Remembered Today:

Percy Brown's war diary

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A personal account of Percy Brown's service in the Hampshire Regiment, 1908 to 1915

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priestleysj

15 August to 13 September 1915

Sun. Aug 15th/15. I left Heliopolis today, for Alexandria. I am not sorry to say goodbye to Luna (tic) Park. On arrival at Alexandria we embarked on H. M. Hospital Ship "Ghoorkha". This is a very good boat. The sisters & doctors are English, but all the orderlies are natives of India. Some of them are very nice fellows, & I spend many an hour talking to them in Hindustani. Mon. Aug. 16th/15. We had a man die in our ward today. One man suffering from dysentery, is nothing but a mere skeleton. Aug. 18th/15. We arrived at Malta. We left Malta the following morning about 6 o'clock, & arrived at Gibraltar on Sun. Aug, 22nd/15. We saw two sharks & shoals of flying fish & porpoises on the way from Malta. Tues. Aug. 24th/15. We saw two whales last night, & another this morning, quite close to the boat. Thur. Aug. 26th/15. We anchored off Netley Hospital. Fri. Aug. 27th/15. We disembarked at Southampton, & entrained for London, where we were met by motor ambulance & conveyed to the King George Hospital, Stamford St. What a treat the nice green fields were to our eyes, after the burning & glaring sands of the Egyptian desert, & the shell ploughed & bullet swept veldt of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Thur. Sep. 9th/15. We had a very excitable time last night. The Germans made another air raid on London. They started dropping bombs between 10pm & 11pm. They passed over the hospital & we saw two fires not far from here. The anti-aircraft guns were firing all the time, & we could see the shells bursting all around the Zeppelin, but they could not hit it; worse luck. Mon. Sep. 13th 1915. I left the King George Hos. & proceeded by motor to the Orchard Military Convalescent Hos. Dartford, Kent, where I am put on the staff; being temporary unfit for active service. I am ward orderly here, in charge of one of the wards. I am also a member of the hospital military band (cornet) & the hospital string band (violin)

P. Brown.

priestleysj

11 May to 12 August 1915

Tues. May 11th/15. I have a touch of dysentery, & am very sick and giddy. The Turkish artillery generally gives us a good "straffing" three times a day (meal times) Wed. May 12th/15. My dysentery is rather worse today. I am not getting much rest out of our week's releif from the firing line. Thur. May 13th/15. Still about the same, & very weak. I have had no food for two days now; the very sight of it makes me sick. Sun. May 16th/15. I am rather worse today, so am being sent back to the clearance hospital on the beach. My luck seems to be out on this trip, as our regt is going back to the firing line tonight, & here am I, as weak as a rat, & unable to go up with the boys. They kept me for 5 days on the beach, & then sent me aboard the "Franconia" (hospital boat) in Lemnos harbour. Sat. May 29th 1915 They sent me ashore at Mudros, Lemnos, & put me in the field hospital there. The village of Mudros is a ramshackle old place, inhabited by Greeks. The men work in an old stone quarry just outside the village. Nearly everyone possesses a donkey. These donkies make a fearful row; braying all night. Tues. June 1st 1915. My birthday. I am twenty five years of age. Sat. June 5th 1915. I embarked on the "Franconia" for Alexandria, Egypt. Mon. June 7th 1915 We arrived at Alexandria, & disembarked. We found a hospital train awaiting us, which took us to Heliopolis, (He-li-op-o-liss) which is about eight miles from Cairo. We arrived at Heliopolis at about 11p.m., & were conveyed by motor ambulance to the Luna Park hospital. It is very hot & sandy here. By day we are pestered by flies, & night by mosquitoes. This is an Australian general hospital, & all the sisters, doctors, & orderlies come from Australia. There are several Australian regts under canvas near the Pyramids & at Mena Camp. Sat. June 12th 1915. I saw one of my old chums last night. He was with me in the 1st Hants Regt in Londonderry Ireland about six years ago (1909) when he was discharged as medically unfit. He was also one of my school chums in 1900. He has been in Australia some time, & is now serving in an Australian regt. Sun. June 13th 1915. I have had a relapse, so have to keep to my bed now. Wed. July 28th 1915. The matron took me for a motor ride today, through Heliopolis; along the Cairo road; pass the house where Lord Kitchener resides when visiting Egypt; through Abbesiah; Kasr-el-nil; over, & back alongside the river Nile. (I did not see any crocodiles) We saw the Pyramids in the distance, about four or five miles away. Aug 1st 1915. I have had another relapse, so my doctor has recommended me for a trip to England. Thur. Aug 5th 1915. I passed the medical board today. They have decided to send me to England for two or three months. Thur. Aug. 12th 1915. I went, by train, to the Citadel, Cairo, today. A fine view can be obtained from the top. The Pyramids; River Nile; Kasr-el-nil; Abbesiah; & Heliopolis are plainly visable from this point.

