April 1915

Thursday 1st April, 1915

Was on duty in hospital all night till 9.30 a.m. this morning. We had 28 patients,
none serious only one who needed watching. He was raving mad from drink and we
had to tie him down and inject morphia to keep him quiet. He was right again this
morning and was sent back to his lines. We played some 1st April jokes on some of
our comrades during the early hours of this morning. One sergeant we woke and
pitched a yarn to, got up and saddled his horse and was galloping off before he
found out the joke. Another one got up to take the dying depositions of a man who
did not exist. Altogether we had about 20 N.C.O's and men out on fool's errands
between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. The picket assisted in the joke. I turned in after
breakfast and slept till 2.30 p.m. when I got up shaved, had a shower and made
myself respectable. Did not go out of camp this evening. Very hot and depressing
again today. Timeline

Friday 2nd April, 1915

Reveille was not till 6.30 a.m. this morning and we paraded at 7 a.m. when we were
informed that as it was "Good Friday" we were to have a holiday and the day was to
be as a Sunday. At 10.15 a.m. our corps played a soccer match against the 16th
Battalion Infantry. I was playing centre half for our corps and after a hard game and
an element of luck on our side we won by 3 goals to 2. I had the good fortune to
score the second goal for our side. We played on the Heliopolis sporting Club's
ground so I returned to camp straight away and had a good shower before dinner. I
lay in the tent reading till after tea when three of us and my cousin who had come to
see me took a walk into Heliopolis. During the evening we heard there was a
serious riot raging in Cairo and that shots had been freely exchanged,

Saturday 3rd April, 1915

Reveille at 6 a.m. this morning. Our (A) Section's day on at the hospital so did not
have to parade. During this morning we had a thorough kit inspection and were told
to reduce the weight of our kits to 20lbs as we are to leave this camp about
Wednesday next. I stayed in camp all afternoon until after tea, had all my hair cut
off in case of disease. Orders were issued for everyone to have their hair cut short,
all those who did not have it done by 6.30 p.m. we carried to the transport
Sergeant's tent and he ran the clipper right through the centre of their hair so that
they had to have it all off. This evening four of us went to Luna Park, a fair number
of soldiers were there as Cairo leave was stopped. A native who insulted an English
lady had a bad time of it, he was thrown into the water chute lake and hauled out
and thrown in again about ½ dozen times. Was back at camp 10 p.m. On duty at
hospital at 11.30 p.m.

Sunday 4th April, 1915

On duty at hospital all night till 7.30 a.m. this morning. We had eight patients. After
breakfast I put the whole morning till dinner time in at sewing another part onto my
haversack so that I can carry more in it. We had to hand our Red Cross brassards
in to be stamped by the Brigadier as they are not recognised as genuine without his
stamp. I had a sleep after dinner till tea time which I needed and after tea I wrote
another letter then went to the Heliopolis post office and posted it. Heliopois was
very quiet tonight, most of the soldiers not being allowed to leave camp on account
of going away this week. Back in camp 9 p.m. On at hospital at 11.30 p.m.

Monday 5th April, 1915

Came off duty at hospital at 7.30 a.m. this morning, we had three patients in
overnight. It has been a very windy night and all day it has been blowing a hurricane
and the flying sand has been like a thick fog, it has been a terrible day, one not to be
forgotten. Our boys struck camp and marched off on an embarkation inspection
about 11 a.m. and returned about 1 p.m. I stayed behind as I had been on duty all
night. We could not get any water to drink or to wash ourselves till about 6.30 p.m.
tonight so with the heat, which was intense, perspiration, flying sand, we have been
in a dirty and miserable condition all day. Cannot get the true strength of the riot in
Cairo on Friday night. Heard from good authority 8 deaths had occured. All our
leave is stopped from today. Cannot get out of camp. On at hospital at 11.30 p.m.

Tuesday 6th April 6th, 1915

Was on duty all night in the hospital till 7.30 a.m. this morning. After breakfast we all
had to finally pack our kit bags and then each one was weighed to see that they did
not go more than 20lbs. All those that had them overweight were ordered to take
something out and reduce the weight to the allowance. My kit was 19lbs, but I have
some things rolled in my overcoat and in my blanket. We were then issued with our
emergency rations, which we carry with us always, we must not touch them unless
specially ordered, consist of tinned beef, biscuits and tea and sugar to last 48 hours.
We were paid this afternoon. I drew £1-0-4d. One of the B Section fellows of our
corps died last night at the base hospital from Pneumonia, he was taken to the Base
from the "Berrima" when we landed. I received a letter from my brother Harold and
one from my young lady (Daisy) tonight. I posted some letters tonight at the camp
post office. On at hospital at 11.30 p.m. tonight.

