At the Defence Office I got my orders for Trentham. I returned to the Auckland Drill Hall on the right day and hour, and with about twenty others we walked off to catch the Wellington Express. In those days the Auckland Railway Station was where the bus terminal now is, behind the Post Office at the lower end of Queen Street. At Trentham the camp was being constructed and used at the same time. Carpenters building huts to hold around eighty men, and as they were constructed they were occupied. I am sorry to say that I am ashamed of the treatment these young boys and men received from the people responsible for the health conditions of the camp in general. They were not responsible for the rain that fell every day, but they could have closed the camp till they had the ground in front of the huts metalled. They could have stopped the method of breaking in new recruits, by making them carry wet stones in wet sacks in the mud and rain to metal the front of the huts when there were horses and wagons on the horse lines idling the days away. The obvious happened, meningitis, measles and pneumonia swept the camp. In three or four days the eighty men in our hut had dropped to ten. They were walking away and going on stretchers, the medical organisation was shocking. A telegram to a family in a northern town was sent to the effect that their son was sick and sent to hospital, brought the parents rushing to Wellington to see him only to find he had been dead for two days. I mentioned this to a friend last week and was told their family lost an uncle and cousins the same way.
They never knew that they were even sick. My turn came – I walked to the medical parade and stood in line in the cold and wet waiting my turn. The doctor took one look at me and said hospital. Now I should have been all right then, but that was not the story. My standard of living dropped. All the women and women’s organisations in Wellington were crying to get out to the Trentham Field Hospital to help and care for those sick men and boys, and the Military Authorities would not let them in.
There were thousands of Wellington women who would have put everything aside, gone there and worked their fingers to the bone, helping to save their sons and the sons of other mothers; but no, they could not get past the guard. I do not know how others were treated – as I was a patient and very sick.
I can only give you my experience, and see no reason to suppose others were any different. I arrived at the Trentham Band Rotunda and was allotted a bed. I got into it and was very sick with the flu.
I did not want to eat and left what food was offered, two slices of bread three quarters of an inch thick with a small smear of butter in the centre and a mug of strong black tea. The next morning the rations were the same, and it was easier to leave them than eat them, I took the easy way. By that time I was scarlet with measles, and had to go into isolation. They picked me up and moved me to a loose box with an earth floor. The horse had been moved out to let me in. It was not as draughty as the band rotunda, but naturally very cold. I was there by myself for a week or ten days. The only visitor I had was the orderly coming with his thick slices of bread and mug of strong tea, three times a day.
It seems incredible that that was the only food I had, but I cannot remember ever having anything else.
I remember having a wild craving for some fried fish that never came. If it had come I was probably too sick to eat it. I had no clothes and no boots – the toilets were across a field as big as a football ground. As I drank as little of the cold black tea as I could, and ate practically nothing, the toilets were not a great problem, but I had to make the journey at night time in my pajamas and bare feet on several occasions while in that loose box. I was so weak that it was a staggering effort to walk and I was never sure that I would get back to my loose box. I was probably turned nineteen by this time and I can still remember the loneliness of nothing to read, nobody to speak to and nothing to see except the walls of the loose box, the dirty floor and the big double doors. So the days passed, till one day the sergeant came past asking, “ Anybody here want to go to Kaiwarra?” I called out from my bed “ yes.” I did not care where it was or what it was as long as I got out of where I was. They did not take my temperature, I had never had it taken, nor had I had a wash or bath from the time I went into that hospital, and no one looked to see if I was fit to get out of bed. The sergeant took my name and number, and an orderly brought my kit bag. I struggled into my clothes, for I was so weak.
I could scarcely stand up. Then stood at the door waiting. Others came along and we were told to pick up our bags and march to the station. I do not remember how far it was, I could not pick up my bag, and was going to leave it, but I was going myself if I went on hands and knees. Another man said he could carry his bag and would help me to drag mine. I think he dragged the bag with me struggling to keep going. We arrived at the station and eventually reached Kaiwarra. Here we were sent up stairs to the top floor of the wool store. Believe it or not I was up there for six weeks before I got down those stairs. This was their idea of isolation to stop a measles epidemic.