priestleysj

7 to 10 May 1915

Fri. May 7th/15. Everything practically quiet during the day. We made an advance about tea time. I, & about 50 others, got cut off from the regt, & had a very hot time, as we were only about 100 yards from the Turks trenches. We held on to a gulley, when the Turks started working round our flanks, trying to surround us. We had to retreat & make a run for it. We had no idea where our trenches were, as by this time it had got dark. I kept on running back, under heavy rifle fire from the rear & both flanks, untill I eventually fell into a trench occupied by a New Zealand regt. I asked them where my regt was, but they could not tell me, so I remained with them during the night. Sat. May 8th 1915 The Turks made an attack on the N. Zealanders trench today, so I had no chance of finding my own regt. I chimed in with the N. Zealanders during the attack, which we easily repulsed. Sun. May 9th/15. Everything quiet, except the snipers. After dinner (?) time I retired back to the next line of trenches, where I found the Essex Regt. I asked their C.O. if he could tell me where the Hants Regt were, but he did not know, so I was in a fix again. About dark, a message came through that the Hants were in the next line of trenches (reserve) so I retired back untill I came across them, where they had given me up for lost. They had had a mail up in the firing line during my absence, & had written "missing" on all my letters, & sent them back to the base (I recovered them before they left the Peninsular) Just after I rejoined my regt we had orders to retire for a rest; after fifteen days in the firing line. We retired back just behind some of the French 75's. They shook the ground every time they fired but we were so tired that we dropped off to sleep in spite of the roar of the guns. Mon. May 10th 1915. We are well out of rifle fire now, & can walk about & cook our meals in safety. I had my first decent wash, since landing, today (but am still "itchy koo") We had a roll call this morning. There are only about 150 of us left now out of 1200, including officers, non-commissioned officers, & men. We have only 3 officers left; 1 captain & 2 lieutenants. My company officer (Capt Wymer) is in charge of the regt (?)

priestleysj

2 to 6 May 1915

Sun. May 2nd 1915. We started to attack Krithia again this morning, but had to retire into our trenches, under heavy artillery fire; many casualities. I had to go out again today & help bring in the wounded. There were about a dozen of us went out. We only took our rifles & a bandolier of ammunition (50 rounds). We went out in extended order; from 20 to 30 yards apart. I was left hand man, & we had gone about 200 yards, when I saw a man out on my left front. He was sitting up, waving his arms & calling for help. I left our party & went over to him. He could not walk, & he had another man with him in a dying condition. He had had no food for 3 days & I could see that he would not live, so I tried to get the other one in. as I went to lift him, about a dozen shots rang out, & the bullets struck the ground all around us. I saw him under cover, & went to fetch help, as he was too much for me to manage by myself. I came across two of the Worcester Regt, who were out after wounded, like myself, so I asked them to give me a hand. They came with me, & two of us took cover while the other crawled out to the wounded man. One of us had glasses, & we tried to find the snipers so that we could shoot at them & make them keep their heads down. As soon as we had found out where most of them were, we told the other chap to pick up the wounded man, & run back to the next point of cover, while we blazed away at the snipers. We had got back behind a portion of a ruined wall, & I was looking through the glasses, when I suddenly saw a Turkish sniper, just on our left about 30 to 50 yards away. He was just crawling behind a bush & getting ready to fire at us. I dropped the glasses; snatched up my rifle, & had him over, first shot. We eventually got the wounded man back into our trenches, but could not go out for the other, as the Turks started an attack, & we had to remain in the trench. Mon. May 3rd 1915. We have not nearly half our regt left now. We have suffered many casualities since landing. Tues. May 4th/15. We were releived yesterday from the firing line & are now back in the reserve trenches. Ten days in the firing line; advancing & digging trenches, with continuous night attacks, makes one rather fagged out. Wed. May 5th/15. Up in the firing line again. They did not give us much rest. There is a deep gulley or ravine just on our left, & about 40 Turks broke through during the night. They all surrendered. We had our machine guns playing on the gulley nearly all night, & in the morning the ground was covered with dead Turks. Thur. May 6th/15. The Turks called a truce today. To pick up the wounded & bury the dead. We found a few of our men dead in front of our trenches; but no wounded, except one young Turk, whom we brought back with us. He tried to sham dead at first. I suppose he thought we were going to torture him, the same as some of their snipers have done to our men. Two of our sergeants were left wounded on the field, & a Turkish sniper came up to one of them & tried to skin him alive. The other sergt. tried to commit suicide but failed. We made an advance & came across him, when he told us of the sniper's brutality.

