Tuesday morning, 20th October 1914

Posted: October 23, 2014 by saraherhodes in 1914

We rose at 5am, struck camp, and packed everything up, and by 9 o’clock, we were on the move for the station. We all had to carry both our kit bags, overcoats, and rifles.

All along the line we got a splendid reception, and at Port Adelaide all the lumpers lined up in the street, and nearly cracked the carriage windows with their cheering.

At Glanville all the school children were lined up with their band playing, and all the girls were in white, all waving red, white and blue flags. It looked very nice I can tell you. At the Outer Harbour we were appointed to our places and then allowed ashore to have lunch and then I saw you. It was just the thing you all coming down.

The land gradually opened up, we could see all the towns on the coast at once, the houses assumed the shape of straight lines, became blurred and finally blotted out.

The Voyage
It was beautiful on the fore-deck towards evening. The sea was very smooth and the bows threw up a fine big wash, out of which a porpoise dashed occasionally.

There is a dry canteen on board where we can buy biscuits, sweets, fruit etc., and a barbers shop stocks purses, shoes, underclothing, belts and almost everything one needs. Besides ten horses, there are two kangaroos and a dog on board, and I must not forget the ship’s cat.

Our quarters were somewhat stuffy, and one unfortunate paid the penalty by being sick.

It was rather fun getting to bed – fellows crawling into their hammocks in all ways. One or two fell out, they were very comfortable when you were once safely in.

There was a roll on next morning, we were out in the ocean, having passed Troubridge Light on our Port and Conley Point on Starboard bows, about 9 o’clock. We fell in for parade on the boat deck for physical drill. One or two fellows weren’t feeling too happy, and before sunset, a fair number were ill.

The food is very good. For breakfast, we get porridge with milk and sugar, coffee ditto, meat of all descriptions, bread, butter, jam, pickles. Dinner:- soup, stewed hare etc. Tea:- bread and jam.

We prepare hammocks at 6pm, bed and “lights out” 9pm. I got up at 5.30 and had a hosing down from the men washing decks, the water is salt and is pumped through a big canvas hose, if it hits you in the face, it nearly knocks you down. My reason for doing this is that the showers are not turned on till 6 o’clock, the pressure is poor and the crowd is large.

Breakfast is served at 7.15 and you are quite ready for it.

Fell in at 11 o’clock for physical drill with running, jumping and wrestling, in the afternoon musketry exercise.

By this time, the boat was rolling heavily, and it was rather funny to watch the fellows trying to stand up straight, a very fair number did not stand up at all, but were down and out for the time.

Everyone has had their hair clipped as short as possible, we all look a lot of criminals.



At this location:

Great Australian Bight

On this ship: HMAT Ascanius

HMAT Ascanius

  1. Jan Beare says:

    Hi I read about this sight in the Messenger this afternoon. My partner of a short 5 years was David Milton Edward Rhodes, so I will look forward to reading the letters written by his grandfather.

  2. Scott Martindale says:

    Hi Sarah I just discovered this site thanks to the Messenger article mentioned above, my grandmother Mollie was Lance’s younger sister. My mum Aileen talked about the war exploits of ‘Uncle Lance’ so it is fascinating to learn about that history in his own words, thankyou for providing us with that opportunity.



    • saraherhodes says:

      Hi Scott,
      Thank you for your comment, it’s wonderful to hear from you. I’m glad you’re enjoying the letters. Please feel free to comment along the way, it would be wonderful to hear any of your stories.

  3. Scott Martindale says:

    Hi Sarah this is the link to the story I was referring to, which has the same text as above but features a photo of Buss and Cindy.


    • saraherhodes says:

      Thanks Scott, another great article. So wonderful that Aunty Buss and Cindy did these interviews! I hear that Grandpa (Ian) will be partaking in the Anzac Day march this year, along with my brother Hamish and cousin Sam – feel free to email me at sarahr81 at gmail.com if you want to chat with them about it.

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