January 1915

Tuesday 22nd December, 1914

We broke camp at 10 a.m. and marched to the Broadmeadows Station where we
entrained for Port Melbourne and boarded the S.S. Berrima which is to take us to
our destination which is unknown to us at present. We left the wharf at 5 p.m. and
steamed till 6.30 p.m. when we dropped anchor off Sandringham where we
remained for the night.

Wednesday 23rd December, 1914

We raised anchor and steamed away at 5 a.m., reaching the heads about 7.45 a.m.,
after passing which we dropped the Pilot and took in tow the Australian Submarine
AE2, continuing our journey in pleasant weather with no further events of note for
this day. Timeline

Thursday 24th December, 1914

I forgot to state at first that the bugle sounded lights out at 9 p.m. when every man is
supposed to be in his hammock. I woke on this morning after a lovely night's sleep
at about 6 a.m. and on getting on deck found we had lost some time through the
hawser which connected the submarine to our boat parting at 4 a.m.. This had
been fixed up and we were off again but at 9.30 a.m. the same thing happened
again and we had to heave to for a couple of hours while it was fixed up again. I
started this morning to give a hand in the hospital at meal times. The hospital is
splendid and we have at present 6 cases, all minor. The food has been splendid so
far and this afternoon I was told to have my meals and to sleep in the saloon along
with the rest of the tent division, up to now we had been sleeping below with the
other men. We had a concert in the evening and there were some very good items.

Friday 25th December, 1914

Xmas day on the water with a church service at 10 a.m. which I could not attend as I
was on duty in the hospital. We are somewhere in the Australian Bight. I had a
splendid dinner pork and plum pudding being the chief items. The afternoon and
evening passed away quietly with nothing else worthy of note.

Saturday 26th December, 1914

Boxing Day, we sighted a steamer which we think is the Ulysses, it has been in sight
all day. I have been assisting all day while Captain Dawson has been vaccinating
the troops.

Sunday 27th December, 1914

Sunday very quiet, everyone busy writing in case we touch Albany tomorrow.

Monday 28th December, 1914

Anchored outside Albany this morning about 6 a.m.. Moved to within half mile of
wharf about 10 a.m. No chance of getting on shore. We finished the vaccin. this
morning. A lot of the boys have been fishing over the side and have caught a lot of
Mackerel, I had no line. We had a Patriotic Concert tonight.

Tuesday 29th December, 1914

Still at Albany, nothing doing. Steamer Port Macquarie at wharf on fire but nothing

Wednesday 30th December, 1914

Still at Albany, everything quiet. Wish we would get a move on.

Thursday 31st December, 1914

Left Albany 9 a.m., very quietly. It seems to be a quiet place. Still have submarine
AE2 in tow.

Friday 1st January, 1915

New Years Day. We have a general holiday and have a sports meeting in the
afternoon. I am now doing duty at the dispensary, giving any assistance I can at the
sick parades which are held at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and any bandaging that may have
to be done. The sports were fairly successful considering the circumstances under
which they were held, we have about 1200 men on board. I did not enter for
anything. There are 17 vessels in our fleet and they are steaming 4 abreast with
our steamer the Berrima leading by about half mile, they look very impressive. We
were stopped for about a quarter of an hour about 12 noon and were told afterwards
it was because there had been a burial on the S.S. Themistocles. The day came to
a close with a beautiful night.

Saturday 2nd January, 1915

Awoke this morning about 5.45 a.m., a splendid morning. We had 98 men on sick
parade this morning, none serious, mostly colds and effects of vaccination. The
submarine AE2 cast off this morning and went scouting round on her own, we don't
know what is the reason. I hear 2 of the transports have broken down, anyhow they
have dropped right back. We finished the sports this afternoon, the A.M.C. won the
relay race and reached the semi final of the tug of war but were beaten by the
Railways. We had a lecture at 4 p.m. from Capt Dawson on rolled bandaging and
also a little practice, it is very interesting. This was the tent division of A Section
only. Am just going to have a smoke and then turn in, weather still lovely and tucker

Sunday 3rd January, 1915

Jumped out of my hammock at 6 a.m. and got cleaned and dressed in my uniform
as it is Sunday, feel quite smart again after wearing my blues, did not get to church
parade as I was busy getting ready to dress vaccinations when church parade was
over. I joined in some of the hymns while I was working and could see and hear
everything through the porthole in the dispensary. We had 98 men on sick parade
at 7 a.m. and after church parade were very busy dressing arms (Vacc) till dinner
time. I lay down on one of the beds in the dispensary after dinner as there was
nothing doing. We had news that Major Stewart of C Sec. 4th Field Amb., who is on
the S.S. Agana, has contracted Typhoid, don't know if it is serious or not. We hove
to at 4 p.m. to take in tow again our baby Submarine AE2.

