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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Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Sep 14, 2006 8:09 pm

10th July 1919
A walk in the woods till 1300, through most beautiful pine and beech forests.
Then the 1408 Train to Gillenfeld whence an hours walk took us to a very pretty lake - the largest one in the district - a pity the weather is so cold, raw and wet, this spoils everything. The 1730 Train brought us home again.
Trout for supper again and getting rather tired of this, they are very ****[bland?] indeed - Trout but nothing to them, caught plentifully here about. Breakfast consists of coffee toast and butter, not too much of the latter, and an egg.
Dinne,r soup, fish and meat and vegitables and something sweet - eating much the ******** quite efficient and good cooking.
The U.S. officers were here for the last time, they are finished with their work and ordered home.
The Major desires to visit England first.

Maar bei Gillenfeld
The volcanic lake at Gillenfeld

July 11th 1919
Practically rain all day - but managed two nice walks - in the evening I went over to the Kreis Artzts (Doctor) for one of the boarders who has taken ill, probably from eating too much of something the stomach did not agree with.
A very heavy downpour of rain has given the people all the water they wanted, and while the oats will not benefit anymore other crops most probably will.
I expect to leave here on monday after being here for two weeks, I have only had one fine day but have learnt alot.
Peace has been ratified by Germany and now perhaps I can get into Hiedleburg, *********heim[?] and Oberirch[?], the latter place to visit Finsteineck[?] whence I started for the U.S.A. in 1879.

[Transcribers note: Although Mackesy spells "Doctor" as "Artzts" it may well have been a popular spelling at the time, and his reference "Kreis" added at the front, may well have meant "District Doctor" - the terminology today in Germany for a G.P. is: "Praktischer Arzt"]

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Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:06 am

12th July 1919
Out walking towards Meuren[?] in the morning, then took the 1408 Train to [space left blank by Mackesy] from where an hours walking through grand woods brought us in view of the two unused castles of Manderscheit - these were upper and lower castles - in a wood between the borders[?] the upper one was destroyed in the 12th Century. But dates from the 8th Century- rebuilt by the Arch Bidshops of Trier - it was destroyed again by Melack in the 17th Century - both [castles] are very picturesque, the woods and walks delightful.
Had coffee at the lower castle then up to Manderscheit for dinner, catching the 2048 Train back to Daun from Pantenburg one hours walk from Manderscheit in a pouring rain.
Got back at 0130.


A view from the "Niederburg" where Mackesy had his coffee all those years ago in Mandersheid in the Eifel - in the distance the "Oberburg" (or upper castle.) Eifel is the volcanic region along the Rhine near the Dutch border.

July 13th 1919
Out in forenoon - [then] resting till 1700, went with some friends [to] Beigeordneter and Biesten pass Cobley.
I called by invitation on the Laudraths. He was ill in bed with influenza, but she was as charming as ever. Can never get enough of [information on] New Zealand - [she] looks up everything on the globe and on the atlas.
Spent an unpleasant walk back to [the] hotel in time for dinner - bad day again. Spent the rest of the evening with hotel guests and got ready to leave monday morning with the early train for Cöln - sorry my stay in Duan was accompanied throughout by cold and wet weather.
But Daun is undoubtably a charming little town - the prettiest in the Eifel.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:17 am

14th July 1919
Hotel Dom
Early breakfast then off with the 0748 Train. Changed cars at Geroldstein and on to Cöln arriving 1200.
To Town Mayor where I found two letters, but none from either Studholm or Wilks - both of whom had promised to send me a pass from Boulongne to Folkestone.
I wrote Studholm.
Town Mayor gave me a billet in the Dom Hotel, best in town - good room.
Heavy rain.
Looked through many bookshops for a Bible, for [Miss] Emons (RC) [Roman Catholic], but could get none.
Called on the Clostumaus in Hindeuthel and I had dinner with them - spending a very pleasant evening.
Had to walk back to Dom Hotel most of the way.


The Dom Hotel today with the Dom köln in the background

July 15th 1919
Shopping Forenoon.
Met Miss Emons 1200 Train from Daun who chose some music for me for Jessie.
Took opportunity while passing Ordinance to get another pair of boots (31/6) [One pound eleven schillings and sixpence] which would have cost me ₤4 [Four Pounds sterling] or more in London. Also Cap. Collars shirt and gloves.
Forenoon fine, later rain.
In the evening went to the Nickonilda Theatre which use to be Cölner Heineschau when I was here before.
All Cologne plot deutsche [local play in German] - I don't believe I ever laughed so much - fairly hurt me.
Later met Major Lammons, the U.S. officers had been so kind to me at Daun. He was off to England via Brussells. Would have [been nice to go with him] but could not. Saw him off at 2330.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:50 pm

16th July 1919
Off to Godisburg[?] nice electrical [Train] and walked back from Stees[?] to Dom through the woods, having a snack a mile or two out from Dom where there was a magnificent view of the Siebrugeburen[??] - back to Cologne by 1800.
Dinner at Lindauthal, later back to the Hotel - where I found a note from Colonel *****[name?] late in command of the ****hustone[name?] Camp. He wants me to come down to Wiesbaden with him.
He called twice, is staying with Godly I believe in Duren.
Weather turning out better.

