COLONEL MACKESY'S DIARY

1919 post war diary. de-mobbing in Egypt - Trips down the Nile, the Red Sea, Damascus and Germany -including family visits to Ireland and England -return to NZ on the "S.S.Remuera"

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COLONEL MACKESY'S DIARY

Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:38 pm

In 1919 Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Mackesy compiled a diary which I have listed on our site at:
http://www.nzmr.org/research.htm

This diary has been in the hands of two people, the Colonel's son Major Charles Mackesy who died before World War II, and his grandson, Richard Mackesy. Himself a serving soldier during the Second World War.
This diary has never beeen transcribed and I felt it was a project worthy of members and the public alike to untangle the tight small script the colonel wrote in his tiny diary. .
Perhaps there is some unrecorded history hidden in here? Perhaps not - but it will be fun finding out.

If you have clicked on the first PDF icon you will have downloaded the first 10 pages of the diary (a total of twenty days).

As of today there are 4 pages 'deciphered' - Try your skills - Are you missing your vocation potential? -should you really be holding down the job as head handwriting expert for the DSIR?

It is our intention to list all developments of decoding the diary here and talk about it - obviously there are segments written which are difficult to know exactly what has been said, or meant to convey.

Together we will do it

regards Steve Butler
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Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:43 pm

To prompt one and all here is my attempt tonight for the days 5th and 6th January.
There are a few holes here and I would like some help.


5th January 1919
Sunday 2 after Christmas
Inspection was a great improvement on last Sunday. I complimented officers and men after church service. The church pardes are very large and the Preacher a Mr. Davis does very well - indeed is quite a good worker among the men and getting on fine - Spent the Sunday quiet in Camp until 1300 hours when taking Major Hubbert I went to see the people at the E.G.M. I found Miss Murray the New Zealand girl is engaged to one of my officers. I hope he is (young Bellingham of the Wellington Mounterd Rifles) a good true lad - for she is such a girl and deserves a good husband.
Calling later on Colonel Mc Lush I found him out. But met him on my way in - promised to have dinner with him tomorrow.

6th January 1919 Monday
Cut the mornings parade held in the Y.M.C.A. and which parade is compulsary. I explained that ** **** (my will?) now starting an educational scheme. The classess, were all arranged as far we could get instructors and it only remained for the men to say what kind of instructions(?) they desired to obtain. - (this then was done.?) The various classes filing into the auditorium to get their names to the instructors (on/for) the various subjects. The men have shown a keeness to get instruction which is a very hopeful sign for the (survey/survival?) of the movement. Trooper Robertson? who is appointed A.D. of Education is one of our School Inspectors in NZ and quite capable.
In the evening had dinner at R****** Depot - when met *****(various?) officers who knew my cousin Lieutenant General W**(Wes?) Mackesy.



I find it interesting that Charles says he is related to General Mackesy! Must look him up.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Jun 13, 2006 2:16 pm

Terry
I have had permissions from Mr. Mackesy to personally use the diary as I saw fit and I intend to utilise that option in due course - However I believe that Richard (Mr. Mackesy) will be positive about its usage by a third party/parties if information he has supplied is used in a positive manner in refernce to the Colonel and his family.

Not with standing his first assurances to me I have emailed Richard today outlining your proposals and asking for written permission by return email.
I have also provided him a link to the BB also - although Richard is 87 years old he is computer aware. (A very interesting man in his own right)

I am awaiting his reply.

How are you going in your reading of the Diary?

regards Steve
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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:51 pm

More help here please:

3rd January
Friday
Sent (Gridley?) my batman to Cairo to get two calls I had left in the car of Mr. Flecther -for Jan(uary?). ******(boarding?) with Major G.S. Cheesman to New Zealand on the next boat. We had sports beginning at 1000 (hours). I went over in the afternoon and *** had quite a good ****ing *** O'Grady **** being most amusing. In the morning we had a very good concert. The New Zealand (A).S.H. orchestra coming down for the occasion. ***(get/yet?) here as everywhers else. The **** **** *** (note:This sentence has to say something like:"The silly part when he dresses up and sings some stupid song"? and perhaps continues along "Often vulgar - most pleasant to the boys. Hard to understand.").
Weather cloudy and shaping for rain.

