Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Walter V. Wright diary, 27 October 1915-11 February 1916
MLMSS 1012/Item 1

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Reg No 2662 [indecipherable] 1662A

4th BN
!st Bde

In case of death please forward to

Mrs L.A.Wright
Myall St.

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Lemnos 21/10/15


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Id like to tell you all about the H.Q.Sigs. DR.
Theres only twelve of them just now but yes by jove they are the finest lot of sigs you know and capable my word.
They know dot dash from dash damn dot as soon as it is heard upon the buzzing buzzer which doth buzz from noon till night .The thing which when youre dozing wakes you up with such a fright.

Now lets take Sol the corporal we'll put him first cos he is just the man who is in charge and busy as can be He does not take a watch at all well damn it all you know you cant expect it of a man who runs the blooming show.
He gets your tucker and your drink I saw him once bring up an egg and one whole tin of milk and mix them in his sup.

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And then theres Allen that’s the chap who's always very quiet. Who does his cooking long with Sol and know just how to diet for [indecipherable] he getting fat just now yes aint he just a picture of the chap who advertises that John Dewars mixture.
He says he has not had a spell since this damn thing began. The other sigs can't say the same except perhaps one man

Theres Campey next you all know him the man that does not smile unless theres something going on that is just worth his while. I think he's got a temper for hes shown it once or twice and the man who bears the brunt of it don’t think it very nice.
He's really very decent when his liver is in true and you don’t go talking ballyrot and aworrying of him

And then lets on to Bartlett who has one stripe on his arm

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and lets you know it too and yet in him there is no harm. He knows just how to work the "Doc" just now he's on a light diet But to see him eating pips and such you'd perhaps at first deny it But as the things that he gets sent him for instance just take cake A man who's well could not eat that it would make his belly ache.

But we should have mentioned long ago the man who's know as Day. The most important youth that' s here at least that is to say in his own estimation and of course its bally rot.
To think him not a soldier brave I think he fired one shot. And if a gun goes off quite near perhaps just off the hill where he is standing then he'll say – why yes – that’s Beachy Bill.

Theres Wright you know the man whos been far way down [indecipherable] Dolis

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Its quite a pleasure just to sit and watch his glowing smiles.
When he blows off and tells you of those awful horrid sprees he had when down there mongst the nigs the boys and coconut trees Im sure hes lived a wicked life and has a horrid past. But lets hope hell be on top when the Turk has fired his last.

The intelligence man comes next I think that Mr Sig Maybury whose stories of past times are good and always nice & flavoury. Hell come and tell you straight one night "yes" tomorrow boys we charge "
Yes our Bn got the job though our numbers are not large and when you hear next day hes wrong and you are pleased as punch "Pooh" – knew it all the time – he'll say and go on with his trench.

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D—the fleas and D---the flies
D---the heads with all their lies
D—the place and D—the weather
D---Gallipoli altogether
D---the army and D—the track
Damn it all Im going back

There is a happy land far far away
Where you can oysters get at any old time of day
Here were other fish to fry
Learning how to do or die
Blowing Turks up to the sky
In the good old fashioned way

There is a happy land far far away
Where you get up at ten
Or sleep in all the day
Here we get up at four
To give the Turks a little more
Of what they got the day before
In just the same old way

There is a happy land far far away
Where you can get a feed
At any time of day

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Here all the feed you get
Is Biscuit and some Bully wet
They say the cooks have got us set
Because we cannot pay

There is a happy land far far away
Where all is peace & quiet
All the livelong day.
Were you've got to duck like hell
Bowing to the Turkish shell
Busting with a rotten smell
In a rotten Turkish Way

There is a happy land far far away
Where you can get youre beer
By handing out a tray
And well get back there
some day
And we'll pay our little tray
Well join for war again
next day
Oh yes I don’t think

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The Ptes Lament

Now Im going to tell a little tale
About this army Grand
Where the bread and Bully always
And the cheese it beats the band
Its fixed by cooks who know
The Game
From ABC to Z
The Privates always get the
The good dope for the heads
For the Capt he gets Poultry
The Major he gets duck
The Colonel gets a little wine
With a little bit of luck
The Batman gets the leavings
The Cooks a little ham
While all the poor old Private gets is bread
And [dash] jam

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"My little wet home in the Trench"
To the tune of my little Grey home in the west.


