Archive for August, 2015

A roaring trade

Posted: August 28, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

The last week has been quite a gay one. I told you of all the parcels and papers I received on Wednesday, well Thursday our much talked of canteen ship arrived. There have been several attempts to get one here with stores to sell to the troops whatever stores there were Division bought up and divided amongst the battalions and companies. Our Platoon got about 4.10.0 worth of various stuff which was sold to the men. There were pickles and sauce, cigarettes, pipes, tobacco, matches, tinned foods, biscuits, and a whole lot of sundries. Sergt. Colby and I bought a pretty fair stock between us. We got a bottle of pickles, sauce, matches, tobacco, a tin of margarine, tinned meat, biscuits, and one or two little articles that will help to enliven our life here a little. The prices were all very reasonable, and we did a roaring trade for a while.

Yesterday the remainder of our mail came in, and I did well with letters as usual. When DuRieu went away I gave a sovereign to spend in case he didn’t draw pay. Yesterday I got several parcels from Egypt containing 3 pipes, 50 Abdulla cigarettes, 50 three-castles, a tin of Turkish Delight, a tin of Crawford’s biscuit wafers, and a cigarette lighter. There was no sender’s name so I can only conclude that DuRieu sent them on. It was very good of him to think of sending them on, and I can tell you we are all having a good time with all this stuff on hand.

Your letters start about the beginning of July and run on to the 14th. I expect for all your lying awake at night you don’t lose half as much sleep as we do here. I have learnt to exist on about three hours sleep per night now. If I ever cable for money it would most probably be through Cooks, or some such firm.

I hear Bonnie Muirhead is coming away with a commission, he would make a good Officer.

I sometimes feel my arm a little weak and sore if I try to lift anything with it, but otherwise it is alright.

It was very hard luck Capt. Holmes being killed. He was wounded by Beachy Bill on the beach, and had very little chance from the first, although of course he had attention. We saw very little of him after he left the platoon. Capt. Lance Lewis went away ill a few days ago I believe.

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It never rains but it pours

Posted: August 25, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Yesterday was a fete day for us. One hundred bags of mails came in for the 3rd Brigade, and the 10th got 39 of them. Although letters were very scarce, there were plenty of parcels. I fancy there must have been a clearance sale or something at the Base Post Office. Most of my parcels came to light. I received a couple of letters, one from Mollie dated 14/6/15, and one from Aunt Ettie. The pipe and two tins of tobacco, chocolate, and sox, from you people arrived safely. Mrs Jones sent a pair of sox and a respirator, thank her for me will you please. Aunt Grace sent a pair of sox and Mrs Bollen sent a plug of Cameron’s Havelock, a couple of handkerchiefs and some note paper. Handkerchiefs were very welcome. The envelopes arrived from you people too. Bulletins, Fauldings, Register, Journal, Printer’s Pie, and Leader to hand. It is great getting all these things. It was funny about the pipe. About four days ago Murray Fowler gave me one of his pipes, as mine was just about worn out, and then this one turned up. It never rains but it pours. Chocolates were very acceptable too.

The tobacco is a great treat after the issue tobacco – half of it is mouldy. A big parcel of woollen goods for DuRieu arrived containing handkerchiefs for Crowie, and myself. DuRieu is still away, Jonah in Al, as I am.

Everything is the same

Posted: August 20, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Everything is the same – situation, work, heat, flies, dirt, food, etc. Wednesday was the anniversary of our first day in the Military. We were all laughing over the experiences etc. of the first day in camp.

It is rather peculiar that Tuesday the day my promotion came out, that is was twelve months to the day we were medically examined at the parade Ground by Harry Nott. Lots of things have happened since then. There were a few articles such as pipe lighter (4) purse, pouch, comb, and a little tobacco, issued to the platoon today. We had a lottery to decide who was to receive the various things – it was quite exciting – quite like a sweepstakes.

The lighters were of the flint and wick order, and were presented to the troops by Princess Mary – needless to ask my luck.

If you ever run a small pocket edition or ordinary paper novel edition of one of Dickens’ books would you send it on? One that I haven’t read, or it doesn’t matter much about that. It is nice to have a good book handy. Reading matter as far as books are concerned is very scarce. Ran across “The Amateur Gentleman” by Geoffrey Farnol the other day. If you haven’t read it you should, I fancy I have it in my room. Everyone is quite well.

Love from Lance.

A handkerchief wouldn’t go amiss

Posted: August 18, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

It seems a pity that the buzz and whitt of aeroplanes, and the shriek and bang of shrapnel and lyddite shells should brake in on it all (especially if the shrapnel comes anywhere near you).

In the mornings the sea is bright and blue and sparkling, the sky is blue, fleeced with white billowy clouds and all the country stands out bright and green – when a bomb is dropped on you by an aeroplane (“emshi” you).

I received a letter from Frank DeRose, and another from Bonnie Muirhead the other day, they had written on the 6th May and had just missed me. I left Zeitoun too soon and arrived here too late to catch them, and they have only just come back.