Wednesday 7th April, 1915

Finished duty at hospital at 7.30 a.m. this morning and after breakfast I had a sleep
till dinner time. After dinner our full corps paraded to attend the funeral of our
comrade (Parker) of B Section. A firing party and the 16th Battalion band were with
us. We marched to the hospital (Palace Hotel) where the coffin was placed on a
New Zealand gun carriage and we went to the church yard the other side of Cairo.
On the way we passed four ambulance vans with wounded Turks in them being
conveyed from the hospital to barracks. The churchyard in which our pal was
buried, was a military one and was kept in splendid order. Three volleys were fired
and the "Last Post" blown and we returned to camp. After tea I went for a hot bath
at the military baths and went to bed at 9.30 p.m. Up to date 130 of the A.I.E.F are
buried in this churchyard. On at hospital at 11.30 p.m. tonight.

Thursday 8th April, 1915

Came off duty at hospital at 7.30 a.m. this morning, only two patients. At 9.30 a.m.
our corps marched off along the Suez road and fixed up a dressing station for
practice. I turned in myself after being on all night and slept till dinner time. After
dinner I read for a little while and then did some writing. The boys landed back at
camp from their march about 3 p.m. and at 4 p.m. an auction sale was held of all the
belongings of Parker our comrade who died. This is the Military regulation and the
money is forwarded to his relatives. Money was pretty scarce, still there was some
lively bidding for some of the articles. I took a walk this evening with two Pals into
Heliopolis and returned to camp at 8.30 p.m. On at hospital at 11.30 p.m.

Friday 9th April, 1915

Finished duty at hospital at 7.30 a.m. this morning. I did not feel too well so saw
Captain Dawson who examined me, nothing much wrong just a touch of Gastritis
probably caused by some of the tough beef we have been getting lately. He told me
to take things easy for a couple of days and to only have light food, milk etc. to give
my stomach a chance. I have done nothing at all today only lie down, am not ill only
a little pain in the stomach. The boys had another march and fixed up a dressing
station again today, returning to camp about 4 p.m. We expect to clear out of here
on Sunday next and everyone is looking forward to that time. I did not go out
tonight, did a little more writing. On hospital at 11.30 p.m.

Sunday 10th April, 1915

Off duty at hospital at 7.30 a.m. this morning and then turned in and slept till dinner
time. I got a pass to go to Cairo this afternoon as it will be our last chance of having
a look round so four of us out of our tent went together. We had a general look at all
that was to be seen of the city and visited the part where the riot took place a week
ago. Things were fairly quiet as a lot of the troops have gone away and others going
tonight could not get leave. After dinner we visited the "Kursal" Music Hall and
enjoyed a rather good programme. Returned to camp about 9.30 p.m.. I have felt
pretty well alright today, but have not eaten anything solid.

Sunday 11th April, 1915

Should have been on duty overnight but only had one patient and as we are looking
forward to being up all night tonight, I slept on the bed next to the patient who is a
fellow out of our tent. He only took bad yesterday evening and we have had to leave
him behind as appendicitis is feared. We struck camp and cleared everything up
today, packed wagons and got everything ready to leave. At 6.15 p.m. we paraded
for inspection by the Colonel and at 7 p.m. we marched from our camp at Heliopolis
to Cairo station which we reached about 9.30 p.m. We loaded our wagons on trucks
and then entrained ourselves. Train moved out about 12 p.m. I feel quite well again

Monday 12th April, 1915

Travelled all night, crowded I snatched about an hour and half of broken sleep.
Arrived at Alexandria at 6 a.m. and went straight on board the troopship "Californian"
A32. Put our equipment in the places where we are going to sleep and then set to
work to load our horses, wagons and stores. We worked hard all day, the loading
taking us till 6.30 p.m. and we moved from the wharf at 6.45 p.m. The
accomodation on this boat is very bad, we have 500 horses and 500 troops on
board. Our sleeping quarters are on the third deck and we have to sleep on the floor
in the horse stalls. We have our meals anywhere on the deck. The horses are on
the deck above us and are kicking and stamping in great style. Alexandria is very
busy with shipping. Hundreds of boats are here, mostly troopships British and
French. We anchored off the town at about 9 p.m. It has been a very hot day.
"Californian" is a horse boat and is only supposed to have accomodation for 70 men
and we have 500 on board. Timeline