I have a little wet home in the trench
Which the rainstorms continually drench
There is a dead Turk close by
With his feet to the sky
And he gives off a beautiful stench
Underneath in the place of a floor
There is a mass of wet mud and some straw
And the Jack Johnsons tear
Through the rain–sodden air
Oer my little wet home in the trench


There are snipers who keep on the go
So you must keep your nappers down low
And the star shells at night
Make a deuce of a light
Which causes the language to flow
Then bully and biscuits we'll chew
For tis days since we’ve seen a stew
But with shells dropping there
There's no place to compare
With my little wet home in the Trench

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A RECORD Menu for one day on Active Service. Galipoli Nov 17







[Menu had a fancy frame drawn around it]

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The Sorrows of the Southan"

Borne on the breezes of the West – Sou – West,
What are these sounds one hears
That break upon my post-meridian rest,
And falling on the ears
Of my beloved ladies of the harem
Scare ‘em
I tell my people ‘tis the conquering heroes
That lit off fires of joy;
But I know better; they are british guns
Intended to destroy
The peace I smoke from my narcotic hubble Bubble.
How can I cope with the accursed [indecipherable]
If once my forts give out?
I miss the usual concert of the powers,
I have no ships about,
Save where the ten knot "Goeben" cracked
with bruises
O, how I loathe that vessel! how her name
Stinks in my quivering nose,
Since that infernal juncture when she came
Flying before her foes,
And in my haven dropped her beastly anchor
(Blank her)

(Over leaf.)

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Abdul I would that I had shared your plight
Oer Europe seen my heels,
Before the hour when Allah bound me
To Williams chariot wheels
Before in fact, our two ways , mine & his

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Dates worth noting

2nd May - Landed at Galipoli

19th May - Big Turk attack

20th May - Armistice

Aug 1st - First issue of rum prior to attack

Aug 6 - Charge of Lone Pine, rum finished

Aug 10 - Came out of Lone Pine 122 out of 800

Sep - Leave for Lemnos

Oct 30 - return from Lemnos

Nov 2 - Lost my teeth

9/11/15 - Paid 10/-

10/11/15 – Paid 2/-/-

17/11/15 - Rum issue

25/11/15 – Paid £1

25/11/15 - First fall snow

9/12/15 - had a feed

15/12/15 - heard officially that we are going to evacuate

19/12/15 - Evacuated the Anzac Position

24/12/15 - On board SS Simla for unknown destination

25/12/15 - Second I was in the army on board "SS Simla"

25/12/15 - In harbour at Alexandria

30/12/15 - Arrived at Tel-el-Kebir

31/12/15 - Orderly room big lecture

13/1/16 - Went on leave and played up, went gay, and came home
under escort

17/1/16 - awarded 10fPH2 for same

1/2/16 - Got my teeth in very rough

1/3/16 - Arrived at Serapheum

4/3/16 - Arrived Zeutoun

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[Drawing of stone cross with following inscription:-]



DIED 6.8.15


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[Hand drawn map of Gallipoli]

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Short diary of the second spasm of the war in Galipoli

27/10/15 - Got on board ‘Oxuauich’ for the front a practical illustration of packing sardines or boxing dates

28/10/15 - Still on board too rough to land betting 10 to 1 on Anzac

29/10/15 - Still on board betting 100 to 1 Anzac

30/10/15 - Landed at Anzac started hill climbing the Major leading with a walking stick in one hand and fist full of air in the other we had packs so lost the Major.

