1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Lieutenant Colonel McCarroll suceeded Mackesy in command of the Auckland Mounted Rifles after commanding the 11th N.A.M.R. - Diary begins 1914 with Main Body departure.

1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:56 pm

started today the second small pocket diary of James McCarroll. Please note that these diaries are small pages and were jotted into before being used as a reference tool for his larger diary that he filled out and sent home periodically.
This page will be presented as a PDF and on the site at a later date:

Diary of Major James McCarroll “1916“ Sinai.
Transcribed by Steve Butler for the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association - 2007. Note: Transcribers comments, notes or alterations inserted between straight brackets [note ] Have automatically changed old spellings and abbreviations where appropriate, examples such as “wet” for “wett” and "Colonel" for "Lt/Col"

JANUARY 1916, Saturday 1st
Went out training for half a day.

Sunday 2nd
Short service. Troop training from 1000

Monday 3rd
Troop training. Paid £2-15-0 for uniform case.

Tuesday 4th
Troop training came home via Eseander Shakri and plantation and Canal. Went to Cairo in the evening. [McCarroll strikes through the above place names.]

Wednesday 5th
Troop training etc.

Thursday 6th
Troop training home via Eskander Shakri and plantation.

Friday 7th
Troop training. Bleak cold weather.

Saturday 8th
Mobilization parade of Brigade. Lent T Mc 200 PJ Repaid.
1 x M[Machine] Gun horse killed.
Paid Jack and Roberts 10/- [ten shillings] each. Very cold weather.

Sunday 9th
Went N. Z. Hospital. Dinner with Tommy at Continental [Hotel, Cairo].

Monday 11th
Mobilization of Brigade. Got Brigade and Regimental photograph. Went to Cairo with Colonel M [Mackesy].

Tuesday 11th
Troop and Squadron training. Lecture by Colonel M [Mackesy].

Wednesday 12th
Squadron training. Sent parcel to Mary. Sent parcel to Janie.

Thursday 13th
Went out with M Guns [machine guns] training. Squadron training continued.

Friday 14th
Training on the desert and route march. Colonel M, Major Wyman and self took 4 sisters to dinner including Sister Sutherland. Met Sister Moore who told me about Gwen.

Saturday 15th
Mobilized the whole Brigade and Admin Column a fine turn out. Sent parcels of feathers etc home.

Sunday 16th
Church Parade. Went to Cairo with R. Williams.

Monday 17th
Mobilization and inspection. Colonel Rhodes present.

Tuesday 18th
Went out towards number three tower. Training.

Wednesday 19th
Training on desert. Went to N.Z. Convalescent Home where 78 men are. Had dinner with the staff also Colonel M.

Thursday 20th
Went to Cairo to get box sent to Hospital thence by Lieutenant Blaithwayte to Janie. Went to dinner with Mr. Fletcher Matarich.

Friday 21st
Half day training. Packing up.

Saturday 22nd
Final packing, sent base kits to Base Depot. Orders to leave for Canal Zone. This is about 7 days trek.

Sunday 23rd
Left at 0900 for NAWA. Wet night for here. Good trip. AMR leading men 501 25 officers. 556 Horses, 67 Draughts, 10 Mules, 5 wagons for kits, no transports with us and no M Guns and these went in the train.
Strength of Brigade 112 officers, 2345 men, with 3 officers and 114 men near party.
2679 Horses.

Monday 24th
Left NAWA 0800. Sent Boyes home with injured knee. Lieutenant Bigg-Withers' horse rolled on him and sent home from Kantara Station to Cairo. Arrived BELBEIS 1630.
ASC [Army Service Corps] late with rations. Wagon got stuck in sand. Light rain and cold wind at night. Horses got tired Bivouacked on same ground as Cavalry in 1882.

Tuesday 25th
Left Belbeis at 0806 through fine country - arrived ABU HAMED 1400.

