Archive for the ‘1914’ Category

On a route march

Posted: February 14, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

We have been on a route march all day. We started off equipped as if we were never coming back; a change of underclothing, sox, shaving and washing materials and a day’s rations in our packs.

It was the 3rd Brigade turn out. There were ammunition carts, pack horses, transports, and four battalions of infantry, with signalling and machine gun sections attached. We started off on the Pyramid road, and then branched off just before we reached Gizeh, about three miles, then we turned off onto a native road composed of dust and evil odours, both were pretty bad. After tramping for about two or three miles in a northerly direction, we turned back towards camp and still followed this road back to the plantation I described in one of my former letters. The road is just earth heaped up to act as an irrigation embankment. I think it would have broken a snake’s back to follow it – it wound round backwards and forwards all the way. We passed through quite a number of villages – dirty, filthy stinking hovels they are too.

A village is just a collection of mud houses all built together, with fowls and cows roaming all round the place, and in nearly every case there are stagnant pools of water lying right up to the openings which serve as doorways. I don’t wonder in the least that cholera and small pox gain a footing in these places. So far civilization hasn’t done anything towards bettering them.

When the whole brigade was on the march we covered I should say roughly, about four miles of road. You would see one part a way ahead winding round, and the other away back on apparently quite another road ploughing along.

Yesterday I spent a very cheap and interesting day. I was dead stiff and decided to spend a quiet time, I only had ten “disasters” (piastres) and every time I go to Cairo I spend at least 50. Well I went to Gizeh in the car, and wandered along the Nile and took a few photos. I was about two hours by myself without seeing a white man. The up river trading boats are just like those on the Murray, perhaps a little bigger. The Nile around Cairo is very like the Murray without the trees. From Gizeh I walked towards Cairo. There is a very fine promenade in Cairo after the style of the Embankment London, as I have seen it in photos.

I had a look at Sir John Maxwell’s and Sir Arthur McMahon’s houses, and Lord Kitchener’s place, which is very fine, it looks right on the river, and has splendid lawns in front.

Just near there I fell into conversation with a man whom I eventually found was Chef of the British Agent General (Sir Arthur McMahon). He produced cigars, and generally made himself affable. I walked through some gardens – all palm trees and lawns; they were lovely and cool, especially as it was a hot day, and finally accepted my new acquaintances invitation to tea. He told me he was chef to King Edward for about five years. I arrived home at 8.45.


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Promotion to Lance Corporal

Posted: January 30, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

In a few days we will be rid of a few of our prize specimens. There are five out of this Company going back. I have to fix up their things tomorrow. It would be an awful disgrace to be cashiered from a regiment, now a days if an N.C.O. is reduced he doesn’t merely drop his stripes, they are pulled off him in front of the Battalion.

We have a thoroughly up-to-date picture show going on. Prices 4,3,2,1, piastres, They are showing views of the troops leaving Australia, and are very good.

We are getting our boots repaired officially now, I have a nice half inch sole on my boots.

I wish every day was a mail day. The fellows flock up from all directions, even the wet canteen.

It is nearly impossible to get a decent “table d’hotel” dinner at Cairo, nearly all light café luncheons, and what you get you have to pay for.

German trade has had a great hold here. German cutlery is used in the Cafes and Hotels, and it is generally of the cheap and nasty variety. Nearly all the better class business people are French, with a few Maltese, Italians and Greeks thrown in. They are quite a different class to the lot we see in Australia, especially the Greeks. My appointment for Lance Corporal came out today, but I have been acting for a long while.


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Fighting along the canal

Posted: January 28, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

At 4.30 yesterday morning we had a Brigade turn out. This comprised, getting dressed putting on all equipment, getting on parade, loading wagons for transport etc. in the dark, and moving off. It was quite a surprise affair. I don’t know how long we took, but only about an hour. Just as the East was brightening we were moving over the sand hills, and we could see a long line of men stretching as far as the eye could see.

Just at the present time no one is allowed in Cairo as there are Mohammedan festivities on. I would like to see one of these festivals very much, but of course there isn’t any chance.

I suppose you have heard that there is fighting going on along the canal. The New Zealander’s have gone there, and some of our fellows are going. There is talk of our going, but I don’t think there is much chance. I think it would be a good idea if we did get some really active training, it would teach us more in a day than three months of ordinary drill.


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A dusty day

Posted: January 27, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

Today has been very dusty. We had to leave on Saturday. We went out to Heliopolis and had a good look round. The buildings are magnificent, mostly built of white stone whole blocks covered by one building.

I had a roll on the skating rink, the floor was not very good. Later in the evening I had a look in at the Y.M.C.A.

I rose to the heights on Sunday, climbed to the top of Cheops Pyramid. It was very hard work. The steps are all very high, but there is no climbing feat attached to it. The view from the top is beautiful, it being 430 odd feet high, somewhere about four times the height of the Adelaide Post Office Tower.

Yesterday I went out shooting with the company, we fired ten rounds at head and shoulder targets, at about 700 and 800 yds. Our platoon did the best of the battalion.

Have just been putting in a couple of hours of good solid work on the Company’s pay sheets, converting the English money into Egyptian.


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On hair

Posted: January 25, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

Have only just finished reading your fine long letter of 27/12/14. It is great getting such nice long letters. I wanted to keep all your letters, but find that before long I would need a fresh kit bag, so I burn them after reading them about a dozen times.

My hair has been the envy of the tent lately, it has got back to its old length again. I had it cut by one of our numerous native barbers the other day, and he made an awful muddle of it.

DuRieu has had trouble with his hair, it won’t grow, and when it sprouted a little, the centre of his hat has pressed it down, causing the rest to stick out on both sides. He looks like a wire mop on the booze.

The men are getting very restless, they are tired of Cairo, and want to get a move on to some other place.

I got four big letters this mail. You ought to see the anxious looks on the fellows faces as the bundle gradually sets smaller, as they are delivered, and there are none for them. Some of our fellows have had hardly a letter, mail after mail goes by with nary a one.


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Artillery

Posted: January 24, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

The Artillery are just over the hills practising shooting, there is a nice row I can tell you.

I have got some very nice films here, I will send them home for you to print. I ma sending you a silver one piastre piece; there are two kinds of piastre, one is made of nickel, and is three times the size of the silver one.


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Tough nut

Posted: January 22, 2015 by tripmanic in 1914

We have a man in our company who has only been on parade the last four days since we have been here. He has put in his time either absent without leave, or in the “Boob”. Well tonight he had a few drinks, and got the idea into his head that he was to be sent back to Australia, and he reckoned he was going to do something desperate if he was not prevented. He came to me and went down on his knees and asked me to put him in the “Clink”. He didn’t care what charge he went in on, but wanted to be sent there anyhow. I bluffed him once or twice, but at last had to take him to the quarter guard and get them to keep him there all night. He was quite happy when I left him. He is about the toughest nut we have.


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