Archive for October, 2015

The whole life and general conditions are just the same

Posted: October 30, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

The mail is closing and I am afraid I haven’t any more news to send you.

The whole life and general conditions are just the same as when I left. Trenches, work, food, are just the same, the only change is in the men – some have gone, some have come, and also our pet species of vermin has changed from lice to fleas.

Bill Christopher has turned up, he is in the 7th Reinforcements of the 12th Battalion. I have seen him several times, and last night I had tea with him. It was a slap up feed. Rissoles and gravy, a tin of preserved peaches and a couple of nips of rum – very good for this life. If I had stayed “home” I would have had milkless tea, bully beef and marmalade.

Major Taylor has gone away ill. Jonah, DuRieu, Barker, Colbey, Beames, Murray Fowler, Dick Wilton and Noel Loutit are all ell, also Lieut. Clark and Fordham.

Fordie is company messenger now and has a quite comfortable job. He lives in the Sgt. Major’s dug out, and generally lives well.

It has been quite warm the last couple of days, with the result that we are getting a batch of very sleepy flies. We are expecting a mail shortly, I hope it comes because I want a little late news, my last were all too stale.

The water question is much better now. I suppose it is because we don’t need so much, that it seems more.

I have quite recovered from my touch of dysentery. We have a good Doctor relieving Harry Nott.

Well news has run out.

 

Goodbye,

Lance.

 

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Well, I am at it again

Posted: October 26, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Well, I am at it again. We arrived at Lemnos on the 23rd., and found it awfully cold.

It was quite a sudden shock after Egypt. Lemnos is much the same as ever. On the 24th we transferred to the “El Kahira”, and were brought up here. About 3a.m. we were disembarked and marched up to our lines. It was a gruelling trip as I had an enormous amount of gear, including my black kit bag

Everything is going on the same here as when I left. Old Jonah is still going strong, and as pink as ever.

Fordham, Colbey and Davidson, Lieuts Clark, Fowler and Wilton, are all alive and kicking. Jonah and Beames are temporary Corporals and Colbey is a temporary Sgt. If no other Corporals or Sergeants come back their appointments will be confirmed.

Lieut. Loutit came back the same time as I did, only on another boat, he is in command of “A” Coy.

I have been moved to No. 2 Platoon. Major Beevor is back now, and is in command of the Battalion. Jose is here, and is pretty well.

Our trenches have been very much improved and things are being squared up for the winter. I had a lovely batch of letters waiting for me here. Locker and DuRieu (by the way DuRieu has been back here some weeks now, and is looking O.K.) had been cursing the pile of stuff for me.

I have managed to digest them all a little. It was quite an ordeal reading them – 25 in all. Any sox and woollens etc. were given out to the platoon, as I left instructions. I have the Bulletin Reciter and another book, the periscope, a couple of handkerchiefs, the fly net and any amount of writing paper, also two singlets.

Your news was the first I had had of Edison’s death, very sad wasn’t it!

It seems that most of our parcels come through, only with a lot of delay. A registered parcel came too, but no one could receive it for me. Hope to get it later.

The rest for the 3rd Brigade has been cancelled for some little time. The 1st, 2nd and 4th Brigades are at Lemnos now.

Re Crowie, we have no news here. If you believe every one you see who has been here, he will be buried and resurrected a couple of dozen times. My motto is now, never believe anything unless I can prove it.

Frank had a cousin in the A.M.C., it would most probably be he who was wounded on the 2/5/15. We have the opinion here that every man who has been missing since the first day is dead. It is over six months now, you know.

It is no use writing as I have seen hundreds of his letters in the Base Post Office kicking about.

We get plenty of tobacco here, too much in fact, but a little good tobacco would never go amiss.

I received a letter from the Bank of Adelaide granting me an additional twelve months leave of absence. There has been practically no alteration here since I have been away.

If you write Mr Logan again, remember me to him, will you. C—– is likely to strike trouble if he comes back here. He hasn’t been here since the first day – has been malingering in Egypt all the time. The boys here have no time for a man who doesn’t play the game.

Coffey has gone to England, I must have just missed him. The sudden change of temperature from Alexandria to Lemnos brought back a touch of my old complaint. I got some medicine today and hope to be all right tomorrow.

Well I am afraid I haven’t much news to tell you. I wasn’t able to read all your letters closely enough to be able to answer them properly.

By the way Amber doesn’t know anything about Crowie, as he was asking me what became of him when I was wounded before. The returned wounded soldiers appear to be spreading a lot of yarns etc. I bet there will be some awful battles fought in the “back parlours”.