Monday 4th January, 1915

Donned the blues again this morning and went on duty at dispensary for sick parade
at 7 a.m. We had over 100 on parade but none serious, most of them had
practically nothing wrong with them, they seem to walk up if their fingers ache.
About 10 a.m. the Chief Engineer showed me how to work the ships sterilizer and
then I started to work to sterilize some blankets and hammocks which had been
used by men with an infectious or contagious disease, was busy at this till about 4
p.m. except for my dinner time. I then went and laid down till the sick parade at 5
p.m. at which I was on duty again. After this I had a good tea and then settled down
to read some yarns in a magazine. Had a good salt water bath at 8 p.m. as it is
beginning to warm up, we are entering the tropics now, am just going to turn in.

Tuesday 5th January, 1915

It was pretty warm today, but I suppose we must expect it now. I did some more
sterilizing today, it kept me going till 2 p.m. then I had a lie down for an hour in the
dispensary, at 4 p.m. our section was paid. This is our first pay on board. We are
only paid 1/- per day while on board and the balance is paid to us when we reach
our destination. I received 14/-. Went on duty at sick parade at 5 p.m., not much
doing, plenty of patients with very little the matter with them. Had word from the
Agana about 9 p.m. that Major Stewart was nearly dead, also they asked us if we
had a female nurse on board who could be transferred to them to look after the

Wednesday 6th January, 1915

Up early again this morning, it is beautiful weather if it was not so hot. We hove to
about 10 a.m. and lowered a boat and our Colonel, his orderly and Sergt Draper,
who is an old R.A.M.C. nurse, were transferred to the Agana to look after Major
Stewart. It took our boat about 2 hours to get to the Agana and back as we were
about half a mile apart and although the sea is not rough to us on our boat, it
bounced the boat with the Colonel in about a good deal, in fact sometimes we could
not see it at all. After dinner I was vaccinated along with the rest of the tent division
and so I spent the rest of the day except for sick parade at 5 p.m. in lounging about.
It is getting hotter.

Thursday 7th January, 1915

I awoke this morning about 4 a.m. and noticed that the ship had stopped. When I
got on deck I saw the Sub AE2 had cast off and was going right away from us and
on inquiry I heard that a steamer had been sighted and would not answer our
signals, it was rumoured to be a warship, but turned out to be a tramp steamer and
some misunderstanding had arisen out of the signalling. The AE2 came back after
visiting the steamer which was about 10 miles away, and was taken in tow again by
us. It only took the AE2 3 minutes to be absolutely ready for action after the alarm
had been given. I was given the duties today of looking after the venereal patients,
all the cases are Gonorrhoea. I have to give the patients their medicine and see
they keep themselves clean. 35 of them.

Friday 8th January, 1915

I awoke this morning and prepared for my duties in connection with the venereal
patients. They are all isolated and of course I take every precaution for myself. I
visit them at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., it takes me about an hour each visit. I give each
man his medicine to take and mix up their solutions for bathing and syringing
purposes. I do not think there is much danger of catching anything as long as
ordinary precautions are taken. I have not given up assisting at the dispensary at
the sick parades as (Although I could do so if I wished to) I am learning a good deal
and thoroughly like the work. I saw Captain Dawson inject into a patient some anti
Diphtheria serum this afternoon. He took this precaution as the patient shows every
sign of having Diphtheria. He injected about 10,000 minims. It has been and still is
sweltering hot. It is now 8 p.m.

Saturday 9th January, 1915

After I had done the rounds of my patients this morning I was told off to assist Capt.
Jeffries, who along with Capt Dawson started to inoculate the troops at 10 a.m. We
got through about 600 men up to 12 o'clock noon when we knocked off for dinner.
We did not do any more after dinner as there was a boxing tournament on and
everyone wanted to see it. Capt Dawson was timekeeper. There were some very
good bouts and if it had not been for the intense heat would have been a really
enjoyable show. I was on the sick parade at 5 p.m. but there was nothing of any
consequence occurred. Lime juice was given out today, 1 bottle to about 18 men.

