la jail bird & moustache you can hardly recognize.
Went Heliopolis where all our wounded are from – Sister Myra Nyse also there poor girl 13 weeks in bed from Pneumonia.
You will have news in Australia of Casualties long before we see the correct list -

[Page 125]

May, 1915
Tuesday 4
Regimental training Ismalian Canal, Mulberry trees & Lebbak a species of Acacia line the road here. This is the Harvest season & a good many quail are about but I have not shot any yet.
All the Hospitals are now full, quaint "bunks" made from the ribs of Palm trees at 5.P.T. each, & a sad sight to see row upon row - & some good yarns are spun re the fight

[Page 126]

May, 1915
Wednesday 5
Hospitals all full
Today we got orders for dismounted drill, Horses to be sent afterwards, as no use for mounted men at present at – a good deal of heart burning at losing horses but glad to get into action.
Sent all surplus horses to depot – Where we go I cannot tell you, but it is not far away, & when we go will be advised by letter to you.

[Page 127]

May, 1915
Thursday 6
A thunderbolt fell today when I heard that Col. Meredith remains here o/c Camp & I am detailed to remain with him – The Reg. leave their horses & go as Infantry – Both the c/o & I feel it very much & he is selfish in keeping me, when he was going I was one of his Officers that would go at any price, now that he stops he keeps me as his aide -
Letters from Laura (23/4/15
" " " 12/5/15
Also from Lorna & Ralph I shall probably see him now, my job is to come on with the Brigade Horses & 600 men.
Laura sent scarves & Tobacco

[Page 128]

May, 1915
Friday 7
Still very sore at being left – I had actually stored my kit & made every arrangement, now the Regiment is broken up & the Light Horse Brigade also & the Division too - men are wanted badly; but I cannot give details or this would never reach you.
You ask re Adjutant’s work, it is the mouth-piece of the Colonel, either Lt or Capt can do it generally Lieutenant in peace Capt in War. One does not get much promotion when left behind.

[Page 129]

May, 1915
Saturday 8
The Regiment has gone & left their horses behind, with the Colonel & myself to look after the Brigade & about 600 men all told, all [indecipherable] & sick etc

[Page 130]

May, 1915
Sunday 9
Letters I expect will be erratic now as many May be sent on to the Regiment – Posted some Snapshots of Luxor & one of the L.H. Marching through the streets of Cairo – British Citizens are opening their houses to billet wounded soldiers & officers at Maidi a pretty suburb.

[Page 131]

May, 1915
Monday 10
Engaged 150 natives to day to help in the horse lines which present a deserted appearance.
Cutler from Deniliquin is now driving the Brigade car, I was surprised when he told me who he was & where he came from, I am acting Brigade Major I have to use the car a good deal.
Love to all, I post this tonight.

[Page 132]

May, 1915
Tuesday 11
Weather very hot midday now & we are all anxious for news across the water. Posted Diary yesterday the dates will let you know what are [indecipherable]

[Page 133]

May, 1915
Wednesday 12
Gradually the skeleton Brigade is taking shape –
Buried [indecipherable] : Fowler this morning he died appendicitis Hospitals full of wounded. We have 144 Scyees [indecipherable] helping with the Horses now but the duties come very heavy with only the sick, blind, diseased & unfit to travel left behind.
Col: M – by keeping me is blocking all chance of distinction or promotion. I suit his own convenience on getting the work done. Still we must not growl it May be all for the best many of our lads will be killed ere this reaches you.

[Page 134]

Great deeds
May, 1915
Thursday 13
I could tell you stories of our men that would make you realize what fine soldiers they are but the Censor will not permit, should any relatives sorrow over lost ones, tell them they need not worry, the men have died like soldiers & all hands are playing the game - & showing the world what Old Englands "Pups" are made of –
The Hospitals here are full of wounded ready to go back again.

[Page 135]

May, 1915
Friday 14
Drew 500/-/- & opened a/c to pay Details left behind. I have many duties to perform now as Brigade Major & o/c 1st L.H.R. the Col being acting Brigadier so far as pay is concerned I get no more but I do not mind. Last night I rode over & saw Ralph Arnold he is a big strong fellow of 26 & is the same Brigade & Camp – I was glad to hear news of May.
Very hot midday now.

[Page 136]

May, 1915
Saturday 15
Letter from Joe 13/4/15 – W’bool
" " Kathleen 28/3/15 so you see how erratic the Mails are probably some of yours have gone on to the Regiment.
Myra Nyse very little better has been transferred to Ghezirah Palace Hospital on the Nile & is to be sent to Australia poor girl she has had a very bad time. Sincerely hope Joes’ eye gets no worse, note he has sold [indecipherable] when rain does come all classes of stock will be very dear. Thank Kathleen for her letter & give Aunt Louie my love.

[Page 137]

May, 1915
Sunday 16
Col Meredith & I went up to the Nile in a [indecipherable] or Felucca with some English people we have met. I feel it is no time for pleasure jaunts with our mates fighting across the sea, but it was very enjoyable –
I did not post as stated on the 10th as I expected to have news to tell you but post tonight & trust it May reach you safely.
Posted you Egyptian Paper yesterday.

[Page 138]

May, 1915
Monday 17
Today drew money to pay 150 Seyces, they are an idle illiterate lot of degenerates. All over Cairo, walking about are wounded men showing that the Cooks Tourists as some kind people call us are not always Toy Soldiers. Personally I am very fit the hot weather agrees with me.
Posted notes yesterday & hope they reach you safely you will see by dates the sequence & if any are mislaid.

[Page 139]

May, 1915
Tuesday 18
In Cairo today around Pay Office etc:-
Saw Myra Nyse & took her for ride in car she has been ill a long time.
I see by Australian Papers some good rains have fAllen.

[Page 140]

May, 1915
Wednesday 19
Prisoners got out of Guard room last night & have gone up all night in Cairo doing the slums Very hot today – sheds are being built for the Horses with Reed Matting roofs, Australian Mail in but no letters for me Perhaps they have been sent to the Dardanelles.

[Page 141]

May, 1915
Thursday 20
Pay day for the Regiment I have to attend to all these matters & sit on a Court Martial today.

[Page 142]

May, 1915
May 21-22 missing
Sunday 23
Spent the day in orderly room busy with Pay Sheets etc:- Very hot & our horses will be glad of the reed roof shelters being built – Rumour that 500 of our Brigade are back at Alexandria having had a tough time in the trenches but always successful.
Here with the Horses we all endeavouring by Lectures in the heat of the day to instruct the Reinforcements as well as possible.

[Page 143]

May, 1915
Monday 24
To Cairo today for Pay for 150 Seyes who help on the Horse Lines at 4 ½ P.T. a day = 1 Piadre = 2 ½
Measles, Pheumonia & Dysentry very prevalent in Camp –

[Page 144]

May, 1915
Tuesday 25
Horses all developed severe Catarrh 75% sick from sand & this forms Bronchial trouble –
The Shelter sheds are not finished & the sun is very hot –
I gave a Lecture today on Musketry & notes from the front, in the heat of the day it is hard to keep awake especially as we rise at 4.30 A.m.
Still in doubt as to whether our men have received their Baptisms of fire yet.

[Page 145]

May, 1915
Wednesday 26
Mrs White wife of Capt White left for Australia today with Mrs Oatley, wife of Major Oatley, both of 1st L Cairo is full of wounded soldiers & a number of Officers wives.

[Page 146]

May, 1915
Thursday 27
My experience of working men teaches me when they cannot stand the strain of too much domineering in a Hot climate – Here they are working at Concert Pitch all thro’ the day for 1000s of years the people of Egypt found they could not do this thing – warm English clothing most unsuitable.

[Page 147]

May, 1915
Friday 28
took Brigade car & went PYramIDS, glorious moonlight night, we passed a Red + train bringing back some of our wounded from the D----.
It seems an uphill fight & not much progress yet – very hot –

[Page 148]

May, 1915
Saturday 29
Went Cairo re Pay etc:-

[Page 149]

May, 1915
Sunday 30
I will enclose a letter from one of our Sergeants – Poor old Man a D.C.M. man was one of my best reinforcements & gave me his medals & papers the night he left – I hope you are all well & this goes along safely
Love to all
As Sgt Lovetts letter has passed Censor it should go on to you it & I cannot be blamed for writing War news "comprenez"

[Page 150]

May, 1915
Monday 31
Attended as Prosecutor all day at a Court Martial on one of our men, Hot, heavy weather. Posted Diary up to yesterday with an enclosure from a wounded Sergeant of the I.L.H. Our men have been having a bad time on the Peninsular but playing the game. Posted Diary Notes yesterday hope they arrive safely.

[Page 151]

June, 1915
Tuesday 1
Joes’ letter of 3/5/15
Days " 25/4/15
Jack Harrison 2/5/15
MOTHER 2/5/15
All of which I will answer by letter as soon as possible.
Very busy with much [indecipherable] work.
Ran over a Nigger today in Brigade Car & killed him they are like ants on the roads & life not of much consequence apparently – still I was sorry, but they do not like the English.

[Page 152]

June, 1915
Wednesday 2
Saw the IsherwoodS off to England today – Father daughter & daughter in law whose Husband is in the Lancashire B F. Artillery – I have known these people & had many pleasant nights together – I am writing separately to tell you in confidence more about the above which will be better to keep in the family for the present, but I hope to meet them again some day.

[Page 153]

June, 1915
Thursday 3
King’s Birthday & Pay Day. No celebrations here, but keen interest to see what Greece & U.S.A. folk are going to do.

[Page 154]

June, 1915
Friday 4
Nothing further re Nigger, the black population are not loyal here, but even so one native more or less does not seem to count much – we could not get anyone to come & claim the corpse.

[Page 155]

June, 1915
Saturday 5
Saw Sister Nyse [indecipherable] she sails Tuesday I think, by S.S.Kyarra & is now quite well again.
Very hot & dusty 117 degrees in my Tent.

[Page 156]

June, 1915
Sunday 6
Church Parade as usual & in Office or orderly room rather – Mrs Ferror sent me Chocolate & Biscuits from IRELAND evidently thinking we were at the Dardanelles.

[Page 157]

June, 1915
Monday 7
Colonel goes to Divisional H’Q to recommend me for Captaincy whether I get it or not is hard to say – In Cairo to Anglo Egyptian Bank for Pay for Seyces.

[Page 158]

June, 1915
Tuesday 8
Mrs Ferror sent me another Cake & a tin of Chocolates very good of her – I am very fit & getting plenty of office work at present which is a change after Field days on the Desert, I am doing Brigade Major or Camp Adjutants work now, which may mean promotion later on.

[Page 159]

June, 1915
Wednesday 9
The wounded continue to arrive in Cairo, are quickly dressed & partly cured & out to the Camps on the Desert again –
Their first want & last want like everyone all over the world is L.S.D. It is wonderful how everything hinges on it, even the munitions of war we read about strikes for more pay etc: which seems so cold blooded at such a time – All manner of wonderful wounds & escapes I suppose you are glad I am here in Heliopolis in lieu of Dardanelles, but I am sorry to miss it all. [indecipherable] we have our job here to keep the horses fit.

[Page 160]

June, 1915
Thursday 10
My recommendation for Captain has gone in today – The Colonel tells me I will get the rank, but not the pay at present, however, the Rank is something – it means 3 stars I have 3 Court Martials running at the present time, all Reinforcements – just arrived – The 6th Brigade of Infantry are here & I am told that Jack Lorimer is among them but at present Quarantined at Suez – the whole boatload – I expect Harry Phillips will turn up soon, but one never looks for people among soldiers like needles in Hay Stacks.

[Page 161]

June, 1915
Friday 11
Very hot again today & the 3rd Contingent comprising the 6th Infantry Brigade are busy pitching camp [indecipherable] We took all the officers about 60 into our Mess for the first day or two.

[Page 162]

June, 1915
Saturday 12
Came up to Alexandria on the Coast to visit our wounded. Many of the men I enrolled have lost limbs and eyes but are quite cheerful. Cooler here by 10 degrees than Cairo & the Transport A42 is in the Bay some go there tonight to see
Daisy & Joe’s letter of May 9th just recd have not seen Toby Phillips yet but mentioned Jack Lorimer Glad to hear all is well & so am I.
Am posting this tonight morrow
Love to all

[Page 163]

June, 1915
Sunday 13
Returned from Alex:-
It is full of French soldiers Blue shirts Red Pants & like a Circus all colored horses. The streets were crowded with Lorrys made out of London Buses! to carry 30 & every hotel full of officers – The bay full of ships & every wharf crowded with Bully Beef & Biscuits
320 casualties out of 1st L.H.B. to date. I expect letters today & will then post.

[Page 164]

June, 1915
Monday 14
Sand lice are now plentiful on the Desert & the Tents are in want of Keatings Powder. Sent 100 Pipes to the Reg at Dardanelles – Posted Diary yesterday Not much news these days only Sand & Heat. But it agrees with me! & I am very fit – no colds which since Africa have always been my trouble!