Many thanks for all those parcels you sent ( a nice big lump of the roof has just slid down my neck).

We have been at sea 24 hours

Posted: October 21, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

We have been at sea 24 hours. Tuesday afternoon we were all taken off of the Borda, and put on this boat. She is an Atlantic transport Liner, running cattle from U.S.A. to England. There are a lot of troops on board of all regiments. As soon as we came on board I butted in and saw the Purser, with the result that I have a berth in a saloon cabin – very nice too. We dine in the saloon an hour before the Officers. It is quite a change to the usual manner of moving about.

The “Minneapolis’ is a fast boat and we ought to pick up Lemnos before very long, unless , of course, we run out of our course very much.

I have managed to fall into work with my usual amount of luck. It is another guard. The worst of it is, that it is a permanent guard. I am working to 6 to 10 shift night and morning. There is one good thing about it, it keeps me in good condition all the time, racing round after my sentries.

Up till now we have had splendid weather, the sea is dead calm. I have found my watch and torch exceedingly useful for guard work. The torch is particularly useful in crawling round the boat when all lights are extinguished.

There are a few other little articles that are coming in useful again. That suit of pyjamas and pair of sandshoes that I brought from Australia are again being much appreciated. They have been stowed in my black kit bag for the last six months. It is exactly one year and one day since we sailed from South Australia. I can tell you I will be pleased to rejoin the Battalion again.

It is seven weeks since I had any letters or heard any news at all.

Well don’t suppose anything is likely to happen between now, and tomorrow, as I will close.

By the way to prepare against submarine attacks we have to wear life belts day and night. It is very nice especially in this close climate, although it is getting cooler since we have left Alexandria.

From Lance.

Feel quite willing to go back and be made a martyr again

Posted: October 19, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Well we are on the move again. Saturday we were warned to embark on Monday morning. I spent Saturday and Sunday in much the same manner as the rest of the week. Saturday Bunny and I went to the Albagni Theatre at the Jardin Rosette. It wasn’t much of a programme, of course we had our dinner and supper as usual. I reckon I am in pretty good condition. Everyone tells me I am looking fine. I am feeling good too, and feel quite willing to go back and be made a martyr again.

Yesterday after a lot of messing about we were eventually put on board this boat, she isn’t bad – the P. & O. Branch line. Through some mistake we were put on her wrongfully, and we have to disembark again today, and go on board the Minneapolis. I suppose we will get off in a few days. I am quite used to messing about a boat now-a-day. I reckoned it up today, and find that I have spent 131 days on board different vessels. I have been on the Ascanius, Ionian, Seang Choon, Osmanieh, El Kahira, Maldavia, Huntsend, Karoa, and Borda, besides two fleet sweepers, I don’t know the names of.

I am taking my black bag back with me. Have plenty of clothes, smokes, etc. for the boys up there.

Well I expect my letters will get a little disorganized from now on. I expect to stay at Lemnos a month or two now. There has been a big row about the Dardanelles Post, so I expect the mail conditions will improve a good deal.

Am enclosing a programme of the Jardine Rosette, printed in Arabic. You ought to understand it.

Today we heard that a batch of men are going to Lemnos

Posted: October 16, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

Thursday afternoon I got an early leave pass and went to the Museum. It is a collection of Roman relics mostly. There are some very good mummies and coins. It is not a big collection, but is very well exhibited. I went through with Sgt. Bunny. After we had dinner, and then went to the American Kursal, owing to the lateness of the hour we had to eave before it was over, so last night we went early and saw the whole show. It was very good. There were a couple of quartettes giving extracts from Grand Opera, it was tip top.

Today we heard that a batch of men are going to Lemnos on Monday. The 1st Division is being relieved up there. The 1st, 2nd, and 4th Brigades are at Lemnos. The 3rd expect to get out on the 1st of November, so we are going to wait the lot at Mudros.

The 4th A.M.C are there and Capt. Jeffries came through to Cairo.

I am sending on some more photos.

Well I must finish off to go on parade.

Love to all

Lance.

 

I have been having a gay time the last days

Posted: October 14, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

I have been having a gay time the last days, in fact, I am just feeling well enough to enjoy myself, and so I am making up for lost time.

Tuesday afternoon I went into town, as per usual, with a couple of chaps from the tent (Sgts. Shepherd 1st.Lt. Horse, and Coleman 3rd Brigade, Field Artillery) they are a couple of fine fellows.