Sunday 10th January, 1915

Did not put my uniform on today as it was too hot and my duties won't allow me to
go to church parade. It happens at a busy time for me. We are supposed to cross
the equator today. Capt Jeffries performed an operation today which I witnessed for
Haemorrhoids or bleeding piles. He operated and took them away very
successfully. It was very interesting to watch and of course seeing it means so
much more experience. I am getting on well at the dispensary too, all the little odd
jobs being of great benefit to me. I had a sleep this afternoon as I have had a slight
headache all day and have also been quiet tonight. It is just boiling and everyone is

Monday 11th January, 1915

I visited my patients this morning first thing after breakfast and then went in to assist
Capt Jeffries to do some more inoculating till 12 noon. I was inoculated myself by
Capt Dawson on the left breast and it is a little sore and stiff tonight but it is a very
simple operation. The crew rigged up a large canvas bath and we had Father
Neptune this afternoon. All those who had never crossed the line before were
supposed to go through it, the officers first and no exceptions were made. One
Lieutenant refused so they sent a party and carried him from his cabin and ducked

Tuesday 12th January, 1915

Went the rounds of my patients this morning and then started to do some more
sterilizing. Capt's Dawson and Jeffries were inoculating again this morning but I
was too busy to assist. I can hardly feel anything of my inoculation today, it seems
to have gone. We had the final bouts of the boxing tournament this afternoon and
after tea I visited my patients again. We expect to be in Colombo early in the
morning so everyone is writing tonight myself included. The heat has not been so
trying today.
Wednesday 13th January, 1915

Anchored inside the breakwater at Colombo about 9 a.m. this morning and were
immediately besieged by numbers of small boat loads of natives who wanted to
change money with us of course, all to their advantage. Later in the day some of
the natives got on board and we had some fun, we got the boxing gloves out and put
a few coppers in for two of them to fight. It was funny , they have absolutely no idea
how to fight with fists. We were not allowed to go ashore which was a great
disappointment but a lot slid down ropes over the side of the steamer and got the
natives to row them ashore.

Thursday 14th January, 1915

We were still in Colombo when I got up this morning. It is a beautiful day and the
native boats are all around us, a lot of our men have come back who got off last
night and I believe there were nearly 200 off our boat alone. They have all to
parade as defaulters but I don't think they will get it very hot. Any amount more
have been dodging off all morning, I was very unlucky not to be able to go myself
with a pass, but I was disappointed. One or two fellows fell into the water while
getting down ropes, but they all got out. We moved out of the harbour about 3 p.m.
this afternoon and are now anchored about a mile out.

Friday 15th January, 1915

Still at anchor when I got up this morning, a lot of native boats were round us and
the natives were diving for money thrown into the water. Some of their boats are
very crude being merely three planks lashed together and they kneel on these and
paddle with pieces of board. They never seem to miss any of the money thrown in.
We raised anchor and steamed away about 10 a.m. and are now bound for we don't
know where. I have not seen anything of an escort except for the submarine but we
hear there are 4 or 5 Japanese destroyers and cruisers somewhere about. We did a
little more inoculation this morning. Everything is pretty quiet tonight.

Saturday 16th January, 1915

Did the sick parade and the round of my patients this morning and at 11 a.m. Capt
Jeffries performed an operation, it was a circumcision and went off quite well. We
are somewhere close to the coast of India and by the chart seem to be going there,
but of course we don't know. We have seen the smoke of several vessels during
the day but don't know what they were, might be our escort. We also saw what we
thought was the coast of India but were not sure. The men who broke ship at
Colombo have been fined 10 days ships pay (10/-) and 1 days field pay which
means 5/- and 6/- in some cases, this is privates. N.C.O.'s are to be court
martialled. It is very hot.

Sunday 17th January, 1915

This is our fourth Sunday on the water, everything seems very quiet. I visited my
patients this morning and again this evening and during the day did a little reading.
It was busy in the dispensary while the church parade was on, but as it is held just
outside the door, I can see and hear everything. The singing of all the troops
sounds fine when you are on the sea and the men seem as though they are giving
vent to their feelings when they are singing. We had a church service this evening
which I attended and enjoyed very much and I was almost sorry when it was over.

