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 » Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:30 pm

17th April 1919
Camp Ismailia
Left Hotel at 0700 to get a seat on the 0800 Train - only one Train a day and very crowded.
Got in at 1201.
General Chaytor had been down to see me yesterday. [He] is now off to spend Easter in Juresalem.
A most interesting Lecture was given in the evening by a Captain Woolley sent down specially from G.H.Q. to let the men know the exact position of affairs as now exsisting in Egypt - and the causes leading up to them.
The lecture was given in the M.T.Depot - I should really liked to have got the men over there, but he has no time, so I will have to give the boys a re-hash.

April 18th 1919
Good Friday
I had intended marching the men down to the British West Indies Camp to listen to Captain Woolley's lecture on present conditions in Egypt, but in learning last night that this was Good Friday I cancelled all parades et cetera.
We shall now have to give the lads his lecture second-hand.
Many Japanese oilmariners [note: looks like oilmariners, could this be a new word for a new ship class that we refer to Oil-Tankers today?] and Destroyers have passed by the Camp on their way home - and many Troop Ships for India and Australia go by - Our boys are getting a bit fretful at the delay.
I hear the B.U.R.I.'s [unknown abbreviation: name of force behind uprising?] threw four bombs into the officers mess wounding several but missing the Commanding Officer for whom they seem to have no love - They sent him a letter saying -they had some more bombs and he better clear [off] before they use them. He and his second in Command got leave at once - nice state of affairs.
******** *** one and said to have killed a few of their officers.
[Had] Dinner with Major ********[name?].

[note:] I find it interesting that Mackesy has referred to Chaytor as "Colonel Chaytor" for most of the Diary - now he refers to him as "General Chaytor". Perhaps Chaytor lost rank back to Colonel at Wars end, as many officers did - I've been told to save the Government coffers, but perhaps he has been promoted again - any ideas out there?

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Postby Steve_Butler » Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:05 pm

19th April 1919
Passed off quietly - In Camp all day till evening when I made two or three calls.
Overheard others telling Miss Jones of the wire just *****[uncoded?] [saying] that the "Dorset" was going to be filled up with Australians and that the **[Cabin/berth?] of * ** [* M.R.] had got ready for her could [now] not be taken. So it may be with the few first class passengers she has booked Miss Jones is are of them [strange sentence can't get it right].
It is **** their disappointment to the men.[??]
I gave the second part of our recent Refugee Experiences in the Lecture Hall at night and had practically the whole Camp present.
Last night the South Africans and the British West Indies [Troops] had a row, with result several [are] in Hospital - all not expected to live.
B.W.I. members of the British West Indies Regiment

April 20th 1919
Easter Day.
Church parades are very small now to what they had been - **** the sermon was I believe the poorest I had heard Davis deliver - Pity.
No news of any R***[Raid?].

[Trascribers note] I think the reference to Black and White soldiers being involved in a fracas is interesting, and a incident that I had not seen reported before.

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Postby TerryKinloch » Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:01 am

Keep at it, Steve. A few more gems have come to light in your last few postings.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:51 pm

21 April 1919
Easter Monday
Bank Holiday
There were sports on at the 2nd Battalion B.W.I. (British West Indies) swimming et cetera. Many of our boys went down and managed to get two first prizes.
I had intended going in the afternoon but visitors detained one - In the morning I was up Town to make sure about Miss Jones accepting a passage to Australia on the "Dorset". This boat was to take about ninety of our men - but the Australians whose boat she is - are filling her up with their own people.
The day was very warm.
Several papers and two parcels [arrived] from New Zealand.
General orders out again: That all officers in Egypt are to wear Le***** [Leodvous?? I need a unifrom specialist to tell me what this item is?] again - Does not look like peace.

