The Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Mackesy 1919

Transcriptions in some cases may be impossible to get exactly right - and the Transcriber has listed these disputed words with underlines, asterisks or [straight brackets] to show them as problem areas. Any member is invited to make suggestions as to what the word or sentence should say. We would welcome comments

1st January

The Continental Hotel
New Years day broke nice and clear. At 1100 hours Mr. Rule our New Zealand YMCA 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 Chaytor in the car to the K*** ***** Military - at Heliopolis - where we had two [Mounted] Regiment horses running. "Gazelle" [horses name?] got a first prize - the other one sired by "De Castro" [perhaps a stallion's name?] did no good.
Lazed around fine weather. Met Chas and nurse] Matron [at] Nazeriah - 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.

[Transcribers note: "Chas" is Major Charles Mackesy the Colonels son.]

2nd January
Chevalier Island Camp
Invited to give some lectures on New Zealand, I hunted the town for some books dealing with New Zealand. Found none - but Rull lent me his "New Zealand" by Sir A.R. Douglas -[and the] title "The Dawning of New Zealand" of M.J. Crop*** [author's name] 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 - Nine new officer cadets had marched in. Glad they got their communications the English people are not getting theirs. Australians also got theirs. I think it only fair.
Debate in the evening. "Should Batchelors be Taxed".
Early to bed.
3rd January

Sent Gridley my batman to Cairo to get two cases I had left in the car of Mr. Fletcher -for Jan(uary?or Name Jan) 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 (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 everywhere 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.

4th January

The 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 YMCA Secretary is. But 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 Lantern Slides by Mr. Bradley who usually belongs to the E.G.M. but has been (donating) much of his time to the YMCA work.
Rull of "******** Gardens" is ill.
I had Gridley turned up with my things by the 1410 [hours]

5th January
Sunday 2 after Christmas
Inspection was a great improvement on last Sunday. I complimented officers and men after church service. The church parades 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 Mounted 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
Cut the mornings parade held in the YMCA and which parade is compulsory. I explained that we will now be starting an educational scheme. The classes, 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 keenness to get instruction which is a very hopeful sign for the 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.
7th January

The lecture this morning was on Hygiene by one of our Doctors. It might have been a bit more interestingly put. But the men paid good attention. The classes are settling down and working well. I think we shall do quite well going to H.Q. [Headquarters] A. I. N. Z.
A Captain Dow of the Australian reserves was introduced, who desired to see Colonel Arnott and myself. Said he came from Division with Chaytors consent. Has an educational divisional scheme which Chaytor thought would work well, and wants names of officers and men who were capable to instruct. Told him, astonished at Chaytors action - he must be misinformed or had forgotten the [the] orders I received. They were carried out and were in full working order. I had no instructions to **** and would not have my work interfered with. Arnott told him to go to Cairo and see the authorities there **** ***** to ******.

8th January

General Lloyd was expected today but comes tomorrow instead. Miss Jones had a notice from the Canal people that her house is wanted for the returning owner. So we shall have to shut up our club. We propose doing so this 20th of this month and I shall take over all she has there in the way of furniture and money.
Today was the first time I had used the [horse and] trap. It was bought shortly after I left, but was found to useless very smartly on account of a faulty bushing.
Major Smith turned up again, had last seen him at KANT'ARA awaiting embarkation to England. He had no leave for some time so he asked permission to make his own way, and he gets away tomorrow with the Navy some time or other, does not know how himself yet.

9th January

My Birthday, and the 5th spent away from home. A parcel arrived from Jessie Alexander. General Lloyd arrived and had a good look round the camp. Seemed pleased, took him round to the consoles and Camp where he had morning tea - The classes are going on quite well - and the men show an interest in their work. Our goofball ground has been chosen as the official one and matches are played nearly every day. Day before yesterday our fellows beat a Flying Corps Team by 26 to nil - today another team by 38 to nil - So far New Zealand is unbeaten.
Lecture by Park Davis on "Panama Canal".

10th January
Captain Williams and Mitchell *.O. [warrant/staff officer?] arrived for the day. Some falsifying of pay books again, which always means a court martial for the offender. Had a drive all round Ismailia (garrisons?) and then had tea at the club. Miss Jones will be glad to get it wound up by the 20th. It is quite a strain for one woman to use the thing all on her own.
In the morning gave an address on our roll its origins and destiny. A very very full house. Spoke for one hour and held the boys throughout. Some of the officers very enthusiastic in their appreciation. Our Major told me he had learnt more from me concerning the Bible than from all the church sermons he had ever attended!!!!
11th January

Busy about camp all day. Gave another address in the evening at the YMCA.- 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 Skittle Alley.

12th January

Sunday one 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 packing 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 (Adjutant) and Fossett 2 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.

13th January

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 continuios and makes a vast difference in appearances.

14th January

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" broken out, been taken from a combat role and has now returned from Battilion after been promoted to Major - "a crown up"]

15th January

Rode up after parade to make arrangements in connection with closing down our New Zealand Club next Sunday.
Found Miss Jones - fussing 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.

16th January
The Continental Hotel.
Left for Cairo by the early 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.

[Transcribers note: A little discovery from the diary: This appears to be one of the Xmas Cards that possibly we can now attribute to a Mr. Cohen of Cairo, mentioned above. He must have made these for Charles Mackesy to send home in 1918. The artist has many items out of proportion, but many items are here that made up the lives of Mounted Riflemen at wars end - A Camel-train, Bell-tents, Ein-decker aircraft, and a homeward bound troop ship on the Suez Canal. The cards inscription reads, "Seasons Greetings from Colonel CER Mackesy and Officers of the Auckland Mounted Rifles."]
17th January

Having been turned down by the 33 wing R.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 Kartoum 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 [club rooms] great ****** **** .
The train line alone they say ten thousand English pounds [of damage].

18th January

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 - On the road I saw hundreds of the native 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 train wasn't crowded I was **** on reaching camp half an hour later.

19th January

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 several 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.

20th January

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 Pneumonia 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 Lieutenant Burland had their full confession and regrets and promises in entireity, and signed by them.
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.

21st January

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.

22nd January
Arnott being 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 front line 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 managed all right.
It seems a crying shame that so much stuff is allowed to go to waste out there. I saw scores of tanks of capacity of eight hundred to a thousand gallons, and that on a very narrow frontage. 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
23rd January
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 Arnott having an impediment in his speech, 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.
Riding this beast is the quickest horse I have.
But "lady" took charge and ran away.
No damage done.
24th January
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 soon 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 Mackesy'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.
25th January
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 a bag of things I might want in Cairo for funeral, but I decided to stay over till (the) 1420 (hours) Train.
Met Will at the Continental - he returns tomorrow night to Rafa. The CMR [Canterbury Mounted Rifles] arrived back from Gallipoli [the] day before yesterday.