priestleysj

26 April to 1 May 1915

Mon April 26th 1915. We made great progress today, with few casualties, driving the Turks back & destroying their forts. Snipers are still a great danger. They sometimes remain in their positions all day without being discovered. They paint their rifles & faces to match the ground, & it is very hard to find them with field glasses even. We had a narrow escape from artillery fire at dusk last night. We had formed up to take over another line of trenches, when all at once the Turks opened fire on us, & we had to scatter back into our original trenches. Wed. April 28th/15. The enemy did not trouble us much last night. They came up to our trenches once, just before dawn, but we made it too hot for them. There are dozens of tortoises here, about 9 inches long & 5 inches wide. We had one in our trench today, & was going to keep it for a mascot but we had to quit the trench in a hurry. The Turkish artillery have actually got the correct range today, & are dropping their shells straight into our trenches. They have completely shelled us out, & we had to retire right back to the beach. Here we formed up again, & made an advance on the village of Krithia, which is situated on some high ground to the left of Achi Baba. The advance was made under very heavy artillery fire. The shells were bursting & ploughing the ground up all around us. Several times stones & bits of rock struck me & I thought it was a piece of shell or shrapnel. We advanced to within a few hundred yards of Krithia, under terrible fire, when we could get no further, owing to lack of ammunition & reinforcements. We had to beat a hasty retreat, under the most terrible fire imaginable. The air was simply full of lead. Our troops were terribly cut up, & our casualities were very heavy. It was a day I shall never forget. Thur. April 29th 1915. We are still in our advanced trenches, in sight of Krithia & Achi Baba, which is strongly fortified by the Turks. Their guns are on rails, & disappear down tunnels after firing. Fri. April 30th/15. We still hold the same position as yesterday. The enemy has not troubled us much, except for occasional snipers, & we are getting used to them now. In fact, we jumped up out of our trenches today, & chased a rabbit; casuals nil, including bunny. I volunteered to go out as sniper today, as they asked the best shots to go out. I have to g out just before dawn, & take a day's rations & plenty of ammunition with me. I releive the man who has been there all night, & another releives me at dusk. We have to go right out in front of our trenches, & conceal ourselves & snipe any Turk who shows himself. The art of sniping is good shooting & the concealing of oneself, as there is not much chance for you, once you are spotted. The Turks generally make two or three attacks during the night. They are trying very hard to drive us back into the sea, but I think we have got too strong a footing on the Peninsular for that; with the navy to back us up. They don't like the shells from the Queen Elizabeth (Queen Lizzy) Sat. May 1st 1915. We still hold the same line of trenches. The enemy still continues his night attacks, with many casualties to himself, & very few to us. Our guns gave him a good dose of shrapnel last night.

