Archive for November, 2015

Acting platoon sergeant

Posted: November 29, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Well we are gradually settling down to work again. The general idea seems to be to start from the beginning and go over all the work from squad to brigade drill. I am acting as platoon sergeant for No 2 platoon, and as I am a corporal I have my hands full.

We are having a very rough time from the weather. The sun is shining brightly now for the first time for about four days. We have had snow the last three days, and this morning there was ice on all water left in the open. It strikes us so hard too because our clothes are all threadbare. We are waiting on an issue of new clothing now. Snow is quite a novelty to most of us. It blows in your face, eyes, and ears, but so far there hasn’t been enough to cover the ground.

We have our sergeants mess going now. It is certainly much more comfortable to have a table to sit at, and have the dixies cleaned. It will cost a bit I expect as everything is so expensive here – the Greeks don’t fail to take advantage of their monopoly of stores.

3rd December
The weather has improved greatly in the last few days. We have had quite bright sunshine, and if the wind drops it is quite pleasant. I was pleased to receive your letter of the 10th October with the A.R.C. Report a couple of days ago. I also received two parcels containing chocolate and socks, and “bandages” in the shape of four pipes, and sox. You can bet I was very pleased with them. I will give you a tip for posting pipes – always pull the mouth pieces out. Three of the four pipes had snapped off just in the junction of mouthpiece and bowl. As luck had it the one good one was for me. I don’t think it will make much difference though as I have managed to repair one of them. In the paper line I have Sunday Mail (2) Adelaide Mail (2), Bulletins, Leaders, Magazine, and all sorts and conditions of papers. Another thing was that Kangaroo Card. It is very good isn’t it?

From what I can make out I fancy I was some distance out in front of what is now “Lone Pine”, on the first Sunday. Crowie was well out when he was hit. They retired soon after I was hit, and got out of it. By the way I received the Chronicle all right. Many thanks for that pouch and tobacco. The big periscope you sent got smashed in transit from Anzac to here. Bill Christophers was bringing it over to me and it got crushed on the barge. Have kept the mirrors though, they will do for shaving if nothing else.

We had several photos taken today. Old P.A.C. men who “landed”, O.P.A.C. who were on Gallipoli, and all O.P.A.C. men in the 10th, and the same with Saints. Among the landing party were Capt. Giles, Sgt.W.Hoggarth, Roach, and a few others I can’t recall at present. Those on Gallipoli were Capt. Giles, Lieut. Fowler and Lieut. Hooper, “Streak” Goddard. There were quite a number in the whole crowd, as many came with the reinforcements and joined us here.

There is a football match on this afternoon between the 10th and 11th, I didn’t trouble to go down. Managed to buy half a box of very fair cigars the other day, paid at the rate of 7/6 for 50. They would be 15/- in Adelaide I think. I suppose everyone is getting ready for Christmas now. Am afraid we won’t go in for much preparation.

I ran across Sgt. Bunny of the 11th the other night. You remember I was with him in Alexandria a fair amount. He is a brother to the Artist who toured Australia two or three years ago and sold pictures to nearly all the galleries. He reached 500 pound for some of them. He was with the American Ambulance in France but got blood poisoning and had to toss it. Now he has been commissioned by the French Government to paint a cyclorama of the Battle of the Marne.

Well I have lots of letters to write so must get along.

Lots of love to you all.
From, Lance.

________________________________________________

Notes:
DIXIE Large oval-shaped metal pot with lid and carrying-handle for cooking. The lid was often used for baking (e.g. bacon and biscuit pudding) whilst the pot itself was employed to brew tea, heat porridge, stew, rice etc. From Hindustani degchi, small pot.
http://www.ict.griffith.edu.au/~davidt/z_ww1_slang/index_bak.htm

A.R.C. – Adelaide Rowing Club

P.A.C. – Prince Alfred College (Adelaide)

Saints – Saint Peter’s College (Adelaide)

Cyclorama – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclorama

Advertisements

At Lemnos

Posted: November 25, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Well we have done it at last. We are at Lemnos, and supposed to be having a —– of a good time. We embarked Sunday night after a very trying march through the cold and rain, carrying all our gear. We were put on the Princess Ena, a small cross channel boat. The weather was very rough and cold, we were cooped up for about 36 hours.