Tuesday 13th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. this morning and we paraded about 6.30 a.m. Orders read out
and then dismissed till 9 a.m. At 9 a.m. we had life belt inspection and various
fatigue duties till dinner time. At 2 p.m. we paraded again and issued with large
clasp knives and those who needed boots got them too, I got a pair. We were
dismissed about 3 p.m. but still had to do any fatigue duty if wanted. I was assisting
to get provisions on deck out of the hold till tea time. We weighed anchor and
steamed away from Alexandria about 5 p.m. Saw the French hospital ship "Garcon"
had lot of Indians on. Turned in about 8 p.m. The food not up to much today and
not too much of it. Everything is pretty rough on this ship. Timeline

Wednesday 14th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. and parade on starboard saloon deck at 6 a.m. We had
physical drill for about an hour, then dismissed till after breakfast. Paraded again at
9.30 and were paid at 10 a.m. I received 14/-, we were given the rest of the morning
to sew brassards and red crosses on our overcoats. At 2 p.m. we paraded in full
marching order for inspection by the Colonel, this lasted about an hour, when we
were dismissed for the rest of the day. Of course we had to do any fatigue duty if
called on. The food is a little better today but by no means brilliant. The ship has
rolled and dipped a little today and a lot of the troops are suffering from sea-
sickness, 20 men out of our section were unable to parade for inspection this
afternoon through sea-sickness. It has not troubled me yet.

Thursday 15th April, 1915

Went to bed very early last night and was up at 5 a.m. this morning. Reveille at 5.30
a.m. Parade and physical drill at 6 a.m. Inspection in full marching order by the
Colonel at 9 a.m. We have seen islands on both sides of us all day, we are
somewhere in the Greek Archipelago or think so. I had a narrow escape of being
killed or badly hurt this morning about 8.30 a.m., was working four decks below and
a fellow knocked one of the hatch planks weighing 4 or 5 cwt down, it fell about 25 or
30 feet to the deck on which I was standing, knocking off my hat and taking the the
skin off my hand. This afternoon we were divided into echelons or sections for
disembarkation, I am in the 3rd echelon, the last of our corps to leave the ship.
Tucker been fairly good today. Issued with 1/4 lb Captain tobacco and 2 boxes of
matches this afternoon.

Friday 16th April, 1915

Up again at 5 a.m. this morning. Sighted island of Limnos about 6 a.m. Parade and
physical drill at 6 a.m. Parade and inspection by the Colonel in full marching order
at 9.30 a.m. Dropped anchor in a splendid harbour at Limnos about 9.45 a.m.
Outside the harbour we met 2 Auxilliary Cruiser and Destroyers and 2 Submarines.
Inside the harbour is a fleet of our war vessels and of our allies also a number of
transports and a hospital ship. They cannot be seen from outside. One of the war
vessels has been pointed out to me as the "Queen Elizabeth" and quite close to us
is the "Agamemnon". One of her funnels has been badly hit and her fore-top mast is
gone, otherwise she looks alright. We had a lecture today by Captain Welch and a
parade in our echelons for disembarking.

Saturday 17th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. and physical drill, at 9.30 a.m. we paraded and most of our
fellows went ashore in the ship's boats for practice at disembarking. At 2 p.m. the
rest of us, consisting of two boats, went ashore. Before landing we rowed over to
the Queen Elizabeth and round about her. She is a magnificent fighting machine.
We rowed round a small island in the harbour and eventually landed on the island of
Limnos and had a look round. Some of us went in for a swim. There are only a few
farm houses about but the land is very rich and some good crops are growing. The
harbour is a very fine one and is full of small inlets in each of which were ships.
There must be about 150 transports and warships here. One of the light cruisers,
"Dublin" went out last night after a Turkish destroyer which had got out, ran the
enemy ashore and was back this morning.

Sunday 18th April, 1915

Reveille 5.30 Parade 6 a.m. Paraded again at 9.30 a.m. in full marching order and
with blankets and waterproofs and we went ashore in the ship's boats taking
stretchers with us and midday rations. We had a swim after landing and a look
round then had dinner. After dinner we had a couple of hours stretcher drill and then
went back to our ships. I picked a few forget-me-nots while ashore to send home.
About 10 more transports arrived today, it is a fine sight all these vessels, and the
island is so peaceful, it is a lovely little place, wild looking hills and beautiful green
valleys with their crops. One of our hydroplanes was flying about for nearly an hour
this evening. Have met a number of sailors who were on our warships in the
Dardenelles, some of them off the Ocean which was sunk.