January 4th
Saturday
The C******* promised by Mr. Johnson two or three days ago when I went to Cairo has arrived - the (piano) also I (believe?) - It **** *** care less over Y.M.C.A. Secretary is. But *****(NAME perhaps Grainger?) seems to be a failure - no one appeared to get on with him. The officers are quite at loggerheads and complain a lot. He too **** up with complaints - So I must get him shipped out (and ) get V****** down. **** they will not want to **** him at (all) No one likes a failure. He might be all right with someone over him to direct him - but is of little use as an organiser and (manager).
We had *** ***(Mess) in Egypt with Latern Slides by Mr. Bradley who usually belongs to the E.G.M. but has been (donating) much of his time to the Y.M.C.A. work.
Rule of ********** ******* is ill. I had *****(name) turned up with my things by the 1410 (hours?)
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Postby TerryKinloch » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:28 am

Thanks Steve. I have not had time to look at the diary in detail yet, but at least I have solved my Adobe version problems and can read it when I get time to. Enjoy your trip.

Terry
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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:32 pm

Re-hashed my diary dates from yesterday with a fresh look at the script - I think this is a lot closer and I will post this up on the "Mackesy Diary Page"

3rd January
Friday
Sent (Gridley?) my batman to Cairo to get two cases I had left in the car of Mr. Flecther -for Jan(uary?or Name Jan) ******(boarding/embarking?) with Major G.S.Cheesman to New Zealand on the next boat.
We had sports beginning at 1000 (hours). I went over in the afternoon and we had quite a good meeting. The O'Grady(name) (dual/duel?) being most amusing. In the morning we had a very good concert. The New Zealand (A).S.H. orchestra coming down for the occasion. Yet here, as everywhers else, this silly fool then dresses up and sings some stupid comic song, more often vulgar than not - gives the most pleasure to the boys, Hard to understand.
Weather cloudy and shaping for rain.

January 4th
Saturday
The C*******(Cinema??) promised by Mr. Johnson two or three days ago when I went to Cairo has arrived - the (piano) also I (believe?) - It shows how clueless our Y.M.C.A. Secretary is. But *****(NAME perhaps Grainger?) seems to be a failure - no one appeared to get on with him. The officers are quite at loggerheads and complain a lot. He too ****(wells?) up with complaints - So I must get him shipped out (and ) get V******(name) down. Though they will not want to spare him at (all). No one likes a failure. He might be all right with someone over him to direct him - but is of little use as an organiser and manager.
We had *** ***(Mess) in Egypt with Latern Slides by Mr. Bradley who usually belongs to the E.G.M. but has been (donating) much of his time to the Y.M.C.A. work.
Rule of ********** ******* is *** ***.
I had (Gridley?name? The batman) turned up with my things by the 1410 (hours?)


fin
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Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:14 am

Day one and two of the diary. Can anyone see the missing words in the script?

1st January 1919
WEDNESDAY
(The) Continental (Hotel)
New Years day broke nice and clear. At 1100 (hours) Mr. (Riley?) our New Zealand Y.M.C.A. Secretary called for me in the side car of Mr. (Locke?) (and took me) up the Swiss Club to get what information we could re: making a Skittle Alley for the Training Camp. I had him to lunch then drove out with Lieutenant-Colonel (General?) Chaytor in the car to the K*** ***** Military - at Heliopolis - where we had 2 ** Rgt (regiment?) horses running. Gazelle (horses name?) got a first prize - the other one sired by "De Castro" did no good. Lazed around fine weather. Met Chas **** (and) Matron ******* - afternoon tea with her - back to hospital and early to bed.
***(the Matron?) does a lot of evening rounds - got all I came up for.

January 2nd
(Cheoaliers?) Island Camp
Thursday
Invited to give some lectures on New Zealand, I hunted the ***(Place?) for some books dealing with New Zealand. Found none - but Rull(name?) lent me his *.*. by Sir A.R. Douglas - title "The Dawning of New Zealand ******" it will do.
Also got history of the Crusades to give the boys some talks on that subject.
Caught the 1100 (hours) for home. 7am everything quiet and all right at Camp - * new officer cadets had marched in.
Glad they got their communication(s) the English people are not getting theirs. Australians also got theirs. I think it *** fair. Debate in the evening. "Should ******** be Taxed".
Early to bed.


ADDED two more days 11th and 12th Jan

11th January
Busy about camp all day. Gave another address in the evening at the Y.M.C.A.- Everybody demanded to be there and the boys certainly enjoyed themselves.
A large steamer full of Troops for the South anchored all night in the lake. They called to us, but were gone before daylight. Probably Australians or New Zealanders on their way home.
The last two days weather has been fairly cold.
Started some natives to put up new walls for paths of white stones about the place. Also began on the sSkittle Alley.


