George Allen Hill Sergt.
4th Waikato Squadron
October 10th 1914
In the event of my being killed, I wish this diary to be sent to Mother.
(Oct. 10th 1914, Saturday)
I start this diary with the intention of writing a little each day of our adventures and misadventures.
Well to start right from the post, we struck camp at Otahuhu at 4am, and loaded the transport wagons and got them off for Auckland. We then saddled up and followed into town and loaded the horses onto the boat, which was completed about 1pm. After dinner we go an hour’s leave in town. The roll was called at 3pm and we stepped off New Zealand into the boat. She pulled out and anchored in the harbour about 5pm.
(Oct. 11th Sunday)
We lay at anchor all day. Ferry boats full of people were coming round all day. The weather was lovely and the harbour looked very pretty. We weighed anchor at 5pm and sailed out of Auckland getting well past Tiri lighthouse before dark.
(Oct. 12 Monday)
The day dawned bright and clear and we were heading our course south and out of sight of land. We sighted East Cape about midday; the coast line seems very steep and rugged.
(Oct. 13 Tuesday)
We sailed all day in sight of the coast, the sea was as calm as a mill pond. The sun setting slowly over the land looked lovely. We passed through a school of Porpoise; there must have been thousands of them playing and spouting around the ship.
(Oct. 14th Wednesday)
When we woke about 5am we were passing through the heads at Wellington. We passed right close to the wreck of the S.S. “Devon”. She is right up on the rocks and cut off just aft of the funnel. They anchored us in the harbour and granted no leave. It was cold and showery all day and blowing hard off the land. Wellington is a miserable looking place, steep bare hills everywhere with houses clinging on in most awful looking places.
(Oct. 15th Thursday)
We were anchored all day with nothing much doing except that a coal hulk was brought alongside and we were coaling all morning. In the afternoon the other eight of the N.Z. fleet of Troopers came out into the harbour and lined up with us. It has been a rather better day not much rain and wind. A few of our men hopped into boats that came alongside and took French leave for the evening.
(Oct. 16th Friday)
We weighed anchor at 6am and sailed out of Wellington, it was a grand sight to see the ten Troopers going out in line with the two warships in front, one in the centre and one behind. When we got out far enough to enable it, the Troopships formed up into two lines of five each. One warship in front, one on each side and one on rear. This is the formation we are to cross the Tasman Sea in. We sailed close to the T [Tasman] Coast of the North Island till about 10 am, then turned S.W. and lost sight of the North Island about 11:30 am. We did not go very close to the South Island and saw the last of Cape Farewell just before dark.
(Oct. 17th Saturday)
Reveille went as usual and we all [got] out of bed like all good soldiers, half an hour late. It was raining and blowing rather cold. The wind increased as the day went on and by night there was a fine sea running and about 50 percent of the men were sick.
(Oct. 18th Sunday)
The weather is still rather boisterous and the sea rough. Rather a quiet day, nearly all hands sick. We had no church service today, the Chaplain being too ill.
(Oct. 19th Monday)
A day very much similar to yesterday and rather uninteresting, nothing to see but water all round. We had no drill today, most of the men being too weak.
(Oct. 20th Tuesday)
The weather was a lot brighter today and the men seem to be getting their sea legs, we had a fair muster for physical drill this morning. We put our first horse over today, it was a mad brute and got over the rails the other day and got hurt and that with seasickness finished him off.
(Oct. 21st Wednesday)
When Reveille went this morning and we went on deck, we were in sight of Tasmania which was about 40 miles away. Orders came out late last night that we were to have a route march through Hobart and it was a busy sight this morning cleaning gear and getting ready generally. We got inside the heads at Hobart about 11 am, which is about 20 miles from the town. It was beautiful going up the harbour and got even more so as you get nearer the town which is very pretty. Looking from the harbour, the country around seems to be in small cultivations and orchards. We were berthed at the wharf about 12:30 pm and as soon as dinner was over we were all taken off and started on the march. For a start, we were taken up the Domain hill from which a very pretty view of the town is obtained. We were then taken out about 4 miles and given about ten minutes spell and happened to stop in front of a little shop and of course bought them out of anything in the way of soft drinks, cigarettes and chocolates. Some of the residents brought out cases of apples and buckets of drink for us, which we soon made short work of. We then continued our march and went right out to a place called Newtown and then right round the bay and back to the ship. Two men fainted and fell out on the road and a Sergeant was left in charge of each. It was not a nice march by any means for one thing we were taken through all slums and never saw the main street and secondly the heat was terrible and the roads rough and dusty. We pulled out into the harbour soon after getting on board.
(Oct. 22nd Thursday)
Was a beautiful day nice and sunny with a fresh breeze blowing off the land. We were busy last night and this morning writing home, Church day altogether. Hobart looked very pretty viewed from the harbour. Everything seems very dry here, all the grass in the domain is parched up quite brown. People say they have had no rain to speak of for about 18 months. We weighed anchor about 1:30pm and steamed out and formed up in the same order as we came over the Tasman Sea.
(Oct. 23rd Friday)
When we woke this morning it was very foggy and damp and had been very bad during the night. The fog signals were sounding all night. The sea is also running fairly strong. The fog cleared off about 9am and the day was not half bad. We lost sight of Tasmania about 10 o’clock.
(Oct. 24th Saturday)
Another one of the many uninteresting days we have to endure, with nothing but water as far as the eye can see. The weather is fine with a westerly wind blowing and the sea still fairly rough.
(Oct. 25th Sunday)
It has been a lovely day, and the sea a lot calmer. We had church parade for all hands which was very good, the singing was specially good. We have had a lazy day reading and lying about the deck.
(Oct. 26th Monday)
The weather today has been fine but the wind still blows and the swell is very heavy. Today was marred by a sad occurrence, a Corporal died on the “Ruapehu” this morning and was buried with military honours this afternoon at 4 o’clock. All the fleet was stopped and the “Ruapehu” came up in the centre while the sad ceremony was performed. All the troops on each ship were paraded and a short service was read while the band played the Dead march.
Measles have broken out on the boat (about 10 cases). We sergeants were all moved out of our quarters and put on the running deck and our quarters are turned into a hospital which is isolated.
(Oct. 27th Tuesday)
Last night we, (the Sergeants), all slept on the running deck under canvas awning and it rained like “Old Nick” so we got as wet as shags. I got everything wet being under a join in the canvas. Our Major got permission for us to dry our clothes in the engine room so we spent most of the day doing so. They cleared the place for us in No. 1 hold and we moved in there tonight. It has been raining practically all day.
(Oct. 28th Wednesday)
When we woke this morning, land was in sight on our Starboard bow which proved to be Western Australia. We dropped anchor in Albany about 12 noon. The Australian Force are at anchor here too, 28 troopships all tolled. We are not in sight of the town but can see the masts of the ships at the wharf over a sand hill.
(Oct. 29th Thursday)
We are still at anchor out in the bay and heard today that we are not going to leave till Sunday. It was also given out that we were not going ashore here on account of the measles. We are only allowed to write to N.Z. without having our letters censored but are warned against putting anything in about our movements. The weather here is beautifully fine. A few boats crews were out today for practice.
(Oct. 30th Friday)
Orders were given first thing this morning that General Sir A.F. Godley would inspect the troops and ship at 2pm, so most of the morning was spent in cleaning up gear and quarters. We were all paraded on the running deck at 1:30pm in senior order. At 2pm punctually the General arrived and after having a look round us inspected the ship and was very well pleased with everything, at least he said he was.
