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The Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel McCarroll
11th North Auckland Mounted Rifles - NZMR.


Diary Begins
Transcribed by Steve Butler for the NZMRA.

Wednesday 9th
August 1914

On Wednesday the 9th of August I arrived at Epsom Camp and took over command of the 11th Mounted Rifles of the expeditionary force. Captain Mackesy. Lieutenants Johnson Logan and Finlayson with about forty men were already in camp. These were mostly territorials. Lieutenant Smedley came into camp 11/8/14 and took over number three troop. The next few days we were very busy enrolling, men of all sorts came forward eager to serve in any capacity, men from the back-blocks, bushmen, surveyors, farmers. Some trained, lots untrained. Ex Imperial men inspired by the cabled accounts of the doings of their old regiments.

Out of this lot we were able to pick a squadron of very useful men. The selections of the N.C.O.'s caused some concern as some of the territorials were already serving as N.C.O.'s, but many of them were [too] young. However I started them all off as troopers and selected them as I got to know them.

Sunday 22nd
August 1914
The church parade this morning was a long affair. Large numbers of the public attending and acting as if it were more of a a circus than a service. The camp was packed with the public in the afternoon. We all expected this would be our last Sunday in N.Z. for some time
Monday 24th
August 1914
As seventy-five percent of the men were civilians they had to be equipped with everything. This was a big job but considering the same difficulties existed in the other centres the ordinance depot did good work. The fitting of boots was a difficult task. There was a parade for feet inspection - this was a weird turnout - I had no idea there was so much difference in feet. Quite a number of good men had to be discharged on this account, while others agreed to have their toes amputated (for hammer toe) on the voyage.
Wednesday 26th
August 1914
This was a very busy day in camp and in the evening the men received their first pay. The canteen did good business. Remounts are beginning to arrive now and the Vet. Officers have been passing the horses and valuing them. A large number of horses proved unsuitable, some were turned down on the score of price, some men placing very expensive values on them, while other men gave theirs at very low prices. I felt sad when "George" passed through their hands and became the property of the Government, but I feel I am not without a friend yet as he always comes when I call him. I have a very fine cob also that I have called "Bill", he and George are great friends. Men have been given leave very sparingly so far, but general leave for fifty percent is the order for Saturday.
Sunday 30th
August 1914

The church parade this morning was more soldier like, most of the men being in uniform. I put the men not fully equipped in the rear. Those without did not attend. The public as usual were in large numbers and did not behave any better than last Sunday, general leave this afternoon, this means twenty-five percent must stay to look after the horses.

Monday 31st
August 1914

The balance of the men are on leave today. Completion of equipment is carried out at intervals as the uniforms arrive. Musketry is now carried out at Penrose daily, and we are about complete as regard horses.  Some of our remounts are very green and require a lot of training. I usually take all the horses out when there are not enough men to ride them. They are led and thus are broken to the drill.  We are now finding out the men who cannot ride much.  Quite a lot are poor riders and a large number are not horsemen. The canteen continues to be used very much. I found quite a number of men were getting their tea there rather than cook it for themselves. I don't think I told you the system of messing: One man out of each tent of eight men did the cooking.- in some respects this was satisfactory when the men knew one another. But when men were strangers it wasn't much good. But all the same no one lost condition.

Sunday 5th
September 1914

Church Parade was a field service, none of the public being present. The Padre gave us a short practical service. General leave in the afternoon. Now we are beginning to think it is time we were leaving, we are fully equipped with our horses and saddles and can get a good parade, and all our bags are being numbered with each mans number.

Colonel Mackesy and Major Chapman have gone to Wellington (Tuesday) so we think the time for departure is near. Leave is being awarded to fifteen percent from now on. "Strangles" is becoming rife amongst the horses owing to carelessness of men in using any feed bag - they are as bad as children in some respects and a number of them require as much watching - quite a number have been discharged for drunkenness. I usually give them a chance, but when it is accompanied by leaving camp without leave they have to go. This has a good effect on the others.

Saturday 19th
September 1914

We were inspected today by the Honourable J. Allen Defence Minister. He went round all the lines and at mine he expressed himself as very pleased with the Squadron. Remarking that we were the only squadron equipped with military saddles. The march past was particularly well done. In the afternoon the right marched through the town and was much admired. I had leave off this afternoon and went to the Avondale races. I was told there was a great crowd in town in the morning as we were to have marched through then - a lot went home disappointed.
Colonel Major O.C.D. gave a dinner this evening for the men and officers for the Honourable Minister of Defence - it was a very practical affair. Some very good speeches and an excellent dinner.

Sunday 20th
September 1914

A short practical church parade this morning, troops only.  Large crowds this afternoon.  I saw quite a lot of people I know, all enquiring when and where we were going.

Monday 21st
September 1914

Went into town this morning to see the troopship and have a look at my cabin.  The right went out to the rifle range, but was recalled and paid up to Tuesday 22nd – this indicates an early move.

Tuesday 22nd
September 1914

Orders are issued that we have to ship our horses.  So we have to get an early start to enable us to get to the wharf at 7 am.  We did not get down until 8 am and of course the Embarkation Officer was upset and every other one got the same way.  You know Captain “W” and his ways, well everybody does not know him, but we got them on at last.
I left Mr. “F” and 20 men to look after our lot.  I took the men down and showed them their berths and mess room.  To say they were bewildered is putting it mildly, where were they going to put their coats, hats and rifles?  It all seemed impossible.  The bunks are three deep and close together, the bottom bunk lying on the floor and the place lit up with electric light.  However there it is, so being soldiers we will have to put up with it.  So we start back to walk to Camp.  We had very little breakfast and no dinner so I decided to get trams to take us home, for which we were all thankful.  We had a slack afternoon, no horses to worry about.

Wednesday 23rd
September 1914

At last we are to go.  Fell in at 9 am and were addressed by Colonel Major in a sensible way.  The Bishop of Auckland (Church of England) also addressed the troops.  I did not hear him as I was away seeing what we called the “waiting men”.  These men were hardly treated fairly – they were enrolled like the others, in fact we enrolled a few over the strength to fill up the gaps where men were discharged etc, but near the last 24 bandsmen had to be taken on the string and thus caused a lot of men too much.  So this left me with 20 odd men to leave behind – this was very hard on these men as they had made arrangements to leave.  But they are to go with the first reinforcements at any rate I spoke to them in a kindly way.  I told them I hoped to see them in the enemy’s country.
This caused me a lot of worry stressing new men who were to stay behind.  However all things come to those who wait.  So at last we leave for the Troopships.  We march through the town to the ship and stow our kits and file away to our future homes.  My batman had all my baggage down and packed in the cabin.  Major Schofield is in with me.  It is on the top deck, and nice and airy.  I went down to see how the men were fairing.  They are quite lost amongst bunks and horses.  But they managed to get some dinner, then we had to fall in at 2 pm to march to the Domain for the Official Farewell.  It was raining slightly so we had to take our great coats, and we found it very hot work.  It was a great sight in the Domain, one solid packed mass of humanity.
Amongst the crowd men’s sweethearts and wives and constant applications from men to fall-out.  To all requests I had to say “No” – I am getting quite hard hearted – the sight of a tearful sweetheart leaves me unmoved and unsympathetic.  We listened to the speeches of his Worship the Mayor of Auckland and the Premier.  Both spoke well, although against a heavy wind.  There is no need to repeat their speeches as they were fully reported in the newspapers.  Then the march past and through the streets back to the wharf.  Dense crowds lined the streets and in many places broke through the cordon formed by the Cadets.
It was too bad, in several places the crowd quite upset the boys and they were unable to see any of us.  At last we enter through the wharf gates and fall in near the ship.
When the roll is called, mine came first, I gladly got a rest.  No man was allowed aboard the ship if his name was not on the roll.  Light is failing but still the crowd hang on round the wharves.  The men have to find their bunks again, it seems impossible to ever get things straight, then the horses had to be fed, then tea time.  This was a sight for the Gods – everybody talking – everybody hungry, all excited.
We got the men quiet at last and we all get something to eat – then the ship is cast off and we are afloat.  We move out into the stream and anchor.
It is late before everyone is in bedbut we managed to get them all in some how.  The ventilation is not the best just yet, a visit to the horse lines is worthwhile, long rows of horses heads, on the either side they are in narrow stalls, not enough room to move just one step forward or backward – what an existence for seven or eight weeks.
My horses, just by good luck are in a different place, so I think they will do as well as any of them.

I went the rounds of the ship tonight and the impossible has almost happened, nearly all the men are in a bunk of course, a lot are on duty, guards all over the ship, extra men on the horses.  So I turn in for the first night aboard Troopship number 12.

Thursday 24th
September 1914

Thursday
We were all up early this morning, as we know we are to sail today.  First the horses have to be fed then the men have a spell before breakfast.  Troopships have to carry a lot of water, especially for horses, and because it did not flow freely a lot of grooming took place.  There is no chance for a fresh water bath and the salt water baths are not working too well yet.
About 9 am H.M.S. Philomel came along heading out to sea, we follow after number 8.  So it is not long before Auckland fades away from sight.   Soon sea-sickness starts, men are lying round the decks in all shapes – midday stables finds the absentees.  The horses are all ready for their feed, but as we get more into the open sea the ships begin to roll and pitch.  From our point of view number 8 seems to be getting a bad time.  There has just been a Nor-Easter and the sea is rough.  The afternoon passed uneventfully.  We are trying another arrangement for Tea tonight, but we are not troubled much as there are not many down.  We have just about enough to feed and water the horses – the weather is now improving and we hope for better times.  I am not feeling first class, so I take some sea-sick cure and lie down.  I had some Tea in bed.  I got up and had a look round about 8.45 pm and saw Cape Brett light and went to bed and woke up next morning at daylight and heard someone say “Why we are back again”.  I got up and sure enough there was Rangitoto, to say we were perplexed is mild – no one could understand – all we could get to know was that about 9 pm orders came to return to Auckland.
We are not allowed to leave the ship, so this gives us a good chance to get into the run of things.  The men quickly recover from their sickness and we have some drill when we can.

