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


Diary 1915
Transcribed from hand written pages by Steve Butler -2007

Friday
January 1915

Friday
We mobilised today, that is we turned out ready for war, transport for all - everything has a place and there is a place for everything, but a great number manage to get it in the wrong place.

The men have to take a small kit with certain articles in it, the rest has to be put in the larger kit, and of course some put their blankets in while others went without a towel.  They don’t seem to think of what they are going to do – but at any rate I think they now know what to take and how to pack, so when we get our marching orders we will be better prepared.
Saturday
January 1915

Saturday
Conference of all the officers with the General this morning, ( the essence of course I can’t give here).
He is well pleased with progress made and hope we will be ready for a move soon.
There was a good deal of leave this afternoon and with a few others went to the races.  They are a bit tame after our races in N.Z. but this was the most English crowd I have seen.  The racing was very good and all ponies very pretty and well cared for.  The course is on an Island and looks very pretty with gardens and trees.  It is run mostly by the British Army in occupation and on business lines.

Sunday
January 1915

Sunday
Church Parade as usual.  I was on duty today and of course stayed in Camp.  I had to run the Detention Barracks.  These are well appointed and securely built and prisoners don’t want a second stint there.  At present most of the  Egyptian Army is scattered all over  Egypt, and this was done for political reasons, it gives them something to think about.

Monday 25th
January 1915

Monday 25th January 1915
Brigade training starts today, this is the first time we worked with so large a force, the work consists of attack etc.
On returning to Camp we found great excitement prevailing.  The Infantry Brigade has orders to proceed to Ishmailiyeh as there is a large force advancing on the Suez.
Quite a lot of our men were disappointed because they were not in it.  But I expect our turn will come.

Tuesday
January 1915

Tuesday
The excitement prevailed late last night, wagons were moving all night shifting ammunition etc.  The Infantry Brigade gets away to time.
We carried out a skirmish with the C.Y.C. [Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry] today, strictly under novice conditions and we kept very close to the ground, and did some very useful work.  We struck a well that was very brackish, and the horses did not get a drink.  Strange thing but we have to watch that the men don’t drink at these places.
The natives follow us a long way with their loads, some donkeys carrying tomatoes which are very good. 4 oranges for a quarter p, 7 tomatoes for [half a piaster] which equals a 1/4p [=penny farthing].

The officers have good opportunities of doing some map work marking their positions on the maps etc.  This is interesting and instructive.
Wednesday 27th
January 1915

Wednesday January 27th 1915
Just going out on Parade this morning when an [order] came along not to go.  Some excitement prevailed as some thought that they were off, but it was only to strike the Infantry Camps and send their tents to them.
Men are steadily improving their health now.  The changes in temperature at the evening being the cause of a lot of trouble.

Thursday
January 1915

Thursday
Field firing today with excellent results and return early to Camp.  A very noticeable improvement in our musketry together with the steady bearing in the advance.

Friday
January 1915

Friday
We carried out an attack with the aid of Artillery.  This was the first occasion that the most of the men ever saw shell fire and at one time the shells burst quite close to us and gave us an idea of what top expect.  The Artillery shooting was accurate.  The shells bursting right round the target which represents an enemy in trenches and guns in position.
General G[odley] was there and criticised our work, but it was an easy matter to find fault when one knows all the circumstances of the course, he sees more than we do.

Saturday 30th
January 1915

Saturday 30th
Dismounted work in Camp today and sports in the afternoon, quite a good time for the first effort.  The Polo matches on donkeys was funny.  They could not be persuaded to go out of a walk – some of them would not go at all, and others, when the rider struck the ball stopped and the rider came off over his head.  Other events such as obstacles race 100 yards being worthy to make an interesting afternoon.  This is the Parsons first effort in this line.

Sunday 31st
January 1915

Went to St. Andrews Church in Cairo this morning.  This is a small but very substantial building, after this had lunch with Colonel and I, went to “Barrage” this is an hours run in the train.  This is a huge dam built across the Nile where the Rosella and Damietta branches unite.  The dam across the [forms] is 500 yards and the latter looks 600 yards.  They are again are concealed by a huge wall which in former times was used as a fort.  There are about 130 arches in the dams and their object is to serve as a reservoir when the Nile is low and thus irrigate the enormous area of the Delta.  This delta is a splendid state of cultivation, beautiful crops as far as the eye can see.  It seems this scheme was first started by Mehemet Ali but was not strong enough in the foundations and in 1885 Sir C.S. Moncrieff restarted it and it is still in splendid working order.  Irrigation to Egypt is as Railroads and Roads [are} to us.  A light train runs from the railway to the dams and there are light trucks on which four persons can sit.
We took one of these and a very pleasant trip is to be had.  Beautiful gardens have been made here, in fact they are the Botanical Gardens of Cairo and are beautiful just now.
We had a run through a quaint village where one sees the native in his element.  The dirt and stink is sickening, we saw the Nile where they live and we saw at the same time, dead dogs and peoples bathing, and they were drawing water for their own use and drinking it.  I think they must be inoculated with every disease possible.
A small tho[ugh] interesting Museum stands in the gardens where models of all the big dams are shown and the methods of irrigation can be more plainly understood.  There is also a model worked by electricity illustrating the dredging of the Nile.
A dinner at the Continental or Shepherds is the next item.
We went and had a look at the native Bazaars where some splendid work is to be seen and it is no hard matter to spend money.  The natives here are very expert in brass work inlaid with silver, some very nice silk work, and there are some expert salesmen and saleswomen.
The first of the reinforcements arrived last night, they landed at Suez and trained to Cairo.  They are Infantry so they found their Battalion had left for the front and inconsequence were somewhat disappointed.

Monday 1st
February 1915

Monday 1st February 1915
Brigade training, attack and defense well carried out.  Had a good lecture tonight on Engineering, a good number of the Australian Brigade arrived through the night.  Some fine boys are among them.

Tuesday 2nd
February 1915

Tuesday 2nd
Same sort of work. A severe sand storm today.  The most of our reinforcements arrived this evening.  They were met by the band and marched to Camp; we sent a fatigue party down to lead their horses for and generally mothering them.  Tea was ready and tents pitched for them.  This was different from our reception where we were led into the desert and told, “there is where your Camp is to be” – so we had to lie in the sand until daylight.

Quite a lot of our old men were with them, and they and they were very pleased to meet us again.
Wednesday
February 1915

Wednesday
We are now saving our horses each Wednesday and they feel the benefit -  dismounted work in camp lecture for Officers (both theory and practical) on Engineering showing us how to demolish bridges, railways etc.

Thursday
February 1915

Thursday
Carried out an attack and we were told off as flank guard, and inconsequence had to make a very wide march.  I think we must have got out further than any troops have been yet.  But as far as the eye could see nothing but sand and stones.  In some places the stones are coloured and look very pretty.  Some are quite transparent and quite a lot of them find there way home [with us].

Friday
February 1915

Friday
Same scheme carried on.  Home about 4 pm.  At 8 pm an order was issued for the Regiment to fall in and [spread] out and entrench itself.
We got our quota of tools and started.  The night was quite dark and soon the Camp lights faded away and soon our guide gets lost and we wander along.  This work has to be done in silence, at last we get to our appointed place and start our trenches.  The men dig with a will and very soon we have trenches enough for thirty men – all done quietly and in good time.
We left for Camp and our guide again got lost and we wandered about aimlessly, it took us quite an hour, when we should have been back in fifteen minutes.  However we all enjoyed it very much and our guide came in for a lot of chaff.
By the way our guides happened to be the O.C. [officer commanding] Brigade Colonel Russell and Captain Powles – and I know they will take a compass with them next time.
We heard news from our Infantry to day, the Auckland lot have not been under fire yet, but the Southern lot have been, and did some good work.

Saturday 6th
February 1915

Saturday 6th February 1915
Dismounted work in Camp all day, except late afternoon when a big percentage of the men have leave.
We are constantly having rumours from the front, but beyond the first brush I don’t think much has happened.  There are a big lot of Indian troops at the Canal and I think they have had the best of it.  Our men speak of them as being fine soldiers, keen on their work and well trained.

I saw something of our reinforcements today and I am quite satisfied with our progress, as there is a big contrast between the trained men and the reinforcements, and as I have told them I am going to take the best men first.  I find them all anxious to do their best.  We are all very eager to get somewhere now to see some excitement.  The powers that be are not so sure that there might not be trouble here as these natives are Mohammedans and are easily worked up.  But I think K of K [note: could this be King of Kings or perhaps a reference to Lord Kitchener] understands and we are content to leave it up to him.
Wednesday 10th
February 1915

Wednesday 10th February 1915
Nothing new has happened, Tuesday we did some guard work and took up a position then dug our trenches before we had anything to eat.  The men did splendid work, and in the matter of digging there is nothing to fear.
We had a look at the whole line, about two miles, the next morning, and it was all well done and pleased the Generals.  After a late night we had Thursday in Camp cleaning up etc.

Friday
February 1915

Friday
Regimental training and on Saturday we had an inspection of saddlery.

Sunday
February 1915

Sunday
I spent in Camp, most of the other officers were out of Camp.

