Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Fred Harold Tomlins war diary, 21 August 1914 - 20 March 1915
MLMSS 1002/1

[Transcriber's notes:
Fred Harold Tomlins was born in Cobar NSW. On 22 August 1914, at the age of 23, 18 days after war was declared, he enlisted in the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron. His occupation was shown as farmer. During training at Rosebery in Sydney he joined the signallers. His unit sailed on the "Star of Victoria" from Sydney on 20 October 1914 for Egypt. Pages 20 – 23, a detailed account, as reported on board, of the Emden/Sydney engagement. Arrived in Alexandria 4th Dec. and moved to Maadi Camp. Stationed at Heliopolis, 30 Jan. 1915]

[Page 1]
Postage paid other end

Please send this to –
Mrs T Tomlins
N S Wales

[Page 2]
Sig. Tomlins F. H.
C Squadron

Exped Force
1. A.L.H.R

[Page 3]
August -21 – 25

Aug 21st
Left N’mine for Sydney Exped. Force, had a good reception all along the line in troop train

Sat 22nd
Arrived Redfern Darling Harbor at eleven oclock was met by Mrs Pen, Jessie & Mylie Edwards & family, arrived at Rosebery about sundown

Sun 23
Found out at 8 o’clock we had to supply our own cooks, one cook put a knife in his leg, & I volunteered & had breakfast ready by dinner time, it saved cooking dinner

Mon 24th
Resigned the cooking in favour of better man, & started drill. Uncle Jack came in & saw me for half an hour & had a job to get out again no passes were given & some of the lads scaled the fence & went to the city

Tue 25th
Passed in all accoutrements belonging to the 9th L.H. our horses examined & Idleboy bought £ 16-0-0, we received a lecture for [indecipherable], & trampling the caretakers garden

[Page 4]
Aug 26 – 30

Wed 26th
Races held here at Rosebery, we were all allowed out for the afternoon. Stan & I went to Victoria Barracks for money for our horses, (which we did not get) then to Sydney Hospital & saw Freeman; to Herc Pen’s with Jessie for tea, to the Fire Station & saw Greyhurst, & arrived in camp at 11 P.M.

Thurs 27th
Murga Mack joined the campStan & I scaled the fence after tea, & put the evening in with Mylie Edwards

Fri 28th
Foot drill all day; Stan & I scaled the fence & went to the Girl in the Taxi, evening

Sat 29th
Paraded before Holman who gave us permanent passes from 6 pm until 10 pm. went to "Felicia" & met Jessie there, arrived home in camp at 11 pm (Foot drill all day)

Sun 30th
Church Parade morning, Mack was made Sergeant & knows nothing, Steven [indecipherable] was made L. Corporal & knows less, [indecipherable] made Corporal & knows his work well.
Mrs Pen, Mrs Gibson & Mr & Mrs Herc Pen came out went to Felicia for tea & met mother & father there

[Page 5]
Aug & Sep 31st – 4th

Mon 31st
Was sent to Randwick Race Course for a load of boots etc
Aunt Bessie came to Rosebery afternoon, on picket duty night.

Tue 1st Sep.
Was vaccinated morning & foot drill Stan & I went to the Tivoli evening

Wed 2nd
Foot drill, received leggings, boots pants etc. Stan & I went to the Pens for tea & met Aunt Agnes, Beat & Olive & Mrs Griffiths saw Jessie to Moorcliff. got to camp at 12.30 midnight

Thurs 3rd
Fatigue duty morning. received a pass to see dentist afternoon & went to Manly instead, had tea at railway with Beatrice & Olive Griffiths, Criterion theatre & met Mrs McLaren & Vera Griffiths there.

Fri 4th
Foot drill morning, starting with 2 laps around the track at the double before breakfast as an appetiser, I decided not to go to town at night, as I was too tired, was hauled out for fatigue work at 6.30 pm & was kept at it constant till after midnight unloading saddles, will never stop in again [indecipherable] bed early, as I was last in.

[Page 6]
Sep 5-10

Sat 5th
Joined the signallers, & was drilling with them all day under Sergeant Major Coleman, went to Stadium with Mylie Edwards & saw a good contest between Kay & Shugrue, Kay the winner.

Sun 6th
On dismounted orderly duty, went to Felicia for tea, & met Nowland & Jess there

Mon 7th
Drill with flag morning. father came out at dinner time .
were issued with saddles evening

Tue 8th
Rifles issued to us morning received 48 hours leave to go home & say good-bye before we sail. went to Pen’s for tea, & left Sydney for N’mine was a bad arm from vaccination

Wed 9th Arrived N’mine after a good journey went to Backwater picnic to see George left N.mine for Sydney on mail.

Thurs 10th
Arrived in Sydney & went to Felicia for breakfast, & then to La Perouse for picnic had a lovely time & met Hayley at Felicia made a will, my arm very sore

[Page 7]
Sep 11 – 17

Fri 11th
Arrived in camp at 9 AM & had some fun watching riding test; had the day off on account of vaccination.

Sat 12th
Raining a treat; Passed the riding test signalling the rest of day, went to the city after tea

Sun 13th
Church Parade, issued with extra kit bag, bandoliers etc. raining strong went Felicia for tea & then to station & saw mother & father off

Mon 14th
Squad drill morning flag drill afternoon. went to Redfern & passed the evening at a benefit

Fri 15th
Flag drill morning innoculated against fever at dinner time, to Felicia evening & had bad time from innoculation

Wed 16th
Flag drill all day, had photos taken at the Crown Studios evening saw Jessie for awhile coming back from Burwood

Thurs 17th
Raining all day. no drill wrote letters all afternoon, went to Felicia

[Page 8]
Sep 18 – 23

Fri 18th Doing nothing but looking at riding tests all day witnessed some lovely falls. on picket from 10 pm till 2 am.

Sat 19th
Races at Rosebery. went out on the hills for mounted drill with signallers Coleman made the pace a cracker. Stan stopped a kick from Cob but was not hurt Coleman’s horse bolted, we saw Jessie at Hospital evening

Sun 20th
Church parade morning. were told in orders that we start to embark on Thursday. received a pass from 2 PM till 6 PM went to Felicia, met Jess & Eva Stokes there & went to Church for a change

Mon 21st
Lying about all morning getting instructions how to fold overcoats

Tue 22nd
Innoculated against typhoid mounted drill. to Felicia evening

Wed 23rd
Races at Rosebery, mounted troops inspected by Govenor General, saw Jessie evening at Hospital

[Page 9]
Sep 24 – 30

Thur 24th
Was paid for Idleboy. Packing up all day, & went to the Crown Studios to sit for P.C Photos. then to the Sydney Hospital & then to M Edwards & camp

Fri 25th
Called out at 4.45 AM to embark about 60 horses sent on board, marking kits & rugs all day; the Pen family brought out tea, Mr Pen arrived here from N’mine.

Sat 26th
Received orders that the Star of Victoria is not ready & cannot embark. could not get passes Stan & I scaled the fence. saw boxing contest between McCoy & Griffith, a draw

Sun 27th
Reg. picking up scraps of paper morning, no Parade afternoon. got passes evening & went to Felicia, then to S.H. with Jess

Mon 28th
Flag drill morning. mounted station work afternoon. scaled out & went to Manly & to Sydney Hospital evening

Tue 29th
Flag drill all day lantern drill at 7.30 PM Stan got leave & went to Felicia

Wed 30th
Flag drill morning mounted station work afternoon, went to the city & had my teeth filled [indecipherable] Stan & Jess went to Felicia

[Page 10]
Oct. 1 – 8

Thur 1st
Station work all day had trouble to get pass. Jessie, Nowland & Hayley came out. went to Sargeant’s for tea, & then to pictures saw Jessie & Nowland to the Sydney & Hayley to Moorcliff hospitals.

Fri 2nd
Raining a little & very little work done stayed in camp evening for a change

Sat 3rd
Went to Randwick for the day signalling, went to Coogee & Felicia evening

Sun 4th
Signalling morning got passes from 4 PM till 9 PM. went to Felicia & to Church got back at midnight. met Jess at Felicia

Mon 5th
Sig. at Maroubra had dinner on the beach; Jessie & Pens came out to camp; Stan Jess & I went to Griffiths & saw Aunt Agnes there was paraded before Colonel for coming home late the night before, & had our passes stopped

Tue 6th
Paraded the city with all the N.S.W. troops camp fire evening

Wed 7th
Went to Maroubra signalling. went to Edwards for the evening

[Page 11]
Oct 8-16

Thur 8th
To Maroubra Sig. went in surf bathing afternoon concert in camp at night

Fri 9th
Branding saddles morning. mounted signalling afternoon. went to Mosman & were supposed to be signalling got back to camp 12 [indecipherable]
Sat 10th
Concealment work. went to S. Major’s evening had a good spread, & concert, a very good evenings sport & back to camp at midnight

Sun 11st
Church parade & a Christening morning went to Felicia & to Anniversary service, to camp at midnight

Mon 12th
Signalling at Maroubra beach went in for a dip at dinner time. stayed in camp evening

Tue 13th
To Maroubra Sig. had "Idleboy" in for a splash in the surf. to Mascot after tea

Wed 14th
Sig. off hill to the station at Maroubra the artillery practicing all around us. Went to Maroubra for the evening

Fri 16th
Sham fight morning. washing afternoon. gave a dinner to S.M. & party Jessie & Nowland were present & we had [indecipherable] evening

[Page 12]
Oct 17 – 21

Sat 17th
Raining all day. done nothing & got wet doing it, went to stadium & saw fight between Kay & Griffiths, Griffiths won

Sun 18th
Raining in heavy showers. doing nothing Stan went to Felicia &met Jess & Nowland; I had no idea they would be there.

Mon 19th
Called out early in the rain to leave camp embarked on board at 10 AM Saw Jess & Pen’s for a minute or two at the gate, also saw them on the wharf for a few minutes before we left at noon, went to midstream & was anchored there till 6 am next day

Tue 20th
Left Sydney at 6 AM. rather rough sea outside the heads, most of the lads seasick before we were out half an hour, was sick myself at 4 PM. calmed down at night & had a good nights sleep

Wed 21st
A calm sea & the boat running along smoothly. the

[Page 13]
Oct 21-23

Euripides in sight left the Clan McCorkadale in the rear out of sight. all the lads in the best of humors. Stan & I have decided to take on mess orderlies passed through Bass Straits about 2 P.M. the sea very calm & had a good nights rest.

Thur. 22nd
Were disappointed as we did not call at Melbourne as was expected. the sea a little rougher & the boat rolling a little. had an argument with Corp Howarth at breaky with ref. to a prisoner’s breakfast. saw several whales quite close to boat. had good time after tea boxing, singing & reciting, until 9 o’clock

Fri 23rd
Sighted some whales, received an illustration of how to swab the deck by some of the ships crew. the wind rose after tea. sighted one of our Cruisers early in afternoon. but was not close to her. no sign of Euripides

[Page 14]
Oct 24 – 26

Sat 24th
The sea very choppy; medical examination. sighted a boat away on the starboard, supposed to be a convoy. concert after tea but not not a very great success

Sun 25th
Sig Cobcroft lobbed in guard room for refusing to get out at stables but was released immediately through our S.M. on account of Cobcroft being on the bridge during the night, Major Vernon conducted the Church Service as there was no parson on board, the sea still choppy & the sky cloudy but no rain.

Mon 26th
Came alongside one of our cruisers & sailed into the harbor at King Georges Sound at breakfast time. there are 22 boats here & they looked very pretty as we came in. are waiting for the Clan McCorkadale to catch up. raining a treat..

Tue 27th
A horse died on board

[Page 15]
Oct 27 – 28 – 29 – 30 - 31

& was hoisted overboard. teaching the troops semaphore afternoon put the morning in writing letters. the Melbourne is guarding the mouth of George’s Sound. a lecture on the control of fire, after tea our week as mess orderly finished

Wed 28th
Mucking out & rubbing Idleboy down & exercising him. the New Zealand troops came in accompanied by 4 warboats. one a Japanese, trying to read signals from other boats at night

Thurs 29th
Loafing nearly all the morning, giving lessons in semaphore to the troops afternoon, received a lecture by the vet on the taking care of horses, after tea (one horse died)

Fri 30th
Semaphore signalling morning. loafing afternoon. all letters to be censored.

Sat 31st
A sick man sent ashore; came right in to the jetty & anchored quiet close to Minotar [indecipherable] tea on the fore-hatch which was very good

[correctly: HMS Minotaur]

[Page 16]
Nov 1 – 2 – 3

Sun 1st
Left King George’s Sound at 6-30 A.M. saw two sharks as we left the heads. ships came out in single file, & then steamed into position 2 abreast (3/4 of as mile separating them) & a mile apart lengthways. Major Vernon conducted the Church Service. another horse died (Lieu. Wordsworth’s)

Mon 2nd
Idleboy has touch of influenza: attending to horses all the morning. there are 35 Troop ships & they make a very pretty picture steaming along all in line. can only see 3 cruisers. another horse died

Tue 3rd
The sea a bit on the rough side. several lads seasick; & a lot more home sick. gambling still goes on to a large extent; doing practically nothing morning. giving semaphore lessons afternoon. steering N.E. at 10 knots per hour, two

[Page 17]
Nov. 3 – 4 - 5

Trop ships from Freemantle joined us, also other boats. two of our escorts returned to Australia a mistake. a concert after tea (37 troop ships now & 4 cruisers & a battleship are with us.

Wed 4th
Had a very rough sea last night. the mugs & dishes were racing each other up & down the table all night; I was on duty from 4 AM. till 8 AM. on the bridge Semaphore practice morning. saw flying fish by the dozen yesterday another horse died. teaching troops semaphore afternoon. had a lecture on scouting after tea

Thurs 5th
two more horses died steering 30 deg west of north. it is rather warm to be comfortable on duty on the bridge from 6 till 8 PM. & from 12 till 4 AM. The Osterley passed us (going along

[Page 18]
Nov 5 – 6 – 7

the same route as we are) at 6.30 P.M. was speaking to her by semaphore & found out that Kingsborough won the Cup & that Turkey had declared war with Germany; we are doubtful whether they meant for or against Germany. we are inclined to think it is for Germany. quite a change to see some ladies still on same course. have got a touch of influenza, & coughed a set of teeth overboard, just before tea time too; another lecture.

Fri 6th
Sleeping all morning. teaching troops semaphore afternoon.
not feeling too bright. a lecture after tea. rather warm

Sat 7th
Saw the Dr & was ordered off duty for the day. tug of war was pulled off afternoon. C Squad
(Rigged up hammock over [indecipherable] room)

[Page 19]
Nov 7 - 8

winning the first round. some of the lads had a great time splashing is a big canvas tarpauling to-day has been decidedly hot. I believe we cross the equator tomorrow
All the ships close in very close together during the night & only steerage lights allowed after 8 o’clock. had a boat alarm at 8 PM. also had a concert

Sun 8th
Another horse died. it is very hot; Church Parade & witnessed a burial on the Euripodies, my throat & cold is worse & had a bad nights rest; on duty on the bridge from 12 till 4 PM. got a thunderstorm & a few points of rain about 2 PM. been showery ever since; Still headed 35° West of North going very slow; The Minitor (warship) disappeared this morning under full steam

[Page 20]
Nov. 8 - 9

heading south; the officers held a mock court martial this afternoon, it was amusing to watch them. the Minitor has not returned, she must have smelt a rat, sleeping out & stopped a shower or two of rain.

Mon 9th
Cold worse, about 9 o’clock the Japanese boat on our right came around the troop ship at full speed the sea breaking over her forecastle from the pace she was going. she made around to the Melbourne on our South & they stopped together all the morning. at dinner time the Colonel came down & said that a German cruiser had been sunk beached by the Sydney. the German is supposed to be the Emden. the lads nearly went mad with excitement, the German was

[Page 21]
Nov 9 – 10

badly hurt & ran on to the Cocos Island to save herself from sinking. the Sydney is out scouting for the merchantmen that was supplying coal when she was sighted. no sign of the Minitor’s return yet. I was on the bridge on duty from 4 till 6 PM.

Tue 10th
Cold seems a bit better. gave the cook 1/- for a feed of onions.
the [indecipherable] steering gear went wrong at one o’clock this morning & she has been running out of line all day. another man died on the Euripideis yesterday; there was 2 killed & 30 wounded on board the Sydney yesterday. The Sydney has captured the collier that was supplying the Emdem with coal & taking her with the crew off the Emdem on to Colombo. (Wireless received from the Orvieta)

[Page 22]
Nov 10

Sydney started for Cocos at 7 AM. At 9.30 she had sighted the enemy travelling at full speed, she was able to get within range in twenty minutes, at the same time she signalled the chase was steering north. At 10.45 A.M. the latter had to beach herself to avoid sinking. her foremast & three funnels were down, but the flag was still flying.
Sydney then went after Emden’s collier took the crew off & sunk her, Sydney returned again to "Emden" she surrendered. the extent & nature of the German casualties are not yet known, but they are bound to be severe. The "Sydney’s" own casualties required hospital treatment which was probably found on Direction Island. The Emden had had time to destroy wireless

[Page 23]
Nov 10 – 11

station & to cut one of the three cables, a second cable is intact & possibly a third, all the instruments except one were destroyed, this had been buried & is now in use again. The wireless telegraph & cable operators deserve much praise for sticking to their posts & sending out messages & for saving instruments. The Sydney will sail for Colombo as soon as she succeeded in getting the German wounded & prisoners on board; The operation may take 24 hours as it presents considerable difficulty.

Wed 11th
Slept out last night, a lovely thunderstorm came along at 1 AM. & hunted us all down below deck again. on duty from 4 till 8 AM. the morning clear & sea very calm. practising Morse signalling
got my teeth from the dentist. [indecipherable] horse died a man died [indecipherable] Suffolk Port Lincoln

[Page 24]
Nov 12 – 13

Thur 12th
Another horse died last night. the S.M. & Oakess had an argument on the bridge Oakes would not do as he was told & was ordered down. He then entered some charges against the S.M. & the cases come off this morning.
The Jap warship yesterday to day scouted well out in front, & was seen by Creighton & Marsh (who were on the bridge) to fire 5 shots stopping a trading vessel. we also sighted an armed merchantman who proved to be the Empress of Russia. (Canadian-Pacific Line)

Fri 13th
Was on duty on the bridge from 6 to 8 P.M. & from 12 to 4 A.M.
last night, I heard several shots fired about 8 o’clock, but they were a long way away from us, I

[Page 25]
Nov 13 – 14

slept on the bridge from 8 PM till 12 PM crossed the equator at 12 oclock last night. Raining hard all day Oakes & Fitzgerald has been ordered back to the ranks. All the troops marched on to the boat deck before the Colonel who wanted to know who the man was that cut a lump out of an overcoat the culprit would not admit to it, & the Col. said that all sport on the boat would be stopped, & all leave at England would be stopped if the guilty man was not discovered

Sat 14th
Morse practice morning, ducking all the men who had not crossed the equator before [indecipherable] The ships crew have been putting in most of their spare time during the last few

[Page 26]
Nov 14th

days, making large wooden razors & getting clothing ready for the occasion.
one of the troopers acted the part of King Neptune & a dozen troopers painted red, were the police, they arrested the officers first, latherd him with paste (for soap) & a white-wash brush for a shaving brush; as the barber finished shaving the officer, a policeman upends the stool & the officer was tipped into a tarpaulin of water, where he was caught & ducked by 4 water police who were waiting for him, all the Lieutenants followed then the N.C.O’s & the troopers were thrown in wholesale a good afternoons sport.
rained at night, I stopped up over bath room till I got wet & then had to come down stairs to sleep

[Page 27]
15 Nov

Sun 15th
Woke up within sight of land. a very pleasant sight sailing along close to land. scores of very narrow boats with outriggers on them fishing. we passed quite close to some of them. saw a school of porpoises during Church Parade all around a native boat & quite close to us. I am on duty from 12 to 4 P.M.
dropped anchor at Colombo about 2 P.M. I believe Colombo is the prettiest place ever I have seen in my life, the Sydney and a five funnelled Cruiser flying the Russian flag together with the Jap that escorted us was anchored inside the breakwater when we arrived. we can see the scores of black women dressed in all the colors of the rainbow on shore, with the aid of glasses, also the rickshaws are constantly on the go
(The Empress of Rssussia is also anchored here)
[indecipherable] armed merchantman

[Page 28]
Nov 16

Mon 16th
Had three or four brats of various descriptions along side to-day, & Lieu. Butter from the Clan MacCorquodale came on board I believe he is going the rest of the journey with us, he told us that one of the Clan’s crew went mad on the journey & one of the lads had the misfortune to have a leg broke & another broke his toe, all the rest are quite well, they have lost 13 horses up to date, we have lost 11 one died here yesterday.
There is no doubt this is a lovely picture with all the New Zealand ships in at the wharves & a couple of warships amongst them, & the colors of the buildings & the green trees surrounding them seem to harmonize perfectly
(On the bridge from 4 till 6 P.M.) I have been expecting some letters here but have not got any word of mail so far

[Page 29]
16 Nov

I saw yesterday the first sailing boat of any size I have ever seen: no fruit is allowed to be bought out to us & the food is something awful the last day or so,
two or three steam launches have come alongside with officers from other boats to pay us a visit.
it is very amusing to watch the natives scrambling for pennies that we throw in their boat for them. we wanted them to dive for them but they said, too many bigfish – catch you, some of the natives got enough money to-day the last them for many a day, as the troopers even threw shilling pieces to them when the coppers ran out. the darkies would nearly go mad with excitement when the were lucky enough to catch a shilling Apparently they know the value of our money

[Page 30]
Nov 17

Tues 17th
Had 8 natives alongside diving for silver, & they got plenty of it, a lad of about 17 or 18 years of age dived twice off the bridge for 5/- each time. even half crowns were thrown overboard for them to dive for & needless to say they missed nothing, when they had a pounds worth of silver they would come aboard & change it for a soverign, they had quite a mouthful of sovereigns when they left here. we were about the last boat they visited. apparently they made a little fortune,
their boats did not appear to be very expensive as the consisted of 3 logs roughly cut out, & bound together at each end by a piece of rope; their paddles are flat pieces of board shaped something like a boomerang; but it is wonder how they can row them along as they

[Page 31]
17 – 18 Nov

do, they do not seem to have any fear of sharks; at 7.30 P.M. the Star of Victoria lifted anchored & bade farewell to Colombo; Half the fleet consisted of all the boats under 13 ½ knots per hour, left about dinner time
[one line deleted]
The New Zealanders were allowed off at Colombo & bought the town out of eatable fruit in no time. Bananas & a few melons were brought aboard yesterday but they are too green to eat yet. I suppose they will be sold through the canteen at starvation prices.

Wed 18th
I was on duty from 4 to 8 A.M. was no sooner on the bridge than it started to rain & by 6.30 it poured down. Hobson is on with me, we had a drink of tea & a scone as we came on the wind is blowing very strong but the

[See pages 121 and 123 for a message presumably seen by Tomlins while on bridge duty]

[Page 32]
Nov 18

sea is smooth. the wind dropped by 9 AM & we are travelling 12 knots an hour through a calm sea; We are very dissatisfied, & have put in a complaint about the prices charged at the canteen; They now charge 1/- per doz for wooden matches that we were buying before we got to Colombo at 3d per doz. by the way the canteen ran out of matches soon after leaving Albany, & we had to light pipes & cigarettes by lamps that were hung up in different parts of the ship for the purpose.

A tin of jam we have been paying 8d for took a rise to 1/- to-day. half penny stick of chocolates have advanced to 1d, & everything else seems to have gone up. I am afraid if they are not back to normal prices, inside a day or so, there will be another strike. scrap biscuits all broken up are sold at

[Page 33]
18 19 Nov

6d per lb, bananas were sold to night through the canteen at 4d per dozen,
I speculated 1/6 on them & had a very enjoyable feed.

Thurs 19th
Had a good night’s rest last night, & there was no rain for a wonder, rose at 5 AM. & had a cup of tea; by the way, when we buy tea it is from the Saloon galley & very good, quite a change from the rubbish we get, we pay 6d for a cup of tea & a scone & it is worth it;

yesterday we sighted land which I believe is a small island at the south of India, but we were not close to it. Thomlinson & Pope have been transferred to the signallers, in place of Fitzgerald & Oakes. Nobody seems very distressed through Oakes leaving us. The Minitor

[Page 34]
Nov 20

has not yet put in any appearance since the 8th when she left us & disappeared to the south, perhaps she is finished with us. The lads decided to go on strike at dinner time, on account of the high prices charged at the Canteen. the Canteen was opened for about an hour at dinner time, but as no one turned up for goods the Canteen was closed again.

Two or three beer-drinkers have threatened to "scab" it, but I do not think there are many that will give in; the sea is very calm; I am on duty from 6 to 8 P.M. ; I have been cleaning stables this morning & practicing Morse this afternoon; It will be a pity if all those bananas go bad on account of the strike; a pair of shoes

[Page 35]
20 Nov

I bought on board for 4/6 lasted 3 weeks & were then worn out. we can now buy rope soled canvas shoes at 1/6 per pair. they should wear well;
The Col. came down to night after tea to investigate the strike, in consequence jam dropped from 1/- back to 8d (the original price), but as that was the only thing they lowered the price on, we decided to stay on strike, so things remain the same. The Adjutant (Holman) also came down to listen to our grievances at 8 P.M., he said he would see what he could do for us.

Fri 20th
I was on duty last night from 6 to 8 P.M. & from 12 to 4 A.M. this morning
I had a cup of tea as I went on the bridge at midnight, went down at 2 AM & took a quart of tea & some pastry up on the bridge for Howarth & myself & going off duty at 4 o’clock this morning I had

[Page 36]
Nov 20

a feed of eggs & bacon, & I can say, it is the only time I have felt uncomfortable through eating a good meal since I came on board; It cost me 2/9 for food during the night, & I feel in good order for a big breakfast.
by the way we always have fish on Fridays sometimes the fish is good & sometimes it is pretty crook.

We can see the fleet (away on the horizon) that left Colombo first; there are only ten boats here, & as far as we can see, only the Japanese cruiser escorting us, but probably there are some others out of sight scouting.
I believe we have the the prisoners of the "Emdem" on board the "Omrah"
A dinner time to-day the Reg. S. Major brought down a price list brought

[Page 37]
20 21 Nov

down by th arrainged by Mr Brooks (the ships officer attending the canteen) & the Colonel. some articles had a decided drop in the line of foodstuffs (although beer is still 4d per pint) chocolates for instance, dropped from 1d to ½ d each, so the strike was declared off.
we are now level with the first squadron of ships that left Colombo (4 P.M.) another horse died to-day

Sat 21st
Woke up at "reveille" this morning & was surprised to see that all the ships are at a standstill; I believe we lost two of our ships last night & had to wait for them to catch up again. we have left the main fleet behind us & they are out of sight. we are a flying squadron & travelling at 13 knots per hour, I believe we take fresh water

[Page 38]
Nov 21 – 22

on board at Aden & that is reason we are going on ahead. the slow boats were supplied at Colombo. the Sydney & Melbourne returned to Australia, we now have 3 British cruisers one Russian & the Jap with us; the reason we lost two ships last night was that the Ascanius ran into the Shropshire. fortunately she did but little damage; It is rumoured that we are to be allowed off the boat at Aden. The lads who were not inoculated twice & not vaccinated at Rosebery, were done here last Wednesday; in consequence the second round of the tug-a-war was postponed, also the first round for the boxing Championship of the Regiment.

Sun 22nd
Another storm came on at 3.30 this morning & hunted

[Page 39]
22 Nov

us down below to save getting wet I could hardly realize this this morning when I woke & found we were still on the briny. I had been dreaming all night that I was home & had been telling some experiences. the only thing I could not remember was how I got home & was wondering if I had deserted, or was the war finished; I can imagine "Jim" cantering down to "Tysons" this morning & wondering how "Roger" is doing. I think I must have a touch of the "blues" this morning; Idleboy is doing as well as he was on land & has a coat like silk. he was lucky to miss all the discases & I believe he would enjoy a gallop & I know I would; I exercise him for an hour or two every morning

[Page 40]
Nov 22

These troops ships are the things to quieten horses, they are quite used to turning around corners, that at one time, I would have thought impossible, & they will follow us past electric dynamo’s, as if there was nothing there; they are only allowed 1 peck of chaff & a double handful of bran, 3 times a day, & it is quite sufficient to keep them in good nick.

At Church Parade this morning the Colonel told us that any letters we cared to post at Aden would not be censored; we also saw several scholl of flying fish this morning. I am on the bridge from 12 to 4 P.M. with Hobson. It is still very hot but not unbearable & the sea has not had a ripple in it since we left "Colombo". There are 4 New Zealand boats ahead of us, but they

[Page 41]
22 – 23 Nov

are within sight & only 10 boats here forming a flying squadron, the remainder are out of sight in our rear. Just had a message through that no officers or men will to be allowed off at Aden. so our luck is right out. writing all evening.

Mon 23rd
Practicing morse flag morning The on the boat-deck, received quite a shock about 10 o’clock when all the boats commenced blowing their siren’s . we thought for a few minutes that a man must have gone overboard; but found out they were only having fog drill, relieved Pope for dinner & am on the bridge from 4 till 6 P.M. have caught up to the 4 New Zealand boats making this squadron up to 14 boats, very busy on the bridge from 4 to 6 taking messages. Creighton is on with me
caught up to the 4 New Zealanders early this morning. the Adjutant

[Page 42]
Nov 23 – 24

inspected our hammocks this afternoon to see that the ropes ends were properly bound, so that they would not unwind
We passed quite close to the Sokotra Islands early this morning.

Tue 24th
No rain last night. slept soundly all night in fact too sound, as I found out when I awoke this morning that a handkerchief, I had about 15/- tied up in, had dropped out of my pocket & someone had apparently noticed it before I did, & took possession.

We saw a whale or porpoise this morning about 8.30 A.M. all the boys reckon it was much too big for a porpoise & I believe it was; but did not think whales were to be found in the tropics; it was within one hundred yards of the boat; I also saw two lovely fish come up above the water at the same time about [indecipherable] feet long. the

[Page 43]
24 – 25 Nov

sea is like glass & not a ripple on it. I had no idea that it could be so calm before. Morse signalling afternoon. Idleboy was shifted from D troop up to B troop.

Wed 25th
On the bridge from 4 till 8 AM & could not get a cup of tea coming on duty.
dropped anchor at Aden at 7 A.M. It is a pretty sight, the harbor filled with ships. The Naru-Maru came into the harbor & an English cruiser that was here came out on watch. there are two troop ships here that are strangers to us

at dinner time Thomlinson (a [indecipherable]) asked me to go on the boat deck with him & give him some practice with the flags; we were only there about 15 minutes when when an officer came along & ordered us down & as soon as we got down the S.M. took our flag from us; I reckon they can’t be very anxious for us to become

[Page 44]
Nov 25 – 26

proficient, when we not allowed to practice in our own time; we have had some natives alongside in canoes selling matches, cigarettes, dates etc. to the lads on board. Lieut. Butler & the Colonel rowed over to see the General on the "Orvieto" I believe Butler is trying to get his discharge on account of his father dying. The slow boats arrived here about dinner time to-day have been practicing morse all the afternoon. I believe the troop ships in the harbor here are Indian boats & it is rumoured they have some elephants aboard.

Thur 26th
Lifted anchor at 5.30 A.M. & said good-bye to Aden & 7 oclock, we are close to the coast & can see only sand & an occasional rock on the land. the harbour was a pretty picture last night all the ships had all light burning; another horse died last night; A typewritten extract from the papers was

[Page 45]
26 – 27 Nov

posted up this morning. but it only told us that the Indian troops had captured 3 machine guns & similar news, but did not say how the war was progressing & nothing about the reverse in Africa. We would be a lot more contented if they published all the war news that comes through.
We passed through the Straits of Babel Madelo at 2 P.M.
practising Morse flags all day. another horse died.

Fridy 27th
I was on duty from 6 to 8 & from 12 to 4 during last night, had a cup of tea as we were coming off at 4 oclock this morning. All the boats had orders to sail along last night with no lights & we were to do signalling with the lamps only on urgent messages (The officers on this boat are always barking at the officers on the Hororato & the Hororato barks back;

[correctly: Bab al Mandab]

[Page 46]
Nov 27th

Marsh & I was on the bridge one afternoon & read a message that the Hororato was sending to the Omrah & it was this – Did you notice the interesting time the Star of Victoria has been giving us ever since we left Sydney. - we took it to the ship’s officer on duty, & he sent back – my signallers also read you message to the Omrah & if were behind the Dennalla your interesting time would be doubled;

another time the Hororato sent a message to the Omrah & passed some remarks concerning the Star of Victoria which was read by our signaller on the bridge, & sent down to the officers captain; who told us to ask the Hororato if the officer who sent the message to the "Omrah" meant it as an insult to the Star of Vic. if so, would he

[Page 47]
27th Nov

apologise; an apology was at once sent back, & said there was no offence meant, but they are sending sarcastic messages to each other every chance they get, & I believe they enjoy it.
about 2 oclock this morning the breeze suddenly changed from warm to a decidedly chilly breeze; the Hororato sent the letters N.P.K. we took it to the officer on the bridge, who looked up the code book, & found I stood for "have encountered ice".

It is very warm during the day time here, but just perfect during the night. Some excitement was caused this morning – we were on the boat deck practicing morse, when a shot was heard by Cassidy a (signaller) we went to the starboard side of the ship & saw a steamer hoisting a white flag & the Yarmouth going

[Page 48]
Nov 27 - 28

full speed towards her, the Yarmouth circled around her & seemed satisfied & allowed to to proceed on her journey. we cannot make out what boat she was. [inserted] SHE WAS A HARRISON LINE, LIVERPOOL BOAT, as she did not come in very close to us, we thought for awhile that she was one of the enemy & thought we would have another prize to take home.

A type-written account of the battle between the "Emden" & the "Sydney" was given to us this morning. Yesterday shoeing smith Fountain was kicked down the fore hatch by a horse & was admitted to the hospital rather badly hurt in consequence; one horse died last night & another one this morning. I relieved Marsh on the bridge for him to attend a map drawing lecture from 2 till 4 Major Vernon.

Sat 28th
Another horse died. it is very hot to-day & the semi final

[Page 49]
Nov 28

of the tug-a-war is being pulled off to-day. I put in an hour washing this afternoon; some excitement was caused to-day at dinner time when we were told that the Light Horse is be go into camp at Cairo to finish our training & are then going straight to the front. I am rather pleased myself as I do not altogether relish the idea of striking England before warm weather commences; The boxing championship commences on Monday. I have entered for it

Sun 29th
A strong wind sprang up some time last night & made us draw blankets. after Church parade we had to go down no 6 hold & bring our saddles up on board & clean them ready for when we land. I put in till 12 oclock on mine & then had to

[Page 50]
Nov 29 - 30

come on the bridge; A fairly stiff breeze has been blowing all day & it is rather on the cool side to what we have been having, in fact it could not have been ordered a better day; slept out last night

Mon 30th
Slept out last night as usual & it was chilly enough with both blankets wrapped around us. were cleaning the steel parts of the saddlery all day & they were as rusty as it was possible to get them. Am on the bridge from 4 till 6 P.M. with Howard. we have put in a good part of the day finding lost clothing. I believe we get to Suez to-morrow morning. Passed the Hampshire (cruiser) (just as I went on duty) & was signalling to her. The boxing championship not contested

[Page 51]
Dec 1st

I suppose we had no time. half a gale blowing, too cold to sleep on deck

Tue 1st
It was cool enough last night with both blankets on; & were ordered to fall in this morning at 9 AM in full marching order I am a pair of leggings, a belt & a hat band short. we were all inspected by the Colonel.

Arrived at Suez at 8.30 AM the New Zealanders were in before us. soon after we anchored the Hampshire steamed in & anchored quite close to us. The Orvieto led the way through the Suez canal & we received word by Wireless that she was fired on from the shore & some of the lads killed on her; all the ships have been fitted out with searchlights. our has only just arrived 7 P.M. & I believe we leave hear at 10 o’clock; The guards have been issued with 25 rounds of cartridges each & twenty five

[Page 52]
Dec 1st

guards are on watch all night working shifts, so there is 75 armed men ready to retaliate if we are fired on; I am on the bridge from 4 till eight & stand a chance of seeing some fun at day-break, the worst of it is the signallers will make a lovely target on the bridge & we cannot have the satisfaction of firing back, but I guess by the time our turn comes, they will be satisfied; & we may go through without hearing a shot fired. No one is allowed to sleep on deck to-night, it is rather cool with this breeze blowing, to sleep on deck at anyrate; I bought 2 boxes of Turkish 2/- delight, also two packets of cigarettes (at 3d per packet, the same brand of cigarettes 1/- in Sydney off some natives who came out in a boat selling all sorts of things.

[Page 53]
Dec 2nd

Wed 2nd
Was awakened at 3.40 AM to go on the bridge. had a cup of tea going on duty; was surprised when I woke to find we were still at anchor. the cause of the delay being no pilot available. I witnessed one of the prettiest sunrises I have ever seen this morning.

The bow of this boat is barricaded with ropes, pieces of iron etc. for the troopers to take shelter behind going through the canal. It was rather cool during the night & all men on duty wore overcoats; at 6 AM a fleet of ships were sighted on the horizon which proved to be Indian troop ships & a big French battleship cruiser escorting them. A Japanese boat (the Satuka – Maru) passed us at 6.30 she came quite close & we see nothing but Japs on board. we were speaking to her by semaphore. Creighton is on the bridge with me. I believe the Hororato is held


[Page 54]
Dec 2nd

up here as the Dr would not pass her yesterday. I was hoping to be on the bridge going through the canal, but am afraid I am doomed to disappointment.
One of the guards called on a boat (that was coming along side) us to halt some time during the night & as the boat did not stop quick enough to suit him he fired a shot over him which brought the boat to a halt very lively. as it happened the boat contained the pilot that was going through the canal with us & he went ashore again & it was 1.30 before we could get a pilot & lift anchor.

I was rather surprised when we got in close to Suez to see what a fine place it is; & the canal can hardly be realised without seeing it. It is guarded right along by Indian native troops. every camp we come to we ask them who they are & I have forgotten

[Page 55]
Dec 2nd

half of them now, but we have just passed the 7th Ghurkas also the 9th besides the 9th Manchester rifles. some of the native troops are like a lot of school nippers as we go past them they throw their hats in the air & turn somersaults & race each other up the sand banks the same as a lot of school children would do;

We have seen dozens of camels & donkeys since we entered the canal; nearly any of the troops can read semaphore, black as well as white.
We have 3 or 4 natives on board & one of their boats.
one of the natives wanted a pipe at dinner time, so one of the lads gave him an old one & asked him if he wanted tobacco & offered him a [indecipherable] tin of Cobra boot polish, the darky did not tumble to the joke till he got the lid off & seemed to enjoy the joke as much as we did;
at 5.30 we

[Page 56]
Dec 2nd

passed a French boat & it is the first time since leaving Albany we have seen a white lady without the aid of glasses, they were throwing kisses to us as far as we could see them, but I was not lucky enough to catch any.
We fell in for parade after dinned but were dismissed for a spell every time we were approaching soldiers or houses on the banks & as that was every few minutes, no work was done since dinner.

Some of the officers told us that we may be fighting inside 3 or 4 days & may not get to Cairo, so we are all in the best of spirits in anticipation of a fight. We heard to-night that Greece had declared war on Turkey yesterday; 80,000 Greeks landed in Asia Minor, Turks invaded Russia but were driven back into the sea

[Page 57]
Dec 3rd

Russia captured 70,000 Germans the Crown Prince included.

Thur 3rd
Slept on deck last night but it was a bit on the cold side & woke up to find ourselves anchored at Port Said, nothing very exciting happened last night & we were passing troops all night stationed along the canal.
this morning we are taking fresh water on board; during the night we passed a ship with the Royal Engineers on board & they said they expected to be fighting any day now.

A French hydro-plane rose off the water a couple of hundred yards from our boat this morning & flew around us in a circle reconnoitring this morning & landed again on the water. The boat has been surrounded by boats containing musicians playing for what they can get & natives selling

[Page 58]
Dec 3rd

oranges, tomatoes, Turkish delight, cigarettes etc. but they are not doing a very good trade as most of the lads are stony broke, myself included. Stan bought some however & I took half of 6d tomatoes & 6d of oranges.

Dec Fri 4th
I was on duty last night from 6 till 8 with Hobson & from 12 till 4 this morning with Howard; we lifted anchor at 7.30 last night & had a good reception coming through the town, as we passed the French quarters some girls were singing the Marseilles shortly after we passed an English cruiser the band played Brittania & we exchanged cheers with them; a little later we passed two French cruisers. the band played the Marsailles & I do not think I have heard heartier cheering in my life; I also heard on the bridge

[Page 59]
Dec 4th

that General Sir Byrd-Wood was to be over us in Egypt & that we would bring the forces around Cairo up to about 45,000 men. We arrived at Alexandria at 9.30 this morning & found the new Zealanders here at the quay. the Hororota & Omrah are also here at anchor. we put the morning in getting horse rugs, blankets etc ready to send ashore also all our kits are packed on deck ready to land;

Stan & I received two letters apiece from Jessie & they were very acceptable (even though they made me feel a bit homesick for an hour or two) being the first mail we have received since we left Australia;
as soon as we dropped anchor here, native boats came out selling oranges 15 for 1/-, also cigarettes are very cheap, we get a box of cigarettes here for 3d & the same cost 1/- in Sydney. I bought 10 oranges for 6d

[Page 60]
Dec 4th

they are very large thin-skinned oranges; we were paid £ 1.0.0 to each man this morning & it was very acceptable as we had only drawn 25/- since we left Rosebery & the canteen is not as cheap as it could have been, to say nothing of the silver we paid paid out to the cooks for cups of tea & eggs & bacon I believe I am still putting on condition & my mo. is progressing favourably;

just heard from the bridge that we are not to move into the wharf till to-morrow. at 6.30 to-night Orvieto bade us goodbye & good luck & started on her way to England, I am satisfied we are far enough north as last night was quite chilly it was also showeryyesterday this afternoon & last to-night.

