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pompeyrodney

8th Battalion AIF Diary Found !

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frev

Greetings Jules,

Shall I tell you about the really bad night's sleep I had last night - I tossed and turned all night and woke up with a pounding headache - and all because of all these 'bad vibes' that seemed to be coming from half way round the world - you wouldn't know anything about that would you!!????? :ph34r::)

Anyway, I'm hugely grateful to you for taking all this time to share your grandad's diary with us - and I've even been gathering some information on RSI - to send you - a little later.

It's great news to hear that the missing diaries have been found - you'll definately have to work towards publishing your grandad's life story now - it's a must.

I hope you don't mind me helping with your words that are question marked - it's a habit I've always had - even before I became a compulsive researcher.

So here are some more:

Jan 3rd

Evidently a tube? on the move; dogs goats and kiddies. My guess is tribe

Jan 6th

We drilled amidst clouds of sand and our mouths were full up with it when we were turned? Could he have just meant when we returned.

Jan 8th

We are having now what is known in Africa as a sorocco? A sirocco is a hot wind, often carrying dust (or rain).

Jan 11th

Came in sight of 6 smaller pyramids along the Nile which are known as the Saccara? Pyramids. Saqqara - this necropolis is about 10kms Sth of Giza

You asked how come I'm researching so many 8th Battalion soldiers - well so far I have over 700 soldiers that I'm researching - from many different units. I couldn't settle for researching just one Memorial - when so many soldiers were related to so many others from many small towns in country Victoria, Aust (where my family came from) - so I just keep adding more. And most of our Memorials aren't just to the fallen - but everyone who had anything to do with that town and enlisted (so I'm basically writing a life story on many of them).

Anyway, please keep transcribing, pretty please even!

Cheers, Frev.

Robbie

I did see your post on the diaries of Pte Lay - and no unfortunately I don't have a copy of his diary and he's not one of the soldiers I'm researching, but I'll let you know what I know about him on your post.

Frev.

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John Cubin

Hello Jules. The diary is already compulsive reading. It is the nearest thing most of us will get to 'being there'. Thank you for all your hard work and please don't think you are not appreciated. Far from it. All the best from Bonnie Scotland.

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pompeyrodney

Many thanks for your kind words of appreciation gents, its nice to hear it. I will transcribe some more this evening but I am at work at present and duty calls so I must bid you all farewell for now.

Cheers

Jules :rolleyes:

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petrick

keep on going mate, i am intrested in it hanging on evry word. \on some occasions the 13th ALH were in the same areas as the 8th batt. so keep on going and maybe youll find a mention of them.

coo-ee

patrick

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pompeyrodney

8th Instalment.

Feb 15th

11 cases of smallpox in the camp, 1 death. Practised attack and digging in by company for 8 hours. Went to lecture at YMCA by Mr Stephen Trowbridge entitled “1000 miles of Turkey” - quite interesting. He dealt largely with the American massacres through which he was as an American missionary. Arrived back, Sgt Smith informed me he had chosen me to go into Cairo on a weeks town picquet which was very good news.

Feb 16th

Got already to parade at 10 am but it was postponed till 1130 and so I filled in the time partially by being inoculated a second time which has not affected me at all. Paraded at 1130 and took a train to Kasr-el-Nil barracks arriving there at 3 o'clock. Had tea at 5 past then went for a stroll around the town with one of the Lancashire Royal Engineers, back at 9.15 then went with Lt Paul and 5 other fellows patrolling the streets in pairs. Assembled at 11.30 and then Mr Paul shouted, formed? till 1230 and got back to barracks by ga??y about 10 o'clock.

Feb 17th

Awoke 7.30 am. Breakfast in bed, rested all day. Picquet at 7 pm. Pretty rough and rowdy tonight, the fellows seem to have gone mad.Arrived back about 2 am.

Feb 18th

Awoke just in time for breakfast. Had a look around the gardens of the museum and strolled around. After dinner had a shower bath. Picquet from 8th battalion whole day leave, arrived back about 10 o'clock.

Feb 19th

Breakfast woke me up. Tucker a decided improvement on Mena.