Monday 15th
February 1915

Monday 15th
Brigade training continues.  Digging trenches and attack forms, the work on Wednesday I attended a very nice turnout given by the Reverend Gillham a Presbyterian Minister of Cairo who has gone out of his way a lot to entertain and make pleasant our stay in Cairo.  I met quite a lot of English people and was a very pleasant change.  They spend the winters in Egypt and the summer at home – and a most interesting man to meet [Gillam?].

Friday
February 1915

Friday
Was devoted to Divisional training, and a very interesting day was spent.  General Godley was very pleased with himself  although he was not altogether in love with what we did.

Saturday 20th
February 1915

Saturday 20th
Is devoted to cleaning and mending and inspection of equipment.

Sunday
February 1915

Sunday
A day of rest.  Most of the men get away after midday stables, just enough men kept to feed the horses.

Tuesday
February 1915

Tuesday
We left at 10 am on a four days trek, had dinner alongside the Ishmalia Canal, this is a fine stream about 60 feet wide and about 20 feet deep, there is a lot of traffic on it by native boats, strange to say there are few launches.  The weather was very hot and the men soon emptied their bottles and suffered much from thirst.  At the villages natives came out and did a good trade in oranges.  We bivouacked at Nawa that night and soon we were lying down on the sand, we had our blankets and it was a fine moonlight night and not cold, so we did alright.
There was bivouacked altogether about 1200 men and 1300 horses.  I was Field Officer and I had to ride round at night.  It was a great sight to see men and horses lying peacefully together, this shows the value of training.
We are supplied with pegs to which to tie the horses, but they do not hold in the sand, so we took sacks and filled them with sand, to these we tied our [bullit] up ropes, then tied the horses to that.  We had no trouble with our horses getting away.

Wednesday
February 1915

Wednesday
Very early start and traveled through splendid country that have no fences and the place looks like a garden, there are no homesteads like in our country, the natives live in houses built of mud bricks packed close together and look miserable.  The land is all irrigated and produces three crops per year.
The men suffered from thirst as they did not trouble to boil water and make Tea to carry in their water bottles.  We traveled nearly 30 miles and bivouacked at [Belbey ] a small town mostly natives. A few French  and Greek children turned out and gave us a cheer.  The natives here are [taller] than near Cairo.
After tea the men got to work and made some Tea to take with them tomorrow – having learnt by their experiences yesterday.

Thursday
February 1915

Thursday
Started on our way back by a different route alongside a big canal.  The sights along this were beautiful - beautiful big trees and a great lot of traffic, people, donkeys and Camels as they went along the opposite walk.  The reflection on the still water in the early morning was a sight to be remembered.  We passed a place where the slaughtering of beef was carried out – numerous beasts were on their way, all being led – no animals are driven like we do with our dogs, cattle are led.  The sheep follow the women and they seem to have no trouble.
We cross the Canal on a very substantial dam, it serves the dual purpose of dam and bridge, these dams have gates which can be closed and this raises the water, and thus irrigate the land.
After doing 30 miles in very hot weather we arrive at our bivouac and we soon settle down, everyone knows what to do now so we have no trouble.

Friday
February 1915

Friday
We have an early start as we are to have manoeuvres on the way home.  We are opposed by a big force and have quite an interesting day.  We arrive back in Camp about 4.30 pm after a good and instructive trek.

Saturday 27th
February 1915

Saturday 27th

Dismounted work in Camp.
 

Monday
Starts with reconnaissance then on Tuesday we had an instructive(?) [this question mark by James] Staff ride – this was a lame affair compared with what we had in Auckland, the officers concerned have a lot to learn in that line.
We had another divisional day, we were held in reserve and did not do very much work.

We have instructions of the possibilities of an early move so we are getting rid of surplus stuff and organising into war strength, 1st and 2nd reinforcements etc.  Equipments slowly coming forward.
Friday 5th
March 1915

Friday 5th

We had all our horses clipped trace high today although the weather is getting very hot now.

Saturday
March 1915

 

Saturday
Is devoted to cleaning up gear etc.
I went and had a look through the Bazaar where all sorts of things can be got – beautiful brass work is made here by expert workmen – silks, cotton goods, but it is no use trying to buy stuff reasonably unless you have plenty of time to bargan with them.  The old old system of barter is still with them.

The scene here is a wonderful sight, every nationality is represented.  I saw a wedding procession going along.  It is headed by a “band”, then a carriage with the brides mother, then a very nice closed and decorated carriage containing the bride.  Then numerous carriages carrying containing relatives – no bridegroom – the procession pitches up at the residence of the bridegroom where they have dancing and other forms of amusements.  After this the bridegroom sees the bride for the first time! – and such is an Egyptian wedding.
Sunday 7th
March 1915

Sunday 7th

Went to Church at Cairo after which a trip to the Museum where one can find much food for thought, amongst the mummies, statues and ancient articles
Monday 8th
March 1915

Monday
The weather is getting very hot and our training has been cut down to three days a week.  Our horses are feeling the heat very much and there is no chance of giving them a drink in the middle of the day.

Thursday
1915

Thursday
Training was considered very useful and instructive.

Friday
1915

Friday
Was a big day, the whole Australian New Zealand Division was attacking an enemy in position.  Said enemy was composed of the Lancashire Brigade (Infantry) and the Westminster Dragoons with our Hotchkiss battery. 

Our Regiment was on the flank and we had dealings with the Dragoons who went for our led horses, but our boys were too smart for them, it was funny to see our led horses going away with these fellows trying to catch them.  One enterprising Dragoon got close to a young fellow who was leading these horses.  The Dragoon nearly had him, when he suddenly wheeled round and charged at him and knocked (the Dragoon) off his horse much to the amusement of a lot of onlookers.  They showed us a few tricks, but I think like ourselves they will be close when the bell starts ringing.  As riders they don’t compare to our boys.  Physically they can’t look near us and I think in training we compare favourably.  The Lancashire lads are small but sturdy and they are shore to do good work when they get to the front.
Saturday
1915

Saturday
General cleaning up and inspecting equipment.  The General told us this morning that the Egyptian Commissioner, General Sir W. Maxwell and General Birdwood all witnessed the work yesterday and expressed surprise at the state of efficiency we had revealed, particularly the Officers.  We are now considered ourselves fit for the front, to which we may be sent any day, we are to be ready to move at a few hours notice.  To where we know not, but we have faith in K of K needless to say all are anxious to get away.

Monday 15th
March 1915

Monday 15th  March
Made an early start in attack on the Australian Brigade, our works all big movements to train the Senior Officers in the handling of big bodies [of men], they are all timed to reach certain places, and works very well – next day we had dismounted work.

Wednesday 17th
March 1915

Wednesday 17th March 1915
St. Patrick’s Day I Egypt.  Early in the day the Colonel received a parcel from Ireland containing the real Shamrock Six.  H. McMahon inspected the Camp in the afternoon and I was able to give him a leaf from the old sod, much to his delight.  He being a Northern Ireland man.  He was very pleased with our horses and camp, not seeing many men he did not express an opinion.  A.M.R. gave a splendid concert tonight, it was quite a treat.

Friday
March 1915

Friday
Was devoted to Divisional work, a great number of men fell out owing to the heat principally, and a big night before, and bad feet.

Monday
March 1915

Monday

We were inspected by Sir H. McMahon, the dust was dreadful and at times it was impossible to see anyone.  But the wind got up and he was able to get to one side, so he saw a little of us.  We went past at the gallop, all we could do was keep in the dust and keep going.  Fortunately we had no accidents.  Sir Henry expressed himself as very pleased with what he saw and thinks we should do good work.  Certainly to see them altogether is a sight, the horses look splendid – N.Z.’s best – seems such a pity fine animals leaving N.Z.
Tuesday
March 1915

Tuesday
We (the squadron) leave for a three days trek to a place called Barrage.  I know I have already told you something about this place, but seen under these conditions is more beautiful than before.  We stayed next day and went for a march down the Nile through endless cultivations, beautiful green crops.  Just before lunch we swam our horses over the Nile.  We first towed a few over behind some boats, then drove a lot after them. 
We had to send the men over in boats as the medical people would not allow anyone into the water.  We got them all over in this way, then we brought them back on an endless rope, which works well, it would be quite the right thing where there was any current.  We did the whole thing without any mishap, arrived at our bivouac in time for lunch..  Our bivouac was under some beautiful big trees away from the sun, the men and horses enjoyed it very much.  We were able to get our horses a good feed of green stuff.  In the afternoon general leave, and the men enjoyed a roll on the grass plots in the gardens, this is the first grass we have seen since we left, so you can guess how we enjoyed it.  They have nearly every [species of] living tree in these gardens, and botanist can find plenty to keep them busy.  The manager here a Mr D. Smith is very comfortably situated and took us to dinner, which we enjoyed very much.  He is responsible for the irrigation of Lower Egypt.  It is a wonderful sight to see this mighty river controlled from an office.  They can turn a current into any of the many canals, at any time.