(Oct. 31st Saturday)
We did very little drill today, the boats were out all day with different crews. I did not get a chance to go, being Regimental Orderly Sergeant. It has been showery today and the sea is a bit rough, but towards evening it calmed down and was tip-top. Pte Larney, a man from my troop, was put off here today to be invalided home, he has been bad for a few days with ulcerated stomach; so the Medical officers held a consultation and decided he was not fit for active service. I am sorry he went as he is a very decent chap.
(Nov. 1st Sunday)
I was up before Reveille to see the Australian Fleet of Troopers start out, it was a grand sight, one never to be forgotten to see the (28) ships going out in one line. By the time the last one was past you would hardly see the first. This took till about seven o’clock, then our ten boats weighed anchor and followed at a mile or so behind. We formed up in the same formation as before but I can’t as yet see what way the Australians are going in. There is a rumour about today that half the Australians and us are going to Africa; we may know for certain tomorrow. The morning up till 11 o’clock was perfect and added greatly to the beauty of the sight of the Fleet of Transport. In the afternoon it clouded up a little but did not rain much and looks fine again tonight.
(Nov. 2nd Monday)
It has been a tip top of day, all the ships looked really fine. The Australians were formed up in advance of us in three lines, it is a sight never to be forgotten. We seem to be heading our course N.W. and are going at a good speed. The 11th Squadron lost a horse last night.
(Nov. 3rd Tuesday)
A fair wind got up last night which increased as the day went on and tonight the sea is running darned high and the old ship is rocking about like mad. A good few horses went down last night – one or two today. I expect more will be down tonight.
(Nov. 4th Wednesday)
A much better day than yesterday, but we had an awful night last night, the horses were going down all night, one in particular went down six times. We had no sleep to speak of during the night, the horses were making an awful noise and the ship was rolling badly. Our Squadron carried out musketry practice today at a target that was towed behind. The shooting was easily the best done on the ship yet. The heat now is getting very pronounced. We have been steering a course N.W. by N. since we started. We are still ignorant of [our] destination and it is very amusing to hear all the different opinions passed by all hands.
(Nov. 5th Thursday)
The day dawned as usual by the darkness going black to light. It was a lovely morning, hardly a cloud in the sky. As the day went on we were wishing that we were to keep the sun off a bit. About midday it was striking down very severely, the calmness made it a lot worse. Two horses died last night, one of ours and one of the eleventh. A big P&O boat overtook us today. I had a look at her through a good pair of glasses and there seemed to be a good few passengers aboard.
(Nov. 6th Friday)
The heat today has been terrible, absolutely no wind whatsoever. There have been a few heavy showers knocking about today, but we have had none as yet, but it may come any time. We passed through the Tropic of Capricorn today. Ern has not been too well today. He has been in bunk all today and has not eaten much.
(Nov. 7th Saturday)
Another melting day, not the slightest attempt at a breeze. Ern was a little worse this morning and towards evening got still worse and was put into the Hospital tonight suffering from either measles or severe influenza. We lost another horse tonight. He has been sick for a good while. I have been fortunate so far, my troop horses are intact. We have all got very fat since we started but if the heat gets much worse I think we will soon lose it; as one perspires now sitting still doing nothing and if you have any little exercise it simply pours out of one.
(Nov. 8th Sunday)
A proper scorching, not a breath of wind. Down in our stable the thermometer has registered between 86 and 90 all day. Ern is no better or worse today and is still one of the suspects for measles. We heard today on the wireless that three British warships had been destroyed by Germans off the coast of Chili [Chile]. Church service was held as usual. The Colonel underwent a slight operation and is progressing famously.
(Nov. 9th Monday)
There has been quite a lot of excitement today. A wireless message came early this morning to the effect that the “Emden” was seen off the coast of the Cocos Island, so of course the Sydney unit went off at full speed, she covered 50 miles in two hours and encountered the “Emden” off the Cocos driving her offshore and smashing her up. The Sydney then set sail after a Collier that had been coaling the enemy, but we have not heard yet whether she got her. All the news we have came by wireless. The heat today has been terrible, we are really all melted.
(Nov. 10th Tuesday)
We have not heard any word today about the enemy or the battle, only that the Sydney lost two men and 13 wounded and she has not yet returned. Another boiling hot day. It has been up to 90 degrees down in our stables and 100 in our sleeping quarters.
(Nov. 11th Wednesday)
Nothing much to write about only the heat and it is too hot to say much about that. The perspiration is just pouring out of me now as I write.
(Nov. 12th Thursday)
It has been a lot cooler today, quite a nice little breeze has been blowing all day. My Troop Leader Mr. Milliken was admitted to Hospital today with measles, so now I am left in charge of our troop.
We had all our horses out today for exercise. They all seem very well and not a all stiff. Ern is getting on as well as can be expected. An order came out today to the effect that all letters to anywhere and everywhere are to be censored; so we will not be able to write at all about where we are, what we are doing.
(Nov. 13th Friday)
It has been a most exciting day. We crossed the line early this morning and to celebrate the occasion a general holiday was given in which to go through the usual celebration pertaining to that occasion. Of course the usual stable work had to be done which occupies the time till about 10am then the fun began, of course the usual custom was somewhat violated. Every man was subjected to a bucket brigade salute, you were marched up the deck in whatever clothes you were captured in, and drenched with a bucket of water from every nook and corner till you could hardly stand, then rolled in it. To save being forced, I volunteered for this first performance and thought I was doing a smart trick by borrowing a pair of old pants from another chap but when I came back to change, my own were missing; so I had to put on my best breeches. After dinner the show began again and every man and officer was tried in the usual manners and ducked in a big canvas bath and of course, like my luck, I was put through good riding breeches and all and got a devil of a doing. It was rather good fun to see every one in turn either dragged or carried along vainly protesting and doused without mercy. It has been a lot cooler today and has been raining most of the time. All the New Zealand and three Australian ships pulled right up to the front of the fleet tonight.
(Nov. 14th Saturday)
We woke this morning to find that our ships and the three Australians had left the others behind. We are supposed to be making for Columbo. Most of the day has been spent drying clothes. Very little rain today and fairly cool.
(Nov. 15th Sunday)
Land was in sight at Reveille this morning on our Starboard bow which proved on closer acquaintance to be Ceylon. We anchored at Columbo about 11:30am, there is no harbour, the town is situated on a big open bay with a breakwater out in front. There are 3 warships anchored here. We dropped anchor close to breakwater which is used as a sort of a wharf. It is a fine sight here with all the shipping, and the native boats pulling round in all directions. The natives fish in very narrow canoes with out-riggers and they go right out to sea in them. They rig up sails made of coconut matting or split sacks. The rest of the Australian fleet arrived about 4 hours after us and anchored outside the breakwater. All the officers of our ship went ashore this afternoon. It was made known tonight that all hands were to get leave tomorrow, one Sergeant at a time. All the country round here seems to be very flat and is nothing but coconut palms right down to the water edge. It has been nice and cool today.