Went for a walk thorough the gardens just over the Nile Bridge, which are very pretty and modern. In the afternoon went for a stroll around the town and through the native quarter, known as the Massa. Had tea in town Picquet 7pm. Things very quiet, dismissed at 11.30. Had a feed and went back to camp.

Feb 20th

Paid a guide to show us around the museum in the morning and was astonished. It is marvellous how the various antiquities have been preserved. Went for a stroll around the Masaa in the afternoon and then had good tea at the Eden Palace Hotel with L/CPL Walker, returned to camp 6pm. Picquet 7pm. Things pretty lively. Saw some good trick cycling at the K---aal also pictures, between times, 2 prisoners back about 12.30.

Feb 21st

Breakfast in bed, got up at 10.30 am. Strolled around the gardens in afternoon. Very slow and a striking contrast to the Tower of London Bridge, a portion of the bridge revolves around a concrete formation. Picquet 7pm. Things pretty quiet. ---- in 3 drunks asleep on the pavement. Went around with Lt Paul and had my eyes opened more than ever. Mr Paul is a real sport. Things were quiet and we parted from Mr Pauls friends Joe and his friend the £-, another Egyptian. Another fellow, an Englishman, was with us and he and Mr Paul and myself went to the National Hotel, where they were staying and had a drink and something to eat. I left them after a yarn with Mr P, he has promised to take me around again tomorrow night by which time I will have seen enough of Cairo

Feb 22nd

Breakfast in bed up at 10 pm. Had a shower in the morning and went fro a stroll round the town in the afternoon. Picquet 7pm. Very few soldiers in, nothing doing. Went away with Lt Paul and Pte Hayes about 9.45 and picked up Lieuts Barrett and Hardy at Sheppard's Hotel, also 2 Englishmen staying at the National. Went all through Masaa and saw all there was to see, it entirely sickened me. Left them at midnight and Hayes and I made for home. On our way we were called upon to assist in the arrest 2 burly Egyptians. Had to go in ga—y with 2 secret police and give evidence. Interesting to here the first stages of an Egyptian trial, about a dozen people babbling at once in different languages, English, Arabic, French and Greek. Got back to camp about 10 o'clock.

Feb 23rd

Breakfast in bed, up at 9.30 am. Our last day on Picquet. Gardens in the morning. New Picquet arrived at 3 pm and we left at 6pm but had to walk Gijeh? and train from there to camp, where we arrived about 7.45 pm. Battalion out on a bivouac.

Weds Feb 24th

Just remembered that yeesterday whilst crossing the Nile Bridge the Sultan Hasssan 1 of Egypt passed us in his car with an escort of 4 Egyptian soldiers mounted on motorcycles. The Battalion got in this morning about 7am. Whole day holiday today, rested in morning, wrote letters in afternoon.

2 nd Re??fs arrived. Rumours of a shift on account of smallpox and pneumonia.

More to follow.

Please enlighten me with regards to the words I cannot figure out, and also I would be interested to hear more about the Picquet and how my grandfather could get away with staying in bed till 10 and getting breakfast in bed too!!!

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marina

He gets a lot of good detail in, doesn't he? It's all that drilling in the sand that gets to me - it must have been MURDER! And he talks of the pyramids appearing out of the fog too - never knew you could get fog in the desert.

Cairo stuff interesting too - he seems to be an interesting and interested man - off to the museum, lecture at the YM, tea here and there and then sorting out the drunks.

Was the brekkie in bed maybe a perk of picquet duty?

Marina

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marina
. Initially I had loads of responses but they seem to have almost dried up in the last couple of days.

Pompeyrodney! I was OUT last night and only had time for a quick glance through the forum when I got home - I saved yesterday's and today's installments, and Frev's diary, for tonight , and am thoroughly enjoying both. There is nothing like personal accounts, and this one has so much detail it's pretty lively.

So don't give up...it's all worth the time and effort!

Marina

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pompeyrodney

Hi marina

Thanks for your kind words. You are right about my grandfather he certainly seems a very interesting person who seemed to really like the culture of these places the army was taking him to. I so wish I knew all this detail about him before he died in 1976, it would have been great to talk to him about it all. I think the Picquet was there as a patrol to arrest any drunken soldiers but it must have been a perk and the time prior to the evenings patrol must have been yours to do with as you pleased, hence he stayed in bed !!

regards

Jules

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marina

That must be hard - to discover all this and never have had the chance to chat to him about it. I have often thought that - when I was very young, a fair few of the elderly men round my way MUST have seen service in the war, but I was too young to know or care anything about it. I could kick myself for lost opportunities now. Still, the diariess of the men are the next best thing.