April 22nd 1919
Easter Tuesday
Really the very worst desert storm Khamsin of the season, never saw a worse one but it died down towards evening. Our tents however being very old and much worn - suffered considerably.
*** this tennis[?] grass[?] by the men was completed yesterday - But I think they are using for Golf Links, quite extraordinary.
A new Peer is being built for the Convalescent Camp so that they can have a landing of their own where to embark in boats and also do some swimming.
The nurses ask for a *******[bathing?] ***[bar?]. Will have to try and get this one.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:55 pm

23rd April 1919
We had a most sucessful first day swimming - The British West Indians were down in force and we are pleased to say they won several events - They are all very happy fellows. Their Colonel Wordhill was here as well. Major General Paiting[?] and Generals Williams and Oswald, who is the ***** ***** *****[general officer Commanding?] Ismailia - and General Wallen[?] were also with us. Here [also] most of the English Ladies and all of the New Zealand ones. *****[Lady?] Lue[?] also graced my veranda for afternoon Tea.
In the evening I had dinner with Mrs Muller, sister of Mrs Penningthorne who *****[asked??] me to meet some people, and havd one more discussion with Miss Jones who was present.

April 24th 1919
Left Camp to catch the 1000 Train. We had long delays on the road. Not getting to Cairo till about 1500, just in time if I hurried to get to H.Q. [and] get the pay cheque and bank my money.
Meant to see Miss Edwards but failed, wanted to exchange films with her. My prints had just come to hand. We had tried to ******[conserve?] film by taking different snaps - she was with the 'Before' party.
Cairo seems quiet, just as in the provinces. I hope the rising is over but doubt may be expressed. Sure they hear how their *******tion has singally failed they **** she's *******.
Major and Mrs Wilkin for dinner - Madamme Huchell[name?] as ******** ************ to [be?] leaving for France[?].

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:34 am

25th April 1919
Ismailia Camp.
All day in Camp. The hotest day of the season so far - left Cairo with the morning Train at 0820 today. The Station is well guarded and no one who is not a traveller is allowed on the platform. As the public are restricted from travelling it's much like 1914 and '15. All soldiers - but as there is only one Train a day, one has to be early to get a comfortable seat.
This being ANZAC Day there were church services in the morning and some functions at the ANZAC Hostel in the afternoon where General Allenby presided.
Sorry I could not stay to attend.
Everything seems quiet in the country at present - I hope it remains so. If not let the trouble come quick - so we can get it over and then home.

April 26th 1919
Busy about Camp. Getting ready to leave quickly once my leave has been approved.
Weather nice and cool.
A ******[name of nationality] ship with ******[cargo] of C*****nese soldiers and **** took fire in the Canal at Kant'ara. She was loaded with Uoptha-Bevseuz F*****[?] and [space left blank here by Mackesy] a nice cargo to be seen. The F******[?] promptly jumped over board - many being drowned.
Our ** Division H.Q. happened to be near - the boys jumped on board and worked the hoses so well that the fire was not allowed to spread beneath the poop deck, there were fifty w*****[women?] on board. No **** of these was taken by the *******[nationals]. Everybody for himself - what a difference between the behaviour of the two races, British and Dago - But for our boys the damage would have been very very great and the Canal blocked.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:22 pm

27th April 1919
Low Sunday
1 after Easter
Left early 0800 to run down to Kant'ara East to see General Chaytor. I have received several letters from members of the New Zealand Sisters Ladies who came with Miss Ruth[?] to do war work, but were dismissed by the New Zealand Government. They ask for means to pay their passage back. Miss Ruth having [been] told things they could get off the "Friends of our Soldiers Club" Canteen Ismalia. [She] got this general promise that our New Zealand Women would be allowed to be *********[stationed??] here after we had gone, in spite of the Government saying they were not to be helped back.
Will run down to Port Said and interview Mrs Kurtson[?] personally so she may deal with the others - back in Camp by 1400. Saw Captain Gunell and Miss Goldie and Orsa[?] three of my Kaya party.