July 17th 1919
Hotel Dom
Spent over an hour trying to get either Adams or Studholm on the Telephone. Then sent a wire, but thought better afterwards to go down to
Duren by [the] 1325 Train. Got there before the wire reached Adams. Found him and took him back to Cologne with me - borrowing Studholm's car and driver. We returned coming through to Wiesbaden tomorrow.
Adams came by way of the U.S.A. where he spent two and a hlf months, has his wife in London.
We wired Major Wilkie to meet us with car in Brussells on Tuesday - will tour the Battlefields - leaving probably Thursday for England.
This cuts me a little short, but I prefer going with the company and the advantage of a car.
Got Adams put up at the Dom.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:14 pm

18th July 1919
Hotel Rose.
Had to loose something to find the [space for] extra stuff I had brought ****.
I thought the best thing would be a rucksack, which may come in handy later (40 walk). Left Cologne about 1000 - getting to Goblenz about 1300 - had punchured.
Invitied[?] U.S.A. Commisioner who referred me to Sir E. Stuart the British are not ********. [Will] see him on monday next on the way back.
Dinner at Coblenz, two more puntures on way to Mainz - then to Wiesbaden where we put up at Hotel Rose - The Palast Hotel being full.
Weather turned and warm sun shinning.
******* looked in ***** Chrystal Palast and ********, bathroom et cetera with bedrooms - good. [comments about hotel room].

July 19th 1919
We motored over [to] Nero Berg to the old Hunting Castle of the Grand Dikes of Nassau. Schloss Platte. Not much to see the place was started 1800 and finished 1826 whence till '66 it was used every year for six weeks to two months. No modern convieniences such as water and lights. Grand view of Wiesbaden but too far away.
On the Langten schwalbach for lunch - good.
Several[?] officers invited us [to] the sports on the morrow. If we can get pass through neutral territory to **** we shall go.
Back to wiesbaden by another road, very beautiful drive. Glorious day - and shopping.
Spent evening at **** at Ruhr Saal - great crush of people there.
French not liked. Too much after the women.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:31 am

20th July 1919
Coblenzer Hoff (Hotel)
5 after Trinty
Rained heavy during the night and early morning.
Left for Langen Schwalbach after having obtained permission to travel to Coblenz on the right side of the Rhine -Went through the neutral zone between French and U.S. O.T. [Occupied Territory] at Lagen Schwalbach - was a large Algerian Fehi on to which the Colonel L/C. [Lieutenant Colonel?] had invited us - we had good seats - every need ********** with a nice French Lady, introduced to a General.
Left about 1700 - Escorts on horse back, rather poor.
The road led us through Nassau and Ems and was very beautiful, at this latter place we stopped - I looking up Grace Von Olbermann, she is the richest woman in Cöln. But found she was ill in bed.
Lovely hotel and scenery - arrived in Coblenz in time for dinner.

July 21st 1919
On the Train Cologne to Bruxelles
Interviewed [by] Sir Harold S*****[Sleusort?] High Commissioner- "International Rhine Land C**** (England).
I may possibly get an appointment on account of my knowledge of Railway and Friends - he will let me know by the 18th August.
Reached Cöln in time for dinner - made up my mind to leave by 2330 express Brussells - got sleeping bunks, not too hot.
At Station met Paul Ryon with whom I had talked to at Duren before.
The afternoon was spent shopping - bought camera et cetera - then went to ****** that and spent the comming [wait] at Clostermans till time to catch the Train.
My companion though very wealthy is not a spender which is a good thing and I appreciate - He is always late, likes his bed. Would not have served well in the field. Know the song of the soup.
****** otherwise a very good walk.


Cologne Deutz railway station c1920

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Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:44 pm

[Attention: I had hoped someone would have had a go at transcribing the 13th and 14th of January as I deliberately left them undone - So it is about time that I bought the Diary up to date - so here is the missing dates of the first month.
On going back to January and re-reading some of the Diary with a more practised eye on reading Mackesy's hand I was able to see a number of words and sentence structure that I missed before ;
Nice to break the meaning of the scribble and make sense of more segments at last!
So the first three months pages have been updated, and a number of spellings corrected.]