Saturday 26th
September 1914

We are getting on all right now.  Orders are coming in now, and I hear we are to go to camp again, we have more physical drill, and in the afternoon “Boat Drill”.  This is fun to see some of the fellows with the big oars on a choppy sea.  But it helps to kill time and is good exercise.  We hear everything’s working better in the men’s messroom now our mess is working alright.

Sunday 27th
September 1914

Have just been sent for to go ashore to find a camp site.  A launch takes us to Queen Street and a motor car is waiting and we go out to Otahuhu where a good site exists.  The  drive out by Onehunga – Mangare is splendid and very enjoyable.  We arrange for a water supply and then return to town.  Numerous enquiries are made:-“Why did we come back?”  “When were we leaving?” etc.  The various numbers were funny, I was told we had lost 17 horses and 3 men.  Other stories quite as silly.
An advance party left the ship to go out to erect camp.

Monday 28th
September 1914

Monday 28th
Orders to disembark are received and we come alongside Queen Street wharf and start to unload our horses.  We have to wait until dinner time before we can walk them off, so it is quite 5 pm before we all get out.  I went out by train to see that the camp was alright.  The advance party did good work and had the camp all ready for us.
There are about 500 men and horses and I am in command, so we settle down for the night.

Tuesday 29th
September 1914

Tuesday 29th
Rifle practice all day on the range and no leave at night.

Wednesday 30th
September 1914

Wednesday 30th
Regimental drill in the morning and the afternoon is devoted to washing clothes.  This was much needed and appreciated.

Thursday 1st
October 1914

Thursday 1st October 1914
Rifle practice again and a lot of talk about altering the ship, a lot of things happen re the ship etc. that I am unable to state here.

Friday 2nd
October 1914

Friday 2nd
Inspection by the general Officer in Command.  I arranged a scheme of attack on a detached post.  Lieutenant Johnson represented the enemy, and we had a good time.  General Godley spoke very favourably of our work.  There were some very good jumps and George was in his elemnet and jumped well.
I came back to Camp per motor and the G.O.C. and party had some tea while the band played for them.  He was very pleased with the band.  I don’t think I told you much about it before but it is good – but we have some fun learning them to ride.

Saturday 3rd
October 1914

Saturday
Rifle practice again, our men are doing well at the shooting.

Sunday 4th
October 1914

Sunday 4th
Church Parade by Reverand Mason – quite short.  The Camp is open to the public this afternoon and large numbers are present.  I met quite a lot of old friends – Eric and Sarah came out.

Monday 5th
October 1914

Monday 5th
Troop and Squadron drill all day.  The 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles who had been over at Takapuna came over and joined us.  Major Chapman taking over command of the Camp at Otahuhu.

Tuesday 6th
October 1914
Tuesday 6th October 1914
Orders have just come that we are to change to number 8 Transport (Star of India).  I went down and had a look at our new quarters for men and horses.  They are better than on number 12.  Our horses will all be together.
Wednesday 7th
October 1914

Wednesday 7th October 1914
Had all day leave, which I spent in Auckland.

Thursday 8th
October 1914
Thursday 8th October 1914
Reported at camp lunch-time. In afternoon attending to details.
Friday 9th
October 1914

Drill in morning and inspection by O.C.D. who expressed his pleasure at being present and at the appearance of the men and horses.  Orders were issued tonight that we were to embark at 9 am tomorrow.  This information gave great satisfaction – notwithstanding there was no leave.

Saturday 10th
October 1914

Up at 3 am fed and breakfast and struck camp and left at 6.15 am.  Arriving on the Queen’s Wharf at 9 am. And commenced embarkation.  All our horses (about 400) were on board by 11 am.  Kits and saddles had to be stowed, a good number of men were allowed to go up town to get lunch.  The Colonel Major Mackesy Father and your humble lunched together.  I had a walk up the street returning to the ship to finally embark.  I am very pleased to say all the men returned in good order and on time.  They appreciated the confidence placed in them.
At 5 pm we moved out from the wharf into the stream, great crowds lined the wharf and vessels in port, so again we are afloat, but anchor in the stream.  The men find their way about a little better now after the first trip, our horses are all on one deck – so I can walk round and see every horse.  The men’s quarters are fairly tight.  The men in the corners are rather short of good air, but the place is kept very clean.  The young fellows will be quite good housewives after so much scrubbing and sweeping.  They enter into the fun of it splendid, going about in bare feet and not too much clothing.  We are not near so crowded on this ship (Star of India) and we have eight doctors, so you will see our health is looked after.  Went to the Orphan’s Club tonight.

Sunday 11th
October 1914

 No service today as there is a medical inspection – one man sick T.McC.  I went over to the other ship on business – returning for lunch – no leave today.  Launches coming about all day with lady friend onboard it was funny to see them trying to kiss some of the boys as they leaned over – while others were quite jealous and passed remarks.
At last at 5 pm we are ready for a start.  The Pilot is aboard and the anchor is up – along comes H.M.S. Philomel and on the tick of 5 pm we start. Numerous launches and Ferry Boats accompanying us blowing their whistles and gradually we get too quick for them and they drop behind, and in the growing dusk Auckland fades from view – for how long?
Great crowds lined the shores as we went away.  Numerous signals were exchanged.  It certainly was a fine sight, and nature was kind re the weather.

the Japanese warship "Ibuki" among the escorts to protect the transports as they leave Auckland.

Monday 12th
October 1914

There was great guessing last night as to where we were going.  Compasses were consulted and we decided we were making for Wellington.  The weather was fine and not much sea-sickness, in consequence most are early risers so reveille at 6 am found most of us up.  The horses have to be fed, then the men have to be ready for breakfast at 8 am, then there is a parade at 10 am.  We had physical drill for about one hour in which I joined.  After this we formed small classes and a sort of lecture is given explaining duties et cetera.  This brings us to stables at 12 noon, Dinner at 1 pm, General Parade at 2 pm.  At 2 pm I rather sprung a surprise on the boys, marched them along to the hospital, where each man has to be inoculated with Typhoid Serum.  I led the way, followed by the other officers.  It does not take long, so all hands were pleased when I told them there would be no more drill that day.  A fair number were sick.  I don’t think I told you how we sail along with the Philomel first then the number 8 and number 12.  We being in the middle can see the other ships, sometimes number 12 comes very close, and we can hear their band quite distinctly, and it sounds very nice.
We passed East Cape at lunch time today and the weather continues fine.
Towards night the inoculation business begins to sting and there are not many looking for fun and shortly after tea most men are in bed.
I had a look round and then turned in.

Tuesday 13th
October 1914

Nobody feeling very bright this morning, but we manage to get things going, the men are very willing so we soon get through the necessary work.  No Parade this morning.  Weather beautiful.  “The sea is as calm as a sheet of glass and the breeze that blew is as gentle as an infants touch”.  The Waimana came within 100 yards and we were able to hail each other.  We got quite a scare this morning, the war ship suddenly went straight out to sea. We thought a German boat had been seen, but it turned out she only went out for practice. 
We get the war news by wireless – so I just heard that Antwerp had fallen.  We have quite a lot of Generals onboard and it is fun to hear them expound their views on how the war should be fought, and what should have been done.
I am beginning to think I am a good sailor having not missed a meal yet, this ship is very steady.  No Parade this afternoon, but there was a lecture for the officers by the Colonel.

Wednesday 14th
October 1914
Arrived in Wellington harbour at 6 am after a splendid trip.  No leave, so just the usual routine.  Wellington has a splendid deep water harbour, but the wind soon got up and with it a rough sea.  There was very few boats about.  All the Troopships (10) anchored at 5 pm.
Thursday 15th
October 1914

Went ashore this morning, the sea was fairly rough, there are very few launches quite a contrast to Auckland or our own Whangarei.  The boat I went in went all round the Troopships, so I saw a good many old friends.  It was good fun watching the newspaper boys selling papers – the men would drop the money down, then the boys threw the papers up, and quite half of them missed and fell into the water.
We had time to look round the city, it is very different from Auckland, but there are some pretty spots about.
We did the rounds of the Troopships coming back, there was only two ships not allowed ladies aboard.  Some very plucky ones took the trip on but some cases they did not see their boys.
The boys were very disappointed at no leave tonight, but a few that had parents got ashore for about an hour.  There was a boat came out with stores.  On our boat no ladies were allowed.  So while the stores were being loaded through a side door in the ship, one lady got through and was amongst the horses and got to see her boy.  There was only one or two who saw her, so nothing was said and she had quite a good time for ten minutes.
We expect to sail early on Friday.
Steam is up and on the tick of 6 am H.M.S. Minotaur steams out followed by the Japanese warship, then the Troopships follow one behind the other out.  All the officers are on the bridge, and as we pass the Forts where the Governor stands our band plays the National Anthem.
The great crowds of the hills cheer as we pass and then we pass a Ferry boat packed with humanity.  There are very few boats about as it is fairly rough, and as we get further away we loose sight of the houses, we realise that we are really leaving New Zealand.
All aboard seem happy, so fortunately as we get clear of the harbour the weather improves so much that there are hardly any on our ship who are sick.  We clear Cook Straight and now about 4 pm we are in our sailing positions, which each ship is expected to keep.  I will give you a sketch of them so that you can have an idea of our method of protection.