April 28th 1919
Left Camp at 0600 in the car for Port Said. We stopped at Mrs Chisholms Kant'ara West at 0700 for breakfast, then onto the Port - getting there somewhere about 0945.
Had a nice chat with [space left here by Mackesey] Angus for the British and F******** W** ****[company?]. Met a Naval Doctor whom I had seen at Alex[andria]. He goes as a Missionary to Central Africa as soon as demobilised. Saw Mrs Kurtson and explained the position to her re: Miss Ruth [? could be spelt differnetly] statement to get her passage money out of the Soldiers Club profits. These were handed over by Miss Jones and have by now all been spent on the boys.
Met several people who had been waiting at Port Said for a boat to the United Kingdom for work and m****[?]
Got back about 1800 - cool day, nearly cold.
Hear I am to get away May 1st.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:29 pm

29th April 1919
Heard word that I am to leave for England on the first. Four officers and one hundred men are to go with me, they are to be in Camp by tomorrow, coming in from their various stations.
I am having Corporal Curtis mark me two boxes to take my extra kit.
Have to *****[inform?] this ********* the Red Seal shells and Corrally[?] et cetera.
Major Hursthorne had a farewell party to which I went. It was quite enjoyable - the first dance I had assisted at.
It's not dancing just company.
Many sad hearts that I am leaving in Camp. But they will also soon get away.

April 30th 1919
Ismalia Camp.
Last night in Egypt.
Taken up with packing. Had left two boxes to go with the next Troop ship to New Zealand. I am just taking my belongings with me to make sure I won't loose them.
The country is quietening down and I do not think there will be anymore rioting.
Several officers and men were down on the British who had left for England. All report things are quiet now - all government officials have or are returning to work and things are getting normal again.
Glad to be leaving for England at this time of year, the country ought to look at its best.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:20 pm

1st May 1919
H.M.T. Caledonian
Finished packing early. All kits now stacked by 0800. Men paraded by 0900 and marched off to station, Train was to leave by 1055 but did not do so till 1200.
I had several calls to make in the morning. We arrived two and a half hours late at Port Said - the Train had Three hundred Australians besides our one hundred.
The "Caledonian" was waiting and we soon got off - not having had any food from breakfast 0700 till 1900. I was very hungrey.
Lieutenant Deans, second lieutenant Armstrong and second lieutenant [space left here by Mackesy] men with me.
The men were all old hands. Met Mr. A*****[?] and his wife who had just come up through Africa from Cape to Cairo - and really all the way to Blighty.

May 2nd 1919
The Caledonia has a good name and lived up to it. As the day progressed the wind got up and the sea became very rough - we have 1520.1675 **** and fully 100 [note: I suspect this is an error, and should read 1000] passengers on board, the crew numbers about three hundred.
The many children all a great nuissence, what little deck space there is is used by them - all badly brought up as is the usual custom today.
The weather is very cold.
I have met several people on board whom I know. Lieutenant Parsons Signal Troop Ass Division [He] was with me on the "Kyara" two years ago.
By the way she was ******[rolling?] this Mediteranian, what a lot of vessels are on that ******.
I hear Troops in Egypt 1st of May will get extra [duty till pay?]


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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:20 pm

3rd May 1919
"H.M.T.S. Caledonia"
As the day progressed the sea got calmer and each **** **** slowly passengers appearing. The men are not comfortable but there is no good [moaning], they are heading the right way. Some fault is found that beer is a [penny or perhaps sixpence?] a glass. I tell them to [leave/obstain?] it if they think it is too dear.
9.45 today is boat drill and a A.S.C. Major is O.S. ships.
I have seen three Lieutenant Colonels and several Majors - no end of Parsons - the officers all make a poor impression. Not what one expects of a British Officer.
We passed Crete about midday, also sighted a ship or two.
The place is so crowded that I prefer to stay in my cabin most of the time.
One of our men, Edwards, is in hospital recovering [from] Malaria.