I send 2 Silver Piastres other nickel coins of same value make the coinage hard to follow, hope the Censor does not [indecipherable] to them

[Page 165]

June, 1915
Tuesday 15
I note what Joe says about Wangaratta, no doubt he’ll get a job some day, J.A.C. has not seen fit to send me any Testimonial to date. Capt Max Henry Vet Officer is in the same Mess as I am here.
This war will not end for some time is the general opinion. The Papers you get do not publish the full list of casualties they nearly all occurred the first fortnight & are being published in instalments for very good reasons no doubt.

[Page 166]

June, 1915
Wednesday 16
From all I can gather from the wounded I do not think the Turks are mutilating our wounded except odd cases – I, among all the wounded in Cairo have not found one case so far.
I have posted you some papers at different times & hope you receive them.
What lot did Harry Phillips come with & Fred Knight, they no doubt are now camped opposite, but with so many troops one cannot find individuals – only an ant out here; & of small consequence.
Weight 12 stone 6 lbs

[Page 167]

June, 1915
Thursday 17
I have seen the 3.4.5 Infantry Brigades go & now the 6th is camped opposite & we wake to their Bands in the morning & all the Arab Hawkers & Small Shops are doing good business again.
X Two Letter Cards from May I note she is at home now, I am very glad –
X Ralph Arnold has not been near me since weeks ago I took his photo & he camps only 200 yards away, but perhaps he feels I am an Officer & he a Trooper.
Also got a letter from Percy Smith Millawa, bad time on the Murrumbidgee with drought.

[Page 168]

June, 1915
Friday 18
Young Cutler got a Deniliquin Paper I read news with interest. Have not seen Lorimer since & do not know where to look for Harry Phillips.
Wounded still arrive daily. Out of the new Infantry arrivals about 12 go to Hospital daily with sunstroke they cannot stand the Heat first off the boat it agrees with me, you note my weight.
There goes my Fast it is now a month since the Regiment Marched out & left us behind.

[Page 169]

June, 1915
Saturday 19
Winter with you, mid summer & on the Desert not a sign of Animal life except a few hares. Tis wonderful how one gets accustomed to sand, we eat it, sleep in it & never notice it now. But it is the very devil on leather goods such as Boots & Leggings.

[Page 170]

June, 1915
Sunday 20
Hot again & Church Parade rather a fatigue, but I suppose necessary –
I am learning to drive the Brigade Cars & Cadillac anyone can do so with practice but I never had the chance to learn. Sometimes I take the Signal Motor Bike & have a ride I note Joe does a lot now.

[Page 171]

June, 1915
Monday 21
Paid the (Seyces) piastres yesterday I pay first the Jemadhur i.e. Sergeant Major he pays under Jemadhur or Sergeant who ask all the natives 150 if they are satisfied to be paid by Jemadhur they all shout "IOWAH" - & then I hand the money to the Jemadhurs & away they go.
Lt Belcher from Geelong, once at [indecipherable] & [indecipherable] was in my tent last night also Lorimer he is [indecipherable] for Infantry [indecipherable] & much worried, because 8 of their officers have gone Hospital with bad Stomach ache, it [indecipherable] the climate & every get "Gyptty Tummy" at times.

[Page 172]

June, 1915
Tuesday 22
Court martial today I am Prosecutor.
Received letter from Laura & a few cards from the front some are very funny I have some good snap shots – of dead Turks etc – but will not trust them to the tender mercy of a Censor, who no doubt would like them himself .
Some quaint Post Cards come back from Dardanelles written on Cardboard or Brown Paper – one from one of my men was just addressed
Mr Weir.
Heliopolis & I got it send it on to you with this to keep for me.

[Page 173]

June, 1915
Wednesday 23
Note from Laura letter that Dr Gault said Joe has a Cataract in his eye, he did not tell me that & I hope he is not hiding anything – as he is the mainstay & is of far greater consequence then if anything does happen to me. I hope W & A have paid their interest regularly – by the way I never got any wash basin from Sydney people only an Air cushion which is most useful.
Love to you all Mother dear & don’t worry.

[Page 174]

June, 1915
Thursday 24
Posted Diary yesterday & P.C. from the trenches – Court Martial over – The Artillery here have painted their guns primary colors Blue Red Yellow supposed to make more invisible – No rain for months, in this climate – most of the Houses are roofed with wood like weather boards. Norman Belcher from Geelong once from [indecipherable] camped here last night he had been to Gallipoli & gave us news.
Went Cairo on a Signalers Motor Byke 3 speed Hudson I wish I could drive a "car" every man should learn how. I could do such a lot of my work if did not always want a chauffer.

[Page 175]

June, 1915
Friday 25
took Sister Nellie Hill late of Burrabogie for a run to Pyramids in Brigade car last night, she had news of Mrs Mills & all Hayites & is a most the most energetic of the nurses sent from Australia. All Cairo is closed now at 10 p.m. I could give you a lot of Military news about our men at Gallipoli & what is doing here, but cannot break faith as an officer hence I fill up Diary with Garden stuff.

[Page 176]

June, 1915
Saturday 26
Letters from Laura & Jennie [indecipherable] from England today – former says all is well -
Feast Fast days commence for a month for the native population they eat at night only now, & then in a month have a great spree.
Wounded continue to come in, 2 more of my men (I mean 1st Reinf) I found last night in No.1 A.G. Hospital. Send with this some snapshots of our men at Gallipoli (& also one of myself & V.O. 1st L.H.)

[Page 177]

June, 1915
Sunday 27
Went to Church this morning in Y.M.C.A. recd covered Armour No Galvanized iron is used I am glad to say in Egypt – No rain means flat roofs & a handy place to keep the wood & the fowls etc:-
I hear our 5th Reinforcements are here so something may be doing shortly to give us a more I hear that Typhoid & measles are prevalent at Gallipoli & hope it is not true for our mens sake
I keep fit by exercise, & a bucket of water Bath morning & evening – flies not so bad now.

[Page 178]

June, 1915
Scyce natives
Paid the Scyces as usual today their womenfolk are more like "Crows" than anything else, heads & shoulders covered with long black shawl.
All the men issued with new boots & I am having them sprigged in anticipation of going to the Dardanelles. Doley Wilshire came into my Tent last night, he looks Brown & fit, I told him to keep an eye open for Harry Mulligan but if no Battalion given it is almost impossible to find anyone.

[Page 179]

June, 1915
Tuesday 29
5th Reinforcements under Major Mills Marched in tonight fresh off the Boat & full of wonder as we were at the strange sights of Cairo, we have the 6th & 7th Reinforcements out on the road. Hence our turn may soon come now to move off.
What do people think of the "Gas" business, we might be Rabbits & a Carbon Fumigator used! Its not playing the game, but the men from the Back country won’t forget when their time comes.

[Page 180]

June, 1915
Wednesday 30
Last night I visited our wounded in No 1 A.G. Hospital Hospital which was the PALACE Hotel a great Marble Palace I have mentioned before – Now filled to overflowing with maimed humanity – Poor fellows some will never walk or see again. Letters from Fennor Dalgety & Com good sale of Dungalear [indecipherable]
We are all working hard Reveille 5. Squadron drill till 9 & then the sun is too hot. Lectures etc till Midday & then out again in the evenings – Not been going to Cairo lately.

[Page 181]

July, 1915
Thursday 1
I have made myself as comfortable in my Tent as possible DUG down 2 ft matting floor Egyptian Porous water bottle costs only ½ piastre – 1 Ό D & keeps water like in a water bag. The Heat is no worse than Australia & lovely cool nights – flies are less troublesome now. I bath in a Bucket with [indecipherable] Ammonia twice daily to keep the awful Nettle Rash or Ezcema that so many are suffering from owing to the Heat & sand & lack of fresh vegetables.
Personally I prefer Butterflies to Blue noses.

[Page 182]

July, 1915
Friday 2
Paid all hands yesterday a cheque for 300/-/- in Piastres = 29,250 & seems such a lot of money but L.s.d. goes a very little way in Cairo – 5 P.T. or 1/- for a drink & soldiers call them disasters.
I have been lecturing every afternoon lately on
Supply of ammunition
Musketry etc:-
I hate it but endeavour to interest the men we are training. Lectures can be made interesting & the men you can feel are interested & keen to learn –
We are all working hard & trying to do our bit to fit the fresh arrivals for their jobs & keep the Horses in nick.

[Page 183]

July, 1915
Saturday 3
Blue Funnell Liner sunk in Canal yesterday, mined by Turks we live on here hardly realising things, until the Hospital trains come in –
We never forget reaching the Prussian Austrian Red Cross Train when wounded in S.A. it was heaven.
Letters from home as follows
Mother two: 16th & 30th May
Joe 22nd May & a Gumleaf
May 23rd & Lorna 16th
Aunt Louise May 20
Joe 23 May [indecipherable] 15th May & Paper

I note my news is published I suppose it can do no harm & may interest some Bushies, altho’ they may think we behind with Horses have cold feet – but really are very tired of working along [indecipherable].

[Page 184]

July, 1915
Sunday 4
Thank all for letters & papers. Here we are in July & still living in hope –
Heard that the 2nd LH & 6th L.H. had a big fight last night, wounded still coming in, all happy –
Dalgetys letter re Dungalean clips just received good prices good report up to 13 ½ you see I can’t get away from the sheep – Here one sees only mixed lots of fat tails Persians & Xbred goats. The milk supply is delivered on its own legs & warm & fresh from the cow & calf driven to your door & milked in the street, but one had better not drink milk in Egypt – Camels is strong –

[Page 185]

July, 1915
Monday 5
Have read printed Diary Notes, they sound interesting to me a few typo errors – I’ll be glad if you’d keep a Copy of them all for me.
Mother 2. 9 Letters today Aunt Louie (2), Days & others from England – Joe.
Went to Bakeries Napoleon used them & before that they were a slave market, there’s 5 of those ovens like a row of Shearers Brick ones.
40,000 Loaves daily are turned out we eat Australian frozen mutton & Beef – The flour comes from America Butter from Australia. Like everywhere, the Lord sends the Tucker & the Devil sends the Cooks.

[Page 186]

July, 1915
Tuesday 6
The "Kiwi" Lancers as the L.H. were called are now in "Shorts" & "Puttees" I send you a snapshot of myself a la Tommy - We could do with all the good station men from the Back country -. MEN ARE WANTED, not writers or Boozers
Sorry I cannot give you more Military News but dare not so keep off the Topic, but we are not progressing as we should & there are so many poor fellows crippled & broken for life – Nothwithstanding our men give the Turks Gramophone Selections at times, trenches only 20 yards apart then Hell. Poor light Horse what a difference from what we expected. However, more power to us to be able to do it.

[Page 187]

July, 1915
Wednesday 7
Brigadier back from the Dardanelles, Pleurisy & thinner, it is no soft job. We send 120 men & 10 N.C.O’s today to fill the gaps but I stay behind.
Will probably post this with a few snapshots and silver Piastres.
Had 2 letters from Aunt Louie one from Joe, hope his eye no worse; plenty men here with only one eye now. Glad to think May is at home.
Mothers letters were dated May 16th & May 30th my love to you all.
Personal not to be printed

[Page 188]

July, 1915
Thursday 8
Letter from Daisy enclosing one from Mother an old one sorry to hear Hilda’s brother is dead. I noticed it & was wondering if were he.
The C.O. has promised that I shall take the next draft to Gallipoli, 120 go today all without horses – I am posting Joe some of my Orders shewing I circulated the Melburnians good wishes in Regimental Orders.
Also Mays enclosed June 6th - I am very glad she is home again.

[Page 189]

July, 1915
Friday 9
We are now very short handed 1800 Horses stabled to exercise feed water & groom.
Carry on Instruction & find men for Guards etc:-
All hands were jubilant at going to be killed & the remainder very full up of the Desert & the Stables.
I have a dozen snapshots to send you of Typical scenes & some of Himself. I now have 725 Seyces to help groom & feed – not knowing much about Horses they get kicked all over the place, they learn quickly. I cannot speak anything but Koppi & Collarendabir, they speak Arabic.

[Page 190]

July, 1915
Saturday 10
I note from Australian Papers & English files more news is published than here in Cairo but I post you Papers with local news, occasionally. Each train load of wounded give us fresh news about our Light Horseman, the Key note of it all is we want Reinforcements badly & every man in the Back Country who is young & physically fit should come along – England will blunder through it alright, but it is the same old slow plodding way she always has & much men & money will be needed & many blunders made before it is all over

[Page 191]

July, 1915
Sunday 11
Have not gone to Church too busy in O.Room.
Brigadier Chauvel here from Dardanelles yesterday he promised me I should go with next draft also Col Meredith - This War will last for 18 months yet is the current opinion – Brig: says a Gooska when a shell comes says
Englishmen get into "Dug-outs" 2nd Shell Gooska get into 3rd Shell Australians say you B-B-
This sounds tripe but our men have been very game thro’ it all; naturally blow a bit.

[Page 192]

July, 1915
Monday 12
It’s the same old story from the front Lice everywhere & Keating’s Powder & Blue ointment very necessary.
All the Kit an officer collects is useless at the finish as he, like the men, must first walk ashore with what he is able to carry himself no more & no less –
One change 1 Blanket 1 Oilsheet, Soap Shaving Kit, Quart-Pot Haversack waterbottle & Rifle –
Sam Brown Belts, & walking sticks Glasses etc: useless – not much need for Glasses with Turks 50 yards off –

[Page 193]

July, 1915
Tuesday 13
The hot climate & discomfort is making all hands very short-tempered & livery, a trip to Gallipoli & a bullet thro’ the anatomy would be a good cure if not fatal. The Horses too are getting very fretful & fresh for the want of proper exercise.
We cannot exercise so many & always in the Reed covered stables, tortured by flies they get short-tempered.