Transcribers note: I have inked in over what I believe some of the figures are meant to represent. Some are difficult - perhaps it is 30 officers and not 31 Officers onboard the "Tahiti" - I left the men number out because the number could be 611 or looking closely at the faded script it could be 621 - Likewise aboard the "Ruapehu" perhaps it reads 31 Officers and 785 men - however 244 horses is written clearly enough. "Star of India" looks like 31 Officers but it may be 36. Note also that the Colonel writes in the top left and lower right: "About 12 miles - Scout - name unkown"

Saturday 17th
October 1914

all the port holes are supplied with screens, at night these are put on so that from the outside no light can be seen.

Up as usual at 6 am, not so calm and very little sickness. I missed breakfast, on Duty all day and night.
sea and wind increased - along with the sea-sickness. No work done. Nothing to see but the other ships.

I hear we are making for Hobart.

Sunday 18th
October 1914

Sea still rough, ship rolling a good deal, a lot of sea-sickness.  No Service.  I got a number of the band to play – this helped to cheer us up a bit.  It is a strange sight to see all the vessels sailing so neatly keeping in their places notwithstanding the rough sea and constant communication is kept up with the flagship, Maunganui by signals.  I had a look through that wonderful system of wireless.  We get the wireless every night with it. The weather turning cold – all retire to their cabins.  Our Padre (Guy Horton) goes about amongst the men cheering them up in their sickness and getting them books etc.  The horses are doing very well.  George is doing quite all right but Bill is not quite so good, in fact it is owing to my Groom that he is so well.  All men have there uses.

Monday 19th
October 1914

Two months since I left home, what changes there have been.  The weather  moderated this afternoon and nearly all the men were able to be up so I think we will get on better with duties are fairly heavy.  Lights out at 7 pm and no lecture, so we will go to bed early.

Tuesday
October 1914

Tuesday
No change.  Sea all around but smoother, pay day on Thursday, busy all day getting pay books signed.
One horse from the 4th Regiment died this morning.
Orders have just come that we are all to go ashore tomorrow for a two hour march through the town of Hobart which we expect to reach at 12 noon tomorrow.  No telegrams or cables can be sent, but we are allowed to send letters.
A whale passed close by the ship to day.  Nearly all the men are now fit for duty.
No lecture tonight as the ship is to be darkened and we are to retire to our cabins reading till bed time.

Wednesday 21st
October 1914

Wednesday 21st October 1914
At 6 am land is very easy seen and by 7.300 we are running up the Derwent to Hobart.  This is splendid harbour clear deep water and as we get along, with our glasses we see snow at the tops of the mountains.  The hills nearly all covered with bush with just here and there some hardy pioneer has made a home.
As we approach town some very pretty spots come into view, but no great grass is to be seen.  At 12 noon we are tied up to the wharf quite close to the town in 45 feet of water there is only about 4 feet rise and fall in the tide here.
We had an early dinner and then we go for a march on shore.  There does not seem to be many people about, evidently they did not know we were coming.  At any rate the few people in the back streets that we went through gave us a cheer.  The march was very trying as a lot of men had been sick for days, and the heat was very trying, quite a number fell out.  But I am pleased to say none of the 11th.
This is a fairly old town and quite a lot of the houses are in brick and remind me of the old country style.  For some unaccountable reason we saw very little of the good part of town.  We went through narrow streets, and the children look dirty – as this is a hilly town now and then we got some very good views of the town.  One bay looked very charming, quite a lot of yachts and launches.
The Governors house is very good, more like a castle.  We halted once on the road and the people very kindly brought us out drinks – it was funny to see where the cigarettes came from, we are very stupidly not allowed to smoke them on the ship, so you can imagine how the boys enjoyed them.
We were not allowed to stay on shore, so we only saw the town while on the march.  We got back to our ship about 4.30 pm and at 5.30 pm steamed out to an anchorage and as usual they treated us like children by giving no leave.  Of course they said Officers could go – but we declined, without thanks, as a lot of the men are good fellows and we think they can be trusted.

The town seems quite “Fairy-like” with all the lights burning, and it is quite a change to have a steady ship.  As I am for duty tomorrow I turn in.

 

Thursday 22nd
October 1914

Thursday
Fine weather still, the town looks well as the sun rises and shines on the beautiful slopes, one think of Auckland, but it is not nearly as pretty as Auckland is in the early morning sun.  There are not nearly so many boats about, but a few launches that are about in the morning are very good ones. 
We are all getting our letters ready as the mail closes at 11 am.  Our horses had not such a good time last night as the ship was not moving and quite a number fell while asleep.  George and Bill are doing alright.  Oswald’s horse has a bad cold, but otherwise my lot are good.

We leave here at 3 pm and with the aid of our glasses we see the country again.  We are not very far away when the ship begins to roll, so as the daylight is leaving us the land disappears and soon we are in our sailing formation.
Friday
October 1914

Friday

I woke up this morning about 3 am with the warships siren blowing.  I go out and find a very heavy fog has settled down, and soon all the ships are sounding their whistles, it seems quite weird all this noise and no ships in sight, but about 7 am it all clears off.  It is wonderful how the way they handle their ships.  The sea is fairly rough now and a few men are sick again and it is cold, and a lot of spray about.  Very little work is doing.  Distributed the chocolate donated by the A&P League.  Not much work done today owing to the rough weather.
Saturday 24th
October 1914

Saturday 24th
Better weather to day and our men do some washing in the morning and some musketry in the afternoon.  The target was a small bouy on the end of a rope, but it was not much good.
Measles are coming about now.

I am kept going now quite a lot of things to learn, French, German, prepare for lectures – so you can see we have not much spare time.
Sunday 25th
October 1914

Sunday 25th
Church Service by Guy Thornton at 11 am.  Nothing but reading in the afternoon.
Another case of Measles taken to the Hospital.

Church meeting in the evening by G.T.
Monday 26th
October 1914

Monday 26th
P. drill in the morning.  3rd Regiment musketry.  Just heard that a man died on the “Ruapheu” last night, and was buried at 4 pm this afternoon, all work is stopped on all the ships and every man stands at attention while the funeral service is read, then when finished the ensign is run up to the mast head, all the engines are started and we go on the same as ever.  I heard he died of Potamaince poisoning.

The Measles are increasing, Oswald B has been sent to Hospital.  Our present Hospital is too small - as we fear it will go right through the ship.  The hold that the Signals were in has been turned into a hospital, and they are camping on the deck.  To add to our troubles one of the Firemen has gone off his head and requires constant watch.  Our medical officer Colonel Batchelor was going down to see Oswald and others this evening  [when he] slipped and fell breaking a rib and cutting his head.  Fortunately we have plenty of Doctors onboard.  I believe some of them will get the Measles also.  We are due at Albany Wednesday, so I hope we will be able to keep the number of patients down, as we might have to be left there.  As I am for Duty tomorrow I turn in at 10.15 pm.
Tuesday

Tuesday
Wet morning, went to see how the sergeants fared and found them all well they are taking it all right and hoping for better times.  They shifted into number one hold where they will at least be dry.  The weather cleared about 11 am and I got the wind sails down to the holds where the men and horses are, which proves a great blessing. [fresh air vented below by adjusting canvas sails].
The usual lecture on German tonight.
No war news for quite a while and we are looking forward to getting papers and letters at Albany. [Pert, Australia].

 

Wednesday
October 1914

Wednesday
Dull weather but land is in sight and all are cheering up except the Measles patients.
Albany is a sight, a wide and deep harbour, we are all able to keep formation right in and come up to anchor in the same position.
A very business like funnel man-o-war is coming out to meet us.  It is H.M.A.S. Melbourne and very smart she looks as we pass quite close.  We can see the Australian fleet of Transports, 28 of them, they look a wonderful sight, never before has such a sight been seen.

I will have to cut off here as the mail is closing 11.30 am.
Wednesday
October 1914

[Note: new batch of pages start here on the same day after posting the batch above]
Wednesday 25th 12 noon.

Beautiful weather.  Nothing of importance this afternoon, nothing but sand hills allround.
Thursday
October 1914

Thursday
Exercise the horses by putting matting down on the iron deck, we are able to give our horses a walk of a quarter of a mile, that is six times round the deck.

Went up to the town tonight but came to anchor near the wharf, just a patient (mental) had to be landed, so we did not see anything of the town.  But there is a fine inner harbour, beautiful deep water.
Friday 27th
October 1914

Friday 27th

Inspection by the G.O.C. who seemed pleased.  Some drill, lecture at night.
Saturday
October 1914

Saturday

Boat drill this morning.  I went with them and visited the “Waimana” – saw a lot of men I knew.  They have some Measles aboard, otherwise allright.  Concert onboard this evening.
Sunday
October 1914

Sunday 30th
Sharp at 5.30 am the men-o-war ships came past.  We are right out on the outside of the harbour so all the boats had to pass us, after the warships the Australian Forces came along. Twenty-eight ships, all fine big ones but just in their ordinary paint!

