Churchill-Smith, James – September 1915
September 1 1915
First day off duty. Big swell on sea… Ship rolling side to side about 220… Sister Mann sowed button on my greatcoat…Feeling A1… Got games up out of hold for men; much appreciated.
Stowaway (14 yrs old) found on board yesterday (from Fremantle); wants me to take him to the war with the 10th, Will see the Colonel about it…
September 2 1915
Nice day; sea calm… Cricket 4 pm to 6 pm – enjoyed it. One week since left home; seems like a month; hope I shall soon be back…
September 4 1915
… Tug of War between 27th Infy & Light Horse – 27th won 2 out of 2.
Concert by men on Well deck – success. Cricket in afternoon – very hot… Prisoners allowed out of Cell – too hot, Passed Cocos Island…
September 5 1915
Fairly hot day; reminds me of an Australian summer’s day. Plenty of flying fish about… Church Parade 9.45 am. on Well deck. Sea very calm… Lying in cabin with underpants, singlet, identification disc on with electric fan going strongly.
September 8 1915
… Not feeling too well; caught a chill. Lying in bed during morning. Bed 7.15 p.m. – cold & feverish head; expect to be much better in morning, hope so. Sister Edna Nicholls came in to cabin and gave motherly advice… Arrived Colombo about 7.30 pm
September 9 1915
In bed all day; cold & headache; Can’t eat, only drink…
September 10 1915
Dr Horwood attending me; says touch of sun; gave me some pills… Very violent pains in stomach…
September 11 1915
Left Colombo 1.30 a.m. Feeling better. Had good night’s rest Hot bath in morning… Had some “Apple Tart & Custard” for Luncheon; but not as good as one gets at home… Lost 13 lbs since I’ve been ill…
September 15 1915
Nice day; sea choppy… Paid men today. Feeling better but legs still weak.
September 16 1915
… Played cricket in afternoon, very warm. Fancy Dress Dance 2nd Saloon.
September 17 1915
Arrived Aden at 9.30 a.m., left 6 p.m.
… Went ashore; very dirty place, very hot day. Nice & cool evening. [Locals] very Funny; always begging; & fond of money.
September 18 1915
… Slept out on deck at night; nice and cool. Lot Indian Officers on Board, came on at Aden. Some very decent fellows; one snob causing trouble with men and lascars and Ship’s staff.
September 19 1915
… Attended Church on well deck. Now very busy getting ready for disembarkation on Tuesday next… Packed up ready for disembarkation…
September 20 1915
… Issued out 12 biscuits & 1 tin Beef to every man of unit…
September 21 1915
… Arrived Suez about 8 a.m… Left Suez by train at 2 pm, route along Canal, few warships in Canal, Very dry sandy place few palms Arrived Zeitoun 8.15 pm; marched straight to Camp.
September 22 1915
First day at Zeitoun Camp My unit attached to B Coy 1st Trng Battalion… Drill in desert; all sand and dust… Went to Cairo 8 pm.; met Inky Stevenson & Kep Wendt at Shepheards; drove around Wassa (dirtiest, slumiest part of Cairo) place awful, but worth seeing Went to Casino, arrived about 11 p.m., back at Camp 1.15 pm Thoroughly enjoyed myself
September 23 1915
Up at 5.30 a.m for parade at 6 am. Paraded 6 to 9; 10.30 to 12 noon; 4.30 to 6 pm.
It is not very hot, in fact, after the sun sets it is just lovely…
September 24 1915
… Men issued with short khaki trousers & light shirts; very cool. Detailed as O.C. Guard for V.D’s going back to Australia; attended Intermediate Headquarters for instructions. Met dear old Noel Loutit there, so pleased to see him. Went to ‘Palace’ Hospital with him, then to Dinner at Zeitoun, then back to Cairo.
September 25 1915
… 137 V.D’s by train for Suez at 11 am. Three or four men had to be carried to the train; they couldn’t possibly walk. – others had to walk slowly…put men on board a Lighter … back at Zeitoun Camp at 12 midnight. Vaccination itching, getting stiff under arm. Wrote Dad, Mum, & dear Kate on train – letters to be posted in Adelaide or delivered to Dad by a 2/Lt from 27th Bat returning ill…
September 26 1915
Got up about 11 am – had bath – & vacc dressed. Met Noel at Hospital about 3 pm. and went to Citadel Mosque at Cairo… Rumoured that 200 wounded Indians arrived at Heliopolis; evidently fight near Suez or Aden.
September 27 1915
… Evening meal by candle light; lying on our beds with one Officer reading latest paper… evidently war is nearing the end. Hope I shall be there before finish.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith