S.S.”Huntsend”

Posted: September 4, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

No doubt you are wondering what I am doing aboard this boat. Well last Monday I was sent to the Hospital with dysentery, and after devious travellings am abound for either Alexandria or Malta. I had been bad for about a week altogether, and as I didn’t seem to be getting any better Harry Nott said I better go away. I didn’t like the idea at all, and ever since have wished I was back with all the boys again.

At 8a.m. eleven of us proceeded on our way to the beach. Everyone was feeling about as happy as a sick bandicoot, and so we started off at a very snail-like pace. I fancy everyone was frightened to show any life because he might spoil his chance of getting away, and so it developed into a competition to see who could go the slowest. We must have looked pretty crook because some callous wretch watching us go started whistling the “Dead March”. However, after much cross examination and buffeting about by hospital orderlies we were passed on to a barge and taken to a trawler.

I was marked for Murdos, but was taken to Imbros, and there put on the hospital ship “Naldavia”. She is a big French boat, and makes a very fine hospital. I was given a nice little cot with clean linen etc. and told to get to bed. It looked so nice and clean that I was half inclined not to get in it, as I was so dirty, but it didn’t take long to get over these scruples.

That night we sailed for Lemnos arriving there next morning. Whilst aboard this boat we were fed on milk diet only, and not much of it either, I think I slept the best part of the first twenty-four hours I spent on board. On Thursday morning we were all transferred to the Steamer “Huntsend”. She is only a big German liner, originally called the “Lutzow” and very appropriately renamed the Hun(t)send. She was captured in the Mediterranean early in the history of the war.

There are quite a number of prizes being used for transport purposes – the “Derflinger” is another. I was put down on the second deck with a whole lot of big footed, awkward, helpless tommies, amongst all the bad cases. After a couple of days on board the “Naldavia” I had got alright – it was only a rest I wanted. There was another Australian with me, a corporal from the 5th. We had been lying alongside each other on the other boat, and had palled up a little. We were very disgusted with things, and as we were still on a milk diet, couldn’t rely on a good feed to put us in a pleasant frame of mind. I stood it till next morning and as I was feeling alright, asked the Doctor to put me ashore so that I could rejoin my unit, but this he told me was impossible, so I made up to the Sister and managed to get both of us transferred to the Ward above where it is much lighter, airier, and generally more congenial, also we were among Australians.

I have had plenty to eat lately and am pretty friendly with the Sister, also have made friendly advances to one or two of the stewards so I ought to do fairly well on the trip.

There are about 800 on board, most of them tommies, and most of them dysentery cases. The R.A.M.C. are running things – they work most of the hospital ships. The ship manned by a prize crew from the Navy.

Last night about 6p.m. we got our sailing orders and came straight away, and now we are bowling along at about ten knots with a nice breeze in our face, and a gentle ripple on the sea. We are still passing through the beautiful little islands that are dotted all over the Aegean Sea. I should say we ought to leave them behind some time this afternoon.

What I don’t like about leaving is that I don’t get any letters and all my friends are back there, besides losing my chance of promotion, I find I am just as dissatisfied at being a lance sergeant as I was a lance corporal, I suppose it is always the same, when you get one thing, you want another.

I am afraid I haven’t much to say about the last eleven weeks that I have spent in the trenches. I have told you nearly everything in all my letters.

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