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OUR TRANSPORTS.

THE FIRST TRIP TO EGYPT.

EMDEN DAY

The transports are back. Two of the; .•hips which landed our troops in. Egypt- j arc ba-'k at Port Cha-Imcrs. The subject • has a thrilling interest. What- was the: trip like? How did they leave our boys in: tim land of the Pharaohs and the Bed Sea? ; Such questions impel people to visit the' troopships in wondering mood. But tho grim, grey transports ,iiimvci- no quccrioiis. Nobody cn incur is . o minim native. Inlornnition is unobtainable, so the querist- merely \ looks at tho dense marine growth on the i v<v.-els' waterlines and think of tropical | and surtshirie : perhaps crunk Knisors and dainty flying fish.. Mur is on, and the world is in t.r<;u;-.e. No information >■ -e. a ;i:a me on t lie = ir-’opships. It. :s iiitogetucr dsNiiipointing until perhaps veil drop acre.-s n grizzled old shellback, of grumpy iraen and nysteri;ke expression. then one may : :c-ir .-e-: oath lll|g like t his ; After tlm-o weeks of wearisomo wailing m Wellington. Harlan-, die order came u> leave, and we left. Once outside, the. 10. transports, forrnetl up im<i two parallel linos! with live vcs.-cl-- l: each .:n-.‘. Utu-c cut of Geek Kira;', H.M.S. Minotaur took the ie.’eJ, tiie Japanese cruiser Hihuki un the -mi hoard rid"- of tiie fleet, tiie Philomel on the port side, and the Psyche guarding tiie rear. The warship stood off about Id nudes iu the tiny time, mu cuddled, closer , r ■ the t .n-i ■■.■'■". a lit niiiiU- ’die MV.;-,"'a -rrc . t-i earned about- three ships’ h-ugth ahe.ui ot , e.o ii other, and the coiiitr.us him about a, - ■ inarter e-t a nude apart. Iha tiansputts : kcti their peritkw very accurate! \ ou the: -..:;n]s. But 0.-f-a?ioii,ah\ the stokers "ti : ;• me transport, coaled by comiaci, would , acfbfs the ancieiit- i-wecuings of sumo ■ ou: i act - w's co.ii vard. ’ilien that- vos.wl iumgerM for steam and lagged behind. ! ids would throw the ( .eii;nili out of order, a.- the vessels behind, the laggard had to ': keep ; h-e-ir distance a pan, soul nils'- i r l >;en": Va! - 1 c.gcC'i biiilllld. I rhe"fleet left Weli!ugton October 16,; and at nw. on tho Mst- reached Hobart, i Thev look turns to go t-> the wha-rt for -.- retuiring to an 11 -cag-- in ; strea.rn. They left. or. the 22nd. and oil | Mintluv. tho 'doth, while ernaein-g the Australian 'Bight, the fin# horse djed and was: 'himned overboard. On the 26th the fir:-!. ;cer died, .v bu.-e c- rpora! dblchihtt r-.-n th-s Buanehu. He was buried nt .-M. i'Ping* uccui'ded nil the, honors id- - ..cum- , trances permitted. The 'Ruapehu steamed ; up mid wav "oclweetll 1 1- ’ two line.-, ... n.uisail the shirts stopped, too flays dmoped *o hai'-mast, ,irui tn-' 1,.-i on-' had died in the service of his country w:g

11.45 a. m. good news arrived, and was convoyed to the crews of the transports as follows, in documentary form:-

From the master: To inform the men that the German cruiser Fmden_ was, engaged by ill 6 Sydney this morning, and was severely bandied. [•'.ventnally the Fmden was beached to prevent her '■inking. Another hostile vessel is being ■mu sued.

Now. the tides that the seafarer, tell of that historic sea fight are interesting. They bean! the now.,, they say, aiterwanH from the Fmden’s prisoners. Needless to say, the sailors speak joyously. This is what they say ; —When the skipper of the Fin den saw the smoke of an npproacniug cruiser lie called hi; crew together and addressed them, stating that if the approaching vessel was the Sydney or the .Melbourne there was no need to he roncennjd, for those vessels were manned hy greenhorns. “But.’’ concluded the German captain. " if the approaching vessel is the dan, then we've got to light,"