[Page 194]

July, 1915
Wednesday 14
I hardly like to keep writing from Egypt, but I suppose we are doing our bit with the Horses & our time will come. We put in about 15 hours a day from 5 a.m. to 9 at night so keep fairly fit:-
The returning fit for duty from the Hospitals are quite superior to the poor lads who are waiting to go & few remember I suppose that I have been all through it before & I know the Hospital routine from South Africa –

[Page 195]

July, 1915
Thursday 15
Went to Mess to 17 Infantry Battalion, very hot all day –
City of Cairo very quite now that Police close up 10 a.m.
Pay day today I’m getting quite good at Piastres. Letter from James, Charlie is alright, but the Major is doing nothing.

[Page 196]

July, 1915
Friday 16
Cairo for money, do you remember me telling you when I was captured by the Boers, taking 2000 sovereigns for the Munsters Territories so I take extra precautions here, but natives all over the world have a great respect for Whitemen.
All danger of a native rising is now over but last February they were very restless.

[Page 197]

July, 1915
Saturday 17
July nearly gone I see Cuth Fetherstonbrough’s name in the 12 L.H. just arriving, full of enthusiasm I suppose.
I am joining these leaves together with a thorn the same kind as our Saviour was crowned with. You will see it is different to what I grew in my Garden at Maribyrnong -
Had a letter from Jack Mother giving me Berties & Ruperts’ addresses –
So the Papers say the War is to be over by October. I think October 12 months will be nearer the mark.

[Page 198]

July, 1915
Sunday 18
So many Egyptians are Xeyed, I find owing to conscription for Egyptian Army, the Mothers injure their male Babies eyes with fingers so as to be exempt –
Jack Mack of "Yarto" I hear from [indecipherable] Mack is over here, they are all wanted.
took Lady Oakes to see Brigadiers off by train tonight in Brigade Car, I think I told you young Cutler is driving it; a good boy.

[Page 199]

July, 1915
Monday 19
Letters from Laura one 24th May also from Mrs Cotton, Paper from Ferrar & letters from the trenches – Men in trenches That other complain bitterly of the flies & Lice, Former are bad here & with so many sore eyed niggers & Horse drives spread Disease wholesale.
Day time especially 2 p.m. very hot. Cooler at night but the Desert sand blows onto everything but why growl when compared to our mates, with death Turks all around them & unburied we are in clover & really ashamed to be still here in Egypt.

[Page 200]

July, 1915
Tuesday 20
Cole Cotton has a job as Transport officer for a Manchester Regiment so she writes pity cannot utilize himself at such a time. Have sent Chocolate Bovril [indecipherable] Paper Insectibane etc to the trenches.
I am satisfied so far as our men are concerned that the Turks are fighting like gentlemen compared to the Germans, so give the Devil his due.
It is the KURDS who do the Atrocities a mountain tribe of wild Turks but our men will make them respect an Englishman.

[Page 201]

July, 1915
Wednesday 21
More of my Reinforcements have drifted back shot through legs & eyes etc. & I am here fit and well poor chaps I do what I can in writing letters etc:- & only regret I was not with them in the field – no doubt our time will come Will post this tonight love to all, your son

[Page 202]

July, 1915
Thursday 22
Posted Diary yesterday, the Nile is rising & the heat getting more [indecipherable] each day – Have you got my Pictures from [indecipherable] yet & were they damaged at all? [indecipherable] from [indecipherable] now for [indecipherable] at Gaba Tepie. McMillan my 2nd officer of Reinfo’ returned broken up last night he says its Hell there & says the big shells concussion stopped his watch.

[Page 203]

July, 1915
Friday 23
Again the rumour that I am to go to the front – so banked 15/-/- Anglo Egyptian BK [indecipherable] money & packed up Kit again – nails in my boots & hung round like Father Xmas – with equipment I believe 40/-/- has been spent by Red X on mosquitoe Nets for Gaba as the flies are very bad indeed & after feeding on dead Turks not nice to think of but WAR is not over nice at any time but has a great fascination.

[Page 204]

July, 1915
Saturday 24
Found Harry Phillips this morning he is camped about 1 mile from me is very fit, looks well & happy & has been made a Sergeant.
I gave him a plan to find my Tent & he’s coming up this afternoon; If I can do anything for him I will of course do it & have advised him to fill in a form for a Commission & I will send it on – He has grown into a fine man – very like Harry Arthur Phillips, with blue eyes, & all the characteristics of the Phillips. Tell Marion I will do all I can for him.

[Page 205]

July, 1915
Sunday 25
Rode over to 12th L.H. expected to see Cuth Fetherstonehaugh but he’s returned with [indecipherable] at "Suey" as latter has measles. This Regiment left all their horses at Melbourne. Am posting you Snap Shots of Gaba Tepie - & some of other spots imagine my delight at getting my other Medal the Kings from the Intermediate Box from the War Office England after all these years NOW I will wear the ribbon.

[Page 206]

July, 1915
Monday 26
Still waiting orders hear we are part of 4000 reinforcements – for [indecipherable] Received letter from Mrs Ferrar Laura, & papers-
Have packed everything up & only go without what I can carry –
A man should buy little Kit in Australia but so long as he has money he is alright Mrs F. insisted about sending me something so I told her Handerchief 1 pr soks posted every month – would be a great boon in the trenches further on water is the trouble at Gaba Tepee. So will be a dry blow & no washing. flies are a curse, curse them.

[Page 207]

July, 1915
Tuesday 27
Standing waiting at Anglo Egyptian Bank this morning an Australian ambulance pulled up with a plate showing - Presented by Sir Sam McCarthy
Harry Phillips came up again today, he has grown into a fine chap & is giving me an Infantry Mans PACK to carry my load.
I gave him a form re Commission but he does not think he will follow it up just now.

[Page 208]

July, 1915
Wednesday 28
Tell Mother I’m really off on Sunday next – so if I have any luck I’ll be in the advance. Staying behind as Adjutant I might have got promotion quicker, but it is not altogether what I came over for. Poor old Colonel has to wait again for another draft it cuts him up staying behind - He is typical Irishman & we get on well together, but have Sundry small rows of course – even at War men do not change & in the trenches sometimes have a fight with pots among themselves.

[Page 209]

July, 1915
Thursday 29
All my Kit I leave at Thomas COOK & Co Cairo, my medal at the Anglo Egypt Bank also about 20/-/- there 200/-/- is in England If anything happens, Kit will be sent Australian – it is a elaborate one, too much-
Rifle can always be picked up if necessary - & one wants to be free to lose everything without worrying – one soon gets used to the ground I prefer always you remember a hard bed so have one ready for me when I come home

[Page 210]

July, 1915
Friday 30
This is what I carry & wear.
Oil sheet
Oil silk (Poncho/bought)
Tunic like mens
Felt Hat
Revolver & Pouch
water bottle
Hobnailed boots
Field Service Pocket Book
Emergency Ration
Indelible Pencil
[indecipherable] Tooth Brush

[The following list was on the right of above, boxed in with drawn lines.]

No Brushes
Hair clippers
Torch (electric)
Condys Crystals
Saltwater soap
Razor Brush
Bit of Mosquito Net
Locket around Neck
small sponge
Quart Pot
MessTin & Knife
Fork & spoon
Flint & steel
Morphia Tablets

[Page 211]

July, 1915
Saturday 31
Address letters just the same as usual giving Reg & Egypt as they are sorted at the Base here.
We leave here tomorrowat 6 A.m. so post this.
Just rec’d letter from home Mothers 27/6/15 Day 27/6/15 May 27/6/15 Joe & 2 Australian & D’quin Papers – I would like a cutting of my DIARY if you posted.
Also letter May 20/6/15 Mother 20/6/15 & Joe 20/6/15
. note all goes well on second thoughts I will request my letter home containing Kings Medal. You have the Bars 1901 & 1902 which belong to this Medal.

[Page 212]

August, 1915
Sunday 1
Here we are on board the Knight Templar 1500 of us packed anyhow. Men just throw themselves down anywhere I have nothing but what I stand up in, but all is well –
Saw Cuth Fetherston for a minute last night at a riot in the slums of Cairo the soldiers burnt 5 houses 6 stories high & smashed up 6 others. We call it the battle of the WAZZA.

[Page 213]

August, 1915
Monday 2
We are more settled today but the ship is very dirty & we have 200 more men than room for.
We change into destroyers & mine sweepers tomorrow night –
Just washed a shirt so as to be clean. What men want training in in Australia is Rapid fire Musketry & Trench work.
I was sorry to leave my horses but glad to get away from the Desert & into the firing line.

[Page 214]

August, 1915
Tuesday 3
No submarines & in sight of all islands en route apparently inhabited by Greeks etc growing currants –
A Period of dullness sleeplessness & hunger is in front – but its the real thing now –
Great secrecy was observed. We did not know the name of TRANSPORT till alongside & nobody on board knew we were coming till 3 hours before – Out of the train into the ship & away – all Chinese Crew – Rocky islands all around us now.

[Page 215]

August, 1915
Wednesday 4
ANNIVERSARY of the WAR Anchored in Bay Island of Lemnos 3 hours from Peninsular, about 93 Boats in Harbour half of them men of war – on the rocks within sight is the SS PFLAZ or A42 rammed by a French gunboat by accident You remember I sailed from Sydney in A42 her
All hands had a swim in Mediteranean no sharks, our men are like Kanakas so Brown.
So many Bushmen one meets, Jack Young my Cowboy asked me in the water if Old Spot was alive still!!! I did not know he had enlisted, but he had been shot thro in the head convalescent & returning.

[Page 216]

August, 1915
Thursday 5
Still here but move this morning it means an extra feed & one more night in a bed – I could not sleep bed too soft after the Desert. This will be the last ink I expect you will get sorry my writing is cramped – very pretty here & beautiful climate. As the Knight Templar is returning to Alexandria & it may be a long time before I get a chance to post, send this – 7 Hospital Ships are in the Harbour & we expect to do something about the -8"- with Ache Bata
The men are in great buckle & so am I.

[Page 217]

August, 1915
Friday 6
We Tranship into row boats from the Destroyer, under shell fire but at night so no damage is done – we then March 1 ½ miles up a Gully to [indecipherable] & join the Regiment – It is hard work to get the c/s of Groceries along over by Tips of good gold can be done but I have it still including the insecticide & Sand soap.
All my love to you little mother.
Boats here now, I write this from the Knight Templar.

[Page 218]

August, 1915
Saturday 7
Yesterday left Diary out [indecipherable] to be posted by ships Purser Today I am at the front line of trenches. Half deafened by shell fire POPES HILL Anzac in time for general assault tonight. We are going to knock feathers out of the Turks with the boys of [indecipherable] so if flies will let us try.
Changed & got bomb on right thigh – took 4 Turks trenches. I shot one Turk dead. Major Reid, Nettleton, Capt Cox [indecipherable] Herman White Mc William Harris & self wounded – lost about 50% men – It was Hell. Walked 1 mile to Beach dressing station, 200 casualties by 9 A.m.

[Page 219]

August, 1915
Sunday 8
S.S. Caledonian Hospital ship –
First towed out in Barge full of dead & wounded to R.V.S. "Liberty" – she took us to Imbros island & we transhipped to Caledonian & now are steaming for Alexandria. I lost all my kit & a lot of blood –
Shot one Turk dead with Revolver & used 20 of their Bombs out of Captured trench but we were driven back. 1200 on this boat mangled humanity in only 4 shirts & no pyjamas or breeches mine were cut off at dressing station all blood

[Page 220]

August, 1915
Monday 9
Full speed for Alexandria boat too shaky to write, so will wait.
We are funny looking crowd & only 8 nurses & 4 doctors for the 1200, we buried a few who died last night, poor old Cox was left at Mitros Island – Major Reid & Nettleton’s body we did not get.
I am first class but lost my Kit. Should be back again with the Regiment in a month, Drs leaving the bit of Bomb in my thigh as it is a good fleshy part of the thigh –
Of the 52 Reinf. I brought over only about 8 remain not wounded or killed.

[Page 221]

August, 1915
Tuesday 10
Not far from Alexandria beautiful weather to be killing men – The Turks fought fair but shelled us going out to Hospital ships, probably could not tell we were only for the meat ships, they hit 2 with Shrapnel.
Out of the Boat into Hospital Train.
No.1 Australian General Hospital Heliopolis the same place I used to visit the sick ere I was one –
SIKHS attended us on the Train & nurses were very good –
A good many died coming over.

[Page 222]

August, 1915
Wednesday 11
[indecipherable] 1 top S.A. 1900 today 15 years ago shot in the head
Here I am Ward 14 the same as Sister Wyse had & train loads of wounded are
arriving – I have cabled you "slightly" wounded flourishing & should be out again in a months time – with luck.
Some of the Reg & Colonel came to see me latter much cut up –
2 more train loads arrive Have a draining affair put on wound, will be Xrayed tomorrow.
Poor Tommy Redford was killed I hear.
Every attention here, a Barber came & shaved me for 2 P.T.

[Page 223]

August, 1915
Thursday 12
A restless night, & 3 more train loads arrived of what our men call "Navvies who can shoot a bit" -
This being the definition of a Gallipoli soldier after the immense amount of Trenching & Sapping done there by the Aust.
Give the Turk his due they fight fair & [indecipherable] compared to the Germans. When we charged they yelled ALLA ALLA & some English [indecipherable]

*Mafish = Arabic for finish

[Page 224]

August, 1915
Friday 13
My wound is a little more serious than I thought. 101 Temp today –
Xrayed & a bit of bone out latest instructions to irrigated & dressed 3 times a day [indecipherable] back for a week but I have [indecipherable] not writing too thankful to be here –
Just heard that Col Stodard of 2 reg – L.H. was killed Col Rowall 3rd L.H. died in boat. Our Brigade is "Mafish" X but we all feel now that we did our bit.
My 2 Louse Bags are hanging on a nail & my Yass Helmet like a big Balaclava with [indecipherable] window I shall try to keep for future use.

[Page 225]

August, 1915
Saturday 14
Letters from Nowell Forth & Lorna –
Nowell may be up from the Sudan next month - Harry Phillips came in to see me, he is not so well as when I left got a cold – I have many visitors all want me to tell them a story of the fighting – I can shoot a man but have never used a bayonet yet I like a Revolver for Trench work.

[Page 226]

August, 1915
Sunday 15
Every day better & every day + trains bring more wounded 30000 casualities so far, but the Peninsular is ours if all accounts are true – I am still afraid to give you names of the different military successes. [indecipherable] Censor but he should hardly block these simple notes – there is one thing I am a thankful man to be here alive & kicking casualties have been so heavy 3rd Batt Infantry after three days fighting a Subaltern was O.C. –

Have not used a crutch since my knee was bad at C.G.S

[Page 227]

August, 1915
Monday 16
Shearing will be in full swing now-
Here "After Shearing" is never heard – generally – everything "Apres la guerre" The word Anzac made from the first letters of Aust & N.Zealand Army Corps happens to be a real Turkish word meaning "Only just" & that is about all it was for a start.
Letter from Laura 29 July.

[Page 228]

August, 1915
Tuesday 17
The Routine here is as follows White Robes, Red fez Arab brings tea & Biscuit at 6.30 –
I then get my crutches & proceed to Bathroom & wash all but my Right thigh –
Then a Tommy makes bed (3 officers one ward), another sweeps, a nigger swabs out with a Bucket of water. Then a R.A.M.C. orderly comes along with Thermo : counts pulse * finish this in letter.
Just heard Aust Mail closes So send love to all – Frank

[Page 229]

August, 1915
Wednesday 18
Hope you are careful not to let Private matter be printed – would like to have cuttings if any to spare – just to see how it reads.

[Page 230]

August, 1915
Thursday 19
No name of boat but news has just come in that 2600 Troopers drowned Mediterannean (Torpedoed) Later "Prince George" torpedoed – reinforcements from England – My difficulty is a Bath – Too many in bed to be washed so I get on my crutches & lay one across end of Bath & rest wounded leg on that as if I get dressing wet the Sisters growl – (but they are very good). Another trouble is few of the Pyjamas have any buttons or strings in Trousers - Why the visitors don’t bring needle & cotton & Bobkins instead of chattering away [indecipherable] just put string in with safety Pin & [indecipherable]

[Page 231]

August, 1915
Friday 20
I wonder will England realize that the Turks are beating us for the want of Machine guns & [indecipherable] We are using Homemade jam-tins with too slow a fuse.
Letter from Mother July 7th & Paper from Mrs. Cotton. Hope May manages to have some [indecipherable] I am often thinking of you all, lying here in bed – I send a letter of Miss D to Mother yesterday –
I often wonder if you can read this.

[Page 232]

August, 1915
Saturday 21
Fortnight today wounded – Thigh much better but not allowed out of bed – We get no news but Troops are being sent along as Fast as possible & every man is wanted.
From all I read living must be very expensive in Australia now & chaff dear.
Letters from Aunt Louise May & Daisy July 12th ere this arrives May will have gone again – Poor old girl I wish I could help her.

[Page 233]

August, 1915
Sunday 22
I have tried to keep going in a normal way & forget the scenes & mates I have lost – It would not do to brood there is much to be done yet.
I can hear Church being held –
This is funny Wm Gunners son from Walgett sent an admission card to my old camp for me to come & see him, he is in the 6 L.H. wounded & in next corridor but did not know I also was wounded & in the same Hospital.

[Page 234]

August, 1915
Monday 23
Last night had horrible nightmare 1000s of Germans Barb wire 6" long & saw all my mates who were killed, I shot the Germans but they would not stop –
I did not take my camera to Dardanelles, but the scenes are impressed on my mind for all time & it seemed too serious a job to be photographing.

[Page 235]

August, 1915
Tuesday 24
Had another dream last night –
Joe will remember Alma – well the Germans were shelling the Homestead from Trial Shaft & I made the men make the underground Tank into a Bombproof dug out –
Let old Panic the stallion loose so he would not get burnt & undid all the dogs –
Funny what brain cells lie hidden all these years – Poor Germans fancy them wanting DL

[Page 236]

August, 1915
Wednesday 25
Suppose I should write a lot but in bed I seem to fill the time sleeping & reading.
Egyptians in Tarbushes (Fez) wait on the officers – Greasy soup, Macaroni stuff I feed the sparrows out of the window with it –
Mine is an iron bed, but most of the soldiers are made of Palm Leaves – or rather the Ribs – Another Officer Capt Lawry 1st L.H. just arrived from Anzac wounded. We have made no progress over there - & losing men daily- I shall be longer in bed than I expected but have no pain – but I hate the Hospital with its smell of Chloroform & operations & dead men & crutches etc. etc; really tho’ I am thankful to be spared.

[Page 237]

August, 1915
Thursday 26
I have found out the size of the Building the main passage is 232 yards long!!! & there are 1200 rooms & hundreds of Bathrooms – each room has its own telephone & electric Fans in most –
Alabaster & marble for staircase & stain glass Dome – Had a good sleep last night quite a fog this morning – Laura sent me a Fly Killer & soks & Handkerchief – just heard an officer is off to Australia so will give him these notes to post on Board the Euripedes –
Love to all, getting on well, but will be some weeks yet – FW

[Page 238]

August, 1915
Friday 27
Col: Spencer Brown (Brown) offers me a job adjutant of all Light Horse Details in Egypt when I get well – This means not going back to Gallipoli – We hear rumours that the 7th Division is to be given a spell & withdrawn first chance. If this was certain I might take the other, as it means promotion for certain - I am to remain in bed yet another few days, so am not too fit yet – Lieut Henry left for home by "Euripedes" yesterday, his trouble weak knee, which I hear was bad when he enlisted – "entre-nous on dit avec froid pied"

[Page 239]

August, 1915
Saturday 28
Nile is now flooded, leaving its silt over the valley & fertilizing it for successive crops –
We get so little reliable news except from the wounded – Even the graphic [indecipherable] illustration of the Aust: L.H. charging "on horseback at Gallipoli & with rifles slung – most absurd no horses being over there –
I hope the seasons are better for Graziers all round the ram sales were not very brilliant this year.
500 more men came in yesterday.

[Page 240]

August, 1915
Sunday 29
Another week of bed I did expect to be out of this ere now, however, wound healing up well – but I’m full up of Hospitals & smell of Chloroform & the coughing & dilerium of sick men etc:-
Here’s a yarn re a 1st L.H. trooper – "all hands were having a bathe on Beach at Anzac, when the Turks commenced shelling them – all made for shelter, one dripping naked Trooper dived into Gen [indecipherable] dug-out – exclaiming "I’ve had my ---------- swim any how." much to the astonishment of some English Staff Officers, pouring over Maps.
Can hear Church service in the Distance, would go if I could.

[Page 241]

August, 1915
Monday 30
Henry was blocked from going to Australia, & is now back in Hospital here with a sort of Infuenza – He was Boarded & told to do duty at Alexandria – bad luck after building on going home. He is in bed alongside. He has just told Col: Mandesley that he is a breeder of Shorthorns & Sheep in the Riverina. We just stopped him using an empty Hot water bag (which the sister had left alongside bed) as a urine bottle!!
I have found out the use of the piano – it drowns the squeals of the men when the poor beggars are getting their dressings done & others coming out of anaesthetic "Long live the piano"!

[Page 242]

August, 1915
Tuesday 31
3 weeks today in bed, getting as far as a pig –
Hear our Brigade is to come back to be reorganised – as so many casualties, this may mean I get my Captaincy & will not go back to Gallipoli for some time – or 90 Spencer Browne. Warm countries agree with me & Egyptian summers have no terrors like a Peninsular Winter.
Tell Joe a Periscope would be a good thing for duck shooting our men use them to watch fights among themselves – I was amused at Anzac to see one chap on the outside of ring run away & come back with a Periscope so he could see the fight better – I mean fists

[Page 243]

September, 1915
Wednesday 1
"Ali" an old Soudanese soldier of Kitcheners Army (& now [indecipherable] or Sgt Major of our seyces who look after horses comes every 2nd day & brings me Roses & "Frangi Pangi" he is as black as coal & always tells me how much horses are; & if the seyces are working well – if they don’t he gives them the Bastina "flog soles of feet on quiet.
N.B. Head dress of Turkish soldiers as mentioned in Papers is wrong they do not wear Fez or Tarbush but a Khaki flop sort of peaked cap with sunshade neck flap at Back [sketch of cap]
Long top boots like Russians & Khaki tunics -

[Page 244]

September, 1915
Thursday 2
I must say a word in praise of the Sisters, they are champions – In Africa Kitchener said his greatest plague were flies & untrained women. Here the Sisters work like niggers, always smiling & cracking a joke – But I’m satisfied it hurts more to have a wound dressed, than to receive it –
Mail just come in as follows.
Joe & Mother 18th July
Day & Mother 23rd "
Laura 12th Aug
Lizzie Davy 16 "
3 from the little lady in Eng:- all so welcome in Hospital but don’t think I’m down hearted, it’s A.1. here – a bed & 3 feeds a day etc:-

[Page 245]

September, 1915
Friday 3
Do not think because I am still in Hospital I am seriously wounded, I am A.1. & only waiting for the flesh to fill up the wound Of course being in bed has made me a bit weak, but very fat & soft.
With these notes I send you snap shots of our Position at Anzac – if I sent you negatives, a Photographer might strike off prints for sale at your Bazaar affair to help your friends eh? I see by the Papers that old [indecipherable] has married again!!!
Will sort this love to all.

[Page 246]

September, 1915
Saturday 4
I am rather disappointed the M.Officer said I’ll be here for another fortnight I never realized at first it would take so long for me to get the use of my leg again Cable from Station hands Dungalear expressing sympathy at being wounded very good of them. Also letter from Old Sam McC[indecipherable] told me re you -> omit this
Went to Church today in Rotunda of Hospital – not a case of the "Devil was sick the devil at [indecipherable] would be"etc-:- I am truly thankful to have escaped – when 4 train loads arrived again tonight poor beggars – one should be thankful: they bring better news.

[Page 247]

September, 1915
Sunday 5
Missed a day said I went to Church yesterday meant today & I thought of you little Mother & all you have been to us.(omit) I hope to come back to you fit & strong, gained 1½ stone in Hospital – going to dress tomorrow & get up, am absolutely fit as a fiddle but for my leg –
"Bomb" made 2 holes one small one & one abut 2 ½ inches long & 4 inches deep, this one cut a muscle hence my delay in walking but only a flesh wound in thick part of right thigh close to sit down - omit Re photo for May sorry I’ve none here if any in Kit at Bwhite give of course –

[Page 248]

September, 1915
Monday 6
Hear there are Italians landing N. of Anzac this should help considerably – I have not come in from my first outing – the "car" came for me & I lunched at Brigade HdQuarters & saw my Horses Please tell they both look A.1. & are ready if we are to have any mounted work –
I’ve had a Bath & clean Pyjamas & am A.1. another week should surely see me out, I am quite strong.
I hear the Pastoralist Review of July 24th honored me by reprinting photo I wonder who gave it to them.

[Page 249]

September, 1915
Tuesday 7
Later very stiff last night from exercise, but no ill effects – [next sentence is encircled but not deleted] This morning had 2 eggs for breakFast, both bad – rotten – am told at this season Natives put eggs in their incubators (sand) those not fertile are sold to the Hospitals!!! as I told you the Fowls do not get "broody" in Egypt – incubators (home made) by natives have been used for years the eggs are like Pigeons & can not be seen in ordinary egg cup – 50% rotten.
Went Cairo per car & got some Kit & Pay -
I still have the little Housewife you made me ere I left Australia, also the one you made me before Africa is at home somewhere.