We got a very good view of them as they went by, we the N.Z. followed in the original formation, it is indeed a great sight – 38 all told, full of men and horses going on this long journey to fight for their country. Then there are the escorts, but I must not put in writing anymore about them.  Church Service at 11 am.  Here at sea a service was being held on over 40 ships at the same time.  Our Band is indeed a great help to us.  Very warm this afternoon, the sea is very calm.  The Captain told me he had never seen it so calm here before.  So we are hoping for a good trip.
Monday
November 1914

Monday
Usual routine, good weather.  Lecture this evening by Colonel Begg – Hygiene and sanitation.

One of our horses, 485, died this morning early.

 

Tuesday 3rd
November 1914

Tueday 3rd
Weather changing, sea getting rough.  I was nearer seasick than at any other time on the voyage.  Ship still rolls very heavy, in fact one sea came up to our deck.  I gave a lecture to the officers on musketry this evening.  Sea still rough.

Wednesday 4th
November 1914

Wednesday 4th

Last night was the roughest night we have had, towards morning the ship rolled [so] much several horses fell.  But towards noon the sea calmed somewhat.  A good number of men were sick again.  The weather is beginning to feel hot now.  Lecture tonight was very trying, with the heat one of our horses is very sick, don’t think he will pull through.

Thursday 5th
November 1914

 

Thursday 5th November 1914
The heat today has been very trying, quite a lot have turned out in tropical clothing, and the rest have left off their tunics. 
Our horse died last night from pneumonia.

We did some very good shooting today.  About noon today our rear guard went away south very quick, we could, with the aid of our glasses, see smoke a long way off, and it turned out to be the R.M.S. Osterly and she overhauled us at 6 pm.  So I expect she will have to stay with us now.  This caused a little excitement for awhile until we reach some port.  The sunset tonight was beautiful and the sea was calm, so we are enjoying ourselves, as best we can under the circumstances.  We had a very trying time at the lecture tonight with the heat.
Friday 6th
November 1914

Friday 6th November 1914.

The weather continues hot and we don’t do much work now.  The horses are beginning to feel the heat, very tame and quiet day.
Saturday 7th
November 1914

Saturday

Hot weather, a canvas bath is now rigged up, it gets good patronage.  Not much doing all day.  We had a concert tonight at which I presided.  I announced that the Band would give a song for which I got a lot of chaff, but the Band did play a verse of the song “It’s a long way to Tipperary”.  So that I was not so far wrong.  There is some very good talent aboard.
Sunday 8th
November 1914

Sunday 8th November 1914
Full dress Parade for Church this morning and the heat was very trying, but up on the bridge deck it was not so bad.  I went to sleep and and disturbed all the others, so they say.

No lights are allowed, and it is hot in the cabins with the door shut, we just have to sit and lie about the deck until bed time.
Monday 9th
November 1914

Monday 9th November 1914
Great excitement this morning.  Strange signals were heard on the wireless and then S.O.S. two or three times, then the words “Foreign Warship entering harbour” – no more.  About 7.30 am we saw the “Sydney” warship going full speed to the west.  We could see her with the glasses and she just looked as if she was going through the water – throwing it up over her bows, and she disappeared out of sight.  About two hours later the other warships went full speed in the same direction.  About 11.30 news came that the Sydney had engaged the enemy, who had beached to save from sinking.  This news was received with great enthusiasm.  A little later a message came that that the enemy was the “Emden” and that the “Sydney” was after the collier.  Great excitement prevailed on our ship, but I am sure the Australians were greatly pleased, as you know the Emden had done a lot of harm.  It turns out she was only 40 miles away from us, so that we had a close call.  This will be a great day for Australia, I hear the causalities were two killed and 13 wounded.  But no more news has come through and we are all eagerly waiting.

The wireless operator at Cocos Island did good work by standing by and sending the message until the place was wrecked.  He stopped so sudden that we concluded that’s what happened.  We waited all the rest of the afternoon and night but no further news came through.  So ends a memorable day for Australia and the Empire and our first day under fire.

photograph lighthorseman J Campbell 1914 - entering Colombo breakwater
Tuesday
November 1914

Tuesday
Not much news except that at one time on Monday night the Emden was only 20 miles away.  This news of course produced a lot of know alls – they felt they were in danger etc.

Weather very hot to day.  Men enjoying the bath very much.  The main topic of conversation is the naval fight between the Sydney and the Emden and we are eagerly awaiting details.
Wednesday 11th
November 1914

Wednesday 11th
Weather still very warm, we have to make the men keep their clothes on now as the doctors say exposure to the sun is most injurious – no war news.

Horses and men all well.
Thursday 12th
November 1914

Thursday 12th
No war news.  The “Empress of China” passed us today on the way to the Cocos Islands for prisoners and possible salvage from the Emden.

We are making preparation for the visit of “Father Neptune” to morrow.
Friday 13th
November 1914

Friday 13th
Raining very hard since daylight until dinner time.  This with other causes spoiled our mornings fun – Our intention was to dip all the officers in the morning and then the men could do their part in the afternoon.  We had quite a lot of costumes ready – all for nothing.  In the afternoon we got the big canvas bath up on the running deck and nearly filled it with water.  They dressed up a “Father Neptune” and all his court and got all those that had never been over the line – then they started on the officers who had not been over [the equator] and dipped them.  They then insisted on putting all the officers through.  I protested that I had been over, but they said “not as a soldier” – and of course I had to go.  I dressed suitably and I made sure that all the others went through, Padre and all – He was charged with using obscene language – and caused great fun.
We were all charged with some offence – ridiculous of course.  I think all aboard this ship will remember crossing the line.
This morning the junior apprentice was operated on for appendicitis, he was in a bad way I hear.

We heard that a German warship was ashore somewhere.
Saturday
November 1914

Saturday
Back to duty again after yesterdays fun.  There was about half a dozen men who missed Father Neptune yesterday, but I think they will taste his waters sometime on the quiet.
The weather is beautiful today., sea calm and not too hot.  We were to have a concert to night but in consideration of the sick it has been postponed.

15/11/14 just arriving at Colombo.
Sunday 15th
November 1914

Sunday 15th
At early dawn we could see the Lighthouse and gradually the town of Colombo came into view.  The harbour is quite open and shipping is protected by a very fine breakwater, one of the best in the world.  All our (New Zealand) ships went in with the six warships with the usual shipping filled the harbour up.
The ships are moored bow and stern to buoys and you could throw a stone to the one ahead and to the one astern.  These lines are a ships length apart and it was a great sight to see them all packed in.
About 10.30 H.M.A.S. Sydney came in and passed close to us.  We all stood to attention and no cheering.  We could see all the German prisoners onboard, it must have been a sight for them to see what they missed.  The shot holes in the Sydney were plainly seen., so they had something to show.
I will say nothing much about the fighting, there being so many rumours about, but I believe this is correct.

The Sydney engaged her as soon as they came into range, the Emden replying, soon the Emden took fire and made for the shore – the Sydney then went to look for the other one but without success.  She returned and still found the flag flying on the Emden, she signalled for them to pull down the colours, receiving a reply that they would not.  Sydney again opened fire on her and the flag was slowly lowered.  It was at this time that about 100 of her men were killed.  The others were then taken prisoners and well treated.

The Sydney then sent  a boat to the Collier who fired and injured two men in the boat.  They returned to the Sydney who immediately sank the Collier.  It turns out she was a British ship manned by Germans, one they had caught somewhere.
This has caused a great relief in this quarter among shipping people.
Numerous native boats were out to meet us, then when we anchored they simply swarmed round us, diving for pennies, do your washing etc.

As we had Measles aboard, no one was allowed ashore, but I obtained permission to go on Duty, so Colonel Begg, Major Murray (Drs.) Captain Kerney, Lieutenant Verrain (Ships Officers) and myself went ashore after lunch, and after doing our business went to see the sights.  We got the ships boat to take us about half a mile to the jetty, but as it was Monday morning when we returned I will include that trip in Mondays [entry].
Monday
November 1914

