December 1915

Wednesday 1st December, 1915

Had a fire in my dugout last night and got it nice and warm before turning in. Had
good nights rest and got up about 6 a.m. A little sharp and frosty again this
morning. On duty at 7.30 a.m. got patients breakfast, fell in on parade at 9 a.m. half
and hour up and down track and then cleaned up in hospital and did sick parade
with Captain Furber.
The Ghurka's seem to be suffering severely from frost bite, numbers of them
passing our camp on way to their hospital. Believe 150 of them sent away today
suffering severely. Cruiser shelled enemy's trenches at Walkers Ridge this
afternoon, could see shells bursting. Off duty 7.30 p.m. Lit fire in dugout and did
some writing before turning in about 10 p.m.

Thursday 2nd December, 1915

A little chilly again this morning when I got up about 6.30 a.m. Went on duty at 7.30
a.m. and got patients breakfast. At 9 a.m. fell in on parade to hear orders read out
then half an hours marching and doubling up the track, after this did sick parade with
Captain Welch kept me going till dinner time. Enemy heavily shelled one of our
batteries between us and Suvla Bay, believe two of our guns were temporarily
disabled. This afternoon as things were quiet I had a glorius loaf, first since arrived
back from Lemnos. The sun came out and day was perfect so sat in sun and read
all afternoon. Finished hospital work after tea, off duty 7.30 p.m. and turned in 8

Friday 3rd December, 1915

Much warmer last night, slept sound and comfortable and was up at 6 a.m. going on
duty at 7.30 a.m., busy till 9 a.m. when fell in on parade and had usual exercise up
and down track at foot of our position. Then did sick parade with Captain Furber
which kept me very busy till 3 p.m. as a lot came in today. Few shells exchanged
again today, weather turned good again and quite warm. Saw some star shells
burst over Walkers Ridge just before dark, early in evening for them, don't know
what they were for at that hour. Off duty at 7.30 p.m. turned in 8.30 p.m.

Saturday 4th December, 1915

Beautiful mild night again, slept like a top and was up at 6 a.m. went on duty at 7.30
a.m. Patients breakfast, cleaning hospital etc. till 9 a.m. when fell in on parade,
orders read out and half hours exercise up and down track, then did sick parade with
Captain Welch, finished just before dinner. During afternoon made my dugout real
waterproof, or I believe it to be. Enemy put shells unpleasantly close today, one
burst right in middle of our dugouts on hillside, luckily just missing all of them, about
10 yards from mine. Our ships bombarded enemy to south of our position furiously
this afternoon, guns making one incessant roar for about two hours, saw shells
bursting. Off duty 7.30 p.m. turned in 8 p.m.

Sunday 5th December, 1915

Up at 6 a.m. beautiful morning turned out lovely day. On duty 7.30 am. Breakfast
for patients, cleaning up etc. At 9 a.m. fell in on parade, orders read out and half an
hours exercise up and down track after which did sick parade with Captain Furber,
occupied till dinner time. This afternoon enemy shelled No. 2 outpost with very
powerful high explosive shells, could see every shell burst about 1/2 mile from us.
Little damage done except to No. 16 Casualty Clearing hospital which was wrecked,
a good number of sick and wounded being killed and more received further injuries,
believe it was an awful sight.
Number of shells burst in our camp, one going in hospital tent, men blown in all
directions, strange no one injured beyond bruises and being stunned. Off duty 7.30
p.m. turned in 8 p.m.

Monday 6th December, 1915

Up again this morning at 6.30 a.m. Splendid day again. On duty at 7.30 a.m.
patients breakfast, about 35 of them, and cleaning up. On parade at 9 a.m. orders
read out and half hour up and down track, seems ridiculous as shell might get us
any time to say nothing of stray bullets. Did sick parade with Captain Welch and few
dressings till dinner time. Had not much to do this afternoon so improved my
dugout, made it very snug and comfortable under circumstances then wrote several
letters. Enemy shelled us again, not quite so close as yesterday. Just before tea
enemy aeroplane flew over but few shots soon sent it away again. Off duty 7.30 .m.
turned in 8.30 p.m.

