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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 â€œwetâ€ for â€œwettâ€ and "Colonel" for "Lt/Col"
JANUARY 1916, Saturday 1st
Went out training for half a day.
Short service. Troop training from 1000
Troop training. Paid £2-15-0 for uniform case.
Troop training came home via Eseander Shakri and plantation and Canal. Went to Cairo in the evening. [McCarroll strikes through the above place names.]
Troop training etc.
Troop training home via Eskander Shakri and plantation.
Troop training. Bleak cold weather.
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.
Went N. Z. Hospital. Dinner with Tommy at Continental [Hotel, Cairo].
Mobilization of Brigade. Got Brigade and Regimental photograph. Went to Cairo with Colonel M [Mackesy].
Troop and Squadron training. Lecture by Colonel M [Mackesy].
Squadron training. Sent parcel to Mary. Sent parcel to Janie.
Went out with M Guns [machine guns] training. Squadron training continued.
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.
Mobilized the whole Brigade and Admin Column a fine turn out. Sent parcels of feathers etc home.
Church Parade. Went to Cairo with R. Williams.
Mobilization and inspection. Colonel Rhodes present.
Went out towards number three tower. Training.
Training on desert. Went to N.Z. Convalescent Home where 78 men are. Had dinner with the staff also Colonel M.
Went to Cairo to get box sent to Hospital thence by Lieutenant Blaithwayte to Janie. Went to dinner with Mr. Fletcher Matarich.
Half day training. Packing up.
Final packing, sent base kits to Base Depot. Orders to leave for Canal Zone. This is about 7 days trek.
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.
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.
Left Belbeis at 0806 through fine country - arrived ABU HAMED 1400.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Church Parade and bathing parade in the afternoon in Suez Canal. Beautiful weather.
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.
Training in the morning, bathing in the afternoon. Choir practice at night. Train loads of stores arriving.
Duty Regiment today. Training near Camp. Weather splendid.
Training Regiment. Went to Isalia got 1x pair of Field Glasses to replace my lost ones. Number 5679 Lemaire 8x FABâ€™ Paris
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.
Church Parade. Inspected by General Birdwood and Godley, they seemed pleased. Horses very lively.
Training by Squadron. Rest of the 11th Squadron went across the Canal, over pontoon bridge. T. Ransead and Captain Smith went to Suez.
Training in South area. 9th Reinforcements went past here.
Training in the morning - regimental attack.
Training and information etc. Australian troops passed through.
Duty today and about Camp exercising horses.
Training near Canal. Sent cable home. Big Camel Corps passed about 6.00. T. Ranstead came back.
Church Parade. Hot today- in Camp all day.
Training in Camp and all day reconnaissance. Formed a [pace left blank] Society for the excavation of the ruins of SERAPEUM.
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.
Training in morning, bathing in afternoon. Big Camel Corp passed South.
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].
Attack practice of Regiment.
Went to front trenches, saw line of Turkish advance gun positions and place where boats were launched and graves of German and Turks.
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.
Staff Officer 2nd Brigade came to select Camp site for A.L.H. [Australian Light Horse]. Brigadier went to Cairo.
Training North. ALH arriving. Camel Corp passed.
Attack practice. Colonel M on leave. Signallers did good work.
Duty Regiment today. 3RD Squadron went on patrol. Front trenches.
Church Parade. 4th Squadron went on patrol with 3rd.
Squadron work for 11th Squadron. Colonel Mackesy returned. Light Horse arriving.
Work about Camp. Light Horse arriving. Colonel Munro arrived, stayed all night.
MARCH, Wednesday 1st
Left for Cairo on duty.
Went to Zietoun. Drew £10 for A.P. Office.
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.
At Cairo, went to races. Colonel Meldrum at dinner with me.
Received wire at 1.30 am to rejoin Regiment. Left Cairo at 1100 arrived Serapeium 1530, left Serapeium 1700 for front trenches arriving 2130.
Took over trenches from Brigade A.I.F. â€“ these very nearly full of sand, Patrols sent out.
Sent patrols out from each Squadron.
Patrolling 6 miles to the front - sand hills all the way and for miles to the front.
Patrols went well out. Starting to dig out the trenches. Got our machine guns into position.
Patrols sent out from each Squadron.
Went into Moascar 54 men for the Brigade. Very bad sandstorm on. Came home and found storm had shifted things in tent.
Three Church Services owing to Regiment being scattered.
Established post 6 miles out known as AKLD Hill. Cleaning up trenches. Mail arrived.
General Russell inspecting trenches. Digging trenches etc.
Rebuilding trenches â€“ inspecting wire entanglements.
Good work being done in trenches â€“ making a plan of tunnels etc.
Hard at trenches and wire.
Trenching and entanglements wire along our whole front.
There were to be three services today - one had to be cut out.
Cold weather. So did some good work in the trenches.
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales came to the front trenches but did not visit our lines.
Trenching â€“ feel some concern for our left flank. The 43rd Brigade seem indifferent about it.
Trenching and entanglements. General Birdwood and Godley here, the former to say goodbye, we are not in his command now.
Started to do some training and shooting.
Went to Ismailia, very pleasant town. Under the trees is splendid, gardens fine.
Three services today. Resting.
Started Musketry all round. Water service temporarily stopped.
Musketry. Visited CMR.
Musketry shooting, very good all. Machine guns in good working order.
Musketry stopped by heavy Khamseen. [Egyptian hot sandstorm]. Very Hot.
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.