He will hold me fast

Posted: May 23, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Australian & New Zealand Convalescent Hospital
Hotel Al Hayat Helouan.
Sunday 23rd May 1915 

Our uneventful life is still going on like the brook. We get up in the morning to save missing breakfast at 7am. From breakfast time till dinner time 12.30pm we have to stay in the reading room, or outside in some of the outhouses because we aren’t allowed to go back to bed. After dinner we go back to bed until tea comes on the scene. After tea we can do what we like – stay in, or go down the town. The evenings are the only decent time of the day. A cool breeze generally springs up and it is very refreshing after the hot sun.

Yesterday was a regular scorcher of a day, no one could stir outside. There is a place called the “Casino” in the town, it is used as a picture show and Café now, but about 20 years ago it was a regular “Monte Carlo”. There is a big Concert Hall, and a gambling hall inside. In the gambling hall were old moth-eaten card tables scattered about. There are quite a number of big hotels here that have gone to wrack and ruin, apparently there isn’t enough trade here to keep them all going.

Helouan appears to be made up of hotels, and health sanatoriums. There are big sulphur baths here and also big surgical and electric messaging plants. We have a man here every night massaging the wounds of fellows. He is from the Thermal Institute here. He massaged my arm last night, and he tuned me up pretty well. My wound has healed alright but is still sore, and my arm is very stiff.

We had a church service this morning, it was conducted by a resident Church of England parson. We sang the hymn “For those in peril” you will remember that I always liked that hymn, and I don’t suppose I will ever forget it now. We had a service on board the “Ionian” the night before we went into action. Just before we sang it, a sailor who had been on the “Ocean” remarked that they had sung it the night before the “Ocean” went into action, and went down. On top of that, the first time I go to church after the scrap it is sung again.

This evening we had Mr J.J.Virgo, he sang a few hymns, and gave us a fine address. He makes a feature of “He will hold me fast” and had us singing the chorus time after time.

I had my arm massaged again tonight. The Masseur lies my arm on a table and straightens it as much as he can, and then punches, and works the muscles – it is a very painful process.


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