Monday 18th January, 1915

We are still having lovely weather it seems nothing short of marvellous for the water
to be so still. I did my rounds this morning and then helped Capt Jeffries to inoculate
some of the troops for the second time, everyone has to be done twice within 10
days otherwise the inoculation against Typhoid will not have the desired effect. We
were at it till midday when we knocked off for dinner and resumed again at 2.30 p.m.
keeping going till 5 p.m., when I had to go and attend the sick parade with Capt
Dawson before having tea. I fixed my patients up after tea and then had a few
games at Draughts and turned in.

Tuesday 19th January, 1915

Attended sick parade at 7 a.m. then had breakfast after which I visited my patients.
I then had to assist Capt Jeffries to do some more inoculating. We were at it till
dinner time and I was inoculated myself for the second time. I took things easy this
afternoon till 5 o'clock sick parade when Capt Dawson took our photo's in the
dispensary and also outside with the men who were reporting sick. I was not feeling
too good myself about this time from the effects of my inoculation but it seems to
have worn off again this evening and I feel alright now. It is four weeks today since
we left Melbourne.

Wednesday 20th January, 1915

Attended sick parade at 7 a.m. and afterwards visited my patients and then we did a
little more inoculating which lasted till close on dinner time. I have not felt any
effects of my inoculation this morning or at all today and all that can be seen is a
little swelling on the left breast where the needle was inserted. We are keeping as
we have done all the trip except when we have stopped to provision the submarine,
about a mile ahead of the other transports, sometimes we go ahead and lose sight
of them altogether. Rumours are afloat on the ship that our section is going to
England to train in the hospitals at home.

Thursday 21st January, 1915

Went into the dispensary at 7 a.m. for sick parade and just as we finished a man
was brought in who had a bayonet accidentally stuck in him, it was not serious.
Attended to my patients after breakfast and then Capt Jeffries performed two
operations very successfully. One was for Haemorrhoids and the other a
circumcision. This kept us going till dinner. We all had to turn out on a general
parade in full marching order, when we were inspected by Major Baker, the O.C. of
the ship. This is the first parade I have been on since embarking and it lasted till
tea time. We sighted 2 steamers today which looked like cruisers through the
glasses, they were painted the same colour, they turned out to be transports with
Indian troops on board and are still with us tonight.

Friday 22nd January, 1915

Attended sick parade at 7 a.m. and after breakfast visited my patients. I received
instructions from Capt Dawson today to take them their medicine 3 times daily,
which means I must visit them at 2 p.m. as well as 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. but it is not
much trouble. Things were very quiet this afternoon so I lay down and had a read till
5 p.m. sick parade after which I had my tea and then did my 7 o'clock round. We
expect to reach Aden tomorrow and everyone is hoping for a chance to get ashore
but I don't think it is any good hoping, they made a bad thing of it when they broke
ship at Colombo.

Saturday 23rd January, 1915

I forgot to mention yesterday the result of the Court Martial of the N.C.O.'s who
broke ship at Colombo was announced. They were all reduced to privates and
have to do 14 days fatigue duty as defaulters and I understand they have been fined
as well. The result was announced publicly and their stripes were cut off in front of
all the troops on the ship. We reached Aden this morning and anchored outside the
harbour. The men did a little bargaining with the natives and I bought 2 singlets for
2/-, they are only cotton but very easy for the hot weather. We were to have
steamed out this evening but unfortunately our anchor fouled a submarine cable and
broke it and then the steel hawser which we tow AE2 with got tangled round one of
our propellers and we will have to stay till it is fixed up.

Sunday 24th January, 1915

The rest of the fleet steamed away without us yesterday evening and we have had
the divers working on our propeller all night and they are still at it. We moved into
the inner harbour about 9 a.m. to give the divers a better chance and found 2 Indian
transports at anchor, one of them has 8 guns mounted which we can see and also
some quick firers or Maxims. We have been besieged with natives trying to sell fruit
and other things all day. I wrote 6 post cards and 1 letter this afternoon. Some of
the fellows are fishing but only catching very small fish. We left Aden at 5 p.m. and
passed a mail steamer about 7.30 on her way to Australia.