31/10/15 to 3/11/15 - Nothing doing, digging dug outs all day for some one else all spare time devoted to swearing and commenting on the wonderful organisation of the army especially the Aus Quota

4/11/15 - Sick as a dog went to Europe and done my ivories

5/11/15 - Installed in my new dug out 2nd I wonder for how long

6/11/15 - Sitting on a phone in the trenches lisping messages and cursing everything & everybody. Had three spoonfuls of cornflower three times a day, and Im hungry

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Just heard got to vacate my dug out we’ll dig no more, Sigs busted up dam the army

7/11/15 - feeling crook, our company goes to reinforce Lighthorse tonight Rumour says were going to take a trench

8/11/15 - Went to the Light Horse outfit last night took what we wanted 18 casualties plenty of bombs, feeling better

9/11/15 - nothing doing. Capt Simpson gone to grass, sick

10/11/15 - 6 o'clock AM, looks wet, chap just told me that Birdwood's been given a week to do the job, I, being the idiot, asked what job "why grow feathers on his tail like any ordinary "birdwould" smart eh.

11/11/15 to 16/11/15 - nothing doing at all

17/11/15 - Went to see the Dr Re my ivories, over a fortnight now, nothing doing Oh he says "hang on", this hanging on racket is up to putty come up "he says and get some light diet " taking into consideration the fact that I have to walk about a mile up a big hill to get it, and when I do I can just see a little bit of

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sticky cornflower adhering to the sides of my dixie I said NO thanks Id rather eat bully and suffer indigestion "well" he said " You eat bully"

Stormy all day, Ive seen some storms but if anyone wants something extra special I can recommend Galipoli, she's a winner sure.

been swearing all day till the dust got down and turned into mud, no water to wash it out with so am digging some out with my handkerchief!
forgive the mark but its and old singlet that I have worn for six weeks or more. and there is some good sport in it.
got a rum issue half an hour ago it was good though it was muddy and had feathers

21/11/15 sent 14/-to Embros to get some scran I hope it comes

24/11/15 "Stood to" at 4.30 AM this morning till 6 AM, Lord it was cold and drizzling rain was falling softly to the earth mostly by way of my back & neck. Trying to kid Abdul were going to vacate this little lot may just as well

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try and kid or suck himself up a tree

25/11/15 Paid a quid tried to buy jam & matches no luck

26/11/15 managed to buy 1lb Margarine 3/- and some chocolate 1/- for [indecipherable] cake "cheap" but not too bad

28/11/15 Snow falling, very cold, started at 1.01 AM this morning still going strong no one seems very pleased about either, Im not, Im just wondering whether I own my own feet or not . Got an idea that they are cold for I cant feel any sensation at all.

1.12.15 Nice day after 3 days severe cold snow started in to thaw
Paraded to OC yesterday about my teeth he is going to see about it and that is just about all about it I think.
Put some biscuits to soak yesterday at dinner time they have been there 24 hours now and they are still as hard as flint
The battalion has been on half rations for over a week now and we will be on ¼ rations next week. Gott Strafe Kaiser Bill and Enver Pasha

The turks gave the beach nothing a few days ago blew our half

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finished condenser to blazes and now we cant get water. I thawed some muddy ice to do me yesterday and xmas will soon be here I wish the parcel from home was here and that there is something to eat in it

4/12/15 Went down to the beach got 4 tins sardines at 1/3 per small tin and 6 milk at 2/0 Jove I had a feed had the lot of sardines at one sitting finished up in fine style with a tin of milk

Abdul been very busy with his big guns I wish he'd chuck it
Smokes all gone reduced to looking for bumpers

6/12/15 Tobacco issue day result 1 pkt cigs and 6 matches for a week . Problem how the hell are we going to do it that’s what the corp said at dinner time when they sent up enough meat to do 4 men for one meal and expected it to do 29 of our platoon. I said make it 28 corp I wont dirty my dixie.
Oh she was a winner.
Ive just smashed some biscuit and boiled them added "some chase me Charlie" cheese bumped a slight sensation of jam in it stewed the lot and shot it down my throat

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There are strong rumours afloat that we are going to have xmas dinner in Egypt I'll make an awful mess of something if we do just heard that there is a mail in so am off to see if Im lucky

7/12/15 The Colonel has returned things may look up a bit they could do with it.
The warships are putting in a bit of overtime handing out "Iron rations’ to "Abdul" in slick time nice music, I hope "Abdul" gets them all

8/12/15 nothing doing, either in the canteen at Embros or here Oh what a lovely system we work under.