12th January
Sunday 1 after Epiphany.
A very large Church parade. After lunch walked up to town with Major Hulbert(?). Called at the club for afternoon tea, talking matters over with Miss Jones with regards to (*****ing?) the place up. Then called on Mrs Li***** head of (the) British Red Cross to thank her for the help she has given our people.
After dinner walked up again with Captains Bale (Adjudant) and Fossett 2? ** to have a look at English magazines and papers at the Club.
A Captain Bathgate New Zealand Infantry ******(arrived?) in from Suez. Just returned from Persia - A Sergeant (marched?) in the same way three days ago, they will stay here till they can get back to New Zealand.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:26 am

Starting to get into my stride and am beginning to recognise the Colonels hand. Jumped a few days again for the hell of it 8)

21st January
Tuesday
Met the French owner of the Club again and settled on the compensation he is to get. Poor man, since returning from the war, he has lost his wife through the Spanish Flu(x), and now has four children to look after.
We got to work - **** **** up and got away a lot of stuff in the way of tables and benches. There still is a good deal more stuff to bring away than I had anticipated.
Weather very fine but cold, nights very much so.

January 22nd
Wednesday
****** **** away. I had to run up to the A+NZ.H.*. (Australian and New Zealand Headquarters) - back to the club again seeing how things are progressing.
Afternoon went out in the car to the **** ****(place name) held by us in 1916 - I found the road better than ever, the heavy rains or high winds had cleared up the roads, where last year I had to ***(dig) my way through the car ****** all night. It seems a crying shame that so much stuff is allowed to go to waste out there. I saw scores of **** of capacity of eight hundred to a thousand *****(gallons?), and that in a very ******* *******. What must the number be over the whole forty miles or more. I took Purcell(name?) out instead of ****.
(Added with red coloured pencil later) Met Purcell with horse at 14.30
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Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:24 pm

Another two days here with some words missing but the gist is there.


15th january
wednesday
Rode up after parade to make arrangements in connection with closing down our New Zealand Club next Sunday.
From? Miss Jones - ****** about to get ready for her final tea nights. It is to be a free evening to the boys and the Australian? Orchestra will be present. She looks for a big (finish?). Sorry we have to close but it is better to be early away than later.
Weather is fairly cold for here and colds are very ******(prevalent?). But strange to say we have had nothing serious in this camp while at Moascar the Australians have had eighteen deaths in one week. The wind is very strong just now, blowing cold from Sou'west.

January 16th
Thursday
The Continental Hotel.
Left for Cairo by the ****** train. (Having?) a great deal to do. We have decided, the committee, to make Miss Jones a presentation on the occasion of closing the N.Z.S.C. the owner has returned from the war and wants his house back again.
I looked up Mr. Cohen who has been making my (Xmas?) cards and getting a design from him. Ordered a decorated inscription - illuminated address we would call it, in Egyptian style - I hope it turns out well. I also ordered one for each of the (Aotea?) Women and Mrs. Fletcher and Marianne - the letter told me where to go for a (piece?) of presentation (plates?) - could find nothing. So decided on a silver water pot. Early Victorian age, and saw to having it suitably inscribed - Late to bed. *****(Myra?) Hueburt and Bruce arrived.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:42 pm

It is becoming quite obvious that life is somewhat different in the services since the end of war - however I am finding the life and times of the Colonel a nice little cameo of the early 20th century - each page I work on suddenly discloses a new issue. I am surprised at the amount of time that people of the time spend at lectures, perhaps it is a way of keeping the men from going "Native" while waiting to go home. I am surprised at how much effort is put into preaching, sermons and lectures - interesting.

17th January
Friday
'Aotea'
Having been turned down by the 33' *** *.A.F. in getting a combustion engine for teaching purposes, I went to Heliopolis to see General Hubert. Found he has left on a "Hadley Page" (aircraft?) for Kaitha****** and was not back.
It began to rain harder - has rained all night (long?) I waited for it to clear, not doing so I ordered a car - none to be had, no buggies - trains,cars stopped - bus tried to get through. I took it but had to leave it cross the **** and walk back. Water pouring down the train line like a wild *****. Train services stopped. Communications with Cairo cut off. Tried for a bed at a hotel, Flying Corps officers having been drowned out had come there - no bed. Last resort Aotea (gnat?) ****** **** to **** **** alone they say ten thousand English pounds.


January 18th
Saturday
Chevalier? Island
Up early but could get no connection with Cairo, the wires would not work but the rain had stopped and the weather was very clear and bright. I got to 'Pont de Cuba' by white car (Taxi?) and took the Train from there - ** the road I saw hundreds of the ****** built houses completely destroyed. The mud walls had simply gone down before the rain and in places only heaps of mud appeared with the door (gaves? Jams?) and rafters et cetera sticking up. The people were busy getting what little they had dug out of the mud. It will take nine days before the Heleipolis Train service can resume.
Saw General Howard V*se re: the lectures and a internal combustion engine for teaching purposes. He will try and get it for us.
Saw some of the sick at ***onik(name?) Hospital - left with the 1815 (hours) train wasnt crowded I was **** on reaching camp half an hour later.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:49 pm

At last a little DRAMA - wine women and song!

