Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Walter Bruce Rainsford diary, 1 January 1915-31 December 1915
MLMSS 1006/ Item 2

[Transcriber’s note: This is the second diary of Walter Rainsford and commences while he is on board the transport ship Kyarra in the Indian Ocean. He arrives in Alexandria on 14 January and from there goes on to Cairo and is employed on clerical duties at Mena House which has been converted into a hospital for the troops. He is mainly in and around Cairo for the remainder of the year.]

[Page 1]

[Pages 1 to 14 postal and money rates and descriptions of medals not transcribed.]

[Page 15]

Date of enlistment in the A.I.F. 15.10.14
Date of leaving Sydney 25.11.14

Jan. 1 Fri.
New Years Day.
With No. 2 Gen. Hospital, Aust. Imperial Force, on transport Kyarra at sea in Indian Ocean, 2 days out from Colombo. First New Year`s Day right away from home. Last one in camp with Scouts at Tuggerah Lakes. Am Orderly Room Clerk and work each day in office. During the day whale sighted spouting in the distance. Wrote several letters home. Not feeling too good during the afternoon.

[Page 16]

Jan. 2 Sat.
Still feeling a bit off colour. Weather still fine and sea calm. Usually sleep out on the deck with hammock as a ground sheet. Have only slept below first 2 nights on board. We got plenty of tucker but I very rarely have an appetite for it. Have gone right off meat, potatoes, coffee & tea. The meat is sometimes, bad.

[Page 17]

3 Jan. Sun.
Attended Communion Service conducted by Staff Sergt. Start in Music Room at 7 a.m. Fire alarm sounded at 4.50 p.m. & Unit paraded with lifebelts on, on promenade deck starboard. ( Practice only ) Wrote several more letters during afternoon. At 7.15 pm. attended a sing-song conducted by Chaplain – Col. Nye, followed by Service at 8 o`clock & Communion at 8.30; Then to bed.

[Page 18]

4 Jan. Mon.
Mess orderly for Nos. 23 and 25 mess.
The Kyarra`s run from 12 a.m. yesterday to 12 a.m. day is 283 days miles. It is alright sleeping up on deck but the crew washing down the decks with the hose causes an early disturbance. Since leaving Colombo we pass shipping daily. Passed Island of Socatra during the afternoon and Cape Guardafui (eastern most point of Africa about 8 pm.

[Page 19]

Jan. 5 Tue.
In the Gulf of Aden – African coast well in sight. (Somaliland) before breakfast. Very busy in office to-day No.2 Gen. Hospital held a Sports Meeting during the afternoon. Pte. Bay defeated Sgt. Baker in a smart bout with the gloves after tea. Have gone 274 miles in 24 hrs. 18 mins. At rate of 11.4 miles per hour. Still 293 miles to go which should bring us to Aden at 2 p.m. to-morrow.

[Page 20]

Jan. 6 Wed.
We have two typewritten newspapers published by the men:- The Bi- Weekly "Prevaricator" and the daily "Kyarra Truth"; both are extremely interesting and amusing.
The C.O., Col. Martin, held an inspection of all units on the Promenade Deck at 2 p.m.
Came close up to great, rugged, towering masses of rock about 1.30 p.m.
Anchored off Aden about 3 pm. – The Colonel and small party only ones to go ashore – Natives came out in bumboats selling goods, which ceased at dark
Kyarra steamed off again at 11 p.m; about Ό of an hour after a liner converted into an Auxiliary Cruiser.

[Page 21]

Jan. 7 Thu.
Still in Gulf of Aden at 6 a.m. Pay (10/- per man) distributed at 6.30 a.m. Several ships in sight when passing through Strait of Babel–Mandeb about 7.30 a.m. Two auxiliary cruisers are off Island of Perim, bailing up all shipping. At 11 a.m. an auxiliary cruiser passed going towards Aden. The town of Mocha in Arabia was clearly discernable from the ship about 3 p.m. The Kyarra passed between a high, jutting mass of rock and a couple of small, lofty islets, on the top of one being a lighthouse. (4 p.m.) Steamer Freienfels has been close to us all day. Picked up some lamp signalling to and from her. Did some washing in afternoon.

[Page 22]

Jan. 8 Fri.
Parade of Unit for allotting duties to each man in hospital on landing – Attached to office as Clerk. Weather still continuing fine and sea calm. Mess Orderly to-day. Only ship seen to-day was a cruiser in the distance. Weather pretty warm to-day especially in the evening.

[Page 23]

Jan. 9 Sat.
Attended physical drill at 7 a.m. Sea a trifle rough with the result that I "fed the fishes" twice and felt a bit off during the morning. During the day read over some shorthand and learnt a few points about the typewriter. Have resolved to study on board :- (1) Military books, regulations, etc.
(2) The Remington typewriter and all about it.
(3) Short-hand.
(4) French
(5) Books on other educational subjects.

Sea much calmer in the evening.

[Page 24]

Jan. 10 Sun.
Attended Holy Communion at 7 a.m. Made me think a great deal about Wahroonga, especially the Hymn "Peace, Perfect Peace". Our run for 24 hours to 12 a.m. to-day was 268 miles & we still have 376 to do before getting to Suez. Wrote several letters. Lighthouse clearly observed to Port standing on a small reef and looking as if it were rising straight up out of the water in the afternoon. Worked up Started to work up shorthand. Attended "Sing Song" conducted by Col. Nye at 7.15 p.m. and Evening Service at 8.

[Page 25]

Jan. 11 Mon.
Now extremely dark at Reveille (6 a.m.)
My rising time is about 6.30. I can just be on parade at 7. Physical drill this morning. Very fine sunrise showing a ship following us on horizon. Great volcanic peaks close in on each side of us; very pretty with sun on them. P. & O. Malwa overtook and passed us at 8.30 a.m. doing some sem. signalling which I read. Entered Gulf of Suez early morning with lighthouse 120 ft. in height on Island of Shadwan near. All the way up the Gulf lighthouses stationed at regular intervals. Water beautifully smooth right through – lovely sunset – Arrived at Suez at 9 p.m. Near Zenobia Lightship (2 miles from Suez). Israelites supposed to have crossed Red Sea called by Arabs "Abu Darrey".

[Page 26]

Jan. 12 Tue.
Suez very pretty - Lovely Day – Bought oranges and dried figs from the Egyptians who came alongside – one cruiser in port. Left anchorage at 12.30 a.m. & started up canal (87 miles long, 27 yds. Wide and 27 ft. deep.) Very pretty at entrance but afterwards dreary waste of sand on both sides, on which are being constructed forts, barb-wire entanglements and trenches by several thousand Indian and a few British troops, with which cheery greetings have been exchanged. Several camels (dromedaries) observed in one camp. Evenings, from last night, are now a trifle chilly.

[Page 27]

Jan. 13 Wed.
Arrived at Port Said at 1 a.m. Up early and kept busy in office early part of morning. 2 sugar bags of mail sent ashore . – Natives very smart at coaling - French hydroplane flight watched with interest – one battleship, cruiser and gunboat and several destroyers in harbour. Went ashore on leave at 11 a.m. and had a good look round returning to ship at 4 p.m. Supposed to be 10 Air-planes stationed at Port Said – 3 seen in flight in evening on the lookout for hostile vessels on sea and Troops on land. Weighed anchor & left for Alexandria at 5.30 p.m. Egyptian coinage: Milliemes & Piastres. 10 mms. to a piastre. A piastre equals 2½d. Postage to Australia is: Letters 6 Mms. ; Postcards 5 Mms.

[Page 28]

Jan. 14 Thu.
Mess orderly Arrived at Alexandria about 9.30 a.m. Very fine harbour.- complete coaling facilities. No shore leave granted. A Lance-Cpl. from the First Expeditionary Force came on board and was entertained at dinner. Came from Sydney and belonged to 3rd Battalion. Infantry at Cairo. Several R.A.M.C. [Royal Army Medical Corps] men came on board during afternoon. There are 600 of them stationed at Alexandria.

[Page 29]

Jan. 15 Fri.
Worked on the pay sheets & books in office until 12 a.m. Then went ashore with Sgt. Middleton (Sergeant Clerk) until 6 p.m. – City much larger than Port Said – had a good look round.

[Page 30]

Jan. 16 Sat.
Went on leave ashore at 10.30 a.m. – Had watch mended – dinner at the Soldiers & Sailors’ Home – Haircut at a French place - Went out to Ibrehimieh & visited Rev. Fry, Scout Secretary for Alexandra, found him very decent, took me along to see his boys, nice lot of fellows. There are British, Italian, Greek, & Jewish Scouts in Alexandria. – Got lost coming back to wharf, did tremendous lot of walking & at last reached destination – taken aboard quickly on an Egyptian boat at 5 p.m.
Heard that disembarkation of the Unit was to commence the following day. What rotten luck being dumped in Egypt instead of going on to Europe.

[Page 31]

Jan. 17 Sun.
Kyarra berthed at wharf at 7 a.m. – Big party commenced to unload stores from holds - Kept pretty busy in Orderly Room. - Saw couple of Scouts on wharf (afterwards ascertained that they were Italian) – Eat large number of oranges which can be bought over the side as well as dates, figs, tomatoes, walnuts, Turkish delight, etc. – Mixed crowd of curious sightseers watch unloading operations – Finished work at 11.45 p.m. United States battleship arrived in harbour during day with large number of refugees on board from Palestine.

[Page 32]

Jan. 18 Mon.
Still beautiful weather – perfect day.
Plenty of work in connection with disembarkation First batch of 54 left for Camp at Cairo at 7.30 a.m. Men discharging stores from holds all day. Went ashore on leave from 7 – 10 p.m. Went for drive through city – visited Greek Boy Scouts Club, very interesting, felt quite at home although few could speak English – About 300 Greek Scouts in Alexandria; 100 Italian, 40 British, International 50, French 20. A Greek Scout went round with me & could speak 5 languages:- Greek, Italian, French, Arabic, & English. Next to Arabic, French is the language most in use in Alexandria – Changed 9/3d into 40½ large piastres at a money changers. Did Ύ hr. work before going to bed.

[Page 33]

Jan. 19 Tue.
Still very busy on disembarkation work. Second batch left for camp during morning (20 men). Did Mess orderly. Russian Battleship observed at anchor in the harbour. After tea worked hard until 11 p.m. getting ready for an early departure next morning. Sunset is always very pretty. Mornings dark and a bit chilly.

[Page 34]

Jan. 20 Wed.
Great bustle & activity – Left for Cairo at 8.30 a.m. Final contingent to leave ship with the exception of small party of 10 who remain until all units disembark. Run to Cairo took 3½ hrs. ( about 90 miles ?) – country very flat but extremely fertile – great irrigation system by use of Nile – Camels, mules & donkeys much in use as beasts of burden. Arrived at camp about 2 p.m. Tram runs right out. – Over 20,000 men in camp - whole of First Expeditionary Force here – camp on edge of desert just clear of Nile Delta – pyramids tower up in background – pitching tents in afternoon. Reported to Lieut. Col. Nash ( Atg. O.C.) for clerical duty after tea until 9.30 at Mena House, a very fine big hotel converted into Hospital for Troops which we are taking over.

[Page 35]

Jan. 21 Thu.
Early mornings are extremely cold.
Camp still in a state of disorder. Reported again to Lieut. Col. Nash at Mena House. Working daily now at Mena House with Sgt. Clerk in Lieut. Col. Nash`s office. Men working very hard in our camp which is somewhat apart from the big one, erecting tents & field Hospital which our unit will also look after. Big bag of mail arrived – very busy sorting – received 10 letters, etc. - mighty glad to get them.

[Page 36]

Jan. 22 Fri.
Next troop letter commence from here No. 5. Kept busy on clerical work from about 6.15 a.m. to 11.15 p.m. with intervals for meals. As men were scarce for camp picquet did 3 hour shift. Turned into bed (i.e. blankets) at 10 minutes to 4.a.m. (23rd) Food poor quality and scarce – Men worked very hard night and day - Lot of grumbling going on.

[Page 37]

Jan. 23 Sat.
Arose at 8 p.m.(special concession). Lieut. Col. Nash`s clerk all day at Mena House until about 10 p.m. Men very busy getting camp hospital ready for patients to be brought in tomorrow by the 1st 2nd & 3rd Field Ambulances. Accomodation available for about 300 patients. Convalescents & non-serious cases to be brought here while bad cases & operations at Mena House where there is room for 120 patients.

[Page 38]

Jan. 24 Sun.
All as busy as previous days.
Patients streamed in from the three Field Hospitals all day. We are looking after all the hospital work for the whole of the Troops here. Worked in the Orderly Tent at camp all day up to tea-time – Worked at Mena House (Col. Nash) from 6.15 to 10 p.m. The complaints about food bear fruit and tucker is improving. Am working longer hours than ever before. Hospital inspected to-day by Gen. Bridges, (G.O.C.) Australian Troops – who pronounced everything as excellent.

[Page 39]

Jan. 25 Mon.
Hospital inspected to-day by Surgeon-General Ford. Cold in the morning – hot during the day – mild in the evening. Worked at Mena House until 11 p.m. Hospital now in full swing & plenty of work to do. – Going until 11 p.m. Tucker no better.

[Page 40]

Jan. 26 Tue. Work as usual to-day. Knocked off about 9 p.m. O.C. arrived at camp in evening.

[Page 41]

Jan. 27 Wed.
Commenced work this morning in general admission & administration office at Mena House. Five clerks kept busy all day. Knocked off at 9.30 p.m. Had a hot bath at Mena House – the first since home (first hot bath, not first bath) just the thing. Our complete unit is made up as follows :- Officers - 22 N.C.O.s & Men - 148 Nurses - 93

Total - 263

[Page 42]

Jan. 28 Thu.
Still very busy. Knocked off at 8.30 p.m. Number of patients in hospital yesterday was 476. After knocking off went round lines & visited Scoutmaster Joyner, 1st Woollahra – Paddington Troop (Pte. 1st Brigade Div. Signal Co.) & S.M. Marshal 2 Waverley Troop (2nd Battalion, Infantry Scout). Very pleasant evening with them.

[Page 43]

Jan. 29 Fri.
Number of patients in Hospital up to last night was 576. Worked until 10.45 p.m.

[See image for hand drawn diagram of No. 2 General Hospital at Mena.]

[Page 44]

Jan. 30 Sat.
Number of patients in Hospital up to this morning was 630. The number of patients to be taken in as laid down in Military regulations is 520. Paid 12/- in piastres. Worked until 10.45 p.m. Deputation of 3 men paraded before the O.C. in connection with the supply of tucker to the camp – The food is poor & scanty & it is quite likely that the Quartermaster (Capt. Gray) & his storemen are rooking us – Wait for developments – an inquiry will be held.

[Page 45]

Jan. 31 Sun.
Worked until dinner-time in office.
Managed to secure the afternoon off – first leave since coming into camp – Walked off with two chaps for the biggest pyramid - secured guide & went inside & looked through passages, also king`s & queen`s chambers – said to be 5000 years old, 450 ft. high & built of granite which took 10 years to cart into position & 20 yrs. to build. Then had a stiff climb to the top – splendid view. Had a ride on a camel followed. by tea in some shanty & then a donkey ride to the Sphinx. Returned about 8 p.m. To-day met Asst. S.M. Coe of Melbourne who is a 2nd Lieut. In Field Artillery. To-day`s total in hospital – 647.

[Page 46]

Feb. 1 Mon.
Number of patients in Hospital – 674.
Turned into bed after working all day at 11 p.m. Bugle calls are sounded daily in No.2 G.H. camp as follows:- Reveille - 6.15 a.m.
Breakfast - 7.45
Dinner - 12.45
Tea - 5.15 p.m.
First Post - 9.30
Last Post - 10.0
Lights out - 10.15

A number of patients medically unfit for further service in the A.I.F. sent back to Australia in the old Kyarra.