How stupid and conceited can old men become? To think that because a youth from a private home, is put in a soldiers uniform, he immediately becomes tough enough to stand the extreme adverse living conditions the sixth reinforcements walked into at Trentham Camp. Because they were soldiers they kept the sick and dying in makeshift camp hospitals at Trentham, under conditions so poor, that the word “Disgraceful,” would be complimentary, when they had within easy access, great hospitals staffed with skilled nurses, willing to make any sacrifice, along with their Wellington civilian sisters, to save the dying, and ease the lot of the sick, but in vain they tried for permission to enter the camp Hospital, where they would have done so much to help, but were consistently stopped by the stupidity of a few old men in charge of the camp at that time.
It [the wool shed] was like heaven --- I had company and my strength was returning and the rations must have been reasonable because I never remember being unable to eat the meals. Six weeks was a long time for a big crowd of boys to be shut up on the top floor of a building. However in time it passed and we were let out on leave. I think I had been in camp about ten days, a week in the loose box and six weeks in the wool store. The wool store was quite a nice kind of prison, and make no mistake it was a prison, with a guard on the stairs. One or two enterprising individuals got out once, down the lift well. They slid down the black greasy wire ropes and were away for a day or two. On final leave I travelled to my home and reported back a few days before sailing. I had a few hours to spend in Auckland, between boat and train connections, and I called at a dentist to enquire if by chance he could do a few stoppings for me. I would like to express my appreciation for the trouble he went to.
He must have put off patients, for he did some two hours work and when I went to pay I was told there was no charge. I have never seen him again and also I might say I have never forgotten his kindness. I left for the train and later found my overcoat pockets full of very useful presents. These had been donated by the two nurses associated with his business. I wrote thanking them for their multiple kindness. As a soldier in those days I was taken very much for granted, and this kindness was an exception that made a very strong impression. I was issued with gear and sailed in the old Tofua from Wellington.
Many of us crowded the rail as the ship cleared Wellington Heads. I gazed on the shore and the hills for the last time, feeling that there was my land, my home land, and we would never meet again. If I could have been put ashore with all honour, I would not have gone, for I had said unto myself my own farewell, and I was prepared to take what might come.
“ Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, “ This is my own my native land?”
I attended a daily “ Fall in “ on board, but the ship was too crowded to do much of that work. I think, if my memory is correct, we had around fourteen hundred soldiers on board. The ship was afterwards restricted to eight or nine hundred. One of our troopers had a foreign mate’s ticket and took a watch on the ship going over. A young lieutenant, very unpopular, and quite a bit effected by his star, had the duty of reporting to the ship’s officer on the bridge at 10 p.m. daily, that all was well on board. The officer on the bridge happened to be the trooper referred to. The lieutenant, using the trooper’s given name, reported that all was well on board and started to move off. It gave the trooper great satisfaction to call him back and tell him he was the officer in charge of the ship and when the orderly officer came to the bridge he would address him as “Sir “ or he would not take report and have him disciplined in the morning. The lieutenant corrected his approach.
We made a stop at Port Adelaide, Australia, and later had a death at sea. I cannot remember now what happened but I think it was some after effects of shore leave at Port Adelaide. A burial at sea is a very impressive ceremony, and exemplifies the sad loneliness of the poor boy, in his canvas shroud, weighted with iron bars as he was slid into the ocean, the sea smoothed over the slight disturbance and the ship steamed on leaving behind no mark or sign where the mortal remains of that young man reposed. A little later on, while still in the Indian Ocean, we passed a square rigged ship in full sail, one of the very few remaining sailors left in the world at that time. These full rigged ships are very interesting to watch as they press their way through the sea.
Our next call was at Aden where the copper coloured natives came out in their trading canoes in force.
Trading was brisk for a while, till greed encouraged trickery. Every type of trickery was practised. We lowered a string down and they tied a basket on. We put our money in the basket and let it down, the native put the goods in the basket and we pulled it up. Hundreds of baskets were travelling up and down to and from dozens of large canoes. Beautiful boxes of cigars, with cigars on the top layer only and many such other tricks. One soldier annoyed at something put across him, picked a three foot heavy iron bar, and let it go from the deck through a trading canoe. Goods had to be transferred rapidly and his days trading was finished. Aden was the first Eastern town I had ever been in, with prostitutes, robbers and pirates, grasping shop keepers and extreme poverty, the dirt and heat, the lack of any vegetation made a mystery of how the population existed, or why the place was populated at all. Those who lived there lived crowded up close together. Many of the early settlers of New Zealand were also short of money, but they made use of the area they had at their disposal, and lived clean and law abiding lives. I have often wondered to what extent the topography of the land and the climate, influenced the population to higher or lower standards of behaviour.
