On the move again

Posted: September 26, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

I am on the move again at last. Friday morning four of us in our tent were warned not to leave the camp as we were due to leave Ghain Tuffieha at any moment. We hung about all Friday and Saturday, and yesterday morning we were moved. Sunday morning we had to turn out at 6am., and parade. Then followed a nice long march to Citta Veccha, the railway station. I fell right in the rear of the party, and as we were leaving the camp signalled to a “garouche” driver to follow us. When out of sight of the camp we climbed aboard and saved a nice four mile walk.

By driving we arrived at Citta Veccha a long time ahead of those walking, so I had a brief glance through the place. The houses are rather pretty, some having pretty little gardens in front of them. The whole place is very clean. The place was once the capital of Malta, and is of course fortified.

There is one fort – it is more like a town within a town. There is a moat all round it and big battlements. The only entrance to it is over a narrow bridge and then through big gates. Inside everything is on a very small scale. The houses are small, the streets are narrow, but everything is scrupulously clean. In the middle of the town is a fine Cathedral. Inside it is very much like St Johns. There are lovely paintings on the walls, and ceilings and beautiful carvings etc. The floor is picked out in Mosaic tiles with monograms, coats of arms, and all manner of badges and designs.

I presume that they were badges of men who were buried below the floor. Of course there were the usual number of candlesticks. At the time I looked in there was a service going on. The choir was chanting, and I can tell you it sounded very weird and mysterious in the Maltese language, or it may have been Latin, I couldn’t hear the words. The voices echoing in the big domed place too made it sound peculiar. Away from the fort there was very little to see. It appears to be more of a residential quarter than commercial.

We picked up our party again and trained it to Valletta. We were marched down to the Naval Pier by the Customs House, and taken off to this boat. She is a very fine ship, one of the British India line, and is practically new. There are about 750 on board, most of the “tween” deck space is for horses. We sailed this morning at 6am. It was a fine sight steaming down the Grand Harbour, on one side were forts frowning at us, and on the other high battlements, with the town behind. In a couple of hours we were clear of land, and had struck a fairly heavy sea. The boat is rolling and pitching all ways. I fancy she must be a bad rolling boat though, as I don’t think we should bounce as much as we do for the sea that is running. Quite a number have succumbed to the deadly affects of sea-sickness all ready.

I believe we are going to Alexandria. I hope we stay there a few days, I want to make some purchases before I go back to Anzac.

The postal system at Malta is very rotten. It takes letters anything from one week to three to go from one hospital to another. I posted Coffey three letters, telling him to ring me up, and at the end of a week I hadn’t had any answer. The means of travelling is just as bad too. There is only one railway and one tramway. They both run parallel to each other and if you can’t afford to hire a cab you have to walk.

I have had some pretty good luck with my photos, I am sending films in one envelope, and prints in another. I have considered sending the camera home several times, but I think I had better keep it. I always seem to strike new snaps every time I hit civilization.

I met an interesting man the other evening in one of the Canteens. He was a man about 45, and was a sergeant in charge of thee engineers of the 13th Battalion (West Aust.). He is a South Australian and went to Whinham College. He told me he was an assayer and geologist. He made a pile at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie about 1890. Bought a station in N.S. Wales and lost it. While he was prosperous he made a trip to England and toured Italy pretty thoroughly. He was very interesting to listen to. His name is W.N. Wells.

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