On a route march

Posted: February 14, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

We have been on a route march all day. We started off equipped as if we were never coming back; a change of underclothing, sox, shaving and washing materials and a day’s rations in our packs.

It was the 3rd Brigade turn out. There were ammunition carts, pack horses, transports, and four battalions of infantry, with signalling and machine gun sections attached. We started off on the Pyramid road, and then branched off just before we reached Gizeh, about three miles, then we turned off onto a native road composed of dust and evil odours, both were pretty bad. After tramping for about two or three miles in a northerly direction, we turned back towards camp and still followed this road back to the plantation I described in one of my former letters. The road is just earth heaped up to act as an irrigation embankment. I think it would have broken a snake’s back to follow it – it wound round backwards and forwards all the way. We passed through quite a number of villages – dirty, filthy stinking hovels they are too.

A village is just a collection of mud houses all built together, with fowls and cows roaming all round the place, and in nearly every case there are stagnant pools of water lying right up to the openings which serve as doorways. I don’t wonder in the least that cholera and small pox gain a footing in these places. So far civilization hasn’t done anything towards bettering them.

When the whole brigade was on the march we covered I should say roughly, about four miles of road. You would see one part a way ahead winding round, and the other away back on apparently quite another road ploughing along.

Yesterday I spent a very cheap and interesting day. I was dead stiff and decided to spend a quiet time, I only had ten “disasters” (piastres) and every time I go to Cairo I spend at least 50. Well I went to Gizeh in the car, and wandered along the Nile and took a few photos. I was about two hours by myself without seeing a white man. The up river trading boats are just like those on the Murray, perhaps a little bigger. The Nile around Cairo is very like the Murray without the trees. From Gizeh I walked towards Cairo. There is a very fine promenade in Cairo after the style of the Embankment London, as I have seen it in photos.

I had a look at Sir John Maxwell’s and Sir Arthur McMahon’s houses, and Lord Kitchener’s place, which is very fine, it looks right on the river, and has splendid lawns in front.

Just near there I fell into conversation with a man whom I eventually found was Chef of the British Agent General (Sir Arthur McMahon). He produced cigars, and generally made himself affable. I walked through some gardens – all palm trees and lawns; they were lovely and cool, especially as it was a hot day, and finally accepted my new acquaintances invitation to tea. He told me he was chef to King Edward for about five years. I arrived home at 8.45.


Notes:

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ColoniesMap1914 19141208

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