Monday 19th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. Physical drill at 6 a.m. Paraded again at 9.30 a.m. in full
marching order and had more practice at disembarking in the ship's boats. The New
Zealand artillery which we have on board lowered the pontoons which we have on
board and had some practice at disembarking their guns and ammunition wagons.
After dinner we had a lecture by Captain Finn who is a dentist on our teeth and
mouth and the necessity for keeping same clean. About eight or nine more
transports arrived today, also three or four more British Cruisers. A ship arrived
today and is anchored about a mile from us, she is like a cruiser to the naked eye
but through the glasses appears to be a dummy cruiser, that is a merchant ship
done up to resemble a cruiser. Turned in at 7.30 this evening, have been to bed
early every night since I have been on board.

Tuesday 20th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. Physical drill at 6 a.m. At 9.30 a.m. we had a parade in full
marching order for inspection, were dismissed and had to parade again at 11 a.m.,
on this parade we had to wear our pouches and belts only and every man had to be
shaved and have his boots dubbin'd. This was to see all our boots were in good
order and that we had our full equipment of bandages in our pouches. At 2 p.m. we
had a lecture by Captain Finn and at 4 p.m. we had a medical inspection. We had a
wireless message today that 24 men of the transport "Manitou" (B10) had been
drowned through a couple of boats upsetting when she was attacked by a Turkish
destroyer, this boat arrived here 5 hours after us so that we only missed the enemy
by a little. It is very windy today, sea rough.

Wednesday 21st April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. very windy and rough. Physical drill at 6 a.m. We had no
further parades today as it has been so rough and rained very hard all day. During
the morning three of our pontoons broke adrift and went ashore, very lucky, missed
the rocks and went up on the sandy beach, towed off undamaged and hoisted on
board this evening. During the afternoon I was down the hold packing and loading,
ready for disembarkation, medical comforts and stores. A
another large transport arrived today also two or three more cruisers. The
harbour is just a mass of vessels and is a sight rarely seen and never forgotten,
must be about 200 vessels here now. Weather moderated a great deal tonight.
Rumours about that we leave tomorrow.

Thursday 22nd April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. and physical drill at 6 a.m. Did not fall in on parade at 9.30
a.m. as a party of us had to work in the hold to get ready for disembarking the
wagons and stores. We were told on parade at 6 a.m. that we would be leaving
here tonight sometime for the Gallipoli Peninsular, don't know what time we will be
moving. Worked in the hold all morning and the best part of this afternoon. A mail
came on board just before tea and I received two letters, expect more mail to come
later tonight. It was fairly rough again this morning but has been very nice this
afternoon and evening. Wondering if we will still be here when I wake in the
morning. Timeline

Friday 23rd April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. Parade at 6 a.m. We did not have physical drill this morning.
Orders had been countermanded and we had not moved as we expected during the
night. Paraded again at 9.30 a.m. and we had some first aid work for practice. I
was told off to get ready to go ashore (where there is a base hospital) with a patient
who has pnemounia. I was ready all day, but the man was not sent off. I received
five more letters today, they buck a fellow up. We had an echelon parade this
afternoon. Just after tea a party (about 20) of British troops came on board also
some sailors, navy men to work our pontoons when disembarking. Some off the
"Ocean" and "Irresistible" which were sunk. A few transports moved out of the
harbour this evening.

Saturday 24th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. Parade at 6 a.m. Transports were moving out of the harbour
also Cruisers from early this morning. We left about 8 a.m. and about 9.30 a.m. a
New Zealand man who had been in hospital for four days was found to have small-
pox so we returned to Lemnos reaching there about 11.30 a.m. Sent the man
ashore into hospital and left Lemnos again about 6 p.m. While in harbour we saw
the "Queen Elizabeth", 6 other cruisers and 7 destroyers steam out together. They
were a magnificent sight and I was greatly pleased at witnessing the scene. Expect
to reach Gallipoli early in the morning and disembark. Very lucky not to be all
quarantined through the case of small-pox. Been a lovely day, turning in early,
expect work to begin in reality from tomorrow.