Marina

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frev

Hi Jules,

How's the RSI? You must be getting pretty fast at the typing game by now!

I'm printing it all out if that's okay - so I can go back and read it all again and again. As I do so, if I work out anymore of your queries - I'll let you know.

Actually, the native quarter your grandad's talking about - Massa / Masaa - is actually the Wassa - which is where the red-light district was, and where a lot of our troops spent a lot of their time & their money (and often came away with more than they bargained for - you know the odd disease or two!)

It will be interesting to see if your grandad got called up for picquet at Easter - because Good Friday 2/4/15 was when our troops did a little rioting - the notorious "Battle of the Wassa". It would be interesting to get a first hand account of it.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Cheers, Frev.

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John Cubin

Hi Jules. Another great instalment. Feb 15th reference to American massacres is probably Armenian massacres. The worst of these occurred during the Great War but there were earlier ones. Feb 16th ref ga??y will be garry/gharry. Originally a horse-drawn enclosed vehicle, the word was still in use in my time and referred to the humble motor car. Thanks again for this wonderful story. John

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Brian M

What a great insight into world events from an eyewitness, fantastic. Major Stephen Trowbridge was a member of the American Red Cross Commission to Palestine and was largely responsible for alerting the Allies to the Armenian massacres. Much of his information was used by Arnold Toynbee and the Bryce Commision in its propaganda aimed to encourage the U.S. government to either side with the Allies or at least to stay neutral.

http://www.cilicia.com/armo10c-nyt191907.html

http://www.ku.edu/carrie/texts/world_war_I/Armenians/a15.htm

Brian M

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pompeyrodney

Hi Brian John and Frev :)

Thank you all for your appreciation of my typing this all up and yes Frev the RSI is coming on nicely thanks. Thanks for the insight into Major Stephen Trowbidge Brian, you seem to know your history and are doing your bit to educate me !! Meanwhile here is the next installment which I have been typing fo the last three hours :D

9th Installment folks

Feb 25th

Practised bayonet fighting and charging. Parade 8.30am, dismissed 11.15am. Orders received to shift goods and challets? On to the hill about a quarter mile away and bivouac there, on account of the flat on which the camp is situated being unhealthy. Went to lecture by Dr McKinnon at the YMCA. He was for 31 years in practice in and around Damascus. A good speaker and an interesting subject viz “his experiences”.

Feb 26th

vaccinated in morning. Parade at 3 pm, marched about 4 miles, had tea and bivouacked.

Feb 27th

Up at 3 o'clock in the morning and marched on a position in the usual way, viz night attack on a position in the usual way, viz night attack formation, arrived at the position about 5.45, then formed up and marched back to camp, arriving there 6.45. Parade 9.15 am dismissed 11.45. Saw Captain Coulter this afternoon and he told me we were moving off Wednesday next.

Sunday Feb 28th

Orders out to the effect that we are to be ready to move off at 24 hrs. notice, it is to be hoped that this time next week we shall be out of Egypt. Church Parade 9 am, dismissed 9.45, snoozed around for the rest of the day. Went tot a lecture and song service by Chaplain Miles and enjoyed it, the hymns were splendid and the lecture embodying the story of the Union Jack is very good. The Union Jack is made up of the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick, Red blue and white, standing for courage truth and finity?.

Monday March 1st

reveille 4.45 am. Parade 6 am. Smartening up drill, dismissed 11am. Sgt Keddie resigns his position as a sergeant in D company and joins the ranks. 3rd brigade left here last night from unknown destination. Parade 5.30pm, dismissed 7pm.

Mar 2nd

parade 7.15. Platoon field firing, our platoon did not shine although the company as a whole did well. Arrived back after a swift march at 12.45pm. Divisional-in-line picquet. Went up to the sergeants tent and listened to a yarn of old Pat Jordan s about the American evolution in Nicaragua in 1911-12 in which he took a prominent part. He is a man who has seen a good deal of adventure.