9/12/15 Issue of Gift Goods I collected a tin of Tomato Soup and it was good a nice "niff" about it quite distinct from that arising from dead Turks and Bully beef and such like stuff.
We move on Saturday for the Trenches of the 2nd Bn. Did not collect any mail. hard luck
They say old Kaizer Bill is going to dictate terms of peace on Saturday, poor old Bill he must be suffering from some slight hallucination of the brain or over indulgence in the delights of modern warfare.


11/12/15 supposed to move at 6 AM for 2nd Bn trenches, order cancelled, ordered to move at noon for 4th Light horse order cancelled, stop where we are, a little later ordered to move to old H.Q. after due deliberation and many varied comments on the armies administration, all of which, though very lucid and original, I could roll into one and lay out nicely and then add some, we moved.

12/12/15 Installed in old H.Q. looks as if it has lately been occupied by a herd of swine taken all day to clean up.

13/12/15 Tobacco issue again one tin for 4 men for a week.
Q.M.S. Erwin gone to grass, sick , gee he's a fine sport, he looked as though he were going to die nearly made me sick to look at him

14/12/15 Strange rumours afloat, we are going to evacuate one minute the next we are going to charge and the latest is no letters allowed either on or off the island sounds nice and comfy I don’t think

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I went down on the beach and that some big move is about to take place is evident, but what it is is the question. All the ASC and Odinance together Div HQ have gone The ordinance are giving away any amount of clothing I got a pair leggings

15/12/15 Shelled heavily by 75s.Rumour very strong about evacuation and relief etc .
The order re the non posting of letters has been fluctuating on and off all day guess the heads are bit worried.
We have just been issued with a record issue of cigarettes 8 Pkt per man good egg Im going to have a smoke now

16/112/15 We are evacuating the Peninsular at last the notice is official and the great move is about to come off the exact date I do not know

17/12/15 Preparations still going on for the big move have to muffle one feet when the final act is staged

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18/12/15 Still preparing expect to move at any time now by jove if "Jacko" gets wise there will be a mix but he is quite welcome to come if he likes we are not particular whether we carry all our ammunition off or not.
Being fed well lately and plenty of clothes are being issued but will have to be left behind
I wonder if "Abdul" knows "Old Long Tom" the big 4.7" naval gun just below me while I am writing has been rendered hors de combat by having his breech blown off. By our our own people.
Its hard to leave when you come to think of all your pals lying buried here or lying between the trenches and think that we are going to give up what have fought so hard to have and hold guess theres a screw loose in the machinery somewhere previously I just feel tired

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we had to wait ‘our turn’ it came about 9.30 and we moved off leaving a very few men to follow when we reached the beach we got there after a hard march, 35 mins, duration , and embarked safely as did all the rest
Id have liked to have seen old Envers face when he got wise to it

20/12/15 Arrived at Lemnos Is and transhipped on to a transport and from there on to the Island, of all the God Forsaken places on earth Lemnos take the bun, Wet cold and wind combined with all the little seemingly childish things and orders carried out regimentally makes life very nice indeed.
A lot of gift stuff is coming to hand sheep skin vests etc.
I believe we are going to get a plum pudding for Xmas we want it.
They say that Kitchener is big boss now and that we are going over to hammer or otherwise belt the arabs Turks [indecipherable] and square heads etc in Egypt

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22/12/15 – Xmas eve; on board SS Simla for destination unknown. Egypt I guess, best boat Ive been on yet.
I received a billy can with a lot of odds and ends in yesterday which was very acceptable one chap got a flask of what he thought was brandy but upon sampling it was found to be something entirely different.
Also had a xmas pudding between 3 of us which stuck to your ribs and was not at all hard to take.
I had a bit of breeze with the capt yesterday went in to get paid the large amount of £1 and my way way of saluting did not please his majesty so he made me do it 6 times and gave me to understand that if I didn't hand it out properly on the seventh he wouldnt pay me, I didn’t – so I grabbed my pay book and pulled out, he called me in later on and after

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another 5 attempts to reach the perfect article he handed me a note with a heavy sigh, I sighed in sympathy and made a graceful exit. Poor old Capt I think he ought to have medical attention or put under gentle coated with light diet:

25/12/15 Xmas day . Am not doing too bad considering all things had a fair dinner Roast Beef Potatoes and topped up with a slice of pudding just about the best Ive had I think. Still lying in Lemnos harbour but I think we sail this evening for destination unknown.