We started off with a light lunch and then went to a Vaudeville Theatre. It is the Jardine Rosette, run by the same people as the Kuraal in Cairo. Of course all the show was in French, but it was very good. There was a remarkably clever illusionist and conjurer. After the performance we had a dinner – six courses.

During the course of the day I purchased a small metal tray that rather took my fancy. It is worked with Arabic figures and writing. I posted it home to you, also a couple of boxes of Regie Turkish Cigarettes which I can recommend, I hope the whole lot arrives safely.

Yesterday I managed to collect another 2 pounds. This makes 10 pounds I have drawn in a fortnight. If one wants to live at all decently here, it takes a lot of cash. Yesterday I went into town with a Sgt. Bunny from the 11th Battalion, he is an elderly man. He had a good education, travelled a lot, and knocked about all over the place. I got on very well with him.

We took a taxi out to some catacombs, a mile or two out, and looked round there. They  were built by the Romans and have only been opened fourteen years. The entrance is down a spiral stairway of stone, and then just one mass of tunnels and rooms – they are in groups. One family would have a room, and all their dead would be put in there. The coffins were just recesses out in the rock and the entrance filled up with a slab of stone, and plastered over. There must have been  room for several hundreds of bodies.

There are bones and jars lying about everywhere, most of the bones are crumbly and powder at the touch. Every now and then there is a deep well with water in it. The whole place is made out of solid sandstone.

The workmanship doesn’t appear to me to be as good as the ancient Egyptians did. In one or two places there were a few carvings etc. of Gods of various descriptions. The whole place had a dank musty air about it. After the ride we went to a café for dinner. It was a most excellent dinner and very cheap too (for Egypt). We did the thing properly, with cigars and liqueurs to follow. Next came the Casino Belle Vue –  a big house of entertainment. They have a mixed show of vaudeville and pictures. There was a very clever Japanese troupe of athletes and jugglers. Afterwards we had a regular supper or second dinner. You must think I spend all my time and money eating – well so I do.

I find I can’t get well and put any flesh on in the mess, so I am feeding up, and am getting quite fleshy on it. I don’t scratch my fingers now when I feel my ribs. I weighed the other day, and found I was about a stone lighter than I should be, so am taking measures as before mentioned.

There were rumours that we were to be off tomorrow, but so far nothing has been heard, so most probably it is another successful rumour that everyone has got hold of.

Since I have been back this time I have made some fine friends. This continually knocking about tends to draw a man out. The more I rub up against other fellows, the less I find that I know. Some of these chaps who have been everywhere, and done everything are a treat to know.

I saw Pompi’s Column yesterday, in my travels. It is a fine bit of work. It is a tall cylindrical mass of granite. It must be about five feet in diameter and about sixty feet in height. It is the only relic about – it stands in a desolate waste of sand all on its own. As far as I can remember Pompi, or Pompey, was a great Roman General who assisted in the invasion of Egypt.

I am just beginning to feel myself again

Posted: October 12, 2015 by tripmanic in 1915

I am just beginning to feel myself again. Have been feeling “tip-top” the last couple of days. I ran across Bert Cook  the other day. He is out at a place called Meve, with the transport.

I have had rather a good time the last couple of days. Cook took me out to some English peoples houses. I went to a very nice place Sunday. Mr and Mrs Chevalier and family. There was one little girl about twelve years old. She is a bonza little kiddy – you would think she was about twenty, the way she discussed matters. She was very interested in a book of Adelaide views someone had given her. I had to explain all the different places etc. to her. Last night I went to a Mr and Mrs Allan’s to dinner. They have a flat not far from here. It was a treat to get a decent English dinner again. After dinner we played ping-pong, sounds rather ridiculous doesn’t it, but they go in for the thing properly. They have a special wooden table in the hall, and if played correctly isn’t half bad a game.

I drew 5 pounds pay yesterday, and made various purchases, among them a rather nice little watch with luminous face, and a copy of David Copperfield “Hypatia”, and “The Vicar of Wakefield”. I invested 40 pounds in the War Fund, soldiers get a special concession of 8d in every 5 pounds, therefore I bought my 40 pounds worth for 39 pounds 14 and eight, and it is to pay 41/2%.

Major Lorenzo is here now waiting to go back with us. Harry Nott is in hospital, he is run down.

Eric Young was at Malta the last I heard of him, Moyse is looking well. I ran across Denamn yesterday, he is here with the horses. His father is coming with the Artillery.

We get some very good swimming just about here. There is a sandy shore with a reef about thirty yards forming a rather good swimming hole in between.

No news of leaving yet,

Goodbye, love to all,

Lance