Mar 3rd

parade 8.30 am. Bayonet fighting and charging sandbags. The Brigadier has been rousing about the 8th Battalion, says they are a lot of loafers and must straighten themselves up. He will get nothing out of them until we are out of this frightfully monotonous sandy country. The fellows have lost all sense of pride and don't care a button. Dismissed 12 noon. Pay day, about time too as the majority of us have been broke for considerably over a week. The system of paying is rotten. Battalion-in-line picquet.

Mar 4th

parade 9am. Practised fire control on a hard landscape. Dismissed at noon. Parade 1.30, attacked position about a mile away in short rushes. Good going for a hot day. We are fast becoming a rag time army, and it is to be hoped we are shortly shifted away from here, when we will doubtless smarten up. Expect to go away from here any day now. Dismissed 4.30 pm. Caught a rotten cold last night. Went to the pictures which we fair excepting for the explanations on the films being in Spanish.

Mar 5th

Spelled? in morning. Parade 2 pm for divisional training. Skirmished for three minutes and then had tea and rested till 9.30 am when we moved off and roamed about the sheep till 12.30. Camped on the top of a hill 5.30 (-cold). Defended the position against attack. Returned to camp 8am.

Mar 6th

Mounted guard 9.30am, pretty tired and sleepy. Battalion whole day holiday. New guard mounted 5pm, very easy guard.

Mar 7th

Second issue of kit. Church parade 9am in the picture show building which is a great improvement, it holds 1800 men comfortably. Chaplain Miles conducted the service. Went to a song service tonight and enjoyed it.

Mar 8th

Route march through the irrigation canals, practising fire control as we went, and back through the sand. D company was paraded before the Brigadier before parade. The company was too rowdy and he had overheard several insulting remarks concerning himself. He had lost confidence in us but we could regain it in a week if we wished, if we did not, he could never entrust us with any responsible work in the field. The Colonel however in the afternoon told us that he was proud of his battalion and considered D company to be the best fighting company in the battalion, but we had the misfortune to live alongside the Brigadier. He said we were a little too demonstrative. Arrived back in camp 3.45. It was frightfully dusty along the banks of the canal. Jack Flynn was buried today out of D coy. He was a young and practically newly married man. Went to lecture in evening on Jerusalem by Professor Fullerton from New York. He had been all around through Palestine since before the war started. A good lecture.

Mar 9th

Holiday today as I was on guard the last battalion holiday. We have been in Egypt three months today. The battalion went out at 7am and returned at 4 pm. They rested till noon and dug trenches till 3.30 pm. Been very industrious today what with washing etc. Went to service in the YMCA tonight at which Mr Stephen Trowbridge spoke.

Mar 10th

Parade 7 o'clock. Repetition of yesterday's work, fortifying the position with earthworks, very hoy, very dusty, very tiresome, although we did not overwork ourselves. Got back to camp about 4.45. the brigade was working together. Turned in about 8.30 and at 10 o'clock Sgt Smith came along and told me I was wanted immediately for guard as one of the Hospital guard had been arrested for talking to one of the inmates. I had to go and did not enjoy it.

Mar 11th

I was on from 1am to 3 am with rifle loaded and cocked, absolutely the worst guard I ever did in my life. A sandstorm blowing all day. The Battalion marched to the Zoological Gardens and got back about 6.30 at night, just half an hour after us.

Mar 12th

Parade 7 o'clock. Another brigade day, to the position we prepared 2 days ago. Got back to camp 12 noon. Spelled? In afternoon. Parade 8.15 pm. Night attack on the 1st brigades entrenchments. Imagine it was a failure, although it was realistic, blank ammunition, flares etc. Back in camp 11pm.

That's all folks, keep the comments coming all welcome.

Jules P

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Brian M

Again, this is great. I find it fascinating to read a name and then with a wee bit of research can find so much more about him. Our poor Jack Flynn for instance is John Patrick Flynn #194 of the 8th Btn. who died on 7 March 1915 and was buried the following day at the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

Brian

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marina

I'm wondering why the sergeant resigned ansd joined the ranks.

Marina

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pompeyrodney

Hi Marina and Brian

I too am wondering how Jack Flynn came to die, can anyone enlighten the rest of us out here. I was wondering if he was killed during the training, although they were using blank ammunition. Thanks for the info on him Brian, is there any way to get the missing details we need?