26/12/15 Boxing day . At Sea. Putting in time at submarine practice etc. the tin fish are fairly attentive round these parts I believe.
We were to have had a bottle of beer yesterday but an old wouser of a general we have on board vetoed the arrangement.

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21/12/15 done all my money yesterday at Neptunes Palace nothing left to hit it high in the town.
Expect to hit port tomorrow Im not at all particular when we hit port for they are feeding us well here

28/12/15 Had a bit of a sea running last night and half the outfit was sick Im a pretty good sailor so did not have that luxury expect to get into port today sometime.
Arrived in Port at about 11.30 AM I hope we get ashore I could easily do a drink and feed after 8 mths of fighting!

29/12/15 Went ashore last night on French leave, left ship by means of a rope over the side had a good time and hit ship, after inspecting two or three others at 6AM this morning without getting caught.
Are camped in a square here now, with Mr Fanning in charge of the Bn, he is making use of his temporary promotion, he put me under arrest for tossing

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[ Drawing of a woman occupying most of page]

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the pennies. Ive got no money but I guess Ill beat it to town again.

30/12/15 Got back at 6AM this morning after good fly in town, equipment and everything else gone Yours truly put into the guard tent , entraining for some where, arrived at as somewhere it’s a place called Tel-el-Kebir about 40 miles from Cairo, all the First Div. is here and they are exspecting some big stoush.

31/12/15 New Years day feeling very crook after effects I suppose. Got to go before the Colonel this morning for sentence
went before the CO of the company Colonel evidently c ouldn't stand for my dial got severe reprimand which went in one ear and out the other

16/1/16 Finding myself landed once more in "Clink" I take the opportunity

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Major Heane has arrived back in camp and I put it on him for leave to get my teeth done but nothing ever came of it. Got a parcel from Bill and a sheepskin from Aunt Pris
The xmas one from home has not hit here yet and I don’t suppose it will either.
Went on leave with a pass this time, and came back under escort so here I am in durance while awaiting trial but I had a fair time and hope to have many another

17.1.16 Went before the Colonel this morning and was handed out a nice long lecture and 10 FP No 2, which is no joke

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will write more fully on the subject and releive my poor brain from trying to solve the problem.
I am forwarding this through the same medium as I received yours hoping it reaches you safely, and that your health is all as it should be, and that you are progressing well with your music, Hoping that the correspondence so started will not be allowed to peter out but no more enigmatical ones please.
I will close. Yours etc.
They are feeding us in a very rotten way here, had tea only for tea tonight, greasy stew for dinner and tea & porridge for breakfast, no bread and tin of salmon between three men and we are supposed to get 8½ per day per man for extras I wonder where it goes to

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you may as well complain to a log of wood as spit it out to any of the officers but the officers or "one star artists" as they are called are just about on par with a block of wood.
Went up to get the impression taken for my teeth today and the joint said id have to get two more out, I got em, Gee he was some dentist, nearly pulled my head off and it was with a blessing and a softly spoken curse that I left that tent so have to wait another fortnight before my gums heal, Ive been over 3 months now without them. Oh its some life this sporting life. I wonder what it would be like to sleep in a decent bed get up at a decent hour have a bath and put on some clothes that

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were clean and free from vermin guess the reaction would be more than I could stand.
I think I ll turn in only one more defaulter call to answer thank God .
I hope he chokes when blows it.

