officers

Posted: May 19, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Last night Cpl. Cowan, Guy Fisher, and myself were entertained by a Mr Logan and his wife, English residents of Helouan. He has a very nice house, and we had a very enjoyable time. It is a treat to be able to discuss matters with English people again. Mr Logan is in the Egyptian State railways, and gave us quite a lot of information about the Canal. It seems the Turks have been very active down there. Just after we left Egypt about 500 Turks advanced on the Canal – we had 2000 men there mostly Imperial Service Indians. They are a very inferior race of Indians. I don’t know where they come from exactly, but they are no good as fighters. When the Turks advanced, the Indians turned and ran. We lost a few men and killed 10, and captured 10 Turks. The Turks retired.

Also another time the Turks got right up and planted two 3 inch guns right on the bank just as the Mooltan and another boat was going through. The boats were just stopped in time. About three weeks ago the Turks planted a mine in the canal. It was only discovered by accident too. The canal is built with two sills and a fairway, they had planted the mine just on the edge of the fairway. The Hyacinth had passed through, and passed within two feet of it. Mr Logan thinks there is going to be serious trouble on the canal before long. The Turks have a railway built within 80 miles of the canal now. Mr Logan is always told off to drive an armoured train being one of the few Englishmen here who understands them, so he gets some very interesting news at times.

We have a queer medley of officers here. The Commandant is all right, and so is the Quartermaster, Capt. J .Lang of Melbourne, he is Hon. Secretary of the Henley on Yarra, and is mixed up in sporting circles. The Adjutant was a Sergeant about a month ago, and has somehow managed to crawl until he reached the rank of  First Lieutenant. He is a regular rotter, and doesn’t know the word ’civility’. When we started here things were very bad, but the Quartermaster nosed around, and what appears to me, found out that the Adjutant and the Caterer were fixing things up between them. There was an awful row one day, and we have been getting much better food and treatment. The outcome of it was that Mr Lang who is giving his service free, was reduced to Second Lieutenant, and today he left altogether with the Q.M. Sergeant Major. They are all being sent back to Australia, apparently the Adjutant found it paid him to get rid of them. Above all the finishing touch was added when it was agreed to pay us ten shillings, at the last moment an order was issued by the M.O., that each man was only to receive four shillings. As could be expected we refused to take it, demanding 10 shillings, or none. There were some pretty violent scenes, which ended in the paymaster going back with his money and the mob howling for the Adjutant, who is known as “Ginger”. The best part of it is that you couldn’t rake up fifty piastres through the hospital, with a fine tooth comb. This Adjutant has made himself very officious and objectionable. He had a habit of blowing his whistle and making speeches at meal times. The crowd used to just roar at him. Sometimes it would be several minutes before he could get a hearing.

The Canadians are getting a great booming. It is a good thing that the Government has decided to use the gases. I fancy we try to fight too fair. We are under too great a disadvantage when the enemy uses explosives and dum, dum bullets. If ever I get the chance I’m going to use the Turks ammunition against himself. A lot of our chaps whose wounds aren’t too good are being sent home for a six or twelve month holiday. I believe I could get the trip if I put in, but I don’t know how my conscience would treat me. It would be very nice to have a quiet trip with perhaps three months in Adelaide. It is a funny thing that although we are in the Hospital, money still seems to move as fast as ever. I am sending some more photos this mail, hope they arrive quite safely. I forgot to tell you that Lieut. Talbot Smith died at Alexandria through wounds received. I have heard that he was recommended for a V.C.

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