13th January 1919
Rode up to Moascar with Major Hulbert, and called at the Regiment.
*** on the way back with regards rush mats for our Mess Huts.
In the afternoon I saw my first Hydroplane settle on the water and then rise again. The machine seems much more powerful than the aeroplane, and has more the shape of a fish. It looks very safe and steady, but seemed to require a long stretch of water to rise from.
Embelishing the Camp with white stone fencing, it makes borders continuous and makes a vast difference in appearances.

January 14th 1919
Nothing to report.
The Aussies and New Zealand teams of footballers have so far met and beaten all their antagonists - today they played one another and the game was a draw.

Some of our best men were taken out of the team. They were [six] men boarded for New Zealand [as cases of] Malaria - their hearts being affected. So we had to stop them playing as the risk was too great.
Had they still been playing I don't think the "Osdivs" (Australian Division) would have had a look in.
Weather most glorious
Trooper Robertson who is our A.D. of Education had left here the other day to organise classes in the Battalion - turned up with a crown up. I was much pleased. I had looked for something of the kind for him.

[Transcribers note: Trooper Robertson a schools Inspector with the Education Department in civillian life has now that "Peace" has broken out, been taken from a combat role, and has now returned from Battilion after been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant - "a crown up" or maybe that is promotion to Major? can anyone tell me what rank Robertson attained?]

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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:09 pm

22nd July 1919
Palace Hotel
Arrived here about 0700 and went to the palace Hotel, considered one of the best in Europe. Certainly fine rooms with bathroom attached. All rooms have communicating doors. Never been in a place more given to Loos living.
Women in plenty.
Rooms fifteen Francs, everything dear.
The rain came down steadily - this was Belgiums day of Victory.
I got a place near the King at the Saluting base and saw everything exceptionally well.
Foch and Badring Generals were there. A very fine march past.
The rain spoiled things.
Saw General Sir A. Godley who had driven over from Duren.
In the evening had dinner at a restaurant and with a Major and his wife (?). Went to an exceptionally good mixed pagent at the Pali d'Ele.


Albert I King of the Belgiums


King Albert and Queen Elizabeth returning to Brussells at wars end.

[transcribers notes: Albert commanded the Belgian army throughout the war, despite constant requests from the French and British to hand it over to them. He paid regular visits to the front line, and was closer to the ordinary soldier than any of the other commanders-in-chief. In return, he was held in great regard. His wife worked tirelessly as a nurse.]

July 23rd 1919
Hotel Royal
Leaving Colonel Adams in bed I motored all over, seeing museums and churches et cetera. Took a guide with me in the car.
At 1130 we left en route for Lille stopping for lunch at a place called Niedersbrachel. Very hard to get anything in the Town, the place we finally got to had been the British Chateau.
[Here?] Mother and daughter did us well, very anxious for us to spend the night, it being stedily wet.
We pulled out however and had a punture and broke a spring - the road being so very bad and full of holes, at 1600 we stopped at a Smithy but could not effect repairs.
The wife giving us coffee, and we warmed up at her stove - [they] would not charge.
Arrived Lille by 1700 - went to Palals du Ele - poor show comparred to last nights.
Stayed at the Royal - good but under paid staff - they need [the] stick.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:37 am

24th July 1919
Hotel Skindles
Morning promised better - but when we had sunshine the weather was very cold.
Took many snaps in the battle area of the 2nd Army where our boys fought.
Passed through Holeystret - Paschendale - Armentiers - Ypres et cetera arriving at Poporinghe about 1800.
This place has not suffered much, only a few houses destroyed. The Germans were only here for ten weeks in 1914. Whereas of Massine where we stopped for lunch, and which place was a large town with tramway and fine buildings - Not one single solitary house remains.
Utterly impossible to believe in such destruction until actually seen.
We hope to sleep in London.

July 25th 1919
Imperial Hotel
Put in a good night - the arrangement as to bedrooms being rather off. The room next to me had only an enterance through mine. It had a single bed while mine had two.
Large garden at back of hotelbut stagnent water. Very cold and some rain.
Got into Wimereaux (Boulogne Headquarters) in time for lunch with Wilkes - left Boulogne at 1700 reaching London 0930.
Came back to the Imperial because my luggage is here, but shall not stay beyond Sunday at latest.
Miserable pokey room. Bad attendance and exorbitant place.
Weather cold and rainy the same as we left behind.


Wimereux where New Zealanders were based during WWI (also spelt Wimereaux)


Monument aux morts - Wimereux
A ses glorieux enfants morts pour la France
War Memorial at Wimereaux also honours those who lost their lives in 1939-45 and Algeria.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:48 am

26th July 1919
Imperial Hotel
Busy all forenoon - went to see High Commissioner but he seems always to be away.
General Johnston in command at Headquarters - out of town. But found lots mail awaiting me - most of it dated January, the latest was early March.
All most all Troops have left Egypt for home.
General Chaytor is embarking for England [in] ten days - no further news.
Drove out to Richmond [on a bus]. I like these longer runs, they are cheap and enjoyable - But so far have not been able to get a plan or guide, these use to be plenty formely.