Sat 5th
Last night was quite wintry here & quite cool enough down here on the troop deck with both blankets

[Page 61]
Dec 5th

on. The lads were celebrating the last night on the Star of Victoria last night & there were a good many rather the worse for beer; during the night one of the lads either jumped overboard for a joke) or fell over, his name is Anthony Dawson or some such name) he swam around
I just heard his mates hat was blown overboard & he jumped in after it & swam around to the gangway & brought in on board. he must have been pretty merry to hop overboard with the water as cold as it was.

I was rash enough to give 1/- for 4 handkerchiefs at dinner time. also to buy 5 packets of cigarettes for 1/- so I have been splashing. it is marvellous how cheap articles can be bought here & we derive a good deal of sport cutting prices with the natives. I believe we will be proper jaws when we get home. I speculated 6d on

[Page 62]
Dec 5th

a dozen oranges this morning, tomatoes are also very cheap. we can buy papers here at 3d each & we gave it willingly. Tomatoes, & very good one cost 3d per doz. & nearly every lad on the boat had tomatoes for tea;

Some of the lads also squared the natives to come out to the boat after dark. Slater Tapp managed to get into one down a rope at the stern of the ship before tea & went ashore; after tea several boats were rowing about us & two or three boat loads of lads managed to get away before the game was noticed. 4 or 5 was caught in the act & put in the guard room by Regimental Sergeant Major (Lindsel) he also put an extra guard on & had all ropes & ladders rolled up on deck so the lads will find it a tougher job to get on board than it was to get off.
I believe the Colonel & a boat load

[Page 63]
Dec 5-6

of officers went ashore to-night, the Col. said he was going to try & get leave for us all to-morrow, but I suppose we will have no chance now.
by tea time we had barracked the natives down to selling "Alma" cigarettes 9 packets for 1/-; 10 cigarettes to the packet. I also bought 4 dozen matches for 6d that is better than paying 9d per doz for them as we do at the canteen.

Sun 6th
Was on duty from 12 till 4 AM it was very amusing to see the boat loads of lads returning to the boat. they would all come up on the port side of the boat & then ordered around to the gangway & had their names taken as they came on board; eight came up the gangway at one time, an officer & a sentry was at the top of the steps; the officer turned back for a moment & six of

[Page 64]
Dec 6th

the lads jumped over the side of the boat & made themselves scarce, only two names out of eight were taken, one or two boat loads managed to get on board after 4 oclock, up a rope hung over the stern by a guard, there was no officers about so the guard helped them up; McGregor was the only signaller to get ashore but was caught on the way home.

The "fall in" went half an hour early this morning & we were marched up on the boat-deck before the Colonel who said that a lot of men had broken ship & that he would not allow any man leave in consequence & that the innocent men had to suffer for the guilty. I think the idea of the innocent suffering for the guilty rather appeals to him, but I am afraid that it does not appeal to the innocent very much.

[Page 65]
Dec 6

I think he is a very poor man to be charge of a regiment & his men hate him like poison. I believe a mistake was made in not putting Col. McKie in charge of us; but the lads will not stand being treated like dogs much longer. We were not the only ones to break bounds however, as boat loads from several boats ships managed to get ashore.

had some motor launches sailing around to day with some fine looking girls on them. I was on the bridge from 12 till 4 P.M. & had a good view of them. The church service was very deadly this morning as most of the lads went on a singing strike & the service had no vim in it at all

Mon 7th
Despite the fact that so many [indecipherable] were caught yesterday for breaking ship, several boat-loads

[Page 66]
Dec 7th

managed to get away again last night & they were all caught coming on board. a strong guard was put on to stop them getting away, but the guards were helping them to get down the ropes to the boats. (Creighton) was the only signaller that went ashore; They were all hauled up before the Col at ten oclock this morning; & those that went in one night only, was fined 2 days pay & 2 days cells & those who went in both nights brought 6 days cells & pay.

The Colonel apparently found out that bluff would not act, so he arranged to get us leave & all the N.C. officers were allowed on shore & 5 men from each troop. Stan & I were told that we were lucky.
Alexandria is a dirtier town & [indecipherable]

[Page 67]
Dec 7th

could ever imagine a place to be, but we struck plenty of Frenchmen & had a good-time; we also struck up a yarn with some of the New Zealand troops, also Australians from different boats & found out we have been having just as good a time as any of the other boats, some of the boys had a fair time for awhile riding donkeys & as we all had spurs on, the donkeys got nothing;

About 11 oclock we ran against a picquet off the Suffolk. we struck up a yarn with them & found they were from Kensington (2nd Battalion) I enquired after Morgan Welsh but they did not know him. we came on board about midnight after having a good time & it was quite a treat to be on land again. 7 weeks & a day since we walked on land & we are quite satisfied to leave the boat

[Page 68]
Dec 8th

Tue 8th
Lifted anchor & came alongside the wharf at 9.30 AM; In a remarkably short space of time a gang of Egyptians had lined up along the boat some wanting to sell oranges, some papers, etc while the greater number was there to beg pennies (or piastres) (2 ½) A penny was thrown down to see them scrambling for them every 5 minutes or so; about half an hour after we were here the native police came on the scene & started to hunt the beggars back & a penny was thrown & there was a rush for it & the police started on the crowd with a good lump of a stick, the pennies fell constantly at the policemans feet afterwards & the niggers (who will take plenty of hits for a copper) would dive for the penny right at the policemans [indecipherable]

[Page 69]
Dec 8 – 9

It caused great amusement for us, the mob scrambling for the penny & the police whaling into them as if his life depended on it; The natives are very frightened of the native police & they have cause to be as they get some very rough knocks from them

Wed 9th
Started loading horses off the boat on to the train before breakfast. after we had finished breakfast, was put on fatigue duty down the hold loading tying transport waggons to be hauled up; at 11.40 AM we were ready & bade good-bye to Alexandria;

The way farming is done & the way the people live, brings one back to a few thousand years ago. all the towns are very dirty & the natives are disgusting. it is a very interesting journey, all the land farmed & not a lot of ground not cultivated, there

[Page 70]
Dec 9

are no fences, apparently their plots of ground are divided by drains that also act to irrigate it. It seems quite funny to see them praying; I saw two or three praying as we passed them. I do not know whether their prayers were for or against us; We arrived at Cairo at little before sundown, we had a cup of cocoa & a piece of bread & cheese waiting for us at the station & the cocoa was the best I have ever tasted;

by the time we unloaded the horses & were ready to move off, it was beginning to get dark, we marched to the barracks & had a few minutes talk with some Territorials & learned that a Camel Corps of 125 men had gone out to meet some Turks 3 weeks previously & only 5 men returned. nothing has been seen

[Transcriber’s note - Unable to find any record of this action]

[Page 71]
Dec 9

or heard of the Turks since; after watering our horses, we left the barracks to start on our march out to Maadi, but we lost our guide in the street & had half an hours wait. it must have been 7.30 before we started on our march out. The horses are all in good condition & were rather shy of the niggers.
arrived at Maadi at 10.15 PM & I was told off for picquet duty till one o’clock. most of the lads had leave the night before & I had not gone out so I did not make a fuss over picquet although we are exempt from it by right; I was very tired when one oclock came & I took no rocking to sleep

Thur 10th
There was no tents up when we arrived here & we laid down anywhere & slept till morning. we had a shower of rain or two during the night & was

[Page 72]
Dec 10

cold & wet when revallie went this morning & was not feeling too frisky. was exercising horses all the morning was feeling rotten at dinner time & went to sleep shortly after with pains in my chest, am afraid I am in for plueresy.
Paraded sick after stables & Dr Iodine prescribed 3 tablets & advised me not to eat meat or drink cocoa & to end up he said: - in fact I don’t think you can get anything here except tea & bread & it is a fact, we have bully-beef & bread seems to be all that is issued;

one of the mares dropped a foal here & it is being made a pet of;
I had a piece of biscuit & a drop of tea about sundown & turned in to bed. anyone could get leave that wants it & can go to Cairo; Nelson has gone. a canteen is on the ground & eggs & steak with a cup of coffee costs 9d but we are only allowed to draw

[Page 73]
Dec 11

4 per day, so we cannot afford to buy too many luxuries

Fri 11th
Put in a rough time last night with cramps in the stomach; have also had diarrochea since we arrived in camp. the pain in chest disappeared & I feel a good deal better this morning. all the Squadron signallers went out & formed station & had station practise this morning

natives are always handy to buy tomatoes oranges, etc off; We have been having a bit of trouble with the horses, as they took an objection to living amongst camels but are getting used to the idea of it now & do not take much notice of them. all the fooder, sleepers etc are moved about by camels & the lads that are on fatigue duty often have the opportunity of having a ride on them. I have not felt warm since we arrived here, the

[Page 74]
Dec 12

Pyramids are no more than a few miles from here & we can see them a plainly as if we were right at them.

Sat 12th
Last night the lads off the Clan Macquodale arrived sometime about midnight. it is marvellous how well all the horses look, all the horses have been led about constantly every day & appear to be as fresh & lively as when we left Sydney. I do not think they would would would feel being ridden a few miles per day.

Yesterday we were told on parade that one of the New Zealanders had pulled the veil off one of the Egyptian women & paid the penalty by having his throat cut from ear to ear. we have seen a couple of native funerals since we came here. have been practicing signalling to-day & yesterday.

[Page 75]
Dec 13

Sun 13th
Last night Stan & I took a walk down the road to the railway station. we discovered a very decent tucker shop where one can buy a good feed for about 1/6. We also ran a chemist shop down run by a Frenchman & for 5 PT (1/-) was give some powder to stop diarrochea we also had a look at the railway station. we could get Cairo any night but have not applied for a pass in yet. On the station we saw two or three white ladies going to Cairo. the only ones we have seen since we came here;

This afternoon 10 of the lads received leave to go to the pyramids. Stan & I took a walk through the camp at tea time & had a feed at No 2 Canteen, opposite the Victorian lines, it is far the best of the two & only cost 7 piastres for the two teas of eggs & steak.

[Page 76]
Dec 14th 15th

Mon 14th
Was signalling all day; this morning we tried to get into communication with the lads at the pyramids, but could not get them so put in the rest of the day signalling amongst ourselves. we were paid after tea & celebrated the occasion by having a feed composed of a dozen eggs each, Andy Butter, Stan & I. it cost us 24 PT for the three of us. we then went to a big tent erected for the benefit of the troops by the benefit of the troops English residents here

Tue 15th
Awoke to find there was a heavy fog & all the sqd. signallers decided to go to old Cairo, where we can see a mosque & very high spires from Maadi. we went two stations towards Cairo & then got out & started up one of the street. we had the fun of our lives trying to

[Page 77]
15 – 12 - 14

make the natives understand where we wanted to go, after walking about for a long time accompanied by a native police, we had the good fortune to strike an Englishman on a bicycle, who advised us to take a tram to Cairo & then go to old Cairo by tram. we took his advice, till we got to Cairo & then decided to have dinner before proceeding. our dinner consisted roast chicken, & custard & finished up with wine by most & lemonade by teetotallers, we then walked through the markets & one or two of the principal streets & saw plenty of Europeans. we decided then to come back to Maadi & put the rest of the afternoon in signalling amongst ourselves on the Nile banks. we left Cairo at 1.15 PM &

[Page 78]
15 . 2 . 14

arrived on the banks of the Nile alright & found there is a first class feasting place here with extensive grounds & dinners served out if wanted in the shade of trees on the grounds; it is a lovely place & of course we had to have cool drinks here & am writing this here & enjoying a cigar at the same time, putting in time until 4 P.M. (time to go back)

the Nile waters are within 100 yds of us, we are forbidden to swim in the Nile as a fever is caught by bathing in it. My opinion of Cairo has changed to-day & I think it is one of the nicest cities I have been in, so long as one keeps away from the low quarters. Some of the transport men have arrived here on draught horses & leading

[Page 79]
(15 - 16) 12 . 14

others, one of the draughts bucks some & managed to get Yeoman off three times before he managed to beat him & to finish up one lad got on & Yeoman jumped on behind, after a few roots, they both tumbled off the side & the horse trod on Yeomans face & outed him. we carried him off the road & washed his face which was covered in blood but he seemed pretty right when we left to return to camp.

Wed 16th
Last night we received passes & Andy Butter, Stan & I went to Cairo visited the Soldiers home & walked all principal streets. had our hair cut (5 PT) by a fashionable barber & arrived at Bab-el-louk station to come back to Maadi at 9.45 but found the train did not leave till 10.30 so we hired a buggy & pair for 15 PT & told the

[Page 80]
16 – 12 - 14

driver to drive us through the town till 10.15 & the drive was glorious. first through the main streets & then into the narrow streets of the slums. it was very interesting driving through these as there is not room for two vehicles to pass in places we went & they are crowded with natives also Singalese, Burmese, French, Italian, Russian, Portugise & Belgian women of a very low class live in these streets

as we went through from every few doors we passed came the sound of natives music. the musicians looked quite funny playing their bamboo fifes & other native instruments;
all the traffic here is back to front, as we have to travel up the right hand side of the street instead of the left, leaving any vehicles we pass on our left side; We arrived at the station

[Page 81]

in good time & arrived back in camp well satisfied with our night out
Signalling close to camp all day, helio being the principal instrument used.
a very quiet day, also a perfect one. after tea Stan & I came to the writing tent to scribble a letter or two, to put in time. paper & envelopes are give to us free gratis, also pens & ink is supplied in any quantity & a couple of natives to wait on us, so we are not doing too bad.