The S. S. TOFUA passed through the Red Sea, with its heat and red burnt hills, a most depressing sight, and tied up at Suez. We had a few hours leave, and wandered round the little town sightseeing, keeping in parties of four or larger. Suez gave us an uneasy feeling, the air seemed to breath treachery, robbery and violence, a sort of survival of the fittest, and he who gets in first is the fittest. This may not be correct about the town, but it was the sort of impression we all took away with us. We were new to the conditions of Eastern slum areas, and were shocked and depressed, at the standard of living, and the way of life of the ordinary, or poor people, we met on the street and around Suez. Toddlers up to five years old, living round the filthy gutters, with their eyes full of flies, and inflamed conjunctivitis and looking as if the pores of their skin had never been cleaned with anything but the sun.
The people we past in the street were hostile, sullen and treacherous looking, and all were of the lower strata of the social class.
Being a sea port, the lower levels of prostitution were very evident, and we were continually molested by their touts.
The shops may have held goods that were attractive, but the populace seemed so hostile, that we never left the footpath, and in fact returned to the ship as soon as our curiosity was partially satisfied, to find the winches working fast, unloading mail and general cargo of all sorts. We said a fond farewell to the old Tofua, and were soon travelling by fast train to Cairo.
The Egyptian trains were a new experience for us, who had lived our lives in a hilly land. Egypt, being a flat country, the rail gauge was wide, and the carriages were locked together, dispensing with the jolting familiar with our trains. They travelled at about sixty-five miles per hour, and were so smooth that you never knew when they actually stopped or started from a station. The run from Suez to Cairo was a great experience for we New Zealanders. At every station we stopped at, crowds of paper boys and adults would flock round the carriages selling fruit, water melons and fresh cooked eggs – “ sleep with them all night and keep them warm, “ they said.
If I bought six pennyworth of oranges they gave me the oranges, but instead of giving the change, they would bolt and that was the last I would see of that one. Some of our chaps got even by wrapping a penny in silver paper and in the rush for trade the youth, popped the silver penny in his mouth, bit it to find out if it was hard, passed over the oranges, then bolted. So the robber at one station was the victim at the next. From the soldiers’ point of view the Egyptian native was quite untrustworthy and I think the Egyptians regarded the soldiers in much the same way. On the whole the Egyptians did very well by the army being camped in Egypt. Vast sums of money were spent in Egypt for rations for men and horses. The pay packet for the armies was all spent in Egypt. The soldiers took the natives down when they got the opportunity, but on the whole the natives were never so well off. We were very interested in the marvellous crops that were grown on the land irrigated by the Nile waters. I being accustomed to hill country before the days of top dressing had never imagined that the miles and miles of wonderful crops could ever be grown by man. No fences, no wasteland, only paths through the crops and ditches to run the water along. Human labour to lift the water by cantilever into the small water courses from the small canals. The heat of the sun, the rich fertile land and the result – phenomenal growth, such as I had never imagined could exist.
Every type of crop was growing in abundance, from cotton to maize and Lucerne. I think there was a large labour force per acre and weeds never got a chance to show their heads. All day, as we passed in the train through this wonderful cropping land, we could not get accustomed to such an area of crops and such a display of lush growth. We came to a stop at Zietoun camp, and here again, though the other extreme was something we had never seen before. Zietoun, about ten miles from Cairo was where the N. Z. Mounted Rifles, with their horses were camped. The railway passed close by. The camp was on the border of a great sandy desert. No trees or grass, no green of any sort, sun baked sand, sun baked unpainted buildings, sun baked men in sun baked uniforms and pith helmets, sun baked tents, pitched parallel with the long thatch roofed stables where the horses lived in stalls, the coolest place in the camp. The cook house with its open fires and half thatched buildings; and again numerous great long canvas water troughs so that the horses could be watered by a company at a time. Once a year one might expect a shower for ten minutes. You could count on a fine day, a month, two months or more ahead. Added to this sun baked camp was the dry heat, the flies and the dust. We arrived as lads with fresh complections, soft and new to the Eastern way of life. The sun and dust dried us out and hot wind frizzled us like flowers. We drilled hard in the sun and dust and in a few short weeks we were a burnt up, lean and tough looking crowd.