Mrs Chisholm with her cat in Egypt. - Established a canteen at Kantara for Anzac troops. -AWM photo
26th January
3rd after Epiphany
Took early walk to (the) Savoy Hotel (G.H.Q. Cairo) 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 brought to Nazariah and transferred to another coffin - So we did not get away until towards 1100 - there was a large 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 Tolstoy's "**************"[name of a play] at night at the Coliseum Cinema - Colonel Arnott coming with us.
Early to bed.
Introduced Wilks [name?] to Lady Lain(Name?). Clearly he is not much of a conversationalist..
Charlie much better.
27th January
After breakfast in Colonel Arnott's room we left by the 0700 (hours) Train reaching Ismailia at 1010 (hours). The night and mid-day Trains on every day that you travel with inconvenience. So many Troops leaving in boats from Alex(andria?), Port Said and Suez. they must be taken down, and frequently the songs on ears is thick . Their leave 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 out of bounds. Sorry I had got their military confessions and they were quite broken up after my talk. There will be nothing gained at this stage of the day in ***** times. But I never knew either he or his brother to be helpful.
May they both be treated likewise when their day comes.
28th January
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 orders by wire came 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 a message came from General Godly 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 canceling 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.

29th January


January 29th
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.


30th January


Took Gridley with me to Cairo to look up and bring back with him my saddle box.
Saw Captain H.S. (Horsley?) who use to be B.L.O. ( Brigade Liaison 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.
Went to see "the Mayfly ****** ". - First time in theatre in Cairo.
(in red pen) To Cairo 1410 (hours).


Update 1919
31st January

Lunched with Gaofar Pasha and Captain Hornby. The Pasha looks well - has shaved his beard but finding his face getting sore from shaving, is growing it again - He leaves tomorrow taking his wife and child with him to Damascus - where he intends to leave them. He will probably have to go back to go back to Amman. It is really the only suitable man to look after that country.

In the evening I spoke at the " **********name?) Gardens". I had a very fair audience but they were a dull lot of British Trainees. A lot of our Auckland Mounted lads came in to hear something about their own land.
(written in red faint pencil) ****** ****** Y.M.C.A.
[Departing?] Cairo 1900 (hours).

1st February
The O.R. Sergeant had/s given me two warrents instead of one for return. I had intended taking the ****(first?) train and had ten minutes to spare when I got to the station, but a new clerk did evidently not know his way about with the new warrents. I had to ask advice and then made out the many tickets someone else had to come, and before I got the *******(name?) ticket the train steamed off. ****** it is the first time I have missed a train and not my fault. So went back to the hotel for breakfast. McCarroll and Captain Manners had been staying there. Manners came on with me on the 1100 (hours train). McCarroll (will) follow.
****** ******* Found a letter from W**(abbreviated name) at camp ***** one from another. But somehow he got it.
I heard in Cairo that three boats arriving this month will in all probability take the N.Z.(*th?) back (to New Zealand?).
Mina(female name?) McDonald who is going to be ***** ***** me she has arrived (with?) 10 dresses!!!!
2nd February
4th after Epiphany
Very good church parade. The singing goes very well. A nursing companion of Miss Maysie McDonald was up to see the the girls from Port Said when she was in charge of the Armenian women's work - Miss Flora McDonald who was out here on (the) 15th and 16th and has returned from England where she went to. Sister Megan went up to Cairo to meet her.
In camp all day.
A letter from Willie ********(enclosing?) one pack(parcel?) another under (the) date of 22nd November. She was well then but would like to have been stronger. I had a cable on the 23rd January which had left her on the 1st - she was well then.
3rd February
Continental (Hotel) Cairo.
Barely caught my Train. In the last minute I was informed that the car might not be back in time after having been told it would be all right - Sent a galloper for a buggy. It came late. I had started to walk - Train was moving when I arrived at the station, I had to run for it but got on all right.
The 54th Division is on the ground occupied by our infantry at Helmieh this (14th and 15th.? not sure if these are right,could be something else like map reference 14-55)
A car came for me. The General in the chair a General Hair, Lieutenant Colonel Curshaw who had been with the Desert Corps is his G.S.O.1.
Had a very good hearing, came back to Aotea (club rooms?) met Flora McDonald. Dinner with old Miss Tom who cares for our New Zealand Hospital at Kuba.
4th February
Continental Hotel Cairo

Got a very good hearing in the evening at Mena (YMCA Camp?)- the 10th Division is ****(based or camped?) or many of them are and I had practically ** *** audience. They numbered between one thousand and twelve hundred. The very large YMCA was packed, spoke for one and a half hours and they wanted more.
Saw the chief of the (Eda?name) movement.
General Howard and Chaytor had complained I was getting too much to do. I told him not to mind. I was willing and my camp is in order.
He would like to send me me up to Tripoli and ******(name starting with B). I hope it comes off. Will keep me busy while I am still in this country.
Met old Kim Tom at ****(name?), she use to do our fine cooking at Kube Hospital - is now based in Alex(andria)
(red pencil:) 1000(hours) Mena cp (camp?)
5th February
Continental Hotel Cairo
About early seeing the Taylor, uniform not finished till tomorrow.
Met Howard Bishara and his wife [and] old Colonel McLeslie also turned up at the hotel. He has now made up his mind to get away to Australia as soon as he can. He questions what to do with the Australian's Horses, it is quite a problem. They are not allowed back nor to England, will have to be sold here, and there are so many many thousands of them.
Miss B. McDonald turned up for a few days. Met Mrs Wilder and Miss McLaren, if she goes home with the first batch. I shall feel very homesick once all our people are gone.
My Lecture went with great success. Asked by the Colonel to come again as soon as possible.
(red pencil:) 27 Gen* H***p (could be General Hospital??)- 1430 (hours)
6th February

Long interview at New Zealand Headquarters of General Headquarters. The former regarding the return of Miss K. Jones to New Zealand. Colonel Chaytor says he has direct orders from New Zealand not to assist her in any way, because none of Miss Parks(perhaps?) New Zealand sister ***** all to be helped/ers and thinks Miss Jones paid her own passage over at the request of Miss Parks(this name looks less like Parks the second time who asked for assistance and has been all the time working for us New Zealand people. She has no standing with Government and will get no assistance. But Chaytor has promised to give her a berth as soon as one is available on a New Zealand boat. She paying her passage.
Request for more lectures necessitated the others ********(interviewed?) also.
No combustion (*******) engine have not turned up yet.
Left Cairo 1100 (hours) Driving first Khamsin [hot wind:see dictionary ref after this entry] of the season, very hot at Moascar, wind had done damage on our Island, Kamsin blowing over a few tentss. All well in town and camp.
At Dentist at 6.