Sunday 25th April, 1915

Was awakened this morning about 4.30 a.m. by the sound of heavy firing. We were
at the entrance to the Dardenelles and our fleet was bombarding the enemies forts
and batteries, we were right in among our cruisers. The first of the landing party
went ashore about 7 a.m. and some hot fighting ensued. The "Lizzie" (Queen
Elizabeth) put some of her big shells in and it was a magnificent sight, though awful.
Our fleet made the hills a hell of fire, a wonderful scene, none of our ships seemed
to be hit. We steamed about 12 miles up the outside of the "Gallipoli" Peninsula
about 10 a.m. and we expect to land here soon. Fleet is bombarding the coast all
along. Some Australian troops landed at this point this morning and have been
fighting all day. The sound of rifles has not ceased, same with ships guns till about
8 p.m. Hydroplanes and an observation balloon have been up all day. No firing
going on at present. The sight of a lifetime. Timeline

Monday 26th April, 1915

Still anchored about 1 mile from beach. Was called out at 2 a.m. this morning as a
report had arrived that our troops had suffered rather heavily and some of the
wounded had to be brought on our ship. This report proved to be untrue (we were
informed about 8 a.m.) and our troops were in a very good position. 8 of our men
(stretcher bearers) went ashore when the 2 a.m. report came and we arranged a
temporary hospital, operating and dressing rooms on our ship. I have been
watching the fighting all the day. The "Lizzie" opened up at 6 a.m. and with about 9
other Cruisers raked the hills with shell, a lot more of our troops landed, also some
field artillery which have now got a good position on top of one of the hills. I can see
them flashing as they fire and they are going a treat. Incessant rifle and machine
gun firing all day. Sea aeroplane and balloon have been up. The "Lizzie's" shells
are awful. Beautiful weather. Timeline

Tuesday 27th April, 1915

Reveille at 5.30 a.m. Parade at 6 a.m. Firing had been going on all night. I
watched our ships shelling the hills all morning and could also see two of our
batteries of Field Artillery in the hills shelling the Turks. Rumours that the enemy is
retreating are about, we are all anxious to get ashore. The Turks have put a lot of
shrapnel along the beach today. Was watching the firing this afternoon when eight
shells dropped in quick succession not far from our ship. Two dropped in the water
about 100 yards from us and on each side of the transport next to us, but none of
them hit any ships. Our ship immediately steamed out about another mile from the
shore also the other transports, out of range. Wind blowing up tonight. Our bearers
went ashore about 8 p.m. Timeline

Wednesday 28th April, 1915

Reveille 5.30 a.m. no parade until 9 a.m. The firing on shore did not sound so
severe this morning and our ships were not bombarding so much. At 9 a.m. we
paraded and the Colonel addressed us, told us might possibly use our transport as a
field hospital for a few days, dismissed us and told us to rest all day as they might
bring wounded on board tonight and we might have to work all night. This afternoon
our fleet bombarded the coast a little further up and we heard that our troops had
advanced and got a good position. Wrote four letters this afternoon. It is just after 6
p.m. now and we have just received orders to prepare to land tonight. Left S.S.
"California" about 7.30 p.m. and went on board a trawler (mine sweeper) which is to
land us.

Thursday 29th April, 1915

On the trawler all night, rained hard, was very cold, snatched a little sleep in a barge
moored alongside our trawler. Landed about 8 a.m. and very glad indeed. Several
shells fell in the water while we were waiting to land and a few rifle bullets hit the
trawler, but no one was injured. Unloaded our stores and took up position in first
range of hills. The beach is crowded with soldiers and stores and is a strange sight.
The fleet is shelling the next range over our heads, and Turks bullets have been
whistling over our heads all day, feel quite used to them tonight. Saw several of our
troops wounded. Took a walk to top of hill and watched some of our Ghurka
batteries shelling enemy, bullets all over place. One of our bearers slight wound in
thigh. Rifles and all kinds of equipment are lying all over hills. Have only been
getting position fixed today. Timeline

Friday 30th April, 1915

Was looking after patient with pneumonia all night, so got no sleep. A very cold
night, bullets were whistling over us all night and about 3 a.m. some Turkish guns
fired shells over us for about half an hour, they all fell in the sea about 200 yards
behind us. Took our patient down to clearing hospital at 10 a.m. Bullets been
humming over us all day and occasional shells burst over our position. Our fleet
continue shelling the enemy over our heads. One patient in this evening, young
Englishman, shell burst in trench and buried him, was got out and found to be
uninjured by shell but stone deaf and found to be suffering greatly from shock. Saw
several bad wounds today. Had three good meals, plenty bacon and bully beef.
Want sleep, pretty tired. Timeline