[Page 47]

Feb. 2 Tue.
Worked until 8 p.m. - Then visited S.M. Doyle (A.M.C. detail, 2nd Inf.) & S.M. Francis (Pte. 3rd Inf.) who were extremely surprised to see him me. Wrote a couple of letters. Number of patients in Hospital 658.

[Page 48]

Feb. 3 Wed.
Number of patients in Hospital 666. Fighting reported on the Suez Canal – 2 Battalions (7th & 8th) leave for Ismailia. Knocked off work at 10 p.m. 2 patients died to-day.

[Page 49]

Feb. 4 Thu.
Fine swimming bath at Mena 11 yards long wide 35 yards long – must have a dip or two when weather gets a bit warmer. 3 men (motor drivers – Sgt. & 2 Ptes) arrived from Australia to join our unit – they came with the second force, 13000 men in 18 Transports – No leave granted to them on voyage – Left Melbourne on 20th Dec. – 3rd Force left on 5th Jan.

[Page 50]

Feb. 5 Fri.
Fighting has taken place on the Canal – nearly 400 Turks captured & sent to Cairo - few casualties on our side. No. 1 General Hospital is established at Heliopolis; No.1 Stationary is at Mahdi [Maadi]; No. 2 Stationary is at Mena Camp here. Knocked off at 10 p.m.

[Page 51]

Feb. 6 Sat.
Work still continues mighty brisk. Knocked off at 9.45 p.m. Patients in Hospital to-day reached total of 698 – Record.

[Page 52]

Feb. 7 Sun.
Work the same as any other day till 10.15 p.m. An infantry brass band played at Hospital during the afternoon. About 3 p.m. went out with stretcher & brought in a Territorial with compound simple fracture of tibia (leg) after fixing it up. Distance from Cairo to the Pyramids is about 9 miles.

[Page 53]

Feb. 8 Mon. 10.15 p.m. knocked off. Pretty chilly this morning & cool during the day unless in the sun.

[Page 54]

Feb. 9 Tue.
Work as usual to-day. Butter is pretty dear here & costs about 2/3d per lb. The Hospital continues to be crowded. The majority of the patients are suffering from measles, pneumonia or influenza.

[Page 55]

Feb. 10 Wed.
Worked till 11 p.m. 11 a.m. in office – then went off to Cairo on leave – about an hour`s run in tram & only costs 1 pastre.
Walked through Ezbekieh Gardens & visited British Soldiers Cafι, Roller skating rink, Head fire station & Greek Boy Scout Headquarters, very smart lads – saw & spoke to a B-P Scout – Had haircut & visited Dentist– teeth alright – Arrived back at Mena at 7.15 p.m.

[Page 56]

Feb. 11 Thu.
Two deaths of patients to-day from pneumonia. Visits were paid to the Hospital to-day by Surgeon General Williams & General Bridges – C.O. Australian Troops in Egypt.

[Page 57]

Feb. 12 Fri.
Number of patients reached record total of 739.

[Page 58]

Feb.13 Sat.
Am very lucky in being able to get hot water baths, washes, etc. as required. Mena House is a very fine place with every convenience. Saw Mr. Stevenson Jr. of Walther & Stevenson Ltd. to-day. He is a Staff Sgt. In some mounted Unit

[Page 59]

Feb. 14 Sun.
Number of patients now up to 780.
The attack on the Suez Canal was made by about 30,000 Turkish Troops who lost about 1000 dead & wounded & then retired back over the Sinai Desert. 2 Battalions of the Australian Imperial Force were in the trenches although I believe they never had occasion to fire a shot – I doubt whether the Turks will make a second attack on Egypt.

[Page 60]

Feb. 15 Mon.
Am now getting my clothes washed & ironed by natives at 8 piastres a dozen – done very well.
Number in Hospital – 784. Leave in the afternoon – set out for Sphinx on a donkey at 2 p.m. where had my photo taken – Came back & went into Cairo – Went out to Heliopolis & toured Palace Hotel (1500 rooms) where No. 1 General Hospital is stationed – a splendid building. Heliopolis is a very pretty place with wide streets & many fine buildings – about Ό hr`s ride out in the tram from Cairo – Fare:- 2nd class ½ pt. 1st class 1 pt. Returned to Mena about 8 p.m.

[Page 61]

Feb. 16 Tue.
Work has now quietened down to normal for me & I am very satisfied with everything in general.
The sanitary conveniences are just the thing – the weather is beautiful although rather cold first thing in the morning – the tucker is not bad – work is not extra hard – my health is alright – What more can I want? Only to make friends with the B-P Scouts in Cairo & see plenty of them & their people.

[Page 62]

Feb. 17 Wed.
Worked until 4.30 p.m. and then went off to Cairo with S.M. Joyner - had Work brisk again. I have the following regular jobs to do –
(1) Report deaths
(2) Make out Morning State of Sick
(3) Make out Admission & Discharge sheets
(4) Write up in triplicate all admissions & discharges.

[Page 63]

Feb. 18 Thu.
Nothing in particular happened to-day. I paid a visit to A. Joyner & arranged to visit the British Troop of Scouts on Friday evening.

[Page 64]

Feb. 19 Fri.
850 in hospital. Worked until 4.30 p.m. & then went off to Cairo with S.M. Joyner – had tea & then went to 1st Cairo B-P Scout`s clubroom where met several Territorials & a New Zealander (mostly S.M.s} – about 22 boys present – some of their work was very good – must attend some more of their meetings on a Monday, Wednesday or a Friday night – Returned to the camp in a taxi which cost me 10 piastres. Note – My total wealth now amounts to 1 piastre (2½d).

[Page 65]

Feb. 20 Sat.
Plenty of work to do – Number in Hospital now up to 896. Am picking up words of Arabic lingo slowly - it is astonishing how well the natives speak English (including swear words of course).
Had a chat with Charlie Wade – he is a Lance-Corpl in the 2nd Infantry.

[Page 66]

Feb. 21 Sun.
Patients in Hospital RECORD 906.
Not much doing in the work line. In the afternoon went into Cairo in one of our Motor Ambulances & returned about 7 p.m.
We have attached to No.2 G.H. 3 Motor Ambulances & 2 Motor bicycles & 1 ordinary bike. During the afternoon discovered a fine room upstairs for sleeping purposes & Cudmore & I Intend to sleep up here. Room gets morning sun. – has balcony – two beds with soft mattresses – 2 chests of drawers – chairs – bathroom & lavatory attached. – some class. Took C. Wade for a tour of inspection over the Hospital.

[Page 67]

Feb. 22 Mon.
Paid £1-0-6 today.
Up at 6.20 a.m. – bed fine and soft after sleeping in the sand. Morning very cold & heavy fog - mist away & sun out about 9 a.m.
During the morning had a ride round the camp lines on our bike. Rumours are about there that there will be an early move of Troops from Egypt – I hope we get a move on too.
Had a hot bath & shave in "our suite of rooms" upstairs before turning in.

[Page 68]

Feb. 23 Tue.
Swimming baths at Mena House look very nice but as all the Troops here bath in them, I think it is better out than in.
The troops have no showers in their lines & the water in the baths may not be too clean.

[Page 69]

Feb. 24 Wed.
"Everything in the garden is lovely" & I am quite content with my present lot but it looks as if we were going to get an early move on – Rumour is very busy.
Capt. Jacobs who used to be my cadet area officer is in the 4th Infantry & was admitted to Hospital to-day for measles. Capt. H.E.U. Burke is also in Hospital.

[Page 70]

Feb. 25 Thu.
Patients in Hospital reach record total of 956 & it should not be more than 520, according to regulations.
A Sergeant & 2 Privates of No. 2 G.H. are to be court-martialled for stealing about £7 from a patient’s clothes.

[Page 71]

Feb. 26 Fri.
On leave to-day from 9.30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Went to Zoo in Motor Ambulance – very interesting – saw two pontoons taken from the Turks during the Canal engagement – Dinner in Esbikieh Gardens – Walked out the Citadel – Hired guide & went over 4 Mosques – Was shown over the Fortress by two Territorials of 6th Lancashire Fusiliers – very interesting – saw all over Cairo from battlements – had tea in barrack room – Rode back to Esbekieh Gardens on donkey – Visited 1st Cairo Scout`s meeting & met there: S.M. Carpenter (Victoria) & S.M. Roenfeldt (S. Aust.). The latter the S.M. of Aust. King`s Own Troop (1st Laura).

[Page 72]

Feb. 27 Sat.
Was kept very busy with work to-day. Large number of patients either discharged, or transferred to No. 1 General Hospital at Heliopolis so it looks as if we were going to make a move pretty soon.
Visited 4 Scoutmasters down the lines after tea.

[Page 73]

Feb. 28 Sun.
We are not to take any more patients in – getting them out in large numbers.
In the afternoon 11 S.Ms, Scouts, & ex-Scouts from various Units met on the sandhills with the Great Pyramid as a background & had photos taken. Spent the rest of the afternoon with V. Marshal & R.A. Doyle.
Was over at the Melbourne Y.M.C.A. after tea.
3rd Brigade of 1st Division struck camp & marched out from Mena about 5.30 p.m. destination unknown. The 1st & 2nd Brigades are very busy getting ready for a move – likewise ourselves.

[Page 74]

Mar. 1 Mon.
Think I have got measles – very prevalent among the Troops – Face & body marked with slight rash, tired feeling, face burning & rather irritable.
Attended meeting in Melbourne Y.M.C.A. at 7.30 p.m. when 6 of us connected with the Scout Movement in Australasia decided to form an Australasian Scouts Association in connection with the Australian & New Zealand Imperial Forces.
I have got measles alright but I am not going to report it or it is quite likely that I should be left behind if No. 2 G.H. makes an early start.

[Page 75]

Mar. 2 Tue.
Rash not so bad to-day but neck & throat rather sore & neck glands swollen.
Turned in to bed directly after tea – about 6.30 p.m.

[Page 76]

Mar. 3 Wed.
Feeling pretty fair to-day.

[Page 77]

Mar. 4Thu.
Still pretty fair but throat still sore .
Attended meeting of Aust. Scouts Assn. in the Melbourne Y.M.C.A. at 6.30 when 8 more members were enrolled.

[Page 78]

Mar. 5 Fri.
Went into Cairo on leave at 4 p.m. – had hair-cut, tea & saw can-can dance (did not think much of the latter).
Attended week night meeting of the 1st Cairo Troop of Scouts.
Throat feeling a bit sore.

[Page 79]

Mar. 6 Sat.
Pleased to see that the "Egyptian Mail" published a letter I wrote referring to the Aust. Scouts Assn.

[Page 80]

Mar. 7 Sun.
Attended Holy Communion at 6.45 a.m. in the fine little Chapel at Mena House – First Service I have been able to attend since leaving the Kyarra.
Parade of the Unit in camp to award punishment to two of the men concerned in the thieving of £6 from the Pack Store – Pte. Linquist got 90 days detention & Pte. Gow got 6 months imprisonment with hard labour.

[Page 81]

Mar. 8 Mon.
Held a very successful meeting of the Aust. Scouts Assn. in the Adelaide Y.M.C.A. when 17 were present – we now number 24 members.

[Page 82]

Mar. 9 Tue.
In afternoon went out to No.1 Gen. Hospital (Heliopolis) & back in motor ambulance – About 15 miles from Mena & beautiful road all the way.

[Page 83]

Mar. 10 Wed.
Pretty warm to-day - looks as if the hot weather was commencing in earnest.
No definite news yet of our departure although we are ready to move at short notice.
Decided to get a pair of khaki shorts which are being largely worn by the troops.
Mail in to-day. Received 3 letters.

[Page 84]

Mar. 11 Thu.
Hot & dusty wind blowing.
Wrote couple of letters.

[Page 85]

Mar. 12 Fri.
Day pretty fair – but throat feeling rather sore – have been gargling it several times daily & to-day had it painted twice.
Attended meeting of the Aust. Scouts Assn. in the Adelaide Y.M.C.A. – kept pretty busy as Hon. Sec. of the A.S.A. – have received several letters from Scoutmasters in the Territorials & have had notices in various Egyptian papers & in Divisional Army Orders.

[Page 86]

Mar. 13 Sat.
Went on leave at 10 a.m. & visited (1) Ghizeh Gardens, (2) Gardens just this side of Kasr-el-Nil Bridge, (3) Kasr-el-nil Barracks (4) Egyptian Museum (5) Bazaar – all of which very interesting.
Back to Mena at 7.45 p.m.

[Page 87]

Mar. 14 Sun.
Attended Communion Service in Mena House Chapel at 6.45 a.m.
In the afternoon attended gathering of 29 present & intending members of the Aust. Sc. Assn. when a group photo was taken at the Sphinx.
After tea did A.S.A. Secretarial work.

[Page 88]

Mar. 15 Mon.
Wrote up a lot of Scout work during the day.
Cloudy all the morning & in the afternoon rain fell – first since arriving in Egypt.
Attended a meeting of our Scouts Association in the evening, which was adjourned until to-morrow night.
Capt. G.L.B. Concanon came into Hospital with Enteritis.

[Page 89]

Mar. 16 Tue.
Attended adjourned meeting of the A.S.A. when there was a record attendance of 20. We have now 54 members.

[Page 90]

Mar. 17 Wed.
Did some washing to-day. Am getting rather proficient in this art.
Very little work for me as we have a pretty large office staff & only 160 patients.

[Page 91]

Mar. 18 Thu.
Took 4 patients in motor ambulance out to No.1 General Hospital at Heliopolis & then took them through Heliopolis camp to the Aerodrome Hospital. I like these motor trips somewhat, I guess, although it makes a chap somewhat late for tea.

[Page 92]

Mar. 19 Fri.
Attended a meeting of the A.S.A. in Adelaide Y.M.C.A. – class of instruction in Arabic & French.

[Page 93]

Mar. 20 Sat.
I turned out in khaki short pants this morning – first in No. 2 General although there are plenty of them in other units – plenty of remarks from the chaps.
A corporal & 3 men left for Alexandria this morning to join Hospital Ship "Cecilia" – I don`t expect they will ever rejoin the Unit.
Motor ambulances kept busy transferring patients to Heliopolis. We are only keeping as many patients as Mena House will hold – about 160.

[Page 94]

Mar. 21 Sun.
A Sergeant & 4 men to-day detached from No. 2 G.H. for Orderlies on the ship "Ulysses" returning to Australia with men unfit for further active service.
Obtained leave & at 10.30 a.m. set off to Sakkara on donkey with guide – 10 miles distant round the edge of the desert – On arrival saw 6 or 7 Pyramids & went inside 3 tombs – one very fine – had a good feed of oranges – saw Lieut. Hugh Pulling of Nth. Sydney - & came back again via the Sphinx & past the Great Pyramid - Good exercise, a 20 mile ride! Passed a native funeral & went through a native village.

[Page 95]

Mar. 22 Mon.
We are getting bosker weather again.
Had a meeting in the Y.M.C.A. to-night of the A.S.A.

[Page 96]

Mar. 23 Tue.
Great excitement – got three letters.
An Inquiry was held to-day into various matters connected with the Quartermaster`s Dept. About time the Q.M. & his storemen got fired out.

[Page 97]

Mar. 24 Wed.
Quartermaster`s inquiry continued.
Weather very decent – In the evening had a friendly scrap in the office (what times we have).