Cheers

Jules

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frev

Hi guys,

John Flynn died of sickness. His Service Record hasn't been digitized (although can be requested) - so I couldn't check what sort.

Marina: (Sgt) Thomas Keddie's Service Record simply states that he was "Reduced to Pte 28/2/15" - usually when it's their own decision it's normally worded along the lines of - Reverted to Pte at own request - in some cases because they felt alienated and just wanted to be "one of the boys" again.

He was wounded (GSW leg) in the Gallipoli Landing 25/4/15 & eventually shipped to hospital in England arriving 20/5/15. Then embarked from England for return to Australia 8/10/15. Medically unfit.

Before enlisting he was a School Teacher & returned to his profession after discharge.

Cheers, Frev.

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pompeyrodney

Hi All

If it is of any help I think Jack Flynn probably died of Pneumonia as my grandfather states later in the diary (to follow) that "Another man dies of Pneumonia".

Hope this is of some help. Incidentally the next installment has some very interesting observations!!

Regards

Jules

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Brian M

I find the lectures given to the troops rather interesting in that they are from such 'well known authorities' as Major Stephen Trowbridge and Professor Kemper Fullerton. Both men are affiliated with American Christian Colleges and, as such, have particular biases when lecturering about the conflict against the Muslim Turks. Fullerton, in particular, was a renowned First Testament Prophesy Scholar whose Biblical interpretation of world events was likely meant to be an added incentive to the young troops to 'fight the good fight'.

Brian M

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Brian M

First Testament? Sorry, I meant Old Testament.

Brian

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pompeyrodney

Hi All

Thanks for your insight on the lectures Brian, I had no idea that these lectures were presumably compulsory to attend. I can see that perhaps this kind of lecture would certainly motivate the soldiers no end. Next installment to follow very shortly, keep reading.

Regards

Jules

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pompeyrodney

Tenth Instalment

Saturday Mar 13th

Battalion whole day holiday. Entered up this diary in long hand from my shorthand notes, from Oct 9th to Feb 3rd I cupped? Mostly from Mac’s book as I did not start till Feb3rd. Pay day. Small house flies here are an awful pest, they just seem to stick to you. In the evening I went to a variety concert at the Red X music hall, not bad, but all songs in French.

Mar 14th

Church parade 9 am. Rumours of a shift next week to the Persian Gulf. Roast beef for dinner for the first time with cabbage and potatoes. A good dinner spoiled through lack of a system for serving out. Finished entering up diary. In the evening went to YMCA service. Captain McKenzie spoke, he is very good and a real hard case. The text this morning Numbers XX “Be sure your sins will find you out”

Mar 15th

Parade 8.45. Route march round the banks of the canal. Dismissed 11.15 am. Parade 4pm, which should have been 3 pm, but a couple of showers of rain (the first for 3 months) prevented it. Saw Captain Dexter this afternoon and he says we are going away this week. Marched to our entrenchments at the Pyramids.

Mar 16th

Arrived back in camp 6.30 am. Spell ? in morning. Strong rumours of an early departure. Parade 2.15 pm. Route march round the banks of the canal, back about 4.30, pretty warm. More showers this morning.

Mar 17th

St Patrick’s day. Parade 7am. Divisional day. 1st and 2nd brigades. A big day; pretty warm and plenty of moving about. 2nd brigade won, all the “heads” out from General Birdwood downwards. Arrived back in camp 3pm. Pay day. Calculate that the Pyramids de Cheops is 11ch long and 11ch wide, covering and area of about 12 acres. Rumours of a shift gone to the mind, reckon another week here yet. Another death today from Pneumonia in B coy, (Eric Roy), a splendid fellow. Went to a variety show on the hill, very good for a camp show & PT.

Mar 18th

Parade 8.30. Filling in trenches which is a good sign. Worked harder than I have ever done before since I joined the AIF. Dismissed 3.15 pm. Divisional-in-line piquet.

Mar 19th

Battalion whole day holiday. Very industrious again today, duty platoon today, but I missed guard this time. Another death from motor accident in A coy today. Went to Red X “Music hall” tonight, very good, artistes from the Kursaal? In Cairo. A good idea bringing them out to camp.

