Montagu John Felton Durnsford first descendant in Australia of Col Andrew Durnford/Jemima Isaacson, whose lineage started 26 generations ago with King William.
It includes a special series of Colonel Anthony William Durnford who died at Isandhlwana in January 1879, in the Zulu War.
Friday, March 20, 2015
188.8.131.52.d.1d Arthur Pacey's War Diary He was in the Remount Squad leaving November 1916
World War 1 -
Personal Diary of Trooper Arthur Ernest Pacey.
Pacey, Arthur Ernest. Trooper and Acting Band Corporal,
No 2333. Born in Sydney in 1867 and
educated in Sydney. The son of late
William and late Mary Annie Pacey.
October, 1896, he married to Mary Durnford, who died on 29th May
Enlisted November 11th,
1915 and went into camp at Chermside same day.
Left Brisbane 18th November and arrived in Sydney 19th
November. Sailed 20th
November per “Orontes” for Egypt, and arrived there December 22nd,
Was attached to 2nd
Remount Unit No 8 Squad.
Left Suez May
29th 1916, for Australia an account units being demobilised owing to
evacuation at Gallipoli. Discharged 19th
Afterwards joined up for Home
Service with No 1 District recruiting band at Enoggera.
Has had considerable previous military
experience, and served with Queensland Volunteers Reins and 14th
1914 Leaving for WW1
Note this document has been prepared from a diary
written in 1916. Some of the
transcription has been difficult to read, as is the names of some of the
locations which were mentioned on his trip to Egypt, while at Egypt and on his
return. The diary has not been corrected
for grammatical content, and some words that he used might not be familiar with
modern language, or not comply with the current regime of Political
It is an interesting account of a contingent of
soldiers, who were sent away to be reinforcements for the Light Horse and
written as he felt he should. The
results of the Gallipoli Campaign meant that the unit was not required.
The following is a record of the
voyage from Australia to Egypt and Back
by No 2333 Trooper Arthur E. Pacey 8th
Squad 2nd A.P.R.U.
Compiled from notes taken in my diary
several unsuccessful attempts to enlist in a combatant unit I eventually passed
for the Second Australian Imperial Remount Unit.
The cause of
my previous rejections was my age 48 years.
November 8th 1915 I made application at Victoria Barracks Brisbane,
and was accepted for service in the above unit.
Passed the Medical exams on November 10th and went into camp
at Chermside the same day. The camp was
in charge of Colonel Lee. Next in charge
Major Deakin, Camp Sergt Mjr (Mickey) Doolan.
at Chermside were not the best; food was up the putt and not enough of it.
principal drill instructor was Corporal Tobin.
We were not
destined to do much drill in Aussie, as on the 16th of November we
were placed on short orders and all leave stoped, we were not even granted home
As far as I
was concerned myself, I took French leave, broke camp and went home to Ipswich
to see my wife and kiddies. I was
successful in getting into camp again at about 12.30 pm ok.
Chermside on Thursday November 18th at 4.00am by special troop
to the NSW border was very tame, and we were rather surprised at the coolness
of the Queensland people at each place we stoped.
place we got any thing like a reception was at Clifton, where we met the
“Dungarees” on their recruiting march to Brisbane. The reminder of the trip to Wallangarra was
the border, some of the men paraded to the O.C. (Major Deaken) for some money
(as we were not paid before leaving camp) he (the major) at first refused but
after some argument gave those who wanted it 10/- (ten shillings) each and then told the men
that he had wired ahead and closed all the refreshment room bars against us.
As might be
supposed, this caused indignation amongst us with the request that at
Tenterfield the men raised the bar and took what they wanted, this caused
trouble, and from there on the O.C. stood on his “digs” and rained hell.
eventually arrived in Sydney at on Friday Nov 19th at 8.30pm 4 hours
behind our scheduled time.
authorities had another chance to show their spite and they did it: viz –
out of the train we discovered a long table right down the centre of the platform
with a splendid spread of eatable and quite a number of Red Cross and other
ladies in attendance, whose intention it was to give the Queensland soldiers a
We had had
nothing to eat since midday and were just ready for a good tuck in.
surprise and disgust when we got the order to “Fall In” and were marched right
past the tables and on to Victoria
Barracks where we arrived at about 9.15pm and were kept waiting till
10.30pm for a cold chop and equally cold black tea. We were then paraded for pay which did not
eventuate for yours truly till 12.45am and there were others to come after me.
Sat – Nov 20th
5.30am Breakfast, kit and general inspection, which took up most of the morning
Victoria Barracks at about two o’clock and embarked on board the P & O
Liner Orontas and sailed at 4.00pm. By
the time we were taken to our troop decks everyone kitted up ………………………………(not
legible) to get into our hammocks.
We had a
quiet day, which was mostly spent lounging about deck. Arrived Melbourne at 1.00pm on 22nd
and obtained shore leave (6 hours) and had rather a good time.
the 23rd I was stiff enough to be detailed for Mains Guard which
stoped further leave for me here.
As we left
Melbourne the following afternoon (24th) at 3.30pm.
Usual R.O.s mark time,
quick march, bout turns and arrived at Adelaide (semaphore) on Friday Nov 26th
at 7.00 am and left again at 5.30pm
Usual R.O.’s threw bottle over with message in
the Bight was in a good mood. Vaccinated today.
(28th?) Very warm day had
Church parade 10.30 wrote home and sent photo of this.
Up at 5.30am passed
hospital ship going past looked like “Kiarra” had physical jerks in morning and
again in afternoon
had banjo and violin after tea, went to bed early, arms sore.
Nov 30th St Andrews Day. Splendid
weather, sighted land early this morning.
Arrived Fremantle 9.30am 4
hours leave left
again at midnight.
Dec 1st Very feverish, reported sick
saw M.O. put on sick list, off duty splendid weather big ground swell,
glad to get to
Dec 2nd Fever left me pains all over
today, still off duty. Sun very hot
after big swell wind night aft. Went on
midnight could not sleep with pains. Sky
overcast and every appearance of heavy
Dec 3rd Up early, still cloudy and
like rains, still suffering great pains over my body. Saw Sergt-Mjr Foley and
was relieved of
duty, sea very calm.
Two men reported
missing, Fox and Olsen just after dinner we ran into a monsoonal disturbance
which lasted 18
hours sea running very high with the rain.
Dec 4th Very little sleep all night
through pain in my arm and bad head, reported to M.O. had arm dressed
and got No9.
Saloon passengers gave a concert it was no good. Violet Paget being the only artist.
Pay day but dry
Dec 5th Had better nights rest, was
fairly done up, very uneventful day, the sea was like a vast sheet of glass
monotonous. Was on fatigues this morning and got a terrible bump on my arm Very
Dec 6th Very hot all day, singing
contest at night. I won first prize with
parody on “Tipperary”. Slept on well
night. Arm very sore.
Dec 7th Very good day today nothing
exciting. Crossed the line. The Heads
held a mock court martial at night
it was the
rottenest turnout I had ever seen.
Dec 8th Feeling better today, did
some drill. Weather good, sea smooth
Dec 9th Nothing doing today very hot,
Dec 10th Arrived Colombo 5.00pm the
niggers were round us like a swarm of bees.
It was quite a sight for
those who had
never seen it before.
Dec 11th On fatigues till 10.30 am went
ashore from 12 – 3.30pm had a real good time got some message
stops to send
home, left again at 5.30pm
12 Very quiet day, Church parade in
morning and at night.
Dec 13th Also very quiet passed a couple
of ships had some gramophone at night
Dec 14th Passed two more steamers. Boxing contest started tonight
Dec 15th Passed two more steamers early
this morning, sea very moderate.
Rumoured that we land at Serray
Dec 16th Two more steamers, sea very
smooth, passed the “Two Brothers” Islands 3000ft above sea level.
Dec 17th Passed P & O boat at 4.00
am received wireless that 10 allied ships had been sunk in Mediterranean.
3 miles on Western front gaining big victory.
Passed Dutch East Indramers “Timore”
Amsterdam. Paid 20/-
Dec 18th Passed Aden 3.30 am also three
steamers entered straits about 8.00 am
Arabian Coast very rugged,
very sandy, passed two large tabletops and small islands, sea was calm. At about 9.00
am we passed
very close to Perrison Island which is rather a pretty place with a nice little
and other craft were at anchor here.
About midday we got a nice view of “Inveca” of
coffee farms we
could see the streets and houses and …….. at 4.00pm we passed a very large
African Coast on
port side, passed two very high and rugged islands on starboard sides one had a
lighthouse right on top.
Monday 19th passed number of ships
Dec 20th Very hot day, passed more
steamers. Sold about 150 P.Cs of
….. One of may best mates
and was buried at sea at 5.00pm. Concert
postponed as consequence. Took up
for nurse over £30
Dec 21st Nothing exciting today, passed
several boats, sea smooth, coast on both sides very rugged especially
Dec 22nd Arrived At Sinai (Suez) at 4.30
am landed at 1.pm unloader our bags onto quay and then into the
train. We left
for Cairo at about 4.30. There are some
very picturesque places alone the line, and
niggers with their infernal “Baksenhi” We passed a lot of camps including the
who gave us a
great rally, after dark we did not see only when we stoped at a station we were
the niggers with their …. Cooked. We
eventually arrived at Cairo at 12.50 pm and
were told that
we had to march a mile to our camp and that it was all ready for us. But to our
sorrow we had to
march 11 miles to “Maadi” camp where we arrived at 4.30am, dog tired and dead
beat – not even
a drink of water from time we left the train.
We threw ourselves on the desert and
went to sleep
but nor for long. We were work up and
told we had come a mile too far, and had to
walk back. Then to our dismay there were no tents, cooks
doing food, or anything ready for us. It
was the worst
arrangement circus I have ever had any thing to go with and the “Heads” were
bunch of clowns.
Dec 23rd Same conditions presents today
as ………………….. arrangements had been made and it was gone cold.
Dec 24th Allotted to tents today and
slight improvement in the way of food.
Our limbs were too tired and
sore to sleep or
moves about much, never the less the Heads had us paraded and a photograph
Australia’s last hope.
Dec 25th Xmas Day – Had Church parade
about 5000 men. Back to camp and were
issued with our Xmas
Billy’s. Mine was very good.
Dec 26th Quiet day, nothing doing owing
to the evacuation of Gallipoli
horse are still staying on at “Maadi” and consequently there are not enough
horses and mules here to keep 800 of our men going. And we are in for a
quiet time.We were paraded today and
all musicians told to fall out, there
were not many about 8 or 10.The object
was to form a
band for the
unit. Capt Tacthell and other officer’s
time to make a
start. Arthur Clayton of the NSW unit
was to be Band Sergt and myself Band Cpl.We got a start on and allotted the
Dec 27thGot12 hours leave and went to Heliopolis and saw
Denny Walker.He knows nothing about *Mont only having seen him once
or twice before they went to
Gallipoli.Also went to the base in
Cairo but they have no record of him.I
had a splendid
day, saw some of the sights of Cairo and some of the slum “…”. It is the greatest eye-opener that I
have ever had in my life and it …..to see all I can …..
Summary: Some of
49 photographs in an album from World War I likely to have been taken
by Troop (later Lieutenant) G.S. Millar depicting the Light Horse camp
... And the AWM
Dec 28th Got a good start with the
band. I take them for practice every
morning and Clayton takes us in the
afternoon. We are all off other duties.
Dec 29th Band all day, my cold very
crook. Paid P.T. 100
Dec 30th Very quiet day
Dec 31st 400 mules arrived from
Abyssinia. Band coming on o.k.
Sat Jan 1st
1916 Not much doing today. Issued with our New Year parcels and
comforts. Very cold.
Jan 2nd Church parade, general
leave, went to Cairo.
Jan 3rd More mules and raining
Jan 4th Still cold and raining
received word re Monty.
Jan 5th Very cold, glad to wrap up,
took our band over and had a practice with the Victorians..
Jan. 6th Up early beautiful bright
morning and to our surprise about 7 o’clock a fog started to settle down
and in less than
half an hour you could not see from one tent to another and it was about 10
before it lifted
again and then it came out very hot.
Jan 7th General routine with band,
Jan 8th Cold day, slight touch of
Jan 9th Off duty all day went to
Jan 10th Band all day 5 hours
Jan 11th Ban duties through the ….. of
the orderly Sergt myself and one or two more of the ….. detailed from
……………..with the result that it
was posted in R.O.’s the band were exempt.
Jan 12th Band in morning, …. Afternoon
drew P.T. 200 went to pictures at night, good show.
Jan 13th Usual routine
Jan 14th Got my letters from home. Band all day
Jan 15th Off duty all day but did not
Jan 16th To the great surprise of our
Padre, Maitland Woods, and the O.C. and Regiment in general the band
Church Parade and also played the service.
In the afternoon I went through a native
our camp “Toura” it was very quaint and also very interesting as they were
festival of Mohamed. We also went and
had a look at our Artillery at practice with their
big guns. Wrote home.
Monday 17th Usual routine
Jan 18th Usual routine
Jan 19th Usual routine
Jan 20th Very cold day. Large biplane flew over our camp today. All
inoculated for cholera, registered a
parcel home and
had a new tent given to us for the band, erected it and had practice.
Jan 21st Band all day – 4 hours. Sang at pictures, got P –T.100
Jan 22nd Band in morning. Went to Cairo in afternoon, went to Pyramids
with Sergt H. Batson had tea at
Sanlto P.T. 16
had trip through ….. and got home at 10.00 pm.
Jan 23rd ……day, Played out……
Jan 24th Usual routine, very cold and
Jan 25th Very cold, rain in afternoon
Jan 26th Cold day, drew P.T. 150
Jan 27th About 2 inches rain flooded every
Jan 28th Usual R.O.
Jan 29th Went to Cairo visited ….. at Gaeyera Palace (perhaps Heliopolis) spent
evening with some Tommies
and came back to
camp at 9.45
Sun 30th Usual routine – Band in morning
about camp rest of day
Sun 31st Very hot day, cold night.
Feb 1st Very cold and windy. Stretch tents to dry ground and went to
rehearsal for concert.
Feb 2nd Raining all day
Feb 3rd Biplane flew over camp at
breakfast time, had splendid view of
it. Inoculated again today more
damn poison, God
help the snake that bight me when I get back to Aussie, it will drop stone
Did banjo turn
at concert, made a big hit.
Feb 4th Very hot day, nothing doing.
Feb 5th Practice in morning, played
at cricket match in afternoon, stayed in camp at night.
Sunday 6th Played troops off parade in
morning, caught 9.30 train to Cairo had a good time.
Feb 7th Band duties, hot day, more
aeroplanes flying about.
Feb 8th Band all day
Feb 9th Band all day
Feb 10th Holiday for Light Horse
Sports. Went to Cairo for the day on
special leave visited Sesserow Mosque
515. The most remarkable thing about it
is the beautiful decorative work, which appeals to me as
a tradesman.There are two very amazing
oak doors, roughly about 14 ft high
12 ft wide, they
are fully 4 inch thick, inlaid with ivory, pearl and ebony. Some metal that has the
dull gold, the roof is supported by alabaster pillars 6 ft in diameter. The ceiling which
is 100 ft by 40
ins all mosaic work in red, blue, green and there is also some beautiful panels
oak lattice. The carpet on the floors
was taken from the Turks 150 years ago.
desk and staircase are all in wonderfully carved and coloured. The Mosque also
tomb of the Sultan and his wife, the
walls of the tomb chamber are 200 ft high
theorematic in a
dome a peculiarity.
Feb 12th Band duties all day
Sunday 13th Played troops to church then had
practice and played at cricket match
Feb 14th Went to Heliopolis and Zeitoun
in search of bandsmen. Met Alex Clark,
Davenport and Bird. Also
heard that Bill
Devlin was at Zeitoun, wrote asking him to come over and I would work on
Feb 15th Band duties
Feb 16th Sang at concert at Serge’s
mess, had good time.
Feb 17th Band duties, very cold
Feb 18th 6 hours leave, walked to
Napoleons “Old Fort” on the Mc Caddam hills, looked all through the forts
and caves, one
of which was covered with human bones, skulls in galore a splendid view is
from the top of
the Old Fort. Just fancy having stood on
such an historical spot and walked up the
same stone steps
that Napoleon did!
Feb 19th Practice in morning, played at
our own unit sports in afternoon, and had a real good day and night.
Sunday 20th Took band to Shasbrova Hospital and
played programme, the sisters treated us Quince Caterer (from
Feb 21st Band duties
Feb 22nd Band duties
Feb 23rd Practice in morning. Pay in afternoon, drew P.T. 50 P.T. 100
short. Q.M. Davis promised to send it
Feb 24th Good day’s practice 6 hours …………………….
Feb 25th Practice in morning, played at
distribution of prizes in afternoon.
Feb 26th Band duties, played
Officer’s Mess 4.30
Sunday 27th Played Church Parade and Cricket
Feb 28th Practice, we experienced our
first sand storm today and it was a beauty.
I have a heavy cold and
throat. We were paraded in afternoon and
told that as there was not much work for the whole
unit to do, that
volunteers would be taken for the A.S.C. and F.A. Quite a number were accepted.
We were also
told that all mail was forbidden to go to Australia for 6 weeks, something …… have got
to keep it
dark. I did not take my leave in
consequence of Ana-feish Falerioa.
to 16th Nothing of importance
only dismal band duties. Received two letters and one paper on the
17th Paddy’s Day and not a
drop of beer in the camp, another injustice to Ireland. Played performance of
Irish Airs on
parade ground after tea, very strong wind blowing and had a job to keep lights
Feb 18th Received special leave to visit
the Citadel in which is situated the Mosque of Mohammad Ali
This is easy the most beautiful
mosque in and around Cairo.
……….supported by four very
granite pillars. It has a ….. running all around the dome …soft high
above and round the
glass windows. This glass is from every
country in the world. The lower walls
panels of marble
from every country in the world, including Australia. Then there are small pillars of
two foot thick and almost transparent, the light is let in from above and is
in a thousand
different rays. The effect is simply
lovely, from the top of the dome cone 250 ft there
are 150 copper
chains reaching within 6 ft of the floor on each of the chains, (in olden days
of the old oil
lamps) now glorious electric globes and in addition to these there are several
electric chandeliers. Of course, to my
mind this modernisation spoils the effect.
is the original
effect, but it is a glorious sight. All
the doors and the glass case leading to the pulpit
desks are most wonderfully carved and inlaid with various metals and precious
The carpets are
unexplainable being of the very best Turkish manufacture. If I were to go on writing
for a month, I
would fail to find a proper description of this mosque and would advise that
Sunday 19th Band duties
to 25th Usual Routine. ………Went to Cairo on leave, heard that …… as black as the beautiful display,
Sunday Took band to Choulera
had good time.
Mar 27th Went to Helowan, spent a very
pleasant day. Rumours going round that
the unit is to be broken up
and send a lot
of us home to Aussie. I tried for a
transfer to the F.A. but was turned down on
account of age
and being banded.
Mar 28th Band duties
Mar 29th Band duties
Mar 30th Still talk of unit being
disbanded in consequences of shortage of horses and mules.
Mar 31st Band offered their services
with the new unit but were not accepted by Colonel McLeish. Took part
today in the
Battle of Maaitis things were very willing for a time. Close on the whole unit were
Baptised in this
canal. There was hell to pay and John
Ahearn and myself escaped very lucky and
beat a hasty
retreat across the desert to …. Clayton also got through without a scratch.
April 1st Unit broken up, am down for
Aussie at present and hope it comes off.
No …. Today, played at
Sunday 2ndWent to Cairo visited Sphinx
Apr 3rd …. Amongst
them, don’t quite know what will come of it, as the Heads change their minds
Paid PT 150 hope it is soon sent home. Absolutely fed up.
General Parade at 6.00
was finally passed for Aussie. What a relief.
Think I am leaving this land of
mummies. Got 6 hours leave and went in to have a last look at Cairo, when I
come home I
found that some
d…. thief had ratted my kit bag and stolen all my stuff that I had to take
they missed my
money. They took badges and other things
to the value of about P.T. 300.
Apr 6 Parade today, hear that we
are leaving on the “Rounic” on Monday
Apr 7th More parade and a bit of
soft soap from the O.S
Apr 8th Paraded again and told that
we were ..Aussie in a day or two and that no leave would be granted.
This order was
cancelled within an hours. Went into
Cairo again. Got a lot of letters from
Sunday 9th Church Parade. All orders re going home were cancelled
Apr 10th Doing nothing just waiting
Apr 11th Ditto
Apr 12th Doing nothing just waiting
Apr 13th The worst sand storms today
that you could possibly imagine and lasted all day long.
Apr 14th Reveille at 4.00 am Sent horses
away to front rest on 2 hours Maiss Gissard.
Apr 15th Camp broken up all home bird
from No 1 lines to our lines and told to go over to Victoria …..of
16th to Wed 19th Nothing
doing new unit is expected to move off at any moment. Payed P.T. 100 on
Apr 20th New unit gave us a concert and
a send off, very good turn out. Went to
town this afternoon.
Apr 21st New unit marched out this
morning for racecourse. Sergt Donahue
told me that I had been
Corporal and was to be ready to report.
Apr 22nd Nothing doing today
Sunday 23rd Read out orders as Corporal. Went to Cairo in afternoon. We are supposed to leave next Tuesday.
Apr 24th I’m of comforts today, our
departure is postponed again until Friday.
Apr 25th Anzac Day. 12 months today Mont was reported missing
since this. I have heard from good
he was killed, Jack Fowler at Base Pay Office says there is no doubt
about. Issues of
death of it will
be officially made ….within a month or 6 weeks.
Apr 26th Still rumours of leaving at any
moment. Very hot and dusty.
Apr 27th Orders to standby after a month
of suspense on short orders we have at last heard that we
tomorrow. Stretch tents at 3.00pm. Slept out in desert awful sand storm lasted
Apr 28th Up at 5.00 am marched out at
6. Left Maadi at 9 o’clock arrived “Bali
El Corik” at 9.30 marched to
Cairo … 2.5
miles entrained for Sessy at 11.10.
After a wait of a couple of hours for prisoners, we left
12.30. ………..I really believe we
……becoming smaller and fading away one almost feels a
pang of sorrow
to be going away from 1 hour old. But
there are dearest and closests ahead little do
they think we
are coming home, it seems such a farce that we ever came here at all. Cairo out of
sight at last
but never to be forgotten. On rail and
change of scene from the Gay City to the rural
districts. Barley fields on either side, dotted with
date palms, an ….field of clover. Now a small
buffaloes, braying and being headed by natives, goats, sheep on our left the
hills with her
quaint old boats
(dialecahs) Now we see the old times water wheel worked by a camel or
Now we come to
the small village of Caliule, the Sultans flanked by the New Egyptian flag of 3
crescents. There an old blue grass tree and in
spectacular rose gardens. Such as
….. Now Fouka and Benha,
very large villages, military guards on road and station. There are very large …. Here.
The next village
or town is Zagazig being Tommie camps.
At 4.pm we arrive at Tel El Kebir and what
a surprise. Orders to detrain and camp here for the night
on account of the troop ship not being
able to get in
to the quay.
camped here mostly by Australians.
During the night the “Liverpool Mob”
burned … three canteens. Tonight’s camp was absurd the ………
Sat. Reville at 6am catch as catch
can breakfast marched out at 8.30 left Tel El Kebir at 9.50 reached
Bitter Lakes at
11.35 Serapin 1.15 Artillery Camel Corps are camped here.
Sessy at 2.30pm. Embarked on Seang Bee
at 3. O’clock. Sailed at 5 o’clock. Very dirty
old ship. Had good night’s rest. Good bye Egypt. On the road from Tel El Kebir we passed two
with sick and wounded from Simica had even heavy fighting there.
Sunday 30th Up at 5.am Splendid morning, smooth
sea, and 11.45 passed Sacred Table (Island) as there was a set
on board we decided to have a band going home.
Got instruments up and put on a
Fatigue Party to
clean them. Passed several steamers
May 1st Very quiet day, smooth sea,
had practice with band, coronet players not up to putty. Passed a gun
afternoon, very hot food not too god on this basket.
May 2nd Rather pleasant day. Sea got a bit choppy towards midday. Passed a few ships, very cool for the
Red Sea went to
May 3rd Up very early about
3.30. Sighted African Coast 7 am, passed
through Hells Gate 7.10am. Sea
high this morning. Ship behaving
well. Nice bright morning with stiff
Arabian Coast about midday. Sea gone
down considerably. Passed ….. Islands 6
Colombo 6 days
May 4th Pacey’s birthday, I had
little dream that I am so close to her.
Sea like glass this morning nothing
Indian Ocean at this time of year.
Passed several steamers, very quiet day.
May 5th Very quiet day, smooth
sea. Passed islands of Sumatra at 6
am. Food very bad today. Bread
May 6th Uneventful day. Had boat and fire drill. Smooth sea, very calm.
Sunday Beautiful morning and
comparitably cool, smooth sea. Ran into a very large school of dolphins fully
them. They jumped just like a mob of
kangaroos on the plain. Our port engine
down about 12 am
and delayed the ship till 5 am next morning.
May 8th Ship got under way again at
5.30 am, smooth sea with fair ground swell.
May 9th Calm day, ship doing well.
May 10th Very hot all
day, picked up Cooramandros Island 4pm Analabah at 5.40 on port side. Pay £1
Arrived Colombo 8 am
Started loading did not go ashore today, had charge of Quarter Guard, very
hot day. Large
numbers of ships in port. Three other ships.
1 Jap 1 French 1 Russian and P & O Liner.
Left here this
morning …. The Sangolisk leaves….in the morning who went ashore today were
the treatment they received. Most
fearfully hot nights, could not sleep.
May 12th I applied and
got special leave for myself and the men I had on guard yesterday. We had a good runaround in
rickshaws, we visited the Indian Temple of the Sacred Cow, the Gardens Markets and then I took Haykins
ahead and went on board the Japanese cruise and had a ripping time.
treated us likes
princes, had 3 bottles of champ, cigars and cigarettes. They gave us a lot of P.C and
they wished me to convey their compliments to Colonel and the Adjutant Cap.
extended them a hearty welcome to visit their ship. The Colonel was very pleased and
said he would
try to go the next day. The officers
said they would very likely send a cutter over for
me tonight, and
I hope they don’t as I am tired.
May 13th Several boats
left this morning. We were down to leave
today. We had a very heavy thunder storm last night.Left Colombo 5.15pm/
Sunday Early this morning a huge sea
broke through the portholes on our port side and simply flooded the
Mess Deck. No church today. Had an issue of one orange per man this
morning. The Green things
not worth 2d
per … But Lord it is good enough for
common “diggers” hear that we are to get
Ma 15th Bad
seas running. Crossed the line and another orange, more of …… cool nights. Sea smooth.
May 16th Heavy sea again,
all day. Meal today was simply
rotten. We could not eat it at all. Complaints are
futile and is
only wasting time to complain. The
Orderly Officer says, all right, I’ll take a note of it,
that is all he
does as we hear no more about it. Same
May 16th Ran into a heavy
storm early this morning at breakfast time it was raining with heavy strong
sea. There was to have been exercise
parade and was cancelled on account of the
weather. Storms worked up into a gale by 6 pm. Equal to the “Yongalla” storms and lasted
May 18th Morning broke
fairly bright with heavy waves. Another
packet of fags today. Wireless in touch
today. Meat rotten again. We panied it all over board and made another
May 19th Very quiet day
May 20th Very strong head
wind all day, getting cold, want more blankets, passed … boat 12.30pm.
Sunday 21st Up early, bright morning, headiest
of .. swells. Passed steamer on port side 10.30 am Had
for them with banjo.
May 22nd Beautiful morning, passed large
steamer on starboard side 10 am. Had look through engineer room
and talked ..for
concert at night. I had to .. play the
May 23rd This morning has
come up wet and stormy. ……. Said the
greatest fear …. Returns …….. If it
overtakes us we
will have a good time “I don’t think”
May 224th Storm followed us all night, but
sheared off on our starboard. Raining
heavy big swell. Nearing
goodness. Saw a few fishes this morning
arrived at Rottnest Island 12.30p. Had a
lot of delay
getting into Fremantle. Eventually got
in at 3.30. No one allowed ashore on
conduct of Re… Troops. Raining heavy.
May 25th Coaling all day,
May 26th Calm sea, good
May 27th Nothing doing
all day, had meeting at night re …..in Egyptian … I was delegated to see the
May 28th Very quiet day,
cold wind blowing NSW delegate and
myself inter… the O.C. and …. As board re
repate. Also we .. to see into the food
troubles. The Board consisted of the
following R.G. Bell, ….
H.S. Lucas, Cap, Horn I.v. O’Loughlin … Col Major Mc Leod and Major T Rooke. ….were called and
the enquiry lasted all day with the result
that they were going to play old Harry in Melbourne but
that was all
that. Come off is the fact is we were
back home and they got rid of us they had no
further use for
us. Re the Egyptian rebate, which is
worked as follows: We were allowed 8.5
per man per day
for time in Egypt for extras and the men were given to understand that the ……
would be decided
or ……. The men …… worked out at 4 shillings 6 pence per man per day. So that
left £540 or
13/6d per man for our unit. Out of this
amount there was £268 brought on board our
ships and we
considered our men entitled to it.
However the board said that the money was
follows: Sports £10, Band £10 No 1 Asst
£10. £50 spent at Colombo in drinks and
remainder was put into Regimental Funds.
instance of what the “diggers” can expect.
officers learn to commander their men more and to remember that without the men
would not be
officers, then things in the Army may go along a bit smoother and men will not
such a get-on
May 27th Quiet day
May 28th Victorians were
paid today, they disembark tomorrow.
Very cold tonight.
May 31st Passed Cape Otway at day light,
entered Port Phillip Heads 12 noon. Got
No one allowed
ashore. Left again at 6.30.
and 3nd June The run to Sydney was
uneventful and landed at Woolloomooloo, were put into trams and
taken to Sydney Station. Got onto trains left for Brisbane at 4.30pm.
June 4th Arrived Brisbane on Thursday 5th at
12.30 midnight. Had fortnight’s furlough granted.
connection with the forages, I think it advisable to write a short summary,
that you may better understand some of the entries and also to explain various
points in connections with and in defence of my unit.
In the first
place it must not be supposed that the Remount Unit was not required or that it
was in any way an unnecessary …..
contrary, at the time the unit was formed there was great use for it as the
Light Horse those camped at Maadi in Egypt, were being formed into Infantry, to
reinforce the troops on Gallipoli, and in that case we would have had quite a lot
to do in looking after their horses, mules and in assisting others for military
Owing to the
evacuation of Gallipoli, the Light Horse remained in Egypt with the result that
when we arrived there were only about 1000 to 2000 horses and mules for us to
deal with, and you can quite understand that that was not a very big job for
between 800 to 1000 men.
consequences was that we had very little to do, and on the whole we had a very
But to my
mind I think the situation made a very grave mistake in sending so many of us
over when they did, as there was plenty
of useful work that we could have been charged on., and hereby relieved …… to
go into the firing line.
The jobs I
refer to are such as hospital orderlies, Q.M. and Ordnance Stores,
Transport. There were many men in there
place who were anxious to go to France or on to the Palestine front.
myself and others of the unit have heard, we had not long left Egypt when those
in command in Cairo discovered this fact, but there it is, I’ve must admit that quite a large sum of money
was spent practically for nothing, that could have been put to good accounting. Never the less, the Remount Unit must mot be
looked down upon, as many of the men, although unfit for the front line,
through age or some physical deficit, had been survivors in another campaign,
and had glorious records to their credit.
who were sent back with us were just as disappointed at the account of the men.
my notes I mention that I was glad to
get back to Australia. By that you must
not think I that I did not want to do my duty as a soldier, it was simply that
I was heartily sick of doing nothing but practice my writing and to clean the
cook-house and the last part that is really all it amounted to, and most of the
officers and men felt the same way. In
speaking of our officers I must say that they were a splendid bunch of fellows all
round. Of course there were one or
were not famous with the men but they were very few.
of my own Squadron was …………..Colonel O.C. of Gowrie Queensland ……….. are all
worth mention. Amongst them being Sergt Brennan, George Hass, Battnr, Sergt
Peach, Sergt Major Carey Sergt A Riffle and Sergt Dave Stewart. There were honest and just officers and gave
their men a fair …. Every time. For a time we had Cap (Banjo) Patterson
attached to us and Capt Tatchell both these officers were well liked.
In my notes
I mention a subscription being taken up for a nurse. The facts are as follows. One of our men McNamarra was taken very ill
and the nurse (whose name I forget) was a passenger for England, and she
volunteered to nurse him, which she did, never leaving his side the whole time,
and in order to show our appreciation we made the collection for her.
was also a passenger for Alexandra where she was going to nurse her husband,
who was in hospital wounded. She was a
good charmer to the boys and of course a great entertainer.
Battle of Maada, you must not imagine that it was one of those bloody battles
in which men loose their lives. It was
rather a humorous affair, the whole thing started through a practical joke.
Two of our
men were sitting on the bank of a
……canal, which was used to carry water for the horses. Just as they were sitting a plank bridge was
made so that we could cross over without going a long way around. A couple of the chaps were crossing in front
of the two who were sitting down ……this idea of tripping the …. The result that
came of …. Crossing fell into the canal.
His mate immediately tackled the other two and they all went in. Some men who were standing left, saw the joke
and made great fuss of it, but those who had the imprompature both resented
their merriment and tackled them and in turn they were baptised by this time a
great crowd had gathered and the dipping became …. It at the finish just on 700
men had gone through the … those who escaped were the ones who thought desertion
the better part of valour, myself amongst them.
we received a lecture from the P.M.O and the O.C. re the danger attached to
bathing in the Nile Waters before they are purified and threatened with all
sort of punishments if it ever happened again.
while in Egypt was all could be desired and had plenty of it and it was of
first class quality. With the allowance
of 8.5d per man per day (which I have mentioned in notes) we did very well.