Monday 25th January, 1915

Visited my patients this morning and after breakfast we did some more inoculating till
dinner time, we passed a cargo steamer about 11.30 a.m. Capt Dawson took
another photo this afternoon of 6 of us in front of the dispensary. After tea I visited
my patients and then went to have a quiet time in the dispensary. I hardly got
settled when 6 men were brought in with severe pains in their stomachs. This was
the start and I sent for Capt Dawson. We worked till 11.30 p.m. about 6 of us and
we had to use the stomach pump on about 20 men, it appeared that they had
Ptomaine poisoning but we could not get to the cause of it. I turned in about 12 p.m.
sleeping in the dispensary with 30 others, but odd ones kept coming in sick during
the night. They were all sent to hospital and from 7.30 to 6 a.m. Tuesday 26th we
went through 102 troops suffering.

Tuesday 26th January, 1915

After a broken nights sleep I got up at reveille 6 a.m. feeling pretty tired. We went
through the sick parade at 7 a.m. and we had a very large number of the troops who
were suffering slightly from Ptomaine poisoning not so bad as the night before. We
tried to find the cause of the poisoning through the day but could not. A good many
of the men were feeling very seedy, but I was quite well and must have been
fortunate enough to leave the cause of the poisoning alone, although I did not know
it. We got wireless news of Admiral Beatty's victory over the Germans and of his
sinking the Blucher, also that the Turks were sniping along the Suez Canal.

Wednesday 27th January, 1915

Usual sick parade and round of patients this morning. Then I went on to the boat
deck with Capt Dawson to assist him as we had a medical inspection for all the
troops on board. This kept us going till midday. After dinner we had a general
inspection of all troops on board in full marching order and with entire kits as for
disembarkation, by the O.C. of units, Capt Dawson being our O.C., as the Colonel
is on board the Ulysses. We passed 5 boats during the day and expect to reach
Suez tomorrow. We had some news that the British forces were driving back the

Thursday 28th January, 1915

Did my rounds again this morning and then we did some packing of medical utensils
in the dispensary. We were at this till dinner time. We passed a small pleasure
yacht about 8.30 a.m. quite close, it was flying the Egyptian flag. We saw land all
day today and about 4 p.m. sighted the rest of our fleet at anchor at the mouth of the
Suez Canal. We were packing all afternoon in case we have to disembark at Egypt.
We anchored alongside the rest of the transports about 6 p.m. at the mouth of the
Suez Canal. Just as we anchored a small gunboat passed us, it was about as big
as the Edina and had 2 guns.

Friday 29th January, 1915

Port Suez looked lovely this morning from the deck of our steamer. It is the prettiest
scene I have seen since leaving Melb. We got a move on about 11 a.m. and
entered the canal, it is a wonderful piece of work. We passed a cruiser the Ocean
just inside the canal, they gave us a rousing cheer and early this afternoon we
passed the cruiser Minerva and the Indian transport Himalaya which has a lot of
guns on and has been turned into an auxiliary cruiser. They were all 3 moored to
the bank of the canal ready to defend it against the Turks. All along the banks of
the canal are soldiers entrenched ready to defend it, most of them are Ghurkhas, so
far as we have seen today they are very lively and cheered for all they were worth as
we passed. They seem to be in a very strong position.

Saturday 30th January, 1915

We anchored last night in one of the lakes in the canal called the Bitter Lake and we
got under way again about 10 a.m. this morning. We passed lots of troops
entrenched on the banks, most of the way up the country is just sand. We passed
the Orsova on her way to Australia and also an Indian transport full of Indian troops,
taking them up the canal to where the fighting is expected to be more severe. We
anchored in another lake about 2.30 p.m. and a small launch came off from shore
where there is a small town called Ishmaeli, towing a pontoon on which were some
Australian Engineers. As they came closer I picked out a couple of them, W. Hill,
my fiancee's brother and A Milne. I was agreeably surprised to see them, we threw
them tobacco and cigarettes and tucker, they came quite close and we learned the
Turks were not far away and already there had been a slight engagement.

Sunday 31st January, 1915

We hoisted our anchor about 10 a.m. this morning and moved away from Ishmael.
We saw troops all along the banks of the canal ready entrenched, waiting for the
Turks. Our men looked well prepared for any attack that might come. We also
saw 5 or 6 aeroplanes flying over Ishmaeli keeping an eye open for the Turks. We
passed some more British and French warships one of ours being the Swiftsure.
We also passed an Italian cruiser the Calabria, she saluted us and all her men stood
at attention as we passed. Then we passed a French passenger steamer and the
passengers were very enthusiastic. We had to tie up for about an hour and a half
to let about a dozen ships pass us. We then got a move on and reached Port Said
about 7 p.m. this evening.