[Page 98]

Mar. 25 Thu.
Rather busy to-day – Patients coming in in fair numbers – have received orders to take another 100 patients into Mena House which will bring our total number up to about 280 – The excitement & bustle of getting ready to move has disappeared & it looks as if we were to stay at Mena until Doomsday.
Attended A.S.A. French class in Adelaide Y.M.C.A.

[Page 99]

Mar. 26 Fri.
Nothing particular happened to-day.
Rather exciting little combat between members of the Office Staff & others working in Mena House about 9 p.m. – Turning out the electric light saves the situation.
As the room I have been occupying is to be turned into a ward I have found fresh sleeping quarters on a balcony – on an iron stretcher – very nice, too!

[Page 100]

Mar. 27 Sat.
Did some Scout work in connection with the A.S.A.. This Scout Association keeps me busy.

[Page 101]

Mar. 28 Sun.
Great sandstorm blowing all day – dirt & dust in everything.
Tucker improving greatly – probably the inquiry is shaking up the Q.M.
After tea was visited by Doyle & H. Henderson – the latter a Trumpeter in the 7th Light Horse, Maadi.

[Page 102]

Mar. 29 Mon.
We had a meeting of the A.S.A. to-night & as there was a concert on in the Y.M.C.A. - the meeting was adjourned to the open out on the sand.
Beautiful moonlight night & everything so silent & still! Went for a walk after meeting over to Sphinx with Fred. King of Field Artillery – What a decent chap he is.
The Nurses are having a good time, rather – especially with the officers. Two & two.

[Page 103]

Mar. 30 Tue.
Went into Cairo in the afternoon & got from Post Office a parcel containing
Two novels
Two prs. socks
1 diary
Cake chocolate

How glad I was to get hold of it & how decent of those at home to think of me.

Also had a haircut & went for a walk through Esbekieh Gardens.
Beautiful moonlight night again.

[Page 104]

Mar. 31 Wed.
Pretty busy to-day – Patients coming in at rate of 75 a day – Have received orders to re-open up camp hospital with 200 beds – I don`t think we shall ever get away now.

[Page 105]

Apr. 1 Thu.
Have started to have cold bath about 11 a.m. nearly every day following by some physical exercises.
Patients still rolling in wholesale.
Mosquitos at night pretty bad – bite like fun.

[Page 106]

Apr. 2 Fri.
Attended Service in the chapel at 10.30 a.m.
Went into town in the afternoon & visited Greek, French & British Boy Scout Headquarters.
Big row in Cairo in Waza area - commencing about 4 p.m. – troops started to pull houses to pieces & light bonfires in them – Military police fired on soldiers & killed 2 & & wounded several – Fire Brigade called out to extinguish fires.
Very interesting!

[Page 107]

Apr. 3 Sat
Great bustle & activity – The remaining two Brigades of the 1st Division are to leave Mena for unknown destination about 12 or 13000 men – First Troops to march out were 500 of the 4th Infantry who left about 4 p.m. to-day –
Troops marching out all through the night.
Record day in Hospital. 115 patients admitted & 205 discharged leaving us with 429.
No word concerning move of No. 2. G.H. has been received yet.
Said good-bye to S.M. Doyle (2nd Inf.) & S.M. Carpenter (2nd F. Amb.)

[Page 108]

Apr. 4 Sun.
Said good-bye to S.S.M. King (7th Field Artillery) who expects to leave to-morrow.
Attended Service in chapel at 10.30 a.m.
Troops still marching out to-day

[Page 109]

Apr. 5 Mon.
Dust storm blowing pretty hard.
Troops still moving off – Attended a meeting of the A.S.A. in the Adelaide Y.M.C.A. but only two turned up; there are not a dozen of our members left at Mena.
Plenty of flies in the daytime & stacks of mosquitos at night.

[Page 110]

Apr. 6 Tue.
This afternoon 1 officer, 1 Sgt. & 3 Privates were detailed for duty on a Troopship & left the Unit.
Mail day to-day – received 6 letters.
Another dust storm blowing to-day.
Very little work to do – things are very slow – Would have been more active had I joined enlisted in a Field Ambulance or the Signal Engineers.
So far there have been 27 deaths since we took over the Hospital.

[Page 111]

Apr. 7 Wed.
More letters from Australia to-day – I have received altogether no less than 13 letters & 3 newspapers by this mail, all of which came from home with the exception of 6 letters.
Work is still very slow.

[Page 112]

Apr. 8 Thu.
Got another letter to-day bringing up this week`s total to 14.
The 5th. & 8th. Batteries of Field Artillery left Mena about 6 p.m. – destination unknown.
Went to Pathe Freres Picture Show at Mena Camp in the evening.

[Page 113]

Apr. 9 Fri.
On leave all day - left Mena at 9 a.m. – called on French Scout President – Caught 1.30 p.m. train to Barrage (10 miles) & went across the Nile Bridges there – locks & sluice gates great feats of engineering skill and very interesting - walked through the beautiful gardens there & also looked over the Museum in them, containing working models of bridges, locks, & sluice gates. – Returned to Cairo about 5.30. p.m., had tea, followed by walk round Cairo including Esbekieh Gardens. Returned to Mena at 11 p.m. – Day cost me about 30 piastres.

[Page 114]

Apr. 10 Sat.
Pretty busy in office to-day – Went over to Adelaide Y.M.C.A. after tea & met several S.M.s including Bob Way of Melbourne.

[Page 115]

Apr. 11 Sun.
In afternoon went roaming over desert – visited Temple of the Sphinx, Excavations & sundry tombs, ruins, carvings etc. –
Had tea, came back to Mena House, wrote some letters.

[Page 116]

Apr. 12 Mon.
To-day one of the clerks in our Office had to go into hospital & I am doing his work as well as my own. Kept busy until 9.45 p.m.
Received 8 letters & 1 Newspaper to-day. Last week`s total was 15 & 3 newspapers - a record for me. There appears to be a very unorganised Australian Army mail service & of letters posted to me from Home, only some have reached me & vice versa.

[Page 117]

Apr. 13 Tue.
Yesterday received a letter from District Scoutmaster George Rainsford of Kidderminster & Dist. B. Scts. Assn. His address is 89 Wood St., Kidderminster.
Still very busy.
Have received 12 letters & a newspaper this week.
Learnt from Aunt Louies`s letter to-night that it was appendicitis Kitty was operated for on in December.
Feeling a bit crook to-day about the "innards".

[Page 118]

Apr. 14 Wed.
The flies are very bad in the daytime.
12 men arrived yesterday as Reinforcements for No. 2 G.H. They appear to know their business.
Feeling pretty good to-day.

[Page 119]

Apr. 15 Thu.
Nothing much out of the ordinary happened to-day as there was plenty of work to do.
Just before turning in at 10 p.m. 5 of us crept up to the Sgt. Clerk`s room bent on having some fun. I was armed with a bottle of black ink & some paper (the latter for using as a brush to paint his dial). Unfortunately the proposed victim was awake so we retired – baffled.

[Page 120]

Apr. 16 Fri.
Plenty of work again to-day.
Have been sleeping for the past few nights in a room that used to be part of B Block Ward but as it is used as Sisters’ quarters have had to move. To-night up into A Block where I spent the night.

[Page 121]

Apr. 17 Sat.
Our Q.M. has been placed under open arrest as the result of the inquiry into tucker question & other matters.
Food is now pretty good as the men are managing their own ration allowance – it having been taking out of the hands of the Q.M.

[Page 122]

Apr. 18 Sun.
Plenty of work coming in to-day .
Only slept one night up in A Block & then secured a room in the Officers quarters – some class! Rather!

[Page 123]

Apr. 19 Mon.
Same old work – Managed to find time to write a couple of letters before going to bed.
The food is A.1 now that it is out of the hands of the Q.M. & is managed by a non-com & 2 Ptes. delegated by the men.

[Page 124]

Apr. 20 Tue.
Still plenty of work – The enquiry investigating charges against Quartermaster`s Department under Capt. Gray & Cooking Dept. under Sergt. Smith. Am typing all the evidence which shows pretty serious irregularities.
The Q.M. (Capt. Gray) has been relieved of his duties & placed under open arrest while the Sergeant Cook (Sgt. Smith) has been transferred to general duties.

[Page 125]

Apr. 21 Wed.
Nothing but work – I am in the busy position of doing the work of 3 men at the present time. Am practically living in Mena House – only go down to the camp 3 times a day for meals.
Got a letter to-day from Troop Leader Hanson – very interesting.

[Page 126]

Apr. 22 Thu.
Plenty of work.
The flies are very bad. They pester a chap when he is working & try to get in everything you eat when having meals.
To-day a dusty wind blowing.

[Page 127]

Apr. 23 Fri.
Nothing fresh to-day - Wrote my weekly letter home – got from very little sleep this night, plenty of mosquitoes & though I was typing evidence with a court of enquiry now on.

[Page 128]

Apr. 24 Sat.
Tumbled out of bed, dressed & went down to the office – experienced terrific shock when found it was 8 a.m. – flew down to camp to get a few scraps of breakfast – then back to work – appropriated couple of hours in the afternoon to write a few letters.

[Page 129]

Apr. 25 Sun.
Australians in action.
Rotten day – Pretty warm & sandstorm blowing best part of the day – Managed to get a couple of hours "shut eye" in the afternoon .
Although we have had occasional hot days the real hot weather only appears to be just beginning.
Information obtained on Friday from wounded on foll. Friday:- 1st Division in transports lying off north coast of Gallipoli Peninsular at Dardanelles with British, Canadian & French Troops landed at 4 a.m. this morning & beat back the Turks over mountainous country, several miles – 700 Australians said to have been killed & 2300 wounded – See Friday.

[Page 130]

Apr. 26 Mon.
At 9 p.m. took a run into Cairo with St. Sgt. Staff in our motor car – very fine & cool – got back at 10.45 p.m. – freshened me up a bit.
Got a couple of newspapers from home.

[Page 131]

Apr. 27 Tue.
Did not wake up till 8.10 a.m. this morning – record – got no breakfast - got to work quick.
Nice day – Nothing much happened – about ½ doz. Patients left hospital to be returned to Australia; with them went ex–Capt. Gray, our Quartermaster who has been relieved of his commission in the A.I.F. & is to be tried in Sydney – The 3 men who were sentenced for "pack-store pinching" are also going back by the Suevic. – Sat out in the garden for a few minutes after tea; how quiet & peaceful everything is - one would hardly realise that there is a great war on. Received a parcel (the 2nd) to-day from Mother containing a pr. socks, chocolate, 2 books, & a washer.

[Page 132]

Apr. 28 Wed.
Saw a Wahroonga chap – Charlie Sanders – in hospital to-day & also S.M. Ward who was in the 6th Inf.
Got 8 letters by the mail to-night all of which were from Australia except one from an English S.M. who is in the Scout Section of 21st Battalion, Surrey Rifles & wrote under fire in France.
The number of past & present members of the Boy Scouts Association serving, as far as known, is over 12,000.
[Note, 21st London Rgt. First Surrey Rifles. 47th Division.]

[Page 133]

Apr. 29 Thu.
Australian Troops (1st Division from Mena) have been under fire at the Dardanelles.
Received orders this morning to empty as many beds as possible – We understand 200 have been killed & 2000 wounded & it is quite likely that wounded will arrive from Alexandria to-night. 8 Nursing Sisters left this afternoon for Alexandria – 4 each for Nos. 15 & 17 General Hospitals – To-day received a censored postcard from S.M. Carpenter of 3rd Field Ambulance who is at the Dardanelles . The 3rd Light Horse Brigade (2,000) left for Heliopolis to-day & the 4th Light Horse & No. 2 G.H. are all that are left at Mena Camp which is to be closed up.

[Page 134]

Apr. 30 Fri.
Patients com Wounded commenced to arrive at 9.30 a.m. & kept coming in all day by motor ambulances until 5 p.m. when 250 had been admitted – nearly all minor wounds. Everone excited – wounded have plenty to say about the engagement on the previous Sunday – Large numbers of extra beds are ready – We are also to mann a hospital at Ghezireh Palace Hotel which is to be converted into a Hospital. We are to have 300 beds in it by Sunday ready for more wounded.
Number of sick patients admitted since No. 2 G.H. took over Hospital is 3,750.

[Page 135]

May. 1 Sat.
This morning had my first swim in the Baths at Mena House followed by a sun bake – splendiferous!
In the afternoon was lucky enough to get a few hours off for a run into Cairo – had haircut, watch mended etc.
The rush of wounded patients was continued to-day & motor ambulances brought in another 230.

[Page 136]

May. 2 Sun.
Had a swim before Breakfast this morning.
A detachment of men & some Nursing Sisters were sent off to receive wounded at Ghezireh Palace Hotel.
Examined a Turkish bayonet, waistbelt & pouches secured by one of our patients at the Dardanelles. I guessed I looked some kid in the outfit.

[Page 137]

May. 3 Mon.
Had my third swim in the Mena House Baths this morning.
The 4th Light Horse left Mena for Heliopolis to-day – No. 2 G.H. is the only Unit left here now.
Wounded men only arrived for 2 days - we are now discharging numbers of them to Base Details camp, Zeitoun for return to the firing line. In the hall which is full of beds a man is laboriously scrawling a letter with 3 fingers of his left hand - the remainder of his digits being out of action & many others are inconvenienced in various ways. One man has just been in the office with 6 inches of cloth ploughed out of the crown of his cap by a bullet which also grazed his scalp.

[Page 138]

May. 4 Tue.
The little Chapel at the House has been converted into a ward with 25 beds in it – men are also on mattresses in all passages & on stair-landings throughout the house – Our daily returns to Headquarters are shewing "No empty beds"
At 8 p.m. sent into Ghezireh Palace to assist with rush of wounded expected.
They commenced to arrive about 10.30 p.m. & as there was no clerical work doing leant lent a hand to get them into wards – about 300 altogether- returned in Motor Ambulance to Mena arriving at 1.15 a.m. About 230 admitted.

[Page 139]

May. 5 Wed.
In afternoon went out to Lunar Park Hospital at Heliopolis to see L. Cpl. Val Marshall who after getting being in the trenches 3 days at Dardanelles got a bullet in the shoulder – Discovered him after a great deal of difficulty & had an interesting yarn with him – as far as I yet know he is the only members of our Scouts Assn. who has been wounded although the casualty lists are not yet out.

[Page 140]

May. 6 Thu.
Kept pretty busy to-day.

[Page 141]

May. 7 Fri.
Patients are being discharged every day. Light Horse men to Heliopolis Camp & infantry to Base Details, Zeitoun to be sent on to the front as reinforcements.

[Page 142]

May. 8 Sat.
In afternoon went out with motor ambulance load of patients to Light Horse Camp, Heliopolis Race–course & base Details Camp, Zeitoun – Called in at No. 1 General Hospital, Heliopolis & left a few useful odds & ends with Val. Marshall (to-days good turn ! What!). Very fine run through Gizeh, Gezireh, Old Cairo, Cairo, Abbassia, Heliopolis, Zeitoun, Abbassia, Cairo, to Palace Hotel, Gezireh. Left car here & caught a tram back to Pyramids.
In evening Y.M.C.A. organised a fine concert for the patients in smoking lounge at Mena House.

[Page 143]

May. 9 Sun.
Weather continuing very pleasant but flies very bad in the daytime.
Church Service held at 2.15 p.m. out in the open air in front of the house.
Our motor ambulances are in use every day & are proving extremely useful on the splendid roads round Cairo, but the long runs they have to do eats up a tremendous lot of petrol so that expense is pretty solid.

[Page 144]

May. 10 Mon.
Nothing much happened to-day.
We are still discharging patients to duty at the rate of 20 per day & keeping this up Mena House should be empty in 3 weeks, so that we can get into Gezireh Palace with the rest of the Unit. We have been at Mena nearly 4 months & just about had enough of it; we are sighing for fields afresh & pastures new.
As Col. Martin has removed his quarters to Gezireh, Lieut. Col. Springthorpe is in charge of Mena House. The latter is such a funny little chap & keeps us busy with various trifling little details he wants attended to.

[Page 145]

May. 11 Tue.
In afternoon hired a donkey for 2 hours for 6 3 piastres & went for a 10 mile ride round edge of delta, under palms, past natives at work on the soil, through green fields & back to Mena around the desert. On my homeward way I urged my donk. to the top of a great sandhill from the top of which I had a splendid view of the delta area.
After a lengthy gaze I descended to the flats, passed through the deserted camp which once contained over 20,000 men & found myself back at my destination – where I handed back my donk. to its dusky owner & strolled off to Mena House.

[Page 146]

May. 12 Wed.
Last night under the auspices of the Y.M.C.A. a fine concert was held in the main hall. Mr Virgo, Gen. Sec. of London Y.M.C.A., conducted proceedings – he delivered a fine address & also played piano & sang – there is no doubt that he is the man for his job.
Busy to-day getting ready 70 patients for transfer to-morrow to the Sultan`s Palace, Helouan which has been converted into a Convalescent Depot.
A fine photo. was taken this afternoon of Patients, Nursing Orderlies, OFFICE STAFF, Nursing Sisters, Officers etc.

[Page 147]

May. 13 Thu.
Pretty warm to-day; summer is only just commencing & extends to October.
Got rid of 70 patients alright.

[Page 148]

May. 14 Fri.
In the evening got into Cairo to attend meeting of 1st Cairo B-P Scouts. Quite a treat to be with the chaps again – reminds me so much of my own fine little Troop, which I hope is sticking well together although I have heard from them much lately. - I do not doubt for one moment that it is my long connection with the Scout Movement that has kept me straight in the many hours when a chap is tempted in so many different ways roughing it in the A.I.F.
Friday is the Egyptian Sunday & the working people can be seen praying in the fields.

[Page 149]

May. 15 Sat.
Am living very comfortably for active service at present:- share a very comfortable room with Sgt. Clerk; nice bed with mosquito nets, sheets, etc. & hot baths, up to date lavatories; occasional plum puddings purloined from doubtful sources; puddings, tea, cocoa etc. from the Arab waiters.
Lady Maxwell (wife of General Officer Commanding the Forces in Egypt) paid a visit during the afternoon. The patients gave her a great welcome & we finished up with a big group photo. in front of Mena House.
Later in the afternoon received orders to proceed to Gezireh on the morrow.

[Page 150]

May. 16 Sun.
Left Mena House about 9.30 am. after being there for 16½ weeks. Am now installed in the administration Office at Gezireh Palace which is on Gezireh Island beside the bank of the Nile & about a mile from Cairo – the tram fare in being only 2 milliemes (½d). Got to work straight away but could not find much to do – After tea went for a walk through the beautiful public gardens on the Island, splendid!
The Palace is a splendid building amid fine surroundings – Much decenter than being out at Mena although not quite so comfortable – but much finer building.

[Page 151]

May. 17 Mon.
Not much work to do – the new place appears to be run much more on system than Mena. Spent some time in straightening up the office which is pretty untidy.
1st Cairo B-P Scouts meet every Monday, Wednesday & Friday at their headquarters – attended their meeting to-night & spent a very decent time there with "Snow" Freeman (Private, No. 2 G.H.). One of the Asst. S.Ms. shewed us the Troop printing outfit & Carpenter`s Bench and room they are fitting up as gymnasium.
The food we get at Gezira could not be better & we have a native to wait on us for 6 piastres a head per month.
Am sleeping upon the 1st floor in an empty room on a wicker bedstead with mattress & pillow (the latter a Kyarra souvenir) – Very Kumfee!

[Page 152]

May. 18 Tue.
Gezira Palace was first the Palace of the Khedive Ismail Pasha and was afterwards bought by the Egyptian Hotels Ltd. from whom it has now been leased by the Military Authorities for a General Hospital - We have 628 beds in it at present time & 310 patients.
From 6 to 8 p.m. was busy with Snow Freeman developing some of his photos in a bathroom upstairs.
Australian mail arrived this afternoon & I got 7 letters & a paper. By word, it is a treat to get letters from good old Sydney. This is a mighty fine country but "there is no place like home".

[Page 153]

May. 19 Wed.
Up to to-day there another Private (commonly known as "Tango") & myself running the Administration Office for the Hospital but this morning Tango moved into the Secretary & Registrar`s (Capt. Mackenzie) office leaving me on my "ownio", what?
Changed my sleeping quarters from upstairs to the office which is a fine, well lighted room with stacks of ventilation. Am dossing on a pretty comfortable mattress.

[Page 154]

May. 20 Thu.
On my own all day & kept pretty busy until 10 p.m. To-morrow (Friday) is the week day on which 12 different Hospital returns have to be made up so that I shall have something to do to-morrow. I find the clerical work very interesting & not at all monotonous as one does not get into a groove.
Colonel Sir Frederick Treves (King`s Physician) visited Gezira Palace to-day.

[Page 155]

May. 21 Fri.
Busy all the morning getting out Returns etc. Lance Cpl. Hill came out of Hospital (influenza) to-day so that now there are two of us in the Admin. Office.
Went into Town (Cairo) in the afternoon & was measured for an issue of khaki drill coat & long trousers.
During the summer which has now commenced, the shops are closed from noon to 3 p.m. – the hottest part of the day.
Saw a very pretty grotto in the Esbekieh Gardens to-day. We also have a very interesting grotto in the grounds of Gezira Palace.

[Page 156]

May. 22 Sat.
Pretty warm to-day.
Our Daily Parade State of the Unit shows 8 Officers, 41 N.C.Os. & men away on duty on Troopships etc.; 8 Officers, 31 Nurses & 84 others at Gezira; 6 Officers, 21 Nurses, & 51 others at Mena. At Gezira we have 52 Natives working & also an infantry guard of 16.
Spent my first second afternoon (first at Alexandria) with a Troop of Scouts since leaving Sydney - in the Y.M.C.A. sports grounds at Gezira.
Moored to the banks of the Nile are a number of old steamers used as House boats by English people & others during the hot months.
From 8.30 to 10.30 was on the Nile with a Patrol Leader in a Marakeb (Arabic for boat). It was fine.

[Page 157]

May. 23 Sun.
1st Cairo Boy Scouts (English) are supplying boys for duty orderly duty daily both at Anglo-American Hospital (for Officers) & Gezira Palace – where they are doing work that would otherwise have to be done by men of the unit.
A number of English & French ladies are helping with the nursing in the wards . They are all amateurs but can help of course.
Service conducted by a C of E Clergyman this morning at 10 o`clock.
Before turning in went for a walk with "Snow" Freeman

[Page 158]

May. 24 Mon.
Kept pretty busy with work to-day which was a public holiday in Cairo. - Was unable to attend Scout display in the afternoon.
Great rejoicing by the Italian community on the declaration of war by Italy against Austria.
Fine Empire Day concert held at the Hospital in the evening – many distinguished people present – songs in English, French & Welsh and many other items – Flags of the Allies conspicuous.

[Page 159]

May. 25 Tue.
Have been issued from Quartermaster`s store with 3 prs. socks & 1 pr. puttees - the first re-issue of clothing since enrolment; but at same time not exactly necessary – have plenty of togs, pretty complete outfit.
Issued with khaki helmet with blue & back black diamond shaped cloth badge on side. Seems to be an Imperial idea to do away with the slouch hat.
Went in to town to-night with "Snow" Freeman for a couple of hours.
On return wrote a couple of Scout letter - and then feeling snoozy–woozy Off to bed.

[Page 160]

May. 26 Wed.
Not much doing earlier part of day so wrote several letters to Sydney.
In afternoon received telephone message to be ready for patients to be transferred from No. 15 General Hospital, Alexandria & about 6 p.m. 146 arrived in motor ambulances & were admitted pretty quickly but smoothly.
In the evening went for a stroll with Snow Freeman – How fine the old Nile looks in the moonlight.
Although hot in the daytime a cool breeze springs up at night.
Really must learn as much Arabic & French as possible – they are so useful.

[Page 161]

May. 27 Thu.
About our warmest day to-day so far – everyone getting into thinnest possible togs.
At 6 p.m. admitted another 60 patients transferred from Alexandria.
Work in the Administration office progressing smoothly with the 2 of us at it.

[Page 162]

May. 28 Fri
Another mighty warm day to-day - must have been fully 110° but Cairo heat is very dry & therefore bearable.
Another chap - Birch Roberts - came into the Office to-day from Mena- now 3 of us.
Our daily state shows 434 in Hospital.
Egypt contains a wonderful variety of nationalities & many people can speak English, French, Arabic, Greek, & Italian which are the languages mostly in use.

[Page 163]

May. 29 Sat.
Another 60 wounded admitted about 11 p.m. last night from the Dardanelles.
Spent the afternoon with 1st Cairo Scouts at Wilcocks’ (Y.M.C.A.) Grounds.
Good Concert held in No. 1 ward by party from Westminster Dragoons – Some class, rather!

[Page 164]

May. 30 Sun.
Got one of the English Scouts, who speaks 4 or 5 languages to give me my first real lesson in Arabic this afternoon. I intend to go in strongly for Arabic & French both of which are extremely useful.
After tea went to the Kursal (variety theatre) & saw a very good programme although the songs were in French. Then visited the Soldiers Club near Esbekieh Gardens where we had a hot dinner about 9 p.m.
Number of patients now in Hospital – 476

[Page 165]

May. 31 Mon.
Fagging away at Arabic – know several words & can count up to 20 – Will try speaking it first, & reading & writing (which are much harder) later, if possible.
100 wounded were suddenly jerked in on us at 7.30 p.m. & with them returned 3 of our own men who have been away 2 months doing A.M.C. work on troopships & at Lemnos, Enos & Gallipoli Peninsula.
They are looking fit & have plenty to say concerning their adventures, having been under fire.

[Page 166]

June 1 Tue.
We have just received spec by the Kyarra, special reinforcements consisting of 32 men.
An officer & 3 more men who were away on transports, reported back to-day looking fit & well.
Lemnos Island appears to be a strong advanced base for the Med. Exped. Force. There are several hospitals there including 1st & 2nd Stationary Hospitals which came over with us on Kyarra – lucky dogs.
Received some letters to-day posted in Sydney in January. Wherever have they been?

[Page 167]

June 2 Wed.
At Gezira Palace showers have been fitted up & I am therefore able to get one every morning – first since the salt showers on the Kyarra although hot & cold water baths have always been available.
We are some style in the Office – draw the necessary sundries from the kitchen & make tea at 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. every day. And very nice too!
Socking big mail arrived including a lot of delayed letters. I have put up a new record for a week having received since Sunday:- 29 letters, 4 papers, 1 packet printed matter, 3 newspaper cuttings, 3 cards.
Something to do to reply to all.

[Page 168]

June 3 Thu.
A native killed another with an iron bar this morning just outside Hospital gates. Very interesting to watch the weeping & wailing of the 30 or 40 womenfolk who collected near the body – (cameras got busy.)
In afternoon went from Bab-el-Louk Station, Cairo to Helouan, 15 miles south on edge of desert. Very interesting journey with Mokattam Hills on left & Nile on right. Helouan a pretty little place & great health resort – dry healthy air, hot sulphur springs etc. – Went over Al Hayat Convalescent Military home containing about 700. Saw a Bedouin Marriage Ceremony which was very interesting.
Saw in an Australian Casualty List that Capt. G.L.B. Concanon had been killed at Dardanelles.

[Page 169]

June 4 Fri.
Nothing out of the ordinary doing to-day.
Pretty busy most of the day but found time to write a couple of letters home.
Yesterday received a very decent letter from the Chief Scout in connection with our Australasian Scouts Association, most of the 84 members of which are now scattered far & wide – for all I know

[Page 170]

June 5 Sat.
To-day got one of the Patrol Leaders doing scout duty at the Hospital to give me a few points on riding one of our motor bikes. In the space of a few minutes I could start & stop the machine and was soon enjoying my first motor bike ride – just the thing.

[Page 171]

June 6 Sun.
Still going strong at the Arabic but progress is naturally slow.
We are kept rather more busy lately as extra returns have to be made out.
Am writing 2 or 3 letters a day until I have acknowledged all my correspondence of last week

[Page 172]

June 7 Mon.
Rather busy to-day but found time to write half a dozen letters after tea.
Mena is closing down & transferred 65 remaining patients to Gezira to-day.
We also received 30 wounded from Ambulance Train & are to receive get another 50 at midnight.

[Page 173]

June 8 Tue.
The 50 wounded arrived at 2 a.m. this morning – we now have 667 in Hospital.
Plenty of work to-day.
Weather pretty warm.

[Page 174]

June 9 Wed.
Staff Sgt. Statt & Sgt. Middleton from Mena became attached to our Administration Office to-day – trifle condensed with 5 of us but expect S.S. Statt will continue to act as Private Sec. to the O.C.
To-day issued with 2 khaki drill uniforms – supposed to be made to measure but fit awful Descended like an avalanch

[Page 175]

June 10 Thu.
Descended like an avalanche on the factory where the ill fitting uniforms were turned out & got a promise of 2 new tunics the following day.
It was well over 100° in the sun shade when we were out but heat very dry, so alright.

[Page 176]

June 11 Fri.
Secured the two tunics alright – they are better than the originals but can hardly be said to look respectable.
Have now over 700 in hospitals. No Australians coming in – only Imperials – it appears only all former are being sent to Malta hospitals & then sent back to Egypt when alright to join new units at the Base.

[Page 177]

June 12 Sat.
Plenty of work to day for 1 Sgt. 1 L.Cpl & 2 Ptes. We are not pulling in unison – the non-coms. are not pulling together but seem agreed on one point; to leave a jolly good amount of work to the 2 poor unfortunate Privates.
Found time after tea for a walk through the pretty English quarter at Gezira – Fine big houses surrounded by gardens on either side of long leafy lanes.
Another Australian mail was received to-day, there being for me 6 letters, 1 postcard, & 1 paper = 13 letters this week plus 2 cards plus 1 paper.

[Page 178]

June 13 Sun.
Spent the afternoon writing letters home in the Y.M.C.A. tent here.
Together with Pte. Lumsdaine, who works in the Office, rigged up beds out in the garden close up beside a Statute of some female surrounded by lions or other insects – fine sleeping with the star-lit sky as a canopy in this land of the Pharaohs.
In the evening attended service conducted by 2 Y.M.C.A. men.

[Page 179]

June14 Mon.
Parade of the Unit held at 2 p.m. for inspection by the O.C.- most of the chaps turned out in their new uniforms – jolly warm in the sun – must have been over 100° in the shade.
Yester an Officer & a dozen men arrived from Sydney – advance party of the 5 Field Ambulance – discovered G.P. Stock, Scout Commissioner for N.S.W., among them as a Pte. & also Banks Smith, an old Wahroonga chap.

[Page 180]

June 15 Tue.
Feeling rather lethargic to-day - mighty warm.
One of our men who went back to Australia as an orderly on the Hosp. Ship Ulysses returned to-night – He had nearly 3 weeks leave in Sydney.

[Page 181]

June 16 Wed.
To-day at 1 p.m. it was 115 in the shade – about our warmest day so far.
Much too hot for patients as their wounds will not heal.
Should not be at all surprised if we moved on shortly to either Malta or England.

[Page 182]

June 17 Thu.
Wrote letters in the afternoon – Have nearly every afternoon clear now as get all work practically done during the morning.
Took Commissioner Stock into Cairo in the evening & showed him round the city – he was interested in the strange people & their curious customs.
We are all just about full of Egypt & anxious to get a "bit nearer". Perhaps we shall as it is too hot for wounds to heal properly & quickly.