(Nov. 16th Monday)
As soon as day broke all hands were up bustling round getting cleaned up ready for going ashore. About 7:30am an order came out from the Flagship to say all leave was stopped till further orders and the Colonel was to attend a conference at 9am, to decide the matter. By the time he got back to say that they had consented it was about 10 o’clock. So twenty men from the 4th and 11th were parade off as quickly as possible and the 3rd Squadron, they were to get back to let us get away at 2pm. About one o’clock word came that all leave was to be stopped and the ship was pulling out at 4:30pm to anchor outside the breakwater. There was a general murmur of discontent throughout the ship and all the men congregated at the gangway all dressed ready to go and as the Colonel never gave out that the leave was stopped, the men were told quick ……………..into the boats which they did not waste much time in doing. I had to wait till the first lot came back, being Sergeant of the Guard, to get the old Sergeants relieved and got away on the last boat with orders to be back at its breakwaters at 5:45pm. A Sergeant & a Corporal of the 3rd Squadron and I went together. The first street we got into, we could hardly move for native carts which are drawn by little bullock & bulls about the size of a yearling in N.Z. and they draw enormous loads of tea ……..……. and other exports. We continue our way up the town and had a few bottles of lager beer which was very acceptable because the heat was terrible. We then picked up a native boy who knew a little English and he offered to show us round. We first did a little shopping. I bought a hat and a pair of ……… over which they slightly had one. We then went round the market place. It was a great sight, all the natives with their wares laid out and all pestering you to buy. I got a couple of coconut and a few oranges. The next place of interest we visited was the Mohammedan Temple. It is a magnificent building and is all lit up with electric light. Women are not allowed near the temple and all the men have their feet and hands washed in sacred water before going in to worship. We then were taken round to a dairy where they milk buffalo cows. They are very low set cattle and have practically no hair on them, they are left in the shed all the time and fed on meal and green feed. It was a good show and no mistake, the natives just sit down and draw a bucket of milk they jump up and …………………… and run off. The shed was left very clean. We then had a walk round the town and saw a few of the most interesting sights. The park was pretty floral. All the trains and trams are run by natives so finished up a very interesting afternoon. We had a rickshaw ride back to the wharf and arrived there just up to time to find the ship had pulled out about an hour before. We then had to wait on the pier till about 10:30pm before we could get a boat to take us on board, there was about 180 of us all tolled. As soon as we got on board, the roll was called and 18 were absent, but only 2 of our Squadron were among them. They are all to be brought back tomorrow by the police.
(Nov. 17th Tuesday)
Another lovely day, not quite so hot as yesterday. Our two men came aboard with the mist this morning under arrest and were each fined 10/-s, and all leave stopped for the rest of the voyage. We weighed anchor about 11:30am and in company with 20 of the Australian ships set sail almost due west and last sight of Ceylon about 1pm. The sea has been as calm as a mill pond.
(Nov. 18th Wednesday)
Another day very uninteresting back again to the old sea view. Ern came out of the Hospital today and is very well, but has lost a lot of condition. The weather today has been tip-top but very warm.
(Nov. 19th Thursday)
An Officer of the Medical Corp, from one of the other boats, who was left behind at Columbo suffering from an injury sustained from an accident, died today so a funeral service was held on all the boats. The rest of the Australians hove in sight this afternoon, but did not come up close. A slight wind got up today but it did not come to much.
(Nov. 20th Friday)
Five of our ships pulled out from the rest today, ours included, and headed in a N.W. direction and by night were about 5 miles in advance of the others. We have the Japanese warship as escort. The weather is still fine and the sea calm.
(Nov. 21st Saturday)
A private of the Ambulance on the Manganui died last night so all the ships were stopped for the sad ceremony of lowering him to the deep. Mr. Milliken came out of Hospital today and is looking fine; he only had a slight attack of measles. There is a rumour going round that we are making at Aden but I don’t know how true it is although our going ahead looks rather like it.
(Nov. 22nd Sunday)
Divine service was held today. The Chaplain is ill, so a young lay preacher took the service which was very nice. The rest of the fleet are almost out of sight today. It rained very heavy last night, but was fine today.
(Nov. 23rd Monday)
The heat has been almost melting today, nothing of any interest has happened today just the same old routine. It was given out today that the mail would close tomorrow night at 9 o’clock to be put off at Aden. Passed Socotra Island today.
(Nov. 24th Tuesday)
We sighted the Arabia coast about 2pm today but it is a long way off. What spare time I had today I spent in writing letters, but did not get all I wanted written, the mail closed sooner than I expected and I did not get one written to Mother. The heat is still about boiling point.
(Nov. 25th Wednesday)
When we woke this morning we were right up close to the barren rocks of Aden and wheeling round into the bay anchored about 8:30am. There is nothing much to see here, but great high roads on each side of the bay. On the right or starboard side as you go in the rocks are very steep and the forts are positioned there. The town is situated on the low land at the back. As far back as one can see it seems to be nothing but sand ridges. No leave ashore was granted here and no one seemed very anxious to go on account of the heat. Everything seemed very dull here. There are very few native boats.
(Nov. 26th Thursday)
We slipped anchor soon after Reveille this morning and sailed away West in company with the whole Australian fleet. About mid-day all our N.Z. ships pulled up to the front. We passed through Hells Gates about 3:30pm and entered the Red Sea. The heat has just been the same old thing.
(Nov. 27th Friday)
We passed the twelve Apostles last night about 10:30pm. I could just see them in the moonlight. There seems a fair lot of shipping here. We have passed quite a few ships since we left Aden. There were two Troopships there with troops for India. The heat now is the worst we have experienced. We all sleep on deck.
(Nov. 28th Saturday)
A rumour got about today that we are landing at Port Said but I don’t know how true it is. There has been no land in sight all day. We, the Sergeants, moved back to our old quarters today, at least we moved our belongings back, it is too hot to sleep below yet. Preparations are being made for embarkation these last few days.
(Nov. 29th Sunday)
We have been fairly busy today checking saddling equipment so as to be ready in case of embarkation. We have been out of sight of land these last ten days. A fairly strong breeze sprang up today and it has been a lot cooler.
(Nov. 30th Monday)
Nothing much doing today. Only getting things ready. Fairly cool today, sighted land quite close towards evening.
(Dec. 1st Tuesday)
We dropped anchor at 8:30am at Suez and after waiting a few hours we started through the Canal. Suez seems a fairly good town, some fine buildings. It is very pretty just at the entrance to the Canal. Right through the Canal on both sides Indian Troops are camped, both Mounted Infantry. All round the canal up as far as Ishmalia is a sandy plain and with a small oasis here and there. I went to bed about 12 midnight just as we passed Ishmalia.
(Dec. 2nd Wednesday)
When we wake this morning we were anchored at Port Said right alongside the “Athenic”, she was coaling It is a great performance, the natives carry it all up planks in kits, hundreds of them are engaged at one boat and the noise they make singing would drive you mad. Natives in small boats were round the ship all day selling fruit, tobacco, cigarettes, and Turkish delight, which is the real stuff and is not bad. Port Said is a very pretty town and has some fine buildings especially along the sea coast. It also seems a great seaside resort as all along the water front are bathing sheds of all descriptions. We left Port Said about 4 pm and set off for Alexandria. It looks like rain tonight and the sea is a little choppy.
(Dec. 3rd Thursday)
At daybreak we were just rounding into Alexandria. We anchored out in the bay just aside the breakwater right among the German steamers that had been captured. It seems a very busy shipping place here by the number of boats that are here.
(Dec. 4th Friday)
We pulled in alongside the wharf this morning but did not do any unloading. Leave was granted tonight for all hands except those on duty. When we first went off, we got into native parts of the town and it was not too nice. The filth of the streets and shops was awful. After a while we found our way up to the respectable, or rather the civilised, part of the city. The chief business part is called the Square and it is laid off in very pretty gardens both English and French. We also went to the Presbyterian Soldiers Club, where quite a lot of nice English girls were. It was quite a treat to meet someone who could speak our own language properly. There are hundreds of cabs, both one and two horse, here and the fare is fairly cheap. We had quite a little amusement getting the cab driver to understand where we wanted to go when it was time to get back, but we eventually got back to the boat just in time not to be called to account.
(Dec. 5th Saturday)
Today they started in real earnest to unload the ship. There were fatigue parties going all road getting the holds emptied. All the cargo is being taken to the Station, which is just outside the wharf fence, by native carts, and lorries, who work mules and ponies. Some of the loads the mules pull is marvellous, the ponies are nearly as good but not quite so strong.
(Dec. 6th Sunday)
We had to send No. 1 & 3 Troops of our Squadron away today by the 1pm train with their horses and all baggage. The disembarkation and entraining was carried out without a hitch. Unloading the boat was kept going all today and the native’s carts were busy carting the fodder to the Station. All the work of loading the wagons and unloading onto the railway trucks is done by the natives. In the afternoon we got No. 2 & 4 Troops’ horses, men and baggage off and onto the train and left for Cairo at 6pm. About 20 men from each Squadron were left on the boat to finish up the unloading. We could not see much of the country we passed through in the train, although it was moonlight because it was too foggy. We crossed the Nile river twice during the night, and there are thousands of square miles of river flat all along it’s bank.
(Dec. 7th Monday)
We arrived at the Station where we detrained the horses at 2:30pm. All the horses came off the train in good form, we had to lead them a mile out to the race course where we camped till daylight. There were no tents, we had just to sleep out on the sand with our overcoats over us and it was terribly cold. I woke up with an awful throat and cold in every limb. After feeding the horses and having a chew at a few biscuits we brought with us, all available of the horse guards had been told off proceeded about a mile further on to pitch tents and erect horse lines. We finished it all and got back to the horses about 2pm and then led them all up to the lines and got settled for the night. The camp is right out in the desert. All the N.Z. M.R. Brigade are together. Some of us Sergeants wended our way to the Tommies lines tonight and had a few beers which went fine to wash the sand down.
(Dec. 8th Tuesday)
We were leading the horses round the desert for exercise today. I feel real crook with influenza today and can hardly walk.
(Dec. 9th Wednesday)
As soon as Stables were over this morning, I reported sick and was sent to bed where I stopped all day. The horses were exercised again today.
(Dec. 10th Thursday)
I felt no better today so stayed in bed. The Doctor came to see me and gave me a few pills. The Squadron carried out horse exercise again today. All of the horses were hacked and not a few of them showed the dislike to it by landing the men in the sand.
(Dec. 11th Friday)
I got up today but did not do any work. Half of the Squadron went on a route march today and the remainder exercised horses.
(Dec. 12th Saturday)
I was back to light duties today and feel a lot better. The rest of the Squadron went on route march today and the others exercised the horses. The camp is getting properly settled down now and promises to be a very decent one.
(Dec. 13th Sunday)
Forty of the Squadron went on a trip to the Pyramids today. Church Service was held as usual. General leave was granted this afternoon for all hands. I did not get away till after evening stables. I then went down to Cairo by train. Cairo is very much like Alexandria in appearance, only is a lot larger. There are some fine buildings there and also some terrible dirty tumbled down places in the native quarters.
(Dec. 14th Monday)
Half of the Squadron left camp at 6:30am and marched out to the range for musketry, the other half of us left at 11:30am for the same destination. It was an awful hot march, we passed the others coming back.
(Dec. 15th Tuesday)
I was Sergeant of the Brigade Guard today and had rather a good time, nothing much to do except saluting officers and armed parties. I finished up at 10pm and went straight to bed.
(Dec. 16th Wednesday)
Paid. Before dinner today we exercised horses out on the desert. In the afternoon the whole Regiment went for a route march, mounted, through Zuitoun. It was very interesting, we went all round the native quarters. The land along the Nile is very fertile and is all under cultivation, the principal of which is lucerne which is cut and fed to the cows and other animals. Quite a lot of it is packed away on camels to other parts where they can’t grow it. Another thing that they grow a fair amount of is Indian corn, it is cut down and carted and packed into the villages where they take the cobs off and feed the cattle on the stalks. All our horses are very frightened of the camels, it is a job to get many of them past one when met on the road.
(Dec. 17th Thursday)
Just the usual routine today exercising the horses and slow troop drill, we are not allowed to take the horses out for a walk yet but they are improving fast and will soon be fit for full work. We had a Sergeant mess meeting tonight and arranged to have a mess, run by a caterer.
(Dec. 18th Friday)
The work today has been practically the same as yesterday, with half an hour’s rifle inspection and drill this afternoon before stables. The weather has been just the same all the time we have been here, never a cloud in the sky.
(Dec. 19th Saturday)
We carried out the usual work this morning. General leave was given this afternoon for all who were not on duty. Alex and I went to a race meeting that was held over the Nile from Cairo. It was interesting, all the horses that raced were Arabs, except one race which was for Officers hacks. The Arabs are very slow gallopers compared with our race horses, but have great staying power. I backed on every race and picked four winners and then finished up by losing 10/-. We had tea in town and spent the evening looking round all the big shops so got back to camp about 9:30pm.
(Dec. 20th Sunday)
We got our first mail from home today.
Church parade was held this morning as usual. General leave was given in the afternoon but I did not go out till after tea when Alex, Ernie and I went down to Heliopolis for a few hours.
(Dec. 21st Monday)
Nothing startling today, only Squadron Training and the usual routine. We rode out to the rifle range and fired the 3rd & 4th practice and got back about five o’clock.
(Dec. 22nd Tuesday)
We carried out field training by Squadrons today and did some very interesting work.
(Dec. 23rd Wednesday)
Just the same old thing up at Reveille 5am and flying round like mad. Paraded at 7:30am for route march through Cairo to astonish the natives, as it were, so to speak. There were thousands of people of every nationality under the sun lined along the streets. General Maxwell O.C. Egyptian Forces was at Shepherd Hotel to see us marching past. We arrived back in camp about 1pm. Bayonet fighting in the afternoon.
(Dec. 24th Thursday)
We had to work as usual today but leave was granted tonight and nearly all hands went out down town. I stopped in to write letters.
(Dec. 25th Friday) Christmas Day
I was Regimental Orderly Sergeant today, so could not get out of Camp. All the others had leave and a party of them went to the Pyramids. I spent a very quiet day, very little doing on account of it being a holiday.
(Dec. 26th Saturday)
We had another half holiday today but I did not go out. I took over Squadron Orderly Sergeant tonight for a week.
(Dec. 27th Sunday)
All hands went out in the afternoon except me and a few to feed the horses. I wrote a few more letters today. Divine Service was held at 10:30pm.
(Dec. 28th Monday)
We went out to the Range and fired its first practice for the Musketry badge. I did not do too well. The light was bad.
(Dec. 29th Tuesday)
A Divisional Parade was held today for the Hon. J. McKenzie. It was a grand sight to see all the troops lined up and then march past.
(Dec. 30th Wednesday)
We were duty Squadron, so had had nearly all available men on duty. The horses were exercised by the few remaining.
(Dec. 31st Thursday)
Nothing fresh, we had Squadron Training most of the day. We got another N.Z. mail bag today and I got 3 letters.
(January 1st 1915, Friday)
The Squadron went out today on a whole day’s march. I went out with them and took bad on the way and had to come back but feel a lot better now.
(Jan 2nd Saturday)
We went out all day – did a lot of interesting work. I came home and got the duties ready and on the board.
(Jan. 3rd Sunday)
I did not go out today but stopped in and wrote letters. Rev. Blanaires conducted Services today.
(Jan. 4th Monday)
I have been Regimental Orderly Sergeant today and have had a very easy time, nothing much to do. All our bad shots have been doing musketry at the miniature range.
(Jan. 5th Tuesday and Jan. 6th Wednesday)
We have been out on a route march for two days and just arrived back tonight about 4:30pm. We travelled strait south and reached the Nile at “Maadi” where we camped for the night. The Australian Camp was quite close and we spent the evening there and they were very hospitable. We travelled over some very rough rocky country and some places it was difficult to get the horses over. We passed quite close to Moses’ well where Moses struck the rocks and got water. We had a very good time on the whole and did some useful training.
(Jan. 7th Thursday)
It has been blowing very hard all day and the dust and sand has been awful. We went out on the desert and had lunch out. We came back through the irrigated country where the natives crop, some of the oats looked very well.
(Jan. 8th Friday)
We carried out Squadron training on the desert all day and the dust was very bad. While dinner hour was on, we went through the big Sewerage Pumping Station and it was very interesting. Some of the machinery was very good.
(Jan. 9th Saturday)
We were out mounted in the morning and after dinner we were cleaning saddlery.
General leave was granted tonight.
(Jan. 10th Sunday)
A party of us under our Major went out to the Pyramids and they are very interesting and a wonderful piece of work. Alex and I came back to the Zoological Gardens in the afternoon where we spent a very interesting afternoon. We then came back and spent the evening in Heliopolis.
(Jan. 11th Monday)
Regimental training started today but the work for a start is very slow and uninteresting.
(Jan. 12th Tuesday)
Practically the same work as yesterday. We got another mail from N.Z. today.
(Jan. 13th Wednesday)
Still the same old thing again today with a little patrol work mixed in.
(Jan. 14th Thursday and Jan. 15th Friday)
We have been out again on a track march for two days. The whole Regiment went out this time and we tracked out north and camped in the open desert. Last night was very cold and we had not much food with us, so we had no lunch. A case of scarlet fever broke out in my Troop today and, as a result, a whole tent was quarantined and put out in the desert.
(Jan. 16th Saturday)
We spent rather a lazy day, a little foot drill in the morning and saddle cleaning in the afternoon. Nearly all hands went out on leave tonight. The nights are very cold now and the days are not so hot as when we first came here.
(Jan. 17th Sunday)
I have been laid up all day with a bilious attack and have not eaten a bite. I feel a lot better tonight and am able to write a letter to R.S.
(Jan. 18th Monday)
We all went out to the range to our qualification practices. The shooting on the whole was bad. I was not feeling too well and failed to qualify.
(Jan. 19th Tuesday)
We had our usual Regimental Training today and the General was umpire and lectured Officers and N.C.O.’s on day’s work.
(Jan. 20th Wednesday)
Practically the same as yesterday, only we had a lot more foot work. Our work is not very interesting. The O.C. generally makes some bloomer and spoils the show.
(Jan. 21st Thursday)
We had a very easy day today, went out to hook up a position where we stopped, then we adjourned for lunch. We then rode quietly home and got in quite early.
(Jan. 22nd Friday)
A Mobilisation Parade was held today and we had to pack up all our things just as if we were off on active service. The load we have on the horses is enormous, you can hardly get on with it all. We only went out onto the parade ground and back into camp and then spent the rest of the day cleaning up the camp.
(Jan. 23rd Saturday)
Nothing doing of much importance today, dismounted parade in the morning and saddlery cleaning in the afternoon, then leave was granted to all those not on duty.
(Jan. 24th Sunday)
I am Regimental Orderly Sergeant again today, just like my luck not able to get out on a holiday. Very quiet today in camp all hours, out after dark. I wrote a few letters tonight.
(Jan. 25th Monday)
Brigade Training was commenced today so we had a fairly early day and got home fairly early.
(Jan. 26th Tuesday)
Another fairly easy day but the heat in the morning was very oppressive and too hot to rush over the desert. All the Infantry went away today to Suez.
(Jan. 27th Wednesday)
The whole Regiment went out today and carried out field firing. We came back to camp for dinner but were very late, and did practically nothing in the afternoon. I got some letters from home.
(Jan. 28th Thursday)
Just as we were saddling up this morning an order came out that no man was to leave the camp, so of course, “as you were”, was passed up the lines! All the available men were in fatigue pulling down the Infantry tents, so of course we Sergeants have had a very easy day.
(Jan. 29th Friday)
Our Regiment was engaged today in a tactical scheme in conjunction with 2 Battalions of the Artillery. It was a very interesting day, we had a splendid view of the shells bursting on the dummy Infantry trenches. We got back to camp early but did nothing much else.
(Jan. 30th Saturday)
We were duty Regiment today, so had a good few men on fatigue. General leave was granted in the afternoon for the Brigade Sports which were rather tame. The polo matches on donkeys were very amusing. I was Sergeant of the Town Picquet tonight and did not get in till 1am.
(Jan. 31st Sunday)
I have been in Camp all day doing Regimental Orderly Sergeant for Alex. Nothing out of the common, only the heat.
(Feb. 1st Monday)
The whole brigade was out on a tactical scheme all day.
(Feb. 2nd Tuesday)
Practically the same work as yesterday. A very hot day. The Mounted reinforcements came in tonight arriving about 9pm.
(Feb. 3rd Wednesday)
There was an inspection of kits today and a sort of a holiday so as to get the reinforcements sorted out properly.
(Feb. 4th Thursday)
Another Brigade tactical scheme and a good deal of running about on foot. There was a very cold wind blowing all day.
(Feb. 5th Friday)
I felt rather crook this morning so got put on supply depot fatigue and had a fairly easy time. In the afternoon I was sent up to the hospital supposed to be suffering from measles but the doctor there sent me back. It afterwards proved to be only a chill I had caught on top of a heat rash.
(Feb. 6th Saturday)
I have been off duty all day and am not feeling too well but am on the improve.
(Feb. 7th Sunday)
After the usual morning’s work Ern, Jack Douglas & I went out to see the Citadel, and spent a very interesting day. It is a wonderful place. The work in the anteroom is most elaborate.
(Feb. 8th Monday)
I have been in Camp all day as Orderly Sergeant and had a very easy day.
(Feb. 9th Tuesday)
Another day spent in Camp with very little to do. I rode over to the Australian Camp this afternoon to see Frank Storey who came out with the second Contingent.
(Feb. 10th Wednesday)
There was a big review parade this morning of all the troops encamped near here, Australians included. There was about 5000 all tolled. In the afternoon the whole show moved off on a big tactical scheme. It was very interesting but of course was only meant as training for the higher officers. I came home earlier than the rest of the Regiment. On my way back met some very nice English people who asked me in to have a cup of tea which was very acceptable. They also invited me down any evening I had to spare.
(Feb. 11th Thursday)
Our Regiment was Duty Regiment today so did not go out mounted. A very quiet day which I finished up with a wow of a sore throat.
(Feb. 12th Friday)
Throat worse today so I did not go out but did my duty as Squadron Orderly Sergeant.
(Feb. 13th Saturday)
Felt a lot better today so after the usual morning’s work Alex and I went to the races and had a grand day but did not make a fortune. We had tea in town and came home in a taxi cab. I put in an application for a commission in the Imperial Army today.
(Feb. 14th Sunday)
After the usual morning’s work two other Sergeants and I went for a cycle ride all around the surrounding district. The roads were lovely and the day not too hot.
(Feb. 15th Monday)
I had a bad night last night, coughed nearly all night but felt a little better this morning and went out on parade. About 11 am I took bad again and had to come home and report to the M.O. who said I had dust in the lungs and would have to lay up for a few days.
(Feb. 16th Tuesday, Feb. 17th Wednesday)
Two days spent in the tent under the doctor’s care and I was fairly crook being dosed with medicines of sundry descriptions.
(Feb. 18th Thursday)
Feel a different man and cough nearly gone. Got orders at 7am to parade before the Brigadier Col. Russell at 8am re commissions, got that over satisfactorily and was ordered to parade before General Godley at 9am. So forthwith I put on my best and proceeded there. I had to wait till 12 noon before I got an interview which passed off very well and my application has been forwarded to higher authority!