July 27th 1919
Imperial Hotel
Russell Square
6 after Trinity.
Stayed in the forenoon. packing up as intend leaving here tomorrow.
After 2pm got on a bus to Golders Green, from there to St. Albans and attended service in the Abbey Church - wonderfully nice old building, good singing - choir in attendance, but preacher as usual very poor.
The ride was horribly cold, rain threatening all the time.
Crops are very backward.
Came back on the Midland Railway getting in at 9pm too late for dinner as the employees had taken their chances and cleared the tables as soon as possible. So I had to go out again.
Met Maudred's friend Miss Gopsill, English young person. She found a four-leafed clover while with me.


Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Albans.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:45 pm

28th July 1919
Grosvenor Hotel
Waited over an hour for Major Harvey to turn up at New Zealand H.Q.
He was to arrange for my investiture for Saturday next, and also make an appointment with High Commissioner for me, but failed in the latter.
McKenzie on sick leave again - it appears to be a continuous holiday for him. However will see the ***.[abriviation - perhaps Gen for General]
Had a new pair of boots rubberised, we hear not of these things in New Zealand.
Cold and dreary weather.
McKnordes[?], Private Secretary of the High Commission, sent me to Major Morton, Colonial Office - who could not tell me where to apply - but certainly the Colonial Office had nothing whatever to do with the Rhineland Commission. Will have to look up the War Office.

July 29th 1919
Busy till late trying to run down the proper person to apply to for a post at the British Section of the Inter-Allied Rhine Land Commission.
At last found out that it was being appointed from Paris. But a Lieutenant Colonel Strickers or some such name, who had something to do with it happened to be in London and I was fortunate enough to see him down at the War Office. He took my name down and promised to forward it with two other ones for consideration.
Legal knowledge would I believe be a help but can hardly be a factor - However I hope I hear something to my advantage soon.


[Transcribers note: Between 1906 and its abolition in 1964, the War Office was based in a massive neo-Baroque building, completed in 1906, located on Horse Guards Avenue in Whitehall, London. It contains about a thousand rooms across seven floors, linked by 2½ miles of corridors. The construction of the War Office building took five years to complete at what was then a huge cost of over £1.2 million.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:04 pm

30th July 1919
Called into Edgewan Road this afternoon.
Was passing Marble Arch and thought I would like to see if Hardings were still to be found. I had been with them for some time in 1903.
A Government shop where I stopped for some things gave me the information - I found them still at fifty-five - old lady and two daughters - the third was still on leave. She is a W.A.A.C. Officer - they offered me a room, and I think I may go there. Certainly think it would be wise to leave my things there.
Walking hence through the Parks.
Find several New Zealand nurses still in London.
General Chaytor expected over end of this week.
General Brraithwaite staying here at the Hotel Gr*******.

July 31st 1919
Got a note from Sister Maysie McDonell through one of our men, so ran out to Lunns[?] Gate Terraces 13 to see her after ringing her up on [the] phone.
Found Major Ferguson with her, I hear they are to marry soon - Spent an hour or two going down town - learning Mar******[name?] was in London and wanted dearly to sail for India shortly, and decided to look her up tomorrow.
I am writing her in the meantime to expect us between ten and eleven tomorrow.
Spent some time at the Contrband Department of the Foreign Office where I called on E. Leslie Esquire, who is in charge and has something to do with the appointments in the Rhineland Commission. But he is leaving his post. Asked for a written slip, which he would hand to his successor.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:28 pm

I started this thread to involve members to comment as I stumbled and stuttered through the tightly scrawled text trying to deciper the DIARY.

However as no-one has contributed to the thread other than myself, and I find that I am doing the work twice - That is once to write up the DIARY as I do it here and then back to do it a second time on the website itself - which is time consuming.

So from now on I will post extracts of the DIARY immediately to the website - therefore additions to this thread will stop from today.

Never fear, with the good following the DIARY as built up it will be just as easy to follow by going to one of the following pages:


for APRIL - MAY - JUNE go to:

For the present (July 31st 1919) including JULY - AUGUST - SEPTEMBER go to:

the final months are not covered yet but will be finally at:

HOWEVER comments about the diary posted on the website will be answered here - I will be back to check any comments or corrections or whatever. Thanks for your support so far.
Steve Butler
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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:44 am

FINALLY the Mackesy Diary is completed and the pages all posted.
I hope you enjoyed the 1919 adventures of Charles mackesy - he certainly spent a fair amount of time traveling in this year.

remember a Diary sitting in your grandma's chest of draws could be a valuable link to our history - tell your friends to take a look.
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Postby jade » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:42 pm

Many thanks to Steve for the wounderful work that he has put in on this diary. Thanks Steve. Enjoyed reading it.
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