[Page 183]

June 18 Fri.
Attended weekly meeting of 1st Cairo Scouts & met a couple of S.W. London Scoutmasters who are serving in the R.A.M.C. – Also saw S.M. Way of Melbourne who is a Y.M.C.A. representative with the L. Horse.
Surg. Gen .Baptie inspected Hosp. to-day.

[Page 184]

June 19 Sat.
Went out to No.1 Gen. Hospital at Heliopolis to see another Scoutmaster wounded at the Dardanelles (Fairnie – Melbourne) – Hospital Train had just arrived with a full load & I could`nt get into the Hosp. Returned to Cairo by the electric train – had tea at the Soldier`s Cafι - & then "trotted" back to Gezira.

[Page 185]

June 20 Sun.
A big school at Giza (Saidieh School) has been converted into a Red Cross Military Hospital & is being run by civil voluntary aid. I had a look over the Hospital this afternoon.
Suddenly received 100 fresh patients to-night – First for a fortnight – our hopes of getting away from Egypt dashed to the ground – Hurrah! They are only to stay for the night & to-morrow – Now even more hope of getting away from the land of the Pharoahs.

[Page 186]

June 21 Mon.
Hospital inspected in the afternoon by Surg. Gen. W.D. Williams, Director Medical Services, Aust. Imp. Force – a big fat josser.
Lumsdaine & I have started having cold showers before going to bed as well as first thing in the morning. We also go for walks round Giza before breakfast.

[Page 187]

June 22 Tue.
Up at 5.30 a.m. – shower & 3½ mile walk round the Island before breakfast. Best time of the day as it gets so hot later– the Nile is very pretty – Yeomanry look well exercising their horses.
My correspondence has become somewhat extensive lately & as I acknowledge all letters received, have been rather busy getting off replies. We can now send letters & parcels to Australia free provided they are initialled by a responsible Officer. This will save me quite a small fortune – I guess.

[Page 188]

June 23 Wed.
Feeling a bit too snoozy for early morning walk to-day.
In the afternoon a cricket match was played between the Y.M.C.A. & a No. 2. G.H. team playing 3 Officers & 8 Privates – on the Y.M.C.A. ground at Gezira – we won.
Watched a polo match – fine riders the players are with fine ponies.
The 1st Army Pay Corps, A.I.F. held a concert in Ward 1 at 8 p.m. It was really good.

[Page 189]

June 24 Thu.
Work has been pretty easy lately - Start about 8.15 a.m. with "Shay" (tea) at 11, knock off at 12.30 - dinner & usually no more work for the day although there must always be one chap in the office out of 3.
After dinner got busy on a big juicy watermelon. Pretty good – Betcher!
Spending the afternoon at French & Arabic.
4 of the Westminster Dragoons including a Covent Garden singer, gave a concert at 8 p.m.

[Page 190]

June 25 Fri.
Tucker has been getting pretty bad & as the result of our growling suddenly became better to-day . For dinner we got tea, cold meat, potatoes, veg. marrow, tomatoes, cucumbers & rock melon - & steam pudding. How’s that for active service?
Attended weekly–meeting of Scouts at 7 p.m. How different these Scouts are from Australians, nothing like the cordiality & warmth.
The English here are pretty reserved.

[Page 191]

June 26 Sat.
Received 8 letters to-night from Sydney dated about Feb.16th.
A Y.M.C.A. man conducted a picture show entertainment to-night - not bad.
Still eating watermelons.

[Page 192]

June 27 Sun.
Went into Cairo in the afternoon & visited Greek Scout Headquarters - The Greek Scouts are even more friendly than the British though they speak little English = Had tea at the Soldiers’ Cafι & then with 2 young Egyptians as guides went out through Shoubra .
Saw a pidgeon shooting match & then walked down to the Nile – Watched the fellaheen making cutting up straw & also had a good look at a Sakya which is used for watering the fields (as well as the shadouf) – Got back to Gezira about 9 p.m.

[Page 193]

June 28 Mon.
Visited the Acquarium (½ piastre admission) which is quite near the Hosp. Fish in glass cases let into walls of a big grotto which is in pretty gardens.
After tea went for a walk through the extremely pretty Gezira Gardens.
Everyone must now have a pass to get out the gates of the Hosp.
Formerly the guard was very lax & patients in pyjamas could be seen everywhere even in Cairo streets. Members of No. 2 G.H. have permanent passes.

[Page 194]

June 29 Tue.
Went into Cairo in the afternoon – had hair cut – visited the Y.M.C.A. where arrangements have been made to have a meeting of the Aust. Scouts Assn. every Wednesday at 7.30 p.m.
Went & had a look at the Greek Scouts & also at the Explorateurs (Italian Scouts). The latter are really cadets & wear green uniforms with puttees, black hats with big drooping plumes.

[Page 195]

June 30 Wed.
Two patients died to-day bringing our Gezira total to date to 9.
Received orders to transfer all British troops in Hospital to the Citadel & the motor ambulances took them out, 90 in number in the afternoon.

[Page 196]

July 1 Thu.
We have now only 325 patients in Hospital – Our O.C. is at Alexandria although the purpose of his mission is not definitely known.

[Page 197]

July 2 Fri.
To-day by order of the D.M.S. transferred most of our New Zealand troops Patients to the Egyptian Army Hospital, Abbassia.

[Page 198]

July 3 Sat.
We got 100 wounded to-night but should transfer them all in a few days.
No. 2 G.H. played a cricket match against the Y.M.C.A. & beat them.

[Page 199]

July 4 Sun.
Went to church to-night at All Saints, C. of E. Sharia Boulac – A1. Service
Service commenced at 6 p.m. & concluded at 7.30.
Heard English Military Band playing in Esbekieh gardens.
All the Australian Troops in Egypt are now being issued with khaki shorts & they look very serviceable too. Previously anyone could wear them but now they are recognized as the correct uniform. The latest battalions that have arrived are wearing plumed hats with brim down & 4 dents.

[Page 200]

July 5 Mon.
Kept pretty busy to-day - 50 patients unfit to return to the front to-day appeared before a board of 3 Medical Officers & were recommended for the following:- 28 for return to Aust. permanently unfit; 12 to go to Aust. for change before ret. to duty; 3 to go for change with relatives in Eng., 6 to do light duty in Egypt; One New Zealander to be sent to N.Z. perm. unfit.
Military Hosps. at Alexandria & Australian patients in each:- No. 5 General – 23; Bombay Presidency Gen. Hosp. – 11; No. 17 G.H. – 270; Ras-el-tin Mil. Hosp. – 26; No. 21 G.H. – 0; Greek Hosp. -35; P.N.D. Hosp. – 30. Deaconess like Scouts) Hosp. 42; No. 15. G.H. – 326 (P.T.O;

[Page 201]

July 6 Tue.
Hospitals continued.
Egyptian Govt. Hospital – 50; Ras-el-tin Convalescent Depot; Mustapha Conval. Depot . Total Aust. Wounded at Alexandria 35 officers & 783 men.
Number in Hosp. here yesterday was 340 of which 273 were are Australians.
150 more patients arrived about mid-night . Very animated scene with numberless motor ambulances snorting up – depositing their human freight - & off again for more.
100 patients sent out at 7.30 a.m. to Ras-el-tin Conval. Depot, Alexandria.

[Page 202]

July 7 Wed.
Another 20 patients were boarded to-day & recommended for various changes.
Kept pretty busy – the clerical work in connection with admissions is pretty heavy.
A meeting of the Aust. Scouts Assn. was held to-night – the first for over 3 months. The name was changed to "Imperial Scouts Assoc." so that Scouts serving in the British forces could be admitted as members. 15 were present at the meeting which was held in the Y.M.C.A. rooms, Cairo. 20 new members were enrolled bringing membership up to 89. Meetings are to be held every Wednesday at the Y.M.C.A.

[Page 203]

July 8 Thu.
A meeting 250 more wounded arrived to-day by several Hospital Trains (mostly Australians). - One of the wounded is S.S.M. King (see March 29th).

[Page 204]

July 9 Fri.
Was glad to run up against Harold Kershaw of Wahroonga to-day.
Nearly every evening after tea I go for a stroll along the bank of the Nile & through the Gezira Gardens – the latter are very pretty & people of all nationalities can be seen:- Egyptians, Italian, French, Greek, Armenian, Jewish, English etc.
I have no work to do before breakfast so sometimes about 6 a.m. I take a French book along into the gardens which are practically empty at this time of the day – although the working people can be seen starting out for the toil of the day.

[Page 205]

July 10 Sat.
Plenty of work to do to-day.

[Page 206]

July 11 Sun.
Attended Evening Service at All Saints.
Heard the British Military Band which plays even on Sunday evenings in the Esbekieh Gardens.
Saw a couple of Battalions of Australian Infantry marching through Cairo streets, returning to camp after a route march – all wearing the shirt & short pants.
The Australian troops look far more tough than the other Troops & better fighters – but they lack the discipline of the others. - Physically they are far superior to the "Tommies". The N.Z. men appear to be good all round.

[Page 207]

July 12 Mon.
Went into Cairo in the afternoon & made some purchases – walked back to Gezira through Kasr-el-Nil.
Mena House is to be opened up as a Convalescent Depot to-morrow & to-day 3 Medical Officers, 5 Nurses, a dozen orderlies & a clerk were detailed from our Unit to staff the place – Major Grey in charge (N.B. Not one seems to be terribly anxious to get back to Mena).

[Page 208]

July 13 Tue.
300 patients transferred this morning from our Hospital to Mena Convalescent Depot by motor ambulances.
Before Instead of going for walks before breakfast – establish myself in Gezira Gardens with a French Book – Parlez-vous-francais?

[Page 209]

July 14 Wed.
Attended meeting of our Scouts Association at the Y.M.C.A. Cairo.

[Page 210]

July 15 Thu.
An order received from Headquarters to have the following personnel ready for duty between Alexandria & the Dardanelles – 6 Officers, 10 Nurse, & 50 N.C.Os. & men. One clerk is to accompany the contingent & I with several others would rather like the idea of going.

[Page 211]

July 16 Fri.
Nearly all the special duty contingent selected but not the Clerk. There are 8 candidates for the job:- 1 St. Sgt., 1 Sgt., 1 L.Cpl & 5 ptes. Competition is very keen.
Later: Competition is still keener – there are now only 1 Sgt. 1 L.Cpl & myself in the running.
Latest: Defeat! The lucky man is the Lance Corporal.
Attended Scout meeting – the boys played games some of which were terrifically funny – I don’t think I have laughed harder since I’ve been in Egypt.

[Page 212]

July 17 Sat.
Fixed a number of prints in the afternoon. Some of them I took off borrowed negatives & others were given to me. Shall send all the finished articles home.
Moreton Crocker (Corpl. 26th Infantry) paid me a surprise visit about 2.30 p.m. As thin & talkative as ever. Has only been in Egypt a fortnight. We went out to Mena House in a Motor Ambulance & then went for a tour of inspection round the Sphinx, Pyramids & a couple of tombs.

[Page 213]

July 18 Sun.
Went into Cairo in the afternoon after a couple of parcels from Sydney but the Parcels Office had closed at noon. The day was not extra warm but a thermometer in a shop registered exactly 100° (about 3 p.m.).
Very thirsty weather – to-day got through 2 Lime drinks, 2 Ice creams & a lemonade.

[Page 214]

July 19 Mon.
Got in a good French lesson this afternoon from an Italian chap working in the Officers’ Mess.
The Mahomedan Fast of Ramedan is now on involving the abstinence from food & drink between sunrise & sunset. Still 24 of the 30 days fast to go.

[Page 215]

July 20 Tue.
Keeping the French up – not doing much in the Arabic line.
Attended meeting of Scouts Assn. & afterwards drove home in a Garry.
Received 9 letters from Australia to-day.

[Page 216]

July 21 Wed.
Nothing new to-day. Week is pretty easy – nothing to do in the afternoon usually. Am devoting afternoon to French.

[Page 217]

July 22 Thu.
Nothing out of the common or garden happened to-day.

[Page 218]

July 23 Fri.
Still whacking into French.
Visited 1st Cairo Scout meeting.
More than half our 800 Hospital beds are at present empty.

[Page 219]

July 24 Sat.
Spent afternoon with the Scouts. They are rather a mixed lot of boys, some being of Greek, Maltese, & Eurasian etc. descent.
Every boy who joins the Troop must have at least one parent English.

[Page 220]

July 25 Sun.
Attended Evening Service at All Saints’ Cairo – strolled round to the Esbekieh Gardens & listened to English Military Band which plays there every Sunday night.

[Page 221]

July 26 Mon.
Went for a walk in the Gezira Gardens after tea. Had great fun with some Italian kids. Photos. taken etc.

[Page 222]

July 29 Thu.
Have great fun in Gezira Gardens after tea in the evenings now. Strike up acquaintances with kiddies of all nationalities who play about there, & speak to them in a mixture of French & English. Quite decent practice in French conversation.
My companion in these strolls is Ray Smith – a very decent chap.

[Page 223]

July 30 Fri.
Attend Friday night meeting of 1st Cairo Scouts – then went into town & had in succession iced lime drink, ice cream, iced ginger ale.
Very thirsty climate, don`t you know.

[Page 224]

July 31 Sat.
Another big row in Cairo in which the Troops took a prominent part. Houses set on fire, bonfires of furniture etc. were the order of the day – About 10.30 p.m. the Military Police restored order. We admitted one man to hospital suffering from concussion.
The previous row was on Good Friday.

[Page 225]

Aug. 1 Sun.
Cairo was declared out of bounds this afternoon as the result of yesterday`s row.
Still hammering away at French but it seems to be mighty difficult.
Arabic I have left let slide.

[Page 226]

Aug. 2 Mon.
At 8.30 p.m. 10 of us started off on a 2 hours run in a motor boat on the Nile & completely circumnavigated Gezira Island. Some of our party partook of liquid refreshment during the evening & one chap was so alcoholically embarrassed that 3 of us had to put him to bed after he was assisted up from the landing stage. By Jove! His antics were funny!
Needless to say I kept clear of the "booze".

[Page 227]

Aug. 3 Tue.
We now have 2 Italian Scouts helping here as well as several English.
Still keeping up the French but the grammar is some problem. I also have the opportunity of learning Italian & Arabic – but one language at a time.

[Page 228]

Aug. 4 Wed.
Regularly every evening now after tea about 6 p.m. Ray Smith & I go for a stroll through Gezira Gardens. We have made several friends only 1 or 2 of whom can speak English, thus providing good practice in French for us. The Gardens close at 7 p.m. & then we walk further on, cross by the Kasr-el-Nil Bridge & strong stroll along the river front. The Nile is then looking its best – calm, wide & deep; with its fringe of palms along the opposite bank & lights from house boat & shore dwelling twinkling across the water in the dusk of an African Evening.

[Page 229]

Aug. 5 Thu.
Great linguistic possibilities in Egypt. This evening I was talking to an Armenian refugee from Constantinople & while I was with him he spoke in English, Arabic, Armenian, French & Italian. He is a boy of 16 or 17 & belongs to the Armenian Boy Scouts of Cairo. He lived for many years in Russia.
Mena Convalescent Depot from to-day is an altogether separate Unit from us. Major Grey is O.C. & 2 other Officers and 8 Nurses as well as men have been detached from No. 2 G.H. to constitute the personnel.