(Feb. 19th Friday)
Another day spent in Camp with nothing doing but I am nearly right again and hope to take over duties tomorrow.
(Feb. 20th Saturday)
I did not do very much today till 4pm when I took over the Divisional Guard for 24 hours tour of duty. This guard consists of 18 men, 1 Corp. and 1 Trooper and myself.
(Feb. 21st Sunday)
Nothing much doing all day. Relieved of guard an hour late, much moaning on my part. Jack Douglas and I went down to William’s and spent the evening.
(Feb. 22nd Monday)
I did not go an parade today, stopped in to see dentist and write some letters home. Ern and I went to town in evening.
(Feb. 23rd Tuesday)
All the Brigade went out today (on a 4 day track march) except the usual sick and other details. I am left in charge of the 4th Squadron and had a very easy day.
(Feb. 24th Wednesday)
Another easy day. I took over Sergeant’s Guard of 3 men tonight.
(Feb. 25th Thursday)
Still on Guard today till 6pm. Had a very strenuous day looking after three men.
(Feb. 26th Friday)
The Brigade arrived home from the track about 4:30 pm looking very tired and dirty, although all hands spoke well of the time they had.
(Feb. 27th Saturday)
A general holiday today except for the usual necessary work with the horses.
(Feb. 28th Sunday)
I had a very easy day today. In the afternoon Alex and I went out for a few hours. In the evening I wrote a few letters.
(March 1st Monday)
A very big field day in which the whole Brigade was involved. It proved very interesting, as we were working through the plantations all the day.
(March 2nd Tuesday)
A day spent in camp overhauling equipment and kits. Faint hopes of getting away very soon.
(March 3rd Wednesday)
We were out Mounted at 7:30 am for a big field day which was the hardest we have had for a long while. It was all over the desert. We did not get home till dark and the horses were very tired having no water all day.
(March 4th Thursday)
Today was devoted to clipping horses, we had gangs of natives on with hand clippers, the use of which they were very smart with.
(March 5th Friday)
We went out on foot today to carry out attack practice and arrived home about 1pm after having a very hot time. The Brigade is going out tonight on a route march and trench digging expedition due to start at 9pm.
(March 6th Saturday)
We arrived back from the Trenching about 8:30am after having a very solid night and it was very cold. We did practically nothing else all day. I went down to Mrs. Peaches for tea at 4:30pm and then went to dinner with a chap I met there and had a very pleasant time. Got home about 10pm.
(March 7th Sunday)
Alex and I got away early this morning and went for a trip up to Minia in Upper Egypt. It is about 200 miles from Cairo. We passed through some beautiful country for the whole way without a break it is all beautiful fertile land, as far as you could see on either side of the railway.
(March 8th Monday)
Our Regiment went out on a scheme of street fighting against the C.T.C. Regiment. We won the day which was very interesting except for the dust that was flying from a sandstorm.
(March 9th Tuesday)
A tactical scheme against the Australians in which we got badly beaten.
(March 10th Wednesday)
A very easy day, nothing to do except loaf about the Camp. I was Brigade Orderly Sergeant today and was a little busy in the morning.
(March 11th Thursday)
Another long day, we did a little bayonet drill this afternoon. We took over our Mess today as all the natives had to be sent out of camp. The heat these last few days has been simply awful.
(March 12th Friday)
The whole N.Z. Division was out today in a “sham fight” against the English Territorials in Egypt. It proved a very interesting day. The whole of our Squadron got absolutely routed by the Westminster Dragoons but after all, the decision of the day was in our favour.
(March 13th Saturday)
The usual cleaning up day in the forenoon and half holiday in the afternoon. I have not been out as I have a nasty boil on my neck.
(March 14th Sunday)
After the usual morning’s work I went down to Cairo and had tea at Mrs. Peaches. I spent the evening in Cairo and got back about 10pm.
(March 15th Monday)
Reveille was at 4am and we all went out on a big field day against the Australians. We got back to Camp about 1:30pm and spent the afternoon in asleep. A very nice shower feel this afternoon about 4 o’clock. It is the first we have had for over 2 months and was very welcome.
(March 16th Tuesday)
It rained fairly heavy last night and the sand was nice and hard this morning. It also rained a few showers during the forenoon. We spent the morning cleaning the horse lines and the afternoon bayonet fighting.
(March 17th Wednesday)
Another fairly easy day spent in camp.
(March 18th Thursday)
We left on a three day track out to the Barrage at 9am this morning and arrived there about 4:30pm in plenty of .time to get settled down for the night before dark.
(March 19th Friday)
We spent the day swimming horses in the Nile and looking round the Barrage which is a very interesting place. There is a big dam on the Nile and the water is sent down a canal for irrigation purposes.
(March 20th Saturday)
We got away early this morning and had breakfast on the road. We got into Camp in time for dinner.
(March 21st Sunday)
I stopped in Camp all day and wrote letters. The heat now is getting very severe.
(March 22nd Monday)
The whole division was on parade for a march past the High Commissioner (M.G. Mahon). As we were on parade, a swarm of locusts came over the desert. There were so many that they fairly darkened the sky for over half an hour.
(March 23rd Tuesday till March 25th Thursday)
I have been away on a trip up to Luxor, which is 500 miles up the Nile. We left on Tuesday at 5:30pm and arrived back about 10:30 this morning. We had a fine trip and saw many wonderful sights. There were sleeping cars on the train and they were A1.
(March 26th Friday)
We did very little today, only exercised the horse and had about an hour musketry.
(March 27th Saturday)
The 3rd reinforcements arrived today about 120 all tolled for our Regiment. There was quite a lot of them that I know.
(March 28th Sunday)
A horribly close windy day, the dust and locusts were simply awful.
(March 29th Monday)
I am Orderly Sergeant this week so will be left fairly busy. There was a Mounted Parade this morning and a little musketry in the afternoon.
(March 30th Tuesday)
Practically the same work as yesterday only the Officers were not out. Col. Peake of our Squadron went away today to take up a Commission in the Imperial Army. We gave him a small spree last night and presented him with a wristlet watch.
(March 31st Wednesday)
We were Duty Regiment today and had a good few …….. to find and also the Divisional Guard of which Sergeant Jurd was in charge. Two of our Squadron were sent home to N.Z. today, Col. Southerland invalided and Pte. Brady on misconduct.
(April 1st Thursday)
A fairly easy day, nothing much doing. The heat has been fairly severe.
(April 2nd Friday)
Today being Good Friday we had a holiday, but could not leave the lines, as our Squadron is Fire Picquet this week. There was a great riot in Cairo tonight, the Australians broke loose and tried to wreck the town but in the end did not do much damage. We all had to stand by in readiness to get out at a moment’s notice but as things quietened down we were not needed.
(April 3rd Saturday)
All leave is stopped till further orders on account of the riots. The usual half holiday was not worth much today with no leave. There was a row in the picture show in Camp tonight and the place was set on fire and, of course, our Squadron had to turn out and extinguish it.
(April 4th Sunday)
A very quite day and nothing much doing except the usual work and church parade. I wrote a few letters home.
(April 5th Monday)
We started today on a week’s training and exercising horses, also bayonet fighting which we do between 7 and 8 am. At 10 am we go out mounted under the palm trees and the N.C.O.’s have to do map reading and field sketching till about 4 pm then we went our way back to camp. By this system we get the horses out of the sun in the hottest part of the day.
(April 6th Tuesday and Wednesday 7th)
We had practically the same work yesterday and today as Monday. After we got in this evening, four of us Sergeants were told we had an invitation out to tea at Sir Alexander Beards’ and we spent a very enjoyable time in his beautiful gardens. On our way back we called in at Mr. Williams and spent the rest of the evening there.
