Daily Diaries
Diary One
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5th April 1915 to the 15th September 1915
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Page One
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Australia to Egypt (Cairo)

A brief account of my personal experience while on active service proper dating from April 5th 1915

5th April 1915
After having come from Australia per SS 'Argyleshire' and arriving in the 'Land of the Pharaohs' where rigorous training and tons of good fun and High Life generally were the rules of the road we got embarkation orders thank God! So here's to it and may our little flutter which we are about to have tend in some way to weight his balance against 'His most Satanic Majesty THE KAISER'. I was detailed to be in charge of 3 goods waggons in one of Cairo's many railway stations. Having got there, I started looking around for the necessary something to eat. Had a last stroll around the square. Posted a photo to cousin Annie in England. Had a last bath at the National (awfully tender memories of that place).
The devil alone knows when we'll get another.
7.15pm we started entraining. Had charge of 30 waggons. Loaded one truck in 25 minutes. Have developed into a quite a skilled driver. Got informed by the entraining officer that ours was the quickest he had seen. What dogs we must be. Goodbye Cairo.
0.45am slept in a truck with the gun stores.

Arrival at Alexandria

Australian troops cooling off by taking a swim at Alexandria (NW)

6th April 1915
Arrived in Alexandria 4.am Woke up somewhere about this morning by a beggar crawling all over me, mistook me for the carriage door mat I think. I knew it was a beggar by the beautiful perfume that pervaded the air when such creatures are at large, also by the yell he emitted when I soiled my right boot. I crawled out in the rain and saw to the unloading of the trucks. Had my first feed of Bully Beef and Biscuits. Gee but it's hard feed. I was on guard all day keeping inquisitive beggars from poking their noses into other peoples concerns, suits my present mood splendidly. Slept in some goods shed on the wharf. Stone floor, ugh. Darn sight worse than sand.

7th April 1915
I woke up with an awfully stiff back. Had a wash in a horse trough. No extra charge for the oats and chaff which were floating about. Exercised horses most of the morning. One moke wanted to give an exhibition of Tango or shake hands with me, and succeeded in planting me one on the leg. Spell to in the afternoon and went into the city at night after having an argument with a cabbie. Just to show our independence. Had supper at a German Restaurant. They came off second best. Remarkable what you pick up nowadays. Norman had an 'accident' he usually does. Leave expired at 9.30. Woke up to the fact that it was nearly that when we observed the time, so made a night of it.

8th April 1915 (Thursday)
Nothing said about last night's jollo. Transformed into the N.C.O. of Police today. Nothing to do so accepted an invitation to dinner with Cairns from the skipper of the White Star Liner 'Canada'. Capt was also the skipper of the Mersey. Remember her in Sydney. Had a great time. Smoked some of his delicious cigars also consumed one or two Dewar's White Label too. Had a bath. Went into the city again at night after being relieved from duty. Marfeesh feluce so came home. Wrote home.

9th April 1915
Worked in the stables in the earlier part of the morning then started loading horses and guns. Got orders to get aboard early this afternoon. Got there and can't get back again. Great quarters here. Packed like sardines. On board with us are the B.H.Q. and the B.A.C. Up on deck most of the night. Find that our craft is named the SS 'Indian'. Bunk at 12.

Voyage from Egypt (Alexandria) to Lemnos

10th April 1915
Left the wharf at 12 noon. Saw the last of Alexandria at 2 pm. Great city and absolutely Eastern in appearance. Splendid shipping accommodation. Contrary to expectations we went straight out of the harbour instead of anchoring in the stream for a day or so. Don't know where we're off to. Think it's the Dardanelles. Beautifully calm. Drew one months pay in advance. Wish I had leave ashore tonight!

11th April 1915
Had charge of the stable all day. Sea still smooth. Norman on sick list. Have suddenly been transformed into a nurse, making lemon drinks chloriodine doses. Bovril and gruel. Passed some island at 6 pm. Had a bath with a slight colouring of 'Phenol'. Guess the cause for taking such strict measures? Played washer woman gag tonight. Rotten hand at it though. Active service doesn't account for a lot of privileges.

Arrival at Lemnos Island

H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth used to support Anzac troops at Gallipoli (GW)

12th April 1915
Arrived at Lemnos. Anchored under torpedo protection at 5.30 pm. Splendid naval base. About 50 or 60 ships here now. Transports and warships passed the Askold, two French Monitors and several English warships, including the Queen whose band received us with 'It's a Long Way to Tip'. A first class battleship name unknown but flying the white ensign passed us a short time after we anchored. Splendid sight. Saw one cruiser, which from outward appearances has been in action. Just got an order 'Enemy's aeroplanes about, douse all lights' so it's bunk with a vengeance tonight.

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