Tuesday 7th December, 1915

Up at 6.30 a.m. this morning and on duty at 7.30 a.m. Lovely day again. Breakfast
for patients and cleaning up. At 9 a.m. on parade, orders read out and half an hours
exercise up and down the track. Then did sick parade with Captain Furber, kept
busy till dinner time. Not so much to do after dinner , sat in hospital and had a read.
Enemy aeroplane flew over this evening, also few shells landed rather close. Our
batteries and ships returned enemy's fire. Sharp rally of rifle fire on our left about
8.30 p.m. Off duty at 7.30 p.m. turned in 9 p.m.

Wednesday 8th December, 1915

Up at 6.30 a.m. Splendid morning again, I usually wake about 4.30 a.m. with going
to bed so early and lie till about 6.30 a.m. On duty at 7.30 a.m. Breakfast for
patients and cleaned up, then fell in on parade at 9 a.m. and had half hours exercise
up and down track. Afterwards did sick parade with Captain Welch, occupied till
dinner time. After dinner got medicines given out and then settled down and did
some writing till tea time. All afternoon two cruisers and a monitor heavily
bombarded the enemy a little to the south of Cape Gaba-tepe. Came off duty 7.30
p.m., turned in 8 p.m. and lay reading till 9 p.m.

Thursday 9th December, 1915

Out of bed again 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 7.30 a.m. Breakfast for patients, cleaning
up, etc. and then on parade at 9 a.m. and had half hours usual exercise. I forgot to
mention yesterday received a plum pudding from Mrs D.D. Robertson, "Braeside",
Bridge of Allan, Scotland. Did the sick parade this morning with Captain Furber,
kept me going till dinner time. Fairly quiet after dinner, just medicines, foments, etc.
and tea, then fixed up and finished duty at 7.30 p.m. About 8 p.m. our ships in
Suvla started firing very heavily, put in sixty shells in about 10 minutes to 15 minutes,
rifle fire followed. Went to sleep about 9 p.m.

Friday 10th December, 1915

Got from between the blankets at 6.30 a.m. and went on duty at 7.30 a.m.
Breakfast, cleaning, etc. on parade 9 a.m. and half hours usual exercise. Then did
sick parade with Captain Welch, large sick parade this morning just got through by
dinner time. About 10 a.m. H.M.S. Bachante, two cruisers and two monitors heavily
bombarded enemy, seemed to be shelling the Lone Pine area, kept it up till 12 noon,
one continuous roar of guns. Quieter this afternoon, observation balloon up at Suvla
Bay. This afternoon a large shell burst about six yards behind my dugout making a
large hole in the ground and covering us with lumps of earth. Off duty 7.30 p.m.
Wrote some letters and turned in at 9 p.m.

Saturday 11th December, 1915

Up at 6.30 a.m. on duty at 7.30 a.m. Breakfast for patients, cleaning up etc. and at
9 a.m. on parade and half an hours exercise up and down track, after which I started
getting sick parade ready for Captain Furber, just then Colonel received dispatch, he
immediately gave orders for all fatigues to cease, all patients to be evacuated and all
our stores and kits to be got ready to move off. Got through sick parade and was
hard at work rest of morning packing drugs etc. Shortly after dinner were ready to
move off at an hours notice. Enemy plane flew over about 4 p.m. dropped darts
rather close. Nothing else doing so into bed 8 p.m.

Sunday 12th December, 1915

Up at 6.30 a.m. this morning, had our breakfast about 7.15 a.m. and yarned about
our prospects till 9 a.m. when on parade and half hours exercise. After this got
through a sick parade with Captain Welch and was doing odd jobs till dinner time.
We are all in the dark wondering what our move is to be and where we are going.
Nothing doing after dinner till 4 p.m. when got word pack everything ready to move
off at once. Worked hard till about 5.30 p.m. then told stand by for further orders.
Our ships been bombarding down south very heavy. Orders at 8 p.m. to still stand
by, nothing further heard at 10 p.m., so am just going to lie down for sleep as I am,

Monday 13th December, 1915

Up at 6.30 a.m. had my breakfast and then on parade at 9 a.m. and had half an
hours physical drill after which I assisted Captain Furber with the sick parade and
afterwards fumigated our hospital tents which we are leaving behind. After dinner
things were pretty slack so sat reading in the sun and watching shells burst, which
our batteries poured into the Turkish trenches at Walkers Ridge. About 4.30 p.m.
got word to be ready to fall in and move off at 5.15 p.m. was altered to 8.15 p.m.
when we marched out carrying everything, went to Walkers Ridge jetty, an awfully
tiresome march through sapps and went on jetty about 3 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Tuesday 14th December, 1915

