Leaving Western Australia

Posted: October 29, 2014 by saraherhodes in 1914

The Western Australians have come aboard, we are very crowded – 1700 men on board.  We are anchored two miles off the shore. Yachts and launches have been running trips, around the boats.

We heaved anchor about 4 a.m. Monday November 3rd.

There were four boats when we left Fremantle.  A Japanese Cruiser, A British Cruiser, the “Medic” and the “Ascanius”. The Jap was travelling about ten miles ahead, the “Medic” about one mile in front of us, and the British Cruiser five miles directly to Starboard. We struck it fairly rocky when we got out a bit, and several W.A. men fell victims to sea-sickness.

At sunset on Monday our engines were slowed down until we only had enough way on to keep our head to the sea, also all lights were doused. The binnacle light had a hood over it and the officers pasted brown paper over our port holes.

About 3 p.m. yesterday we had a little excitement, smoke was seen well out to starboard, and later it was noticed to be a big cruiser. One of our escorts went to investigate. It appeared to us that the stranger put on pace and passed our boat – then the Jap turned and chased over, and our engines were stopped.  Of course we all thought we were in for a scrap.

Later on we saw ship after ship coming up on the horizon, and then we knew we had caught the fleet. It was an inspiring sight. There were three big lines of boats, each thirteen deep, stretching over about nine mile, and about two miles wide. Around the lot of us is a cordon of warships.

We have been inoculated against Enteric and Typhoid. An injection is made in the fore-arm, after it has been pained with iodine. It has a very nasty effect – the arm gets stiff and pains, and a feeling of nausea is experienced.

A good deal of crockery has been broken the last day or two through sliding off the table. You put your tea on the table and look up for a moment, and it is gone.  The plates have races from one end of the table to the other.

Our kangaroo has been seasick the last day or two. He has been lying wrapped up in a hammock, and takes to it like a human being.  He has a little pillow and looks very cute.

The days are becoming much warmer now.  We cover 240 miles per day.

This afternoon we had life belt exercise. We had to fall in at our messes and put on the belts, and close all portholes.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Notes:

All of the records state that the Ascanius left Fremantle on the 2nd of November, not the 3rd. Lance’s notes have been left as they are and note the following references:

http://ww1wa.gravesecrets.net/tr-tz.html
https://www.facebook.com/SmithsonPlanning/photos/a.663906297001961.1073741843.126321394093790/692836684108922/
http://www.htawa.net.au/files/Teachers_handbook_overview.pdf

Most other references found show that Ascanius met the fleet on the 3rd of November, which is clearly 1 day after they left Fremantle:

http://www.htawa.net.au/files/Yr3_TR5A_Extract_Frederick_Forrest_Diary.pdf

One reference states that Ascanius left Fremantle on the 31st:

http://www.fremantlestory.com.au/your-story/event-festivals/special-events/1914-wa-diggers-depart-blackboy-hill-to-fremantle-and-beyond.html

At this location:

1913 map of Australia 19141029

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