[Page 230]

Aug. 6 Fri.
Have during the last few days come across a rather decent Egyptian (a Copt). His father is the Govt. Minister for Finance.
The Egyptians are of 2 religions – Coptic & Mahommedan. The Copts are Christians, few in number, but staunch upholders of the British. The majority of the people are Mahommedans – same religion as the Turks – and only respecting the British because of our superior strength.

[Page 231]

Aug. 7 Sat.
Kept pretty busy to-day as we admitted about 90 wounded – all stretcher cases – last night.
One man died to-night, diagnosis: Enteric.
In the evening with a couple of others, visited 2 of Cairo`s largest & finest mosques – One of them in particular looked splendid: beautiful carpets & rich carvings & ornamentation in a blaze of illumination & the Mahommedans chanting their prayers.

[Page 232]

Aug. 8 Sun.
Visited the Armenian Boy Scouts at their Headquarters in the Armenian School (Kasr-el-Nil) at 2.30 p.m. About 70 boys in 2 Troops (A & B) & very smart. All orders given in English which is spoken well by the S.M. & his Assistant (the latter speaks 6 languages fluently). These Scouts are distinguishable by violet neckerchiefs & are the best I have yet seen in Cairo. They wear English equipment & work on B.S.A. lines.
Attended Evening Service at All Saints’ at which I struck Willie Vane.

[Page 233]

Aug. 9 Mon.
Our office has been somewhat rearranged. All hospital work will in future be done in the Secretary & Registrar’s Office & in our office we shall only do regimental & Colonel`s work. To do this work there is a Sergt. & myself. The O.C. has a Staff Sgt. As his Sec.

[Page 234]

Aug. 10 Tue.
Went into Cairo this evening to attend weekly meeting of the Imp. Scouts Assoc, but only 2 of us turned up.

[Page 235]

Aug. 11 Wed.
This afternoon had the best feed of strawberries I think I have ever had. They were bosker!
The office staff get all sorts of tit bits in the tucker line.
To-morrow is the Anniversary of the Birthday of Mahomet – The Egyptian Christmas Day on which the great Bairam Feast will be held. The festivities will continue for two days after Bairam Day & all leave for Troops has been stopped for that period.

[Page 236]

Aug. 12 Thu.
Bairam Day which is Egyptian Christmas Day.
Notified to-day that big rush of wounded was expected & ordered to transfer as many as possible of our present patients to Mena Convalescent Depot. First batch of 110 – all stretched cases, arrived in the ambulances about 4 p.m. & were followed by more wounded – the last lot arriving about midnight. Altogether nearly 450 came in as our share. There had been heavy fighting on the peninsula with many casualties.
A number of Turkish prisoners arrived in Cairo.

[Page 237]

Aug. 13 Fri.
Last night we received a big batch of Reinforcements to the Unit from Australia:- 8 Officers, 4 men & no less than 50 Nurses.
About 60 patients in the Hospital unfit for further service left for Australia this morning & with them 2 Officers, 10 men & 5 Nurses as Staff on the Hospital ship Thermistocles. This is about the sixth batch of our own Unit that have gone & I feel very much like putting in for the three months trip, sooner or later. There is not much chance of No. 2 G.H. running away from Egypt until the Dardanelles operations are brought to a finish.

[Page 238]

Aug. 14 Sat.
A batch of nearly 200 British wounded admitted about midnight. Another landing has been affected on the Peninsula – this time by Kitchener`s Army – heavy losses.
Heard that Ben Champion & Art. Felton have arrived in Egypt with the 7th Reinforcements of the 1st Inf.

[Page 239]

Aug. 15 Sun.
Paid second visit to the Armenian Scouts this afternoon when a Patrol of Italian Scouts with some members of their Council were also present .
The Armenians numbered about 35 & looked very serviceable & smart in their real Scout kit – they are really good on parade. The Italians were dressed in their Bersaglieri uniform. Everything went off very harmoniously. First occasion on which 2 Scout organisations in Cairo have met.
Met Ben Champion at 6 p.m. & we had a walk round the town.
A1 to get some Wahroonga news.

[Page 240]

Aug. 16 Mon.
Nothing much happened to-day. Still sticking to French.
Received 3 letters to-day from N.S.W. – first mail for 17 days. There must again be something wrong with the postal works, I think.

[Page 241]

Aug. 17 Tue.
The Skating Rink & Theatre in the Esbekieh Gardens have been taken over by the Aust. Red Cross & Y.M.C.A. to be run as a Soldiers’ Club. I attended the opening of the Club at 6.30. p.m. by General Sir John & Lady Maxwell. Gen. Spens & Gen. Legge also spoke on the object of the opening. There is no doubt that such clubs are very useful.

[Page 242]

Aug. 18 Wed.
Some Australian mail arrived to-day & I got 7 letters. Scouts still going.

[Page 243]

Aug. 19 Thu.
Went into Cairo this evening after tea. R. Smith has commenced to fag Italian & wanted some text books.
I ascertained to-night that there are several thousand Spanish people in Cairo. What a cosmopolitan crowd there is in Egypt.

[Page 244]

Aug. 20 Fri.
Our former Quartermaster – Capt. C. Gray got the sack when we were out at Mena, and was sent back to Australia for certain irregularities in connection with his department.
To-day a new Q.M. arrived for us from Alexandria – Lieut. Beers – he was Q.M. of 1st Field Ambulance.
W.O. Emmett had been acting Q.M.

[Page 245]

Aug. 21 Sat.
Had a talk with a Sgt. who is in 7th Reinf. of 1st Inf. and who was 6 months with the New Guinea Expeditionary Force. He was in the Infantry, Company Scouts, Military Police, & A.M.C. in turn and when sent back to Sydney enlisted in the A.I.F.

[Page 246]

Aug. 22 Sun.
Ben Champion, Art. Felton & another Sergt. from 7th Reinforcements, 1st. Infantry dropped in at 1 p.m. & we went out to Mena – had a look at Mena House, Pyramids, Sphinx & Temple, your `umble acting as guide. We had a photo. taken on camels with Sphinx & Pyramids in the Background. Went back to Cairo & had tea at British Soldiers’ Cafι - then went for a walk round the city (seamy side included). Left the other chaps at the Heliopolis Tram & arrived back at Gezira at 8.15. p.m.

[Page 247]

Aug. 23 Mon.
Ray Smith admitted to Hospital to-day with influenza so I had my evening walk alone – My word! My French can do with a tremendous amount of polishing.
In Cairo & district at the present time there are 10 Australian Hospitals & Convalescent Depots of which Nos 1 & 2 Generals are the largest. The personnel of the 10 places is 111 Officers, 789 N.C.Os & men & 297 Nursing Sisters.
Some Canadian A.M.C. men are now stationed in Egypt.

[Page 248]

Aug. 24 Tue.
Every day I whack away at Le Franηais and if I can`t speak it fluently before leaving Egypt I shall eat my hat.
Went in to Imp. Scouts Assn. meeting to-night at the Y.M.C.A. but only one other chap turned up. The troops are continually on the move & it seems impossible to get the chaps together at present.
Had one of my close crop hair cuts at the Sphinx Hairdressing Saloon (an Italian joint.)

[Page 249]

Aug. 25 Wed.
To-day is observed as a Holiday by the Egyptians on which the "cutting of the Khalig" takes place. The annual festival is meant to keep in the minds of the people the value of the Nile & its yearly rising. In the old days there used to be a dam across the river & when the flood was high enough "the cutting of the Khalig" was celebrated & the dam was cut. In addition a young girl used to be thrown in the Nile as a sacrifice but for the past 30 centuries this latter practice has been discontinued & an image of mud substituted. A great feast also takes place & there are firing of guns, decorated river boats, crowds of natives, etc.

[Page 250]

Aug. 26 Thu.
Every evening after tea I go for a walk somewhere, usually on the Island & round about Kasr-el-Nil.
Sunday afternoons I have been spending either with a visit to the Armenian Scouts, Church & Esbekieh Gardens – or trotting round with Ben Champion & Art. Felton as a kind of amateur guide.

[Page 251]

Aug. 27 Fri.
Dropped in at the Gezira Skating Rink to-night for a bit – think I must start & learn sooner or later.
In the afternoon borrowed Sergeant Middleton`s camera and took some photos round the gardens. Hope they come out alright!

[Page 252]

Aug. 28 Sat.
Went for a walk through Gezira Gardens after tea & then went round to the French Scout Headquarters – had a yarn with 2 of the boys who spoke very good English (& who did not have need to avail themselves of my rotten French) – after saying good-bye to the boys & promising to visit their clubroom again shortly, trotted off into town to the Soldiers Club in the Esbekieh Gardens where a fine concert - given by the Aust. Army Pay Corps – was in progress & walked home on conclusion of Concert – typed Corps Orders for the following day & then after a shower (my usual nightly) went off to bed.

[Page 253]

Aug. 29 Sun.
St. Sgt. Statt took a service this morning at Light Horse Camp, Mahdi & got the use of the Colonel`s splendid Crossley motor car to get there. Sgt. Middleton & I went with him (for the run only) & it was fine. Did the 16 miles (there & back) in 52 minutes. Arrived back at Gezira just in time for breakfast.
Paid a visit to the Armenian Scouts in the afternoon – their S.M. has gone to the Dardanelles as an interpreter to the British Forces.
Attended the evening service at All Saints & then went into the Esbekieh Gardens where the fine brass band of 27th Australian Infantry were playing – Great crowd of people of all nationalities were present.

[Page 254]

Aug. 30 Mon.
Have developed a sore throat but am gargling it daily.
Troops are now in Egypt from many parts of the British Empire:-
English, Scotch, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, Ceylon, Canadian, Maori, R. Naval Division, Welsh.

[Page 255]

Aug. 31 Tue.
Capt. Mackenzie, Secretary & Registrar of No. 2 G.H. is now attached to the Staff of the D.M.S. Egypt as Staff Officer for Australian Medical Services & has an office in the Australian Intermediate Base. I was loaned to him this afternoon & worked in the Inter. Base from 2.30 till 7 p.m.

[Page 256]

Sep.1 Wed.
The Australian Intermediate Base is the main base of the A.I.F. & has a staff of about 250 men of which a large number are N.C.Os. Staff Pay Office, Int. Base Post Office, Ordnance Depot, & Records & Correspondence Depot, are all at the Intermediate Base –They must get through a tremendous amount of work.

[Page 257]

Sep. 2 Thu.
To-night I visited the French Scouts – they are awfully military although wearing our uniform with red muffler. A few of them speak good English but I found my French very useful. A couple of the Scouts are nice kids. Had a look at an interesting collection of French Military weapons.

[Page 258]

Sep. 3 Fri.
Turned up at the Kursaal to-night at 6 p.m. (Cairo`s Tivoli) & found a circus on – mighty good too: admission 5 p.t.

[Page 259]

Sep. 4 Sat.
Paid another visit to the French Scouts this evening – Three of them are going to write to me (in French) & I have to reply to them.

[Page 260]

Sep. 7 Tue.
For the past week have not been feeling too good. Paraded sick about 6 p..m. & admitted to Ward 6 with tonsilitis.
My case sheet in the ward says for the last 4 or 5 days has had a sore throat – to-day feels feverish – no headache – felt inclined to be sick from the stomach – no general pains – constipated.
On admission:- T 99.6, P120, R24.

[Page 261]

Sep. 8 Wed.
In Hospital
Good food
Good sisters
Time drags.

[Page 262]

Sep. 9 Thu.
In Hospital.
Some more letters to-day from Australia making a total for the past 8 days of 28 letters, 2 P.Cs. 15 papers.

[Page 263]

Sep. 10 Fri.
In Hospital.
Ward 6 is the best in the Hospital – is on the first floor & overlooks Boulac Bridge over the Nile.
Wrote a couple of letters.

[Page 264]

Sep. 11 Sat.
In Hospital.
Filled in the day reading sundry magazines & writing letters.

[Page 265]

Sep. 12 Sun.
In Hospital.
The Medical Officer of the Ward, Capt. Dyring – told me that I could get out of Hospital to-morrow.
Mildred Brown came over this afternoon & stayed at the Hosp. for dinner – I escorted her back to Choubra afterwards & got roused on by the Night Sister in Ward 6 for being out after hours.

[Page 266]

Sep. 13 Mon.
Out of Hospital and back to work again.
We have a third chap in the Office now – Wilson. He has lived in Cairo for several years and speaks several languages including Arabic.

[Page 267]

Sep. 14 Tue.
Met Mildred Brown at 3.30 p.m. – we had a look round the Citadel including Mohammed Ali Mosque & Indian General Hospital & finished up with a visit to Mosque of Sultan Hassan.
25 patients are to be sent to Montazeh Convalescent Depot Alexandria to-morrow & I have been lucky enough to get my name included on the list.

[Page 268]

Sep. 15 Wed.
Left Gezira 11.30 am – Cairo 12 noon arrived Sidi Gaba 3.10 (just outside Alex). Changed there for Montazeh where arrived at 4 p.m. Journey from Cairo to Sidi Gaba uneventful – line passing between well irrigated fields of waving corn , & cotton bushes. Between Sidi Gaba & Montazeh passed numerous fruit laden date palms & fig trees, Australian camp with horse lines, & a camp of French Troops. I hope to have a good time at the Conval. Depot. It is a big building right on the ocean, on the coast west of Alexandria.

[Page 269]

Sep.16 Thu.
Up at 6 a.m. & had a swim before breakfast.
The rest of the day was devoted to 2 walks round the coast, reading, another swim, smoking & a yarn to 2 Scouts of 1st Alexandria B-P Scouts who are acting as orderlies.
My uniform consists of rag hat, light blue coat with sleeves rolled, short pants tucked up as far as they will go & a pr. of white shoes.
Weather – Snifter.

[Page 270]

Sep. 17 Fri.
Swim again this morning before breakfast – only one in the water.
During the morning went for a row in one of the 2 boats here.
In the afternoon further explored the locality. The old Khedive did things in style alright.
4 new Scouts came to the Hospital to-day – such fine little chaps – especially a Second -This chap remembered me as having visited the Troop clubroom on January 16th (see diary for that date).

[Page 271]

Sep. 18 Sat.
To-day’s programme was practically same as yesterday’s only had an additional swim in the morning.
See quite a lot of the 4 Scouts here.
A cable worded "LOVING BIRTHDAY WISHES" reached me to-day from Dad.

[Page 272]

Sep. 19 Sun.
To-day 3 swims, 3 times out in one of the boats, a couple of walks round the ocean front & another one over the Sultan`s estate – passed away the best part of the day.
In the evening there was a Service on one of the fine wide verandahs looking out on to the ocean – The Service went off with quite a swing.
I am writing up my diary on the same verandah after the Service, having bid goodnight to my young Scout friends.

[Page 273]

Sep. 20 Mon.
MY BIRTHDAY (now 19)
Feel awfully ancient.
Spent the day swimming, walking & reading.
A batch of about 20 patients arrived – transferred from Gezira. There are about 500 patients here.
The tucker is very good – much better than Gezira.

[Page 274]

Sep. 21 Tue.
Got leave to go into Alexandria to-day. Left Montaza by 2 p.m. train to Victoria (4 miles). Caught a tram there for Mustapha Camp – Then went on to the city – Met several No. 2 G.H. chaps who had been detailed for overseas duty – Visited Mr. D. Allen. S.M. of 1st Alex. Scouts & also Rev. Fry, Local Sec.
Struck an old Scout serving in the 20th. A.A.S.C. – we had tea at the Soldiers & Sailors’ Club – then went to the Pictures.
Caught a tram back to Victoria & train to Montazah – Back at 10 p.m., Alex full of Troops Aust, N.Z. French, Naval, Eng, etc.