Sixth day of my defaulters just put me on fatigue but was not in the humour to do any digging so I pulled out suppose I will be up again tomorrow
Saw Walter Christian last night he looks alright. They say we are going to move out on Wednesday and speculation is rife as to our destination personally I don’t care where to . After all I have posted that letter to Miss R. I hope it does not reach her .
I put it in Lills letter and forget to take it out.
I don’t think that things can be too good at home so have written to Griff

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for news

27.1.16 here I am on the last night of my defaulter, Im not sorry either got 3 days extra tacked on for having dirty rifle but the sentences were not concurrent so I fell in well.
Had a big route march yesterday on an empty stomach it was rotten we kicked up a row and got a little cocoa at 9 o'clock at night. But today the tucker has been a bit better. Capt Fanning my pet has been transferred to Transport and is making himself extremely popular I don’t think.
Our boss is just beginning to fall on his feet now its nearly twice too.
Campey , our lance jack gone to grass, sick? Some of the boys have gone on leave and have taken more than they should have and

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the Sgt is going crook.
I wish they would pay me.
Id take french leave again.
The crowd are relating anecdotes of the war and the reinforcements wont believe half of it, say we are telling lies though we are not, that is what the general public will say when we hit back and start in to tell a few yarns. But it wont worry me any as long as I hit back with a full hide.
Have not got my teeth yet, this humbug is getting on my nerve got some out for a start, a few days later had the impression taken the other day the bight was fixed and to-today I was to have got a fit in but it rained and they had to close .
Oh its nice and Im

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such a stiff sort of a chap. In fact I think that if I was the angel Gabriel flying up to heaven some idiot would take me for a crow and pat me.
By the way I found the letter I wrote to Miss R roday I evidently did not post it at all. She is a queer stick cant see how Lill came to connect her [indecipherable] with mine I never did anything to her and I don’t think Lill has a grudge against me.
I hear Billy Ley is coming here hope he last longer than [indecipherable] who was in my opinion and that of the crowd a little rotter and the men are rather accurate judges of men very quick at picking out defects in their character etc.
They have plenty of scope just at present for

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employing their ability

a new month started and we are still here, the first bde it seems are the divisional reserve for a while.
I got my teeth day and they are the roughest ever. But as the quack told me they were not made in an up to date dentists parlour.
I know that but I only smiled and it hurt too.

The three chaps that went to the Lectoun signalling school have returned and 3 more are going I was not picked in fact they re sending reinforcements who have just joined up and left me out of course I went dead cold and as I heard that they were refusing to give me my

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leave I had a yarn to the boss and acquainted him with my view on the subject but he was not having any, he started in to blush and stammer offering explanations all in one breath finally ending up by getting wild told me I was not the OC of the Sigs and wound up with the request "not to try and ride the daddy over him"
Oh well he may grow up some day.
I was some bodys birthday last night and as there was a brand new canteen open we celebrated and had rather a wild night of it.
We just send out scouts for some more but the beer outfit is closed up. So we all are sober and bad

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tempered its raining like forty cats too outside not at all a nice night the rain is coming in the tent so have to set to and do a bit to keep it out.

a lot of rumours flying about re leaving I only wish a few of them would eventuate. Got some Photos done the other day and have sent a set home. I hope they get there a long with the new testament which the Padre handed to me with strict injuctions to read.
I go on leave tomorrow for 12 hours got 30 piatres about 6/- to do it on

Went on leave yesterday to Cairo had a rotten time had feed and couple of wads and all money was gone.
Cairo I think

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is just about the worst place out, dirt and the beautiful perfume of rotting vegetables and enumerable fowl and animals make a walk through its lanes very enjoyable
A lot of the houses in one part have had a very rough passage, all wrecked by fire done by the Australians of course,
On the whole I had a rotten time and the 3 hours ride home in a cattle truck did not improve things.
Orders to day to the effect that all leave is stopped and everyone is being recalled to their units
I wonder whats on I hope it’s a more [indecipherable] here out of this anyway.
Weather warm

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Leaving Lemnos for the front

Nice & cold reached the front

Done my [indecipherable] on 2/11/15

[Rest of page has two columns entitled "We" and "They"
Columns filled with numbers with no indication of what they represent –
May be tallies from a card game]

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Pte W.A. Christian
5378 13th ASC
1st Field Butchery
Intermediate Base

Pte. F. Taylor
24 Batt. D. Comp

Pte. W.C. Jordan
Reg 5374
13 A.A.S.C
Field Butchery
1 Expt Force

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Mo 4 Auxiliary [indecipherable]

[Transcribed by Rex Minter and Lynne Frizell for the State Library of New South Wales]