Kamsin \Kam*sin"\, Khamsin \Kham*sin"\, n. [Ar. khams[imac]n,
fr. khams[=u]n, oblique case khams[imac]n, fifty; -- so
called because it blows for about fifty days, from April till
A hot southwesterly wind in Egypt, coming from the Sahara.
[Written also Khamseen.]
[1913 Webster]

7th February
Very hard blow all night, thought the tent would come down. We get it right off the lake which swallows up most of the sand which comes off the desert. So we are not as bad as *******(name? but meaning could translate to: some?) but everything is covered with a very fine dust. The whole day the storm lasted - blew harder I think than any previous year - I rode up to Moascar to see Arnott but found him away and myself again in command. Then came a Storm, was very very bad indeed - here it whips straight down on the camp from the desert.
It was very cold as well and nothing outside, part of our jetty gave way and all through the day it got worse and worse until part was completely washed away.
Instead of going to ****cut(name?) of which I am tired, I called at Pentingthornes and spent the evening.
Storm began to lull when on my way back to camp.
8th February
In the afternoon our boys played some Australian Team for the semi-final in the football tournament. I gave general leave from 1300 to 1700 (hours). A very large crowd assembled at the ******(name:Hinsak??) grounds. The play overall was not very exciting or interesting - Our fellows won six to nil. Had they had a better team to play against they would have played better I presume. It looked as (though?) they got away so quickly the better of the Australians that they did not put forth any effort - but just enough to win.
Colonel Arnott gave medals to the winning team.
In the evening attended the best concert so far at the Moascar Flying School.
They are moving out.
9th February
Our church parades are quite an inspiration or ought to be for the Padre - He has the large hall packed, and the singing is hearty. I don't suppose he has had or will have such large audiences to speak to as he has just now.
We hear about this "Kiora"(name of ship?) or some such name.
I sent Messers Hulbut and (name: Trotter??) down to bring back (a) full report as to (the) accommodation. It is the only boat we can have this month. Another one is **** and on the 8th in April. So Mr. Hall had some of his boys **** probably until May.
I hope to get rid of all our wounded cases, 850, by this boat.
Up ****** ****** to headquarters and town, lovely weather with splendid moonlight nights.
Ismailia is always pretty
10th February
The day was as hot as a summers day. A wonderful change from the very cold and stormy weather of the two or three days past.
Miss Flora McDonald who arrived on a visit to the sisters yesterday, she landed from England a few days ago was ill with the usual funny tummy.
Major Hulbert returned from Suez and reports the boat fit for eighteen officers and one thousand men.
In the evening we had our first New Zealand Party Concert. The boys were a bit shy but did remarkably well indeed. I enjoyed it better than any concert we have had so far.
I got Colonel Arnott and several others, six ladies accompnying the lot down to dinner, they all enjoyed themselves.
I distributed the Shooting prizes afterwards.
11th February

The boys having asked me for a lecture on the Bible I thought I would run down to Port Said and see Mr (Harper?). I found him very pleased and willing to help he sent me up a bundle of booklets that will help. He also lent me at my request one of his ****(most?) very fine sheepskins (Syrian) rugs as that it might be used in the wool classing lessons at camp.
Victor L Trumper RNR (Royal Naval Reserve). Has [been] secretary Port Said Palestine explorations firms et cetera. He wrote several booklets et cetera on Palestine - I called on him and had tea.
Bought a nice boa [feather scarf] for Jessie - Went back to camp with [the] 1800 hours Train.

12th February
Was invited to Australia and New Zealand Headquarters to dinner - should have lectured at Moascar but as the ANZAC Division was moving out to Raffa it was thought better to put it off till later. But we had a most pleasant evening very good dinner and dancing afterwards. I heard our Australians say that New Zealand was out of it this time. But as I was the only New Zealander present it was true. But Mrs Paterson was asking where I was.
Trial rather bad I think, but held my head will hope to try again some time.
13th February
Left by the 1010 hours Train for Cairo - a lot to do. Banking and buying a cup for the Footballers, will face the Australians as [finalists].
Colonel Arnott told me to buy one, got a very good one said to be worth fifty pounds in England, for thirty-five pound. Had to have medals made for presentation suitable for the Football Team who are [giving] their cup to the New Zealand Rugby Union to play for annually by the (college??) (boys?) - Good Idea.
Having also photos made for distribution as a souvenir to the boys of their camp made by Aeroplanes.[Aerial photgraphs]
Spent part of the afternoon at Gov. A ***** was with me.
The evening at Aotea [club] where we had dinner.
14th February

Very busy about Town.
Major Hulbut had come up with me to give Major Wilder who is to take charge of the Kaikoura(a ship?) - (He needs?) all the help he can. Hulbut had been down to inspect her. Wilder leaves Hospital on Sunday for good where he has been for a ******* Hernia.
Met Mrs. Long at the Hotel - up for a few weeks leave from Alex(andria) - she says she is going on to England later.
A letter from Chaytor informs me (that the) General thinks I ought to take the ******(command?) of the KaiKoura as there will be a large command.
I shall see him up at Rafa tomorrow and (disabuse???) his mind.
But wish to *****(leave/learn??) yet.
(could he mean: But don't wish to leave yet.??)

15th February
Train to Rafa
Got away at 1000(hours) (but could be 1800 hours) with not all the work done - but will finish it next week.
Left some clothes in Moascar wish I had bought to walk. riding pants off I will take it up next week.
Day really lovely - quite Summer.
Trust everything in order in Camp.
***** some wool down from Cairo it arrived from England for wool classing.
The two YMCA fellows Rulle(name) and Velorvus(name) **** attend on Thursday after a lone/long? passage - left with the 2100(amount of money?) for Kantara and Rafa - where I had a **** a car to meet me.
I soon got my bed laid out on the bench(seat?) in the Train and was off to sleep.
16th February
Septuagesima Sunday
Train to Kantara
The Brigade Car met me at Rafa Station at 0345 (hours) - was taken to the Auckland Mounted Rifles lines and soon was asleep in Major Whitehouse's tent, he away in Cairo. Saw W**(this abbreviated name has appeared a number of times??- it appears like the written word Mrs. but is definitely a "W", I am having thoughts that it could be "W.O.1" for Warrant Officer One - perhaps?) next morning.
General Chaytor has grown very nervous and is not happy in the way he is trying to enforce discipline.
Told him I wanted to stay in Egypt as long as I was doing good work lecturing and troops of ours were still here.
He had sent me word to go in charge of the Kaikoura leaving with a thousand troops for New Zealand soon of which ***** of troops.
I ****** their behavior - that next moon/morn? mainly I wanted leave to Luxor. Then my ***** lecturing trip, after which I would go to England to get my honours at the Kings hand.
He had asked me to apply for leave now , or my discharge (to?) England, if I would not take the boat home - neither is necessary at present.
left there after seeing all hands at 1:15 caught Train at 2:00
17th February
Camp Ismailia
Arrived back at Ismailia at 1000 (hours), my car had come, but as the driver did not know me, nor I being aware the car had arrived - I missed it.
Found everything quite OK and *****(thankfully?) the Dorset (presumably a regular supply and mail ship?) had come in with a heavy New Zealand mail - I found nothing for me.
The weather is fairly hot.
Met Miss McDonnell who had been visiting the girls, left for Cairo with the 1210(hours) Train.
Stewart Baumeister who had come down with me also went on the Alexandria! (presume name of ship).
Six hundred Brigade horses have come down to Moascar. So the demobilisation is beginning in earnest.
Have just about made up my mind to stand for Parliament. A letter from Sir joseph (Savage) and Massey (William Ferguson??) tells me they will do what they can for the girls getting medals at Aotea!

[NOTES by transcriber:
Michael Joseph Savage
Born, 1872, Victoria, Australia
Died, 1940, New Zealand, aged 68 - NZ Prime Minister 1935 - 1940.
Relative information to above transcript: first elected to Parliament as one of eight Labour MP's in 1919.