Thursday
March 1915

Thursday
We left for Camp passing through a native village with the population of the town, everyone was moving, soon we came on a great scene.  A cattle fair, thousands of people closely packed, nearly everyone held a beast of some sort.  Cows, calves, goats, sheep in small flocks, donkeys, horses, fowls, Camels innumerable.  The different colours blending against the palm trees and buildings made a sight to be remembered.  Everybody seemed to be talking.  Operations were suspended as passed, even the road was blocked and they had to make room for us to pass.
They did not altogether seemed pleased, but offered no violence.  Our road lay along the banks of the Nile, beautiful crops everywhere.  The Nile looks beautiful, over half a mile wide, and the Islands in the middle are very picturesque.  The high palm trees look particularly fine.  A better class of dwelling is provided for the Fellaheen, quite a lot of them are solid brick.
We passed through a village the street was only wide enough for two horses abreast, and as we went through dozens of frightened children were scouting out of our way.
The women were shy and mostly kept their faces covered, but throughout the whole place they show an utter disregard for sanitation, fowls, donkeys, cattle and people all herded together.  The only redeeming feature is that they all seem to be good workers, even young children work by tending sheep and cattle.
We crossed over a very fine steel bridge about 500 yards long, railway in the center with a roadway on each side.  I believe we were the first mounted troops over it as [it is] out of the usual way.
Just above the bridge is the landing place for Cairo where there were hundreds of Dahabeahs which carry a great amount of produce of the Upper Nile, cotton, rice, barley, beans and a [lot of] fruit etc.  The sailors wear the same overall sort of dress and makes a fine scene. 
Once across the river and we are in the throng of the town people, donkeys carts and tram cars.  The streets are packed, the natives dart through right under our horses.  We arrive in Camp at 3.30 pm after a particularly pleasant trip, all ranks really enjoyed the trip and great benefit was derived from the training.

Friday
March 1915

Friday
We did not do much work.  I umpired some field operations between our forces and the Australians, very good work was done.  The Australians show themselves to be good horsemen and should be good men in a scrap.

Saturday
March 1915

Saturday
Was a day of home cleaning and repairing.

Sunday
March 1915

Sunday
A severe sand storm prevented us from having any service today.  I forgot to tell you that on Saturday the Colonel, Major Schofield and myself went out in the evening to see the Pyramids by moonlight, this is a splendid sight.  We went into the interior of the middle one called “Bhephren”, the passage is about 4 – 6 square and is made with polished granite and descends at a steep angle for about 60 feet.  In one place we had to creep under an arch, it took Colonel Mackesy all his time to get through, a passage then runs along into a great gallery.  The we [are in the] Kings chamber, [it] is 70 odd feet by about 15 x 19 feet high, all polished granite.  This contains a huge Sarcophagus, this is supposed to be where King Cheops was buried.  At any rate he’s not there now, and I stood in it, the lid is near by – a great huge thing.  We started to explore but our candle gave out and we had to return.
To see the old Sphinx by moonlight is a sight to be remembered.  The guide left some magnisiam wine and the sight is fine, a run home in a very good taxi ends a fine trip.

Wednesday 17th
March 1915

Monday 27th
Inspection by Sir Ian Hamilton.  This was a big turnout, 3rd reinforcements arrived a few days previously and took part, also the Maoris.  We are gradually getting ready for war and no doubt we will go sometime.
Attending Court Martial as President.

Tuesday
March 1915

Tuesday
Continuing cases at court.  A military court martial is the fairest trial a man can get, he gets every benefit of the doubt, and the court is his best friend.
The prosecutor also acts most fairly to him.  The sentence is again to be by the G.O.C. who has power to reduce sentence and very often does.
It is surprising how many cases come along.  But quite a lot of trial cases come along, also Senior Officers take this method of shirking their responsibilities.

Wednesday
March 1915

Wednesday
We spent a very interesting day at Brigade training.  The heat and dust making it very disagreeable now.

Thursday
March 1915

Thursday
A day of rest, a message came along from H.Q. to say that limited number of Officers could have 60 hours leave.  I was one of the lucky ones and on Friday left for Alexandria.  Caught the express from Cairo at 9.30 am and arrived at Alexandria after 1 pm.  Their fine railway service makes travelling a pleasure.  We find our way about town, and soon find large camps of English and French soldiers.  They were mostly disembarking and they are a fine lot of men.
The French have some very dark men from Singale, [Senegal] but I hear they are good soldiers.  Some of their uniforms are queer, red trousers and blue coats, others are all blue, some green grey – quite a mixed lot, quite a contrast to our dress.  I think the N.Z. looks as well as most and a lot better than  the most of them.

We went to the “Kurasal”. This is a place of entertainment, no charge for admission, but it depends where you take your seat, you have to have some refreshments and pay accordingly.  They put on a very good show, and was quite a change of course, all the singing was foreign but some of the acts were very good.
Saturday
1915

Saturday
Quite a change to get up when one likes, and go when and where one likes.
We went and had a look at the shopping, the immense number of ships in port that had come from English ports show the value of the German blockade and who rules the seas.  Big rest camps are close to the ships where the horses are taken for awhile.  The weather is much cooler here as there is generally a good breeze from the sea.
We went to have a look at the English Artillery in the afternoon and they look splendid body of men, well equipped, but not much better than ours.  A stroll round the other lines convinces [us] that our little army will compare favourably with anything we saw – English or French.
We went at night to see “Faust”, everything starts at 9.45 pm here, in that line.  But much to our disappointment Faust did not come off, and they played something Italian.  We could not understand a word, but the singing and music was very good indeed.

Sunday
April 1915

Sunday
We drove all round the suburbs of the town.  We visited a Greek and RC [Roman Catholic] where there are some beautiful monuments.  I saw one built like a Pyramid with an Owl on top, there was an entrance porch on one side.  Over the porch, worked in stone was a bird (a raven) with out spread wings.  They were the only marks on a perfectly smooth surface.  No sign of Christianity what ever.  I mention this as being in great contrast to the rest of the monuments which were lavishly covered with crosses etc.  A custom here is also to have a light burning over the grave.  I saw one tomb where the table was all laid ready for a meal, also a light burning at the head of the grave.  I understand that most of the masonry comes from Italy.
There is beautiful small church in the cemetery, huge granite blocks, pictures on the walls made with small stones. This is really clever the [effect the] different colours produced.
Near by are most magnificent gardens well kept. A short time there is well repaid.
Left Alexandria at 6 pm in the express, a very good dinning car is where one can get a very good dinner for five shillings.  While we were having dinner the train was traveling over 65 miles per hour, the guard says it can travel much faster.  Somebody says something about “All men are liars” – I wonder if guards and guides are included.  We arrived at Cairo at 9.30 pm a total distance of 145 miles

Monday 5th
April 1915

Monday 5th April 1915
Back to dust, tents, men and responsibility.  We are just marking time now.  We go in the morning to find a shady place under the palms and rest, retuning in the afternoon.
Have just heard there was a bit of a row in Cairo the other night.  It appears that some men had been robbed at a house without a good character.  They [the men involved] with their mates returned next night and proceeded to throw the furniture into the street, they then set fire to it, the fire brigade turned out and the hose was promptly cut.  The Police were powerless, the crowd [intervened and] a squad of Mounted Police were called out, and their revolvers were used, four got hurt and eventually the crowd melted away after fifty arrests were made.
I am pleased to say none of my squadron was in it, and very few of the regiment.  Taking it altogether I don’t think it did any harm, as this is a particularly bad part of town.  In fact I think a reputation without the shooting would do no good.

Tuesday 6th
April 1915

Tuesday
Nothing much now.  The Infantry have orders to move somewhere.  We don’t go for a little time yet, we have to exercise patience.  Our horses are very fit.

Tuesday 6th
April 1915

Wednesday
Found a nice cool place in the Plantations, rested in the middle of the day.  Home in the afternoon.
All leave had been stopped – now it has been increased to 10% - but the men are not keen on going to Cairo.

One of our horses got a kick breaking his leg, he had to be shot.  Otherwise I have had good luck.
Thursday
April 1915

Thursday

Definite orders are out for the Infantry to move to [space left blank] but nothing definite for us.  The heat now is very bad, several men are suffering from heat.
Friday
April 1915

Friday
Finds us as in lying Picquet [Picket duties] but there are only rumours of trouble with the men in town.  We were called up once but there was very little trouble.

Saturday
April 1915

Saturday
We have all been issued with helmets to day and there is really nothing new.

[This ends the first batch of the diaries (sections 1 - 11 from Heather Hamilton) photocopy pages taken from the Kauri Museum, and tied in the first bundle – Steve Butler, Transcriber dated Thursday 19th July 2007, updated 16th September 2007 with originals from Hamilton files.]

SECOND
DIARY

The Second Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel James McCarroll of the 11th N.A.M.R.
New Zealand Mounted Rifles WWI.

Introduction from the transcriber:-This diary follows first diary that covers August 1914 – March 1915.  It is noted that dates from Tuesday 6th April until the start of this bound handwritten photocopied diary of Friday 7th May 1915 appear to be missing, but perhaps after reading the first entry there was no other entries until this date. 
The reader should note that the dates missing include any references to the New Zealander Infantry landing at ANZAC on the 25th April 1915 – probably due to security issues nobody stationed back in Egypt would be aware of this action.  At the time of writing this diary James Neil McCarroll held the rank of Major.