January 19th
2 after Epiphany
Closing of the New Zealand Services Club (N.Z.S.C.). Presentation to Miss Jones.
Very good turn out all round on inspection - but Padre getting a little bit long winded with his sermon - will have to point it out to him. Got a nasty shock when Admin (colonel?) and a Major of the A.A.C.S. saw me with regard to two New Zealand officers. At the concert the other night sevceral A.A.C.S. officers had come over with their party - after several drinks two of ours went home with them - probably worse for drink. The two came back in one of their cars. More drinking at 0200 hours they ordered the driver to drive them to the (wezor?) ******* ****** the **** quarter (Guess= presumably a latin type quarter section of town that was out of bounds)- where the police found them (Captain Christy) with three women and quite drunk. They refused to give their names. But of course the number of the car was taken, the owner Major A.A.C.S. notified ** **** got the names of the two that were at his ***** and found out later who the two were who went with the women.

January 20th
Monday
Hearing Trooper Lock was taken to the N.Z.A.S.Hospital from the NZ club last night seriously ill. - I must go over early to see him. He had a bad cold and now has Pnumonia but appeared cheerful enough. Though put in the dangerous department (tent?). Of course he does not know that. Saw ****. ****.(CUU?) re: the two officers under arrest. Captain Christy nzmc and 2nd Lft. (Burland?) had their first confession and regreats and promises in *******(sincerity?) and **** by *****(Thursday?).
********(Summary sent?) to C.O.C. NZEF with request not to court martial the officers in question having got enough to make them never to forget their lesson. - Then met the owner of the car at the NZ Club House went through the ****** with him - We shall have to make a good deal * **** - ******.
Lectured to the men at night with ****(great?)(sincerity?).
***** stayed over ******** ******(name?) on his way to Cairo.
(red pencil) Elections Y.M.C.A.



REMEMBER corrected copy and the diary as we compile it are at:
http://www.nzmr.org/research.htm
or more correctly at the extension on that page at:
http://www.nzmr.org/diary.htm
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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:04 pm

January 23rd
Thursday
Shooting match on all day, seven teams- with the .22 service rifle. Afternoon important Football match on. Up to Australia New Zealand Headquarters to see how things were getting on in general and decided to talk to the Australians en mass tomorrow in the Cinema.
Colonel ****** having an impediment in his speach, never does (note: sentence probably means: "The Colonel never addresses his men because of a speech impediment.")- (It will) do no harm and away to (the) good.
There is too much drinking going on - that must be stopped.
Captain Balc took Matron Purcell out riding. I sent over "Lady" for her.(presume name of horse - but here I am not sure if the word is in fact "Lady" a noun as the word is written without capital letter - Could this sentence say: "I went over early for her."). ***** this ******* * quickest (horse?) I ****.(note:this sentence could be:"Riding this beast is the quickest horse I have"). But "lady?" (note: again small "l"?)took charge and ***(ran?) away.
No damage done.


January 24th
Friday
Amassed the Australians in the fore noon and got a very good hearing.
learnt that Lieutenant Colonel (Lyall?) died suddenly at Luxor - his body is to be brought back to Cairo and buried in the old Town Cemetery were many of our men are sleeping.
I shall have to go up to represent the New Zealand Brigade. "Todd?" was a New Zealander though he commanded an Australian Regiment.
Left on the 1410 (hours) Train for Kant'ara - where met by car I **** reached H.Q. (Drove?) about later to see the vast camp (90,000) then met the ***** **(good old?) Matron Hughes? (of the?) 4th G.H. (General Hospital?) and had afternoon tea with her. She had looked after Chas (Note: Colonel Mackesey's son , Major Charles Mackesy was hospitalised twice back to Cairo from the Gallipoli battlefield in 1915) when he was at "Nazarieh"(note: presumably name of the area,or name of hospital in Cairo).
Had an audience that packed the building and stood five or six deep at the windows, will ****** wanted again.
(written in red pencil at end) Lectured at Kant'ara Leave by 1410 (hours) Train.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:17 pm

January 25th
Cairo *********
General Sir W**(William?) Campbell (2nd in charge?) came down the line and stayed for breakfast. Going on to Cairo.
Called on Mrs Chisholm - she looks very frail indeed. She has had a nasty attack of bronchitis. Took a trip up to Rafa and feel better for the change. Established a new Canteen for Australian and New Zealand.
Miss McPHil****(name?) taking charge.
Met General Buckley at the station also on his way to Cairo. He is with the advanced base ***** 2, (and) has moved up to Haifa.
General Allenby and the ***(others?) moving up sometime next month.
Arrived at Ismailia and I found Major Hulbert? second in command and my batman waiting at the station with *** of things.
I ***** want in Cairo for funeral, but I decided to stay over till (the) 1420 (hours) Train.
Met ****(name?) at the Continental - he returns tomorrow night to Rafa. The CMR (Canterbury Mounted Rifles?) arrived ***(back?) from Gallipoli (the) day before yesterday.

