Churchill-Smith, James – January 1916
New Years Day No drill – Sports morning & afternoon. About 40 men brought back by picquet for being absent without leave. C.O. spoke strongly to Battn. re breaking Camp…
222 Bags of mail arrived for Bttn… Went for short horse–ride in afternoon. Lot of men in Guard Tent calling out insults to C.O. during night – disgraceful…
Mail still going strong. Received letters from dear Kate, Mrs Hawson, Mrs Bond, & Mattie; also papers from Kate. Heavy rain during last night. 9th Bttn arrived last night…
Wrote dear Mum, Kate, Father, Girlie, Mattie & Mrs Bond, Iris Galliford, Emy, Len & Joyce Johnston… Left by 3 pm. train with Lieuts Henwood and Campbell on 24 hrs leave. Henwood went to Alexandra, and Gordon and I to Cairo, stopping at the Eden Palace Hotel…
…Up at 8 a.m. cold bath. Shopping during morning… motored round all afternoon – Zeitoun, Abassieh, No 2 A.G.H. Gizirah and other places. Most enjoyable time. Bought V.P.Kodak Camera in afternoon and took few snaps… Back at Camp at 9 p.m…
… Reported at Divisional Hdqrs. at 14 00 for Grenadier instruction. – 3 days course…
Acting as O.C. “C” Coy all day. Noel Loutit appointed Brigade Grenadier Officer… Sorry to hear of poor Chas. Bagot’s death at Gallipoli in Novr. A good life gone.
1st Ausn Division paraded out in desert and marched past the G.O.C. Gen Smythe. – very good marching…
Believe dear Fathers birthday – God bless him, and may Dad have a longer & more prosperous life yet…
Church Service in morning – new Rev. Fatigue Party at railway siding during afternoon.
Received letter from Mum & Aunt Nell. Wrote Aunt Nell, Sid, & Mum…
Dull day with light rain at intervals. Received papers from Kate. (dear kid.) New Seniority list out, I’m now Senior 2/Lt in Battalion.
Nice fine day. Half holiday during afternoon. Lts Frederick, Boorn, Clyde down during night (27th); spent enjoyable evening.
At Rifle Ranges all day – very good shooting…
Battalion struck Camp at 8.30 a.m. “C” left by train (2.30 pm) for Serapium, marched through very heavy sand with packs & all on to side of Canal (5.30 pm) Marched about 1½ miles to Camp and bivouaced for night. Fortunately valise came up early so although a cold night I slept well and warm.
Tents pitched during morning, and everybody accommodated. I with Capt Hamilton Lieut Armitage in one Bell tent. All desert here & flat country. Well prepared to meet Turks, but don’t think a big fight will result. Took couple of photos of Canal during afternoon. Bed early.
Packed up & moved off from Camp at about 11 30 a.m. and arrived at destination (Habieta) at about ¼ to 4 p.m. very heavy marching, long way, Bert Hewish & I marched together and stuck it through…
Lovely warm day – Australian summer. C & D Coys started work about 9.30 a.m. Church Parade at about 10 a.m., only about 30 present. Wrote dear Mum, Kate, Emy Johnston, & C/S Turner. Bridge with Lory, Hooper & Blackburn at night – made some mistakes and was cursed, but enjoyed it very much.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith