WITH THE NEW ZEALAND FORCES
EXPERIENCES PROM PENINSULA VOLUNTEER.
Port Suez, December Ist
Last night we bad a competition concert, for which numerous entries had been received. The classes are being heard to night. The finals are : Piano, solo, bass, baritone, tenor and violin solos, recitations and comic recitations. We have some really good talent on board, and our concerts would do credit to anyone in that; line. The Eev, Blamires, our CaptainChaplain, is judge, and has so far given great satisfaction His criticisms are good, especially on those whose talents are not quite up to standard. It is now 7.30, and lam on duty on the bridge till midnight so must stop. It is a perfect moonlight night, and beautifully calm, so don't sympathise with me as it is a pleasure to be up on these nights. Wednesday, 2nd Dec, 5.30 p.m. We are cow several' miles out of Port Said, en route for Alexandria, where we will arrive at daylight in the morning We will start to disembark straight away. We were given a magnificent send off from Port Said. We (the Tahiti), were one of the first to steam out, and we had to steam past tbe Australian ships and about a dozen British and French battleships Bands were playing the whole time, and each ship gave us the salute and a tremendous roar of cheers as we steamed past. The three French cruisers, though, went mad over us. They bad a guard of honour and a bugle band to salute us, and about two hundred sailors sang the "Marsail laise," and by jove it was a treat to listen to them. Our men were deeply impressed, and at the conclusion of the singing they cheered again and again, and gave some good Maori hakas. We were passing within fifty yards of the other ships, and could' easily have a chat to the men on board. There were several passeDger steamers in the port, and we got a great reception from them too. The white population of the port were all out, and tb.6y too gave us a great send-off. It was by far the grandest send oft* we have bad yet, and one that we will never forget. The German prisoners, whom we had transferred to the cruiser Hampshire, gave us a farewell hand wave as we passed. We have not got any mail from New Zealand yet; and we could not get the latest-papers here, so we are still short of news.
Wednesday, December 2 8.80 a m.
We are now at Port Said, We arrived early this morning, and started coaling. By eight o'clock we were finished ready for the journey again.
I don't know when we are leaving here, but 1 expect it will bo some time to day. We are toH that we are to disembark at Alexandra en route for Cairo, where wo will camp for some time. It look* as if we are going to fight the Tutk-', and that wo will be more or less frontiersmen. Thin kind of work phould suit us. Our chaps are very disappointed at not going to England. Port Said this morning is a very busy place. There are bun dreds of vessels of all sizes anchored here. Most of them are coaling Of course, none of vi will b« allowed to land, but we have a good view of the town from our decks, as we as within fifty yards of the shore. | Dozens) of natives are coming out to | ua with boat loads of all sorts of goods, and seem to be doing good biz. I was up till twelve last and as it was a glorious moonlight night, I had a good view of the canal and surroundings. The canal and railway are exceptionally well guarded. Troops of infantry, native regiments, camel and horse corps are stretched the whole length of the canal. We beard that one of these regiments bad an engagement with the Turks only sixty miles away from here, so it is most likely that we will be in action very soon. P,irade on deck now
ARRIVAL IN EG^PT
We are still on board .the Tahiti, but expect to leave her finally to morrow. We started unloading Btores, etc., this morning, and got all of our horses off this afternoon. Tbe New Zealand horses were all taken off and housed in a huge building near the railway. Special water-troughs were erected, and good feeding arrangements made, so the horses will have a good night ashore for the first night We are getting breakfast at six o'clock in the morning, and will then entrain for Cairo, which is about 100 milea from here. We are going to camp at a place called Zeetoun. We are all warned to. take twenty four hours food for ourselves and horses. Several ad vance parties went off by the train t.o day, so everything will be ready fov us when we arrive. „ Tbe h>rse trucks are as good as the New Zealand onep, but the carriages for us (3rd class) are like dog boxes. The first class car risges have sleeping berths, and are very comfortable Our horses were very fit when we took them off. Mo ft of them wanted to roll, and others were rearing and standing on their toes. The noise and bustle on the wharves made them quite excited. We did not have an accident of any sort during disembarkation. All of the horses have got their summer coats, and most of them have put on condition the last two weeks of tbe journey, so it was no surprise to us when the local people came along and expressed their admiration and sur prise at our horses My cob and Reg. Birdling's cob have done remarkably well, and tbe Wnghorns' horses are just pictures. To say there are twenty cases of lameness through swollen legs would be well on tbe outside. We lost three borses altogether on the journey, and I think this speaks well ior our vet. (Captain .Stafford). It was, no doiibfc, due to bis untiririg energy in giving advice, lectures and attending to sick horses all hours of the day and night that we came through so well. The CYC. did not lose a single borse during tbe journey. Tbe whole of the Australians, I beHove, are going to Cairo with I hear we will, go into barracks'and not camp there. We could not get any leave to day, as We were so busy, but we got a fair idea of the town from where we were lying, I believe the population is half a million, and the town is one of tbe oldest cities in the world. It certainly looks it. To us the town looks a typical oldfashioned Egyptian city Most of the buildings look as if they had been, severely bombarded some time in Ibe j past. I hear tbat two great battles hove been fought here. Electric trams run through tbe main streets, and there are hundreds of four' wheeled cabs driven by natives. Long narrow lorries, with very small wheels, are used on the wharves, and are pulled by mules and good looking Arab horses. Beggars and cutthroat looking, (lark skinned people are to be seen here in hundreds. 1 would not
k to he aionn Ohio alter dark Th re »-i of trading vesFe ■= in r-hf bnrbour to day, and they are m)slv busy unloading and loading All of the labour is done here by tbe natives.
Wednesday, December 9
2 15 p.m
We left Alexandra by train at 12 50 p.m. on Friday last, December i, and csme right through to within half a mile of tbe site of our camp, where we arrived at 6.30 p.m. We had our borses off in a short time, »nd were soon leading them away to the camp. Although our regimental quartermasters came ahead a day before «8 arrived, we were without food or anj-l thing for our horses. We tied our) horse 3up to a • fence, and put tbeir cnvera on and slept behind them with our great coats for blankets. Next morning we got ten and biscuits for breakfast and chaff lor our borse? This camp i* situated on the ou'« skirts of HelioolH, a suburb of Cairo, about Feventepn minutes' ride out by tram car. There is nothing else but sand here; in f.ict, we are camped on a desert*of a fpw thousand square miles. There are 75,000 troops here altogether, mostly British Territorials and Tommies. The Australians are ciraped out at the Pyramids, about twenty miles away. Tbe day after we arrived wo got tents up and horse lines and cooking gallics arranged, so we were soon comfortably settled We have no straw to sleep on, and I can tell you we find there is not much give in these Egyptian stones. Tbey are a. particularly bard species, but all the same we are getting very nicely settled. We will probably be here for some time There are nine men in a bell tent, so at present we have plenty of room. We have not ridden our horses yet 1 , but will do so in a day or two now. The local military people cannot believe that our borses have been on board ship for nearly two months. They are looking so well The whole of the New Zealand horses are the same. The British Tommies express great admiration at our splendid horses. Good cooking ar raogements have been made. We gat good bread, butter.'jam. cheese, potatoes, cabbage, rice, etc. In fact, the food we get here is so much better than tbat we got on board.shipand consequently everyone is much bappier. and better able to do hard work. Very complete sanitary and hospital arrangements have been made. The whole place here is just a huge canvas town. There are 75,000 soldiers here, must be nearly equal to tbe number of people in Christchurch. You can imagine what a great system must be in force to feed and look after tbe whole of the men and borses here, and I must say that everything is excellently arranged. We have not done any drill yet, but hope to do so in a day or two We have been getting ourselves cosy, and leading and grooming our horses for several hours eaoh day. We get leave every night till ten o'clock, so we are seeing everything that is to be seen. Helioplis is about ten minutes walk from where we are camped. It is a fairly large place, and its stone buildings are the most beautiful I have ever seen. The town is very clean and fresh. Tbe streets are wide, and the shops are tbe very best. There are some grand hotels here. You can have your drinks, besides buns, biscuits, etc., brought on to a table in the street, and you can sit down and stay there as long as you like. Needless to say we stayed a consider able time there on our first visit. Eleotric cars run through tbe princi pal streets, and there is a ten mm utes service to Cairo,
Cairo is a dig place. Tbe population is over balf a million. There are a few good buildings there, Shepard's Hotel being about tbe best. We paid 5s for dinner at this place on our first visit, On tbe whole, Cairo is a poor city. There certainly ate pretty places, but the number of dirty streets and the filthy little shops and drinking places take all tbe charm away. There are any amount of theatres and picture palaces and other places of amusement in Helioplis and Cairo, and within a hundred yards of our camp there is a Wonderland, scenic
ail way, water chute, etc , and a good (■upper for so we are not short of amusement. I must go out to the Pyramids before we f eave here. We get papers here every day. I am send ing you one, which contains an ac count of the last of the Emden.
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WITH THE NEW ZEALAND FORCES, Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3471, 22 January 1915
WITH THE NEW ZEALAND FORCES Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3471, 22 January 1915
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