(April 8th Thursday)
The same work practically as yesterday only while we were out all the Sergeants were sent out to write reconnaissance reports and maps.
(April 9th Friday)
Just the same old game and the heat is something damnable, the horses can’t do very much work now as they would sweat away.
(April 10th Saturday)
There was a half-holiday given today but as there are only 10 men and our leave means all hands spent the time sleeping.
(April 11th Sunday)
Ern and I went out this afternoon to Cairo and spent the evening there.
(April 12th Monday)
Our Squadron is duty Squadron today and all hands were on duty. I am Sergeant of the Ordnance Guard and mounted at 6pm today.
(April 13th Tuesday)
Have been on Guard and nothing startling only the heat, it was so severe that the sentries could hardly last out their two hour shifts.
(April 14th Wednesday till April 16th Friday)
Three days with practically the same work, bayonet fighting in the early morning and exercising horses during the day.
(April 17th Saturday)
We had a little exercising horses in the forenoon and in the afternoon a half holiday was given. The men played the Officers and N.C.O.’s of our Squadron at cricket and beat them badly. I went in to Cairo this evening to get a few things I wanted. It has been an exceptionally hot day.
(April 18th Sunday)
Apart from the usual morning’s work and church parade I did nothing today only write a few letters.
(April 19th Monday)
We parade this morning at 7:20am for a three hour march on foot round Mataria and Zeitoun, and again mounted at 10:30am to exercise the horses and carry out small tactical scheme. We arrived home about 3:30pm.
(April 20th Tuesday)
I was Regimental Orderly Sergeant today and did not go out on parade, so consequently had a fairly easy day. They started a new racquet today of the Orderly Sergeant sleeping with the horse picquet and being responsible.
(April 21st Wednesday)
Our Squadron is Duty Squadron today but had to attend the morning parade which took the part of a march on foot for about 6 miles on the desert.
(April 22nd Thursday)
I was not too well today so did not go on parade but I feel considerably better tonight and am able to sit up and take a little nourishment.
(April 23rd Friday)
Reveille was celebrated this morning about 4am and we had an early parade so as to enable us to take part in a tactical scheme and to [speak] correctly a gallop round the desert. We got back to camp about 2pm.
(April 24th Saturday)
A very lazy day, we played a little cricket in the afternoon. Very few went out of camp as the money is getting very scarce.
(April 25th Sunday)
An awfully hot [day] which was spent in the usual lazy way. Ern and I went for a little ride this afternoon down to old Heliopolis to see the little Church that the Holy Family rested in after their flight from Palestine.
(April 26th Monday)
We had a couple of hours’ march on foot this morning and then took the horses out under the trees for lunch.
(April 27th Tuesday)
Our Squadron was on inlying Picquet today, so two troops went out for exercise in the morning, the other in the afternoon.
(April 28th Wednesday)
There was a mobilisation parade this morning and we all had to turn out in full marching order ready for the field. We paraded again at 7pm for a night march which lasted till about 2am.
(April 29th Thursday)
About an hours’ musketry this morning and exercising horses in the afternoon.
(April 30th Friday)
Our Squadron was duty Squadron today and all hands were in camp except our Troop No. 1 who had to get up at 3am and move off at 4:45 and took part in a tactical scheme against the Canterbury.
(May 1st Saturday)
The chief excitement of the day was the Regimental Sports which were a great success. I got a nasty spill riding Lieut. Henderson’s horse in the high jump.
(May 2nd Sunday)
Apart from the usual work we had a very quiet day. I stopped in camp all day. We have been hearing today all sorts of awful news of our forces in the Dardanelles but there is nothing definite as yet.
(May 3rd Monday)
I had charge of the Divisional Supply Depot fatigues and was in camp all day.
(May 4th Tuesday)
A fairly easy day exercising horses and a few other little details. Rumours getting stronger about going to the Dardanelles.
(May 5th Wednesday)
Our Squadron went out on foot for a Brigade field day but I was Regimental Orderly Sergeant so did not go. The Brigadier gave a lecture to all Officers and Sergeants this afternoon and told us for certain that we were going to the Dardanelles before a week’s time, without the horses. The whole Brigade went out on a short night march tonight but I have charge of the Night Picquet.
(May 6th Thursday)
We went out mounted and took lunches at 9:30 am just to get the horses out of the heat of the day.
(May 7th Friday)
We received orders this morning that we were to leave on Saturday night, so of course did nothing all day except get ready.
(May 8th Saturday)
A very busy day getting packed up and ready to leave. All the horses had to be handed over to the Reinforcements and details left behind. We all got our packs issued today and they don’t look very inviting to have to carry about all the time. We got finally fixed up and marched down to the station at 8:30pm; the train left at 10pm for Alexandria.
(May 9th Sunday)
We arrived at Alexandria at 4:15am (just daylight) and were marched straight on to the ship “Grantully Castle” by name. The other two Regiments of our Brigade and one Australian Regiment came on board during the day and we weighed anchor about 7pm and steamed away on our journey.
(May 10th Monday)
The ship has been steaming at about 12 knots all day with a beautiful calm day. We sighted two ships during the day and a number of islands just about dark.
(May 11th Tuesday)
Just sailing along all day and passed quite a number of pretty islands which were practically all inhabited but I don’t know by whom. We were sailing away slowly towards the evening, we are not sure tonight as to whether we are to land during the night.
(May 12th Wednesday)
On awakening this morning we were anchored off Cape Helles at the entrance of the Dardanelles and there were hundred of ships of all description anchored and steaming about everywhere. The notorious battle ship “Queen Elizabeth” was bombarding a Turkish hill at intervals all day. Our General landed at Headquarters for orders first thing this morning.
Just after midday we set sail for the points were our Infantry landed and suffered such heavy loss. The position is about 16 miles up the coast from Cape Helles and we arrived there about 3pm and anchored about 1 mile out. In a very short time two destroyers came alongside and we were transhipped to them and taken to within 200 yards of the shore where pontoons came out and got us, all the while we were landing the noise of the guns would almost deafen one. A few stray pieces of shrapnel fell quite near the boats just as we were reaching the shore. All along the face of the cliff are little dugouts build by the troops to live in when out of the trenches. We were marched right along the beach as soon as we landed to a big gully on the left flank where we just lay down in the scrub, thoroughly worn our with carrying all our mags/bags, and slept for the night and great as the noise was, it did not keep many of us awake.
(May 13th Thursday)
We just loafed about in the gully till after lunch when we packed up and were marched right up into the trenches and relieved the “Royal Marine Light Infantry”. Up till dark it was very quiet and very little shooting.
(May 14th Friday)
We had a very hot night in the trenches last night, as soon as our machine guns opened fire, the enemy on the ridge about 500 yards away started and peppered us very hotly and kept it up practically all night. Our machine gun Sergeant got wounded in the face just at daybreak this morning and had to be taken onto the hospital ship. We did not do much today as we were in the reserve trenches. I went down to the beach and had a swim this afternoon which was very refreshing. We are on duty in a hill trench again tonight. The Artillery fire on both sides has been very heavy all day.
(May 15th Saturday)
We were doing odd jobs in the trenches all day but things have been fairly slack all day, the enemy snipers who have been very busy but did no damage. I went down and carried up some water from the depot and also had a swim. We are getting plenty of food but the water is very scarce.
(May 16th Sunday)
We had a very strenuous night in the trenches last night, under heavy machine gun fire, as well as a good few snipers. Our Indian Troops got up some mountain guns to the top and did a fair bit of shooting and consequently drew the enemy’s fire from here heavy. Our Squadron moved out of the fire trenches this evening for a couple of days’ spell.
It is now 22nd July 1915.