Parade 8.30am. Half an hour before parade Sergeant Smith warned me to report to the orderly room at the double as the CO had forgotten his tobacco, ran 1.5 miles, caught him, and got back just in time to see the e battalion going out on parade, very lucky as I missed a 14 mile route march. Battalion got back about 3.30 pm. Crown and Anchor sands last night and tonight. A lot of money has been lost and won.

March 21st

Porridge for breakfast, what has happened !! Church Parade 9am. Capt Miles. Text; “For others we may be more than conquerors”. Rested till 3.30pn then a sergeant came and asked for volunteers to take the transport horses to water, I went and got a flighty sort of animal to ride and another to lead. No bridle available, and the Neddy played up all the way there (1.5 miles) and back and on one occasion he very nearly got away with me. A break in the monotonous routine. In-line picquet, turned out at 8 and 9 pm for Crown and Anchor parties. Dismissed 9.30. the latest as to the date of our departure and our destination is that we are going to Romania (remain ‘ ere eh!!).

Monday March 22nd.

Reveille 5.15am. Parade 7am. 4 of our battalion went to hospital today and 90 on sick parade. Named for quarter guard tomorrow at 8.30pm. Easiest day for a long while. Dismissed 2.45 pm. Mounted guard 5.30pm. Our first relief. The nights here as a rule are beautiful, but of course, I, being on guard, it turned out to be a brute, a heavy fog.

March 23rd

The battalion rested till 3pm and then started off for a divisional night attack. We however, are to remain on guard for an extra period of anything up to 24 hours and so have the best end of the stick. A good deal of presenting and saluting today.

Mar 24th

Battalion returned about 6.30am and new guard mounted at 9am. We were on for 40 hours. The battalion went out at 4pm to attack the trenches dug last night. After a good deal of “parleying” the old guard was let off and allowed to stop in camp.

Mar 25th

Battalion returned about 6.15 am. A huge swarm of locusts flew over the camp about 2pm. Said to be 570 deaths in the Australasian forces to date. Went to Empire picture palace tonight. Not too bad. The reservoir had burst again.

Mar 26th

Rested all day. Parade 6pm. Defended position at back of Pyramids against the remainder of the brigade. I was on patrol with an NCO and seven other fellows and had quite an exciting time, chasing their scouts who were attempting to destroy the flares. Took 15 prisoners and held the position, only about 3 hours sleep; back in camp about 6.30am, pretty tired.

Mar 27th

Small house flies are becoming a most terrific pest. Hot today. Went for a car for the CO after dinner.

Mar 28th

Church Parade 9am in the Red X Music Hall; on account of absolutely the worst sandstorm we have had yet. It is terrific and there is no place where one can shelter from it. Capt Dexter conducted the service and exploded a few atheistic theories in his sermon. The storm did not abate till sundown. Went to the usual YMCA service tonight and enjoyed it immensely. Col Green of the 1st Battalion (Chaplain) spoke and brought with him a friend of his (Mr Pullen) wireless operator on “Clan Mac Corquodale” who said a few words at the beginning. Col Green, who is a grand old fellow and a real hard case, said that General Sir Ian Hamilton was going to review us tomorrow, that there were 34 transports waiting at Alexandria, some of which had come from England empty and were exclusively Australian transports and that the “Clan Mac” was loading ammunition, he therefore , concluded that there was “something doing” as General Hamilton had been his general in South Africa and when he inspected troops, there was “something doing”. He considered that inside of a fortnight we would be “there”, a voice said “where”, but we must wait and see. My idea is Turkey. His subject was “playing the game” and he dealt with it in every road of life. He was grand and such a hard case.

Monday March 29th

Parade 8am for review by General Sir Ian Hamilton. Gave the general salute 3 times, and then marched past in column of double platoons. The 1st and 2nd Brigades do Field Ambulances and the Div Train were out. The Brigadier’s report on the Generals’ impression was most favourable to the 8th Battalion, and we are all very jubilant about it, as we did our best. Went to the N.S.W Y.M.C.A. and was not sorry as Mr Charles Knowles (the famous Covent Garden singer) was singing. He is a Staff S.M. in the Territorial City of London Yeomanry, who are stationed in Cairo. He was grand and when he got going the fellows would not let him stop. He sang “Father o’Flynn”, “My Old Shakko”, “Colleen Brown”, “Boys Of the Old Brigade”, “Auntie Laurie”, etc, the other artistes were passable. The audience was in, on and around the building. At last light photograph was taken. Back soon after lights out.