We cared for the horses, but we did not use them much. Most of our work was as infantry. At the time we did not realize why, but the Peninsular war was just round the corner. The varieties of life and the way of life had us fascinated for a long time.
A great fat man weighing eighteen to twenty stone riding a little donkey, so small that the rider’s feet could touch the ground with ease. We felt like making him get off and carry the donkey for a spell, but we had been warned that it was not wise to interfere. The paper boys coming round the camp selling the evening papers had picked up quite a good flow of English. Some of it from the English Dictionary, but more from the Anzacs. They would say “ you buy paper from me, I’m bloody Australian bush bastard.” We used them to get even with officers we did not like. By giving the boy a few pence he would go through the camp calling at the top of his voice “ Egyptian times, very good news, Capt. bloody bastard,” or any other expression that we thought suitable. We usually travelled by train to Cairo. The trains were of a high standard, much better than we were accustomed to in New Zealand. The guards were the perfect example of politeness and patience. We as troopers were not allowed to buy first class tickets, they were for officers only. We would buy our tickets and travel first class. The guards would ask us to return to our carriage, they could do no more and we remained. From the entrance to the Cairo Station, one looked down on every race in the world, in national dress, moving to and fro across the station square. A fascinating moving picture, a subject for a book on its own. As you walked down the street every second shop had a bar and sold liquor. The modern part of Cairo was well kept with lovely shops and beautiful clean streets.
One grade lower housed the ordinary shops, brothels, horse cabs and the cosmopolitan population of Cairo. A grade down again was the native quarters, over crowded, footpaths, overcrowded with sitting or standing people, hostile to the foreign soldiers – a definitely unsafe area. Four of us walked through a part of this area one day. We had our hands in our pockets clutching loaded revolvers. We were very glad to find a way out of that hostile, ugly crowd. We never went back.
The speak easy young girls following the oldest profession of hiring their time and bodies, would often sit in a chair on the footpath in the sun. The streets were warm and very pleasant, because of the heavy stone buildings shading down some of the glare. These traders would wear one garment of such material that it could easily be seen through. They seldom spoke unless spoken to. Others would occupy small balconies and they would keep a running commentary as people passed below. They seemed to know all the nationalities that passed. There were all colours from the darkest to the fairest in this trade. As we walked down the street a native walking just in front, would suddenly step sideways and pick something from the gutter, and we would see the gleam of a diamond ring.
A few moments after, he would approach us and offer to sell us a diamond ring. We would be observant enough to know where he got it, and that in itself, tempted us to buy. If we were walking down the right street we would hear a roar of voices out on the foot path and let us say we were curious and walked in the open doors. We entered the ground floor of a three or four story building. The room was large say two hundred feet by one hundred and fifty feet. It was packed with small tables and chairs, every table was crowded and each one seemed to have a girl or two attached, to supply drinks and other requirements at a price. Wild, noisy and crammed full of excited youths, was the impression this area of abandoned, morality and discipline conveyed. Every now and then some youth would jump on top of a table and call out “Rough House.” Half a dozen tables with bottles and glasses of drink would be turned upside down and the chairs piled on top. The patrons would move to another section of the room and carry on as before. Native orderlies would run in with mops and brooms and straighten up the disorder, and again the tables would be filled and the show go on as before. Such a place was the El Dorado. So in this atmosphere, we boys, who in the past, had felt venturesome in drinking half a bottle of beer, grew up. What was there to do? If you had money you got leave and went to Cairo, if you had no money you did not get leave and stayed in your tent. Payday was every fortnight. A few days before payday every one was staying in camp. The soldiers would get restless and some one would organise a party to raid the wet canteen. They would, a dozen strong yell like fury and jump on the counter. The natives who ran the canteen were well trained, at that stage they would bolt and leave everything, except money. The soldiers would help themselves to what beer they wanted and then get a couple of forty gallon kegs and roll them round the camp looking for a place to hide them until they got tired and left them for the natives to collect later.
The regimental funds paid for the beer and we soldiers donated towards the regimental funds. The natives got their money direct in cash and we paid indirectly and never noticed it, so everyone was happy. While on the subject of out of bounds leave, four of us spent an evening visiting brothels. We walked into each one, and took a mental note of the type and number occupying the room, the age group, and then pass on to the next. On the average there would be from six to nine women occupying a central room. Each girl having an adjoining room for her own use, many of them in their late twenties or early thirties. Some of these women were European, such as Italians or Greek.
