EVACUATION OF GALLIPOLI.
RETURN TO EGYPT.
Sergeant Ralph Parsons, writing to a relative in Akaroa, under date 17th January, 1916, says: — Since I last published my gazette, things have been moving some, and I will now endeavour to give you a brief outline nf what I've been up to during the last few weeks.
Was fortunate to be at Anzac | right up to the last, and on Die morning after all the troops had left, from the deck of a warship, saw the fleet bombard our late home. It was really a wonderful sight to see the warships steam I inshore in the early morning, and hurl their broadsides into the)
place we once called our own. After they had finished there was nothing much left, but some glorious big fii*es broke out. Of course we were all very disgusted at having to leave, after all that had occurred, and just when we thought we were getting snug for the winter, but its the fortune of war. After. a couple of days cruise in the warship, where the sailors made a terrible fuss of us, we landed at Lemnos and camped near the • village of Portianos, where we were favoured with fairly good weather, though at times rather cold. It is an awfully bleak hole, and the native villages, like the natives themselves (who are running over with benevolent neutrality) are just about the limit. Spent Xmas.and New Year in the General's house in the village and had a great Xmas. dinner, the menu including, poultry and Australian plum duff, and other things too numerous to mention. In the afternoon we took the baths at Thermos (hot springs) and there lost quite a load, including all the Anzac" "game," we had brought over with us. Indeed we were so light hearted
that after lunching off a very
modest omelette and whiling away the afternoon- we promptly lost ourselves on our homeward way, but eventually landed home in time for Xmas. dinner, which we all sadly needed.
1 Shortly after this the heads left us to our own devices, after 1 giving instructions that we were to follow on at first opportunity. ; This opportunity did not even- • tuate until about a fortnight \ later, so we did quite a lot of entertaining, and "carried on" to the best of our ability. The good ship "Empress of Britain" (which is a whopper) took us and 5000 others over to Alexandria in less than 48 hours and quite lost any wily submarine that might have been lurking round. We, however, lived with our lifebelts tied round us, until they became'too oppressive. Of course there was no sleeping accommodation, but Carpell, the General's Orderly Corporal—an old soldier who was with him in South Africa, and went through this present S.W. African .campaign with General Botha as staff officermanaged to get the two of us beds in the hospital, where we were very comfortable, until someone insisted on thrusting a thermometer down my heck when I was half asleep.'' Wehad fairly good weather and altogether enjoyed our trip. It was rather unnerving to get back to a fairly civilized place again, but we almost immediately set out for a desert oasis here, where the camels make terrible faces at one, and the sweet smelling Gippo continually! whines for "Backsheesh" which j he never gets from us. There are thousands of camels about, they come here to water, and cany on in a most ridiculous way, froth at the mouth and and poke out their tongue.-;, and are most impolite. We have most comfortable quarters in a decent house, with a roof promenade and a very fine garden, so I am once again among the roses, though it hardly seems the dinkum thing, but as usual we.Anzacs have the post of honour here.
The European quarter, though Inot very extensive, is very swagger, and the gardens and, houses could not. possibly be beaten anywhere. Everything grows in great profusion, and the avenues are things of beauty
"*" while the tall timber is everywhere. Quite a complete change from Gallipoli. *' There is some rumour to the "effect that all "Green" envelopes £■ posted after 16th October, have ' been destroyed. I have used them when writing every week on the Peninsula, and though 1 a number of our mails were torpedoed, still I am rather anxious to hear whether you have been getting mine regularly. If not, you will know the reason why. Since joining the Anzac Headquarters I have been made a "Staff Sergeant" and now ,••; sport a crown, so you can address ** me as such, if you don't find it
too much of a mouthful. By the _ way I'm more "confidential" •■# than ever now, and still going strong.
Last Sunday received an invite
round to the N. Z. Division SerMess for Xmas. dinner, and we dined and wined in great style, and toasted you all at -home, and everwbody else we / could think of, and lots we could'nt too. Things got very
lively towards the end when I discreetly withdrew. "•* So far have not yet been able to get to Cairo or Alexandria on leave, but am hoping to do so i*-anon.
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EVACUATION OF GALLIPOLI., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3532, 31 March 1916
EVACUATION OF GALLIPOLI. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3532, 31 March 1916
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