On Tuesday morning we landed here. We are living in big marquee tents, about 30 to a tent. So far we have been treated very leniently with drill. Tucker is pretty fair and we are managing to endure the life after the firing line. There are cricket and football grounds etc. There are reinforcements for us too, the 8th, 9th and 10th, they just about double our strength. Gordon Campbell and Colin Smith, also Capt. Redburg are here. The two former in charge of various reinforcements. Capt. R. has been in England since the landing and is in charge of “A” Coy.

We got an issue of a bottle of Guinness Stout each last night. Roars of applause, and loud cries of “encore”.

I received a large mail, letters dated 26/9/15, 30/9/15, 3/10/15, various papers and parcels. The parcels are greatly appreciated, eatables, and smokes, and small articles go best of all. Faulty packing seems to be the greatest cause for the parcels straying. We get some torn to ribbons. Dr John Muirhead sent me a packet of cigarettes the other day. He is at Anzac.

I am platoon Sgt. For no. 2 platoon at present. Plenty of work.

The Olympic and Aquetania are here, sister ships to the Lusitania – big four funnellers, 50,000 tons. The Aquetania is a hospital ship and the Olympic a trooper.

All the boys are quite well. I heard that Edwards from the Port was looking for me – haven’t seen him yet.

Love to all
Lance.

Rain

Posted: November 18, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Here we are again! We have advanced one stage on our way. Yesterday we were relieved of our portion of the trenches and took up our abode on the side of one of the gullies. As usual there was endless confusion and hanging about, and to cap it all, there was more dirt in the air than on Gallipoli. I think every time we move we seem fated to have a bad day.

But the day was nothing to the night. There were very few good dugouts, and they were claimed early in the day. I managed to get one nearly at the foot of the hill – it is more like a grave than a dugout. It is just a hole about 6 feet long by about 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep. I turned in early, tied my oil sheet over the top and had a very snug little bunk. I woke up after about an hour’s sleep to hear a slight pattering of rain. I thought “good enough” and turned over again. Next thing I knew was my leg was awfully cold, feeling down I found about two inches of water in my dugout. I hopped up and started to pull my oil sheet off and blankets out. Then the rain started in earnest. It tried to rain this time. My overcoat was rolled up in my pack and before I could get it out I was drenched to the skin. Of course my blankets were wet through too. If I had had a dry dugout I would have enjoyed the situation very much – those who had dry ones did enjoy it. There were fellows running round trying to save their belongings from getting washed away. One chap was in his shirt only, picking his clothes out of a deep stream as they floated by. Others were up to their knees in water in their dugouts. There are a few dugouts just below me in which everything was lost. One chap pulled his equipment out of two feet of mud and water by means of a rope with two of them pulling at it. There was about a cubic foot of soft mud all over the gear. I saw it was no good staying where I was, so just left everything as it stood, and climbed the hill. Near the top I came across Colby in a fairly safe “pozie” so climbed in there. I borrowed a blanket and had a wet overcoat and with these I settled down to one of the most miserable nights of my existence. I was too cold to sleep, and my legs and hips were cramped with the wet.

At daybreak this morning I saw the most miserable crowd of men I have ever seen. Everyone has spent the day cleaning equipment and drying blankets and clothing. On looking back it is only another experience added to many similar, but at the time the gods were called on many times. As far as I can make out the ducking has done me no harm externally or internally, so we will say “nuffsed”! The oldest inhabitant declares that the sea was rougher than it has ever been before in this part (the O.I. dates from 25th April 1915 of course). The whole affair lasted only about half an hour too. Quite a quantity of damage for the time.