William Ferguson Massey
Born, 1865, Limavady, Ireland
Died, 1925
Prime Minister 10 July 1912-10 May 1925 (Reform Party Government 1912-15, National wartime Reform-Liberal Government 1915-1919, Reform Party 1919-25). Died in Office. ]
18th February
Left by the 1010 (hours) for Cairo where I had good luck in getting more medals for the Football Team.
Six more *****. I bought a dozen from the Headquarters Sports (Commission?) but hey are too poor to give to our chaps along side our other ones.
The YMCA is to look out for me.
Saw Mrs. A.W. Fong off by the 4pm to Alex(andria). A S.A. V.I.P. (a South African VIP) Mrs Moufe was with her, waiting in Cairo on her way to Rhodesia - just arrived from Serbia.
Colonel Walker came with us to the Pyramids and ****(drive?) at Mina house/horse?
Last time I ever see Pyramids and Sphinx by moonshine.
19th February
Regina Hotel
Left for Alex by the 0915 (hours) arriving 1310 (hours). Had wired to Regina and was expected. Mrs Metzger has sent a parcel to Chas (the Colonels son Major Charles Mackesy?) care of me with things for ****** ***(name?) or wife - will have to forward by hand.
Met him for the first time, not as nice as she.
Gave me best of rooms.
Found no one was at Headquarters Office of Education, so made my way to YMCA hall alone. At night and had a big audience as usual.
The Station Master met me at the Station and was at the Lecture. Took me to where he is staying - Mrs Margaret Levene S****** Edition Egyptian ****** - a Welsh woman ******[democrat] whom I met years ago in Cairo - she is very good in looking after New Zealand boys. And girls for that matter.
20th February

Regina Hotel
Professor Cherry looked me up, we must get together to Mex Camp where he lectured to the B.W.I. (I believe this abbreviation to be mean troops of the British West Indies). Stopped for lunch with Colonel Wilson and his officers, we drove back to hotel.
Car called for me at 1445 (hours) to take me to Mont'ash(name?) on the way I picked up the (case?) of the Military Provost a Lieutenant Colonel Hasall who was also going to Mont'ash to lecture on the Union Jack.
I wanted to see the place, calling on Mrs. Long who has begun a V.A.D. there for two years.
B****** to the (Cats?) (Khan?)name? Summer Palace - most lovely shady walks et cetera - Old Roman Baths. Grand ******* ,has nice government house for soldiers.
Lectured at Must'apha at 2000 (hours) to interested audience.
Back to hotel and dinner very late.

NOTE by transcriber:
Two Battalions of B.W.I. British West Indies soldiers went into action with the Auckland Mounted Rifles in the latter stages of the Palestine conflict, and through to Amman.
See Nichols "The Story of two Campaigns" the first action with the AMR was at the bridge at Jisr Ed Damieh, on the river Jordan September 19th 1918.

21st February
Mr. Alan Bradley called for me at 1500 (hours) and took me to his brothers house who had (married?) an Australian. They both belong to the Egypthais Girl Mission - They have done a very fine work among the *******(name of a people??) during the last four years and many a *** has **** **** to get through. Their interesting older brother is at present away on a tour of Palestine with the head of the (Gideon?) Mission and ***** Mission to *********.
I was back at the Hotel in time for the car to pick me up. I spoke to the (60th?) Division at Sidi Bishir.
All that country has been altered since our horses et cetera were stationed here in 1915.
I had a large and enthusiastic audience - Getting back in time for dinner - early to bed.
22nd February
Left by the 1830 (hours) for Cairo, where I got in at 1225 (hours). Much to my disappointment several of the business people I had to see had their premises closed, so I could not pay bills nor get things that we wanted.
Motored out to Fletchers in the evening who is to get me the necessary fleeces for the school, also one to go back on the Kaikoura - she is to sail on the 4th March.
I find Mrs Fletcher is ordered home on account of the coming heat - she leaves March 13th - Fletcher following in April.
She returns in November he in August.
Boats going home are crowded.
Called at Aotea and Zeitoun on the way home - getting in late.
23rd February
Sexagesima Sunday
Ismailia Camp
Left by the 1100 (hours) a Kamsin was blowing as we got on board at Moascar - it was as bad as ever.
Lieutenant General Sir Harry and Lady Chauvel with Sir Reginald and Lady Oakes were on the same Train.
Chauvel introduced me to his wife - who looks very fresh and young, probably twenty to thirty years younger than he is.
Lady Oakes I had known for years and don't much care for her or him either for that matter. He is the secretary I believe of the Heliopolis Company.
Found everything all right at the camp - touring about town in the evening, we found everything very quiet, only a few of our boys are allowed out at night.
The YMCA is always full - lectures or concerts.
24th February
Ran up to Headquarters to see Arnott. I find I am expected to go up to Cairo again to inspect some physical drill that is being carried on at the 54th Division. Our own I am satisfied is well worth seeing.
I'm having a larger raised platform, where on the instructor stands out half way down the ranks (nearly *** men) we have the piano out all ***** are ***** working to the music.
Left for Kan'tara with the 1400 hours - Major Hulbut going on to Port Said to inspect the "Mahana" which as come in and is to take our next lot off away home.
I lectured to the 75th Division - good audience.
Catching the 1917 (hours) back and dinning with Penningtones.
After dinner Manager Davis calling for me later.
25th February
Up to Headquarters after having seen the physical drill properly carried out and attended the lecture.
Took the cup up to show to Colonel Arnott, he was very pleased with my choice and paid the whole bill of thirty seven pounds out cheerfully. This was the Football cup our lads had won and which they are going to give to the New Zealand Rugby Union for the various college teams to play for.
In the afternoon took the two Misses MacDonalds out to the front line and showed them what the boys had to put up with in the Desert in 1916.
A Khamsin was blowing and we boiled our billy in an old sand-bag dugout. And also a great ***** *** with our lunch that was good for us.
I was to go up to Cairo and repeat the physical drill at the 54th division - [but I'll] go tomorrow.
26th February

Left with the 1010 (hours) after handing over to Lieutenant Colonel Cash [reverend] who is head of the C.I. R.S. in Egypt and head of the (Paris?) department. I wanted to get some stores from him (for) Egypt. (some?) to (sell?) but will make inquireries where I might get some.
Caught the Train in ample time.
Had a lot to do - Chaytor who was to look after the medals for us has done nothing, so I got things fixed up.
Dinner at Mena House.
Fairly late to bed 2300 (hours).
Saw Educational Headquarters and they have our books (and) things (for) lecturing to (L.&L.of G.??) Starting next Friday night and finishing in Damascus on the night of the 11th of March.
Returning to Cairo to lecture to the Zeitoun Military School of Instructors.

27th February
Ismailia Camp
Had intended leaving Cairo by the 1100 (hour) Train, but Captain Clark who was sent up to wait on me arranged for a car to call at 1100 (hours). General Chaytor had sent out orders that I was to inspect and report on the physical drill of the 54th Division. It was a musical drill that we had been carrying out for some time. Of course I could not catch my Train so sent a wire to say Reverend (Dods?name) was to take over my lecture on politics which I was to give at night to our boy's (at their) request.
He was however away at a debate at Kan'tara - so they put pictures on.
I got back late, the Train being fifty minutes over due when we arrived - Everything in good order - I heard Colonel Findlay was down as President for a Court Martial for the two New Zealand Officers who had been something like six weeks under arrest.