[Page 250]

September, 1915
Wednesday 8
We are a most jolly crowd, it is the pleasure of clean sheets beds, good Tucker, Baker Barber, deli make me forget all troubles.
Cutler came in to see me today he still drives Brigade car. He is a good boy & has only knocked over a small number of niggers – The latter do not love us, - & we are in an unfriendly country & it is fear not respect that keeps them under – not to mention Motors. At times one feels a bit lonely away from the Regiment & all mates in Hospital out here one is only a Number. is of no interest unless dangerously ill or wounded.

[Page 251]

September, 1915
Thursday 9
Went Intermediate Base & [indecipherable] BK today , find ½ a day is as much as I can stand just yet. Am trying to get sent to El Hoyat Convalescent Hospital at Helonan. A big Hotel built by Belgian Syndicate for "Tourists", about 20 miles from Cairo.
Already about 700 men & 30 officers are there mending It is at Heloman the Sulphur Baths are, you may remember me mentioning them when Bivouaced at Helonan months ago.
What a lot of good men have been killed since then.

[Page 252]

September, 1915
Friday 10
Lovely weather now & cool nights, am posting you some snapshots of Anzac today. Heard today that the Transport carrying some of the 6th Brigade has been torpedoed – Col: Linton Brigadier & about 20 others drowned – Jack Lorimer & Harry Phillips are in that Brigade, but hope were not among the 20.
It surprises me that more transports are not sunk considering the shipping between Alexandria & Gallipoli

[Page 253]

September, 1915
Saturday 11
I see by the Papers you send that great efforts are being made on Australia day –
HAY especially – it is to be hoped Germany & Austria are able to pay the heavy idemnity to square up the awful sacrifice of men & money those two Powers have been responsible for, We get little news (authentic) except from fresh arrivals of wounded & they all say "We are still up against a very tough proposition & are making little headway." I enclose a letter from Capt White re the A42, the boat I came across in – she was cut in two by a French Cruiser who states Cruiser
Letters sent with this

[Page 254]

September, 1915
Sunday 12
At my request I am shifting to "El Hoyat" Convalescent Hospital Helonan – This is another immense Hotel built for Tourists, you may remember we trekked here & bivouacked for 4 days last March.
There are about 30 officers here & the main trouble seems to be the dirty Nile water which being in flood is like the Yarra -
Heliopolis water is from an Artesian Bore – Travelling shook me up a lot & I’ll sleep well – Got a bit of Rheumatism want of exercise I expect.

[Page 255]

September, 1915
Monday 13
Accommodation here excellent but Nile water objectionable – Each Room is well furnished have a little Balcony – Electric light & Radiators, telephone etc all as a first class Hotel.
I have met numbers of the old Regiment & Officers I knew; The gardens surrounding are Rockeries & Terraces & small Gazelle or Duikers (little deer) as we called them in South Africa play about – It is a peaceful spot & a man should forget the nightmare of the "Deadmans Ridge" for a time.
Travelling out here one is struck by the Advertisements on Platforms all in 3 languages – French, English & Arabic one above the other - (expensive)

[Page 256]

September, 1915
Tuesday 14
Last night "the lame blind diseased unfit to travel" [next five words circled] (Sale Note or Delivery notes)
had a Concert – (I mean sick soldiers) The poor beggar quite blind recited, to me it was most pitiful but the average Tommy loves Sentimental stuff. In this Hospital is Sister – a friend of an old nurse who had heard of you thro’ [indecipherable] is it not strange.
Weighed today 13 stone 5 ½ lbs so you see I am not wasting away!!! The Turks are mostly big men, & Kitcheners new army or what I saw of them only boys of small stature round faced unsophisticated youngsters.

[Page 257]

September, 1915
Wednesday 15
See in Paper you send me of Diary – "Personal notes" – Would it not read better if "Censored" was published for all deleted stuff – sound more interesting anyway!!!!
Went for drive in [indecipherable] to a French Cafι; voluble, volatile, & versatile. Lager beer (cold boiled egg, cucumber, Tomatoe & bread all served at little table with drink & much "Vive Allies" – Then threw ½ Piastres into Nile for the Arab waifs to fight for.
Getting more able each day, but wound still discharging –
Love to all F.W.

[Page 258]

September, 1915
Thursday 16
Full of Regulations like a Prison *As a rule they did great work.
Posting photo of this place, or colored Print:- very quiet & most men would prefer to be at the front, not so much detail & as they say more peace at Anzac!!!!
This place has a number of Malingerers in it out here is one case – A stretcher bearer to get a *spell lay among some wounded on the Beach & went to sleep – He awoke (so he says on a Hospital ship) & found a Doctor looking at him & asking him what was his "trouble" – grasping the situation the soldier replied "Rheumatism in the back". This was 6 weeks ago & he is now out here still suffering from Rheumatism in the back or as the men say "Cold feet"
Thanks for Paper re Diary Proofreader spells SCYCES (correct) not as I print it. I know my writing very bad.

[Page 259]

September, 1915
Friday 17
Letter from May & Day Aug 8th thank them all the News, also [indecipherable] Joe
Massagecommences this morning soon alright now.
About 1 mile away is situated one of the best observatories in the world & the Meteorologist was kind enough to shew us the MOON, this big telescope – to my mind it looked like a specimen of Tubercular Lung from a Bullock.
Three times a week a Picture Show is given for convalescent men here in the Hospital grounds – Better than the Pictures are the remarks made by the Audience apropos the picture, such as "Light Diet that man" "Put him down for Australia."

[Page 260]

September, 1915
Saturday 18
Went Cairo to join the Reg: remnants at a Dinner & had photo taken to send you sort of run into it by Mess [indecipherable] You will think I’m always being photographed & wasting L.S.D. I know I’m no oil painting. Quite forgotten all about our diary over Deadman’s Ridge at Anzac, yet I hear our men are still lying there unburied, as no burial time has been granted & it is quite impossible to go over the parapet.
"Take his temperature" Sister.!! "More butter Abdul "stretcher Bearer" if a blood & murder scene etc: etc:

[Page 261]

September, 1915
Sunday 19
This is a Teetotal shop & today I sent a nigger to an Hotel (open on Sundays) for a bottle of Johnnie Walker, gave him a small bag to put it in so as O/C would not see it.-
My consternation nigger returned still with the bag in one hand& the bottle in the other - Officers take it in turns to provide stimulants – as you know I’m not keen on it; hence the yarn.
Some of these subalterns never had so much money before & they make regular fools of themselves & all not fit to lead horses to water others the best stuff in the world.

[Page 262]

September, 1915
Monday 20
In these grounds a very fine leafy flowering tree Golden Mohur Flamboyant, I believe
ComMon in N Q’land will not stand frost well but is most picturesque & should suit the back country –
Col Manifold P.M.O. inspected Hospital & says a fortnight will see me right. I hope so: Heard today that the L.H. Brigade is knocked on the head, & all available men go back to Gallipoli –
I will not be fit for some 10 days yet at least.

[Page 263]

September, 1915
Tuesday 21
Here are two Yarns from our men – one was covered by earth from a high explosive shell, which bent his rifle [small sketch] & filled mouth & eyes with sand - Lomax by name jumped up, thinking Turks were on Top of him & went to fire his rifle, which of course made his mates scatter because of the Bend in it.!!! Another man borrowed a Chisel from the Machine Gunners to open!! a shell which had not burst !!! (Turks)
The stretcher bearers carried him away minus one arm (the shell did burst) but all that could be heard from the stretcher was "I promised to return the chisel" (just samples of mental aberrations or Hysteria)

[Page 264]

September, 1915
Wednesday 22
Much cooler at night now & days shorter, am trying to read a bit of Military Law etc: but have an ex-actor in my room a Comedian with a Banjo - who does not consider the serious side of our job. He is an Officer of sorts.
Sorry I was not sent to England at first when wounded, but did not anticipate being here so long.

[Page 265]

September, 1915
Thursday 23
Heard an interesting story re the building of the road to Pyramids about 6 miles across desert sand was completed in 3 days & 3 nights by 70,000 men by order of the Khedire who fell in love with the Empress Eugenie when she came to open the Suez Canal. He was responsible for many of the best buildings in Cairo, being a very extravagant ruler, the Opera House (rarely used) was built same time as above road, & was completed in 3 months cheap labor & plenty of stone from MOKATTAM Hills, some caves have been made by stone getters, in which a squadron could be hidden

[Page 266]

September, 1915
Friday 24
My muscles are not working too well & I am going under Cholorform to have my leg stitched tomorrow so have to go without BreakFast. I go to Sulphur Baths daily I described these baths when we camped here at Heloman last March – A big buck nigger wraps a towel around you & then massages – Beautiful baths, with Electrical treatment & every form of Turkish Bath. In the visitors book can be seen the name of the Kaiser & most of the crowned heads of Europe. Maimed soldiers are the clients now.

[Page 267]

September, 1915
Saturday 25
(Letters from Joe 19th Aug & May) Marjorie Ritchie rang up from Heliopolis Hospital she will be much sought after decent girls being few & far between in Cairo.
Boils on arms again never had them till I came to Egypt. The troops have suffered so much that a vaccine is used by Hypodermic syringe We are inoculated for CHOLERA also, before going Gallipoli now.
M.O. let me off Cholorform business & will let me have week of Massage& Bathes instead, otherwise am fit enough.

[Page 268]

September, 1915
Sunday 26
Preparations for a winter campaign are being made at Gallipoli [indecipherable] Cov: iron, Trench boots stoves for cooking etc, the same as on the Continent -
Church service by Rev. Capt Boardman good place here voice sounds well with rocky cliffs all around & big hollow squares - & good music. Rev Boardman was with the Bushman; but he never helped me on the strait & narrow path much but I suppose alright. Gets free Baths (sulphur) & the best time of his life here.

[Page 269]

September, 1915
Monday 27
Paid 5/- = 25 Piastres to go to an Arab wedding in the native quarter here – On arrival introduced to Bridegroom & given Coffee – All Red flags with Egyptian crescent & grandious Tapestry Curtains, House built of sundried bricks, no windows, flat roof on which the fowls were roosting – filthy Gappers or Native Police armed with "Sniders" kept the crowd in order among the crowd were many faces one sees on stain glass windows of Churches – High Priests sat on raised divans with shoes off & chanted I suppose "The voice that breathed o’er Eden" to accompaniment of Handclapping and Tambourines –
The Bridgegroom was taken into a bathroom & well scrubbed all over he looked most unhappy tho’ everyone else clapped & shouted.

[Page 270]

September, 1915
Tuesday 28
After bath, he put on silk robe & was given a bunch of flowers with 3 lighted candles in each, preceeded by a many colored lantern, the crowd proceeded thro’ village – on return we were invited to Rice, Dates, boiled goat & a sort of Farina – no plates, each person cut in with a spoon. The Bridegroom was about 30, the Bride 14 & the parents had to prove she was a virgin like in Jewish ceremonies. The most objectionable part was the [indecipherable] murmur of Backsheesh gib it Backsheesh.
I hope they live happy ever after but the chances are the little bride will be wrapped away or replaced by No. 2 or No. 3 ere many months. I believe she cost 250 piastres or 2/10/-

[Page 271]

September, 1915
Wednesday 29
Just heard a Mail was going so post this. 2 letters from Kath & one Aunt Louis mentioning Marjorie coming have not seen her yet.
Love to all, tell Joe he cannot dream of joining the fun, no chance my going home for a holiday –
Probably go Dardanelles 10 days or so. Did my medal arrive? Photo goes later.

[Page 272]

September, 1915
Thursday 30
We get little military news out here at the CASINO among the dancing girls one gets most news of the war. In Cairo there are Austrian, Italian, Greek, French, Russian etc. etc. One hears all the news, & they know most of who is killed etc:- One girl worried our officers for the address of another Officer’s wife as she wanted to write to her & say how sorry he was killed – She thought that the wife would be glad to know someone loved her husband in a strange land. This is Bohemian if you like the poor kid meant nothing by it; but was really sorry. Went & saw MARDI for a few minutes, she’s as pretty as ever

[Page 273]

October, 1915
Helonan is like a dead city, all private houses have shutters up & one gets a glimpse of a pair of dark eyes watching thro’ the bars, all Egyptian women live in seclusion. Letters today from Daisy 18/8/15 & 20/8/15 Jack [indecipherable] please thank latter I’ll write [indecipherable]
Rumoured tonight that the Moren has been torpedoed – now reported untrue.

All are refused Pass Ports till they declare which side they intend to fight for – We have little faith in them in this country – too much sitting on the fence, like other Balkans
S. Morning Herald Aug 26th gives a good a/c headed by BEAN on Gallipoli (day I was wounded)

[Page 274]

October, 1915
Saturday 2
Big Budget of old letters which had been to Gallipoli & back rec’d this morning – People are good to write but I cannot answer all.
Just had a Carbuncle Knifed on my forearm & inoculated for CHOLERA so am not too cheerful & arm sore.
Dates are now ripe & the Palms have great golden clusters, which melt like butter in the mouth; so different to our squashed Dates, often pressed by Arab feet into the Boxes!!! Long letters Aug 15th & 17th from Mother & envelope will be returned correctly addressed.
water clearer, Nile subsiding, when flooded like Pea Soup 18% Lime, 9% IRON 8% Quartz 68% water & Sand – very good as fertilizer but not pleasant in the Bath

[Page 275]

October, 1915
Sunday 3
Holy Carpet starts for Mecca today – pity so many soldiers persist in carving their names wherever they go – Here the chalk rocks around the Garden & buildings are all disfigured by Tom JONES WOOLOOMOLOO. etc etc the same at Pyramids & other places.
Carbunclewill block me now for a day or two
(DID you get Medal I posted Registered ere I went to Gallipoli & have Receipt let me know please? Also Pictures from HAY.!