Friday 7th
May 1915

Friday 7th May 1915 [this date probably was meant to be wednesday 5th?]
I admit I have been careless about writing up my diary, but one week in Egypt is the same as another when one has been here for months.
Since I wrote last I have had a very interesting trip over the desert in the direction South of the Citadel.
We saw conclusive evidence that the desert was a sea bed at some time as we came up with quite a distinct oyster bed, the shells were in good state of preservation, and this spot must be nearly 800 feet above sea level and at least 120 miles away from any sea.
What a great field of study this desert is, we came by the Citadel and saw the fort constructed by Napoleon over 100 years ago.  It is in a good state of preservation, wonderfully well built, very strong and in a very commanding position, a beautiful view of Cairo is obtained from here.  While to the left is seen the wonderful tombs of the Marmadukes with their fortress built into solid rock.  Further on is a very old Roman Viaduct which was used to bring water to old Cairo, while the Pyramids are to be seen in the distance.
On the right from here is to seen the tombs of the Caliphs, a dead city with wonderful tombs and places to put the dead.  We rode through this place and it is a great sight.  Close by is a very old Mosque, I forget the age, but everything about it indicates old age.  There is a tomb in it and the guide seriously tells you that Moses is buried there.  They have a great way here of associating things and places with Biblical history.
Now comes news of the Infantry being ordered to the Dardenelles, all is excitement and bustle.  Very soon they land doing good work and then we hear of quite a lot of wounded being sent back.  One has great difficulty in getting any correct account of what happened as each man only has his little part, and very little about his neighbours and the oftener these stories are told they become harder to understand.
I therefore do not attempt any account, but suffice to say they did splendid work, and well kept up the traditions of their forefathers.
Reinforcements were called for and every available man (Infantry) was sent on, quite a lot of our fellows wanted to go.  I transferred one – W. Elt at 6 pm and he left that night at 10 pm for the front.
It was with great regret we heard of poor “Stuckey” going down he was a man and one that could be badly spared.  Quite a lot of wild rumours reach us here, but it is useless recording them here.
The wounded continue to reach Cairo but very little authentic [news] can be got from them.  We went for a three days trek on Monday to the Barrage, we spent a very pleasant time there under the trees and in the beautiful gardens, which is a pleasant change from the desert.

Thursday 6th
May 1915

Thursday 6th May 1915
We have received orders that we are to proceed to the Dardenelles as soon as possible.  It seems the Infantry are in need of help, and rather than a few men from each unit should go to fill the gaps in the Infantry the whole Mounted Brigade will go dismounted.
This of course is disappointing to leave our horses after training all these months and some of us for years.  But if our Infantry is in trouble, well that’s the end of any argument.
Have been very busy all day, preparing rolls, next of kin etc.

Friday 7th
May 1915

Friday 7th May
Packing our saddles and overhauling our equipment, all day men are very keen, our strength is 140 men and 60 Officers.  This will nearly enable me to take all the old men, and those left are very disappointed at being left.  But they will have a lot of work to do looking after the horses and keep them fit.  We had got a good lot together after disposing our sick and [weedy?]
Lieutenant Williams is left in charge of the squadron details, which number 51, with some in hospital.

Saturday 8th
May 1915

Saturday 8th May 1915
Final packing and stowing of big kits and saddles.  Definite orders are now to march to the railway station at 8.30 pm.  Punctually at 8 pm the Squadron fell in full marching order.  We have to carry a pack now, quite a change, but there is no grumbling and no obscenities.  Sharp at 8.30 pm the Regiment moves out headed by the band, we reach the station in twenty minutes, and carriages are partitioned, and without any noise or bustle the men take their seats, get off their equipment, they then could get off and have a smoke.  The band played selections while we waited, which pleasantly passed the time.  At 10.20 pm the train left Zietoun for Cairo and Alexandria.

Sunday
May 1915

Sunday

HMT number 8 - "Grantully Castle" 7,612 gross tons.

Arrived at Alex at 4.20 am and detrained, then straight away embarked on the Transport No. 8 “Grantully Castle”.  This is a fine big ship, but when we got 2000 men aboard there was not much room.  We have our Brigade plus the 3rd Light Horse 500.  The cabins are very comfortable, Senior Officers two in a cabin, juniors three.  So that we are doing well.  The men are very crowded but are getting well fed and there is no grumbling of any sort.  We were doing fatigue work most of the day, and at 7 pm we started our sea trip quietly, not a cheer or a word from anyone.  Where we are going we don’t exactly know.  All hands are tired so we turn in early to sleep.

Monday 10th
May 1915

Monday 10th
Quite out of sight of land and what a beautiful trip so far, the sea is quite calm and everything points to a good trip.  Beautiful weather all day, met a large transport returning from the front.
I forgot to mention that we found three men had stowed away – N. Weaver, Paxman and McFarlane.  Quite a job to find them and they were very frightened, but I lectured them, got a railway warrant and sent them home again.  I don’t think there was another man would have changed places with them.
Dark ship at night, and everything points to a good trip.  The Colonel caught a swallow tonight – is that good luck?

Tuesday 11th
May 1915

Tuesday 11th May 1915
Beautiful weather and the ship is sailing along slowly, one would hardly know we were at sea, numerous Islands are passed today, but they mostly look desolate with very little vegetation.  The men are in splendid health and eager to get at it.
Voluntary Church Service this afternoon, a few of us attended.
About 4.30 pm we could see smoke on the horizon and soon three big black warships came up, they evidently were satisfied for they did not come close but went about.  It seems they are patrolling the entrance to Smyrna.  Late in the afternoon more ships loom up and on getting near they turn out to be the “Dummy” Men of War.  Nothing fresh till Wednesday morning when at 6 am our ship drops anchor at Helles Point where over 50 ships are at anchor, Men of War and troopships, French, Russian and English.  We can see with the aid of our glasses the havoc worked by the shell fire of the warships.  The forts near Cape Helles are in ruins, while on the African side Kum Kale looks equally desolate.
A large camp is established ashore at Seddel Bahr.  I heard the first big gun this morning some distance away, and our General has gone ashore or to the Headquarters ship for orders.  When he returns we move on.

HMS Colne - this ship features a number of times in the NZMR actions on Gallipoli.

We did not get away until 3.30 pm, arriving just north of Kaba Tepe.  We embarked onboard the destroyer H.M.S, Colne at 6 pm thence by launch and barge we land on an improvised jetty at 7.30.  I was the first of our Regiment to land – but C.Y.C [Canterbury MR] just beat us.  I had the first man in the Brigade hit – Trooper J. Taylor hit in the biceps while being landed on the destroyer.
Shells were falling in the water but none reached us and we finished landing without mishap.  We were led along the beach, then up a gully, very steep with short shrubs on it, there we camped for the night.  Continual firing is going on, it is a beastly nuisance trying to get to sleep.  Towards midnight fire slackened a bit and then broke out at a terrific rate, evidently an attack on our trenches.  We are established about 1000 yards inland, continual fighting is going on, but our job was nothing when one has seen the country and the way the Turks were established, there is no mistake the Infantry did some marvelous work.  The Australians particularly doing some fine work with the bayonet.
I met some of the ambulance on shore and the work their men have done warrants the highest praise.

Thursday 13th
May 1915

Thursday 13th May 1915
My Birthday – certainly different from any other one.  Rifle fire is still going on and very soon the Turks Artillery start work.  They are trying to locate us, but we are close up under a big cliff and fairly safe.  The mess tins are brought into work this morning in earnest and soon we are all at breakfast.  Some shrapnel has burst quite close and the boys cheer as the shells go screaming overhead and fall in the sea.
Just heard that two of a party (Fatigues) has got hit with shrapnel, but the guns of the warships have found them [the Turks] and put them out of action.  We have got orders to move into the trenches at 2.45 pm.  We moved out of the gully onto the beach and had just been resting a few moments when along came a shell and burst not very far away.  It did not take us long to get on the move.  We had a very stiff climb of 700 feet before we get to the trenches.  It is almost as steep as going up stairs.  The Engineers have made a road up which has eased the grade considerably.  Our Regiment retired the Naval Brigade [English Royal Marines].  The noise of the firing is incessant just like hundreds of stockwhips, and as the bullets whistle over head we all involuntary duck our heads.
Soon we are in the trenches, we go in support.  If you remember the maze that was at the exhibition that will give you some idea of what the trenches are like, twisting in every inconceivable direction, one know when he is in the fire trench as the bullets are raining on the bank in the front and over head.  Endless dugouts and hollows under the inner wall of the trench.  I look up my quarters in one of these [hollows].  Captain Mackesy got in one opposite me, but that blocked the traffic so he had to find somewhere where there was no one opposite him.  These trenches were all dug and ready great cunning was used digging sleeping places.  Each man does his own cooking and all sorts of one-man fires, places and stoves and cookers made out of large size Beef tins.  Everybody is happy and contented after waiting nine months patiently and determinedly.
Fortunately the weather is fine.  We have only got a hold here, we are on top of a cliff and that is all we can say.  The landing and taking of this hill is described by some of the senior officers as one of the finest pieces of work in the history of the British Army.
Numerous warships are standing off shelling the enemy’s position, and their shooting is a sight to see.  They move about in the water to a position of almost to inches, and then turn to open up, and the air seems to quiver, and bang away goes the taxpayers money.  We pass our first night in the trenches in support without mishap.  Our fellows try a few shots at the enemy and this makes them angry and they open up on our trenches with rifle and machine guns.