Wednesday 26th
Left Abu Hamed at 0830, some good country some desert arrived EL KASSIEN 1700. During march a horse fell into a canal taking the rider with him, who stuck to his horse and reached the other bank. Passed over the battlefield of JEL EL KEBIR saw the old trenches. Big Camp of A.I.F.

Thursday 27th
Left Belbeis at 0806 through fine country arrived Abou Hamid 1400 - chance for a clean up.
Left at 830 arived at Abu Suer. Saw General G [Godley], good trip along the desert all the way arrived 1200. Wet night, running down desert slopes.

Friday 28th
Left Abu Suer at 0830 arrived Bir Niefshef 1245 over desert all the way, passed through N.Z. Infantry lines camped near ISMALEAH. Early morning very wet, many got their kits wet. Had dinner with Colonel Plugge.

Saturday 29th
Left Nefish 0830 A.I.F. band played us out, also N.Z, Infantry band. Beautiful weather fine trip through Ismalia, crossing the canal there. Thence parallel to Suez Canal to camp at SERAPEUM. Good situation in sight of Canal and on ancient city site. Tents already.

Sunday 30th
Church Parade and bathing parade in the afternoon in Suez Canal. Beautiful weather.

Monday 31st
Training by Squadrons. Went for a tour W [west] in the desert, saw some bitter lakes and Bedouins. Weather very nice.

FEBRUARY, Tuesday 1st
Squadron training. Went 15 miles S [south] in desert. Climbed SHUBRAWIT HILL - Colonel and self. Splendid view of lake and desert. Saw warships ready for action.

Wednesday 2nd
Training in the morning, bathing in the afternoon. Choir practice at night. Train loads of stores arriving.

Thursday 3rd
Duty Regiment today. Training near Camp. Weather splendid.

Friday 4th
Training Regiment. Went to Isalia got 1x pair of Field Glasses to replace my lost ones. Number 5679 Lemaire 8x FAB’ Paris

Saturday 5th
Training. Went about 10 miles due West into the desert, a fine training area. Lieutenant Allsopp and 12 men went to A.I.F. over the Canal.

Sunday 6th
Church Parade. Inspected by General Birdwood and Godley, they seemed pleased. Horses very lively.

Monday 7th
Training by Squadron. Rest of the 11th Squadron went across the Canal, over pontoon bridge. T. Ransead and Captain Smith went to Suez.

Tuesday 8th
Training in South area. 9th Reinforcements went past here.

Wednesday 9th
Training in the morning - regimental attack.

Thursday 10th
Training and information etc. Australian troops passed through.

Friday 11th
Duty today and about Camp exercising horses.

Saturday 12th
Training near Canal. Sent cable home. Big Camel Corps passed about 6.00. T. Ranstead came back.

Sunday 13th
Church Parade. Hot today- in Camp all day.

Monday 14th
Training in Camp and all day reconnaissance. Formed a [pace left blank] Society for the excavation of the ruins of SERAPEUM.

Tuesday 15th
Duty Regiment today. Went to Oasis 10 miles N.W. all desert, found sweet water there, put in two hours digging at the S ruins.

Wednesday 16th
Training in morning, bathing in afternoon. Big Camel Corp passed South.

Thursday 17th
Sham fight with Australian and N.Z. Division and our Brigade and poor work by Division and seemed lost- and we mowed them down. I umpired for CMR [Canterbury Mounted Rifles].

Friday 18th
Attack practice of Regiment.

Saturday 19th
Went to front trenches, saw line of Turkish advance gun positions and place where boats were launched and graves of German and Turks.

Sunday 20th
Church Service.

Monday 21st
Training South. T. Ramstead returned with name of Captain that I handed over to on the "Knight of the Garter" [troopship that brought James and his men from Gallipoli].
Captain Harnett 17th Battalion A.I.F.

Tuesday 22nd
Training.