28th February


At the morning lecture I presented the Football Cup (and) gave a short address and bid the boys good-bye - No sooner had I reached my tent than a telegram was handed (to) me from General Chaytor overriding me, (and ordering me) to remain in Command of the Training center until its draft of 1000 men had embarked on the "Kaikoura". So I went up to General Headquarters P.L.of C. and had three of my lectures cancelled - may have to cancel more and then carry on (with) the rest.
Chaytor has the wind up proper.
Saw General Broadbent, first time I had met him - seems a nice man, made me a present of General Allenbys published dispatches and maps of the Campaign.
In the evening we had a concert party (with) several ladies (present) - (and afterwards) I kept them to tea,
Colonel Finlay went back to Rafa.


Update 1919
1st March
March 1st 1919
About camp all day. Had an invitation to a concert by the R.A.O.C. Orchestra from Kant'ara. They will be staying over by the spring just behind the P*****(name?) Station where the heavy artillery are camped.
I went and had a most enjoyable evening, their music was a real treat indeed. But the evening was pretty chilly.
We will line up the Guard of Honour for the British Admiral Jellico who has begun his tour and is on board H.M.S. New Zealand - but later on we were told that he would be going straight through to Cairo by Train not stopping here and leaving on the 5th from Suez - same day our boys sail on the "Kaikoura".
2nd March
Quinquagesima Sunday
The Train bringing General Chaytor and Colonel Bronan was forty minutes late. I had put every thing back, (both the) Inspection and Church Parade so as to fit in with his arrival. The men were all drawn up when we arrived. I got them to march past to the hall where after the service he gave them a short speech. It was good and to the point. We had asked all the New Zealand ladies in Ismailia to be present. They were most impressed with the large display.
Mrs Hursthouse and her two little girls were present, Miss Aulled her sister Mrs Pemethorn and Mrs Velvine. Besides the Aotea sisters (and) the two Miss McDonalds.
Chaytor left again with the night Train taking a comforting knowledge with him that all was well here.
3rd March
When at the station yesterday I saw General Meldrum on the Train. He was on his way to Cairo to give away the lady that is to marry Major Wilkie to-day.
She is a doctor in the employ of the Egyptian Government. I was most astounded to hear of this wedding, as only three weeks ago Wilkie was most awfully anxious to go away to England on leave - it is since then this matter has been fixed up.
The day was one of those peaceful days you went without often out here in Egypt, but the different in temperature between morning and noon is very great indeed.
Had been asked to drive with Major Hursthouse, a cousin of General Chaytors, and spent a pleasant evening. He graduated recently as a Dentist. I like him very much. Two nice children.
Major Bruce left us for a staff appointment with Forces in Egypt.
4th March
Shrove Tuesday
A Khamsin's blowing - our advance party with the U/c ship, Major and Mrs Wilder left by the 1030 (hours) Train. The rest of the troops will follow tomorrow morning. But late in the evening advice was received that the boat had been delayed for a day. This means that I must cancel another lecture, six at least - The Canal Company informed us that H.M.S. New Zealand should pass El Fadan at 1230 (hours).
So announcements will be made to have the Troops out for 1300 (hours) above the Camp at the French Hospital.
I took the three Aotea Sisters over in the car, arrived there at 1245 (hours). The car had only just started back for Ismailia to bring the other New Zealand ladies down when "New Zealand" hove in sight - so our men missed it.
The Sandstorm was very bad but I took a snap.
Drink with (the) Pennethornes. [this is perhaps the same name as written before, however this looks more legible written this way?].
Very cold morning.
5th March
Ismailia New Zealand Camp
Ash Wednesday
Took the mornings lecture - then had a good talk on Prohibition.
Then up town - [and to] the station to meet the Train.
Made arrangement with the A.T.O. re: boiling water for the Troops leaving tomorrow - and [then to] Headquarters to tell them to cancel Ludd lecture.
I will have to go straight through to Jerusalem.
The Khamsin was moderating in the afternoon and I took my horses out for a ride, exercising them more than anything else.
Few more New Zealand letters to hand - the mornings Train bought down four cot cases and the three nurses that are going home.
These people had a hot breakfast at 6am, [and] would not reach Suez till 1500 (hours) and not a bite to eat has been prepared for them. I managed a few sandwiches in the last minute for Colonel Young, the worst cot case of the lot.
Cold out in the evening - cold cold weather.
6th March

On Kant'ara East Railway.
The Camp was very early astir as the baggage had to be stacked by 6:30. It was 1020 (hours) before the Troops marched off 1050 (hours) - I addressed them first. All left in the best of spirits - I had hot tea ready for them between 1100 and 1200 (hours).
The Train moving at 1215 hours, Colonel Arnott expects to leave shortly to Australia, as the Australia and New Zealand T.C. is being broke up - they ****** is marching in today, they will look after themselves as he has no Troops left but a few details (of men??).
I left with the last Train for Kant'ara E, [East]. I slept well, not waking till daylight. Took Gridley the Batman and Stephenson the Groom with me.

7th March
Arrived Ludd 6:30am had breakfast at YMCA hut. A very crowded Train to Jerusalem. We had two long stoppages, one with Engine trouble - The second, the Engine in the Train ahead of us. We got in about noon.
Looked up the Manchester Headquarters to find out about lectures - Lunched with Lieutenant Colonel Harris.
A Pardre Tait took me about in the afternoon.. Saw David's Tower - (and the) old town. John the Baptist Church, underground Church [of the] Holy Sepulcher. Gordon's Golgotha and garden tomb. [essentially] et al.
Looked up Miss Fisher who [has] been in Es Salt. She is staying with the ***** ****** C.M.S. (as she?) couldn't get back over the Jordan till the flood goes down.
In the evening eight stops, got the man from the American Colony to lecture to a pack of nurses and General Wilson on "Shilcks ***** *****"[title of lecture?]. Most interesting - then to bed. Hotel not very comfortable.
8th March
Railway coach at Ludd.
Went down to (the) American Colony Stores and picked out one hundred and twenty lantern slides, got slides of the Temple works as well as photographs.
Miss Fisher called on me and asked me to lunch.
I went to a interesting meeting with a Mr. and Mrs. Martin who are in charge of the relief work. I think he is a Church of England clergyman. From there I went down to the Rothchild hut where I had a most enthusiastic audience. The four Australian (nursing?) sisters that were with me at the lecture last night came to hear me also.
Afterwards Colonel Harris - Manchester Battalion - took me over the Temple area, we also visited the Mosque of ***(name?) again and went underneath to what is called "Solomon's Stables". The girls were met at both places.
Met sisters Bird and Bond, two of the Australians nurses who had come over on the same boat with us in 1917. They were up with two others seeing Jerusalem. I traveled with them as far as Ludd by the night Train, they went (on) to Cairo.

