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FOURTH REINFORCEMENTS.

SEA TBIP TO ADEN.

AN ARTILLERYMAN'S LETTER

A Peninsula member of tho New Zealand Artillm-y of the Fourth Reinforcements deBcribes th« 'tip from Albany to Aden on the troopship Knight Templar as follows : — May 15th, 1915; '•Still at Sfls. Wβ have seen no land since leaving Albany at 10 a m. on the 80th April. We arrived al the heads on the Wednesday night, being on picket from 2 to 4 a.m. Thursday morning. I was on deck when we picked up the lighthouse. The thought of getting solid land under our feet was too much for most of the fellows and about half did not go to bed, as they knew we were go' ing nshore, for orders were out for all to be ready for a route march at 8a m. We lay at the heads till sunrise, and as the light brightened we found the Waitomo already [anchored, which was a sw prise. We had

not seen her Binoe the seoond day out from Wellington.'and thought she was hopelessly behind. Immediately it was light we got a pilot aboard, and steamed up the harbour. It is a beautiful inlet with three or four islands across the entrance and lowlyiog hills all round, showing white where the limestone sticks out, and is covered with low scrub The town itself does not come into Bight till a promontory is rounded half way down the harbour, and looked about the size of Ly Helton, only much prettier, and the hills are not bo rugged. We were pafely tied to the wbarf by 8 a.m., with the Waitimo, while the Willochra etayed in the harbour to coal. For diplomatic reasons I volunteered to stay behind for stablee while the route march was on, and found I was right, as those to stay behind had firet option for leave in the afternoon. The leave was in two lots. The first were oS from 2 to 5 p.m., and the seoond lot from 6 to 9 p.m. However, I bagged both. The town was overrun with khaki, and it was fairly hard for anyone to get drunk as it wai such a job to get a drink. It was amming to hear the grievances the fellows had against the town, one being that the beer was so light—it was practically impossible for anyone to 'blow out. . It suited me tip top, being lighter than, laager beer. There wera no suburbs or other places of interest within striking distance, except a motor bun over the hill to a hamlet called Middle Beach, which was iust a sandy hook of the harbour, We had a great dinner, and made up for the lost time. Altogether we enjoyed ourpelvee, as I suppose one only can after not seeing land for ten days or to. The record signalled to the flagship next morning satisfied us, namely, " one drunk none missing." Nat bad, eh! We pulled out next day at 10 am, and started on the journey, still in progress, Colombo having been cut out of our run The weather wae beatiful, and hae remained so, getting gradually hotter as we neared the line, till we have for the last week been in a perpetual lather. Thank goodness, we have had a wind of sorts. They had what they call measles aboard, and when the isolation was full were compelled io leave the fellowe in their bunks. All four round me had it, but I have not caught it, and they have diagnosed it now as heat rash I wae hoping to get it to get a spell, but my luck was out. So far three horses have gone to feed the sharks, all belonging to the mounteds. Ours all seem very fit, We have had several boxing tournaments at night, but not much science has been shown, and it appears to be an excuse for fellows wanting to fight to work off steam. Some of the fights are better than a circus. I am keeping a diary, but it 13 mainly filled with Btablee, stables, stables. I tried sleeping on deck one night, but drew it wrong, and wae wakened up abeut 11 p.m. by a tropioal shower. I made fot cover, and tried to settle down again, but was once more washed out, and got down to my bunk disgusted at about 2 a.m. Last Saturday a compulsory hosing down was ordered for all hands, and I wae appointed hose man. However, the elements interfered, and there was a downpour all the afternoon. Everybody stripped off and got out into it. It was glorious after having nothing but ealt water to wash in for some weeks. One boy, in skylarking, slid from ona deck to another, a drop of some tsn feet, on to an iron deck, missing going over the side by inches. Hβ seemed to re« cover all right, but took bad. again to day, and is, presumably, internally injured. The food hes been bad in the massroom, but I have only bad two or throe meals there since leaving Albany, living on deck on tha best in the laDd, thanks to one who takes a fatherly interest in me. lam getting pretty fat and weigh well over 12st. We saw a water spout on Thursday morning, and flying fish have long ago ceased to be a novelty. On Thursday, morning, 13th mat, we got a cable to say Father Neptune would be aboaidat 2 p.m., and got a half holiday to welcome him, everybody dressing in as little Bβ possible as a precaution. Heduly arrived dressed in seaweed and looking pretty fieroe, with some twenty retainers, all well deve , loped and likely to quell resistance in un* believers, their lack of dress giving their muscles full play. He sent for the Major, and made a long spef eh, in which he stated he was there to do all the honour of confer' ring on them the "Order of the Line," which we had orossed that morning. Then the order waa duly conferred, starting with the Major and officers, some of whom his Majesty's bodyguard paid special attention to. We were all finally put among the brotherhood, those resisting getting especially well attended to In short it was , a blessing in disguise, as they had to give us fresh water to get us clean after the perfor mance; Yesterday a strange looking bird was hovering round the ship. It wae about double the size of a whale bird, with the same colouring but a tail tome feet long, so we must be somewhere near land. The sunrises and sunsets are simply glorious, but beggar desoription. Yesterday we had a bit of excitement. First of all one ol Neptune's body guard, who had been hit over the head by a resister, cornered hia man, and a ring was made. It was a great go. Both were badly smashed about, and the resistor was finally put out after half an hour. Both are now under the doctor, and will not nppear for some days. Nest, the third mate separated two Chinamen who were fighting, one of whom tried to knife bim, By gad! the

UDlike compounds and mixtures for ooughs and colds, NAZOL is J ready for nee wh e n bought. Saves your meney, too. 60 doees /6.

mate did fix him. Just ono smack, to be heard all over the ship, Jand there was no more trouble. Today has been quiet, and I had a game of bridge for an hour, I hear we may get a mail nehord |tomorrow, although wo d'Hi't land ourselves, so will finish up We are new on the trade route, j *nd hftvß seen a fair number o£ steamers today which somfcwhat rtlu-vra the monotony. Had a monsoon for three days, which shook things np a bit, bat at present the nea i 3 like gla3s, and tha heat frightful. The canteen aboard has run oat of drink, find wa only have tepid water between meals, and littlo ol that. We were off the coast of Alrca to« day, but too far out to see much, I understand we passed between Saratoga and the mainlnnd. I hepe this finds you all as well a3 it leaves me."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19150702.2.12

Bibliographic details

FOURTH REINFORCEMENTS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3470, 2 July 1915

Word Count
1,381

FOURTH REINFORCEMENTS. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3470, 2 July 1915

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