If you are sending my parcels a handkerchief wouldn’t go amiss. I am well stocked for sox, have quite a dozen pairs. We don’t wear them out here. The trouble is to get them washed. I wear one pair for a couple of days and then give them a rest and rub them well – they generally need it too. As for handkerchiefs I have managed to contract a slight cold in the head – not one that is at all distressing, but a handkerchief is very handy at times. I have one, it is about seven inches square and has been in constant use for a month without a wash.

Nearly everyone has been suffering from dysentery off and on for some time. I had a pretty bad spell a few days ago, but am quite O.K. now. I fancy it must be the water, as it is quite general. I must still report that I am unwashed. Haven’t had a swim for quite a month. The best cleaner is to get hot and then have a scratch, clean your nails, and start again. My word I envy you people with your bath. I will live in it when this lot is finished.

I am enclosing one of our badges – the ribbon scheme. The light blue goes at the bottom. The top colour denotes the battalion and the lower colour the Brigade.

Haven’t heard a word of the light Horse. Either the 3rd or the 9th. I wrote a couple of field service postcards to Elliott, max, Hugh and john, just to see if they will answer them. Haven’t heard anything of Will at all.

Wherever I get to I always manage to rake up an enormous collection of gear. When we move from one trench to another – which is every day – it generally takes me two trips to get all my stuff transplanted. I suppose it is my old habit of hanging on to everything I see in the hopes of it being useful sometime or other only to let it go the day before it is really needed.

Do you remember how I used to store things up? I am just the same, and have been right through. I have always had more in my pack than anyone else, ever since I have been in the Military.

We have had rumours from time to time that the 3rd Contingent are trying to consolidate the name that Capt. Bean gave Australians, and are generally making a “welter” of things.

Murray Fowler is knocking about alright. I am afraid there aren’t many people here now that you know. My immediate companions are frank Colbey, George Beams an old Norwood footballer, and a Lance Corporal appointed yesterday, Jonah of course and Fordham. They are all quite well and dirty thanks.

Well I am afraid I must stop this rot and look after my section. Hope a few of my remarks won’t shock you too much. No chocolate to hand yet, but living in hope.

My promotion

Posted: August 18, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

No doubt you are getting tired of the “no news” squeak, but when one is limited in the distribution of news it is very hard to know what to say.

Everything is very quiet here now, although of course everyone wonders what is wrong if we don’t hear a shot for a few minutes. I have one little bit of news that may gladden your hearts. My promotion to Lance Sergeant came out yesterday. Davey was promoted to Lance Corporal, Frank Colbey is to be full Sergeant, but it hasn’t come through yet. He is to be platoon Sergeant. Jim Davidson is a full Sergeant, he was platoon Sergeant for No. 4 platoon, but he is acting Quartermaster Sergeant now, so you see what is left of our old crowd now is gradually getting along a little.

A Lance Sergeant is very little different to a full Sergeant. He has full Sergeant’s privileges, there being an additional 6d. deferred pay per day. Mr.Clark is shaping very well as an Officer.

There is some lovely scenery about here. Some evenings, and mornings too good and beautiful to be at war. I look out over the sea at sunset, the island of Imbros is a little to our left front, generally fairly blurred in a purple mist, to the right is the Island of Samothrace towering up onto the clouds. The sun always sets just behind this island, and as it gets down it outlines the mountain in a deep rich ruddy light. In the foreground there is always a hospital ship or two, several destroyers (sinister looking shapes) and a small fleet of mine sweepers.

Promotions

Posted: August 14, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Things have settled down into ordinary routine again as far as we are concerned – not that we ever did much, but we all had to be on the “qui vive”> The chief topic of interest lately is a number of promotions for N.C.O’s to the rank of Lieutenant. The men promoted were Sgts. Major Maginis and McCann, Sgts. Gordon (of Unley D.J.G. family) Clark (of our tent) L/Sgt. Inglis, Lce. Cpls. Blackburn (of Woodville) and Mayman. Of course there was the usual amount of dissatisfaction – I fancy there was a little more in some things than appeared on the surface. Everyone was very pleased Clark got his star. He is in charge of our platoon, and it comes very hard to “Mr.” And “Sir” him.

I saw Eastoe yesterday for a couple of moments. He said he had heard Crowie was wounded and managed to get up to where we were, on the fourth day after landing. Another fellow pointed out a body to him and said he was positive it was him, he had no disc on then and mortification had set in. He said of the last eleven cases hit where he was none had survived.

Barker returned to us for a couple of days, only to go away as Batn. Post Office Orderly. He went away with Mr.Holmes as his batman.

Jonah, Fordham, and myself are all still alive and kicking. Haven’t had a wash for about a month, so you can imagine the state we are all in.

Have you been receiving our letters all along?

The weather still keeps very warm although” it has started to freshen at nights.

Just heard from Coffey

Posted: August 13, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Just heard from Coffey, he is doing well at Malta. I don’t know if Eastoe would know anything of Crowie or not. Just received Cable of 23/7/15 “Birthday Greetings”. Many thanks – I wish I could cable a reply.

Received a pair of socks from Mrs. Pitman. This is the third pair I have received today.

Of that Cable Syndicate Adams was killed, Denman and Moyes are in Alexandria, Amber is invalided home, Skinner is missing, Wauchope is in Cairo – you may well reckon it as cancelled now.

With love

Lance.