Friday 14th
May 1915

Friday 14th May 1915
Early the Turks bring their Artillery into action, their object being the base, [beach head], without the result of one water barge being damaged.  Soon a Man of War starts onto their position which is on a low sandy hill full of hollows.  When the ships have finished the hill looks leveller and we don’t have any more trouble from the battery.
Continuous rifle firing is going on, the country is covered with shrub which makes it difficult to locate the enemy.  We are doing very little shooting.  We got into the fire trenches tonight and all hands are eager and were ready long before the time the Turks treated us decently until about 12, midnight when I was asleep.  I woke up and thought H [Hell] had been let loose, I got up and had a look but could see nothing.  I think they thought we were getting out of our trenches.  Soon they quieted down and I lie down again.  They kept on snipping at us without any result.  We have not been doing any shooting worth speaking about, as we don’t shoot without a target

Saturday 15th
May 1915

Saturday 15th May 1915
Early this morning the Turks gave us a warm time with rifle fire but that was all, with our periscopes we could see they were making new trenches.  I sent out a patrol under Corporal McDonald at 3.30 am this morning to find out what was going on at one part, he returned with some useful information.
We had a very quiet day, only rifle fire, the Turks have a battery that is very elusive they keep sending a shell or two over to H.Q. then ours get at them and then quietness.
Our Artillery made a mess of a lot of Turk trenches today.  Shell after shell into them.  I think they will have to make new trenches.
My crowd are in excellent spirits, and so far no casualties.

Sunday 16th
May 1915

Sunday 16th May 1915
Few seemed to realise it is Sunday, looking to our rear is a beautiful peaceful scene, beautiful weather, and numerous ships lying peacefully at anchor.  While in the distance is the Island of Limnos [Lemnos].  Owing to the presence of submarines a lot of troopships had to leave amongst them the one with “George” [McCarroll’s horse] aboard, he is now at Limnos until we actually require them. 
Now and then a warship speaks.
We are busy extending our trenches, pushing forward to better positions.  Their snipers are constantly on the watch.  We found that the Turks were doing something they shouldn’t on our left front, so I sent Lieutenant Logan and Trooper Hayes out to find out all about it, they returned with very useful information that they were making new trenches across a ridge about 100 yards to our front.
We are improving and making new trenches while I write (Monday) we are being shelled, a cloud of dirt has just landed where I am sitting, so evidently they have got our range.  It has not done much damage, no casualties and the Artillery know where they are.  We have had no trouble lately.  About midday a huge shell came whistling over our heads and dropped quite near a Man of War, they very soon [took] off, another came and was quite near, but she soon steamed out of range.  It appears these [shells] were from the “Goben” in the Straights.  In the afternoon a battery opened on out left near a village named Kachult Anafarta, the war ships opened fire on the village, and in about fifteen minutes there was nothing standing but the Mosque which they tried not to hit.
Continual sniping on our left which we are hold, the Australians holding the right, no advance has been made, but the enemy have had a bad time from our Artillery.

Tuesday 18th
May 1915

Tuesday 18th May 1915
Had a very quiet night, very few shots were fired, mostly from the enemy.  Early this morning the Turks open on us with shell, and got four onto us, but soon ours got their position and we had breakfast in peace.
The Artillery continue to shell their numerous trenches and our men have now got their trenches fixed up and now and then get a shot at the Turks.  About 11 am I heard Captain Bluck and Sergeant Major Marr had been sniped off.  It appears they were standing on a ridge looking round when they were picked off.  These were both excellent Officers, these Officers must have been picked off at quite 1000 yards and shows that that the Turks have some good marksmen.  This has the effect of making our men more careful.
Things were quiet this afternoon and I remarked to the Adjutant – “What did that mean”.
A while later a German Airship flew over our location, but too far for our guns.  Later on our own [aircraft] flew over our [lines] [and Thursday??] and reported the enemy camped not far away.  This started us thinking, about 5.30 pm we were relieved by the 4th [Waikato MR] and Mr Roberts now being in temporary command I went round the whole of the trenches with him.  We bivouacked in a gully covered with low brushwood – all except 4th Troop which went to the old place on top of the hill.  We had to dig holes in the hillside, but willing hands soon had this done.  After four continuous days and nights in the trenches everybody slept well.  About 11 pm [Lieutenant] Logan came with orders which said that the Turks had received reinforcements and we might expect an attack at any time.  Punctually at midnight the firing started, and in a few moments rifles and cannon vied with one another.  The roar of the cannon was deafening and their flashes as they exploded lit up the country.  We soon had a call from the 3rd [Auckland MR] and the 4th for support, and scrambling out of our gully we were soon in the trenches.
Herewith a rough sketch that may help you to understand.

We occupied the position marked [on the sketch map] “supports”.  Soon after midnight the assault on our end was very feeble and easily repulsed .  We lay down here where we were, Logan, Wood and I in a heap.  Logan was very cold, so I found a rug and that covered the three of us, [and] there we lay until 3 am when the very heavens seemed to open and rained bullets and shells.  This was War indeed, but we were in the trenches and felt pretty safe.  I sent Logan and Finlayson’s Troops to the right to support the 4th, while Johnson and Smedley went to the left to support the 3rd.  The firing continued and presently we heard the Turks coming, they were crying out “Allah! Allah!” and rushed down on our trenches and threw bombs.  I worked up to the position marked “A” and found that someone had given the order to leave the trenches and charge.  Well this was effective but costly, I got out behind them too late to stop them, by this time the Turks were near “B” endeavouring to get into our trenches.  They could not stand the sight of steel and turned and fled.  Just here I saw poor Logan down and very bad, he was carried back.  Lieutenant James of the 4th fell here and I think W. Criskett [here other men] of mine went down here, Sullivan, Williams, Gould and my Trumpeter, Hill – all sterling men.  Seeing nothing could be done for them I turned my attention to what was going on.  Quite a lot of men were standing up and I had to get them to lie down.  Presently along comes another order to cease-fire.  The Australians were in front – this [order] evidently came from the enemy, orders were flying about, coming from no one seemed to know.  The Turks wanted to draw us on but I refused to allow anyone to advance, as I know they had been working for days on something – machine guns or explosives.  So we gradually got the men back in the trenches.

We must have inflicted a heavy loss as we got them running away.  As they ran away when they got about 80 yards from our trenches we heard an explosion and a dense blue smoke went up.  I think they got caught in a mine they had constructed for us, and those that understood now saw the wisdom of no advance.  They rallied for another attack but were easily beaten off by our machine guns.  One gun in particular doing good work, belonging to the W.M.R. [Wellington MR].
Meantime a ferocious attack was being made on the right being borne by the Australians.  We could see from our trenches the time they were having, but they were that close we could not help directly, but indirectly we were able to keep down enfilade fire on them.  All the time [our] Artillery were thundering and [also] the warships, the Turks main position looked to be one mass of smoke and flame, and telephone reports showed the Australians were having a hard time, about 7.30 am things quietened down and my Squadron was able to withdraw to the support trenches.  The first aid men and M.O. had attended to the wounded and carried them out, about 8 am the attack was about worked out, the Turks having enough.  We lost no ground but must have inflicted tremendous loss.
Just about now I got word two of my men had been shot.  I started for the fire-trenches and met a party carrying them.  One, sergeant Watts quite dead, the other slightly injured.  It appears they stayed behind doing a bit of shooting after the squadron had with drawn.  The Sergeant was an excellent man full of dash and good nature.  We buried him on a hill overlooking the sea among some beautiful bushes, with the enemies bullets and shells whistling round as we left him to his long sleep.
We rest for awhile now, and at 2.30 pm orders came for a general attack at 3 pm, so we stood by ready for anything.  Prompt at 3 pm our fire started, machine guns, artillery and ships fire, the row was deafening and the smoke and dust raised by our shell fire was a sight to see.  It is marvelous the way they can land those shells, trench after trench was racked.  The Turks reply was very feeble.  Just now along came an order that we were not to attack, so from that on we had an easy time.  It was intended that the WMR should take the first line, so they were somewhat disappointed.
Thus ended our first battle.  I felt a bit sick to think of so many good men going down, but I feel sure we have had splendid results.  We again withdrew to the support trenches.  Just now as we are resting the Turks evidently see us, for they started on us with shrapnel away from the left.  One burst right over us just as we were moving, hitting three men but none seriously, we are soon out of sight among some bushes.
They still continued to shell us without result, so we have tea and turn in for some sleep.  We get as much biscuits, tinned meat, tea, sugar and jam as we can eat.  Sometimes there is vegetables and other things when they can be got up from the beach.  The ASC does some splendid work, feed us under such difficulties, we are allowed half a gallon of water per day.  So you can see that washing is out of the question .
Thursday 20th
May 1915

Thursday 20th May 1915
Fearing an attack the 4th called for us again and at 3 am found us again in the fire trenches and I got a party under Captain Mackesy and Lieutenant Johnson to go out and fetch in our dead, a job we were able to do in safety as the Turks could not see us.  No attack took place and at 4.30 am we withdrew to have breakfast, we had to carry water up the hill before we could get anything to eat, but this found plenty of willing hands.  About 7 am the Turks started shelling, but their shooting was poor, but about 8.30 they got our range and burst some over our trenches, soon after on of my men got hit.  They men were squeezed into all sorts of holes and they got hit in the legs, four had now been hit and carried away.
I was helping the Artillery Officer to locate their guns, and was watching the effect of the fire from a Man of War – when along came four Turkish shells together, I was unable to dodge the lot and just as I was diving into my dugout one caught me, hitting me on the shoulder blade, I thought a sledge-hammer had hit me.  So for the time being I will see no more of the trenches.
But now I can give you an idea of how the wounded are treated.
After being hit (of course that’s the first thing) one is taken to the Regimental Aid Post – no, the first thing is to apply the field dressing to the wound, everyone carries one of these with him, then you find your way to the Regimental Aid Post.
I found him in a dugout about eight feet by ten feet, with plenty of work on hand.  He then dresses the wound and writes out a label and ties it onto you.  It describes the treatment and morphine given etc.  You are then carried or walk to the Field Hospital.