priestleysj

24 and 25 April 1915

About mid night on Sat. april 24th 1915 we left Lemnos; all lights out & every one below deck. Before dawn on Sun. April 25th 1915 we arrived off Cape Helles, Gallîpoli (Gal-lîp-o-li) We heard the Navy bombarding some hours ago. The flash of the guns was like lightning, & you had to shout yourself hoarse to make yourself heard above the roar of the guns. We had to stand off for a while, & wait untill the Navy had done a little more damage. It was fine, watching the shells pitch in the Turks trenches, & knocking down the forts at Sett-ul-Bahr. The five funnel Russian Battleship did some splendid work with her broadsides, both on Gallîpoli & the Asiatic side. We christened her the "packet of woodbines" on account of her five funnels. Our regt formed part of the 29th Division. Half of our regt was on the "River Clyde" (Ship of Troy) which landed at Sett-ul-Bahr (V. Beach) under Colonel Carrington Smith (our Colonel) who was killed there, also the General & Brigade Major. Our half were on the "Aragon", & landed on W. Beach, under Major Leigh 2nd in command 2nd Hants Regt. We landed under heavy artillery fire. We had 6 of the "Aragon's" lifeboats, attached to a naval steam pinace, which towed us ashore. The ropes broke twice, & we had to turn about both times to pick up the stranded boats. The English, French, & Russian battleships kept up their bombardment on the forts while we were landing, & we could hear the shells screeching over our heads. We got within a few yards of the shore, & jumped out of the boats, up to our waists in water, & rushed up to the Turks trenches. We were lucky enough not to encounter any barbed wire, which the Turks in some places, had placed under the water as well as in front of their trenches. The navy are co-operating with us, & are acting as artillery to us, as we have no big guns ashore yet. The first landing party (Lancashire Fusiliers) were terribly cut up, having to charge a strong Turkish position three times before they could get a footing. The beach was swept by machine gun & rifle fire, & it is a wonder that anyone could have lived through it. A great number were either killed, wounded, or drowned, as the boats were being towed ashore. Every one grieved the loss of our Colonel. He was a splendid man, & anyone in the regt would have followed him anywhere. We soon had the Turks on the run at W. Beach, & we advanced as far as the ridge of the second hill; where we remained the whole of the day. A sniper was trying his hardest to put me on the casualty list, but he could not hit me, although some of this shots came a little too close to feel comfortable. We had few casualties in advancing, but the shore was strewn with dead & wounded. Some of them had their heads completely blown off & others had their faces blown away. It makes one feel sick at first, but in time we get used to it. We have captured several snipers, & killed a good many. We captured a young girl (about 18) who was out sniping (from Krithia) They are good shots. She had about 30 of our identification disc's on her. One sniper got behind our lines & lay in wait for the wounded, & shot them as they passed on their way to the dressing station on the beach. We caught him & gave him his deserts. We entrenched at dusk that evening (Sun. April 25th/15) The Turks made four attacks on our trenches during the night; coming within a few yards in some places along the line. We beat them off on each occasion with heavy rifle fire.