[Note from transcriber: the three or four letters Mackesy uses to name the Mosque above I could not decipher - However I have references to "King Solomon's Stables" being part of the second Jewish Temple of Bais HaMikdash part of the Temple Mount area - a modern Museum at this site today - Crusaders horses were stabled here in these underground caverns during the Crusades. - However the map available at link below shows that perhaps Mackesy could be referring to Arab names of either "Omar" of "El Aqsa" or "Aqsa" ]
9th March
1 in lent
Left Ludd after a light breakfast at 7.55am reaching Haifa at 1045 (hours), the country traveled through was beautiful flat wide [ "Veldt"] - too soft for [carriages] - rich looking.
I was met by staff officer at Haifa, who took me to the Kamo Hotel. A German Proprietor. This is a large German Colony.
Mount [Carmel] comes right down to the sea. The R.R. [Rail Road] has its stone wall in the water. Homesteads had to be pulled down to make place for the roadway **** across the bay looks ********(pristine???) ****.
I was met at the station by Captain Benjamin - staff Captain P.& L.of C. who took me to the Carmel Hotel. A German place, the proprietor of which was most astonished when I addressed him in the best of German.
Lunch with Lieutenant Colonel Word*****(name) who commanded the Jewish Battalions of Acre [modern day city of "Akko" Israel]. Drove me up to the top of MT. Carmel where General Headquarters is having their ******[some sort of competition] worth 80.000 pounds sterling. Lovely view.
In the afternoon drove down to Acre - very interesting. Had afternoon tea with the Military Governor Major Beaumount.
Lecture in [name of venue]. Dinner at Mess - worthwhile.
10th March
Train on road to Damascus.
Lieutenant Colonel Wordhill saw me off at 1100 (hours).
Much interested in the plains of Es d*****[name] through which the [railway] line runs full length. Passed the cast***(castle?) *** of Carmel where a small Carmelite monastery is supposed to be on the site where tradition goes, as the place where Eliyjah has his controversy with the Jesuits of Bala.
Bir el Fuli on the left as we passed Nazareth, had a very fine view of (space left here by Mackesy - supposedly so he could enter the name when he found out what it was called /or how it was spelt) beyond Beizan when we got into the Jordan Valley. Very warm but country beautiful. Passed old Roman bridges. Went along the banks of Yarmak until the big bridges were reached. Then we had to get out and walk a mile to another Train from Damascus waiting for us.
But as our Engine was derailed further on we were compelled to stay all night. Rather cramped and hungry quarters.
11th March

Victoria Hotel
The Train started at 0550 (hours), and I cannot say that I was sorry for the delay when I saw the scenery open up all along the way. The mountains were grand and no less the plateau, once it was reached. Everything in vivid green and flowers everywhere.
Trees of course none.
The Yarmak proved a most picturesque view. Its grass reminding one of some of the United kingdom or Rocks [could mean Rockymountain scenery of Canada] mountain scenery.
Dera Station and Town are about a mile apart. The former had been badly bombed by aeroplanes - the Town is enclosed by walls and looks and old dilapidated place.
We reached Damascus at 1500 (hours). First sight fine.
Called on Gafar Pasha. Strolled about and onto [name?] Camp at 1900 (hours). Spoke for one and a half hours [audience] very enthusiastic.
A Colonel Gaze (I had) dinner (with) then (onto) Hotel Victoria at 2230 (hours). Everyone in bed.
Damascus has ghastly Railway Carriage bunks.

NOTE: for those interested this site on the Hadjez Railway Lines is worth a look:
has a modern day view od Dera station and some of the Engines. Click round the site - many of the lines are here mentioned by Charles.
- also shows Mackesy stamping grounds of 1919.

12th March
On Train, Haifa-Kant'ara
Left Damascus at 0600 hours, having been at the Station since 0500 hours. Boarded Train (with) three women - We made better headway going back than coming up. Got to Dera on time. The way down was just as lovely and interesting as the run up. The mountains were covered with a beautiful green, while Mount Hermon stood out in all its winter glory. The run down the gorge and through the mountain was especially fine. I have now seen both sides - where the station was reached when we had to walk across on account of the two bridges being awash. I got some very nice snaps. I hope they turn out well. The latter part of Es dradon(?) was crossed in darkness, but Haifa was reached in plenty of time to catch the down Train.
I got a berth and window for a car at Kant'ara.
13th March
Arrived Kant'ara on time and found a car waiting. A long chat with Mrs. Chisholm. Poor old lady looks a lot better than she did a few months ago. She told me about some issues in Cairo.
On the Train to Ismailia a young lady was in trouble because she had forgotten to get her permit - she had to go back to Kant'ara to get it. I met her again on the 2.10 Train going to Cairo - she is employed at General Headquarters and had been on leave to Jerusalem - Russian father - Swedish mother. Speaks both these tongues, English well and German.
I found everything all right at Chevalier Island - Four hundred and eighty ordinary ranks and thirty officers.
Irina Seeburg was the name of the young lady.
In Cairo I found the sisters had not decided to go to Luxor until I could make sure that it would be safe. This I did at H.Q.
Met McCarroll - Auckland Mounted Rifles.
Had more the Port hall and *** ** R**** to **** of the E.E.F.
Drove out to Aotea with [to tell the sisters] that all was safe at Luxor.

NOTE: the place that Mackesy refers to as Kant'ara is now officially known as "Qantarah esh Sharqiya" (kän`tärä ĕsh shärkē`yä), town, NE Egypt, on the east bank of the Suez Canal. It is on the ancient military road between Egypt and Syria. Qantarah esh Sharqiya is the terminus of a railroad to Palestine constructed during World War I, when the British Expeditionary Force in Egypt was based there. Israel captured the town during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and in 1969 evacuated the civilian population. It was returned to Egyptian control in 1974. The town was formerly known as El Kantara Kant'ara or Al Qantarah.
14th March

Sleeping car to Luxor
Having found out last night from General headquarters and confirmed again today that it was to be SAP to go to Luxor - I met the two Miss McDonalds and a Miss Edwards at 10 am at the Cairo express office and paid up for our trip to last six days - [tickets for] one going, one coming, two at Luxor, two at Aswan.
Cairo is apparently looking for trouble, all the leading shops and large offices are having their plate glass windows boarded up.
On monday the crowd broke several [plate glass windows], sixteen of the rabble were shot I believe and many wounded, the ****** cur/car? going through the muski today was fined ** ***. The worst was that three soldiers were wounded.
I presume all this is our own fault.
We got away with the 2000 hours Train, having secured sleeping berths.
Colonel Chaytor is at Luxor.

15th March
The sleeping cars are all very nice and comfortable. But unfortunately I had a Scots officer in mine whose feet seemed to fill the whole atmosphere of the place. I could not open the window and did not rest too well.
We arrived at Luxor at 9.30 - were met (and taken) down to the Savoy Hotel.
After breakfast did the Luxor temple. After lunch drove out to Karnak spending several hours, then tea and dinner and back to Karnak by moonlight. It was quite an awe inspiring scene in the larger vestibule hall.
I think there are a 144 columns, sixteen feet through and seventy feet high. We climbed this pylon again and saw the whole place swathed in the glimmering light of the moon.
To bed pretty tired.

A solitary figure is dwarfed by the great Temple of Amun, the second Pylon of Karnak.(our history lesson for today )

The Hypostyle Hall is found after passing through the Second Pylon. The hall is considered to be one of the world's greatest architectural masterpieces. Construction began during Ramesses I's reign. He was the king who founded the Nineteenth Dynasty and was king for only one year. The work continued under Seti I (1306 - 1290 BC). Seti I also built the Temple of Abydos and many other temples. The hall was completed by Seti I's son, Ramesses II.
16th March
2 in lent
Breakfast at 6.30, by 7.00 we were across the Nile to the Pheben Shore. Good donkeys awaited us there. The donkeys all sturdy little brutes - easy of motion and get over the ground fast.
The donkey boys show great endurance in keeping up with them. The ride was orderly and the first part of the day delightful. We saw the Kings graves and grave of Nobles [this could be the "Tombs of the Nobles"]. Some of the wall painting wonderfully well preserved.
At the Ramessuem we had our lunch which had been brought from the hotel.
It was very hot and the girls pretty well done in. Saw another Temple or two.
The N****** and house.
Then we heard the R.R. [Railroad] has since cut departures at Cairo. Twenty four Kilometres destroyed.
*** the hotel keeper, a Captain, has the wind up proper.
I decided to push on tomorrow.