January 26th
Sunday
3rd after Epiphany
Took early walk to (the) Savoy Hotel (G.H.Q. Cairo 'note: Mackesy's brackets') to register - Like walking - don't get enough of it.
Weather very warm - Grand place Egypt.
The Funeral which took place from Nazarieh Hospital (and) was late, the body did not arrive from Luxor until 0800 (hours). it then had to be ******* to Nazariah and transferred to another coffin - ** ** did not get away until (towards?) 11(pm?) - there was a ***** following. (Colonel?) Barney Todd was 48 unmarried and well liked - A *******(his vocation?) in civil life, he had a very good name for straight dealing and doing his work well.
In the hotel all afternoon.
Saw Tolstoys "**************"(name of a play?) at night at the "Colisium *********"(name of theatre?) - Colonel (Arnott?) coming with us.
Early to bed.
Introduced ****(name - possibly Will short for William?) to *****(Lady?) Lain(Name?). ********(Clearly?) he is not much of a ***********(conversationalst??).
********(name Charley???) much better.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:15 pm

January 27th
Ismailia
Monday
After breakfast in Colonel Arnott's room we left by the 700 (hours) Train reaching Ismalia at 1010 (hours). The night and mid-day Trains on every day that you travel with **********(in/unconvienience?). So many Troops leaving in boats from Alex(andria?), Port Said and Suez. they must be taken down and frequently the ****** of ears is **** **** ***** to Cairo et cetera is (made?) much use of just now, so that the traffic is quite unusual.
Everything all right in Camp.
Weather much colder down here than in Cairo.
General Chaytor insists on the court martial of (our) officers found in a brothel ***(act?) of *****. Sorry. I had got their *******(military?) confessions and they were quite broken up after my talk. **** will be nothing gained at this stage of the day *** ***** ********(times?). But I never **** with *** or his ***** to be helpful.
May they both be treated likewise when their day comes.


January 28th
Tuesday
I laughed till I was nearly ill. This mornings occasion was another (whim?) from D.A.A.G. N.Z.E.F to cancel Lieutenant Fossets? promotion to Captain. Some time ago **** by **** ***** to say he was promoted Captain. We congratulated him on this late arrival of his star - should have had it long ago. But senior officers coming out from New Zealand several times had stopped him. After wearing his star some days *****(message??) came from (General) Godley to cancel it. He took it well and joked about his experiences as Captain. Then a wire(telegraph) came again (to say) that he was promoted. He did not mount the (captains pip) star for some time. But this day he did. Another wire came cancelling it again. We wonder what General Chaytor's mind is like.
We had a concert at night and Colonel *********(Mc Leslie?) and ********(name?) for dinner.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:18 am

January 29th
Wednesday
Ran up to see Arnott re: sending the Padre and Quartermaster Mc Farlane to Jerusalem. He is quite agreeable. So they will go shortly. They both deserve it and if I don't send them and they over-wait their leave- It will not come off.
They will be ordered off (home?) before that time.
The Leave arranged for me to go is very poor. That ******(comes about??) of a necessity. There are just few allowed from each section of the various Corps to go up at this time. In this way it takes weeks upon weeks before a second lot can be sent. ****(Nurses?) get up the same way.

January 30th
Thursday
Took (Grindley?) with me to Cairo to look up and bring back with him my (saddle?) box.
Saw Captain H.S. (Horsley?) who use to be 13.L.O. (or this could read B.L.O.= could that mean then= Brigade Liasion Officer?) at Amman. He is now stationed at Kerak in the same capacity.
Harmah Bishara was also in Town as was the Pasha.
It took me all my time to see various officers et cetera before night.
Shops are now being closed at seven - and the Town is not at all what it was in the old days. But the streets remind one of the (winter?) of 1914-1915 - you can not go anywhere but what you *****(see?) Khaki.
Lots of Leave and many Troops. Hotels overflowing.
Evenings cool.
Must see the ******* ******. - First Train ** ***** at Cairo.
(in red pen) To Cairo 1410 (hours).
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