Wednesday 23rd
Staff Officer 2nd Brigade came to select Camp site for A.L.H. [Australian Light Horse]. Brigadier went to Cairo.

Thursday 24th
Training North. ALH arriving. Camel Corp passed.

Friday 25th
Attack practice. Colonel M on leave. Signallers did good work.

Saturday 26th
Duty Regiment today. 3RD Squadron went on patrol. Front trenches.

Sunday 27th
Church Parade. 4th Squadron went on patrol with 3rd.

Monday 28th
Squadron work for 11th Squadron. Colonel Mackesy returned. Light Horse arriving.

Tuesday 29th
Work about Camp. Light Horse arriving. Colonel Munro arrived, stayed all night.

MARCH, Wednesday 1st
Left for Cairo on duty.

Thursday 2nd
Went to Zietoun. Drew £10 for A.P. Office.

Friday 3rd
About Cairo - went pyramids. Sister M. Sutherland and Lieutenant Bruce to dinner and got box from Cooks [travel Company] and sent it home with Captain Greenbough.

Saturday 4th
At Cairo, went to races. Colonel Meldrum at dinner with me.

Sunday 5th
Received wire at 1.30 am to rejoin Regiment. Left Cairo at 1100 arrived Serapeium 1530, left Serapeium 1700 for front trenches arriving 2130.

Monday 6th
Took over trenches from Brigade A.I.F. – these very nearly full of sand, Patrols sent out.

Tuesday 7th
Sent patrols out from each Squadron.

Wednesday 8th
Patrolling 6 miles to the front - sand hills all the way and for miles to the front.

Thursday 9th
Patrols went well out. Starting to dig out the trenches. Got our machine guns into position.

Friday 10th
Patrols sent out from each Squadron.

Saturday 11th
Went into Moascar 54 men for the Brigade. Very bad sandstorm on. Came home and found storm had shifted things in tent.

Sunday 12th
Three Church Services owing to Regiment being scattered.

Monday 13th
Established post 6 miles out known as AKLD Hill. Cleaning up trenches. Mail arrived.

Tuesday 14th
General Russell inspecting trenches. Digging trenches etc.

Wednesday 15th
Rebuilding trenches – inspecting wire entanglements.

Thursday 16th
Good work being done in trenches – making a plan of tunnels etc.

Friday 17th
Hard at trenches and wire.

Saturday 18th
Trenching and entanglements wire along our whole front.

Sunday 19th
There were to be three services today - one had to be cut out.

Monday 20th
Cold weather. So did some good work in the trenches.

Tuesday 21st
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales came to the front trenches but did not visit our lines.

Wednesday 22nd
Trenching – feel some concern for our left flank. The 43rd Brigade seem indifferent about it.

Thursday 23rd
Trenching and entanglements. General Birdwood and Godley here, the former to say goodbye, we are not in his command now.

Friday 24th
Started to do some training and shooting.

Saturday 25th
Went to Ismailia, very pleasant town. Under the trees is splendid, gardens fine.

Sunday 26th
Three services today. Resting.

Monday 27th
Started Musketry all round. Water service temporarily stopped.

Tuesday 28th
Musketry. Visited CMR.

Wednesday 29th
Musketry shooting, very good all. Machine guns in good working order.

Thursday 30th
Musketry stopped by heavy Khamseen. [Egyptian hot sandstorm]. Very Hot.

Friday 31st
Orders to move. Received by 31st and 32nd Battalions A.I.F. Went to railhead and stay here for the night.

APRIL 1916, Saturday 1st
Left railhead for SERAPEUM 200 Camel transport arrived 1130, transport 1 hour later.
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Re: 1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Postby greg » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:24 pm

Hi Steve,

Great stuff here. I have been waiting for something like this for a long time. Most books simply say they went here and there without much detail. Here we have more detail than official books tell. However there seems to be a double track see below

Tuesday 25th
Left Belbeis at 0806 through fine country – arrived ABU HAMED 1400.

