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Friday, March 20, 2015 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.

On 2nd October, 1896, he married to Mary Durnford, who died on 29th May 1919. 

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, 1915. 

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 June 1916. 

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 A.L.H. Band.

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 Correctness.   

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. 


Trooper A.E. Pacey

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 each day.

After 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.

However on 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. 

Conditions at Chermside were not the best; food was up the putt and not enough of it.
Our 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 leave.

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.

We left Chermside on Thursday November 18th at 4.00am by special troop train.

The journey to the NSW border was very tame, and we were rather surprised at the coolness of the Queensland people at each place we stoped.

The only 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 uneventful.

On reaching 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.

However we eventually arrived in Sydney at on Friday Nov 19th at 8.30pm 4 hours behind our scheduled time.

Here the authorities had another chance to show their spite and they did it: viz –
On getting 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 good time.

We had had nothing to eat since midday and were just ready for a good tuck in.

Imagine our 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
Reveille at 5.30am Breakfast, kit and general inspection, which took up most of the morning
We left 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.

Sunday 21st

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. 
Next morning 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.

Nov 25th                 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
Nov 27th                  Usual R.O.’s threw bottle over with message in the Bight was in a good mood. Vaccinated today.
Nov 27th (28th?)    Very warm day had Church parade 10.30 wrote home and sent photo of this.
Nov 29th                 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 bed early.
Dec 2nd                   Fever left me pains all over today, still off duty.  Sun very hot after big swell wind night aft. Went on
                                deck about 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 ships.
Dec 5th                   Had better nights rest, was fairly done up, very uneventful day, the sea was like a vast sheet of glass
                                it was monotonous. Was on fatigues this morning and got a terrible bump on my arm Very hot day.
Dec 6th                   Very hot all day, singing contest at night.  I won first prize with parody on “Tipperary”. Slept on well
                                deck all 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, sea smooth.
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
Sunday Dec 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
                                next Tuesday
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. 
                                British advance 3 miles on Western front gaining big victory.  Passed Dutch East Indramers “Timore”
                                of Amsterdam.  Paid 20/-

Dec 18th                 Passed Aden 3.30 am also three steamers entered straits about 8.00 am  Arabian Coast very rugged,
                                African Coast 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 harbour,
                                several boats 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 island
                                African Coast on port side, passed two very high and rugged islands on starboard sides one had a
                                splendid 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
                                (McNamarra) died and was buried at sea at 5.00pm.  Concert postponed as consequence.  Took up
                                subscriptions for nurse over £30
Dec 21st                 Nothing exciting today, passed several boats, sea smooth, coast on both sides very rugged especially
                                the African side.
Dec 22nd                 Arrived At Sinai (Suez) at 4.30 am landed at 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
                                thousands of niggers with their infernal “Baksenhi” We passed a lot of camps including the Panjanb
                                who gave us a great rally, after dark we did not see only when we stoped at a station we were
                                pestered with 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 all a
                                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
                                taken of 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 

                               The Light 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 secured instruments,
                                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 instruments.

Dec 27th                 Got  12 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 … 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 o’clock
                                before it lifted again and then it came out very hot.
Jan 7th                     General routine with band, very cold.
Jan 8th                     Cold day, slight touch of dysentery.
Jan 9th                     Off duty all day went to Cairo.
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 leave camp
Jan 16th                  To the great surprise of our Padre, Maitland Woods, and the O.C. and Regiment in general the band
                                played for Church Parade and also played the service.  In the afternoon I went through a native
                                village closest our camp “Toura” it was very quaint and also very interesting as they were holding
                                this great 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 like rain
Jan 25th                  Very cold, rain in afternoon
Jan 26th                  Cold day, drew P.T. 150
Jan 27th                  About 2 inches rain flooded every thing.
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 dead. 
                                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
                                …………………………in 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
                                appearance of 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 of
                                Egyptian carved oak lattice.  The carpet on the floors was taken from the Turks 150 years ago.  The
                                pulpit reading desk and staircase are all in wonderfully carved and coloured.  The Mosque also
                                contains the 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 transfer
                                for him.
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 obtained
                                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
                                …) Birsers.
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
                                back from Alexandra.
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 match
Feb 28th                 Practice, we experienced our first sand storm today and it was a beauty.  I have a heavy cold and
                                sore 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.

March 1st 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 going.
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
                                magnificent granite pillars.  It has a  ….. running all around the dome …soft high above and round the
                                are coloured glass windows.  This glass is from every country in the world.  The lower walls are
                                panels of marble from every country in the world, including Australia.  Then there are small pillars of
                                alabaster about two foot thick and almost transparent, the light is let in from above and is reflected
                                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 hand one
                                of the old oil lamps) now glorious electric globes and in addition to these there are several very large
                                and elaborate electric chandeliers.  Of course, to my mind this modernisation spoils the effect.  That
                                is the original effect, but it is a glorious sight.  All the doors and the glass case leading to the pulpit
                                and reading desks are most wonderfully carved and inlaid with various metals and precious stones. 
                                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 you go
                                visit for yourself.

Sunday 19th           Band duties
Feb 20th to 25th     Usual Routine.  ………Went to Cairo on leave, heard that ……   as black as the beautiful display, 
                                looping the loop.

March 26th 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
                                cricket match.

Sunday 2nd             Went to Cairo visited Sphinx   

Apr 3rd    ….            Amongst them, don’t quite know what will come of it, as the Heads change their minds pretty often. 
                                 Paid PT 150 hope it is soon sent home.  Absolutely fed up.
Apr 5th                    General Parade at 6.00 was finally passed for Aussie. What a relief.  Think I am leaving this land of
                                bones and 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 home, but
                                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 home.
Sunday 9th             Church Parade.  All orders re going home were cancelled indefinitely.
Apr 10th                 Doing nothing just waiting orders
Apr 11th                 Ditto

Apr 12th                 Doing nothing just waiting orders
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
                                Garard 5.00pm.
Sunday April 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
                                recommended as 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 

                                authority that 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
                                definitely leave tomorrow.  Stretch tents at 3.00pm.  Slept out in desert awful sand storm lasted all
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
                                Cairo at 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
                                village, 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 buffalo.  
                                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 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.
                                70,000 troops camped here mostly by Australians.  During the night the “Liverpool Mob”  burned …                              three canteens.  Tonight’s camp was absurd the ………
April 29th 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.
                                Arrived Port 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
                                hospital trains with sick and wounded from Simica had even heavy fighting there.
Sunday 30th           Up at Splendid morning, smooth sea, and 11.45 passed Sacred Table (Island) as there was a set
                                of instruments 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 today.

May 1st                   Very quiet day, smooth sea, had practice with band, coronet players not up to putty.  Passed a gun
                                boat during 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 bed early.
May 3rd                   Up very early about 3.30.  Sighted African Coast 7 am, passed through Hells Gate 7.10am. Sea
                                becoming fairly high this morning.  Ship behaving well.  Nice bright morning with stiff breeze blowing
                                picked up Arabian Coast about midday.  Sea gone down considerably.  Passed ….. Islands 6 pm. 
                                Colombo 6 days steaming.
May 4th                   Pacey’s birthday, I had little dream that I am so close to her.  Sea like glass this morning nothing
                                unlike the 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
                                absolutely unfit to eat.
May 6th                   Uneventful day.  Had boat and fire drill.  Smooth sea, very calm.
May 7th Sunday     Beautiful morning and comparitably cool, smooth sea. Ran into a very large school of dolphins fully
                                1000’s of them.  They jumped just like a mob of kangaroos on the plain.  Our port engine broke
                                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.  Short arms.
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
May 11th                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
                                disgusted with 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 run around 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.  

                               The officers
                                treated us likes princes, had 3 bottles of champ, cigars and cigarettes.  They gave us a lot of P.C and
                                when leaving they wished me to convey their compliments to Colonel and the Adjutant Cap.
                                Thatchell and 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/
May 14th 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
                                cigarettes tomorrow.
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 of cigars.
May 16th                 Ran into a heavy storm early this morning at breakfast time it was raining with heavy strong wind
                                and rough 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 nearly all
May 18th                  Morning broke fairly bright with heavy waves.  Another packet of fags today.  Wireless in touch with
                                Cocos Island today.  Meat rotten again.  We panied it all over board and made another complaint.
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 hymns at
                                night, played 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 piano.
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
                                Australia, thank 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 account of
                                the disgraceful conduct of Re… Troops.  Raining heavy.
May 25th                                Coaling all day, left 5.30pm
May 26th                                Calm sea, good days sail.
May 27th                   Nothing doing all day, had meeting at night re … Egyptian … I was delegated to see the O.C. with
                                N.S.W. representatives.

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 pence
                                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
                                disposed as follows:  Sports £10, Band £10 No 1 Asst £10.  £50 spent at Colombo in drinks and
                                cigarettes remainder was put into Regimental Funds. 
                                Just another instance of what the “diggers” can expect.
                                When the officers learn to commander their men more and to remember that without the men they
                                would not be officers, then things in the Army may go along a bit smoother and men will not have
                                such a get-on the Heads.
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 alongside 3.30. 
                                No one allowed ashore.  Left again at 6.30.
1st 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.



In 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 …..

On the 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 purposes.

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.
The consequences was that we had very little to do, and on the whole we had a very good time.

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.

From what 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.

The officers who were sent back with us were just as disappointed at the account of the men.

In 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 
two that were not famous with the men but they were very few.

An officer 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.

Violet Paget 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.

At the 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.
Next morning 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.

Our food 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. 

Arthur Pacey  June 1916


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