On jetty at 3 a.m. and went on board H.M.S. Carron a small despatch and patrol
ship mounting two 12 pounder guns. Put our kits down on deck and lay on them, fell
fast asleep at once, tired out. Ship heaved anchor and moved off about 6 a.m. went
straight past Embros. Had tin of bully beef for breakfast still sitting on deck, terribly
crowded. Smart lookout kept for submarines, ran into a fog about 10 a.m. and had
to go slower, arrived at Lemnos harbour about 12.30 midday but stayed on board till
5 p.m. when Waterwitch took us ashore and we marched about two miles to our
camping ground, dead beat laid our beds in open and turned in about 10 p.m. Had
to put tent up for officers.

Wednesday 15th December, 1915

Had a bad night as it rained fairly sharp at intervals amd my blankets were almost
wet through by daylight about 6.30 a.m. Very strong and bitter cold wind blowing,
had to roll my bed up wet to keep it from blowing away. Worked all morning putting
up tents in proper position for officers, also got cup of tea, first hot drink since
leaving peninsula. After dinner allotted off in groups and given our own tents to put
up, eleven being in ours, got it up and trenched then lay down for a spell, called out
at 6 p.m. to take some tents down and while busy got sharp pain in back, have
evidently caught chill in muscles when lying in my wet blankets. Went to bed about
8.30 p.m.

Thursday 16th December, 1915

Did not have too good a night, tent so crowded and my back ached horribly and very
painful if I attempted to turn over. Turned out about 7 a.m. and had breakfast at
7.45 a.m. On parade at 9 a.m. various fatigues told off and orders read out after
which we went to our various duties. I had to collect large rocks to make breakwind
for cooks, was kept at it till dinner time. After dinner on parade again and Captain
Furber took us for a route march getting back to camp in time for tea. We only
expect to be here for a few days, have been told not to unpack, might have to move
off anytime. Went to concert at Tommy Ambulance this evening and turned in 9.30

Friday 17th December, 1915

Reveille blew at 7.30 a.m. this morning, breakfast at 8 a.m. Managed to get a shave
after breakfast and fell in on parade at 9 a.m. Orders read out for the day, not
allowed leave camp and lights out at 8.30 p.m. Various fatigues told off, my share
being more stone carrying, to make camp ornamental, absolutely ridiculous, but
Captain Furber, who is acting Adjutant, seems determined not to let us have a rest
even for the few days we expect to be here. He is a rotter and outsider deeming it
funny to heap injustices on us. Makes us put lights out at 8.30 p.m. while Infantry
camp all round us put theirs out at 10 p.m. he laughs at it, sheer ignorance. Route
march this afternoon and roll call at 4.45 p.m. Tea and sing song with lights out at
8.30 p.m.

Saturday 18th December, 1915

Reveille at 7.30 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m. On parade at 9 a.m. Am tent orderly
today. Inspection of tents at 9.30 a.m. and on ration fatigue at 10 a.m. went to
A.S.C. and drew rations carrying them back to camp. Stone carrying and drain,
trench digging for rest of morning. Dinner at 1 p.m. and on parade at 2 p.m. and
Captain Furber took us for route march. Gave us over two hours forced marching
using both threatening and bad language, the boys resented it and treated him to
hoots, cat-calls and various other annoyances. He has got the boys almost ready
for open mutiny. One fellow who had been wounded could not keep up with us, was
left behind, has only been out of hospital about month, came in about 2 hours later
looking pretty sick. Parade and roll call at 4.45 read a bit till lights out at 8.30 p.m.

Sunday 19th December, 1915

Reveille at 7.30 a.m. breakfast at 8 a.m. and on parade at 9 a.m. when Captain
Furber gave us lecture on discipline and we were dismissed till 9.45 a.m. when fell in
for church parade. Dinner was late, almost 2 p.m. and as soon as it was over we
were turned out again on parade and Captain Furber took us for route march which
turned out fiasco, men chipped him and sang songs ridiculing him till he used violent
and extremely abusive language, our N.C.O's at once marched out and objected
whereon he cooled down and we marched back to camp and at once paraded to the
O.C. Colonel Meikle who said he would interview the N.C.O's. Lights out were
altered to 10 p.m. tonight.

Monday 20th December, 1915

Reveille at 7.30 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m. Parade at 9 a.m. and put on gathering
more stones. Put in and was granted pass to West Mudros, left camp and caught
10.45 ferry and was at West Mudros just after 12 noon, saw my fiancee's brother
W.Hill and had good yarn also had dinner with him. Had to catch 2.30 p.m. boat
back to East Mudros and then went into township of Mudros and had look round. A
dirty dismal place under military guard, French soldiers and sailors and colonial
troops everywhere also English, Scots, Welsh, Irish and British Colonials. Could buy
nuts, oranges, apples, chocolate but the Greek prices are prohibitive, back in camp
at 7 p.m. and in bed 8.30 p.m. Evacuation of Anzac and Suvla successfully
completed this morning, last troops getting away between 2 and 3 a.m. I believe
only three men wounded.

Tuesday 21st December, 1915

Reveille 7 a.m. this morning and on parade at 7.30 a.m. Physical drill for twenty
minutes and breakfast at 8 a.m. On parade again at 9 a.m. orders read out and
fatigue parties told off. All other men, myself included, had to gather stones and
build a wall about 3 to 4 feet high all round our tents to act as breakwind and
protection against snow if any should fall. Commenced to rain pretty heavily just
before dinner and kept up all afternoon so sat in tent and yarned. Would like to write
but are not allowed to post letters or cards. Read a magazine during evening and
was in bed when lights out 10 p.m. went.

Wednesday 22nd December, 1915

Reveille at 7 a.m. on parade 7.30 a.m. and 20 minutes physical drill, breakfast at
eight, at 9 a.m. on parade, fatigue told off, am on water fatigue, my first lot of water
by 10 a.m. so went off up the creek about a mile away where there are two tubs,
filled one and had a good bath, was pretty cold, but enjoyed it, also washed some of
my clothes. After dinner did my second trip for water then loafed about camp till tea
time. After tea went for 3rd and last lot of water. Spent evening yarning. Some of
our division went on board again today, we were notified to send advance party in
morning, into bed long before 10 p.m lights out.

Thursday 23rd December, 1915

Reveille at 7 a.m. and breakfast at 7.30 a.m. Advance guard of 25 men went down
to embark at 8 a.m. and all rest of us to be in readiness to leave at any moment.
After breakfast fell in on parade at 9 a.m. complimentary letter by General Godley on
the successful evacuation by our troops of the Anzac position, fatigues told off and
rest of us dismissed. After tent inspection 9.30 a.m. we indulged in a few lively
games, weak horses, etc. had some fun our officers enjoying the scene and showing
their appreciation by their hearty laughs. After dinner we played a game of football
(soccer) with a ball of the Royal Scots Territorials and we got beat 6 goals to 0. Had
a quiet evening and turned in about 9 p.m.

Friday 24th December, 1915

Reveille at 7 a.m. and on parade 7.30 a.m., roll call and dismissed. Breakfast at 8
a.m. and on parade again at 9 a.m. orders read out, fatigues told off and rest
dismissed for general duties. I was out digging a large hole all morning to bury old
tins and rubbish out of the incinerator. During the afternoon I watched a football
match (Australian Game) between 14th and 16th Battalion. 16th Battalion won. Has
been a splendid day, had just slight drizzle of rain first thing this morning. Just after
tea we received our Christmas Billies, mine was from Mrs J. Hall, Redbanks, South
Australia. Pipe, tobacco, cigarettes, chocolate, nuts, etc. very nice. Sat singing in
tent till turned in about 9 p.m.
Saturday 25th December, 1915

Christmas morning. No reveille this morning, got up about 7.45 a.m. and had
breakfast. Paraded at 9 a.m. for roll call and orders, then dismissed till 9.45 a.m.
when fell in for church parade. After church parade sat about smoking and talking
till dinner time. About 11.30 a.m. an enemy plane flew over the island and dropped
a bomb, doing no damage at all. After dinner, steak and onions and pumpkin, our
corps played 16th Battalion a game of football (Australian rules) our side was
defeated, I watched three quarters of the game and there was plenty of fun in it. A
Rugby football match followed and provided more excitement. Christmas puddings
between 2 men at about 6.30 p.m. had sing song and into bed 11 p.m.