Monday
When we land at the jetty numerous natives come to do anything for you.  But we make straight up the town and separate to do our business first agreeing to a rendezvous at a time.  We got a motor car and away we go, soon we have the modern part of the city with its beautiful buildings, splendid hotels, one we visited.  G.O. H. is magnificent place – with fitted up we then go through the nature part [thronged] with people.  Tiny little bullocks pulling a cart trotting about eight miles an hour – then we would meet a bigger pair of bullocks with a cart hauling produce of the country, they are poor miserable things compared to ours, having a hump on their shoulders, and nearly all of them are a yellow white colour.
The Coconut trees, palms and other trees are very pretty, and the drive through is very enjoyable.  We pull up at Mount Livinia Hotel, this is a beautiful place.  Entering at the front through a clump of beautiful trees – through the house and here endless small tables are placed everywhere – you come out into a wide balcony and below you is the sea, which looks fine – you no sooner take a seat, then along comes the servant and you can get anything to drink – spirits, beer, tea, coffee or Cocoa.
You can buy almost anything here from tiny toys to silver – nearly all made in Birmingham.  We do not tary as our car is waiting for us so we go back another way through avenues of tropical trees, quaint houses of the natives – then into the better part of the suburbs there are some very nice residential houses have well to do natives and white population.  There are some beautiful gardens here.  We arrive back in the town after a very enjoyable run along – we travelled about 50 miles.  We wandered about the town, all the native shops only are open and they pester us to buy things, they ask twice the value of things, and it is quite a mistake to give them what they ask.  After buying what we want we walked along to the hotel were we had ordered dinner.  Carrying our parcels some youngsters came and wanted to carry them for us.  We part up and they ask where we are going and away they go.  We try to keep up, but it was too hot, so we decided to get them behind us to follow us for two reasons.  We find quite a lot of other officers from the other ships, and as it is early yet we enjoy a yarn with others.
This is the best Hotel (Galle Jaci) it is a great size and a immense dinning room nearly twice the size of the Whangarei Town hall, all small tables.  Dinner starts at 8 pm and carries on to 12 pm.  We had a splendid dinner and feel at peace with all the world.  There is a splendid swimming bath attached and we enjoyed it very much.  Like the other hotels you can buy anything here..  After dinner still lookinhg for more excitement we got a rickshaw to go into town – again we are taken through the native part and by night it looked fine – nearly all the shops – one wonders how they all live.  But there seems to be thousands of them.  Our drivers – or pullers can’t speak English – so we don’t know where they are taking us.  We all pull up – instantly we are surrounded by a motley crowd, all jabbering – I try them with Maori without result – At last a native policeman comes up and we get him to direct our pullers to a Public Hall.  We pay them off and decide it is too hot to go into a picture show, so we have a walk again.  Then we get into the rickshaw again and away we go – as we say – to race one another.  I was the lightest of the party so you may guess we were glad it was dark.
We are taken back to the Hotel and we rest there etc. and then taking these human horses again make for the jetty – very well pleased with our trip to Colombo.
It is really a wonderful place and well worth seeing, the natives are very small and wiry looking lot and quite unlike our natives.  We saw some very fine looking Sikhs, but very few women.  The female white population look very washed out, so hot here for white people, although while driving and in the buildings it is fairly cool.
We have a native team to pull us out to the ship, and retire to our cabins quite satisfied.

Monday 16th October [again the Colonel nominates this day as Monday and names the month October by mistake].

I am on duty today and orders have come that the men can go ashore in batches of 30 under an officer this is the [most pleasant] order we have had for some time.  This was carried out up to 2 pm when along comes another order that all leave is to be stopped and the men are to return to the ship.  There were only about 20 of my men ashore so you can guess that this order caused some annoyance.  However through some mix up all the men got ashore – the original time for the ship to sail was 6 pm but the new orders were for 4.30 pm so quite a lot of men missed the ship and were left on shore.  We arranged for a small steamer to fetch them out about 10 pm, a few missed this and got a launch.  Some more enterprising went to the Japanese Warship and asked them to them aboard which they did – 17 missed altogether and were picked up next morning, 4 were mine – they were all fined some 10/- [ten shillings] others one pound.  So notwithstanding they mostly had a good time.
Tuesday
November 1914

Tuesday
After the late arrivals came aboard we left for I believe – Aden.  We did not get much war news at Colombo, but we hear that war was declared on Turkey, so we feel that we might get left about Suez. 
Had a busy day dealing with the defaulters, but I thought of my young days and I don’t think they grumbled much.
We left 10 Australian ships behind to get water etc. they are faster than us and will catch up – so farewell Colombo.

Wednesday 18th
November 1914

Three months since I left home.  The heat is very solid right now and the Measles fortunately is dying out, very little sickness.  The sea is very calm and all the ships are visible.  The ones we left at Colombo are not up yet.  Our horses are still doing well, one of ours fell the other night and we had quite a job with him.

Thursday 19th
November 1914

Still very warm – Oh for a New Zealand night, we sweat all night, nearly all the men are on the deck at night.  We have to be continually watching that they don’t slip on the edge, as they might slip over the side.  Heard this morning that the doctor taken ashore at Colombo has died – Dr. Webb.  We had a memorial service at 11 am.
It appears he was taking part in Father Neptune’s display aboard the “Arawa” when he dived off the horse boxes into the bath and broke his neck.  Sad that so promising a young man should have such a sad end.

Friday
November 1914

Friday
Lectures have not been a success so they are off again for awhile.  My Squadron have been inoculated for Typhoid again today.  Very little sickness about now but the weather is so hot that there is little work doing, men are just lying about everywhere – the same at night.  It is funny to see some of the places they get into.  Kenny Stevens has rigged up a bed on one of the rafts.  It is funny to see him fixing it up.  A lot of the officers are on the bridge deck, but I have stuck to the cabin.

Saturday 20th
November 1914

Saturday 20th November 1914
Not feeling too bright after the inoculation.  Just heard of the death of a young man on the “Maunganui” – he was buried at 9.30 am.  I forgot, that yesterday afternoon the ten ships that we left at Colombo came in sight, and we had orders to join them and go onto Aden for coal, well at daylight this morning they were a long way back.  It now turns out that a man fell overboard off one of the leading ships and they went astern to pick him up – when the ship immediately behind bumped into her – fortunately without much damage.
We had a very good concert this evening, C. Smedly is very useful in this way and we have very good talent aboard.

Sunday
November 1914

A very quiet day.  Our Padre is laid up and a [Private] Fitzgerald took the service.  G.T. usually gives us a Baptist Service but the General gave a C. of E. and not content with the service in the book supplied gave something else.  Still hot and unable to do anything.

Monday 23rd
November 1914

Monday 23rd November
The 10 Australian ships are now with [us] and quite close.  Nothing much doing.  I examined all the N.C.O.’s today.  We have had no war news for a long time now so we are looking forward to arriving at Aden.  We passed the Sopotra Islands today, but saw no sign of life

Wednesday 25th
1914

At daylight we arrived at Aden, but no one was allowed ashore.  This place is strongly garrisoned , quite a bit of shipping here.  There was eight Transports here with English Territorials  bound for Bombay.  A party of about a dozen officers visited the [“Williwarra”] this evening and they were quite as eager for news as we were.  They seemed a bit sick at being sent out of England, just when trouble starts., but that they thought all right being sent home [England].  These were in the command of Lord Glenesk who was very pleased to see us.  After exchanging yarns for about two hours we left.  They gave us three good cheers as we left and we returned with a Maori cry.
This place is very busy with warships.

Thursday 26th
November 1914

Thursday 26th November
Sharp at 6 am we leave and have received a message from the Japanese warship saying Good Bye and wishes us success.  He said it was one of the most pleasant trips of his life.  We replied in suitable terms.  (Our General is very good at this – he calls it tact).
We are now altogether again., and as the weather is clear we get a fine view of the Australian ships, about 2 pm we pass Turkish ports that were smashed a few days ago by the Indian troops and just later we pass Perium and Island at the mouth of the Red Sea.  This looks very formidable and certainly commands the sea.  We met quite a lot of transports coming along, one was marked 152.  This shows that Britian commands the sea.  We hear there might be trouble at the Suez, so we are all eager for news.  I will not be surprised if we land there.  The weather is very hot now, and very little clothing is required – the nights are very hot and a decent sleep is hard to get.

Friday
1914

Friday
Nothing new today – we overtake three Transports with Indian troops aboard.  The weather is very trying to our horses, otherwise things are just as usual.  We have got up a bridge and crib tournament which helps to kill the time.

Saturday
november 1914

Saturday
Hardly a breath of wind today very hot, and the stench onboard is very solid.  We passed some more Transports today and we met a lot returning.  About 3 pm a message was received that we might disembark at Suez, this caused a bit of excitement aboard and leaves us wondering where we will go.

The Maunganui and Orvets, the flag ships, have gone on ahead to make arrangements.  Now the men are tumbling over one another to tell of things they have lost, one man has lost everything, he should have never left home.
Sunday
November 1914

Sunday

Small attendance at Church Parade.  G.T. still unable to take the service.  A lot of work is doing now – everybody busy.
Monday
November 1914

Monday
Still running through the Red Sea, the weather is getting cooler, we don’t see so many white suits about.  I put mine away.
Lost another horse last night, this makes my third – not so bad for such a long trip.
We have been keeping our usual line since leaving New Zealand.
Overhauling our saddles and gear today.  Sergeant Hamshaw fell down number one hold early this morning and fractured his pelvis.  Otherwise no sickness.  We are to arrive at Suez tomorrow morning, this will get us clear of the mines that the Turks are reported to have put out for us.

The sunrise is a particularly fine sight here.
Thursday 1st
December 1914

Thursday 1st December 1914
Early this morning we arrive at Suez, not much to see but sand.  We wait until 2 pm and up anchor for the Canal which we enter at 2.30 pm.  We are seventh ship, then follow the Australian ships.  It is a great long line, we are unable to see the rear.  What a sight for De Lessepps if he could see his works now.  There are a few buildings at the entrance to the Canal and you see the town in the distance.  While we were taking the pilot onboard an accident happened.  He brings 6 Arabs with him to run to run ropes ashore to tie the ships up if necessary – they and their boat were being hoisted up onto the ship, and had got nearly all the way up when the rope broke and tipped two of them out, and the boat fell and evidently hit an Arab, a sailor slipped down a rope and caught him by the hair and held him up until rescued.  We started to launch a boat but a launch came along and picked him up – two of our doctors went down and the man soon revived.
The canal has a sameness about it – through sandy desert all the way, but it is a wonderful work when you see the country and recognise the difficulties that were met.  The Sweet Water Canal runs near the Canal in a lot of places.
The Canal is very strongly picketed and patrolled by Indian troops.  They were greatly excited at seeing so many troop ships.  They have built any amount of trenches and sangers along the bank.  We could see the sentries in the moonlight, we arrived at Port Said at 3.30 am this was a quick passage and quite unusual – all other shipping gives way to us.  There are some very big dredgers in the canal.