Fleas

Posted: November 18, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Well, we are still here. We never seem to move when we expect. Mother’s birthday today – many happy returns, will try and be home for the next one. It has been a perfect day today one worthy of your birthday. The weather has been very unsettled for several days, and today it all blew over. I have never seen the air so clear. There has been plenty of sunshine, but not too much. The atmosphere was so clear that it was possible to see all the islands. To the left was Lemnos, then Imbros, Samothrace, above that was the shores of Turkey, and beyond that what I took to be Bulgaria. To the left of that was, I fancy, the island of Samos. With the glasses I could see a town on the Turkish coast. To add to the beauty of the day there was not so much “strafe” going on.

Fleas are still our greatest enemies, I am sudden death on them now, at first they were able to elude me but now I am far too experienced for them. They aren’t your domestic black flea either, but big red camel-backed ones. I managed to get a tin of Keatings the other day, and have been able to keep them at bay for a while. I managed to get my old rifle back a day of two ago. I had to leave it behind when I went away sick. Dill Jose had it and I swapped the one I had issued to me at Mustapha.

The Bulletin published a letter written from here describing a night attack:- “An assault by night is generally one confused mass of Turks, Australians, bombs, rifles, maxims, flares a —– of a row, and a mixture of voices yelling Allah! Allah!, and take that you——. It licks Ashmead Bartlett and Bean on points of description. It is too dark to write (5.15p.m.) so must say goodnight.

November 14

Posted: November 18, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Received letters dated 21st August and 26th September.

The Trenches

Posted: November 13, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

Although I have no news of particular interest I am writing to let you know my health and general being is normal. I have mentioned once or twice that we were going to be relieved, well, it is in sight, and we are as certain of going as it is possible to be in the Military. We are leaving on Monday for Lemnos. I don’t relish the getting to and fro though. I have still vivid recollections of my last general shift.

A most peculiar affair happened to me yesterday. About 3 a.m. I woke up to find my nose bleeding profusely, much to the detriment of my blankets and equipment etc. It refused to stop too, moreover. About 9 o’clock I went down to the Doctor and he plugged my nose up, but still it didn’t stop. Of course it slackened up, but it was leaking away all day and last night.

This morning I had it replugged, and it seems to have stopped at last. The opinion is that I burst a small blood vessel. I must have lost a fair amount of blood as all the trenches are in an awful mess, quite lurid in fact, and I was feeling quite weak. However, I can now report O.K., but have to keep quiet.

I made a few more Christmas cards yesterday to fill in the time and will forward them before long. I believe there was a big mail for us which has been returned to Lemnos.

Do you remember me telling you about a little Frenchman who enlisted at Morphetville? He is our dispenser now – used to be in Strempel’s. His name is Pierre Beaker. I was having a great yarn to him this morning whilst waiting for the Doctor. He was telling me about his forefathers. His family were fighting with Saladin in the Crusades and they have the armour yet. His great-grandfather and grandfather were personal friends of the three Napoleons – went through the Franco- Italian, Australian, Prussian, Russian, and Waterloo campaigns. His grandfathers (2) lived to the ages of 97 and 91 respectively – were also well mixed up in the Revolution. His father was an adviser of Napoleon III and because he opposed him in some things was exiled from France. Pierre and his father were both friends of Victor Hugo, also his grandfather was the first man to receive the medal d’Legione d’Honour. The medal is still retained in the family. His narrative, in very broken English, was very interesting. How he came to be a chemist in another man’s shop I can’t say. I believe he was anything but quiet when a boy, and in consequence didn’t pass his M.D. exams. He told the tale with the usual Frenchman’s “verve” and flourishes.

November 10

Posted: November 11, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

We are back in the firing line again.

The rissoles were a great success also numerous pancakes, ingredients flour, water and grease. It is rum issue today. We got horribly gay on 1/16th pint once per week – scandalous isn’t it? It ruins so many young lives.

Today is our Christmas Mail so I must wish you all the best of things fro Xmas and New Year.

Lots of love,
from Lance.