[Page 275]

Sep. 22 Wed.
Swimming , boating, walking & reading as usual to-day.
Up at 6 a.m. each morning, wake the 4 Scouts & we go down for a swim before breakfast.
A very good concert was held at 7.30 p.m. on the fine, wide, tiled verandah overlooking the ocean.

[Page 276]

Sep. 23 Thu.
Had my last swim at Montazah during the morning.
After dinner heard that a body of a man in military uniform round which was a lifebelt had been washed ashore on the beach. Went along with one of the Scouts to have a look at him but it was too far away – Walked back through the fruit laden date palms.
Left Montaza at 3.30 pm by Motor Amb. & caught 4.10 train from Sidi Gaba arriving at Cairo at 7.30 p.m. Had dinner in town - & then back to Gezira once more having spent the best 8 days since I arrived in Egypt.

[Page 277]

Sep. 24 Fri.
Inoculated against cholera.
An N.C.O. & 22 men sent from No. 2. G.H. to reinforce at Gallipoli.
Feels strange being back at Cairo again – tucker pretty rotten – Montazah every time.
Weather much cooler now & shower cold first thing in the morning. Days shorter – Winter coming.

[Page 278]

Sep. 25 Sat.
A couple of hundred wounded came in to-day.

[Page 279]

Sep. 26 Sun.
Visited the Armenian Scouts in the afternoon.
Tea at the Soldiers` Cafι, Esbekieh Gardens.
Afterwards to the American Cosmograph.

[Page 280]

Sep. 27 Mon.
Australian mail arrived to-day.
Have bought a set of Hugo`s French books to replace those "lost". Am doing some French every day.

[Page 281]

Sep. 28 Tue.
Met Mildred Brown at 3.15 p.m. & after calls at a photo. shop & post office, went off to the Native Bazaars where all kinds of shoes, mats, rugs, jewelry, tinware, etc, etc, can be seen in the making & all sorts of curios & valuables are on sale.
Finished up with a visit to No. 1 Gen. Hospital, Heliopolis.

[Page 282]

Sep. 29 Wed.
Went into Cairo at 4 p.m. to make inquiries about the present whereabouts of some chaps, at the Intermediate Base.
Had a chat with Harold Kershaw who has come back from the Peninsula with dysentery.
Am just about tired of Cairo & if no chance of promotion or move of the Unit takes place soon, I feel like going across to Gallipoli.

[Page 283]

Sep. 30 Thu.
Procession of the Holy Carpet (Kiswa) took place this morning when it was taken from the Citadel to Abbassia on the commencement of its annual journey to Mecca in connection with the pilgrimage business.
Went to Mena with M. Brown & had a look at the Pyramids & Sphinx. The Nile flood is still coming up & spreading a great sheet of water over the flats near the Pyramids as well as filling all the canals.
The muddy main stream of the Nile is swirling along at a great rate.

[Page 284]

Oct. 1 Fri.
Kept pretty busy all day to-day. Received several letters from Australia including one which informed me, as I had previously suspected, that the A.S.M. was not capable of taking charge of my Troop of Scouts , & further that he was unpopular with the boys – Sorry to hear this.
Had a visit from Ben. Champion & Art. Felton who are still in camp here in Egypt.
My promotion to Sergeant (see under Nov. 12th) dates from to-day.

[Page 285]

Oct. 2 Sat.
Still at the French with which I seem to make little progress. Am also endeavouring to pick up a little Arabic.
Went to a meeting of the French Scouts (Les Eclaireurs Franηais) – They do far too much drill.

[Page 286]

Oct. 3 Sun.
At 3 p.m. went to a Display by the Cairo Armenian Gymnastic Society in aid of Armenian Red Cross funds. Display lasted until 8 p.m. & included marching, high & broad jumping, wrestling, boxing, physical exercises, club swimming, horizontal bar feats et. etc. The Armenian Scouts, about 40 in number, assisted at the performance.

[Page 287]

Oct. 4 Mon.
Was very glad to get a birthday parcel containing something from each one at home – 12 papers came through the post all of which, except 1, were from Eric Burke – 100 three Castles Cigarettes also arrived, from Wal. Crocker.
Had a very interesting letter from Ray Smith relating his experiences since leaving Gezira. He is now with No. 2 Stat. Hosp at Mudros.

[Page 288]

Oct. 5 Tue.
Paid the French Scouts a visit this evening.

[Page 289]

Oct. 6 Wed.
7 of us who enlisted in No. 2 G.H. in Sydney formed ourselves into a Committee to-night to arrange for a Dinner on 25th Nov. next – "1st Anniversary of our sailing from Sydney.
Snow Freeman is Chairman of the Committee & your `umble is Hon. Sec. & Treas.

[Page 290]

Oct. 7 Thu.
Couple of hundred British Troops admitted as patients during the afternoon.

[Page 291]

Oct. 8 Fri.
Nothing out of the usual to-day .
Finished reading a good book with an Egyptian setting – "Bella Donna".

[Page 292]

Oct. 9 Sat.
The 1st Annual Dinner Committee held another meeting to-night but nothing much was done as it was felt that 25th Nov. was too far distant at present. Many changes are likely to take place in 6 weeks.

[Page 293]

Oct. 10 Sun.
Spent the afternoon instructing 2 Patrols of Armenian Scouts in first aid for a Display to be given by the Troop – The language problem presents a little difficulty.
Went to the Kursaal (variety show like Tivoli) at 6 p.m. – Splendid programme.
Had good dinner & then train to Gezira.

[Page 294]

Oct. 11 Mon.
Walked into Cairo after tea to purchase a couple of sundries required.
Went through Gezira passed the gardens, along the Nile bank, & then crossed the River by Kasr-el-Nil bridge, passed the Barracks & continued straight in to the city. Came out through Boulac by the tram.

[Page 295]

Oct. 12 Tue.
Looked in at the French Scouts` clubroom & then went for a stroll with 2 or 3 No. 2 G.H. chaps I met.
Getting very decent weather now – days not hot & nights not cold. The Military authorities have decided that as during the winter months the climate of Egypt and the Dardanelles is so good, no patients will be sent to England. They may go to Cyprus perhaps, for a short stay.

[Page 296]

Oct. 13 Wed.
Went over to Heliopolis (No. 1 Gen. Hosp.) to look up a chap who was supposed to be there but could not find him.
Went out to Mena in motor ambulance – had tea there – stayed to a concert – and then back to Gezira at 10.15 p.m.
Water still rising on the Mena Flats.

[Page 297]

Oct. 14 Thu.
Paid a visit to the Armenian School at Boulac – The pupils are all taught English, French & Arabic. There is no doubt that English is rapidly taking the place of French in Egypt.
Went in to Cairo to the Australian Intermediate Base. Sharia Shawarbi Pasha to trace the whereabouts of a chap, which I was successful in doing – Seem to be a kind of detective.
The 5 orderlies who left on the "Kyarra" (1st load of returning wounded) 4 months ago returned this afternoon by "Ballarat". How about going back to Australia, Bruce, to eat your Christmas Dinner at home?

[Page 298]

Oct. 15 Fri.
Am reading a book about Egypt called "Donovan Pasha".
Have already read the following books:-
"What to know in Egypt"
"Tombs of Sakkara"
"The Making of Modern Egypt"
"Bella Donna"
"Fascinating Egypt"

1st ANNIVERSARY of my Enlistment in the A.I.F.

[Page 299]

Oct. 16 Sat.
Went to the Railway Institute at Septieh after tea – a club for English railway employees & friends - A rather pleasant evening was brought to an abrupt close by half a dozen drunk Australians of the A.I.F. "kicking up a shindy". A chap feels jolly well ashamed sometimes to think he belongs to the Australian Forces.
Secured a Trooper`s spur as a souvenir.

[Page 300]

Oct. 17 Sun.
Trotted off to the Armenian Scouts at 2 p.m. The attendance was 40 in 6 Patrols, 2 of which are ambulance, 1 signaller, 1 pioneer, 1 band & 1 ?
Took the 2 amb. Patrols for first aid & we got along first rate. The Band consists of 6 buglers & 3 drummers & does well.
This troop is run more on B.S.A. lines than any other Scouts I have seen in Cairo, English included.
Went to Church (All Saints’) at 6 p.m. with Mild. Brown. "Full House"

[Page 301]

Oct. 18 Mon.
5 Orderlies going with some patients to Suez to-morrow & returning the following day. Thinking that Suez air might be a change after that of Cairo I managed to get my name down as one of the 5 to leave first thing next morning. Suffered an extremely unpleasant shock when I found later in the evening (at the eleventh Hour, as it were) that my name had been taken off & another chap put on by the O.C. – Finish Suez trip – Better luck next time.

[Page 302]

Oct. 19 Tue.
At 2.30 p.m. went off for a good long walk through the Island & then across to Giza as far as the Nerada Bridge which was open when I reached it, to enable the great lanteen sailed feluccas & khiassas to go up the river.
Came back to the Zoo and had a look around at the Birds & Animals – also went through the fine grotto.
Went back to Gezira by tram.
After tea the Army Pay Corps gave a good concert in Ward 1.

[Page 303]

Oct. 20 Wed.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened to-day.

[Page 304]

Oct. 21 Thu.
Bought a copy of the "Scout" – this week’s – it costs P.T1 in Egypt.
A meeting of 25th Nov. Committee held at 8 p.m.

[Page 305]

Oct. 22 Fri.
At 3 p.m. Went off for a tour of inspection of the Tombs of the Khalifs & Mamelukes near the Mokattam Hills & then walked through the Dead City.
After tea 4 of us went out to Mena – secured donkeys – and went for a ride on the desert behind the Sphinx & Pyramids. It was great! Everything flooded in moonlight. The Nile looks jolly good with the moonlight shining on it. The Pyramids reflected in the water on the flats.

[Page 306]

Oct. 23 Sat.
Is Greece coming into the war? This is the question people have been asking themselves for some time. It looks very much as if they would soon be at it. There are more Greeks than any other Europeans in Egypt and they appear to have quite a commercial grip of the country – it would hurt the Greeks here a trifle if they decided to go against the allies. A couple of weeks ago 3500 reservists left Alexandria for Athens & 2 or 3 days ago 400 left Cairo

[Page 307]

Oct. 24 Sun.
With the Armenian Scouts again this afternoon & acted as Scoutmaster for the afternoon – all orders in English of course – Troop & stave drill, bugle calls, signalling & first aid. Pretty smart chaps.

[Page 308]

Oct. 25 Mon.
In the afternoon went for a walk, round Gezira – through the leafy lanes of the English quarter, past creaking shadoufs worked tirelessly by muscular fellaheen, through the tall dhoura & along the edge of the Nile –
A chap wants to see all he can of Egyptian life while he is here.

[Page 309]

Oct. 26 Tue.
"Snow" Freeman and I went in and saw the proprietor of the Hotel Metropole this afternoon about our 25th November Dinner, this afternoon.

[Page 310]

Oct. 27 Wed.
Something wrong with the Australian mails. Only a few odd letters have arrived during the past 3 or 4 weeks.
A Hospital ship is leaving for Australia to-morrow & 9 orderlies had to be detailed from No. 2 G.H. Not feeling extra keen at the moment on going back for Christmas. I did not apply.

[Page 311]

Oct. 28 Thu.
Still at the French but progressing slowly.

[Page 312]

Oct. 29 Fri.
Made up a packet of coins etc. to send home & went into Cairo in the afternoon and bought 3 mats for the same purpose. Two of the chaps going back on the Hosp. Ship "Aneas" are taking them for me.

[Page 313]

Oct. 30 Sat.
Getting in some conversation in French now so should make better progress.
To-day is "Our Day" in Egypt when the British Community are doing their best for the Red Cross Society & Order of St. John.
My weight in uniform is 10 st. 6½ lbs.

[Page 314]

Oct. 31 Sun.
Spent the afternoon with the Armenian Scouts & went to the 6 p.m. service at All Saints. Church is always full to overflowing at the Evening Services now – the military element predominating.

[Page 315]

Nov. 1 Mon.
Meeting of the 25th Nov. committee to-night. We have lost 4 of the 7 original Committee members who have been detailed for duty away from the Unit.
Great excitement ! Staff-Sergt. Statt, Private Sec. to the O.C, has been made a 4th Class Chaplain with rank of Captain. Is there any chance of promotion for me, I wonder?

[Page 316]

Nov. 2 Tue.
Have been appointed Private Secretary to the Colonel – There seems plenty of work attached to the position & pretty responsible work, too.
It will mean constant attendance on Col. Martin & will now leave me very little spare time.
Invited to a Dinner at the Sergeants` Mess to-night. The W. Officer thinks I am to be promoted to Corporal – hence the invitation.

[Page 317]

Nov. 3 Wed.
Stacks of work in the new position. Col. Martin is such a fussy old chap, unmethodical in his work, forgetful memory at times & needing constant attention.
Stacks of correspondence awaiting attention – Busy mastering the contents of it all & getting things in something like order.

[Page 318]

Nov. 4 Thu.
Since coming on to the new job have not been able to get out at all. If the Colonel is in his office I have to be in attendance – if he is out I have to be there to look after things in his absence.

[Page 319]

Nov. 5 Fri.
Managed to get a run into town for a couple of hours about 8.15 p.m.
Am getting up at 6 a.m. now.

[Page 320]

Nov. 6 Sat.
The Sergeants` Mess is just A1, situated under big bamboos just inside the main gates. The tucker is splendid & such a contrast to the stuff the men get. I understand it only costs each Sergeant P.T. 25 each 16 days. This includes the wages of 2 natives employed by the Mess to look after them & wait at table. The entrance fee is P.T. 50.

[Page 321]

Nov. 7 Sun.
Got the afternoon off & paid my weekly visit to the Armenian Scouts.
No. 2 G.H. received a great batch of reinforcements yesterday:- no less than 8 Officers & 97 men. Since leaving Sydney we have doubled our strength & added about 60 more although there are nearly 200 away from the Unit on duty.

[Page 322]

Nov. 8 Mon.
Fighting on the Canal in the proximity of Kantara, between the Turks & the Indian Troops stationed there. Rumours are about that the Turks are now making a determined effort to get across.

[Page 323]

Nov. 9 Tue.
Cairo (called in Arabic Masr) covers area of 11 sq. miles. & is by far the largest city in Africa. Its population cannot be far short of a million of all nationalities.

[Page 324]

Nov.10 Wed.
Have just introduced new filing system – all letters correspondence now numbered & indexed before filing. The correct military method.

[Page 325]

Nov. 11 Thu.
There are two islands in the Nile at Cairo – Gezira & Rhoda. Gezira (Arabic for Island) is the larger & one of the prettiest parts round Cairo – it is joined up to the Mainland on either side by two bridges. Rhoda is rather a bleak looking spot & is also connected to the mainland by 2 bridges on either side.

[Page 326]

Nov. 12 Fri.
Good news to-night.
Promoted to rank of Sergeant dating back as far as Oct. 1st.
Had to write home straight away and tell Mother about it.
Plenty of hand-shakes and congrats. all round.

[Page 327]

Nov. 13 Sat.
The Nile is the second longest continuous waterway in the world, 4037 miles. As practically no rain falls within its limits Egypt would cease to exist as a fertile country & would become a desert valley, similar to those of the Sahara were it not for its constant supply of water from the Nile.

[Page 328]

Nov. 14 Sun.
Off for the afternoon to-day with the Armenian Scouts & put in some good French work with 2 very decent little Scouts although I was tied up in several knots at times.
My leave is now considerably curtailed & since taking on the "Confidential Clerk" job I have only been getting out on Sunday afternoons.

[Page 329]

Nov. 15 Mon.

Arabic Vocabulary
Quize cateer
Sark am del woktie
Sar wahed masboot

[See English equivalents on following page.]

[Page 330]

Nov. 16 Tue.