May 4th 1919
2 after Easter.
A Service at 1030, I did not attend, sea very smooth. My cabin is nearest to the poop deck and has a lot of vibration, but is well ventilated, but as the men (********?) are day and night in front of it yabbering away it is not as pleasant a retreat as it might be.
I hear we shall get in on Wednesday morning, and possibly I may get away on the express (Rapid) for Paris. This would be rather nice - the rest will have to wait for a Troop Train which moves slowly.
Nothing to relate - time bears heavy on our hands.
Have finished the book "A Mormon[??] Pilgrim to Mecca" - but **** by *******[name?] of the British and Foreign Bible Society Port Said, and had given it to Mr. H***** of the E.G.M. to take back to him when he returns to Egypt.

Last edited by Steve_Butler on Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:52 pm

5th May 1919
H.M.T. Caledonia
We passed through the straights of Messina during the night some time and are now opposite Stramboli at 0700.
It appears strange that so many people should live on the Islands lower slope near the sea. Had quite a good sized Township of well built white houses.
The mine *******[sweeping devices] which had been attached to the ship before entering the straights were taken up again after getting through. They were torpedo shapped appliances carried along some distance from both sides.
Weather very fine - sea smooth.
Nice talk with an American Martin from Abelene Kansas - who is a missionary in Africa.
Long interested by the ********[surname??].

the Island of Stromboli

May 6th 1919
HMT Caledonia
The morning looked as though it might be wet and rough, but all passed off well.
Corsica was passed in the forenoon. There seemed still to be lots of snow on the tops of the hills. Many towns seen all on the hillsides - Elba on the south side looked also very ruggered.
Many new faces are on the deck, the weather is so good that one would think it was impossible to be sea-sick - sea quite smooth.
The many children, all badly brought up, are a constant annoyance.
Exercise is quite out of the question, so I remain most of the day in my cabin.
The many officers on board appear a very poor lot, drinking *********[excessively?] and make silly talk most of the day. Several with their everlasting forced laughter (send one mad[?]) reminding one constantly of the laughing Jackass.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:37 pm

7th May 1919
On Rapid train to Paris
Got in very early - and ****** ****. Got the draft all away to a Camp *** 8, Carcasson.
A Lorry[?] came for our luggage at 1330. Also a car for us **** took us to [the] Railway Station where we got the R.P.O. to give us *****[travel?] and baggage was looked after - we got away at 1800. Seats had been reserved for us by the R.T.O. in the Rapid - we had dinner on board.
With me were three Lady Doctors. Two Majors one a a Padre the other R.E. [Royal Engineers].
We spent a rather disap**able night ****Thing up ice the Train this *******.
Three Pounds three shillings and sixpence for a sleeping birth - I did not conceive it worth the money.
Before dark what we saw of the country was very charming indeed. So pleased to see many trees again.

May 8th 1919
On Train Paris - Bourlogue
Arrived Paris at 0900 we had two hours to direct oursleves to the other side of town to catch the "Guard du Nord" - We got there and paid for seats. **** thing was [late] - but in the last minute we found two of the ladies luggage had not turned up.
There was nothing for it but get them all out of the Train and wait for another one. We had a most woeful lot of trouble with the registary of the Luggage - The people official seen ***** ***** and excited - found the luggage missing at the Lyon Station. Drove out in a Taxi to Dois du Borulouge[?] and had afternoon tea. Magufi***[place name] place saw Champs de Elysees, Arc du Triumph et cetera.
Gladly left dear Paris at 2100 - to put another night on the track.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:03 am

9th may
Imperial Hotel London
Got into Boulogne about 0530.
The R.T.O. who had been brung up the night before by Doctor Greene to met a New Zealand Colonel [who] was at his office and had help and advice.
After an early breakfast Doctor Greene and Murphy and myself walked [to the] Old Boulogany and saw what we could, at 0930 we came to the boat. The doctors had some little trouble with the ******[stamped?] E.O. boat - left at 1030 very full - smooth passage. Two hours or less.
Got a number one Pulman compartment (4x) 2/6 [Two shillings and sixpence] each seat.
Good Lunch - Magnificent country through Kent to London. Doctor Maer stayed at Foldstone. Our luggage on second train, so had to wait.
Then down to [the] Imperial Hotel [at] Russell Square - saying goodbye to the others.
Found Major Davis at Headquarters but no one else - arranged to come back tomorrow at 1100.