Thur 17th
Sig. close to camp all day. B. Sqd. signallers went to the old fort on the ridge about a mile from the camp. they said there was a grave yard there, also skulls & bones lying about, we are going

[Page 82]

up the first chance we get. did not go out evening but went to bed early & had

Fri 18th
On doing stables this morning we were told we would have to fall in at 9.30 AM to be marched off for a bath; We had a couple of miles to march & ended up at a prison where we received the best shower bath I have ever enjoyed in my life. first cold & then hot & finished up cold; I suppose colds will be prevalent here now; after we had finished washing we had to wait till the rest of the Light Squadron finished & it was very interesting watching the native prisoners (in chains) being exercised & worked, by the time we marched back to camp, it was

[Page 83]
19 .12.14

dinner time; after dinner we had a mounted parade & I had my first ride on Idleboy since leaving Sydney; I saw a good buckjumping exhibition by one of the Queenslanders this morning; after tea I came down to write letters but found there was no room, so came back & turned in.

Sat 19th
After we got beneath the blankets, Sergeant Loveless came along with orders for every man to fall in at "stables" in full marching order. we did so & were issued with 20 rounds of cartridges per man. yesterday the South Aus. had to be dressed in full marching order & tomorrow the Queenslanders, so we strike it every third day; ready at a moments notice to get to business. I do not think we will see any fighting this side of the

[Page 84]

canal. we were riding about the country enjoying a lovely morning & doing nothing, we headed up the line to the goal where we had the bath yesterday & saw the prisoners working in a quarry under one of the old forts. there were hundreds of them & all dressed in red clothing & plenty of native soldiers guarding them

nothing to do but lay about afternoon. was writing to Boggy Plains put paper I had written on, with this book & ink in my haversack. the cork came out of the bottle & my afternoon writing has gone for nothing, besides damaging the book.
have to sleep in clothes to-night with rifle by our sides, so as to be ready if we are called out, which is not very likely.

Sun 20th
Church parade this morning & had the good

[Page 85]

fortune to have Methodist Babtist & Presbyterian Ministers to preach to us & I enjoyed the sermon immensely. The three signallers wanted leave to-day, but found only two of us are allowed to go out at once, so I offered to stop in this afternoon & will probably go to the Pyramids next Sunday if all goes well;

Was never more pleased in my life than when I found there was a lot of mail being distributed I rec. 2 from mother & one from Meg they were dated 15th 21st & 25 of Oct. was writing home this afternoon & took a walk down to the chemist shop & bought a tooth brush & then decided to put the rest of the evening in writing, but only just settled down when a member of the YMCA from Mena, handed round books

[Page 86]
(21 – 23) 12-14

containing Alexanders Hymns & we had a very enjoyable evening

Mon 21st
Signalling all day. nothing particular happened only a few spills to break the monotony of the day. A concert was arranged by the residents last night & was a huge success. a good many ladies giving items which was well received. Yesterday I received a letter from Edie Tomlins.

Tue 22nd
Sig. morning. were busy all the afternoon cleaning our gear, as we are to march through Cairo to-morrow & have to get all the rust off our stirrups & spurs. went nowhere after tea.

Wed 23rd
Revalie went at 4.45 AM & was soon on our march to Cairo
we went through the principal streets, received a good reception.

[Page 87]
& then came straight back, we went close by the Khedive’s Palace & saw a good many English people. The parade was an exceptionally long one as all the L. H. (New Zealanders included) paraded & were followed by the infantry I believe. Cpl Nelson, Cpl Howarth & I went to town & had a very enjoyable time

Thur 24th
Mounted parade this morning, were riding around enjoying enjoying the "scenery" (all [indecipherable]) after dinner we were told to cart stones & put them around the tents & some very artistic work was done & the stones were all white-washed. The map of Aus. was drawn with an emu on one side & the kangaroo on the other around one tent & also planted a couple of palms. I hope we are

[Page 88]

not here to see them bear fruit. Everyone was granted leave except those on duty to go to town after tea & we had a royal time; A good many of the lads were properly blithered by 10 o’clock. Cabled home

Friday 25th
I little thought a few months ago that I would be putting in Xmas under canvas, but here I am, it is only too true & putting in the quietest Xmas I have ever had; applied for a pass, butI as Nelson got one I had to stop in, we had a shower at the prison this morning & rode over to have it, we had a very enjoyable time & when we returned sat down to a Xmas dinner of boiled beef & potatoes cooked in their jackets, plum puddings were ordered for us by

[Page 89]

the officers. they arrived in camp at 11.30 AM but were not considered fit for human consumption, so were returned to Cairo & our pudding was bread & treacle. we have been faring fairly well in the tucker line but to-days dinner was worse than the ordinary days;
writing to Boggy Plains after dinner & Stan & I went to the eggs & bacon shop by the railway station for tea & we had a very decent feed. consisted of 9 eggs each & bacon in proportion.
a church service was held in the recreation tent afterwards & we attended & had a very good time

Sat 26th
Went out signalling on the sand ridge inn the morning. met on of the Queenslander signallers there who took our photos with a "Kodak". after dinner

[Page 90]

5 % of the lads were allowed out till 12.30 Stan & I put the afternoon in writing rather a dull time all day.

Sun 27th
Yesterday morning the B squadron signallers went out on horseback for the day & did not turn up at night fall. I heard this morning that they went to Mena Camp & were arrested there for being so far from camp without having a pass & put the night out in the guard room; This morning a Corporal & two men were sent out to bring them back.

Church parade was very dull this morning despite the fact that 3 or 4 ladies were present. we attended the Church of England service. after dinner Stan & I were fortunate enough to get passed out from midday & accompanied by Langford & Butter, we secured

[Page 91]
27 -12-14

services of a guide, hired a motor-car for 10/- to run us out to the pyramids
had our photos taken sitting on camels they cost us 4/- each for two photos & had the Sphinx & Pyramids for a background. I enquired for Morgan Welch but saw no one that knew him. Came back to Cairo & had a bath at Shepheards Hotel & dinner at the Obelisk (4) had a fine days outing & climbed right over the pyramids & it is a pretty stiff climb & arrived back in camp on the 10.30 train

every night one of the lads that sleep in this tent come home drunk & want to fight the rest. fortunately Stan & I sleep outside & enjoy the arguments without taking part in them; & the best of it is the same men only get drunk every 3 or 4 nights & they take it turns to break the monotony

[Page 92]

of rowing, they have not come to blows yet as there is never two drunk at once.

Mon 28th
Were signalling all day with Head Quarters; The B. Sqd signallers were paraded before the Colonel & Howarth asked for a district court martial but at dinner time the Colonel had an enquiry & found he could not get a case against the signallers & they were dismissed.

we fell in at 6 PM & were marched off for an hours lamp practice & were dismissed in time for the commencement of the concert which was a great success. the Chairman read a telegram for George Reid saying he was sorry he could not attend as he had to appear at the Palace. I suppose we shall see him along any day now.

[Page 93]

Tue 29th
Signalling with H.Q. all day. the sqd. signallers are not a little dissatisfied as we have been doing practically nothing since we have been working with them as we lose too much time in getting out to work. we have lamp practice on Mondays Wed. Thurs & Sat. nights & can get passes the other three.

I am stopping in to-night & writing to England. a roll call has been called last night & is to be continued with. it is all together unnecessary as it is very seldom anyone more than 5 % apply for leave.

Wed 30th
Had helio & flag practice this morning the Captain of the signallers (Downing) was with us all day & some exceptionally bad reading was done by by one of the H.Q. stations. After dinner we received a lecture

[Page 94]

from Downing. the lecture together with the questions we asked him took up the whole afternoon; just before tea time, one of B Sqd men mounted a chestnut outlaw & gave a fine exhibition of riding. lamp practice for an hour after tea. wrote to Trix afterwards answered roll call at 9.30 & then to bed

Thur 31st
Sig. with flags all the morning. after dinner the S.M. said there was to be lamp practice after tea from 6 till 7 & then we would get passes till 12.30.
we had a test of reading groups, which kept us going until 7.20 & then paraded for passes & found they only held good till the 10.30 train out of Bal-el-louk as it was too late to catch a train before 9 oclock, we went a bit icy & went to the Café on

[Page 95]

the banks of the Nile & had cuppers

Fri 1st
Paraded & marched down the road for the edification of George Reid & returned to camp & received a lecture from him that kept us going till dinner-time. Nelson & I received passes from 1PM to 11.30 P.M. Stan had to stay in to attend to the horses. Yule, Langford, Todhunter & I decide to put the afternoon in at the Museum, but when we arrived we found it closed as Fridays are the Egyptians Sundays, so we went to the Zoo instead. we had a good time & Langford & Todhunter lost sight of us at the Zoo ; so Yule & I went back to Cairo at 5 o’clock & had dinner at the Obelisk then went to the Kursaal

[Sir George Reid, ex PM of Australia]

[Page 96]

(theatre) & despite the fact that the only language used there is French we enjoyed the songs as the singers had first rate voices & the acting was also very good; we enjoyed ourselves immensely & caught the 10.30 train out

Sat 2nd
Signalling morning & Stan & I received passes for the afternoon & went to the races. we expected to see polo there also but were disappointed; the fourth race was for officers horses in Egypt, four Australian horses one New Zealand & two Arab horses started. the Arabs were much slower than the Australian horses, despite the fact that they were racing well amongst the Arabs in the previous races; A South

[Page 97]

Australia horse (Boom) was the winner & the New Zealander second; We had dinner at Samuels Russian Café & found it a first class place & then went to the Kursaal again. bought another wristlet watch as the old one had turned it in on me on the boat & caught the 10.30 train back to Camp; as we were waiting for the train a couple of boot-blacks had an argument which ended in a fight but they have no idea of fighting & no damage was done

Sun 3rd
Church parade in morning & we went to the Presbyterian & other Protestant religious service & had a very good service. Put in the afternoon writing to Goulburn, after tea

[Page 98]

we went to the Recreation tent & wrote to Tyson & then had hymns till 9 oclock, when I had to leave to feed the horses & answer the roll call before turning in for the night

Mon 4th
Signalling with "helio" all day & was out from 6 till 7 PM with the lamps & then went to a concert in the Recreation tent, but as it was rather tame, Stan & I came back & played draughts till bed time.

Tues 5th
I lost the top of my pen somewhere last night. I to goodness I find it before long as the nib stands a good chance of getting broke the way it is.
We were all issued with pocket knives yesterday & they

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are very good ones. we were told this morning that Maxwell has control of all the Australian signallers & he will be along on Friday to inspect us also to give us an examination & all who are incompetent will be discarded. I guess a few of us will go out if that is the case as only the old hands at the game can read well enough to pass an examination (that is on the lamps & helio.

Signalling all day with helio & flags. started a draught tournament going between C & D Troops. I am playing with C & Stan with D. went nowhere & done nothing after tea till 9 o’clock when I had to help to feed up

[Page 100]

Wed 6th
Rode out on horseback signalling this morning & had a very enjoyable ride we also had a good morning work. after dinner we were reading groups at the rate of 8 words a minute. a breeze has been blowing this afternoon, the first for since we have been in camp & the dust is rather nasty. otherwise we are still having a picnic;

Chas Moore said to day the Colonel told him that he would be sent home in a fortnight as he is no good to the squadron, but one cannot tell whether "Chasper" is joking or not, so it may not be right. He has been confined to barracks during the last week & has another week to go for refusing to get out of bed at the

[Page 101]

right time one morning & being late on parade Helio work after dinner & lamp practice after tea from 6 till 8.30 PM.

Thur 7th
Last night was cold & windy & put in rather an uncomfortable night; This morning the S.M. told us on parade that we had to start the signalling over from scratch again as they are introducing new rules etc. the lads are getting full of the S.M. & I am a bit disgusted with him myself.

It has been windy all day & the dust is very nasty on the eyesight. started a letter home & volunteered to help feed up the horses at 9 PM. The S.M. drafted us into classes to-day & he has a nice idea of who

[Page 102]

is the best men. he drafted us into three class & put Crichton Hobson, Redett [?] & Howard in B grade Traill, Leask Stan Pen & Mills in C grade, & Cobcroft (the best reader among the signallers) Cassidy & Pope & myself in D grade naturally we felt a bit degraded, as 3 of us were superior to some in the grade above us.

Friday 8th
Last night all leave was stopped & a town guard (armed) were sent to Cairo to arrest any soldiers they saw; there as some of the lads who have been absent from camp for a

[Page 103]

fortnight, belonging to the Ammunition Column (3 of them) & they were arrested & quite a number from the Infantry.

Yesterday afternoon, a party of New Zealanders on a route match camped about a half mile from here; just about dark a scouting party (also New Zealanders but belonging to a different Regt.) lost their way & came upon the New Zealanders who camped here & asked them for food for the night & were refused; They then came here & we found tea & breakfast for them, they left here this morning after calling their New Zealand brothers some choice names; A party

[Page 104]

of New Zealanders camped on the same spot the night before last.
This morning we had a reading test to see who were the best men at flag reading; a Brigade signaller came over to superintend it. the test was to see what men should be in the different grades & the way the S.M. graded us yesterday proved that he had some of the worst men in B grade. Leask, Cobcroft, Hobson, Farrell, Howard & myself were the only men who passed the test for A grade. Stan, Crichton [indecipherable] & Traill for B grade & the remainder C grade, so Cobcroft & I were promoted from the lowest class

[Page 105]

to the highest, when we were put to a test by a stranger.

Sat 9th
We had some tight squeezing to get in the tent last night, as it was raining & all the open-air men made for cover, we did not more than a few points but it made things uncomfortable & cold for us.

This morning we had to fall in at 9 AM in full marching order; Stan is on duty in the orderly room to-day, so Nelson & I had to do all the work for C Sqd. we were working out on stations & being tested by Maxwell. our station was commended for the way our station was worked. half holiday, I

[Page 106]

could get a pass if I apply for one, but do not want it as I do not intend to go in very often from now on; put the afternoon in writing to Jessie.