I was able to walk and Tommy went with me.  When I arrived at the Field Hospital I found them very busy, I waited until the rush was over and then was taken in.  They then read your label and a few questions are necessary.  I was left on Dr. Murray’s bed until the operating tent was free – then into a rough dugout corridor [covered] overhead with sandbags and protected on three sides – that comprises the operating theatre.  The Doctors then had to find the bullet, but without success.  A new label is then made out and attached to me, and after being bandaged up I was sent out to the Hospital Ship.
Meanwhile my batman has collected my things and carried them to the beach.  He helped me aboard a punt, where already a number stretcher cases are onboard.  A launch tows two barge loads of wounded out to a destroyer.  We had some narrow shaves from being hit with shells, and bullets dropping quite close to us.  We are transferred quite easily to the Destroyer that then conveys us to the Hospital Ship.  This ship is fitted with cranes that lower a cot into which is placed the patient.  I took my place there after most of the men had gone up.  When landed on deck I was conveyed to the salon which had been fitted as an hospital.  [Here I] was undressed and put to bed.  Oh the luxury of getting between sheets again, It was splendid. 
Then I looked round and found Colonel Chaytor with a badly shattered arm.  A junior officer gets your label and then has a few more questions; to ask among them, have you made a will, next of kin, age, and service.  This is all necessary in case of death.
I felt at ease now away from the shells and the bullets, our danger now lay in submarines and airships, one of which flew over and dropped bombs harmlessly.
A good dinner and I am soon asleep.
Friday 21st
May 1915

Friday
Early awake, an orderly brings tea, then a wash, well all feel so helpless with injury and shock.  A good breakfast for those that could eat it and then life seemed better.
There were eight others in the ward, all Australians except for us two.  The Doctor ( a jolly Englishman) comes along with a trained nurse and he examines all of us.  There is a good staff, three sisters and a lot of Navy trained men.  Very good at their work.
We sailed early afternoon for Malta.  So between sleeping, groaning and reading one gets in the first day on a Hospital Ship.  There are 370 cases on board, all considered serious.

Saturday 22nd
May 1915

Saturday
Same routine; tea, wash, breakfast.  Doctor attends, Padre brings war news, lunch, sleep, tea.  Dinner, Doctor, sleep.

Sunday 23rd
May 1915

Sunday
On a Hospital Ship is the same as any other day.  Good war news, have just heard that the Turks had intended making a big Coup attacking us the other day, but they had to retire with a loss of 7,000, they buried 3,000 in front of our trenches.

covers approx 4 weeks
May - June 1915


Ambulances at St Andrews Hospital - Malta - circa 1915.
(thanks to Wayne Saillard on Malta for these great reference images set here)
Monday and Tuesday
Arrived at Malta, disembarked all the wounded without mishap.  Then we were sent ashore, another young fellow and I could now walk a bit so we were sent ashore in a small boat.  Landing at a jetty numerous ladies met us with tea, soup, chocolate and biscuits, and were very kindly disposed, we were sent up in a motor car to St. Andrews Officers Mess which had been brought in as a hospital.  A very charming sister showed us into a room.  I met here Colonel Plugge and Major Harriwal both rather seriously injured.
I hear I have to stay here until well enough to return to duty.
Now I think I have traced out how the wounded [officers] are looked after and I believe the men are quite well looked after also, particularly in Malta.
Life in hospital does not very much day to day.  One meets others, and by an interchange of stories one gets the hang of things at the Peninsular.
By there account the landing at Sedd el Baur was a wonderful performance.  In fact hundreds of men never got out of the boats, but were wounded and towed back to ships.
My wound is now healing and I was able to go on Sunday and see some of my boys in hospital.  All but Corporal Johnson are doing well, he has a rather bad wound in the knee which will take some time.
I saw a little of Malta.  The people are very numerous, Priests relatively more so.  Churches abound.  One I visited -St John’s.  The plain exterior is reflected by the magnificent interior, the painted ceilings and wonderful, and silver gates to the alter, memorial sculptures adorn the walls, while wondrous paintings at different parts – one by Michael Angelo looks imposing.
I have no artistic taste, but of course I exclaimed how wonderful [it all is] and tried to look awe struck.  An oily guide shows you round and explains in very broken English.

One third Maltese Farthing and the Interior of St John's Church
Most things are cheap here, I saw a coin, one third of a farthing.  Gardening is carried on here in trying circumstances, the Island was originally was rock, and all the soil here was carried in ships, so that every inch is cultivated – potatoes, vegetables grow very well, barley and rice also.  The buildings are all limestone, and easily and cheaply built.  Material being handy and labour cheap.
We the N.Z. and Australian troops got blamed for spoiling Egypt, now we are blamed for Malta – that is by the free way we spend our money.
The English troops don’t have so much to spend.  Where the usual cab fare was eight pence our men gave a shilling and boot blacks sixpence where it should have been a penny.
Speaking to a Sister the other day – she says she can’t make our men out.  They just want to spend money, get better, and get back to the front.  They are all asking when they will get back to war.
We had a lecture on ancient Malta the other night which was interesting, but it is all in some book.  Read if you can “The odd man in Malta” which is interesting and instructive.
Malta is interesting when one gets about.  The Union Club of which we were made members is a fine institution where very comfort is procurable, creature or otherwise.
The building is very old having been built by the Knights a long time ago.  The paintings on the walls and ceilings are very beautiful, and the committee is not allowed to wash or alter them.
The harbour is surrounded by ships and the approaches have been cut out of solid rock, the roads the same – they wind round up to the top where the town is built.  Things are fairly cheap in the town, particularly anything a soldier wants – one horse cabs are cheap, so that few walk any distance.
I went to Cotanera Hospital and found it a splendid place, built up on the top of a hill overlooking the harbour.  The wounded are well looked after by an excellent staff and they have all they want.

Veterans of battle recovering in Ward 4 of the Cottonera Hospital - Malta 1915. A Postcard of Cottonera Barracks pre-war before being converted to a service hospital for the Gallipoli Campaign.
 The arm of the harbour is very pretty, houses down to the waters edge, with balconies over looking and overhanging the water.  Beautiful deep water close in, hundreds of small boats ply about and they take you a long way for sixpence.
One of the doctors here organised a concert here for us and it was brilliant success and we passed a very nice evening, nearly all of the patients attended and lots of nurses and doctors.
Fifteen of our officers here were sent to England to convalesce, more are going soon.
The bullet has been extracted out of my back and my wounds are healing splendid.
I met Fleet Surgeon Craig and Commander Thorn and went with them to lunch on the “Agamennon” one of the warships that took part the attack on the Dardenelles.  They showed me with great pride the wounds she had received.  She was hit thirty one times, none of which were very serious.  It is a wonderful what they will stand and yet like a man, one shot in the right place is the finish.  One shot went through the side and into the wardroom smashing things about.   They only lost three men during the whole time.
This ship is a battleship with eight twelve-inch guns and numerous small ones.  There are hundreds of shrapnel bullet holes all over her, and she will be worth seeing afterwards.
Very little news of the outer world filters through here and no letters for me, and as one day is much like another here – repudiation is useless.  I may have omitted to tell you that this is a great place for bells ringing, every church has them and as the people are very devout the bells are almost continually ringing, the horses and donkeys and goats have them on.  It was very tiring to the wounded and on representations being made to the Bishops or Archbishops.  The ringing was reduced to one peel of six per day.  It is hard to describe the relief this was to the wounded.
This is the first time in the history of Malta that the bell ringing has ceased, and it is also the first time there was such a war with the number of wounded.  The normal numbers of beds here is 400 – It is now organised to accommodate 10,000 all in good working order.  Our Government has given 450 pounds to the local committee to use for the wounded, we have a Chaplin and another officer here, so our men are doing well.
Malta becomes interesting when one sees some of it.  The narrow steep streets are hard on the cab horses, while some of them are so steep the footpaths are cut in steps.  They are kept very clean, notwithstanding that a lot of household refuse is thrown in the streets.
I visited the Palace, the throne room is beautiful, the walls having cases along [the sides] filled with ancient lace, while a beautiful painted fresco runs up to an equally elaborate ceiling, all worked in squares.