May 10th 1919
Basing - Stoke
Rather late for breakfast, which was very poor indeed. Don't like my Hotel - Chambermaid nice but French. Why? The man who cut my hair and shaved me, German, Why? The waiter at the table could hardly speak English, Why?
Can't get washing done under risk.
Saw Major Harvey now A.A.G. - General Melville and Colonel Hall away. Arranged for investiture [to] take place [on the] 17th and asked for return passage to Egypt for 2nd June.
Not a single New Zealand Infantryman saluted - I asked was there an order against it - they are very bad.
Had a wire from Gordon Melville to come for the weekend. Caught the 1700 Train and met where he lives [at] Church Square Basing, Stoke.
Nice house magnificent children - doing well with his practice.
Weather good.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:53 pm

11th May 1919
2 Church Square - in Basing, Stoke
3 after Easter
Out with Gordon in his car in the forenoon - he ****** *******.
[In the]afternoon [his wife] came too and he motored us down to the Tines[?] at [space left here by Mackesy], very beautiful is the country.
**** ***** **** one large pair. We had Tea and then [drove] back. Beginning to rain.
Last night he [Gordon] invited General Marsh the big Railroad Constructor to call in and see me. Lady Marsh was also there - [she was] very nice. He has done exceedingly good work. Came from Indian Railway novice and hes got a KCMG and some other things. Hi and Geddigs work together.
Weather turned very cold - I feel it much.
Saint Michael's Church - Church Square - Basingstoke today.

May 12th 1919
Imperial Hotel
Left with the 0855 Train - Saw General Melville and Colonel Hall et cetera at Headquarters. They had very little use for ***** Chaytor.
Wired Elliott for address of Ethel Bell - [I] wish to call [on her.] Also wired Tom Mackesy if [he would] consider to see me wednesday.
Had a letter from Jessie Alexander in answer to my wire arranging arrival.
Lose a terrible lot of time in getting about - not knowing [the place]. I ask, and so frequently I get the wrong information.
The Hotel service is shockingly bad - probably they are overcrowded but it is no excuse - You can get no washing done under a week. Food always cold and long in coming.
Went to see Mat**** Jus******[perhaps a name of a show?] to see some of the larger war celebrities.

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Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:42 pm

13th May 1919
Imperial Hotel
Spent the day about Town. I had wired Elliot for the address of Ethel Bell but he referred me to Aunt Alice - from whom I get a reply tomorrow evening.
I looked up the New Zealand Officers Club, 38 Hill Street, near Berkley Square. It was a long walk. Met some (two) Aucklanders and one of the Woolleys from Whangarei in the street. I had Tea and came back here in the Trolley.
After dinner I got a taxi over to 68 Upper Glaucester place where the Bells live. Found them in a small flat three flights up. Her mother Louise has been ill all winter. The girls look much the same but older of course - glad to see me - very much surprised.

May 14th 1919
Imperial Hotel
Walking most of the forenoon.
Tried to get rubber heels on my boots while I waited - and only managed [to get somebody to do] it on the seventh try.
Called at 28 Victoria Street [on] H.H. Humprey, Consulting Engineers, where Maud Bell is in charge of all their books and also secretary to three companies - took her out to dinner at the Imperial - then went home with her to Aunt Louise (now 78 years old) is fading - weak heart and the girls are anxious about her.
They have done well, working since they left school I presume. Humprey could not speak too highly of Maud who has been eighteen years with him and practically runs the office - he living out of town.
The weather is very fine and looks at its best.
Saw Houses of Parliment and Westminster but did not go in.

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