Fri Jan 7th. 1916

We arrived in Alexandria Bay this morning about 9.30am and dropped anchor in the harbour. The trip across has been fairly rough with a strong wind blowing all the time. It’s quite a treat to see descent buildings again and see a little bit of civilisation, although some of the Egyptians are pretty rough.

Sat Jan 8th.

We left Alexandria by train last night about 7.30pm and arrived in camp at Tel-el-Kebir about 2.30am this morning. All the Australian Infantry is to be camped here, but they are not all here yet. It was raining when we arrived and there is no tents here yet for us so we have to stay out in the wet.

Sun Jan 9th.

I spent this afternoon and yesterday finding out all my old acquaintances and I have seen most of them now.

Mon Jan 4th.

Reinforcements drafted in with us.

Tues Jan 11th.

We have got some tents now but not enough for all and some of us are still out. There is a very heavy dew falls at night so it’s unhealthy sleeping outside. During the day it is very warm. We have had a big mail since we arrived here including a lot of parcels.

Sat Jan 15th.

Had a big review today here. In the morning the Brigade was inspected by the Brigadier- General Holmes and in the afternoon General Sir Archibald Murray. (G.O.C. of all troops in Egypt) inspected the whole of the troops in the camp and expressed satisfaction at their work and general appearance, considering, that we have had no opportunity to refit. Our uniforms are dirty and in many cases torn, but we are to be refitted as soon as possible.

Sun Jan 16th.

Church parade at 10am.

Tues Jan 18th.

We have thoroughly settles down to camp life again now, although we are not likely to remain here long. Some of the men have been getting leave to go into Cairo but only 2 out of each company is allowed in each day and it is about 3 hours journey in the train and only 12 hours leave granted.

Wed Jan 19th.

Had a half holiday today and went into Tel - el - Kebir village. It is a very dirty little place with a few dirty shops in it.

Thurs Jan 20th.

The camp is a bit better now. When we came it was only a new camp and there was a couple of canteens here, but now there are several of them just like the canteens in Heliopolis Ageitoun. The Egyptians (Crows we call them) are a dirty lot, that is the poorer class, the better class Egyptians are much cleaner and dress better, but the Crows hang round and picks up bits of stuff out of the rubbish tins and dumps and that seems to be their main food.

Fri Jan 21st.

We are told that we may have to move further up the canal in a few weeks time as the Turks are expected to break out there. The 4th and 8th Brigade are already up there at Ismailia and have things fixed up there.

Mon Jan 24th.

A and B Companies left here this morning early and a couple of companies out of reach of the other battalions of the 5th Brigade. C and D Companies are stopping here for a while longer.

Thurs Jan 27th.

We were out on the desert today in a dummy charge. We put up mud bricks and fired at them and then charged. It was good sport but it would be different in a real charge.

Tues Feb 1st.

I was on train picquet today from Tel-el-Kebir to Cairo. A special train is run for troops on leave, leaving Tel-el-Kebir at 7am and leaving Cairo at 7.15pm for the return journey. The picquet is to keep order on the train. We had the day off, after reporting at Kasr-el-Nil Barracks, on the banks of the Nile and had a day in Cairo. It’s still the same dirty place.

Cairo postcard from EG King collection
Cairo postcard from EG King collection

Fri Feb 4th.

We left Tel-el-Kebir last night about 5.30pm, arrived at Ismailia about 9pm and marched out about 3 miles and camped for the night over the bank of the canal. Ismailia is a very pretty place, that is, what we saw of it, of course it was dark when we went through. We left about 12 o’clock and arrived in new camp about 3.45pm after marching about 8 miles, 3 ½ of it through soft sand.

Sat Feb 5th.

Today I am on outpost and our duty is to see that no unauthorised persons get through. Our camp here is right in the desert and there is nothing to see, but sand all round. We have the 21st Batt. On our right about a mile away and the 18th on our left about a mile away.

Sun Feb 6th.

We had Church Parade out on the desert this morning and then had the day off.

Tues Feb 8th.

C. Company has shifted camp again and we are now camped about ½ of a mile further to left of the other companies, in a hollow under a hill called Australia Hill and the camp is named Katoomba Camp.

Wed Feb 9th.

We are digging trenches out here but it is a difficult job to make good trenches as the sand falls in after being dug out. The trenches have to be built up with planking and sand bags and cane mats are also being used to hold the sand back. Each Battalion has about a mile of front to hold, if the enemy attack is being held by Australians, New Zealanders, Englishmen and Indians.

Thurs Feb 10th.

Last night I was on outpost duty about 300 yards in front of our camp. The outpost consists of groups of 3 men and 1 N.C.O at intervals of 200 yards, and they are visited by visiting patrols of 2 or 3 men about every 2 hours.

Wed Feb 16th.

Every day now is pretty well alike. In the daytime we go out and dig trenches and every 3rd night we go on outpost.

Sat Feb 19th.

The battalion were lined up in mass formation this afternoon for a lecture by General Legge (G.O.C. of 2nd Aust. Division) on discipline. Among other things he told us was, that we may at any time find ourselves serving in France so, as the hot weather comes on here, I suppose we will sail for France or Salonica (Greece).

Thurs Feb 24th.

The last 4 days I have been one of a party working on the railway line, which has been laid down to bring our provisions. We are getting more food now and are more contented.

Sat March 4th.

I am going to Cairo today on leave. We left camp last night about 4.30am and have to be back at 9.30am tomorrow.

Mon Mar 6th.

Had a good time in Cairo yesterday. Left Katoomba camp this morning at 10am and marched into Ferry Post on the canal. The whole 2nd Division have been relieved by New Zealanders.

Tues Mar 7th.

Rested last night at Ferry Post and left this morning about 10.30 and came on to Ismailia where we are to camp.

Fri Mar 10th.

We are camped at Moaskar Camp, Ismailia, but we don’t expect to be here long and will be moving any time now, this time, I believe, for active service again. We are being fitted out with any equipment that we are short of.

Fri Mar 17th.

Left Moaskar camp about 8pm and marched to the camp station and left there by train at 9.15pm.

Sat Mar 18th.

Arrived at Alexandria at 5.15am and went on board Troopship Ingoma.

Sun Mar 19th.

We left Alexandria this evening about 5.30pm in rough sea.

Mon Mar 20th.

The sea continues to be rough and this old boat rolls a lot being loaded light.

Tues Mar 21st.

The Mediterranean is calm now and travelling is more pleasant. The Ignoma is not a bad steamer and keeps up an average of 12 knots an hour.

Thurs Mar 23rd.

We are just passing an island with some white buildings on it which we are told, is a Spanish convict settlement. This is the first land we have seen since leaving Egypt.

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