Wednesday 2nd
1914

Wednesday 2nd December
Arrived at Port Said at 3.30 am and we are packed in quite close in the harbour.  Soon coaling starts, we don’t need any but we can see them at other ships quite close.  There are nearly 200 Arabs and they carry coal up in baskets about 70lbs each.  There is a continual stream going up one plank and returning down another at the trot.  They really do work hard and for the small sum of nine pence a day.  No trade union here – a continual jabbering all the time is kept up.
We receive definite orders that we are to go to Egypt for the winter for training – landing at Alexandria thence to Cairo.

The Troopships leave at 2.30 pm for Alexandria.  We steam through a long lane of ships, past the H.M.S. Swiftsure, the flagship, then big French ones.  It is very nice to see the exchange of salutes between ships.  The Frenchmen dip their flag and play us a salute as we pass.  This is almost continuous as we pass through the Australasian fleet.  We were close enough to throw biscuits onto them and the discipline was reflected in the behaviour of the men by indiscriminate cheering and whistling, but our boys behaved splendidly, standing to attention as the bugle blew – soon we pass the statue of De Lessips the engineer who constructed the canal that stands on the entrance – then we are out into the Mediterranean Sea.  This is patrolled by Torpedo boats and Destroyers.  Numerous lights are all along the shore to guide us.
Thursday 3rd
December 1914

Thursday 3rd
Arrived at Alexandria at 8 am after a good trip.  Quite a Forrest of masts and funnels can be seen as we approach, and lying in the outer harbour are 23 German ships, past them and up to the inner harbour.  [When} we got there [we] anchored.
Until such time as we can disembark the Arabs throng around the ships in boats selling fruit and cigarettes etc.  This is a very fine Port and very busy – a French passenger boat passes us and they cheer very “Frenchy”

We expected to get newspapers here but were disappointed.  We have not seen a decent one since we left Wellington – the local production is very poor and very little war news.
Friday 4th
December 1914

Friday 4th
Lying at anchor and at 1 pm orders come that we are to go alongside and soon we tied up to a very fine solid jetty – and our sea trip is over.  The railway plant being limited we are unable to disembark – but it is something to get onto land again.  I went for a run through the town with the Colonel and Captain Wood.  It is a very dirty place in the native part but when there are some very fine buildings in the modern part.  The population is very mixed, but of course natives predominate.

Saturday 5th
December 1914

Saturday 5th
Unloading our ship, 60 of our horses were disembarked today and sent onto Cairo were we are to go into Camp at Zietoun.  I went for a drive in the afternoon to see the sights by daylight.  We visited the Museum this afternoon and saw a lot of wonderful things, numerous natives maul you everywhere, selling postcards and cigarettes etc. and there are signs of great poverty as well as great richness.  We had dinner at one of the best hotels and enjoyed our first dinner in Egypt.  The Colonels knowledge of French comes in very handy.

NZ troops entrain - Canal - egypt.

Sunday
December 1914

Sunday
We have orders to disembark more horses today – 140 of mine.  We got some ramps and we very soon had them off.  Then they only had about 15 minutes walkabout until they were entrained again – the train left 1 pm and landed them at Palais Kubba at 1 am next morning, they marched to the edge of the desert, picketed their horses and bivouacked in the sand.  The men had their rations with them, and most of them look very well in fact, there was only one man that grumbled

Monday 7th
December 1914

Monday 7th December
I have orders to entrain the remainder of my horses (14) and all the transport and be ready to leave at 9.30.  We were ready at 9 am, and bade Good Bye to Captain Kerney and the “Star of India”.  They were a fine lot of seamen, and I believe they were sorry to see us go.  Owing to delays the train did not leave until 11.30 am – soon we leave the town and enter the Valley of the Nile.  As far as you can see in any direction, it is level and growing fine crops of cotton, sugar cane, maize etc.  This land is irrigated by canals, then pumped and the land covered with water for a time, the old wooden wheels for lifting the water is pulled by a bull.  This is a very rich country and I would say with modern methods could be made to produce much more.  The country is very thickly populated, we could see from the train an almost continuous stream of people along the roads, numerous donkeys and camels convey the produce, very few carts.  There are numerous Arab villages all the way, they are very primitive and don’t look prepared for too much rain.  They seem to be made of dry mud and with anything that’s available.
The railways here are very good, much better than ours.  I have a great admiration for these officials, the patient way they dealt with us was marvellous.  We land at Palias Kubba Station and detrained by 4.30 pm and only stopped once for water and again to let the express past.
The entraining at Alexandria was very bad steep ramps from the rail level up to the trucks in the dark.  The horses did not like it.  But at the detraining station it was a splendid level platform the horses came off without any trouble.  We had to march about one and a half miles to the Camp.  The advance party had some tents erected, but quite a lot of men had to sleep outside.  However we got some tea, somehow we all turned in.

Tuesday 8th
December 1914

Tuesday 8th December 1914
Spent the day pitching camp, storage of gear makes this very difficult.  Every Regiment is complaining that the other has taken their stuff.  We got tents without poles, others got poles without tents.  Some officers with more cheek than others [bribed] other officers into parting with gear, and so it goes on.  The ground here is all sand and quite loose, there has been no rain for months so all our stores are being stacked out in the open.  I went to Cairo for dinner with the Colonel.

Wednesday 9th
December 1914

Wednesday 9th December
Saw a little of the town last night, dined at “Shepherds Hotel” this is a very big place and seems to be well run.  The coinage is a bit of a puzzle, and we are easily cheated.  Getting settled down now and every man will be under cover tonight.  The weather is splendid, although we had a fairly heavy shower this afternoon, this was quite a surprise and a lot of stores got wet.  But I suppose that’s all in the job that people tell us it is.  The first [rain] since last January.  Went into Cairo this afternoon and saw a lot of the town.  I saw a Funeral – first came a lot of men dressed like native soldiers carrying swords (about 20) followed by 50 girls all dresses in white, then a lot more men carrying bannerettes of beautiful purple and white flowers, then came a Parson and a Page carrying his train.  Then three big purple and gold sheets carried by a man at each corner.  After them came a Hearse with four horses covered with purple and gold – as the Hearse passed we saluted (the Colonel and I).  Then came some carriages with the chief mourners, then some carriages with flowers, then numerous people walking and carriages innumerable.  It was a wonderful sight – but I suppose it is the usual thing here.
We walked on and presently found ourselves in the native quarters, very narrow streets and high buildings, dirty streets and dirty people.  We got into a tram so that we might get out of it, but we seemed never to get away from it.  But the Colonels French enabled us to get directed to another tram that took us back to civilisation.  The trams here mostly have two classes and are a very good lot – the country being level they run well and are cheap, we are allowed to travel at half rates.  There are a great lot of two horse [shays] and they run about very cheap, but like all the other natives they will cheat you if you don’t look out.

Thursday 10th
December 1914

Thursday 10th December
We exercise our horses to day, but did not ride them much.  The desert is our Parade Ground – it is a big number of horses that are here and speaks well for the care of the horses that we landed them in such good condition and with so few losses.

Friday
December 1914

Friday
The usual routine, exercise and a little bit of riding.  The men are allowed leave, 25% each night.  A number took French leave but they were caught by the Police and an hours drill at night for a week will stop it I think.  The stack of fodder and feed is reaching enormous dimensions.

Saturday
December 1914

Saturday
Just the same work.  The constant stream of mules and horse teams carrying stores from the station is a sight to see.  I have not yet seen a draught horse here.  They are mostly small, there are some nice Arab hacks and carriage horses but motor cars are running them off.

Sunday
December 1914

Sunday
Church Parade this morning by the Padres of the Brigade.  There was a small attendance owing to about 40 men per squadron being sent to visit the Pyramids, a trip they greatly enjoyed.  I with Colonel M[ackesy] and Major Chapman went to Cairo and had lunch at the Turf Club.  This is a very fine club and evidently very popular.  Lord K is President and all the officers are honorary members for a month.  We visited the Museum where the ancient Egyptians are gathered together.  I saw Mummies fully 1,000 years B.C. and numerous pieces of old stone works and some beautiful Statuary, showing that we do not know much about things yet.  One would require a book to describe it all.  We drove along to the Nile, it is a great river and a splendid bridge spans it, we cross and come to some fine gardens, we walk through them and back to the town and through the residential part where magnificent buildings stand close to the street.  We have dinner at a French Café, which was very good.

Monday 14th
December 1914

Monday 14th December
Training starts today, we are to ride our horses just a little now and then it is very dirty work and as yet we have no baths.  My horses are doing very well and seem fit.  We now get Reuters Cables three times daily.  People here think we might be required here yet.

Tuesday 15th
December 1914

Tuesday 15th
Still the same thing, we are still short of tents, we (six of us) have our meals in my tent and we get quite our peck of dirt.  We see very little of each other as we have no place to meet others.  The public seem greatly surprised at the spending power of the N.Z. and Australians.  They certainly are not saving any money.  The men get 25% leave every night.