NOTE: above a mural in the "Tomb of the Nobles".

The last few lines will relate to the Egypt Rebellion of 1919 and the riots recorded in Cairo that March.
Perhaps the sentence goes something like this:
The government has collapsed, and have just heard the Rail Road have since cut departures just as they have in Cairo. (???)
Digger-history says:
(The Egypt Rebellion) had been carefully fostered by the malcontents, and demonstrations by Cairo students early in March were the signal for widespread rioting. Native civil servants at once contributed to the trouble by declaring a general strike; and the position of the British was made difficult by the suspension of most of the railway and telegraph services. Within a few days the outbreak had spread through all the lower provinces and extended to upper Egypt.
17th March
Grand Hotel
Out of bed by 5.00 caught the 6.20 Train. Taking guide (*****guides name) with us. Stopped off for two (chairs?) at EDFU - crossing in boat and riding on donkeys to the Temple and back. This Temple is perfectly preserved and was put up by the Pharaoh [Pharaoh Ptolemy XI]. Everything is thoroughly good repair, the only one said to so exist.
A scared boat is there intact.
Got back to station in time for the express on to Assuan. It had many of the people onboard who had come with us from Cairo to Luxor..
One lady told us that they tried to persuade them not to risk going on as there was a lot of trouble down here. - I think not.
And by the time Thursday comes round I hope the line will be open again.
We reached Assuam ok at 1630 hours.
18th March
Grand Hotel
Getting to Assuam by 1530 hours we rested in the hotel till after dinner when we took a stroll along the banks of the Nile.
Woke up refreshed this morning, the heat had been very great yesterday. Hotel, The Grand,has many guests.
We drove out to see the great David Phylan(?). Shelal where the river steamers halt south, and the granite galleries, then returning to the Hotel.
Nettlefold came to me with the story care of the (******name), on seeing the natives he and his wife were stopped from starting for Cairo - Railroad torn up. After lunch we went to see the ****** who had and ******* leaving the district. Told him we held him responsible, advised us to stay at hotel. There went to see Mr. Watt in command of B****(Base?) (note: number of words here wiped out by ink-blots) went with him to Shelal. Saw judge Terry from Khartoum on the steamer. He had (just?) been down to Cairo - arranged for (packed) lunch to be at the hotel by 0700 hours (for) tomorrow when we would all travel up to Shelal and get on board steamer for Wadi Halph in Sudan.
Overall (the steamer) is quiet, got minimal roll, **** ***** all told fourteen ********.

NOTE: Shelal is the first cataract south on the Nile. attached here is an item of interest as the Gordon Highlanders describe the first part of thie expedition for the relief of Gordon at Khartoum some years earlier:
"...Immediately after arrival the following morning the regiment embarked on two steamers, each towing two barges, and proceeded up the Nile to Assouan, at the lower end of the first cataract, and the head of ordinary steam navigation. This point was reached on the 19th; and the advance continued thereafter by Shelal to Wady Haifa (a distance of 233 miles), partly in the whale boats specially constructed for the expedition, and partly in diabehas, each company working independently. From Wady Haifa each company, as it arrived, was conveyed to Gemai at the head of the second cataract, where whale boats were served out to the different detachments..."
19th March
On board "Meroe" on the Nile to Wadi Halfa.
Passing the L[name?] in the night. Judge Terry spent not an hour.
Had informed all the guests last night that breakfast would be at 6.30, and they must be ready to lave by 0700 hours.
Have seen police Captain and Chief of the Revolutionary Party and got their assurances to preserve order if need be.
Four more officers - the last from Luxor arrived - now number thirty seven all told.
Boat in trim - took hotel launch as well, filled with guests and luggage up the Nile to the locks - very pleasant cool day - head party marched up to the dam to water. Kept as ***** as for provisions. But nothing happened. Got the women all away, first on launch to Shelal.
Said Efendi, Egyptian Major in charge of the steamers et cetera, - government - said more rail had been broken up near Assuam - country [destroyed] - all Telegraphic Communication was broken down several days ago.
All on board the "Meroe" by 1130 hours.
One officer Captain J.E. Shelley A.M.C. stayed behind with his friends the Watts at the Dam.
Steamer left Shelal for up Nile at 1330 hours. Very cold breeze blowing - lovely trip.
20th March

"Meroe" on the Nile.
The banks of the Nile were a most entertaining feature of our journey. In places there were steep mountain gorges, passed through with no creatures for miles and miles,villages perched on both sides. A few palm tops sticking out of the waters. The houses laying in the steep hillsides. For three months in the year, the ground between palms and the banks can be cultivated - where the nation get a crop off.
Most of the men - thirteen orderly - are away as domestic servants.
We passed Korasko Kitcheners old H.Q.
At Sera further on there was a big public demonstration. The national flag waving - people gathered at the back. The country is properly organised. Passed a very old Roman Castle - tied up after dark having got into the said back country.
Day hot, but breeze blowing.
Everybody best of spirits.

21st March
Wadi Halfa on the "Meroe"
We were supposed to get in by 100 hours at the [landing?] but a strong Khamsin was blowing from the North. as we were running South the wind came off the water which was cool and void of sand, but the river churned out and many sandbanks appeared - on one of which we were stuck fast from 0900 to 1400 - We had two barges on either side - soldiers and labourers. These had to be cast loose while the steamer was dragged off, then picked up again - which took time.
River banks very pretty indeed. Got in about 1600.
Government acting, Major Fleet(?) came on board, a train was waiting but we could not get any information until its return.
I will not be going to Khartoum as I should have liked. We arranged to stay on the boat -no news.
Sent word to Khartoum asked R.N.O. Port Sudan intercept any steamer S*** way **** and *** Port sudan.
Sent [word back] to Headquarters Cairo through Khartoum.
Walked about Wadi Halfa.

22nd March


Wadi Halfa on board "Meroe"
In the morning our boat "Meroe" was moved up about a mile to what is called the Camp and anchored on ****. Tied up opposite the club.
Kitchener had his Headquarters up here for a long time.
Lieutenant Colonel Nettle/old (presumable meaning : senior) and I went to see the Mamur, found him very pleasant man and willing to do what he could do for us. He is to lend us his Dahabriah tomorrow for visiting the old Temple of "Buheru" - and his donkeys and camel et cetera.
The club is quite a nice place. Tennis court and Golf Links.
Towards evening I walked out a mile east into the desert, climbed a high hill, but the sunset was no good. I got back at dark.
Soldiers arrived from Khartoum en route for Assuan. An airman also arrived giving bad news - Cairo completely cut off. Returning officers from Luxor reported killed. Bedouins had risen.
We had a Bridge Tournament going - Weather most wonderfully cool.
The "Lotus" returned bringing Sterry back again.