Wednesday 26th
Left Abu Hamed at 0830, some good country some desert arrived EL KASSIEN 1700. During march a horse fell into a canal taking the rider with him, who stuck to his horse and reached the other bank. Passed over the battlefield of JEL EL KEBIR saw the old trenches. Big Camp of A.I.F.

Thursday 27th
Left Belbeis at 0806 through fine country arrived Abou Hamid 1400 – chance for a clean up.
Left at 830 arived at Abu Suer. Saw General G [Godley], good trip along the desert all the way arrived 1200. Wet night, running down desert slopes.

Friday 28th
Left Abu Suer at 0830 arrived Bir Niefshef 1245 over desert all the way, passed through N.Z. Infantry lines camped near ISMALEAH. Early morning very wet, many got their kits wet. Had dinner with Colonel Plugge.

Spelling of place names are never correct.

Regards
G.I. Bradley
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Re: 1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:00 pm

Yes it is good stuff alright.
And yes I did see the repeat statements of "Left Belbeis" and I checked it at the time and of course re-checked the entries again now - the entries in the Diary are as I first posted.
James has in one or two instances in the diary crossed out an entry and has then written the exact same line again a day or so later. I suspect that on occasion he has been on trek for a few days and got the dates mixed up - by crossing one of the entries out he as authenticated which date was the correct one for the trek. In this case he hasn't gone back to check.
Perhaps he makes the entries not each night, but on this occasion writes up four or five days in a row when he is in a settled enviroment?
A case in point is the entries of the 4th and 6th of January - where on the forth he has entered place names but strikes them out but re-enters them on the 6th two days later.
I believe this case is a double entry and not a return to a destination as the time of departure written "0806" is so exact and would not have happened twice. But as to which entry is correct one, would require one of us to follow a map and eliminated the improbable entry??
Yes, the spellings are always changing - I guess the maps the soldiers took the place names from came from various sources, languages et cetra. I have seen about eight spellings of Kantara - and James makes various updates in his diary for "Beersheba" in his notes - obviously the place was unheard of in the West in 1917 and we have - "Bir Sheva", "Ber Sheva", "Beersheeva" among them before some sort of consensus reins and the troops select one official spelling.
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Re: 1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Postby TerryKinloch » Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:45 am

Thanks for doing this, Steve. These diaries are often very hard to decipher (I know, having read dozens and dozens of them in the last five years - many have very small pages, are written with a stubby pencil, or are now faded), so your work makes them much more accessible to the general reader.

Terry
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Re: 1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:35 pm

1916 pocket Diary finished today - I will now make a pdf ebook of it and post in for download on the McCarroll page and the books page.

Greg - Hows the new concept of asking for a donation for the Briscoe Moore book - any takers - it will be interesting to see if people will send in a donation - It might require something like that to make them aware that "Service Providers" want money to keep websites on the net!

I havent read it properly myself yet as I concerntrate on typing it in rather reading it - I found the same thing use to happen when I was in the sigs - If I tried to read the morse message as it came in I kept guessing the remainder of the word, and nine times out of ten it was, for example: "The sentries" rather than "These ntries" - who ever heard of a ntries? :roll:

OR GET IT HERE FIRST:
http://www.nzmr.org/pdf/McCarroll_1916sinai.pdf
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Re: 1916 Egypt-Sinai Pocket Diary

Postby greg » Sat Oct 13, 2007 8:48 am

Hi Steve,
Greg - Hows the new concept of asking for a donation for the Briscoe Moore book - any takers - it will be interesting to see if people will send in a donation - It might require something like that to make them aware that "Service Providers" want money to keep websites on the net!


No takers as yet but it is a good Idea.

By the way what is the path to the map which is at the Gallpoli page http://www.nzmr.org/gallipoli.htm , I would like to over lay it in the Google Earth.

Regards
G.I. Bradley
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