March 30th

Parade 8.30 am till 11.30pm and 1.30 to 4.30pm. An intensely hot day. Practised guard and outpost duties by day and by night. About the hottest day we have had although we were not overworked.

March 31st

Parade 8.30 till 11.30am. Outpost duties by day. Brigadier told the officers that by the middle of April we would be in action. Pay day. Parade 6.30pm till 9pm. Outpost duties by night. Rather funny, hailed up the Brigadier and his staff. Beautiful moonlight nights lately.

Parade 7am. Divisional day, one of the stiffest we had. Back in camp about 3.15 pm. Went to Red X Hall. Good sermon by Capt Dexter. Rumours of our departure on Monday and so I should take the opportunity of having a look at Heliopolis ( a suburb of Cairo) where the 2nd contingent of New Zealanders are camped. There is a splendid service of electric trams, they start on the road and then follow alongside the railway line for a couple of miles and out to the road again. Heliopolis is the T???ak of Cairo. On our way back we saw countless millions of locusts, they are just like huge clouds. Arrived back in Cairo about 3 o’clock and at 4 o’clock, being near one of the lowest streets in Cairo, and noticing a big crowd there, investigated, only to find that a quarrel had arisen between some of the New Zealanders and the natives, with the result that the former went into the houses and entirely cleared them out, throwing everything in to the street, a piano included, and setting fire to it, soon there was a large bonfire in the middle of the street. After a while about 20 of the Redcaps (M.M.P) arrived on the scene and when in the middle of the crowd, they were greeted with lumps of limestone chairs etc, with the result that the redcaps withdrew their revolvers and fired on the crowd, about 10 shots were fired, in addition to a few from our fellows who chanced to have revolvers. Two or three were wounded . About 5 o’clock a platoon of L F’s arrived and half an hour later a squadron of Westminster Dragoons. The Fire Brigade turned out, but they were put to flight by the crowd, the hose cut in halves and a half deposited at each end of the street. More dragoons and infantry arrived later, also the Australasian Provost Marshall, who made an appeal to all those men that wished to help him to clear the street , and were not interested in the affair to return to camp. Barney Allan and I returned, as asked. Arrived back in camp about 9pm.

April 3rd

Caught cold last night. We have now been told officially that we are to leave for Alexandria tomorrow and then proceed some place in rear of the Dardanelles forts and effect a landing undercover of shell fire from the warships. Hope I am better in the morning, feeling pretty crook, dare not go near the Dr’s. Turned in early .

Sunday April 4th

Just marching out to Church Parade when Tom Keddie and I were called out to go as escort to Lt Bennett, who was to go to the staff Paymaster in Cairo and draw the battalions pay, which is to be taken on the boat. The 3 of us set off in a cash car, each with a loaded revolver. We got the money (£3,300) and had to check it all, £3,000 of it being in gold. We found out to our cost that the amount of money in coin is as much can lift. Arrived back about 11.30pm and were still on guard over the money. C and D coys left at 4.30pm and we put the “valouse” on one of the transports that went with A and B at about 7.15pm, and then when we got to the trams, put it one and went to the station, where we arrived at 9.30. We had to get into a 1st class compartment and allow no one in it but Mr Bennett. Considering that we missed the much dreaded march and travelled 1st class to Alex, we did not do too badly, although we did not get much sleep as we had always to have someone on guard over the money with loaded revolver. The train left about midnight.

That's all for now folks

Regards

Jules

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Brian M

Jules

I hope that you are saving these diaries on a CD for safe keeping.

Brian

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marina

That's not the last bit, is it, Jules?

Marina

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pompeyrodney

Hi Brian and Marina and anyone else reading this

Don't worry Brian I have been keeping multiple copies of this as I am not going to ever do this much typing ever again I can assure you mate. Marina this is by no means the last you shall see of this diary, I have about another 100 pages of the first book to go and there are three books of it. Why did you think it was the last bit Marina ?

Regards

Jules

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