If a girl from those countries stumbles as she is stepping out of her stepins, her family will not condone the mistake, and if she has no money of her own, there is little chance of her receiving shelter except through the brothels. There they are registered, given a certificate and have to parade before a doctor to get their certificate stamped every ten days. That was the law of the land while we were in Egypt.
Some few wander the streets as free traders, using cabs, seats in the parks or tables in coffee restaurants. These women usually were of the country and wore the attractive little white veil across the bridge of the nose. They were got up in attractive outfits of black flowing robe, white veil and dark eyebrows. Their big soft luminous eyes, held a sad hopeful, come to bed look. We were warned that they were mostly heavily diseased and were dangerous to look at, even across the street.
We must have visited some twenty brothels that evening. Some of them had up to a dozen girls, pale to white Egyptian children, the average age would be around twelve to thirteen we guessed.
These places were not in a part of the city frequented by soldiers and were for the convenience of the business section of Cairo citizens. These rooms have an old women in control. Life for these girls is short as disease catches up with them eventually, or if they escape disease age cannot be escaped.
In their thirties they have had their life and are not wanted any more. They probably work for a while and die of hunger and want at an early age. I saw women sitting in the streets, sorting rags and cigarette butts from the dust in the gutters. The breasts of the native women grow long, and hang down like eighteen inches of tyre tube as they sit in the gutter sorting through the dust and waste.
They are not all homeless. The social standing of a man depends to a great extent on the number of wives he can support. If he can get ahead enough to feed three he can get them all working and then soon acquires more wives. Thus our sophistication and education was rapidly advancing.
I have often thought that we could profit by copying the licensing laws of Cairo. There the drinking laws had only one restriction, and that was customers. Everyone seemed to have drink for sale as a main or side line. There was no novelty in having a drink, and all the time I was there I only saw one drunk Egyptian, and now I am not sure if he was drunk with alcohol or drugs. He was a cab driver that we hired to take us to the station. We got in his four-wheeler and being soldiers he thought we were bound for Zietoun camp. Without asking for directions he whipped up his horses to a gallop knocked down a policeman all dressed in white, narrowly missed many other obstructions, from people to vehicles. As we passed the railway station we left the flying cab one by one, and watched it disappear in the direction of Zietoun. If we in New Zealand stopped the novelty of drinking, and let everyone grow up with the knowledge that it was always obtainable and that there was no social novelty in procuring it, each one would learn to live with alcohol, control it and not be controlled by it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, but I think something could be achieved along these lines. Some small percentage of alcoholics we have always had, and will always have with us, sad and all as this is. I see no reason to suppose this percentage would increase, with the open door, round the clock type of licensing.
Dry heat and dust, grey sun baked camp, filled with brown sunburned youth, and stabled horses –everything organised by the clock, from reveille to lights out.
Route marches to expose the weak, and toughen the strong, all under the glaring sun, for “ mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun.”
The orderly Sgt., sallies forth and demands my presence before the Commanding Officer in the Orderly room,, with another trooper, to be told we were too young to go to the Peninsular War and if we liked we could stay behind and look after the horses.
The other boy said he wanted to go, so what else was there for me to say
So staying with our companions we both sailed in the troopship, across the Mediterranean to Lemnos.
It took two or three days and was a nerve racking trip. No smoking and no talking on the upper deck.
Submarine guards down both sides of the ship. A zigzag course was the means of protection. Most of the time we were in heavy fog and could not blow the foghorn. There were a great number of ships about and we could only see half the length of our own ship. Once we ran into a clear patch and had to reverse to stop running into a little island, and on our port bow a big square rigged ship put about for the same reason. Ships and enemy subs were everywhere and after the second day every one was nervy and jumpy. I felt sorry for the master and ship’s officers, their responsibility was heavy with a ship packed with young troops – an enemy torpedo and very few would be saved.
Lemnos harbour was packed with ships of all sizes, loaded with troops and supplies. We had to thread our way through them to find an anchorage. The next day our lot went ashore and were marched in company line over a stony paddock, halted and told to rest our kit bags that we had been carrying. In a few minutes someone told us that was our camp, just where we stood.