How are you?
Very good
There is not) stoney broke
What is your name?
What is the time now?
It is exactly one o’clock
good night
Good morning

[See Arabic equivalents on previous page.]

[Page 331]

Nov. 17 Wed.
Managed to get into town yesterday for a couple of hours. Went into the Staff Pay Office & had my Pay Book fixed up. My 10/6 per day will (as from 1st.Oct. last) be distributed as follows :-
Drawn by myself 2/-
Allotted in Father’s name 6/6
Deferred until end of war 2/-.

[Page 332]

Nov. 18 Thu.
Another big batch of 93 reinforcements arrived from N.S.W. & Queensland for us last night. Goodness only knows what we are going to do with them all, there being fully 150 occupying their time with drill & marching only. There is nothing doing on the Peninsula & A.M.C. work in Egypt is pretty slack.
Our staff at Gezira to-day is :-
Officers - 34
Men - 385
Nurses - 75
Natives - 75 = 569
There are only 400 patients in Hospital.

[Page 333]

Nov. 19 Fri.
Just finished another book relating to Egypt - " A short memoir of Mohammed Ali" by Murray.

[Page 334]

Nov. 20 Sat.
Have now knocked off the early morning cold showers – getting a bit too fresh. No trouble to get hot baths with a bathroom laid on to one`s sleeping quarters.

[Page 335]

Nov. 21 Sun.
Spent the afternoon with the Armenian Scouts & met a Sth. Australian S.M. who came over in recent No. 2 G.H. Reinforcements. The Armenian Scoutmaster has just returned to Cairo after being three months with the British Troops at Suvla as Interpreter.

[Page 336]

Nov. 22 Mon.
Am reading another good book "Things seen in Egypt".

[Page 337]

Nov. 23 Tue.
Bucking into French like mad. Am determined to become a real Froggy in the shortest possible time.

[Page 338]

Nov. 24 Wed.
Went for a walk before breakfast this morning for a bit of exercise. Pretty chilly & foggy at this time of the day.
I get out very little now – am so much tied down on this new job. Usually sneak out for half an hour`s stroll through Gezira Gardens about 4.30 p.m. when the "Old Man" is out.
Mail from Aust. to-day. Received 4 letters. Thankful for small mercies - but where in the dickens are all the letters going to.

[Page 339]

Nov. 25 Thu.
Work has slackened off a great deal. Most of it is supervising & distributing it among others. Of course, I have to be about always in case there is anything doing.

[Page 340]

Nov. 26 Fri.
The Egyptians (or Arabs as they should be called) are a very poor race.
I always have a mistrust of & dislike for "Gippies". They have no backbone at all & are sly & cunning. Guess their army would not win many "scraps" & the Gippy soldier is always on the lookout to "hum" feloos off one of us. The lower classes are more like animals - running about in filthy rags & living in smelly little mud hovels - the poultry living on the roof of the latter & the domestic animals (if any) occupying portion of the "Mansion".

[Page 341]

Nov. 27 Sat.
Are we ever going to move out of Egypt – Seen enough of Cairo to last me my natural.

[Page 342]

Nov.28 Sun.
Went for a walk in the afternoon through Kasr-el Nil past the Residency,
& over Mohamed Ali bridge on to Rhoda Island where we endeavoured to find the Nile gauge there, but without success. After watching some feluccas pass through the opened Abbas II bridge, walked off the island by this bridge, passed the Health Department Hospitals just opened, & near the Zoo engaged a garry & drove back to Gezira.

[Page 343]

Nov. 29 Mon.
Skirmishing on western frontier of Egypt.
Bedouins in Tripoli attacking our frontier posts, & population.
Our small advance posts have been concentrated at Matruh.

[Page 344]

Nov. 30 Tue.
Developed a cold to-day & soon managed to produce a temperature & a pulse and was admitted into ward 6 with "influenza" after tea.

[Page 345]

Dec. 1 Wed.
It is asthma I have, not influenza.
Stayed in bed all day.

[Page 346]

Dec. 2 Thu.
In bed to-day.

[Page 347]

Dec. 3 Fri.
Up to-day – feeling much better.

[Page 348]

Dec. 4 Sat.
Feeling pretty fair to-day – Put the hard word on the Old Man for a few days at Ras-el-Tin Convalescent Depot, Alexandria.
He said YES so left Cairo by 4.30 p.m. train & arrived safely at Ras-el-Tin about 4 hours later.
Given a bed in Ward 12 & turned in.
Ought to have a rather decent time here. Leave everyday from 1.30 p.m.
The tucker is good & everyone left pretty much to himself.

[Page 349]

Dec. 5 Sun.
Attended medical parade at 9 a.m. & C.E. Service in Y.M.C.A. hut at 10.30.
After dinner got a leave pass & went into Alex. The tram running along all the way near the water`s edge; passed a couple of little headlands on which were old forts. Caught a double decker tram out to Camp de Ceaser & visited one of the Scouts who was out at Montazah. Stayed to afternoon tea & then made tracks. First time I have been in a private house in Egypt. Went for a walk round the town – had dinner – went off to the Evening Service at St. Marks C.E. but arrived late & could not get in (full house.) Caught tram back to Ras-el-Tin.

[Page 350]

Dec. 6 Mon.
3 of us left the Depot about 2 p.m. & went for a walk along the peninsula to the lighthouse past the Sultan`s Palace, No. 21 Gen. Hospital, German & Austrian prisoners’ camp, motor ambulance depot & Ras-el-Tin Military Hospital. Lighthouse 200 ft. high & a magnificent view from the top – Eastern & western harbours, lake Mariut, the City & right out to sea. Walked back to the Depot for afternoon tea & then drove into Alex. round the sea front – very pretty. Then went out to Camp de Ceasar to attend Scout meeting & spent a pleasant evening with 1st Alexandria Boys, - also visited one of the Scout`s people.
"Alex. licks Cairo".

[Page 351]

Dec. 7 Tue.
Went out to Nuzha Gardens, several miles from the city – had a good look round, very pretty & splendidly laid out. Went out there by tram (1st class & without paying fares, of course) but drove back in a garry partly along the banks of the Mahmoudieh Canal – stopped at Groppi`s in Rue Rosette for afternoon tea.
Alex is a much prettier & cleaner city than Cairo & contains far more Europeans most of whom are French – The former city is laid out in French style.
Asthma has’nt left me yet & wheezing comes on at night accompanied by running of the nose & sore eyes.

[Page 352]

Dec. 8 Wed.
Got a garry & drove into Alex & then right out to Mex where we had afternoon tea – splendid drive. Came back to Gabbary & drove along Mahmoudieh Canal to the Catacombs – over 2000 years old & very interesting – then to Pompey`s Pillar with its 2 Sphinxes & excavations. Then back into Alex, where we dismissed the arbagi at 6 p.m. & had dinner. Attended early performance at Casino Bellevue which finished at 8.30. Back to Ras-el-Tin by garry.
Whole day cost me 22½ piastres. Very cheap.

[Page 353]

Dec. 9 Thu.
Jumped into a garry about 2 p.m. outside the Conval. Depot & drove round the wharves, through the Arsenal, inspected the great mass of coaling machinery & then into town. - Dismissed Garry & walked to the Graeco-Roman Museum which proved very interesting . Afternoon tea at Groppi`s (Alex`s fashionable cafι) among Officers, etc etc. (among the `eads) – Then off to Scout meeting at Camp de Ceasar where had a very pleasant time with the Scouts & their A.S.M. – Supper at Groppi`s with one of the boys & then back to Rasel-Tin.

[Page 354]

Dec.10 Fri.
Rotten luck! A Corpl. who had come up from Gezira with patients previous day had orders from the Colonel to take me back with him first thing this morning, there being great activity at No. 2 G.H. Very nice to know that your services are valuable but extremely rotten when you are having a good time in Alex.
Left Ras-el-Tin at 7.15 a.m. & travelled out to Camp de Ceasar to say a hasty farewell to a couple of friends. Caught the 9 a.m. train for Cairo & arrived at Gezira 3½ hrs. later.
Plenty of work in the afternoon. Old Man`s papers have got all over the shop during my absence.

[Page 355]

Dec. 11 Sat.
Kept busy to-day.
Feeling a bit seedy still.
Had a visit from an old Highfield chap – Sergt. Edwards of 12th L. Horse.

[Page 356]

Dec. 12 Sun.
Went into Cairo in the afternoon. Visited Armenian Scouts, had haircut & then afternoon tea at Groppi`s. Back to Gezira for dinner.
What a rotten hole Cairo seems after Alex.
[Note, Groppi had restaurants in Alex, and Cairo]

[Page 357]

Dec. 13 Mon.
More fighting in the west of Egypt on 11th inst. – An engagement with 300 hostile Arabs – enemy driven off with 80 killed & 7 prisoners & 30 wounded – we had 16 killed & 15 wounded.
Several days ago a Regiment of Australian Light Horse & 2 Regiments of Imperial Cavalry left Alex. for western frontier.

[Page 358]

Dec.14 Tue.
Not feeling too good since I got asthma attack – is still on my chest.
What cunning jokers the Egyptians (Gippies) are! The tramfare from Gezira to Cairo is 2 milliemes & the ticket collector oftens says that he cannot give change of ½ piastre – (we only use milliemes on the tram). Many an argument do we have to prevent them fleecing us. If a chap looks like a new arrival he is not even offered change.

[Page 359]

Dec. 15 Wed.
Visited a Dentist this afternoon. Nothing like keeping teeth in good order.
The winter weather is now on us - fog comes on at night & is very heavy in the early morning. The days, of course, are bright & sunny.

[Page 360]

Dec. 16 Thu.
Fighting continued on Egypt’s western frontier. On 13th inst. British Troops came into contact with force of 1200 Arabs with guns & machine guns, 24 miles west of Marsa Matrouh. The enemy were driven off with considerable losses.
No.1 Gen. Hosp., A.A.M.C. played No. 2 G.H. rugby football on Gezira Sporting Club grounds in the afternoon & we were beaten 9 to 3.
In the evening attended a Y.M.C.A. Bazaar at Connaught House. Very decent.

[Page 361]

Dec. 17 Fri.
In the afternoon for exercise walked into town through Kasr-el-Nil & past Abdin [Abdeen] Palace – bought to-days "Bourse" (French Daily) & had afternoon tea at Groppis – then walked back again. A lot of English people must be coming to Cairo now - I passed quite a number in the streets.
After tea went round to 1st Cairo Scouts` clubroom where there was a flag dedication ceremony.

[Page 362]

Dec. 18 Sat.
To-day Sultan Hussein completed first year of his reign over Egypt. Is a descendant of Mahomed Ali. Before his accession to the throne he was Egypt`s greatest Agriculturist – Is the son of the Khedive Ismail Pasha.

[Page 363]

Dec. 19 Sun.
Looked up the Armenian Scouts Then had afternoon tea at Groppi`s & walked back to Gezira through Kasr-el-Nil. The last-named is now a favourite walk of mine, occupying about Ύ hr.

[Page 364]

Dec. 20 Mon.
At Port Said there is now a camp of 4000 Armenian Refugees who have been able to escape from Turkey & the Turks. The camp is under the supervision of the Military authorities.
When at Alexandria last I noticed a large refugees camp on the way to Mex.

[Page 365]

Dec. 21 Tue.
Egypt? – the land of sunshine – the land of the Pharoahs – the land of hidden mysteries of long ago et. etc. is supposed to exercise a fascination over some people but I can`t say that the said fascination has gripped me.

[Page 366]

Dec. 22 Wed.
Persistent rumours current for some time that the Australians were being withdrawn from the Gallipoli Peninsula. To-day it was officially announced that the troops which were at Suvla and Anzac have been withdrawn with all their guns & stores.
This most difficult operation has been carried out with the greatest skill and secrecy, with practically no casualties and without the knowledge of the enemy, although the hostile forces were in the closest contact.
The evacuation was carried out on Sunday night last – the Troops are on Lemnos.

[Page 367]

Dec. 23 Thu.
No. 2 G.H. held a sports meeting this afternoon on the Gezira Sporting Club oval. The Meeting went off very well – an Egyptian Army Band was in attendance & played selections.
The prizes won at the Sports Meeting were presented by Gen. Wallack, C.B. at a Concert at 8 p.m. when a very decent programme was contributed.
The Palace is looking very "Christmassy" – decorations, et. etc. everywhere.

[Page 368]

Dec. 24 Fri.
Christmas Eve – Spent the afternoon decorating the Colonel`s office – it looks very smart!
Went into Cairo about 5.30 p.m. & about half an hour later rain began to fall – third time since I came to Cairo. Went to Shepheards` where a Belgian Fete was being held, but arrived too late & found all over Town full of Troops (notwithstanding rain) & some the worse for booze. Rendered first aid to an unconscious chap who had evidently been drugged with native liquor & then handed him over to the Mil. Police.
Went back to Gezira acting as escort to English lady who appeared to be a trifle afraid of natives & "excited" soldiers.

[Page 369]

Dec. 25 Sat.
Considerably more cheerful than last Xmas Day spent on Troopship in Indian Ocean - Palace very well decorated & plenty of jollification (some of it rather boozy).
Gifts were distributed. Practically nothing else but tobacco & cigarettes – no earthly use.
Had a very merry dinner in the Sergeant`s Mess in the evening.
Escaped early from the Dinner & went into Cairo. Town crowded with troops (some the worse for booze). A few rowdy chaps pinched a motor car & burnt it in the street while others sacked some houses of ill fame & threw furniture etc. into the street. Plenty of military police but no use at all. Pretty disgusting.

[Page 370]

Dec. 26 Sun.
Paid my usual Sunday afternoon visit to Armenian Scouts – had afternoon tea at Groppis & then walked back to Gezira through Kasr-el-Nil.

[Page 371]

Dec. 27 Mon.
Feeling rather down in the dumps to-day. Not much work to do & nothing to do to fill up spare time.
Have been in Cairo too long & it is pretty rotten when you have no friends or anywhere to go.

[Page 372]

Dec. 28 Tue.
Went for a jolly long walk this afternoon occupying fully three hours. Through Gezira, Kasr-el-Nil, Garden City, City of Cairo, & back through Kasr-el-Nil & Gezira.
Have decided to take up French & Arabic in earnest & put an advt. in the Egyptian Mail to-day for a teacher. So far I have very slight knowledge of Arabic although I can do better at French notwithstanding the fact that I can get very slight opportunities for conversation.

[Page 373]

Dec. 29 Wed.
1st Aust.Army Pay Corps Pierrots gave a Concert from 9.30 p.m. to 12.30 a.m. (30th inst.) in the Britannia Theatre, Cairo. Went with Sister Stone. Jolly good programme.
Nights are very cold now notwithstanding 4 blankets & greatcoat.

[Page 374]

Dec. 30 Thu.
Received three convoys of wounded & sick to-day, transfers from Alexandria. The number in Hospital at present time is 830 – we can accommodate over 1000 if necessary.
Egypt is becoming a great Australian Base. At Tel-el-Kebir a tremendous camp has been established and the Troops withdrawn from the Peninsula are pouring in from Lemnos.

[Page 375]

Dec. 31 Fri.
New Year`s Eve.
Cairo very quiet although precautions had been taken in event of any disturbance, by bringing in large numbers of Mil. Police – the Town Picquets, both mounted & foot, being considerably strengthened.
Art. Felton came over to see me this afternoon from Overseas Base, Giza. He was invalided from the Peninsula about 2 months ago.
Mail arrived from Australia Hooray! (13 months since we left Sydney – The "Hooray" has nothing to do with the 13 months etc).

[Transcribed by Rex Minter and Judy Gimbert for the State Library of New South Wales]