Helmieh

Posted: May 30, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Helmieh,
Helmieh Camp, near Zeitoun,
Sunday 30th May, 1915 

I seem to have a faculty for getting into various odd corners of Egypt now-a-days. Helmieh is about a mile further away from Heliopolis the Zeitoun. Yesterday morning Sgt. Kinnish and I humped our swags with about a dozen others, and found our way here. Mercifully a change had worked up and the temperature couldn’t have been above 97 degrees – quite cool. These heat waves are generally caused by very hot winds that last about three days. They are called the “Khamseen” (from the desert). The temperature seems to increase each day until the change comes. Our temperatures were 102, 108, 110, 111 degrees. Our camp isn’t much to go mad over, we can practically do what we like. Revielle at 5 a.m., roll call at 6, and then we can do as we please.

In fact an hour after I had entered the Camp I was off to Heliopolis. In the course of my travels I visited Luna Park, it is just the same as usual. I saw Jim Davidson there, he was with me when he got shot. I haven’t seen him since, so you can be sure we had a lot to say to each other. Another chap from “A” Company who came down about ten days ago tells me that Coffey and Jonah are all right although Jonah still has his head tied up. Also he told me that Phil Robin, Teesdale Smith and Bertie Stokes were all killed. Out of the eleven of us who used to inhabit that State-room of ours, only Blackburn and Coffey have escaped.

When we were passing through Cairo yesterday morning I saw a whole crowd of Italians enlisting at their Consul’s office. Every day huge numbers are leaving Italy. In the space of fifteen minutes we saw three native funerals. The niggers die off like flies in the hot weather. These processions are very funny. Paid mourners precede the coffin and chant some unholy stuff; the coffin carried by bearers is generally draped with some gaudy cloth, and at the head of the coffin is a hooked stick, on which the tarbosh of the deceased is hung. Behind the coffin straggles a miscellaneous assortment of mourners, the harem, dirty children, and a wailing, squalling, mass of humanity.

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