Owing to lack of energy and time I have not written a word here for over two months but as I have a little more time now I intend to make a start again and hope to be able to keep it up. I have Mr. Milliken’s Diary by kind permission to get the dates of principal events from May 16th till July 22nd.
Well, to start with the 17th, Monday is a day in fact all our Squadron, will remember with sorrow. Capt. Bluck our Squadron O.C. and Sergeant Major Marr were sniped by the Turks while out on an observation post. These two men were both highly respected and loved by all who knew them and their attack naturally cast a gloom over the whole Squadron. Lieutenant Robert took command of the Squadron from today and Sergeant Jurd is to be Sergeant Major.
(May 18th Tuesday)
Our Squadron are again in the firing line. Very quiet all day but rumours of an attack tonight so special care has to be taken.
(May 19th Wednesday)
Another day to be well remembered by all who survived. About midnight the Turks opened a very heavy fire and kept it up consequently all our efforts had to be put into the firing line. About 3am the Turks commenced to attack which could be easily discerned by their yelling and shouting. For about half an hour nothing could be heard but thousands of voices yelling “Allah, Allah,” which is in their language calling to God for help for victory. It was an awful time waiting for them to come in sight. Our troop was out in a long Sap, that we could not see over which made it a lot worse. When they got to within 70 or 60 yards of our trenches we fired a terrific rifle and machine gun fire simply mowing them down. As soon as our chaps got out of the trenches it was amusing to see the Turks unit turn and run. It is officially estimated that about 20,000 men were launched against our whole line. One thing that was particularly noticeable was the half-hearted way the Turks charge. They seemed to be forced at it. Our guns did very good work both when the enemy were advancing and returning. The whole affair only lasted till about 9am and even when all hands were dead tired and what with the rapid shooting and no sleep. Our Regiment lost about 200 killed and ten wounded. The ones in our Squadron killed are Lieutenant James, Sergeant Tamer, Sergeant Woodward, Sergeant Brown H, Brady J, White AH, Crichett HW, Briscoe W and Simpson AC. Among the wounded were Sergeant Douglas and Sergeant Holden and Corp. Carter. Among the 11th killed was Lieutenant Logan and Sergeant Watts.
(May 22nd Saturday)
In the days intervening since the attack things were fairly quiet. We came out of the fire trenches for a fortnight and were relieved by the Australian L.H. after 9 days in the firing line.
(May 25th Tuesday)
H.M.S. “Triumph” was sunk by a torpedo quite close to our position. We got a grand viewing of it from our rest camp. It was a sad sight to see a fine ship turn right over and slowly sink; about 30 lives were lost.
(May 27th Thursday)
We shifted east down a gulley to get away from the shrapnel.
(June 1st Tuesday)
We again shifted early to escape the shrapnel. This time we went to what is known as Reserve Gully where we were quite safe.
(June 4th Friday)
We relieved the 9th L.H. Regiment in the trenches and were surprised at the alterations they had made in the fortnight.
(June 18th Friday)
We were relieved by the 9th L.H. Regiment and went back to the same rest camp vacated a fortnight ago. During the whole fortnight we were in the trenches there was practically nothing doing but we lost a few men wounded by shrapnel.
(June 23rd Wednesday)
Major Tattersall went to hospital very bad with intense fever and something else.
(June 25th Friday)
Major Chapman and his two Orderly arrived. He took command of the Regiment since Col.. Mackesy who went back to Egypt about 17th.
(June 30th Wednesday)
Lieutenant Brookfields arrived from Egypt with the reinforcement about 150 all tolled and barely filled the Regiment to the strength we started with.
(July 1st Thursday)
The Turks made a very half-heartedly attack on the 9th L.H. and lost hard, about 200 dead were lying outside our trenches. The L.H. lost 6 killed and 20 wounded.
(July 2nd Friday)
We relieved the 9th L.H. and the smell of death round the trenches was awful. Our chaps buried about 100 and the others are still lying.
(July 4th Sunday)
The Maories arrived here and camped near No. 2 outpost.
(July 6th Tuesday)
Lieutenant Abbott was wounded rather severely in the jaw with shrapnel and went to hospital.
(July 14th Wednesday)
Lieutenants Wender and Williams reported for duty from Cairo. The former was posted to 4th Squadron and the latter to 11th.
(July 15th Thursday)
Poor old Jim Melling was wounded and was sent to hospital.
(July 16th Friday)
Moving away again and we will move back up our positions in the Reserve Gulley.
(July 22nd Thursday)
Well? I think I have taken down most of the principal events and dates, so now I will commence to write every day and if there is nothing interesting to write about it is not my fault. There are all kinds of rumours flying about now as to what is going to be done. We have now been here over two months and have done practically nothing except kill a few Turks and with wounded, sick and killed we have only about half the original men left. We are doing fairly well for mail now but still any news we get is so stale. Orders came out this afternoon that a big attack is expected tonight and that we all were to stand to arms for an hour at midnight and again at 3am.
(July 23rd Friday)
Well! After all the preparation last night nothing came of it. The Turks are very quiet today, hard on shooting. Heavy bombardments at Cape Helles. No orders to stand to arms tonight but we are to be ready to turn out at short notice.
(July 24th Saturday)
Our Regiment is Inlying Picquet today and left for up the hill at 7am. Our Troop No. 4 was posted in the firing line for the 24 hours. A very quiet day. Our Torpedo Destroyers shelled the Turkish trenches a good deal and they answered with a few shells which burst near us but did no harm.
(July 25th Sunday)
Returned to camp about 7:30am, an especially quiet night in the trenches. I sent a cablegram home.
(July 26th Monday)
All hands were on various fatigues all day. Very quiet
(July 27th Tuesday)
Our Regiment is Inlying Picquet again and we have to be ready to turn out to reinforce the firing line at any time and I am off duty today with a bad back.
(July 28th Wednesday)
Another day off duty with bad back, doctor prescribed a mustard plaster which made things worse at its time. A number of fatigues as usual.
(July 29th Thursday)
Still off duty but feel a lot better tonight. Our Squadron is inlying Picquet to No. 2 Outpost.
(July 30th Friday)
A very quiet day, nothing doing at all. The Regiment was Inlying Picquet but we do not go up the hill. There has been very little shooting on either side the last few days. A German aeroplane dropped a bomb in the sea quite close to our camp last night and its water went up like a geyser for about 100 ft.
(July 31st Saturday)
Rather an early day only a few easy fatigues. A party of 8 men, one N.C.O. and Officer from our Regiment went last night as body guards to Sir Ian Hamilton. Three of our chaps went to hospital today sick: Gibson, Mossman and Lumsden.
(August 1st Sunday)
Duty Regiment and a good few fatigues and guards to be found. Harty went to hospital with interio today.
(August 2nd Monday)
Our Squadron is inlying Picquet and went up the hill. A very quiet day, but awfully hot. Lydsten to hospital.
(August 3rd Tuesday)
We arrived home about 8am this morning and spent most of the day lying about. Norman and I went out for water to the Outpost about ½ mile and the heat was very severe, because having to keep to the trench all you get no breeze.
Stokes and Saxby went to hospital.
(August 4th Wednesday)
A few fatigues today but nothing to make a song about. A lot of Troops landed last night but I don’t know how many.
(August 5th Thursday)
Ordered this morning to get ready to move out to take part in the big advance. Paraded at 8:30pm and forwarded to No. 2 Outpost where we slept.
(August 6th Friday)
A very quiet day all getting ready for the attack at 9pm. I may not write any more of this Diary but whatever happens I hope to do my duty and trust for the best.
G.A. Hill [signed]
Picked up by Corporal E.J.Jones
1st Canterbury Mtd. Rifles.