Sunday 26th December, 1915

Boxing Day. Reveille at 7 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m. Was picked to play rugby
football for our corps against 13th Battalion this afternoon. On parade and roll call at
9 a.m. dismissed and on parade for church parade again at 9.45 a.m. While service
was proceeding about 10.15 a.m. an officer came and spoke to chaplain who
finished the service at once and we marched back to camp and were ordered to
pack up at once and be ready to move off at 11 a.m. Marched out of camp at 11
a.m. and proceeded to Egyptian pier where we went on the barges and were taken
out to transport Ascanius, got fixed up in our quarters and were busy rest of day
getting mess dishes, hammocks etc. Had tea about 7 p.m. and turned in about 8.30
p.m. a bit tired.

Monday 27th December, 1915

Had fair nights sleep and woke about 6 a.m had wash and look round deck before
breakfast at 8 a.m. We have about 2,000 troops aboard, but plenty of room, also
number of Staff Officers including three Brigadier Generals and a Lieutenant
General. Steamed out of Lemnos Harbour about 8.15 a.m. A cruiser ahead of us,
think she is escorting us, also an hospital ship is following us up. We have a 4.7
naval gun mounted astern, also 8 machine guns in bows round sides of ship guard
against submarines. All have lifebouys and up to present our tucker has been pretty
good. No lights shown after dark and have been cautioned about striking matches in
open spaces on deck. Turned in about 8.30 p.m.

Tuesday 28th December, 1915

Up at 6.30 a.m. went on deck had good wash and look round before breakfast. After
breakfast lounged about deck, two destroyers which had been escorting us past the
islands turned back and left us about 10 a.m. Could see smoke of some other
vessel ahead of us this morning. Had dinner of mutton broth, stewed mutton and
rabbit and rice pudding, very nice. A couple of the crew got a piano out on deck this
afternoon and gave us very pleasant concert, one played and the other sang comics
and danced. About 4 p.m. all on board ordered to wear life belts till further notice,
passing through dangerous waters. Mess orderly for tea so got tucker, cold boiled
beef, pickles, bread, butter and jam. Had a friendly hand of cards this evening, no
gambling and was in my hammock by 9 p.m.
Wednesday 29th December, 1915

Up at 5.30 a.m. and drew dry rations (bread and butter) at 6 a.m as I am mess
orderly till after dinner. Had turn round deck and then got breakfast. Dropped
anchor inside breakwater at Alexandria about 9.30 a.m. Inspection of mess deck at
10 a.m. Harbour full of ships, couple of cruisers, about dozen hospital ships. Moved
alongside wharf about 4.30 p.m. and had tea 5 p.m. Been beautiful day, heard
reason why so suddenly ordered to wear lifebelts yesterday, reason was two enemy
submarines, one captured and one sunk, one few hours ahead of us by a British
Cruiser and one behind us rammed by a transport following. Still alongside 7 p.m.
waiting orders. Left ship 11.30 p.m. and boarded train on wharf. Train left 12

Thursday 30th December, 1915

Travelling all night, rotten carriages, had to try and catch sleep in awful position,
managed to get about three hours sleep. Our destination proved to be Ismailia and
we arrived about 7.30 a.m. Left train at 8 a.m. marched through township and
arrived at site of our camp on the desert about 2 1/2 miles from train. No tents, just
dropped our packs and equipment on sand. Place very busy, evidently making
strong postition for enemy to face. Believe our trenches are 8 miles away. Our
aeroplanes flying about. Managed to get a drink of tea at 10 a.m. but had nothing to
eat, no rations been issued and now 3 p.m., am very hungry. Had good bath under
tap. Dry biscuits and tea issued about 5 p.m. Turned in in open about 7.30 p.m.

Friday 31st December, 1915

Got up about 7 a.m. and had breakfast and wash, cold at night but beautiful days.
Parade and roll call at 9 a.m. Cannot do anything have no panniers, stores or tents,
had to buy bread for breakfast. About 9.30 a.m. Captain Furber took us for a swim
at the open baths in the Great Bitter Lake (Lake Timsah). Arrived back for dinner,
had some stew. After dinner had leave till 5 p.m. Went into town, lovely place, had
good look round, brought oranges, tomatoes, apricots and sardines. Arrived back
for roll call at 5 p.m. Tea issued, consisted of tea, biscuits, and a very little cheese,
naturally eat what we had bought. Turned in in open again about 8 p.m.