priestleysj

November 1914 to 13 April 1915

Nov 1914 we embarked at Bombay on H. M. T. "Aragon" for England, via Aden, Suez Canal, Malta, & Gibraltar. Dec 23rd 1914. We arrived at Plymouth, & disembarked the following day, & entrained for Romsey, Hants, where we were billeted. We went home the same day on leave for Xmas. Feb 1915 we left Romsey, & entrained for Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire, where we went into billets. March. 1915. We left Stratford, & marched to Warwick (8 miles) where we were again billeted. Whilst we were at Warwick, we were inspected by the King. All of our Brigade (88th Inf. Brig) is here, & we do all our training together. March 20th 1915 We left Warwick by rail for Avonmouth docks, Bristol, where we embarked on H.M.T. "Aragon" (the same boat that brought us home from India) We had a fairly calm passage across the Bay of Biscay, & passed Gibraltar, on the night of March 24th 1915. We arrived at Malta on March 28th/15 & stopped in harbour 24 hours to coal. We left Malta the following day, & arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, on April 2nd (Good Friday) We disembarked the following day, & went under canvas at Mustapha Bks, Sidi Gaber; about 3 or4 miles from the docks. We did a little training whilst at Alex & were also inspected by Sir Ian Hamilton, & a French General. April 8th 1915. We embarked again on H.M.T. "Aragon" & remained on board untill Sun. April 11th/15, when we sailed for Lemnos. Tues. April 13th 1915 we arrived at Lemnos; raining. This is the base, both naval & military, for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, in the campaign in Gallipoli & The Dardanelles. The harbour is crowded with naval boats & transports. We have a fine view of the village of Gastron (or Castron) from here. Gastron is 3 or 4 miles inland. We cannot see the village of Mudros, as a hill hides it from view. The island looks nice & green but sparcely timbered. The country is rather hilly. There are one or two camps on shore. We have a German boat (captured liner) anchored by us. Some of our Division (29th) are on board her. We have just had instructions of what we have to carry with us when going into action. Here is a list:- In the pack, or valise, which is carried on the back:- 1 overcoat, 1 pr. socks, 1 housewife, 1 comb, 1 shaving brush, 1 day's rations in mess tin, (1lb tin bully beef, 1 bag biscuits, tea, sugar, & oxo) 1 shirt, 1 cap comforter, 1 body belt, 1 ration bag, 1 water proof sheet & firewood. In the haversack:- 1 day's rations, 1 towel, 1 piece of soap, 1 toothbrush, 1 pr. laces, 1 pr. socks, 1 knife, fork & spoon. Besides this we have to carry 250 rounds of ammunition, rifle, bayonet, entrenching tool, & equipment, so I think we had much more, we would have to get down on our knees to carry it.

priestleysj

7 December 1913 to November 1914

Dec.7th 1913. We sailed from P. Louis today on H.M.S. "Hardinge" for India being releived at Mauritius by the Essex Regt. Dec. 17th 1913 we arrived at Bombay, India, where we disembarked & trained for Inhow, Central India (3 days & nights journey in the train) The scenery was very interesting, & we saw several large baboons & water buffaloes on the way. It was extremely cold at night; riding in the train. Inhow is a fine healthy station. We found our old companions (X & Y . Battery, Artillery) here, who were with us in S. Africa. We arrived at Inhow on Dec 21st 1913 and as we had no time to make any preparations for Christmas, the artillery kindly invited us (the band) down to there barracks for Christmas Day. It is very hot here in December. The jungle is only 12 miles from barracks. A large panther was shot in the cantonments early one morning, but it is seldom that they stray outside the jungle. There are plenty of large snakes here; 7 to 9 feet long; & parrots & some very beautiful birds ; also vultures, scavenger hawks & flying foxes. There is a tower on a hill not far from barracks, called the "tower of silence". No Europeans are allowed on this hill, as it is sacred to the natives. When any of the natives die, the body is placed on the top of this tower, ( which is composed of a kind of grating) for the vultures & hawks to pick. When all the flesh is picked off the bones, they drop through the grating, & are cremated. Feb 1914. We went under canvas at Datoda, (8 miles from barracks; across country) for manoeuvres. It is very hot marching across the plains & cotton fields. There are great cracks in the ground, 6 inches wide, where the sun has baked it. There are plenty of jackals & hyenas here. They go about in packs, & make a fearful row all night. They are practically harmless, except when cornered, when it takes a good dog to beat them. There is plenty of good shooting (deer, buck, hares, partridges & pigeons ) to be had on the Bircha Estate; also good fishing in the Bircha Lake, which is about 4 miles from barracks. We do not get many band engagements here. We had one good turn at the gymkhana, where we played at some sports got up by the Rajah of Indore. I find me Hindustani come in useful now, as I am able to talk to the natives in their own language. Sep 1914 we moved to Colaba Bks, Bombay, where we get plenty of sea fishing & bathing. We get plenty of band engagements at the Bombay Yacht Club, Promenade & the Victoria Gardens, where they have a splendid zoo & avairy. Nov 1914 the 5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th, battalions of our Territorials arrive at Bombay from England. We have to go alongside the barracks (under canvas) while the 7th battalion moves into them. The 3 other battalions went up country.