Wednesday 16th
December 1914

Wednesday 16th
Troop drill in the morning.  In the afternoon we went for a route march which was very interesting.  Leaving Camp we made for the Nile and soon we are into beautiful fertile land, all irrigated with canals and pumps.  We pass the Virgins tree and the sweet well, this tree is supposed to be 2000 years old and is a variety of Fig – I got two off it.  We visited a very fine Obelisk in the old town of Heliopolis it is a very old Egyptian and one solid piece of stone about 50 feet high.  There are old ruins all about.  We then rode along side a very fine canal two abreast, through very fine land.  This land is still cultivated by the old wooden plough drawn by bullocks and makes one wonder what could be done under modern conditions.

We eventually get back to the desert and come across the ruins of a very old city, the portions of the walls are still to be seen and one requires to study the Bible to find out about it.  Pay day today, I got paid out nearly seven hundred [pound] this evening, Cairo will get the benefit of this.
Thursday 17th
December 1914

Thursday
Troop training today.  I had a little spare time to look round the camp.  It’s a great sight.  Our Brigade occupies about 12 acres.  The Infantry Divisional troops, Artillery, Ambulance etc occupy about another 20 acres so that there is at least 30 acres of tents and horse lines.  Our stores cover fully an acre and stacked about 30 feet high being chaff bales, flour, firewood, mixed stores everything that men and horse require.  We are all camped in such away that we can move out quickly, a place for everyone.  The Infantry have their lines neatly laid out with some white stones that were near their lines..  They have placed them around their tents leading into the door and they look like cottage gardens.  We have neither time nor material where we are, nothing but sand and small stones the size of eggs.  Then we are paying a lot of attention to our horses just now to get them fit, as we might require them anytime.  They are erecting a new Khedive here.  I don’t understand the procedure and I will not say anything more.

There are about 10,000 English terries camped close to us, and our boys and they are fraternising very well.  There is another 10,000 in Barracks close by so that at the present time there is over 50,000 white troops at Cairo.  So at times things are very lively.
Friday 18th
December 1914

Friday 18th
The usual routine has been altered and we turnout at 8 am, train to 11 am then out at 2 pm to 3.30 pm – 25% have leave each night.
A proclamation has been issued that England takes over the protectorate of Egypt.  This was not unexpected.  It is difficult to get anyone who understands the position of things as nearly all talk either French or Arabic, and the English don’t seem to know either.  But we have had a lecture on the positions which will help us understand it better.
The Y.M.C.A. have a large tent lined up here, which is a great help to the young fellows.
We have a Canteen going now and things are gradually working smoother.
There are a great variety of troops here all wearing Khaki some drill few like ours which stands out.
Our men are very well behaved and in contrast to the Australians.

Saturday 19th
December 1914

Saturday 19th
Not anything unusual today.  The men had half a day off and all but about 30 went off to Cairo.  I with the Colonel and Captain Powles and King went away out in the desert to look at a training ground – as far as we could see nothing but sand existed, it was nearly dark when we returned guided by the lights.

Sunday 20th
December 1914

Sunday
Church Service as usual by Major Grant (a Presbyterian).

Two of our Infantry Regiments went into Cairo to assist in the making of a Kihedine but I hear there was not much enthusiasm.  Went in the afternoon to see the Zoo.  This is a grand place, a particularly fine garden and a great number of animals all belonging to the country.  The birds were very fine from the little wren to the emu and eagles, and the variety of monkeys was surprising.
Monday 21st
December 1914

Monday 21st
Mail from New Zealand – all are looking for letters – few are disappointed.
I went to the Citadel and found it a wonderful place, very strongly built and at that time must have been impregnable.  I saw a wonderful collection of old armour, some of it was thick steel shields to cover them, and others were solid brass.  Swords the shape of a [sharp beak] edge – on the reverse side [of the display room] Matchlock guns, muzzle loaded pistols, flintlocks and cannons made from solid brass.  On the higher Plateau a splendid view is obtained of Cairo city and to the west the Pyramids are seen standing majestic in the desert.
The Nile is in full view and the splendid system of canals produces fine green paddocks.  This building is cut out of solid rock in lots of places.  A portion of the buildings are used as a hospital.  I visited Major Rastrick here and he has very comfortable quarters.  In fact the whole place has been built regardless of space.  There is a road running from it to Cairo Square, it is about two miles, long and straight.  This was built by an early ruler through the city regardless of what was in the way.  Some very fine building levelled to make room.

Tuesday 22nd
December 1914

Tuesday 22nd December 1914
Troop training, the General had a look at us and expressed himself satisfied with our progress.  We are going through a course of musketry now a day at a time, a very fine range exists near here – some very good shooting is done.  We are preparing this afternoon for a route march through the city tomorrow.

Wednesday 23rd
December 1914
Wednesday 23rd December
The men surpassed themselves and turned out splendid, talk of shinning armour.
We fell in at 8.30 am.  After inspection we start for Cairo.  We had about five miles to do and have a meal before the march past.  General Maxwell is stationed at a street intersection, we marched through the principal streets, past Shepherds Hotel where we got a good reception, the same at the Continental Hotel, other wise only an occasional Frenchman [cheered].
We were preceded by the Australian Light Horse, then came our Regiment.  Part of the route was through the old town of Cairo where the streets were very narrow, these were packed with natives on either side – most looked on in sullen silence.  But splendid order was kept through the route of about six miles lined the whole way [by] people on footpaths and on balconies.  We got back to camp at 1.30 pm, the Artillery followed by the Infantry and Divisional Troops.  No more work today.
Went down at night to see the sights.  The town was very well decorated with flags and coloured lamps.

Continental Hotel - Cairo 1914 photograph Lighthorseman J Campbell,
Thursday 24th
December 1914

Thursday 24th
The weather here continues very good, you can leave anything outside without any thoughts of rain.  Troop training keeps us occupied all day, and a generous amount of leave at night.  There is not much indication of Xmas in Cairo, the Egyptians not recognising Xmas at all.  250 men, New Zealanders, arrived tonight from England.  They were those who were in England and volunteered for service.  The Honourable T. McKenzie arrived in Cairo.  Went to see the town, immense crowds thronged the streets, but the familiar greetings of our own countrymen was absent.

Friday
Xmas Day
1914

Friday.  Xmas Day
I never expected to be here on this day.  We had some carols from the Lancashire Regiment, but as they progressed along the lines their singing became less tuneful.  Church Service then lunch (or dinner for we actually had duff)  We managed to get that some how – but not by the generosity of the Government altogether.  There was liberal leave in the afternoon, but I spent the day in Camp over taking my correspondence.
Went to dinner with Colonel Cameron and Lieutenant Ranstead and had a good time at the Turf Club – know how to do things well.

We saw Cairo by night and returned home early next morning.

Locals climbing Cheops Pyramid.
Saturday
November 1914

Saturday
Training as usual, the Colonel (Mackesy) and I went to see the Pyramids.  We saw the Sphinx and all the other Pyramids, the large one of course is the point of attraction – a good guide book describes them better than I can – at any rate I climbed to the top and went through all the inside of the big one.
We went inside another one too, and they are the most wonderful work I ever saw.  In another place a very fine Temple in ruins can be seen.  I saw solid blocks of granite 16 feet by 5 feet, polished like glass in the walls, and pillars quite as big and all square of course.  The guides are very plentiful and at times a perfect nuisance – on coming out of the Pyramid   two or three small boys poured water on my hands they all claimed half a piaster, another holds your coat, another your boots, and they all have to be paid.  Then the camel ride and getting your photo taken, it all fills out an interesting day.

The drive to and from is splendid, about eight miles of straight level road, rows of trees on each side.  It was quite cold here in the morning, taking it altogether this is the most interesting day in Cairo.
Sunday 27th
December 1914

Sunday
Church Parade in the morning, general leave in the afternoon.

Monday 28th
December 1914

Monday
Squadron training starts today, and we go a long way into the desert.  I came across a lot of natives digging up old graves, this looked like an old cemetery, and they do quite a good business in old relics, beads etc.  Water is very hard to get here, most of the wells are brackish, and the canals very dirty.

Tuesday 29th
December 1914

Tuesday 29th
Still training the squadron, nothing but soldiers, sand and sea all around.
I forgot to mention that we met General Birdwood who is commander of the Colonial Division at Headquarters, he seemed a business like man.  Our own General comes in for a good deal of abuse, as he displays an ignorance of a good deal [of things] but I suppose it will never be thus.  There is a surprising number here who are finding out things.

Wednesday 30th
December 1914

Wednesday 30th
Very early start, we paraded at 6.45 am and we were inspected by the Honourable T. McKenzie and General Birdwood, all the New Zealanders that could possibly be on Parade were there and they look a big body, but it was difficult to see anything for dust.  It was a short business like affair, everybody was there to time and all worked well.  Went to the rifle range for musketry.

Thursday 31st
December 1914

Thursday 31st December
Still training big squadrons.  The men have spent most of their money now and are asking for payment tonight.  The payment of the men is a very cumbersome system of bookkeeping and involving a lot of work, and with this Egyptian money this is a job.  New Years Eve is a very tame affair.  The Colonel came and wanted me to go to church to see the year out, but I was not feeling equal to it so I went to bed and woke up with the band playing and a crowd singing – and thus the new year was ushered in.