The Council room is lined with tapestry which is excellent, one particular piece is striking – It is mostly a horse, and anywhere one goes, this horse is looking at one.  Then the armoury with its ancient armour displayed in cases, it makes one think how useful it might be at Gallipoli.
There Napoleons carriage is to be seen very old cannons and firearms, swords of very ancient design, while specimens of ancient pottery in a strongly guarded case near by.
The architecture is splendid and solid.  In fact all the old buildings show it.  There is a small garden on the hill overlooking the Grand harbour, this is indeed a splendid view, the narrow entrance together with the substantial forts.  Then the harbour widens out into several arms each with deep water – In one were lying eight French Dreadnaughts with numerous destroyers and submarines, a wonderful sight at this time, as they had nothing to do.  In another arm numerous ships lie, there are few wharves here, nearly everything having to be lightered.
I went with Colonel Chaytor to see our Maoris who are training here.  The drive out was interesting along the sea coast which is rock.  The side of the hills are terraced.  We got to St Paul’s Bay where the ancient of that iki is supposed to have been shipwrecked, from this extends inland a very rich valley, this is the only land worth the name that I have seen, grapes are abundant, while vegetables do well.
The Camp is on a nice piece of this land and close to a beach where splendid bathing is to be had, but much to the Maoris disgust there is very few fish.  They looked comfortable and fat and are under orders to leave for the front.  I met several that I knew, much to their delight.
We returned a different route and saw huge barracks and some of the fortresses, but can I say strong after what has happened.  We saw a strange church – quite round, and the huge dome is the third largest in the world, we pass through the gates in the wall that surrounds the Island.
The doctor has informed me that owing to the way the muscles are torn about I will require rest and he proposes sending me to England.
I do not care much for this and wanted him to send me back to Gallipoli, he would not hear of it, especially as the wounds are not healed.  So at 7 am on the 23rd we were told we had to leave for England at 7.30 am.  So we soon packed up and we did not get aboard until 10.30 am.  We joined the SS Nevaso, a fine ship of the B I line, converted into a hospital ship, well fitted up with good hospital staff.  I found two that I knew, so we expect a good time.  There are a lot aboard, all convalescent and doing well.

Wednesday and Thursday
On board the Hospital ship, not much doing, just fighting battles over again.  Meet a good many ships and quite close to the African shore.
We had quite a scare yesterday afternoon about 5 pm, the ship turned right round, some immediately though of submarines, others that we were going back to Malta, but quite a few could see a submarine.  But what it was:- I heard wind had been blowing all day so they turned round to cool the ship down.
A Parson on board holds a short service each morning. – Sparsely attended.

Friday 25th
June 1915

Friday 25th June 1915
Passed close along the African coast which is rough and in parts looks sandy.  Tunis has some good country and grow some good beef.

Saturday 26th
June 1915

Saturday 26th
Crossed to Spanish coast which is very mountainous – snow clad hills in the distance with pretty effect.  A good deal of fruit is grown along here, numerous small towns are plainly seen along the coast, some fertile looking valleys are indented into the mountains.  Fishing seems to be a big industry here.  The sea is very smooth and sea sickness is quite absent.  I have seen most of the patients onboard, also the hellish side of war, fine strong men maimed for life, while the rest are being made fit again to have another go.  They take their misfortunes splendidly.  Several officers are aboard, although not wounded are quite broken up and had to be sent home.
Our average daily run is 290 miles.

Sunday 27th
June 1915

Sunday 27th
Passed Gibraltar at midnight, sorry I missed seeing it.  We had a church service with good attendance.  Prayers were said for the wounded, our own and the enemy’s.  We do all we can to wound them – and then pray for them, (curious isn’t it?).
We pass Trafalgar Bay of historic memory then close past Cape St Vincent.  Saw quite a lot of neutral ships, they have their names painted along the sides in big letters so submarines can see what they are.

Monday 28th
June 1915

Monday June 28th 1915
Splendid trip so far, save quite a lot of shipping games and reading to pass the time, sweepstake on the days run, no luck this time.

Tuesday
June 1915

Tuesday
Weather still splendid, everybody in good spirits, now in the Bay of Biscay, sea very calm, just a small roll.
Late in the morning ship stopped, a funeral at sea, very few knew about it.
Saw half a dozen ships.

Wednesday
June 1915

Wednesday
Nearing the English Channel, looking out for submarines.  Englishmen getting excited getting near home.  I wish it were home for me.  First sight of England for thirty years, past the Isle of Wright and on through the cordon that protects England.  Plenty of Destroyers.  We buried a young Manchester boy just within sight of land, so sad being so near home.  Bitterly cold as we near land.  It is charming to see a grass paddock again.
We are met by a small ship with a business like gun in the bows trained on us.  They evidently were satisfied we were alright as they did not fire and we moved up under some strong looking forts, there the pilot comes onboard and we are allowed in.
There is a very strong looking boom right across the harbour with a small opening in the day time, we were just in time to get through.  The searchlights from Portsmouth were kept on us, so they take no risks.
We disembark tomorrow and then we will be distributed over different homes.  We anchor off Netley about 9.30 pm – safely arrived in old England.

Thursday 1st
July 1915

Thursday 1st July 1915
From Netley to Southampton is just a few miles and we soon steamed up to the dock, where four other Hospital Ships are lying – good arrangements on shore for reception of wounded and by 11 am all are ashore and on trains bound for different hospitals.  None of the public are near the docks except one pretty girl who takes telegrams for you, gives you chocolates and cigarettes and smiles ad lib.
The trains are fitted with cots for the lying down cases and comfortable seats for others.  The carriages hold twenty beds, a nursing staff is on board also doctors.  The doctors know their own job, but organisation should be left to others.  We leave about 11.30 am and the train journey through the beautiful county of Hampshire is very charming, the grass is a beautiful green, this is the first farm land we have seen.  Hedges around small paddocks all over the country, trees everywhere just like a huge park stretching for miles, gentle slopes, truly a country to be proud of.
We arrived at Waterloo Junction at 1.30 pm we had cups of tea on the journey.  We are now told off to our different hospitals.  Major Dawson is sent to a different place.  A business like lady tells us off to motars, and we are off to ours,[?] as we clear the station we get the first sight of the public and they make a lane for us.  Ladies wave their hands, the men lift their hats as we pass through and we are in London and soon get mixed up among the taxi cabs, wagons, buses and all sorts of conveyances except cabs.
Numerous stops at the street intersections on account of the traffic.  We arrive at the Royal Free Hospital new wing for officers, a not a very inviting looking place, but inside a business like staff meets us and show us to our rooms, which are single bed, clean and fill of London air.  This is one of the improvised hospitals and under the conditions not so bad.  The staff are very good and the doctors were there at once and gave any attention necessary.

Friday 2nd
July 1915

Friday 2nd July
Saw a bit of London yesterday afternoon and again today.  Went to see the High Commissioner and got some money to buy some clothes.  Met Colonel Plugge and had lunch together, went to St Pauls and saw all the wonderful things there, saw London Bridge etc.  Admired the tax cab drivers, very fine horse cabs are to be see, huge motor buses run everywhere.

Saturday 3rd
July 1915

Saturday 3rd
Saw another part of London, went with letter of introduction to Dr. Glover who took me round Hamstead where one gets a good view of London in good weather.  Home via the underground railway which is good, went in the train to Blackheath, nothing to see but house tops.

Sunday
July 1915

Sunday
Quiet day here went to see British Museum, that wonderful place full of most interesting things to numerous to mention.
Went to supper with Dr. Lewis Glover and spent a very pleasant evening – Dr. Meneuir of Kaio is a friend of theirs

Monday 5th
July 1915

Monday 5th July
Kit has not arrived yet, made some enquiries about it, nobody seems to care whether we get it or not.  Had a big long drive round London, endless streets, recruiting posters all about, there seems to be plenty of men about yet.  It is marvelous where the people come from, the underground trains are a great sight, simply alive with people right up to midnight.

Tuesday 6th
July 1915

Tuesday 6th July
Saw more of London drive in the afternoon and visit to the House of Commons and heard a debate.  I suppose it was good but very hard to hear some of the speakers.  It is a magnificent building – policemen everywhere.
I went to the War Office to enquire re my kit, and after a lot of trouble found an officer that accepted some responsibility, he was very haughty, so I told him what I thought of him.  He was a bit surprised and he agreed to look after it.  Some of these fellows put a halo round themselves but that does not go down with the Colonial.  I should mention that the ladies committee here for the cause of New Zealanders placed a car at our disposal.
The officials at the High Commission are kindness itself.
The last of my wound dressings came off today.

Wednesday 7th
July 1915

Wednesday 7th July
In a different part of London today.  Had lunch with the High Commissioner, a Mr Willis and Major Breaton and I.  Went for a long run in the afternoon through Richmond Park, had afternoon tea with his family at a very nice place.  He has a son in Paparoa, strange isn’t it that I should meet him.
Wired to high officials re my kit, saw some very decent railway people who helped me very much.
Kew gardens are beautiful, the Thames near here looks nice, the country looks fine and does not give one the idea that war was so close.  In fact the well dressed crowds does not indicate war either, everybody looks busy.

8th
July 1915

8th July
Wired long and earnestly to General Donmaran re my kit and it arrived at lunchtime.  Went before a M board who in a business like way gave me three weeks furlough.  Went and had a walk through Piccadilly, Bond Street etc., saw the beauties of nature and lots of shops.  Noticed that the ladies were quietly dressed, sensible idea.

Friday 9th
July 1915

Friday 9th
Went to High Commissioner for mail but was disappointed.  Had lunch with Colonel Chaytor and Major Hart at the Criterion, which is an up to date place, where music is played while you dine – forgot to tell you had dinner with a Mr Mirrian a [Highbury men park.]  He had a family gathering to meet me and it was very enjoyable.
Had another good run round London, I did not see much signs of poverty in lots of places, the poor are doing much better this year than ever before.
Left at 6 pm for Ireland via Heysham.  The country looks very nice, and an Englishman has something to be proud of.  The country through Bedford and Trent to Sheffield is level agricultural land, splendid crops of hay all along.
I had an invitation to go and see Mrs Preston and her family at Huddersfield, so I stopped at Leeds for the night.