[Page 276]

October, 1915
Monday 4
This is my average day –
BreakFast 8 a.m.
Medical Officers inspection 9 a.m. thigh dressed, arm carbuncle ditto
10 A.m. Sulphur Bath 38 degrees for 25 minutes by Sand glass
11 Return Hospital in one of many gift Ambulances which are in daily use all over here –
1 Lunch
2 p.m. Write letters, read, go sleep as an extra, got a tooth filled.
4 p.m. Dressings
6 " Massage
7 Dinner.
With various trips to the Frenchman for a POT of Beer this being a prohibition establishment & we don’t all follow the King in that way – tho’ no intemperance.

[Page 277]

October, 1915
Tuesday 5
Just read Mays & Days letter of Aug 29th Note all home news. please thank them - I am glad all is well at home
You would enjoy the sunsets here from my Balcony the Giza Pyramids stand out every night with a ball of fire behind just like a sunset on the old man Plain, the Desert in places is like the Jumping Sunhills beyond Booligal & just as silent Even a Camel makes no noise foot is like a sponge, they are Weird ghostly objects at night, & the exact color of their environment.

[Page 278]

October, 1915
Wednesday 6
Re ANZACS The following words from a despatch are worth repeating
" They never salute, but are always cheerful.
" They are only half dressed
" Their language is appalling
" But they always go on
[indecipherable] to heat, shorts & boots were & saved washing [this sentence enclosed in circle]
No news from ANZACS of importance the Mohammed Schoolmaster in [indecipherable]
says –
"Allah created the Englishman "mad":-
they think so still at the idea of forcing the Dardanelles but we will see!! no doubt it has been an awful muddle & if the Bulgarians join the Turks well !!!!!

[Page 279]

October, 1915
Thursday 7
People will want to be careful of Imposters, posing as Heroes a hateful word when bandied about –
As in Africa a lot of wasters are making back to Australia when they should be returning to the trenches –
One man with an ingrowing Toenail has never done a days work since he embarked another gone to England, one day shot himself thro’ the foot. Tis true tis Pity & pity this be true.

A lot of the best men are also going back unfortunately – minus limbs & broken. They know the wasters & do not like associating with them.

[Page 280]

October, 1915
Friday 8
Many Parcels & Newspapers are stolen, & if anybody is to HANG after this war I should like to see these Parcel Post Pirates – strung up as very few Papers reach the addressee.
Posted a lot of photo I have taken during my Convalescence which will help to fill the book up; & give you an idea of Helonan.
Days are shorter now & I am getting my Kit ready again for the trenches. This 2nd trip one is not so keen but it must be did. [This sentence is circled with ‘omit’ written at the side]
Bulgaria coming in, makes our position more critical Winter over there will be severe the Greek are poor friends & it is a case of "Save me from my friends."

[Page 281]

October, 1915
Saturday 9
Put on my heavy service boots for the first time, they are stiff from the blood that ran down my leg when wounded & I find I am not as strong as I thought. Walked through the village of Helonan & watched the milk being delivered by driving the cows or water buffaloes to the doors. The bedouin drives his goats & sheep to the Butchers shop & the butcher picks out a lamb or a ram & pays & kills it right away meat is dear in Egypt & the troops are fed on frozen meat.

[Page 282]

October, 1915
Sunday 10
Church today – Service by a Yankee Evangelist who ranted away in a nasal voice which frightened the doves & gazelles in the garden to the furthest corner.
Sunday is not observed by the Egyptians & I walked to a local mill in the village, where the natives bring their corn to be ground, also millet & a little wheat carried in Baskets on a donkey, a portion is given to the Miller for grinding, all so primitive, yet alongside on a Macadamised load Motors were passing to & from the Hospital.
Did 2 miles longest walk to date.

[Page 283]

October, 1915
Monday 11
Definitely decided to leave here on Wednesday 13th inst for Aerodrome camp & then Anzac first boat I am only a bit soft otherwise fit & well.
Enclosing a few more snap-shots. Love to all.

[Page 284]

October, 1915
Tuesday 12
If peace Turkey I pay Weston 2/-/- if not I receive £11/-/-
JB owes me 200 P.T.
The above is a bet re the war made many months ago you see I won it.
Went Cairo to Aerodrome Camp – there is a difficulty in getting to Anzac owing to trouble in the Canal again & submarines outside Alexandria a lot of boats have been torpedoed lately
Inoculated again for Cholera, no ill effects from this virus.
Posted notes yesterday.

[Page 285]

October, 1915
Wednesday 13
Mardi Miss Cook & Mrs [indecipherable] came to dinner tonight at El Hoyat so I did not leave but sent my Kit on ahead to Camp. Received letters from England & from Australia. I note there is a lot of "Triumphant Arch" & "Cock a doodle" business about the returned soldiers, which like the African war I suppose will have died a natural death by the time the real show is over. Facing it the second time takes doing, when you know what is in front, there is such a thing as the "Valour of Ignorance" - but I must finish my job.

[Page 286]

October, 1915
Thursday 14
Left Hospital in Car presented by Miss Gladys Weatherly of "Billilla" Brighton. "Billilla" Station on the – Darling - I always read the donor’s names & often see old Ian McC’s car with a load on of wounded & sick. Busy fixing tent up again on the Desert, I gave away my Pots & Pans when I left for the front so had to furnish anew. Found my horses well considering the unnatural life they have led I think it is creditable the Brigade is so good, in regard to the Horses. Saw Cutler, he is still driving the car, & is well.
Found letter from Home dated Sept 4th a lot of news & very acceptable.

[Page 287]

October, 1915
Friday 15
Went for a ride to No 1 Hospital to test my thigh, it didn’t break out so interviewed AAG & was lucky enough to get my name down to 9 with the next lot of reinforcements to Anzac leaving about 20th Nov. Saw Mardi for a few minutes she looked very professional in Uniform – & is well. My first night out of a comfortable bed did not sleep, heard the Picquet changing, & every horse that broke loose, but will soon get accustomed again & this is Paradise compared to the Peninsular but the flies & dust are still bad here in Camp & the Bugs are in the matting I bought.

[Page 288]

October, 1915
Saturday 16
Went Cairo to get some gold & sundry Kit ready for my second Marching out – I wonder what will be in store this time!!!
Going to dinner with Mardi & Miss Cook tonight at their Pension Heliopolis She gave me a book 2 Kharki handkerchiefs & a Pipe from Aunt Louie & Kathleen. Please thank them in case I cannot write as I am very busy now but hope to do so ere I leave, am taking plenty of paper & envelopes – My job in Camp has been to open dead men’s letters & re-address them to senders or destroy if advisable, a pathetic job – people should sign in full.

[Page 289]

October, 1915
Sunday 17
Arranged to go to dinner with Mrs Fletcher Mataria Railway today You see above appointment where I dined today.
It strikes me as a coincidence that in my year for Matric in Literature, we had a lot about Greece & the narrows & the windy plains of Troy I never anticipated I should be fighting there.
I have my Bear Skin Cape from Canada, Rubber boots, Sheepskin Waistcoat & muffs galore so shall be quite warm & conditions must be better now. Taking a tiny Portable Primus Lamp as no wood will be left now.

[Page 290]

October, 1915
Monday 18
Definite advice to leave Tuesday so took Mardi & Miss Cook for a ride today to Zeitoun, & had dinner after they both are good horsewoman –
Had gaol hair crop & sent Kit to T. Cook & sons & am already once more. Wrote letters home & to England & went to bed early as I am "short a gallop" & want to get into condition only soft & fat & a bit tender where the Turks branded me on the off thigh.
Today a year ago the Reg sailed from Sydney & I took over [indecipherable] Camp Roseberry Park.

[Page 291]

October, 1915
Tuesday 19
Embarked on S.S. Franconia a 15000 Ton Cunard Liner a beautiful boat & most luxurious it is always such a contrast a soldiers life.
We have about 2500 soldiers on board & lots of officers – about 90 I was surprised to meet among the 1st [indecipherable] Reinf:- Shannon from Jerilderie who was with me in the Bushman the day I was shot. At the stern of the boat we have a 6" gun already for any submarine & we steer a Zig Zag course, & all hands are "told off to their respective boats"

[Page 292]

October, 1915
Wednesday 20
Left Alex:- at midday in company with another Transport – beautiful, calm As soon as the men were settled I went to writing room & scribbled some letters [indecipherable] them on to the wharf for the People to post I hope they are delivered. Much "grog" has been drunk by the men & some make [indecipherable] fools of themselves. Thank goodness I’m off to the front again, instead of Light Duties Egypt as so many wounded men get –
Good bed – Good Bath – Good Tucker – when will we see such comfort again.

[Page 293]

October, 1915
Thursday 21
A beautiful calm morning the sea cobalt blue, & not a ripple – We give the men boat drill each officer having charge of a boat.
In the Gymnasium there are electrically propelled riding Saddles, for exercising the bloated hypochondriac on his voyage for health. I am luxuriating in the hot bath s etc:- knowing what is ahead.
Will give these notes to Steward to post when the boat returns to Alexandria as no one knows how the Mails will be delivered in the future.

[Page 294]

October, 1915
Friday 22
We are now zig-zagging among the islands, & all hands wear their life belts, boats swing out, etc: etc: One becomes like a Mohammedan & says to himself if Allah wills it, so be it, still just as well I am a good swimmer. A new name for submarines is TinFish:- distinct from Porpoise etc:- which nervous people often mistake for the real thing.

[Page 295]

October, 1915
Saturday 23
Here we are once more off Lemnos & strict Censorship of all news from now on. I could often give you Tit-bits but dare not break faith when allowed to Censor one’s own letters.

[Page 296]

October, 1915
Sunday 24
[indecipherable] to Khediral O.Z. with Funnell riddled with bullets & shrapnel. Said goodbye to Skipper of good ship "Franconia" who never left the bridge for 3 days & nights & with the sun shining through the mist a good omen we steamed out for Anzac –
Every man loaded like Father Xmas with all his earthly possessions. Arrived 6.30 p.m. unloaded into Barges, & reached our trenches at No.1 outpost on the left of Popes Hill with only one casualty.

[Page 297]

October, 1915
Monday 25
This morning I viewed brother "Turk" again, beautifully clear & the bay calm with gunboats & Hospital boats as before - Tucker "Bonelli" beef & biscuits but it is good to be on the job again.
Taubes flying over & also our aeroplanes not much shelling & all hands busy preparing for the Winter by digging in – Sleep rather coldly but will soon get accustomed to that.
Many improvements have taken place in saps roads & trenches since I left & the smell of dead Turks is not so bad.

[Page 298]

October, 1915
Tuesday 26
Re-organized Regiment & with 85 men brought over have formed B Squadron X I am given my Captaincy at lastX Usual bombing & Howitzer shelling going on day & night but we are fairly comfortable here at No. 2 outpost - & the scenery!!! Is very fine, Imbros island about 15 miles on our West & Hospital Ships, Torpedoe boats, trawlers lie in between or unload quietly at night & steal away before being shelled in the morning - We have a lovely view of the shell fire & the burst of shrapnel mixing with the clouds as the Turks fire at our Aeroplanes.

[Page 299]
October, 1915
Wednesday 27
Heavy bombardment by Howitzer Naval guns & Field guns – 2 of our men wounded, most of us have good dugouts, but Fleas are bad, the men recommend changing the shirt & then the Fleas die of a broken heart walking around – too cold for Bugs but some [indecipherable] of Scotch Greys may be met. Have not had my clothes off yet, too busy getting under ground –

We get messages heliographed from the War ships who get it by wireless, the principle events in the world each day.
Among the above pests may be added the odd centipede & scorpion.

[Page 300]

October, 1915
Thursday 28th October
X No Diary leaf left for this day -X
Big improvements in Dug-out owing to the breaking up of 2 boats on the beach – have now got a sort of Table & a ridge Pole Vegetation here all low scrub, like Holly & Olive bushes Paid my Squadron in 10/- Printed Army Notes I am keeping one

[Page 301]

October, 1915
Friday 29th October
Along the road to Suvla, we can watch men walking - the Turk Snipers are very active, & it is one of our amusements to see how close the bullets go & if the men get through – run, duck, walk & [indecipherable] Day & night firing goes on & bombing, but my nerves are as good as ever.
Started wearing Sheep Skin [indecipherable] coat I like the smell of the Jumbucks. Fortunately my mate Lieut Harris who was in same Region Africa does not take sugar Our water ration is Ύ Gallon per Die

[Page 302]

October, 1915
Saturday 30
X As sandbags are only for TRENCH use, our Batmen put about 20 in the sea, next morning saying they found them washed up on the Beach.X
Some are Regular beach-combers & if a Barge gets washed ashore, during the night it disappears in pieces wood is most valuable tonight we had fritters made in Bacon Fat & leavened with Eno's fruit Salts a bottle of which I brought from Cairo.
Should friends of Soldiers be sending Chocolate or other eatables it is wise to put them in a sok & label clothing – as so many parcels are robbed. Our Padre Merrington has left for Australia his 12 months service being up.