Friday 1st
January 1915

Friday 1st January 1915
New Year in Egypt, great disappointment this morning the mounted men particularly expected a holiday but training is the thing just now, we have to keep at it constantly, we are here to train not for a picnic.  But the men are greatly interested in the work just now, we are doing all the field work but our horses are not quite fit to gallop about as much as some men think.

Saturday
January 1915

Saturday
Still the same sort of work.  Went a long way into the desert and returned via the Canal Valley through endless Palm plantations, these are beautiful trees.  The natives keep them trim of all surplus leaves and one can see a long way along these columns.  Different sorts of crops are grown under these trees and we wandered our way through along the canal banks until we struck the canal where there is a wider track on its bank, the population is very thick in these patches and we pass through the Arab villages much to the surprise of the natives.  The natives are doing a great trade with us in tomatoes and oranges and they follow on with them on their donkeys and mules until we halt.
The men were expecting a half holiday today but they expressed themselves as later pleased after their trip through the delightful country.
We passed a very fine place fenced in by a high wall introducing a new lot of crops, rice, sprouts, beans, clover etc. fruit and ornamental trees in endless variety.  This was desert a few years ago but by watering of a liberal application of river mud it is a thriving Garden of Eden – I believe it belongs to a Princess.

Sunday 3rd
January 1915

Sunday 3rd
Church Parade at 10 am, this finished then stables soon disposed of Sunday morning.
This afternoon is free to 75% and they avail themselves to meet friends in other units etc.

I went with three others for a very pleasant ride through the site of Heliopolis which is mostly all well cultivated and growing fine crops.  I end up at the J. Amb and have tea there which finishes up with a very candid discussion on the origins of the Pyramids, How we would build them today is a problem that few could answer.
Monday
January 1915

Training hard.  Plenty of hard work and plain food.  I am sure a lot of men wish they had some of the money they squandered in town that they could buy butter etc with.  They are gradually getting to understand what rations mean.

Tuesday
January 1915

Tuesday 5th

Musketry today and the men have improved wonderfully.  There are some really good shots in the Squadron.  The men are gradually interested in the training, mostly field work – attack and defence in the latest methods as described from the notes from the front.  Trenches form a very interesting study, it is really surprising the amount of men that can be squeezed into them and the wonderful good cover provided – censor here –not allowed to discuss this.
Wednesday
January 1915

Wednesday

Had a very interesting day digging trenches, most of the men had never seen one before and worked splendidly.  We are able to demonstrate our formations here as we have miles of work over.
Thursday 7th
January 1915

Thursday 7th
Left at 9 am for a two days trek across the desert – a severe dust storm raging all day.  We were given a point to go to where water was known to exist, and I had to go by compass bearing all the way, we were unable to see more than 400 yards, so we had a very interesting trip and at times I wondered if we would get there.  They in Camp did not expect that we would get through.
We took our transport and carried everything even firewood.  We passed Moses’ Well – the horses wouldn’t drink the water – poor old Moses gets a lot of blame for this country.  All the way is over sand and stones which in places are very rough.
One of the scouts away by himself got thrown from his horse which promptly cleared out in the opposite direction to its mates and I had to go on without it.  We recovered it two days later.  We reached our point at 4.30 pm and bivouacked for the night.  We carried a picket rope with us and we had some sacks which we filled with sand.  The rope is stretched along and to this we tie our horses and the men sleep in front of them.  The horses behaved well during the night.  I got an early start next morning by a new route – I don’t think this route has ever been used before and I sent in compass bearings of it when I arrived back in Camp at 4 pm, tired and with very sore eyes – I know now what a dust storm means.

These tricks are useful in teaching the men to look after themselves.  Some are still quite hopeless in the matter of cooking for themselves but gradually they will get more able to use their mess tins.
Saturday
January 1915

Saturday
An inspection by General Birdwood and the Honourable T. McKenzie today.  The Honourable Tom made a splendid speech impressing us all to remember what we were fighting for, but a lot of them did not hear him.  He was in Camp all afternoon to see anyone that wished.  A good many [love him] in N.Z. and wish to see him.
We had an easy time in the afternoon.

Sunday 10th
January 1915

Sunday 10th January 1915
Missed Church, started early and in company with three others went for a trip to Sakkarath which is 20 miles south of Cairo and is noted for its great antiquity, very fine colossal monument and tombs.
Two great statues of Ramses  II are wonderful works.  They are about 40 feet high and at one time must have stood up, and the work on them is delicate as anything to be seen on stone today.  Numerous Pyramids abound but do not compare with “Ghizeh”, but their appearance indicates marvellous work.
The Temple of the Sacred Bulls is well worth seeing, 24 chambers alternately along a passage cut through the rock some distance underground contain a Sarcophagus averaging 13 feet long, 7 feet broad and 11 feet high cut out of solid granite, with a lid of the same stone.  Some of them weigh 65 tons.  Fancy these being used to bury a poor old bull.  How to put them there today is a problem, the passage is very little wider, and yet they were all put in there sometime.  They look today as though they have just been finished, and yet it has been estimated that they are over 5,000 years old
The tomb of Thi is noted for its beautiful decorations, all over the walls of animals and handicrafts of all sorts.  The old colourings are still visible and in earlier times must have been wonderful.  Shows that we have a lot to learn yet.  There is a very fine Sphinx here most perfect, this is the one we all hear about, it is 26 feet long and 14.5 feet high and weighs 90 tons.

We arrived back in Cairo in time for dinner.  We have not got use to the way of having dinner here – of giving you one thing at a time, it is not much use when one is hungry.  We arrived back in Camp after spending a pleasant day.
Monday 11th
January 1915

Monday 11th

Regimental training starts today, but the days work has been disappointing.  The time taken to move a large force such a long way to our training area is practically lost, and then we have to get back to camp, we have been travelling mostly all of the day.  But of course it is the officers turn to get some training now.  The system of officers who will lead the men in war doing the training and will have good results.  The men get to know their officers, the junior officers get to know the seniors.  This system is sound but unfortunately a big proportion of officers require a bit of training themselves and have to do a lot of study at night.
Tuesday 12th
January 1915

Tuesday 12th
The work and want of oats are beginning to tell on the horses, they are utterly on the local feed which consists of Barley, Tibbin (this is rice straw tramped by bullocks into small pieces) Bran and Hay.  But by constant application to the H.Q. we got this ration increased.

Still a long way to march to training area, about 12 miles there and back.
Wednesday 13th
January 1915

Wednesday 13th January
Much the same work today, we take our feed and rations with us and we get the horse water at one of the wells, the water is about 20 feet deep and is lifted by an endless bucket worked by a bullock and very often a cow.  They have certainly got the dual purpose cow here as she works the pump, then at night they milk her.  When the water is lifted by this pump it flows along a shallow surface drain out of which the horses drink.
The natives always look for backeesh, they are the worse beggars I ever saw, never satisfied with what they get. 

After our days work in the dust, five minutes under the shower bath is very enjoyable.
Thursday
January 1915

Thursday
The Regiment went on trek today, but owing to vaccination for Smallpox we were not very strong.  However we had a fine day and a beautiful ride through a date palm plantation which seemed endless along a canal.  We arrived on the desert about 9 miles from Camp and there we had lunch.  There is a well here, so we do some manoeuvres here and decide to bivouac for the night, each man carries his great coat and blanket, towel and soap rations etc. the other kit is on the wagons along with horse feed rations.  We get our horses fed and tea over just by dark and then after swapping yarns we turn in with the sky for a roof and the desert a floor, and with the exception of a horse occasionally, not another sound is heard till morning.

Friday
January 1915

Friday
Early we are on the move, the first sign of life starts neighing and soon it is heard all over camp.  We soon get them fed.  Then the men get a wash and then cooks have a good breakfast and it is soon demolished.  We do some very useful attack work, bayonet fighting etc and have lunch here.  Then we start back for camp again through the endless lanes of palm trees along canals with purple everywhere.  All horses are quite use to the camels and donkeys.  Now and then they have come close to frightening some of them.
I saw some very fine cows today; they seemed to have some Jersey in them, also some very large buffalo cows.

Saturday
January 1915

Saturday
We worked dismounted today to rest our horses, cleaned saddles in the afternoon and a good percentage of leave.

Sunday 17th
January 1915

Sunday 17th January 1915
Church Service as usual, small attendance, a lot of men are sick.  13 of mine being in hospital.  Scarlet Fever and Measles is getting about, and good work is being done by the M.O.  Our Captain Cameron was transferred to the A.S.C. and Lieutenant McCallum in his place.  Small Pox has made its appearance, and they are busy now with the vaccinations and quite a number are laid up with it.

Went prospecting round some old mines with little success this afternoon.  I visited the Auckland Infantry this evening.
Monday
January 1915

Monday
Carried out a scheme of attack on a Convoy with very good results.  We always explain to the men before hand what we are going to do so that everyone co-operates and this we find produces excellent results.
The men are staying in camp now and going to Cairo is very rare now, we have quite a lot of ammunition for them in addition to a picture show.  In fact there is quite a little town around us and everything that is required is at hand.
I went to see some of our sick tonight, and with one or two exceptions they are doing well, and will be returned to duty soon.  Our horses benefit as we are able to rest the poorest.  Some of the desert wells are not very suitable for them and they have to go some days without water.

 

Tuesday
January 1915




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diary section

Tuesday

We had a more instructive day than we have had for a long time.  Full firing at targets at unknown ranges, with fine results.  The targets being very hard to pick up being the same colour as the ground, but all ranks learned something.  Which is more than could be said for other days.