Saturday 10th
July 1915

Saturday 10th
Got up early and went and had a run round Leeds before breakfast, it is a fine city with good wide streets, up to date trams and healthy looking population., beautiful parks, the Midlands Railway Company have a very good hotel here at which I stayed.  Leeds is a great manufacturing center, women are everywhere, a lot of their men have gone to the war.  There was some quaint old markets here where you can buy anything.  I went onto Huddersfield (through a manufacturing district) and spent a few hours – it was French flag day there and I was besieged by pretty girls to buy a flag – of course I succumbed to their charms.

The village of Holmfirth today.
Huddersfield is a well built and prosperous looking town, some sine buildings.  I had forgotten my friends address but an intelligent Post Office official soon put me on the right track.  I had another eight miles in the train.  The country is now a bit hilly but very picturesque.  I arrived at Thongsbridge and had lunch at a quaint Inn, surrounded on three sides by beautiful oak, ash, beech and other trees, it made a pretty picture as one approaches it.  “Oaklands” was only five minutes from here and I found them very homely Yorkshire people, and they insisted that I stay, and they sent to Huddersfield for my baggage.  So here I am in one of the beautiful spots of England.  Away from trams, traffic, doctors nurses and Kahki – not that I despise any of these, far from it, but right here I must remark that I cannot speak too highly of the skill and kindness of the doctors and nurses that I have met, and to them I now say farewell.
This village is called Holmfirth and is situated in a valley with a number of factories and vying with one another to produce smoke, which hangs about all day quite obscuring the sun.  The trees have a black tinge on them and even the sheep are dirty with smoke.  The country is cut up into small fields fenced in by stone walls procured by quarries nearby.  Trees are everywhere, which gives a very picturesque appearance to strangers.  The people here look healthy and well-fed, you must have seen pictures of well-fed farmers – well I think the original lives here.
“Oaklands” is famous for its grounds, beautiful flowers everywhere.  Big Hot-houses with beautiful blooms that we grow outside in New Zealand.  The Mills are not working this afternoon, so the sun is seen and lights the hills up everywhere and the shadows of the trees show up well.  My pencil will not do justice to it all.  The sight will remain in my memory so that I will be able to tell you more about it.
Other villages are near by, some strange names – Underbridge, Thongsbridge, Netherthong, Thongleagh

Sunday 11th
July 1915

Sunday 11th July 1915
The weather has turned cold (for me), went for a long walk over Yorkshire hills, did not know I was so soft, beautiful plantations of Oaks everywhere, mills dotted all about.  Went to the Wesleyan Chapel tonight and then called to see some friends of Major Sykes.
Fires have to be kept going in the houses.

Monday
July 1915

Monday
Visited the villages this morning and went for a motor drive this afternoon and saw the famous Moors.  Went to see a very old farm house over 400 years old, it is very quaint, I saw some very old pewter plates, they don’t seem to be as up to date at farming as we are, the land as it nears the moors gets poor.  But birds seem to be plentiful.

Tuesday
July 1915

Tuesday
Visited another village, and they have some quaint streets and the river that runs through is quite black with the dye from the mills.  I listened to a group of people talking and I could understand very little of what they said.  Clogs are worn here a good deal.
I left in the afternoon for Ireland, very much pleased with the good time I had a Holmsfirth.  The country back to Leeds is charming, woollen mills nestle away in the valleys and show up well against the beautiful landscape.
I arrived about 4.30 pm at Leeds and had another look around, there are some beauty spots about it and some very handsome buildings, the streets are kept clean and I saw a big market where one can buy anything – there is a fine Railway Station.
I left here at 10.05 pm to complete the train journey to Heysham arriving there at 12.30 am and got aboard a very fine steamer T.S. Antrim which landed me in Belfast at 7 am – Ireland after 30 years.

Wednesday 14th
July 1915

Wednesday 14th July 1915
Thirty years ago I left Ireland, how well I remember the scene.  My mother and six of us, there was a big crowd of friends to see us off, and the farewells and words of advice I got, I was bewildered as the ship moved out, the crowd sand “Come back to Erin” and “Auld Lang Syne”.
Well here I am, and as we near the quay I look in vain for a face I knew; most of the other passengers had someone to meet them, but none for me.
A kindly disposed old chap got hold of my bag and put it on of all things in the world an Irish jaunting car.  He touched his hat several times as we parted saying it was a pleasure to meet the likes of me these times, he went away happy.
The car landed me at the Royal Avenue Hotel, which I make my headquarters.
I don’t see much change so far in the town.  I did not know the address of any of my relations. So went to where I know they lived before.  I found an old identity who was able to put me on the track.
So I went to a house and introduced myself to a good looking girl who turned out to be my cousin Jenny.  From that on it was easy, by tea time all the relations in that part had congregated and we had a big talk.

Thursday
July 1915

Thursday
Went with Harry MacWhinney to see the town, and saw some very fine buildings, particularly City Hall – it was very fine.  Went for a drive out to Ormiua Road and found vast extensions, quite a lot of detached cottages, doing away with indigenous system of terraces.
Went up to Broadway and found few of my boyhood friends I did not know.  The place a great amount of building has been done.  All the fields we use to play in are covered with houses.
Spent the afternoon and evening going to see old neighbours.  But time has told on them and, a lot have died while others are scattered to different parts.
I went to see the cemetery and I was able to go straight to the family burying ground.  The trees have grown high, but it looks cared for.
This cemetery is now full and it is a sight to see, beautiful flowers and covered with monuments, some very handsome ones.  Indeed this is one of the nice sights of the city, there is a splendid view from here.  Lots of old time remembrances came to me, and I went and saw the graves of those I knew.
The horse bus that use to run here has been replaced by a very up to date electric plant, so the visitors are numerous.
The parks are in splendid order; a new one up the Falls road looks well.  The Falls road has not altered much and looks like slumdome.  Women and girls going about with a shawl round their shoulders, looks very untidy, children abound everywhere, Smithfield market the same as ever.
There is evidence of a lack of energy in the inhabitants of some parts due to some influence over the people not altogether religious, but close akin.

Friday
July 1915

Friday
Left early for a run to Portrush and the Giants Causeway, of course it rained, but we had hopes of it clearing.  Two and a half hours in the train through picturesque country, long sloping hills covered with farm houses, fine looking cattle and sheep, crops of hay everywhere.
Ay Portrush you get on the electric tram for the Giants Causeway, it is very slow and it gives one time to admire the scenery along the coast.  Lunch at a very up to date hotel and then we set out to see the wonderful causeway, still raining.  We set out, the path leads down to the sea and along the coast, we are soon amongst the striking scenery, huge pillar like rocks joined together in upright and horizontal positions.  Certainly nature has displayed skill in the wonderful formations.
An old Irish woman in a small curio stall tells us a lot of local stuff connected with the place.  She had a name for all the prominent features, but you have read all about it, so repetitions useless.  They sell all sorts of curios here and must do well in fine weather.  Home at 9 pm wet and tired, very cold.

Saturday 17th
July 1915

Saturday 17th July
Visited some of my old haunts in the town, saw extreme improvement in the suburbs.  Went to Carricklergas and stayed with a cousin James Hawthorne, met his wife who is a typical Irish girl, she is very pretty with nice pink cheeks and rose like lips and long drooping eyelashes covering big brown eyes; of decent height and splendid figure – but here my pencil fails me.  At any rate I felt at home straight away.  My aunt Lizzie was here also staying, so that we had a good time.  We talked long into the night of old events and of course we fought the war over again.  They had some friends into dinner, all Irish and it was a pleasure to hear them talk, such a nice brogue they had, so they had.
Old tales were told full of Irish with I might mention there was six ladies and us two poor men, but the ladies tell their stories in the only way that Irish women can.

Sunday 17th
July 1915





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diary section

Sunday
Went to church.  A very old building built in 1064 with beautiful stained glass windows.  A church service without the frills was interesting.
The church is built in the shape of the cross, and at times the Parson is invisible, but his fine brogue penetrates.
Carrick Castle is an old building and has something to do with King William.  They have preserved the stone that he stepped on when he first landed to fight the Battle of the Boyne – and the Irish have been fighting ever since.
Carrickfergus has a population of about 5,000 yet it is a city owing to its Cathedral which they show with pride.  The house that King Willie slept in the night he landed, and the house still stands, wherein he made his headquarters.
Farming is carried out in a primitive way here, although there is a good port and excellent railway service, and good land.  I thought if New Zealand had their roads and railways what a country it would be.  I saw some very fine cows here of the shorthorn breed.
Some beautiful crops, potatoes grow well.  I remarked about the rain and the farmer replied “ Sure, still make the wee potatoes grow big”.  “It will.” Says I.
Another lot of Hawthornes friends came in the afternoon, amongst them two more typical Irish girls with their gentle winning ways.  I am sorry my dear that you are not here to see them – for I know it is possible for one pretty girl to admire another.
St Birds (Hawthorne’s place) is a very old place, given to someone by Queen Elizabeth long ago, they keep it very nice.  He is fond of antiquities and has some fine specimens.
Went to church again at night, and the church looks better when it is lit up.  The churchyard has some very old tomb stones, one in the church is particularly interesting.  Carrick has no trams, but boasts of its jaunty cars