priestleysj

13 December 1911 to 23 October 1912

Dec. 13th 1911 we left Durban for Mauritius; a small island off the west coast of Africa (32 miles long & 28 miles wide) Dec. 18th 1911 we arrived at Port Louis, Mauritius & disembarked in lighters, as there are no docks, owing to the shallowness of the harbour. We marched to the station & entrained for Vacoas, (Vak-o-ah) a distance of about 12 miles from P. Louis. We have one company on detatchment at Curepipe (Cure-a-pip) which is about 4 miles from Vacoas. The island is chiefly inhabited by Mauritius Creoles, French, Chinese, Indians, a few English & plenty of monkeys. Most of the Europeans live at Curepipe. Mauritius is a very unhealthy place, & plague, fever, smallpox & leprosy are common diseases amongst the natives. Vacoas is well situated up in the hills, & is one of the healthiest places on the island. P Louis is out of bounds to the troops about three parts of the year, owing to the plague, etc, which is generally prevalent there amongst the natives. The trains of Mauritius are well worth seeing. The carriages are like omnibusses or tramcars; with accomodation up top, (which is roofed over) as well as below. Sometimes, when the train is crowded, you can see the natives riding on the top of the carriages. This is especially noticeable at Christmas time, when the natives dress up in silks of all colours, & hold a sort of carnival of fireworks & crackers. The barracks at Vacoas are well situated, & are surrounded by fine scenery. From my window I can see a long range of mountains which stretch down to the sea at P. Louis. There are plenty of flying foxes & jungle pigs here. The mosquitoes are very bad in Mauritius, & at night we have mosquito nets over our beds, to keep them from biting us. Jan. 7th 1912. I am on Government House Guard at P. Louis today. I shall not be sorry when I come off, as the sun is scorching hot, & the pavement burns my feet. No English money is used here, the current coins being; bronze:- 1 cent, 2 cents & five cents; silver:- 10 cents, 25 cents, (¼ rupee) 50 cents, (½ rupee) & 100 cents (1 rupee.) Six cents are the value of one penny, 25 cents = 4 pence, 50 cents = 8 pence & 1 rupee = one & four pence. No gold is used, but a good value for English sovereigns & half sovs may be obtained. Fifteen rupees is the standard value of £1. We have some splendid recreation grounds here; including 2 good football grounds, golf links, hockey & cricket pitch. I am going through a course of the Hindustani language, & can read & write fairly well now. We have had one or two cases of fever since we have been here, & one of our men has just died of dysentery. The cheif products of the island are; sugar, flax, bananas, plantains, cocoanuts, mangoes, pineapples, oranges, etc, & all kinds of vegeatables. The staple industry is sugar refining, & there are large sugar mills all over the country, where you can see the sugar go in at one end in cane form, & come out at the other in sacks of pure sugar. The island is largely under cultivation; mostly sugar plantations. It takes 3 years for the sugar to grow, before it is fit to cut, when it obtains the heigth of from 6 to 10 feet. There is a crater of an extinct volcano between here & Curepipe. Roller skating is all the rage here. We have a large regimental rink in barracks, & a large public one at Curepipe. Our band plays at both rinks every week. The only theatre is at P. Louis, & is closed half the year. There is a very beautifull waterfall a few miles from barracks, called the Tammerind Fall; also the Tammerind Lakes. There is also one of the finest botanical gardens in the world at Pamplemouses. We have our own dairy & mineral water factory in barracks. We have a fine rifle range here, called the Mount Candos range, owing to its situation at the foot of Mt Candos. May 16th 1912 I joined our regimental band. The crew of H.M.S. "Forte" paid us a visit today. We had a jolly time with the sailors. They gave us a good game of football; drawing with the pick of the regt 4-4. June 3rd 1912 King's birthday parade; review order. July 1st 1912 our company marched to P. Louis ( 12 miles) & put up in the Hong Kong & Signapore Artillery's barracks. We are down here for company training. July 15th 1912 we marched back to Vacoas. Aug 4th 1912. I went aboard H. M. S. "Hermes" this morning with a Petty Officer, who showed me all the big guns & torpedoes, & how they were worked. Aug 6th 1912. The band went to Curepipe today, where the Royal Army Medical Corps gave us a cricket match & smoking concert. The R.A.M.C. beat us at cricket by 7 runs. Oct 16th 1912. We gave the R.A.M.C. a return smoker at Curepipe; taking our instruments with us. Oct 23rd 1912. We (the band) went to Mabourg today for an outing. Mabourg is situated on the opposite coast (north) to P. Louis. We went for a sail in one of the native sailing boats. We went about three miles out (in the harbour) & had a bathe; where it is only from 4 to 5 feet deep. There is a deep channel at the mouth of the channel, where there are plenty of sharks. The natives here fish as they did years ago, with spears & harpoons. There are very few Europeans at Mabourg. There is a very ancient graveyard there, & some of the tombs are well worth seeing. There are some fine Mosques & Indian Temples at P. Louis & Vacoas, where the natives worship their idols, (some with 2 heads & 4 legs & arms) Europeans are allowed to visit these temples on condition that they remove their footwear, & wash their feet in the Holy Well, before entering. Anyone who enters & disregards this order, does so at the risk of their lives.