[Page 303]

October, 1915
Sunday 31
Find that while Blankets are best they show the Fleas up, we are simply eaten with them when colder we may get relief – Bullets shells
Church service today in Shrapnel Gully x Later a swim in the sea – on a clear morning we can see the Bulgarian Coast, no doubt some extra artillery will come along from there ere long. Did I mention [indecipherable] Fetherstonshaugh & his Squadron is attached to us & he lives only 10 yards away. A new name has been coined in the Trench viz posie, short for Position, i.e. for dug out fire position, everyone uses it, also Pukkah for instance. X my rank of Capt at present is only Actg not yet in Orders X later when confirmed it will be a Pukkah Capt.

[Page 304]

November, 1915
Monday 1
All our water & Rations are "packed" on Mules led by Indians, once more as in Africa, mules shew their value, & why they are not used in the West especially in Scrub Country I can never understand. Paddle Steamer wrecked last night only a small one, but one of men greeted me this morning with –
"God is good, l ook on the beach"
regular Cornish Beachcombers who tho’ under fire gather all wreckage - Sent you a 10/- Paper Bank Note, issued especially for Payment of Soldiers – if you have to subscribe to anything you could Raffle

[Page 305]

November, 1915
3 Nov.15
From my Dugout I can see the War ships manoeuvreing & firing – aeroplanes both friendly & German in the air with little puffs of smoke shewing the shrapnel bursting around & the men below, digging or cooking taking everything as a matter of course & quite happy –
We wish you all a Merry Christmas & hope to be with you all again ere another comes round.
Cup day – We have a sweep by Nos not knowing the names of the horses.

[Page 306]

Sunday 6 November, 1915
The mate of the sheep killed came back last night & my Batman gave chase, he is a boundary rider from the YINKO & his imitation bleat as he scaled the hills in the dark was good – but no answering BAA was heard but perhaps some other night – We hope so – Our Medical Officer has discovered a new way to kill the flies in the LATRINE viz:- dropping a "Bomb"!!! but the cold will fix them I think, I pity the Italians with their Paper Yokes cut to slip over head & wear under Tunic to keep out the cold.

[Page 307]

November, 1915
Tuesday 16
Like to smell Gum leaves again [sentence enclosed in a pen circle around the date]
You might post a small bottle Eucalyptus please. Received local Papers & Australian also Paper x England – cold. Had a swim or rather wash in the sea this afternoon. Dry thunderstorm & hard to tell between the firing of the Morters & big naval guns & Thunder –
Went to D.H.Q. to altered instructions re poison Gas. We are not using it, but our friends are supposed to have the apparatus to fumigate us. I have a nice assortment of Bombs in my line of Trench ready for any emergency, Cricket Balls, Trigger, Match boxes etc:- & some trusty men to use them.

[Page 308]

November, 1915
Wednesday 17
Unfortunately my Q.M.S. was bombed on the left breast last night & another Sergeant shot in the foot. Sitting in the Trench, above the rattle of rifle fire, one can hear the Beach Master with his MEGAPHONE shouting orders, all night long, shipping is busy if calm enough, & if rough a ghastly sight can be seen, corpses washed up with equipment on etc some only skulls, evidently some of the 1st landing party – Mules, donkeys, Boats, & wreckage of every description. We have a large steamer filled with sand as a Breakwater but even so, the waves are very cruel, on unprotected Beach.

[Page 309]

November, 1915
Thursday 18
Well I never got the sheep but passing one of men’s Bivouac I asked him why he had his Biscuit tin covered with his shirt on the fire – i.e. Boiling. He lifted it & there I saw a leg of mutton, but he kept it covered so as his enemies might not steal it from him. My share was some Chops. Very cold wet night, & I’m glad to have my Gum boots but they are not good to climb in.
Sad to relate the "Trawler" foundered with our Xmas Mails on board & some of my Diary to you will be missing, but cannot be helped, the sea was very rough.

[Page 310]

November, 1915
Friday 19
One could appreciate some fruit & vegetables now, we lose a lot of men for the want of suitable Tucker apart from the continual sniping. But the men are better fed than in Africa & personally as a Jackeroo & droving in the Back country I’ve had many a rougher time –
Honestly sick at all my letters being in the Aegean Sea, I had made a special effort & wrote to most of my friends to bid them Xmas Greetings. To show how necessary Reinforcements are we evacuate each day anything between 350 to 500 men from the Peninsular in the great white Hospital ship.

[Page 311]

November, 1915
Saturday 20
Mail day outwards & I hear one in. you are very good little Mother writing to me so regularly & I do hope you take that little trip to the Murrumbidgee it would be like old times One had happy days on M’gong Poor "Thirley" that packed our Mail up has just been shot, they are grand animals & I have learnt to love both Donks & Mules. They feed & water us in return for us feeding & watering them: everything is packed - A few Turks give themselves up each day, they are unkept rough looking soldiers, with black coal bags for Blankets in many cases.

[Page 312]

November, 1915
Sunday 21
The Turkish Rifle is a "mauser", but not finished quite as well as the ones the Boers had & no double report is heard like the old Mauser. Posted Diary yesterday. I used a bit of the Independent to skim the scum off my tea today. glad to read of course The Sheep skin waistcoats are most useful, the wool turns the rain & when not worn the waistcoat makes an excellent hipper – i.e. buffer t’wixt your bones & the earth. The Fleas are not quite so bad & I am getting better at catching them it is a fine art to tell whether a Flea is walking on you, or merely circling you with his back as he crawls along the shirt & it makes a difference when you proceed to capture in the Dark.

[Page 313]

November, 1915
Monday 22
A Dentist works at the Field Ambulance, not far away & even a set of False Teeth can be made –
Some of the men have been collecting the plates out of the skulls on the Beach as Souvenirs – Ghouls -
Again all ranks have been warned about communicating any War News in their letters. I try to avoid the subject but beyond what we eat how we live & the quantity of vermin there is really little else. I have just made a Cook house out of Stones from the Beach, covered with Clay & roofed with part of a Sail from the wreckage this is for the men in the Mess.

[Page 314]

November, 1915
Tuesday 23
An odd man drops off now & then but as I was told many years ago by the Chinaman Gardener at Clare, when I asked him in my ignorance if a certain horse was quiet "I no know, what matter? "plenty young feller" – I have now been back nearly five weeks, & am as fit as a fiddle but after a year of active service one begins to speculate as to the end of the war things end some day & so we [indecipherable] have to see it out [indecipherable] We are [indecipherable] Imbros Isle [indecipherable]

[Page 315]

November, 1915
Wednesday 24
These men’s ideas of [indecipherable] & Tea are getting sadly perverted – "Commandeering" it is called but will they ever allow a Wagon load of Shearing Support
to stand bogged for a day say when the war is over without sampling the Tobaco.etc??

From 8 p.m. tonight for 48 hours we are not going to fire a shot or use a Bomb, "pour encourage les autres" in the idea that we are evacuating.
It is very still in consequence & brother Turk must be wondering what new stunt is on – I can even hear the Ships Bells ringing out the Watches on the Hospital ships –

[Page 316]

November, 1915
Thursday 25
Our men are happy tho’ cold I have made a Terrace 10ft wide on the side of a Hill facing the Sea bright breezy & bracing but not too many hours of daylight now – The K has been to Greece we are all anxious to know what those chaps mean to do, "Sell us a Pup I think."
From Imbros island came cabbages & oranges, but not enough, however, "it is well with the child" & I am still about 12 stone 7 lbs by the Quartermasters Steelyards. One little Steamer has been salvaged & I see is afloat once more they have a rough time these little trawlers.

[Page 317]

November, 1915
Friday 26
Nothin doin!!! All quiet in front. So far as one side goes, but the Turks bang away, rifle, Bomb & Shells in between if you listen you can hear the Grouse calling to each other & an odd jackal barking – at night I mean –
One would think the cannonading would have frightened all animals away –
The jackals pull the dead Turks about like a Fox would a sheep. Of course we bury all possible.

[Page 318]

November, 1915
Saturday 27
Last night was one of the worst thunderstorms I have ever been out in – Do you remember how the storms rolled over the Ranges at Switzerland, this country is similar – at 3 a.m. I went to my "Bivy" which had been fairly weatherproof, 1 boot half full of water & the Biscuits sodden, several rats had taken refuge in the Dugout – we are still under orders not to return enemies fire for another 48 hours – the question is will they come.

[Page 319]

November, 1915
Sunday 28
The Beach yielded a tin of Benzine last night, Tommy [indecipherable] my Batman is a Champion [indecipherable] I am wondering how it will go in a Primus Stove, it was really washed up.
The trenches & Saps are in a frightful state of mud & the mules have difficulty in climbing the hill, with 10 gallons water on each side of Pack which Pack with Brass Plate is used as draft harness. Will post this [indecipherable] knowing the future. Love to all
I am pleased to say I wear 3 stars now for Captain.

[Page 320]

November, 1915
Monday 29
Last night we had our first Snow storm & everything is white. The trenches as one gropes along in the dark show a white wall on each side & are mud to the knees –
The men are bricks & only a few wasters growled – we will have real Holly & snow for Xmas here – Folk at home should knit gloves & Mits now, in lieu of soks I am using a pair of the latter for Mits as I lost my gloves in my old Kit, after the charge. Certainly the hills look pretty!! But it is not the Creel Hotel Kosiosko. Posted you Diary yesterday.

[Page 321]

November, 1915
Tuesday 30
Letters are going to be few and far between now – Too cold & wet to write all is covered with snow but we will see it out. I am wearing Flannel shirt, Cardigan Jacket, Sheepskin Jacket Overcoat Macintosh Bear Skin cap & 2 pairs of soks in my brother Officers boots – We all wear the same boots if possible as they are warm for the new man when he goes on duty. The "old man plain" on a winters night is nothing to this Peninsular. Odd Turks gave themselves up poor half frozen clad beggars.

[Page 322]

1916 December 1
Commence new Diary as old one filled up – I wonder how many months of this one will be used ere peace is declared. It is a means of having a yarn with you little Mother each day – I often wonder how old Tess is Larry & Blackie. Did you hear Duncan Robertson had been killed? He was a driver in the Artillery Sun came out today & chased all the [indecipherable] off the bushes but snow & ice still lies thick about – Even our water inside the "Bivy" (Bivouac) had contents frozen hard.
I am sure we can stand what the TURKS can in the way of hardship.

[Page 323]

2 December 1916
Col. Cox CB is now our Brigadier [indecipherable] returned to our Regiment –
Did you ever get my Pictures from HAY yet? Quite a lot of Murrumbidgee men are here & they are all wanted.
Two mules have just pulled away & are standing in the open exposed to theTurk fire, ere I finish these lines unless someone can catch or harness them under cover they will be killed – Then it means a burying party at night as wood is scarce.
One mule’s leg broken the other broke loose & reached the Beach road & was caught –

[Page 324]

1916 December 3
Where a man finds how little he can really live with in a cold winter it makes one think of the large extravagant homes many people keep up – I see War taxes are now very heavy & all cost of living.
Sailors off the War ships now ashore & bring Chocolate Milk etc. they retail at 500% - viz 1/- Chocs; 30/- the Packet, Milk 5/- [indecipherable] you can always send [indecipherable] if you wish - [indecipherable] save money [indecipherable] life on the Peninsular [indecipherable] the trouble. flies and Fleas nearly all gone.

[Page 325]

4 December
Soldiering here at present consists of endless watching & snipers & Pick & Shovel gangs, digging SAPS, trenches, & Dug out – About the only Parade we have is our Rifle Inspections. We are on half Rations, but the men are cheerful; & arrangements are being made to get a Canteen going on the Beach –
The YMCA have been struggling for some time to run one but Freight from the Islands has been the trouble; the YMCA is a boon to the Soldiers giving them occasional Paper & envelopes, but not much else. The Allies are a wasteful people compared to the Germans & go in for much more luxury for their Soldiers.

[Page 326]

1916 December 5
A cold bleak day & service in the lea of a Hill, with bullets & shells whistling over, but we are quite safe in our position & the men sing as tho’ they meant it especially God Save the King -
A motley crew unshaved in mufflers & blackened from the smoke of their fires (cook) so different to the KIWI polished L.H. of Egypt – one of the men who used to be working on Mulberry gang gave me a Hay Grazier today
Just warned [indecipherable] of Court Martial for tomorrow. No Mail has reached the Peninsular for 3 weeks we get Wireless news of the outside world.

[Page 327

6 December 1916
Cheer Oh a Mail –
Joes of 29/8/15 & Mothers
Daisy 27/9/15
Laura 31/10/15

& papers, probably more letters when sorted.
The Ghoorkas suffered thro the frost, half the Battalion was frost bitten –
The Ghoorkas get on well with our men who try to teach them our ways – Watched them playing CARDS, to shuffle the Pack then throw them into the air & then collect.
More letters & Papers today & good news re Russians coming to our help through Roumania.
Will post this as one never knows when a boat will be sunk & better chance a little than the lot.