Transcribers Note: Sir Wasey Sterry (1866–1955), Chief Justice of Sudan, 1903–1917, Legal Secretary of Sudan, 1917–1926, and Judge of the Supreme Court for Egypt, 1928–1938
23rd March
Sunday 3 in lent
Wadi Halfa on the "Meroe"
One hundred men from Khartoum passed through on their way to Assuan under Major Gregg.
Some of the people were late. Breakfast was to be at 6.30. The ***** to lead out at 0700 - we got away later sailed up river some miles to a Temple on the west bank called Muhem, name of the whole district in Egyptian days.
Some fair paintings ****.
Climbed a hill and got a look about 1130 when I found the Financial Advisor of the Sudan - Bernhardt Pasha joining us. The manager of the Railways Colonel Newcomb was also there, as was the Pasha's secretary a Mr. Fraser. They had read my report and considered I had done the best thing possible, would provide us with accommodation but we would had to pay for our keep. (Agreed?) I would sign a statement of what we had had but we could not pay. Many being out of money altogether - Anyway will have to pay (later?)
Many British Officers returning from Luxor had seen murders. Chaytor and wife will **** (I) wonder did they get through.
Things quite better in Cairo - no news otherwise.
24th March
Wadi Halfa
We stayed quietly on board. A small party went to see some five hundred cattle ready to go to Egypt as food, passed by the vet. And in the afternoon another small party went up river, both times by launch and had tea.
Colonel Newcombe and R.R. Maughan inviting them. The Governor was to come on at 1700 as he had not ***** up by 1730. Taking Nettlefold I went to look him up - spent a really pleasing time at his house. Gave me all the mins (minutes of meetings??) to read in and out. Not very much information C*****(name?) too strict. But things must have been pretty bad in the north.
A message from the Govenor General tells me to remain as I am, pertaining (to) his efforts to get a steamer from Port Sudan direct.
Got a pair of white pants, will have to look out for a coat.
Weather warmer - Club very convenient.
25th March
Had arranged for steam launch to take party to second cataract tomorrow. Some had gone near it in (a) motor but no more petrol.
Lieutenant Colonel Puera wishing to get up sports for the women had them put off to Thursday if (we are) still here.
**** ****(name?) tells me in no way departing thursday for Port Sudan.
More Troops coming down the line tomorrow to go to Egypt.
Allenby has been made High Commissioner, returning to Egypt from Paris where he had been called yesterday.
News still very bad about Egypt. - no **** as yet. Hear of **** out fighting in Assiut. Bedouins rising (up) everywhere and looking(?).
Fear Chaytor and wife may be among those murdered as the Train going via As(suam) monday (attacked).
Weather cool. I went with two sisters who stayed all night at (the) hospital. A Captain Ord-Stratton ill - ****(staff?) are away - nervous walk home.
26th March
Arrangements had been made for breakfast at 0600. The steamer to start at 6.30. We were nearly all on time, but always someone is late.
Sixteen of us went on the run up the river in the early morn - was very fine weather, after one and a half hours we anchored off a village in west bar below cataract. Here donkeys met us. About two and a half to three miles on was Abassin rock - a prominent point in the middle of the cataract whence we got a good view.
The Kings and Popes names were carved on the rock with many others.
Cataract not what I expected, just many islands of black rocks - no rushing water.
Nile very low, got back at 1130.
Were invited to a Government managers house for tea with my three girls, self and Colonel and Mrs Nethburn(?).
K*****(name) told me he saw the name of Lieutenant Colonel Rainier and wife as ****** at Assiut, that will probably (be?) Chaytor Assiut in (ruins?).
Weather cool -no news yet.
27th March
Forenoon I was down Town. Went to see Mr. Stratten to see how he was getting on - he seemed most cheerful, rather disappointed when I told him we will not (be) going by train to Port Sudan to catch the Khe***val(name?) boat.
No news yet when we are to move.
The news from north is better.
As a strict scent, I have learnt that nine tenths of the Sudanese are asking Great Britain to take the Sudan over altogether.
In the afternoon we were at home to the Halfa people, after which we saw sports. The officers all attired in costume.
To get my uniforms washed I had bought a drill suit ** ***** a Tarbu***? and so was turned **** a jerkin or ****** ***** which ever you like. [referring to different names of clothing?]
Doing better at bridge have been playing in this Tournament steadily.
Weather still very fine.
Got ten pounds allowance [all off record] from the Sudanese Government.

28th March


two weeks since we left Cairo
The hottest day we have experienced so far.
Mrs Nettlefold stayed in her cabin all *** morn. Mina and Bettie MacDonald also seem overcome with the heat. Some of these women are altogether too easily put out by any little inconvenience.
Miss Edwards remains bright and cheerful.
The news from Cairo and Egypt is better. But we hear nothing of upper Egypt as yet. No news of our moving, except it may be the way we came.
The Club invited all Tennis players over for games today, many went. Some went to see the cemetery in the morning, a little way out in the desert. This was the first day the usual barge failed us.
The Kherivao? boat leaves tomorrow, no sunday **** Port Sudan.
I fancy O**** Sha*****(name?) will get away with it, he left by Train yesterday afternoon.


29th March


The Governors steam launch calls every morning for a R******** *uggert (name of person?) who is down here on a special mission, and takes him to Town. I went down with it this morning to find out what the chances are of getting away. Nothing running as yet. But from what I gather we will in all likely look to go down the river.
Our invitations to Tennis was accepted by many of the party. I [however] cannot see the enjoyment of playing in such great heat, for the weather is undoubtedly very warm now.
I brought a set of Sudanese stamps.
I find many things much cheaper here than in Cairo. They have not gone up with our visits as much. Several of the shops are nearly sold out.
Took a long walk in the desert till well after dark. I love the desert nights and mornings.
Wind k***** for pillows.


30th March


4 in lent
SS Meroe - Halfa
Saw the sun rise some miles out in the desert, an orb of bright light.
Had left the boat at dark or rather while it was still dark and got back just in time for breakfast. In the morning I took another trip, one must have exercise.
Hear that the line between Assuam and Luxor is broken up again and more fighting in Zagazig, possibly some of our people may be in that,
I believe a great many Englishmen sent to these out stations drink themselves to death. There is one lad that they say could not last out the summer, (he) is the Censor and supposed to be a nephew or cousin of Wingates - It must be a dreadfully monotonous life out here unless one has plenty to do, to keep entirely busy - not the case with he.
No Services to day.


31st March


SS Meroe
Sent a message to Cairo. Had to go by cable via Port Sudan.
Heard a column already marching south from Assiut, making many arrests and dealing with them on the spot.
Several columns said to be moving about the Delta acting quickly. So the country is by no manner of means safe as yet for us to go back.
Heat is getting severe and flies more troublesome. Our recreational walks into the desert morning and evenings.
Four more refugees are arriving in a day or two. Three had been in hospital at Assuan and left behind because they had infectious fevers and we did not dare risk bringing them. The forth is a Miss something who had been on a visit to the A.I.M. people in the "Lotus", it is being filled up with electrical appliances from stores.
We shall use her [the "Lotus"] as a house boat after this.


  continued next three months - Click here.