Tel-el-Kebir

Posted: February 29, 2016 by saraherhodes in 1916

Well you see we have completed our “ trek” again. Last Saturday we packed up and came away. Practically Nos. 1 and 2 Platoons came intact from A Coy. Nobody was sorry to get away. I was on a loading party. We had to load all our luggage on to camels and transport it to Rail-head (about half-way from Habeita to Serapeum). We bivouacked at Railhead for the night, and next morning we moved on to Tel-el-Kebir. It was the same old Sunday for moving, also by a coincidence the identical day on which we left Mena last year.

At Railhead I ran across Bill Christophers and Fritz Hubbe, also a couple of old rowing chaps in the A.S.C. Managed to catch a couple of good feeds. Sunday morning we loaded the luggage on to a train. It is only a light railway but very fine. It is run by a motor, just the thing for the job. At Serapeum we had to unload, and reload on to transport wagons. Here I met hordes of fellows I knew. Rather I should say they knew me, I had forgotten most of them. I met Holland and Crompton and Charlie Hilton, old P.A.C. men, also Henderson who used to teach us gymnastics at Archer Street. Here it was blowing the usual dust storm that always accompanies us when we move. It was just good luck getting on the transport job though as I got my gear carried for me in every case. From Serapeum we again put all our stuff on the train and when we eventually reached Tel-el-Kebir we had to load it up on transport wagons again. I am quite a genius at loading up stuff now, could get a job as foreman at any good station I reckon. By the way I met Les Matthew at Serapeum, he is in the 20th A.S.C. He wished to be remembered to you all. At Tel-el-Kebir there was another deputation waiting to see me from the 32nd. There were Hughes and Basedow from the Bank of Adelaide and also Jack Angelo who wished to be remembered to you all. Spent several hours with Charlie Bath yesterday. So far things look pretty good here.

We are the 50th Battalion of the 13th Brigade. We are know as “the dirty half hundred”, “The up and downs” (because our colors are to be worn up and down instead of across the sleeve, “the deep thinkers”, and “the Super-dinkums”. Major Hurcumbe to be C.O., of the 49th (old 9th) Major Ross (3rd Brigade Staff) C.O. of the 51st (old 11th) and Major Baker C.O. of the 52nd (old 12th). It seems to be a general mixup. The 7th reinforcements of the 27th took our place s at Habeita, as reinforcements to the 10th, and the 25th took the place of the 9th, but the best move is that we are getting the reinforcements for the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th. It was a very disconsolate crowd we left behind. Col. Beevor is C.O., and major Redburg senior Major. Our reinforcements arrive today.

I got some very fine photos of the Canal, got a dozen returned to me blank though, fancy some dirt must have got in the shutter. They were photos I took of the Turkish burial ground at Serapeum. As far as I can make out we are here for some time. Murray Fowler came up with us, also Lieut. Clark. The day we arrived at Railhead we got a mail. I got several papers and lots of letters. I notice you have a bit of mine in the Chronicle, everyone who has spoken to me mentions those bally letters – rather embarrassing.

When we left Habeita Brigadier Gen’l. Maclagan addressed us. He made a happy little speech, said, some of us had faced Turks and Fray Bentos together. (Fray Bentos is a malignant type of American bully beef) most of us had survived the Turks but few the bully. Mr. Rowe came up with us too, he is Adjutant to the 49th, Noel Loutit is Adjutant of the 50th. I saw DuRieu a few days ago, he is looking very well. We are all going strong here. Jonah is just as pink and round as ever. The only trouble about leaving the old battalion was that I left so many good pals behind me, am getting used to it now though.

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