Sun 10th
On duty all day in the orderly room, a soft snap had to check seven messages for the day, the rest of the day I put in writing. Stan received a pass out all the afternoon & Nelson went out from 4.30 PM. after tea I went to Recreation tent for Church Service.

Mon 11th
Setting up & aligning helio, flag practice, & messing about all day & doing practically nothing of any good & after tea we had lamp practice. Stan was kicking the football & for-

[Page 107]

got about it, at any rate he did not fall in & Nelson was told to report it to the Sq. Capt. another funeral passed down the line to day; Mills & I stopped out till 8.30 am [indecipherable] half after the other came in

Tue 12th
Last night one of the lads was run over by a train at Maadi after coming out of town I believe he had been drinking & got out the wrong side on to the rails, as another train was coming in the opposite direction was on him before he could get off the rails. he had both legs cut off. he is attached to the Ammunition Column (or was). The D.A.C. left here for Mena to-day; It is rumoured they have left to make

[Page 108]

room for the Light Horse on its way from Australia The lad who had his legs cut off by the train last night died a 6.15 this morning; we were doing the same work as we were on yesterday principally nothing; we are to have musketry to-morrow morning

I believe the signallers are working to get armed with automatic pistols I believe in place of the rifle, as we have too big a load to carry & only carry the rifle in cases of emergency. doing signalling close to camp all together.

[Page 109]

Wed 13th
Were signalling in the usual spot all day, aligning the helio on to station.
an officer from Brde. H.Q. was with us & had the watch on us, 90 seconds is the time allotted to set a helio for a test & I smashed all records here by doing it in 50 seconds. I had a good deal of luck & could not do it again in six months.

about ten o’clock this morning the funeral of the lad who died yesterday passed by us. we stood to the salute as the funeral passed by; the coffin was covered with the Union Jack & his hat on top. he was taken to the Citadel & buried there. of course he had a proper military

[Page 110]

funeral. There was no lamp practice to-night & an enterprising cinematograph firm has built a large tent here capable of holding practically the whole camp & it was opened to-night for the first time. the house was filled right up & it should do well as they charge only 1½ PT to go in; The pictures were not as good as Spencers, but not too bad considering we are here on active service; Stan & Mills put in A class

Thur 14th
Sig as usual in the same old spot. McGregor & Pope has been put out of the signallers & Cabban & Geo. Hitching has been put in, in their place & are starting off scratch. Stan received a pass & went in to Cairo to

[Page 111]

get a new bulb for his torch. I stayed in & wrote to George & Maggie. quite a pile of letters to-day. Stan received 14 & I got 8; they are letters that left Australia shortly after us & were sent on to England & have only just turned up. Bluey Williams got properly Blithered after tea, with his "cobba" Scotty the cook & came back to camp about 8 o’clock with a hole in his leg; it looks very much like a bayonet wound but may have been done with a knife. some of the lads bound it up & got him to bed

Fri 15th
Another batch of letters Stan received 6 & I got 4 more & were putting in every available moment reading to-day

[Page 112]

signalling as usual in the same old spot near the camp. lamp practice after tea & it was rather cold to be signalling at present & did not stay out overtime on that account

Sat 16th
Signalling until dinner time & then received a pass out from 1.30 till 11.30 PM. Scotty Hamilton & I went by tram to the Citadel & went through several mosques & also through the hospital; a Regt. of Ghurkas arrived at the Citadel from the front. they have been either sick or wounded & have been sent here for a recovery on account of the cold weather. we went back to Cairo & had

[Page 113]

dinner at Samuels Russian Cafe & went from there to the Kursaal which was very good; & came back to camp with the 10.30 PM train after enjoying myself thoroughly. Finn also came back with us.

Sun 17th
Church service in the recreation tent. Nelson went out after dinner. Stan had a pass but did not use it as he wanted to write. I put the afternoon & evening in writing & did not attend the sing-song after tea as I had to feed us at 8.45 PM. we received a dozen photos each (Stan & I) taken by a Sergeant signaller from the 2nd L.H. They are very good

[Page 114]

Mon 18th
Signalling as usual Chasper Moore, Plushy & Gwilliam overstayed leave last night & were arrested in town; to-day they were before the Colonel & were sentenced to 7 days cells & 10 days C.B.
Lamp practice after tea, I bought some fruit from the canteen & lost my purse shortly after but did not miss it till going to bed

Tue 19th
Found my purse a few yards from the canteen door & was lucky to get it as it was trampled into the sand
were signalling in same old spot & doing the same work. had lamp practice again to-night. Stan & I stayed out after the others came in and were practicing on our own Sergeant Mack sent to hospital at the Citadel

[Page 115]

Wed 20th
Had a very heavy dew the night before last & last night & the nights are very cold & quite chilly in the mornings
The Brigadier came along & inspected us while we were working.
Tucker from B Sqd. started with the signallers this morning.

Dawes the Armourer Sergeant was found guilty of breaking arrest & was sentenced to the ranks; this morning his stripes were taken off before the Regiment: he was tried by court-martial, on several charges. the only one he was found guilty on, was for breaking arrest, but he has been giving trouble all along & has been in the guard room most of the time on the boat

[Page 116]

Thur 21st
Stan is on duty in the orderly room & Nelson is working with me in Stan’s place. cloudy to-day & only flags used; to-day we can hear big guns ‘booming’ at Mena. they must be having artillery practise; Stan received ten letters this morning & I got three. one each from Jessie, mother & Morgan Hugh, only a month old. lamp practice after tea

Fri 22nd
On duty in the orderly room. writing letters all day a train passed by at two oclock with soldiers on board, also horses & two red-cross waggons. They untrained about a mile or two up the line from here & then came back. they proved to be from Victoria & are Field Ambulance men. There is

[Page 117]

lamp practice after tea but I have to stay on duty here till 8 oclock, so miss it.

Sat 23rd
Signalling morning received a pass out from 6 till dinner 11.15 PM & went in to the Ezbekiah Gardens to see some boxing contests, only one good contest between Bartlett (New Zealand) & Joe Lee (Melbourne) Bartlett won fairly easy; Davidson went with me, we had tea at the Standard bar & caught the 10.30 train home.

Sunday 24th
Church service in the recreation this morning, but the whole of the Brigade was formed up this morning & received a lecture for the Brigadier, as one of the

[Page 118]

residents of Maadi complained that an Australian soldier had stolen a fowl & we received a pretty warm lecture over it; he also said we were not leaving Maadi to make room for Australians that are on their way over but to be camped close to the New Zealanders to whom we are attached.

After dinner Stan & I received passes & went to the Museum which was very good; from there to the Citadel & was talking to Plush who had taken sick at Heliopolas & was sent to the Citadel Hospital with influ bronchitis we also saw Milligan who was sent in last Wednesday with

[Page 119]

influenza; We could not see Merga Mack as he was too bad & had pneumonia, so I guess he will not see much of the war; We picked up Langford & Todhunter there & had a look through the mosque together & then hired donkeys & rode into Cairo with the niggers running behind;

we had tea at the Russian Bar & then made to the soldiers home, for a drink of tea or coffee to finish on we then decided to come back to camp by the 8.30 PM train & was driving to the station when the off sider kicked over the traces & fell over, we lost some time getting him out of the tangle & lost our train over it, so the cabby

[Page 120]

drove us up the street again free of charge & we came home on the 10.30 train

Mon 25th
Stan was paraded before the O.C. this morning & has to help feed up the horses seven nights running at 9 o’clock, for being in the canteen on Saturday night & not getting out lively enough when the officer came along & said it was time the canteen was closed; The Squadron are out for the day; we were out with the lamps after tea group work. went to pictures afterwards

Tue 26th
Same as usual morning, but the pump at the Nile got out of order yesterday & had to take the horses to a canal

[Page 121]
8.30 PM

To Euripides my compliments to transport officer. did you receive my reply to you re. speed we can maintain a speed of 13½ when required please reply Commander Benalla

[Appears to be a message, presumably seen by Tomlins, while on bridge duty
on the Star of Victoria. Repeated on page 123]

about ½ mile from here for water this morning & at dinner time, right down to the Nile; had a late dinner in consequence & received a half holiday as it is Anniversary Day & had no lamp practice to-night in consequence I little thought twelve months ago we would be putting in this Anniversary in Egypt. I have had

[Page 122]

a touch of the blues the last day or two & been feeling very sleepy & in no humor for work; measles are quite the rage at present & there is quite a number of lads in hospital with them. The food had not been kept up to us too well during the last week & I have to buy a good deal of jam at 4 PT (10d) per tin. These Egyptians rob us hand over fist. The pump in working order again & were able to water the horses at the trough again to night

Wed 27 Received some letters & papers from home late last night. one each from Geo. Meg, Jess

[Page 123]
8.30 PM

To Euripides my compliments to transport officer. did you receive my reply to you re. speed we can maintain a speed of 13½ when required please reply. Commander Benalla

reply, signal received

[This appears to be a message, presumably seen by Tomlins while on bridge duty on the Star of Victoria. Repeated on page 121]

& mother; The Field Ambulance Medical Corps that arrived here a few days ago; left for Ismalilia this morning. It is rumoured that fighting commenced there, with the Turks at three o’clock yesterday afternoon; A & B Sqds are going out to-night bivouacking & may not come back here again & we

[Page 124]

will probably be shifting to Heliopolas next Saturday. there has been some fighting near the canal by to-nights paper reports, but none of any consequence.

Thur 28th
This morning an advance guard to Heliopolas left here to get things in order for us there, I believe we shift on Saturday; The A & B Sqds returned at dinner time Stan had to go on duty in the orderly room, as the other Sq. signallers were out on the march had no lamp practice to-night as the lamps were sent away on the transport, with the advance guard.

Fri 29th
Went out with led horses this morning & digested rather a large

[Page 125]

quantity of dust & found that leading horses is not as easy as signalling
had nothing to do this afternoon only get ready to move off in the morning for Heliopolis, went to the pictures after tea & they were very good.
Chasper Moore was told to-day that he has to go back to Aus. with a dozen others, as they are no good to the army. 27 men are being sent back from the Queenslanders.

Sat 30th
Early revallie & left Maadi at 9.30 & had a very dusty ride through the dusty ruins until we came to the made roads near the Citadel & there we had a fine trip from there on, we did not go through the principal streets

[Page 126]

of Cairo, but went through only the outskirts. we arrived at Heliopolis & found the lines down, mess rooms up & everything ready for us, even had all our tents up; I believe there are about 10,000 Terriers here & about 10,000 colonials at present; Heliopolis appears to me to be a much better place than Maadi & a large skating rink is very handy & Heliopolis seems more of a town than Maadi.

Sun 31st
No Church Parade this morning, applied for pass out from dinner time but could not get one so put the afternoon & evening in writing; I received a letter from mother

[Page 127]

to-night dated 29th November also a couple of magazines & a tit-bits from Edie Tomlins dated the 16th Jan. Broncho Finn who is to be sent back to-morrow went in to Heliopolis to-night & commenced playing up, Corporal Balhausen was sent in to arrest him & brought him back & put him in the guard room for the night.
There is no post office here & I am afraid that I cannot get the letters posted to catch the mail

Mon 1st [Feb.]
Well heres the commencement of another month & still on the same old thing. I thought when I enlisted the war would be pretty well over now & things are just the

[Page 128]
February 1st

same, we were practising signalling out on the desert all day & are on lamps tonight; This ground we are camped on was the Cairo aerodrome & an aeroplane is still here but have not seen it flying yet;
a battalion of infantry belonging to the 2nd contingent & only arrived off the boat to-day, they arrived here at 4 oclock & two hundred of them had tea in our mess room, we had no lamp practice as we wanted to see if we had any friends amongst them, they were all from Sydney & Melbourne,

[Page 129]

so they were not known much by the L.H.

Tue 2nd
Mounted parade & were out all day on the desert & had a few glorious gallops, we arrived back in camp at 3.30 & wanted to go to Heliopolis, but had to stay in for lamp practice; we paraded at 6.30 PM & were told that they were going to have lamp practice to-morrow night instead; so I guess I will not have a chance of getting in this week. I intend to kick against going out tomorrow night

Wed 3rd Stan was in the orderly room all day & Nelson & I walked C Sq

[Page 130]
station, as we were all out for the day with our squadrons & got through some pretty slick work

Wed 3rd
Working dismounted close to camp. believe there has been some fighting close to the canal & are likely to be called on at any moment to go there.
The proceeds of the Kursaal tonight are to go to the sick & wounded fund & have got out of signalling to night to go in to see it;

Thurs 4th
Went to town last night & found the Kursaal did not open till 9.30 PM so Stan & I went to the pictures instead & they

[Page 131]

were very good & arrived home early; Stan is in the orderly room to-day & Nelson & I represented C Sq. as we were all out for the day & got through some good work; There is no signalling to-night as "signalitis" reckons we had done enough for one day; I am putting the night in reading.

Fri 5th
I thought I was in for a good days writing to-day, but made a mistake as Nelson was transferred to Brigade signallers & Stan & I had to take the C Sq. station; The whole brigade was out to-day & went out nine

[Page 132]

or ten miles on the desert & had dinner at 3 PM. & did not get back to camp till 5 o’clock; no lamps to night & we have heard that 16 men & 2 officers belonging to the New Zealanders were killed yesterday on the canal. Three or four hundred Turkish prisoners were brought to Cairo to-day, also the New Zealand wounded arrived in a hospital train about four oclock;
went nowhere after tea, but wrote a letter to Meg & helped to feed up a 9 o’clock

[Page 133]

Sat 6th
Signalling dismounted this morning; Nelson & I received a pass out from midday & went to Maadi I expected to see Arthur Welch there; but was disappointed as I found he was with the Vetenary Corps & is camped at Mena; I picked up Hobson & had tea with him at the Soldiers Home, played draughts & ping pong there till it was time to catch our tram out; on the way to the tram we picked up Cobcroft with "three sheets in the wind" & had some trouble to get him to come home with us

[Page 134]

Sun 7th
Church parade this morning in the YMCA & had an exceptionally good service; I was thinking of going to Mena after dinner with Stan, but decided to stay here & write instead & got quite a surprise when Arthur Welch & young Hoddenot turned up at 2.30 PM

After stables we went into Cairo & had a good time together. I arrived back in camp at 9.30 & scribbled a letter to Jessie before turning in for the night I heard from Arthur that Morgan had been sent to the canal escorting the men, who were discarded back to Australia

[Page 135]

Mon 8th
Signalitis, Nelson, Mills, Farrell. Hobson, Cobcroft left here this morning on bikes & had to be a Mena by 10 oclock, they had twenty rounds of ammunition each & their rifles & blankets besides, the signalling equipment to carry, so they are loaded up & expect to get back tomorrow night.
we were signalling under Cpl. Howarth this morning; after dinner the Brigade went out sham fighting till dark, & then dismounted, fed our horses & had one piece of bread & cheese & one piece of bread & jam for tea & then set to work digging trenches & did not finish

[Page 136]

until after midnight; It was 2 AM when we arrived back in camp, & had to go to bed hungry as we could get no bread; The ground was hard & the picks blunt & we had to sink the trenches 4 ft 6 in deep, & we just about knocking when we got back & took no rocking to sleep

Tue 9th
Were hauled out at 6 o’clock this morning as usual, & had another Brigade scheme; we were marched out to where we sank the trenches last night & had to fill them up again; so it is a bit of a mugs game digging trenches in the night & filling them up in the day time.

[Page 137]

General Godley inspected us while we were out; we arrived back in camp shortly after 3 oclock this afternoon & did not feel inclined to go anywhere after & turned into bed early

Wed 10th
The bugle had us up at 5.15 this morning & had to bustle about & feed our horses & ourselves & get out on parade at 7 o’clock; We were then marched into Cairo & formed up with the infantry, a whole division (17,000) taking part in the parade; we did not have a very hard day & returned to camp about dark, a big mail is to be issued tonight

[Page 138]

Thur 11th
Stan & I both received 7 letters last night. Stan paraded sick as his ankles is weak & has been put on light duties; We were signalling close to camp this morning & this afternoon was sent out to the Tram Station & were signalling back to Head Quarters; Yule & I went into Heliopolis to post some letters & had a fairly decent feed for 6 piastres each. we were paid this afternoon £ 1.8.0 & was very acceptable as I have been stony for the last day or so. I also bought a pipe to night.

[Page 139]

Fri 12th
This morning we were out bright & early & were out on parade at 7.30 AM. The whole of this camp took part in a big scheme; We were attacking a hill a few miles from here, the artillery first bombarded it & their shooting was very good The Light Horse was attacking the left flank & the infantry the right & centre; we were advancing under cover of the artillery fire, until it was too dangerous to fireof hitting us & then we had to finish the battle with rifle & bayonet; Cardboard men were stuck up in the ground to represent the enemy & by the time we were given the order to charge with the

[Page 140]

bayonet all the cardboard men were properly riddled; we had doubled over a mile through sand attacking & were pettled by the time we reached the enemy, I was handicapped pretty heavy, as I was carrying the helio & telescopes besides the rifle etc.
We arrived back from to camp at 2.30 & done nothing in the afternoon. Wrote a letter to Jessie after tea

Sat 13th
The [?]S.M. Warneford had an argument with the Colonel this morning on parade & the sq. signallers were told to go back to our squadrons as the S.M. would have nothing more to do with us, so we went out & were signalling to the B sq signallers; Nelson & I

[Page 141]

received passes out from 2 till 11 PM. & had a bath at the National Hotel & went to the Kursaal at 6.30 & came back to camp at 10 o’clock; the Kursaal was very good as half the actors were English also a Japanese troupe was very good; The Kursaal is opened from 6.30 till 9 oclock every Wed. Sat & Sunday night to suit the soldiers. 9.30 is the ordinary time it opens for the aristocrats

Sun 14th
The Y.M.C.A. was crowded this morning at Church Parade; The lads are beginning to realise that the Presbyterian service is far superior to the Church of England & are

[Page 142]

beginning to roll up in consequence. a muster parade before dinner; writing letters after dinner & went nowhere

Mon 15th
Signalling close to camp all day; Stan went to Heliopolis after tea The reinforcements arrived to-day; also some extra horses from Abbassiah
I went on feeding party to-night in Yules place as he wanted to go to town

Tue 16th
Were told this morning that we had to parade dismounted, & just as the Regt. was moving off on manoeuvres the Adjutant rode up & told us the saddle up

[Page 143]

& go out with the squadron. we had a fairly good day, with the exception of a charge we made, over sand, for about a mile & we were all about knocked up, when we had the bayonet charge & arrived back in camp at 4 oclock On feeding party tonight The military here, were paid this afternoon & the beer is flowing free at the Canteen, also a bit of a scrap or two

Wed 17th
On duty in orderly room all day, did nothing but write letters. An officer that came with the reinforcements has been put over the signallers & seems a

[Page 144]

decent sort but does not know much about signalling. The Brigade is out on another big field day & they are beginning to get monotonous & the lads are getting anxious to get to the front,

Thurs 18th
Was told this morning to report myself to Major Reid (A Sqd) for signalling purposes & found they were going to the range for musketry practise, so we had nothing to do but sleep all day; watered our horses at "Abbassiah" Barracks; & was back to camp early; B & C Sqd’s were out all day on a big scheme & did not

[Page 145]

get back to camp till late went nowhere after tea but stayed in the tent & spinning yards

Fri 19th
Was sent to A Sqd. again this morning as the whole division was out on a scheme all day & were handed out dummy cartridges to fight the New Zealanders with; we had dinner about two oclock & had the battle shortly afterwards. It was nearly dark when we returned to camp; & was rather weary, as we had a lot of running during the afternoon
went nowhere after tea & went to bed early

[Page 146]

Sat 20th
No parade to-day & put the morning in cleaning saddles rifles etc. Fresh remounts arrived to-day to fill the vacancies cause by horses lost on the journey coming from Australia; doing nothing but writing this afternoon; cannot afford to go to Cairo before next pay day & am not anxious to go in, as I have seen all I want to of the city; The Kursaal being the only attraction for me;
Col. Merrington paid all the tents a visit in C. Sqd this morning to have a chat with the Presbyterian lads he is a fine fellow & well

[Page 147]
liked by everybody

Sun 21st
Fell in for Church Parade at 9.30 this morning & enjoyed a very good sermon; Writing all the afternoon & decided to take a stroll to Heliopolis after tea with Fletcher & made our way to Luna Park & experimented with skates. I did not shape too bad considering it was the first time I’ve had them on for 4 years We arrived back in camp at 8.30; Fletcher had to be back to feed up at 9 oclock

[Page 148]

Mon 22nd
Had to report to A Squadron again this morning & heard that Jimmy Leask is to be made Corporal of A Sqd. & I reckon he should be sent to A Sq & learn the work straight away, as to keep me there taking his place for a week or two before he starts; I got into a argument this morning for galloping my horse while on parade & have been in a bad humor all day in consequence. went nowhere after tea & had nothing to do but tell tales

[Page 149]

Tue 23rd
With A Sq again to-day & went out on the desert & the troops were trench digging this afternoon We had a lot of signalling to do to-day & everything went along swimmingly; We were near no water & the horses had neither food nor water for dinner & did not arrive back in camp until after sundown; went nowhere after tea; which was a good one & some underclothing was issued to the troops to-night; I bayonetted a snake this morning going out; (first blood)

[Page 150]

Wed 24th
Was with C Sq to-day, we were out with the troops & they were trench digging, while we laid down in the shade of our horses & watched them. it was very warm during the middle of the day & it was rather late when we arrived back in camp in fact it was too late to get paid, wrote home after tea & told plenty of lies amongst ourselves

Thur 25th
Had a very easy day, went out to the pumping station practising signalling with the HQ signallers & returned to camp as soon as we

[Page 151]
had dinner’ We were paid this afternoon £ 1.8.0 & I went to the skating rink after tea & witnessed some boxing tests & they were very good indeed; I also had a ride on the scenic railway & the water chute; Coming home I bought a bottle of Lungkura from the chemist in Heliopolis as I have a slight touch of a cold

I met Col Merrington & Col Plaine (the two Chaplains) there & accompanied the back to camp. they were also at the skating rink they are exceptionally fine men & very well liked by all the men

[Page 152]

Fri 26th
Was called out at 5 oclock this morning & was on parade at seven oclock; We went to Zietcoun & fought a sham fight with the New Zealanders & we had a very interesting day; going out one of the horses bucked & threw its rider, but he was not hurt
about dinner time Smithers horse put his front feet in a hole & turned a somersault, Smithers was lucky is getting off with a lump on the back of his head, as we were galloping when he fell; about two oclock two English officers who were umpiring the fight ran foul of a

[Page 153]

stallion in a field; the stallion took to them & one of the officers galloped to a mob of natives who were working about half a mile away with the stallion running a good second. the natives caught the stallion & the officer returned, looking a bit scared; he looked quite comical retreating & needless to say we had a good laugh at him, we arrived back in camp just after sundown, went nowhere after tea, but stayed in camp & spun yards until bed-time, received a letter from home

[Page 154]

Sat 27th
Had to clean our equipment this morning & pulled our tents down to air the ground & everything was in a right mess at dinner time, as a breeze was blowing & the dust horrible; we put the tents up at dinner time & I received a pass out for the afternoon, went to the Soldiers Home & put the afternoon in writing, had tea & hunted the town for Kiwi polish, at last found it & bough 6 tins for 6/-. I then went to the Kursaal & arrived back in camp at 10 oclock; I believe 2 Battalion of infantry

[Page 155]

one battery of artillery & one company of engineers left Mena to-day they are to embark at Alexandria but they have no idea where they are going to. It is rumoured that we will be leaving in three or four weeks, but we take no notice of rumors here now; when I arrived back in camp I found there was an English mail in & I received a letter from Edie
It is reported that one of the soldiers shot himself in Cairo to-night
The heat here is increasing every day & it will be a scorcher in a month or two

[Page 156]

Sun 28th
A record attendance at Church this morning & Col Plaine preached a rattling good sermon; Stan has had a sore throat & was not on parade yesterday or Friday but is OK again thanks to my Lungkura it cured both him & I

Stan received a pass this afternoon & has gone to Cairo & I am putting the afternoon in scribbling; I lost the top of my pen a few weeks ago & the nib has been twisted about every way & is not much good now Went to Luna park after tea with Butter & Cameron

[Page 157]
March 1.3.15

& had a good time there, we had a cup of tea at the New Zealand Café & arrived back in camp at 8.30;

Mon 1st
Dismounted parade to-day & were signalling amongst ourselves close to camp. this morning we had a test in reading; it is said to be a test to see who gets made Corporal of A Squadron. Lamp practice after tea & it is time we started again as we are not to good with the lamps; We were reading groups & when we were about to come in some of the lads would not march properly & we were marched around the flat for ten minutes before coming in. was writing until bed time

[Page 158]

Tue 2nd
The test we had with the helio yesterday morning was wiped out & we had another test this morning with the helio. was in communication with some signallers from the hills by the Citadel. I believe they were from Maadi;
went nowhere after tea but stayed in the tent & finished off a letter to Edie Tomlins

Wed 3rd
Had to be on parade at 8 oclock this morning; Idleboy seemed to be sick when I saddled him, so I rode Lye’s horse instead & had a rough time of it on him; We had a hard days work, as we hard to charge for a mile or two

[Page 159]

over sand & take a hill; all the whole of this division was taking part in the attack & were all about knocked up when the bayonet charge was finished; We arrived back in camp at seven oclock, to find Idleboy is OK. Jim Grooves turned up tonight. he said the first Division is leaving here next Monday & they have come from Mena to-night; I also received q a P.C from Arthur Welch saying they are at Mena so I do not expect to see him again for some time;

[Page 160]

Thur 4th
Dismounted parade for all of us to-day & we have been signalling close to camp all day; We were told at dinner time to-day that we were to hand in a pair of boots to get hobnails in them, as we will probably have all foot work when we shift from here; All the boy are cribbing at the idea of tramping;
I handed in a pair of boots to get half soled a couple of days ago; None of the infantry camped here are on parade to-day, on account of the strenuous day they had yesterday; Went nowhere after tea; some of the boys received passes to-night to

[Page 161]

attend a concert at the Continental; the passes hold good until 2 A.M. tomorrow morning; Everyone here is confident we will be leaving Egypt shortly; The horse clippers are kept going very constant all day clipping horses; speeches on the war are delivered practically every week night; in the Y.M.C.A. A picture show was also opened here a few nights ago, they are well patronised; Tomorrow is to be a big day for us as we are to be out all night digging trenches; was tempted to deal Cork horses today, he offered me £ 1.0.0 to boot, but I have decided not to

[Page 162]

Fri 5th
Signalling close to camp this morning; the troops have gone to the range for musketry; We went over to the HQ lines after dinner & found they were giving us a half holiday on account of Bivouac to-night, so we played "quoits" all until it was time to fall in for stables; Just as I was making a rush for the mess room I ran into Arthur Welch & a friend who came out to see me; At 9 o’clock we had the horses out on the parade ground & we were soon riding through Heliopolis & out on to the
Suez Road; I have had a touch of a sore throat this afternoon

[Page 163]

but would not parade sick, as they would think it was only to miss the parade; We got to our destination about midnight; & the lads were set in with picks & shovels & were digging until day-light, The first L. Horse boys struck a rather rough patch, as they struck solid rock at 3 feet; The night was rather cold coming on morning & it was very uncomfortable;

Sat 6th
It was after sunrise before we started for camp & we were all looking a bit the worse for wear when we arrived back; I was feeling rotten & slept all the

[Page 164]

morning; at stables this afternoon I paraded to the hospital & found Dr Idione was not in camp, but had my throat painted, I was not too sick to parade at tea time, although I am suffering from a swelled head; no parade to-day on account of the work we had to do last night; The second rounds of the boxing contest are to be contested to-night; I am sorry I am too sick to witness them; paraded to went to bed early

[Page 165]

Sun 7th
Paraded sick this morning with a sore throat & was put off duty in consequence & had to go to the Hospital tent three times to-day to have my throat painted with Iodine Put in a very miserable day; Stan went to Heliopolis & brought back a bottle of Lungkura; Fred Balhausen was here to-day he said he is to be made a Staff Sergeant, with good prospects of being made a staff officer & they will be stationed at London, so he has fell in for a good job & will see none of war.
My throat has been too sore to allow me to eat.

[Page 166]

Mon 8th
Paraded sick again this morning & my sickness was named Diptheria by the old quack. I do not think he knows enough to be able to tell what it is, but the tent I camp in had to be pulled down & disinfected this morning
I hope none of the others catch dip. although I do not feel too bad myself & am enjoying a good holiday on the strength of it & I am satisfied to let it go as diphtheria until I get proof that it is not. The troops were out for musketry to-day & when they returned Crook, who has the same complaint as myself, went to the Sergeant Major &

[Page 167]

complained about the treatment we were getting, as our tents had been pulled down for fumigating & we could not very well go into the other tents, as we were reported to have diphtheria. the S.M. went to Maj. Granville about it & Granny went to the Col. the Col. went to the Drs & was told that we did not have diphtheria, but was only suffering from sore throats; I have had my throat painted with iodine three times to-day & three times yesterday.
Bought some stamps & posted a few letters after tea & retired to bed early

[Page 168]

Tue 9th
Reveille sounded at 5.15 this morning & the troops filed off the lines at seven oclock, as there is a big divisional scheme on board; I am still off duty & so was lucky in missing the scheme, as there is generally a mile or two of doubling over sand attached to these big schemes; I put the morning in reading, writing & washing, a little of each, had a bath after dinner; The 1st LH arrived back in camp early this afternoon, as they were annihilated about dinner time. they rode right onto a battery of artillery belonging to the enemy before they knew it & were sent home

[Page 169]

as being out of action; I believe the advance guard of the 3rd Contingent arrived here this afternoon, had a sore throat from arguing the point when I went to sleep at 9 oclock

Wed 10th
Woke this morning feeling rather well & have been on light duties; C Sqd has gone out to the range again for musketry & I put a good part of the morning in washing up The Sq. signallers did not go to the range; Were supposed to be paid to-day but it was postponed; the dust has been horrible today & I retired to bed early

[Page 170]

Thurs 11th
Still on light duties although I feel well enough for anything; another windy, dusty day; No parade for the troops, some of the men from the troops were told off this morning to learn signalling but I think they are starting too late to do much good at it; Went to Luna Park after tea to witness some boxing contest, the principal event being between an Irish ex-champion welter weight of Ireland & a lad from the South Australian Light Horse; It was a good fight & the Irishman won in the third round; Plush was with me & we had a feed at the New Zealand Cafe

[Page 171]

& arrived in camp at 10 oclock & found a camel had got rid of a load of lucerne in front of the Y.M.C.A. so we set to work & took enough to keep our horses feeding all night.

Fri 12th
Early rising this morning as there is a big "sham" fight on the cards the Territorials are to fight the whole of this division (17000 men)
I went before the quack again to-day, but there was no necessity to as I am as right as rain again & got off parade & put on "light duties"
The troops returned at 4 oclock & said they did not meet the

[Page 172]

Terriers at all, as the infantry fixed them up on their own & the Light Horse was not called on. went nowhere after tea & retired to bed early

Sat 13th
Had to parade with our blankets this morning & had to hand over any blankets we had over two each, every one is confident that we shall be leaving here in a few days. The only parade we had to-day was to clean our equipment; Stan went to Heliopolis tonight & I had a game of billiards. am on the feeding party at 9 oclock; Yule has caught a sore throat

[Page 173]

Sun 14th
Church parade as usual & there was a good attendance; Nelson & Stan received passes after dinner & went to Cairo I was thinking of going in after "stables", but decided to attend the service held in the camp, although I would like to go to a meeting in Cairo, before we leave; We were told this morning that we have to rise early to-morrow morning & that there is another Bde day, we were supposed to finish our training last Friday, but I suppose they are going to keep us fit; The guard fell in at the

[Page 174]

top of the lines to-night & were rather surprised when they received the order to dismiss, as no Brigade guard is to be put on tonight. some of us appear to think we will receive orders to pack our kits & hand them in when we rise tomorrow & that we are to leave here; There is a good many lads from Mena & Maadi here this afternoon looking up old pals; one or two Trangie lads were here looking up Butter & Cameron & they say they do as much work since they finished training as they did before. wrote a letter to [indecipherable] after tea

[Page 175]

Mon 15th
Was hauled out of bed at 3.15 this morning stables at 3.30 & had breakfast & was out on parade at 4.30; The morning was slightly chilly about sunrise; but it was lovely riding, we gave our horses a feed & had a bit of a "snack" ourselves soon after sunrise; soon after we left camp Dowling’s horse put his feet in a hole & Dowling took a hand-spring off the pommel of the saddle but picked a soft spot to fall & did not get hurt; We had a sham fight with the New Zealanders & returned to camp at 12

[Page 176]

oclock (noon) After dinner we took our horses to the sick lines & had them clipped. a gang of "niggers are on to clip them (about 20 or 30 of them) & they are "quick & dirty" knocking the hair off them, one nigger clips a horse in about an hour, Idleboy objected to the niggers more than he did to the clippers, & this afternoon it rained for a wonder & we had a very nice fall there must have been 10 points altogether; Stan dealt his horse away for a mare of Major Granvilles, I believe "Cob" is to be used as a pack horse & he is a good horse

[Page 177]

with a pack up & is too mad-headed to ride; Stan rode his new mount to-day & is well satisfied with her; received a letter from "Brooklyn" also one from home this morning; played a game of billiards after tea & found the tent that the tables are in leaked & the four tables were quite wet in patches, apparently the billiard room is a dry weather one, the Frenchmen who run the show must be making a small fortune, as the tables are booked up about 6 oclock for the evening they charge 1/- per half hour & they only allow one game per night, to give all a show

[Page 178]

Tue 16th
Was showery when we awoke this morning, we had porridge for breakfast this morning, for the first time since leaving Sydney & it was very good;
at 9 oclock we out on mounted parade, but as soon as we were mounted, it commenced to rain & we were sent back; The morning was rather cold & the horses frisky, we were not on them for long, but long enough to see one or two of the boys take somersaults off their horses; We were no sooner on the lines than it poured down & we made a rush for the tent; after dinner we had helio practice

[Page 179]
we bought 4 new mats this morning & have a new floor to the tent.
the mats are made of reeds plaited & cost (5 piastres) 1/- each
Went nowhere after tea but stayed in the tent & spun yarns; We have given up all hopes of leaving Egypt again for some time. went nowhere after tea & turned into bed early
were issued with a couple of pair of socks & they were very acceptable as we have not been issued with any since leaving Australia & we are getting rather short & cannot buy thick woollen ones in Cairo

[Page 180]

Wed 17th
We had a kit inspection this morning & had to give a list of all shortages. I applied for a pair of legging again, as I am still wearing a pair of Billy Robinson’s that I borrowed on the boat (as I lost mine on the "Star")
We had a very easy morning after dinner we were on helio practice & went to Cairo with Stan & Sergeant Matheson after tea & attended a French lesson (given by an American lady) in the Methodist Church a concert was held after the French lesson was finished & we had a very enjoyable evening

[Page 181]

After the concert we went to York House & had supper & had another lesson in French by the French lady who runs the house & her "hubby". needless to say the last was the most interesting, as they were teaching us sentences while the lady at the Church was teaching us the alphabet; We stayed there quite long enough & caught a tram that landed us in Helio[polis just in time to reach camp before 10.30 PM. we are allowed passes till 10.30

[Page 182]

Thurs 18th
The infantry camped here went out on an all night bivouac yesterday afternoon; The inf. were supposed to be paid at dinner time yesterday, but for some reason or other the Col. of the 13th Battalion decided not to pay them until next week. shortly after dinner all the whole of the 13th paraded up & said "no pay" "no bivouac" there was a bit of an argument & the men were paid; (it would be a joke if the army went on strike) & marched away from camp at 5 oclock.
when we returned from town at 10.30, we could

[Page 183]

hear the "dummies" going off a treat, away on the desert; They arrived back in camp at 7 o’clock this morning We went on parade at 9 oclock, mounted and returned about one oclock, had dinner & had nothing to do this afternoon until 3.30 (time for stables)
Idleboy was kicked on the near side hind leg coming in off parade on Monday & his leg was too sore to go out to-day, but it is nothing serious;
I received a letter & paper, also two pairs of socks from Edie T. to-day, went nowhere after tea & put in evening writing

[Page 184]

Fri 19th
Was hauled out at 5.30 this morning, & was on parade early; had a lot of galloping, but no running on foot; had a rather tame time & arrived back in camp soon after 3 oclock:

Idleboy was kicked coming in off parade last Monday & has been "off duty" ever since; Had an argument with Sergeant Simeon for not looking after him to-night & had a good mind to report him, Put in the evening writing to Jess & Trix. were issued with a new pair of boots each to-day & are very well off for clothes of all descriptions now.

[Page 185]

Sat 20th
The only parade we had to-day was cleaning equipment & the best part of the morning was devoted to a lecture by Lieut Wordsworth. as to what we are to take on the bivouac, which is to last four days next week; also what we shall be allowed to carry on active service & by the regulations we shall only be allowed to take about a quarter of the clothing we have been issued with; We received some "soft soap" from the Colonel for the tidy way we keep our tent; Next

[Page 186]

Monday we have to be on parade at 7.30 AM. & we are to be inspected by General Godly; next We have to be in full marching order & have everything the same as though we were going to move off for the front; Idleboy’s leg is still bad I hope to have him fit by Monday morning;
Nelson has gone to Cairo this afternoon & Stan has gone to Heliopolis since tea, so I am putting the evening in writing.

[Page 187]

My dear Mother
I have finished this at last & as I will have to post it tomorrow to catch the mail home this week, I have decided to finish this off as a letter, although I have nothing much to write about, as you have all the news day by day; The sore throat I had has completely disappeared & I am feeling as well as ever again; I believe every known disease, is to be found at the Mena camp (with the exception of cholera) & 3 men die every

[Page 188]
2 days, principally from pneumonia. The lads who have been there lately say this camp is a heaven to it for cleanliness; We have practically no serious case of sickness from this camp & there has been no deaths to my knowledge; In one of the letters we had from home a week or two ago, I think Mrs Pemberthy asked if we knew a lad named Newton (a nephew of Mrs Nelson’s) we do know him & he is going back to Australia probably next Wednesday (the same mail as this) he has rheumatism & suffers pretty bad with it at times, he has not been

[Page 189]
attending parades for some time & helps with the cooking;
Major Granville said to-day that General Godly told the officers this morning that we would leave here within a fortnight & that we would be in the trenches with men who have fighting for months, so that is not too bad, if it does not prove another rumor;

The war news we get here is much the same day after day & it is seldom we buy a paper at all now & I suppose you get the same. I think the Aus. papers publish any moves we make & you will know by them when we move long before you get a letter to tell you. I will be making a good start, starting my second book

[Page 190]
on Sunday; I am inclined to think the lads now enlisting in Australia will receive a worse time than we have had of it, as we have had glorious weather right through & they

[The following notes written upside-down]
Mrs Warneford [?]
Garden St
South Randwick
Near Shephards Nursery
Long Bay Line

Money drawn since leaving Rosebery
£ S. D.
1. 5. 0
1. 0. 0

Mrs Evans
Park House
Park Rd

[Page 191]
will find it a good deal warmer in the tropics than we did; & if they are landed in Egypt they have my pity, as it will be no joke training here in a month or two, it is quite unpleasant enough contending with the dust here now & it would be horrible in the summer time; England will have to keep a large army here, as the Sultan is far from popular with the natives & they would rise & fight with the Turks if they get half a chance;
Well Mother I will have to say Good-bye again for the present, with heaps of love to all at home from your loving son

[Page 192]
H Davis Furrier
Depot F 163 Pitt St Sydney

C Coles Furrier
47 Castlereagh St
Next Hotel Aus. Sydney

Tost & Rohu
10 Moore St Sydney

[Page 193]
79 Orwell Road

Edie Tomlins
Vernon Lodge
West Malvern

John Tomlins
Heath View
Fords Heath

[Page 194]
Code call

AXB Euripides
" " C Argyllshire
" " D Afric
" " F Bennalla
" " G Rangatar
" " H "Star of Victoria"
" " I Hororata
" " J Omrah
" " K Miltardies

New Zealand Troop Ships

NZC Maunganui (3)
" " D Otari (6)
" " E Star of India (8)
" " F Limerick (7)
" " G Tahiti (4)
" " H Arawa (10)
" " I Athenic (11)
" " J Hawke’s Bay (9)
" " K Ruapehu (5)
" " L Waimara (12)

[Page 195]
Troop Ships
From Melbourne to Colombo
Code call

AVB Orvieto 1st Division
AVC Southern
" " D Pera
" " E Armadale
" " F Saldahna
" " G Katuna
" " H Hyonettus
" " I Suffolk
" "J Anglo-Egyptian

AWB Wiltshire 2nd Division
" " C Medic
" " D Ascanius
" " E Star of England
" " F Geelong
" " G Port Lincoln
" " H Karroo
" " I Marare
" " J Clan Mac Corquodale

[Page 196]
War Boats escorting us from Australia to Colombo

Australian Cruiser = Melbourne
[Australian Cruiser] = Sydney
English [Cruiser] " Minotor
Japanese [Cruiser] " Taru-Maru

From Colombo to Egypt

English Cruiser = Yarmouth
[English Cruiser] = Hampshire
[English Cruiser]
Russian [Cruiser]
Japanese [Cruiser] Taru-Maru

[Page 197]
Col Meredith JB

Station Calls
1st LH FR Reg HQ
B " FB
C " FC
2nd LH GR
3rd LH HR


[Transcribed by Peter Mayo and Lynne Frizell for the State Library of New South Wales]