Believe me, with rows and rows, north, east, south and west, with blankets and kit bags all the same army issue, it was not easy to find where one slept. We slept on the soft stones and pushed the hard ones aside. In a little while the hard stones made little stone walls and little wind breaks, and the place began to get a home like feeling. We could pick our bed out with out much trouble. It was here I joined the signallers and learnt the Morse Code. It was here we worked and studied ten hours a day seven days a week. This stony patch, without roof or walls, just six feet by three feet was our home for six weeks. We had been issued with great thick woollen shirts and they were so hot in this climate, that we took them to the river and scrubbed them with stones to try to get them thinner, but they were such good quality that it was a long and tedious job. We knew if you washed every day it helped to prevent the infestation of lice, we knew that lice and armies in those days were a natural combination. We stripped off and bathed in the cold creek and hoped the lice would not like us.
I cannot remember having any soap, but we may have had it at times, I do remember using sand.
We were issued with heavy padded flannel, to wrap round over our kidneys and tie with tape. We were warned of dire consequences if we neglected to wear these. We did not like the wearing of this hot bandage about nine inches wide and yards long. One day three of us were at the beach and decided to swim out to a war ship anchored off shore. We stripped off and as I felt a bit itchy I examined this flannel bandage closely and found it alive with lice. I remember to this day the shock of this discovery, the feeling of horror as I threw the thing as far as I could, and never wore another as long as I was in the army. I must also add that I never got rid of the lice either as long as I was on Active Service. They were big grey horrors of body lice. Oh for some of the modern dust that could be shaken into the seams of your clothes. We got accustomed to having them with us and developed various ways of combating the evil. My favourite method was to put my clothes in a water bucket and cover them with water, put a stone on top to hold them down, and leave them for twenty four hours.
The trouble was the twenty four hours was not always easy to get. However to return to our swim and the warship – we swam out hoping they would take us on board and treat us to a meal. A change of food from army rations was greatly desired. However they would not let us on board, they had just painted the sides and were not having them marked, so we had to swim back. Half way in, one boy complained of cramp, so we swam slowly with him and he kept going until he reached shallow water and stood up. I was amazed to see his side all black, blue and yellow and to see the same fade to a natural skin colour almost at once as he stretched himself in standing. We were sad and disappointed about missing the anticipated ship’s rations. A stony walk to our six by three plot in the middle of a field, a struggle for food one could not care less about, and the sun had gone down and the night life on Lemnos Isle had started. On the island, for rest, refitting and receiving reinforcements were the Australians and New Zealanders. We were all getting paid and there was no where to spend money.
In the evenings the gambling schools collected the crowd. There were Crown and anchor boards by the dozens, small two up rings all over the place, and one large ring, where it cost fifty pounds (equal to $100) to start tossing the pennies. Most times if you liked to idle a little while, you would see some boy throwing the pennies for one thousand pounds or more. In the big schools they carried their money in haversacks slung round their necks. When the centre was set side bets would be set and collectively, there were always huge sums of money lying round the ring. If a boy got low in finance in the big ring he moved out into a smaller ring and endeavoured to build up his funds, to get back into the big school again. A few men sent large sums home through the ordinary post, as you could not register it without declaring what was in it. One man I knew always wrapped up 50 pounds in a brown paper parcel, tied with a bit of string and threw it in the post bag. At the time I was talking to him he had not lost a parcel. Another man had an account of over four figures in the bank of Egypt. We had one gentleman; known as C. & A. Bill, with a Crown and Anchor board, whose cry to attract attention was, “ Come on boys, flop it down thick and heavy, when I die it all goes to the Red Cross.”
He was calling out this advertising, and adding, “you comes broke and on hoof and you goes away in gold lined carriages, bulging with me profits.” This attracted the attention of a Brigadier General one evening. Our board proprietor got very uneasy but was encouraged to carry on. The General put half a crown on the square and lost it, he tried again and lost again. He remarked as he moved off that “he could not see much profit in the game.” The proprietor of the Crown and Anchor board thought differently. He did not die, and came back to New Zealand to collect many of his posted brown paper parcels. Some well educated young lady had bought his name at a red cross function in Auckland and wrote regularly to him. He was a good correspondent, and came to the signallers tent to read his mail and replies. What he lacked in English grammar and spelling, he made up in imagination. I am sure they each supplied the other with a great amount of entertainment.