[Page 328]

December 7
Court Martial still on – a good deal of "Malingering" takes place among the rotters while other men half dead but not paraded the Sick List to the Doctor

"Taube" missed our Pier by about 5 ft with a Bomb today, it only fizzled in the water & the plane flew off –
"Rum" issue now nearly every morning & an extra blanket per man but we all have cold feet. Had to have a swim felt so dirty – I’m not more of a coward than the average man, but between the shrapnel bursting all around & the cold – I did not waste any time – We scrub each with Sand.

[Page 329]

8 December 1915
Drinking water still very scarce. If O’Codaghan Neil boring Coy came here, BOres would surely yield fresh water – instead ours is all brought by the trawlers - [indecipherable] Ύ gallon per man for everything – "packed" up by Thursday Powers that be are not very practicable when it comes to Barb Wire fencing for entanglements, water [indecipherable] etc:-
Blackbirds, Thrushes, an odd Robin & a little crested grey bird, which imitates a cat at night time, are becoming more plentiful along the trenches. [indecipherable]
Two dead cats have been seen in our trenches probably from the Farms near Anafarta.

[Page 330]

1915 Thursday December 9
I mentioned our Jam Tin Kerosene Lamp [small sketch of can] similar in appearance to our Jam Tin Bombs. Some Egyptian laborers on the Beach, found a Bomb & thinking it was a lamp lit it!!! The result was a big mess, & the rest are more careful – these laborers are Greeks, Gypsies, etc & we are not too keen on them as Spies are found at times & after Greece "selling us a Pup" over this place we are not over in love with them at present. I am very happy Mother at being back again & all is well so worry not – I stand the cold a great deal better than ever I expected to be able to do.

[Page 331]

10 December Friday 1915
I remember thinking a man was living a hum drum existence on the station but Riverina except in the middle of February perhaps is a Paradise to Egypt & what a clean living country Australia is compared to these parts!! Certainly this cannot be called Humdrum, but it is a bit monotonous being so cramped up. Digging is the chief occupation by Day & watching by night.
I have just been ironed a pair of Pants (Slacks) like all soldiers clothes a rotten fit why is it that Pyjamas in the Hospitals & so on are cut in such Comic fashion – However the Pants are clean & as we sleep & live in clothes a change is good.

[Page 332]

Saturday December 11 1915
The Hospital Boats always look so comfortable & close, we can hear the hours being rung on the Bells while on our Beats and in comparison to our darkness on shore
They show up brilliantly – green lights with a big Red X amidships. This morning 4 Battleships & 2 Monitors bombarded one night, with Salvoes which made the hills tremble I guess Johnny Turk must have had some casualties poor beggars but what about the Armenians – fortnight to Xmas Day!!! I note you & Day are sending Billies, which we all trust will arrive especially as we are on half rations.

[Page 333]

12 December Sunday 1915
Did not go to Church as tonight I shall be up all night putting out "Chevaux [indecipherable]" barb wire entanglements – in front of trenches. Nice to handle in the dark & as soon as the Turks hear a noise they play their Machine guns & all hands have to throw themselves flat on the ground. Am taking over No.2 subsection tomorrow another line of trenches in the same post.F. to morse signal nothing [indecipherable] I could give interesting news as to developments here which you will know in Australia long ere these notes reach you – Tis sad to contemplate

[Page 334]

1915 Monday December 13
One man got a scratch last night but we got up about 150 yards of Barb wire – At some points the Turks have thrown out grappling irons & dragged the Barb wire in, at one post they sent back a message rolled around a stone that "15ft lengths would be easier to handle"
Some humourists evidently – I could tell you much to interest you tonight but I dare not – However its a 1000 to 1 we will not spend our Xmas Dinner on the Peninsular. No more Mails outwards or inwards for the present.

[Page 335]

14 December Tuesday 1915
Fortunately the weather is remaining fairly fine. We are in the hands of the Almighty for the next [indecipherable] of it. Keeps calm all will be well. Abdul has given us his worst number of [indecipherable] and Bombs. But a surprise is in store for him. Our next Dugout is not so roomy as the last. I have Lieut Harris in with me. A little more vermin I think also but the cold settles these friends – Fancy a warm bath clean sheets again!!! Got a rotten cold. Turks let go 7 pigeons today – news for Constantinople no doubt.

[Page 336]

1915 Wednesday December 15
Some of the men who were putting [indecipherable] brought back ‘Chestnuts" – I missed them in my Dug out & found this morning when I went to put on my sheepskin waistcoat that the mice had hidden the Chestnuts in it but left all the bad ones in another corner of Dugout and yet the bad ones were not broken. How did they know! Today the Turks hung a dummy man over their parapet & it was not until a good many shots were fired that we took a Tumble.

[Page 337]

16 December Thursday 1915
Nearly two months since I returned to Anzac & still a case of "As you were" – However this state of things is nearly finished now. Blew up the stranded ship at end of Pier today. My Batman has tried hard to catch a fish. Bombing them is now forbidden but this explosion killed a few.
Goodnight Mother dear, keep well till I come home -

[Page 338]

1915 Friday December 17
Still calm thank the Almighty – you will understand why, the cables will have told you long ere this – I am trying to obey the spirit of our orders & tell you nothing but you can read between the lines.

[Page 339]

18 December Saturday 1915
Anniversary of leaving Camp Holdsworthy: who could have fOreseen all that has happened since. It is hard to be violently interested in the small happenings of life, when on a stint of the present magnitude – I am pushed up on a Hill & if I live through the next 48 hours will have something to tell you I cannot write now.
Cuth Fetherstonhaugh is to be with me in this position – so I am in good company – can you read this scribble "ars longa vita brevis" As some of my Squadron leave first I send this
Love to you all.

[Page 340]

1915 Sunday December 19
As we evacuate the Peninsular tonight I may as well say so & if Johnny Turk gets me I have sent my Diary by an officer to post who went last night – a jumble of notes written in odd places of our life here –
I am one of the very last to leave this we consider a compliment – All my kit has gone, so if taken prisoner it will be cold – but we intend giving Abdul a good go for it – first – The boys are writing fare well messages to the Turks some are very amusing but there is a very sad side of the question which we all feel as we pass the graves of our mates. Tis true Tis pity & pity tis tis true – Fleas bad

[Page 341]

December Monday 1915
1.30 AM
In two hours I should be off the Peninsula, with the rear guard the Garrison have all gone wearing soks on their boots for silence – Time drags 1000’s Turks are in front watching us, but they are puzzled at our silence – a few shells on the beach & Machine guns that is all – so far – I scribble this in the signal dugout – on board SS Prince
[indecipherable] 4 A
We were the last to leave & had a good run, I have only what I stand up in – 1 p.m. Transhipped to a larger boat the SS Elelle where we will be drafted & landed at different camps at mudros – for a few days.
Now I am going for a hot bath then a sleep.

[Page 342]

1915 Tuesday December 21
It will be a treat to get clothes not salt water washed woollen soks etc never seem to dry – A hot bath - !!! etc. mudros - then shipped to S.S. Elelle raining hard & a big sea – was not the Almighty kind to keep the elements in control!! till we got away! Sea rough Disembarked 4 p.m. with [indecipherable] & Marched 3 miles to [indecipherable] East – ruddy cold & rough choppy sea. Just discovered I left my Sovereign belt with X6/-/- in bathroom on the Boat – No blankets tonight, but too tired to bother – Relief the strain of watching the Turk is over & I think to shift 20,000 men and guns in 2 nights without the enemy knowing is good work.

[Page 343]

[indecipherable] Hospital
22 December Wednesday 6
Hear we are off to Egypt in a day or two to join our Horses – as you see below over 10 bags Mail here – came so 2 Australians came from Mother - Letters from Percy Smith May – Walter Campbell – Embarked at 2 p.m. on the Ioman for Egypt – wet muddy & tired but with a feeling of thankfulness at being alive – now if we can dodge the submarines we are right, for a while. The Boat is crammed with troops X & unfortunately there is a good deal of feeling between the English & Colonial officers – certainly we have many Scrubbers, but among the Tommy officers are many snobs and nincompopes – the real man is easily picked out. Sounds small etc.

[Page 344]

1915 Thursday December 23
Got a bad cold no matter soon OK again as we sail South to a warmer clime –
Left outer Harbour of Lemnos at midnight, convoyed by Battleships & Torpedoe boat destroyers – 11 Hospital Boats including the Acquittania were in the Harbour.
This boat is a big Atlantic Liner belonging to Allen Line & had taken troops to Salonika –
By wireless we hear that the Constantinople report is that we are driven into the Sea of Anzac. We are to hold on to Helles & winter there. Am detailed as Capt. of the day -

[Page 345]

December Friday 1915
A good many would be thinking of the homeland today & you will be thinking of us – I did not expect to be in such comfort I can assure you –
I was amused at Mother’s label on my papers, "See that these are delivered", certainly it seemed effective as they were the first I had received. Sun came out for a few hours today & the sea is calm again.
We miss the big shells & Mauser bullets, & the smell of the corpses in No-man’s land in front always strongest at dawn –
But the Chloride of Lime is still with us in the troop decks now mixed with steamer smells.

[Page 346]

1915 Saturday December 25
peace on earth – Goodwill towards men!!! What a farce
I have not said much about the Navy but it was under their guns we left Anzac they acted as our Sponsors [indecipherable]
Those of us who have lived in our clothes in the past 2 months are pretty ragged, compared to the Units who have no been further than Lemnos & are rather looked down on by the Brilliantined superiors. Had reinforcements come early & the British Nation listened to old Lord Roberts warning, we would have had men for Serbia & the Dardenelles. We intended having a Concert last night but the Skipper would not allow light – as we are in the danger zone of Subs.

[Page 347]

26 December Sunday 1915
I am afraid my notes must be difficult to read & in future will endeavour to write more clearly –
And so we return to Egypt –
You remember the saying "Having once tasted the waters of the Nile one is bound to return to Egypt" I hope the same may apply to the old Murrambidgee – I love the Gum trees but the Palms & the Nile & the Desert have undoubtedly a charm. Arrived Alexandria noon Bright sunshine blue sea & all’s well – The next move I expect will be Cairo –
Transports Hospital Boats & Warships all following each other.
Arrived safely Aerodrome camp 5 p.m. Monday

[Page 348]

1916 Monday December 27
Wonder will the [indecipherable] man able to control our destinies - [indecipherable] 11 AM [indecipherable] for Cairo
So many letters have arrived I can hardly acknowledge. Lorne Harrison, Mary, Mrs Cotton, Lizzie, Daisy, England
2 from [indecipherable] a ton of interesting [indecipherable] Strange he is a good [indecipherable] Mary [indecipherable] Albert Tyson – Days Oct 15th Mother 22/11/15 & 4/10/15
Joe [indecipherable] 15/10/15
[indecipherable] I told you I am now Captain &
Posted Diary [indecipherable]

[Page 349]

28 December Tuesday 1916
working hard reorganizing a lot to be done – Recd cards from Mrs Cotton & others
Please Mother write to D. Ish. I send you some of her letters she is dear kid & thinks or may I say loves me I know. I told her to send you her Photo. Her address Brooklands Hotel Brooklands [indecipherable] but they are talking a house again.
More letters delivered of Mothers & Day Oct 10th – Aunt Louise Oct 16 everything is turning up from the 4 corners of the Mediterranean
Top hole waistcoat but lovely weather here after Anzac

[Page 350]

1916 Wednesday December 29
Gas helmets are on issue. Thank Fraser for soks You can address me as Captain now -
I get paid regularly & have plenty £.s.d. Thank Joe for Diary – Note re Madge, Buie & Sydney [indecipherable] will remember. It is a feast or a famine at this game – here Tinned chicken from Laura, lbs of chocolate etc. are pouring in & soks galore recently we had nothing, these are the accumulation of months, also photo of Laura a la nurse. Hope Joe got my letter asking for tin small of Limoline skin stuff from [indecipherable] Ballarat.

[Page 351]

30 December Thursday 1916
Received a shoal of Letters, Papers & Parcels 2 from Joe enclosing Diary 1 long one from Mother 10/11/- Farror, H.L. Austin, saying he would see me fixed up on the Murrambidgee to quote he says –
I will do my best to get you settled on the Murrambidgee near here after the war & we can talk sheep & Station Management."
I also got Australasians soks & cards galore from many people – can give some I am posting you Place of Anzac, you’ll see where we withdrew from, some day I hope to explain it all. Old Sam also wrote saying he had sent you too (Parcel soks etc will you Please thank H.L.A. & wife too).

[Page 352]

Friday 1916 December 31
Very busy getting everything into going order again – Had my first ride today.
Also got a letter from old Mrs Faulkner per Agnes Cooper I am sure very good of her.
Also Mother & Joe 24/10/15
" " " & Day 29/10/15
Note all you say re Parson Rogers Chaplains have a great time 1 in bed every night & only 1 parade a week Church – carry the rank of an officer & no responsibility – the free lancer every where they go & recognize no C.O. Yes I got your cable Mother & thought I had acknowledged before – Lunched at Villa Montrose & am going Concert with the girls tonight.

[Transcribed by June Pettit for the State Library of New South Wales]