priestleysj

3 October 1908 to 10 December 1911

Oct. 3rd 1908. I enlisted at Aldershot, Hants, in the 1st Battalion, Hants Regt. I was attached to the South Wales Borders Regt, North Camp, A'shot, for a few days then sent to Winchester, Hants; which is my regimental depôt. Here I am learnt my foot and rifle drill. After six weeks at Winchester, I am sent to my battalion; which is stationed at Londonderry, Ireland. L'derry is rather a cold wet place, situated on the banks of the river Foyle; which flows out to the sea on the north coast of Ireland. There is a fine bridge across the river; Carlisle Bridge. Once a year we have to go to a place called Maggiligan Camp for our annual course of musketry and battalion training. Maggiligan is situated on the north coast of Ireland, between Port Rush and the mouth of the river Foyle. It is a fine place for bathing, except when the tide is going out, when it is rather risky. The last time we were here we marched back to L'derry (28 miles) through pouring rain. This was my first long march, & I am afraid my feet were rather sore after it. After passing out in drill & gymnastics at L'derry, I am sent to join my company at Enniskillen; a pretty little place about 80 miles from L'derry. I have some good sport here; fishing & boating on Loch Ern. During the 1909 season I caught the finest & largest fish out of the whole detatchment. May. 1909 I go to the military school & pass the exam for my 3rd class certificate of education. Aug. 1909, We trained to Dublin, where we started manoeuvres. We marched from Dublin to the Curragh Camp (32. miles) the first day & pitched camp. In the latter part of 1910 we rejoined our Regt at headquarters (L'derry) where I enjoyed myself very much. We left L'derry on Oct 3rd 1910 for Aldershot, Hants, where we arrived the following day. I am now entitled to wear my 1st good conduct stripe (2 years good conduct) I start school again & obtain my 2nd class certificate of education, I am now going for my 1st. Oct 19th 1911. I embarked at Southampton on H. M. Y. "Soudan" for South Africa. Nov. 10th 1911. We arrived at Cape Town, S. Africa. I am glad to say the sea did not have any effect on me, but a good many of the men were very sick the first few days. We disembarked at C. Town, & entrained for Wynberg, which is about half an hour's ride. We find it a good deal warmer here than in England. C. Town & Wynberg are very modern towns, & there are plenty of Europeans amongst the inhabitants; also Cape dutch Boers & natives (Kaffirs.) Three of my chums, & myself, climbed Table Mountain one day. We started early in the morning; taking some sandwiches in our haversacks, some water in our water bottles. It took us about four hours to reach the top, where we had our refreshments & a smoke, & afterwards set out to pick some silver leaves & everlasting flowers. We returned to camp about 7 o'clock in the evening; rather tired after our day's climb & tramp, Dec. 7th 1911 we embarked at C, Town on the R. I. M. S. "Dufferin" for Mauritius, via Durban. Dec. 10th 1911 we arrived at Durban, where we stopped 3 days to coal. We marched through the town for exercise, & also went bathing. The bathing place is fenced in by tall iron railings, to protect the bathers from sharks. There are plenty of rickshaw boys at Durban.