Of course, as it turned out. the approaching vessel was not the .lap cruiser, but she nevertheless gave the German more tight than he bargained for. The •■ailornion on the transport; tell you that one of the Sydney’s shells swept one of the German guns off the Fmden’s deck, like us yon would sweep a cup and saucer off tiie table with a well-aimed sweep of a weighty poker. Then the- Kmden tired a torpedo, but the Sydney's keen look-out detecting it, the vessel shot ahead and the torpedo passed astern. The Sydney fired 170 and the Fmden tired 700 rounds. When all tho Find fin's deck hands bad been disabled the stokers refused to conic up mid take their places until the persuasiveness of fixed bayonets was requisitioned. After coaling at Com* Island the Kmdm intruded to then account for the Australian liner Austral. and afterwards direct km attention to the t ran sport squadron. But the Sydney upset the Germans' vilcalat inir-, 'The du.v after Fmden Day the Minotaur left tho transports, tho Melbourne then tn,king un the loading p)siih>n, with Ice Ihuki on the starboard side. _ whence pc-cdble trouble- might- come. M hen deJ, lining the Minotaur sent the following [message Kia-ora to New Zealand oourov. We are ordered to another service, i-rrrv to hj ave vmi. Wish you good hick.” Tim si | uadi on crossed t he- Fquatin- ou November 12. Neptune inspected tho fleet, and nil novices were duly initiated according to the ancient ceremonies observed o,i such occasions. An incident- of

the day was the passing of the armed mor-

BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE AUSTRALASIAN FLEET OF TRANSPORTS CONVEYING EXPEDITIONARY FORCE TO EGYPT.

,'u: ; c.'i at sea. 1 hen the. ships re.-auw.i their positions ano * -inc-i on to A.. si;. which whs reached at 10.45 a.m. on tn 28th October. The Australian transport fl-’et of 26 verwds ’.vac. anchored tatie m » semicircular line, the New Zealand tdups, anchoring in the. orescent mi the seaward «de. The i ienerai inspected tbe troopships at Alba nr. Boat drill was carried out with ,o!dier crews. It was a beautiful sight to res the tl-mt [saving Albany. They steamen out in pains, and tV orderliness, and pre-rlsi.-.n <‘i the movement, was something to Ire treasured in the memory ofmanners, lot, a'ono w.-mderinc shorn lolks. Alter •Ravine ’Hobart the envoy Psyche dropp'd cut. ii:-- Pyramus tubing her place. At \T,anv the Melbourne and the Sydney wore waiting. The Japanese cruiser left 'V--e and went round to Fremantle. <’n No vend; or 1 Albany was left Irehiml On the ud the H'biku reiomed the tlcft, brit ging with her the two Tasmwnun transport?. The fjeet wa = now magnificently arnnged. and -teaming along in faultless r ]s, The Australian fleet ot 28 trans-v.,’,.-ts led in three parallel line- of vessels. Behind them steamed the New Zealand I ran snorts in two lines. At night time the New Zealand vessels drew ahead and steamed h-eween the Australian lines. 1 he ronviiv warships now consisted of the Minotaur in the lead, tho Melbourne on ihe port side, th» Hibulre on the starboard side, and the speedy Sydney guarding the .-car. On the An I the Melbourne Hew rat to investigate -moke on the horizon, but it proved to ho irom the liner Austral, which passed the tie-t in the evening. On November 4 was commenced the inovulation of the troops as a. precaution against typhoid. On the sth the fleet entered the tropic of Capricorn, and the weather was perspiring!;,- warm. On the 6th disquieting rumors v.eie> around, and t>,,. yew Zealand transports hauled up be!v,"cii the Australian line? early in the afternoon. That night a full head of -team was ordered, with a view to a dash , n the morrow for Colombo, but the order whs subsequently countermanded. On that i-’iav (the sth 1 the troops held their first, series of sports. The previous day a basing competition was held in tho recreation room. , On the 7th the Minotaur left on a -routing tour, and wa- sopposed to he hi uupst of tho Eniden. which was rumored to he 55 mile* distant- from the fleet. On the Stb the Melbourne steered for the horizon at full speed, and the Hibnki took her place ojl tho port side of the transports. The Melbourne was absent for six hours. A slight tension was now apparent in the transport fleet. Next morning (November 9; was fcmuen 1 >av. Karly in. the morning the Minotaur :st;d the Svdnev conferred. About 7.00 He- Svdnev scooted for the horizon in a .- .tb-Vu.-firiy direction. Old sailors said tlc-v never saw a vessel go so fast over -nit water. Thirty-two knots was the rtMifial verdict as fclitJ rusluiig SydllOV k-cib-il the water high on either side of until, from astern, she looked like a •run going through a railway cutting. hour not even the belching ,-moke ,T;.ni her funnels was in right. Th on conlecture was rife, and faith in the powers nf H.M.A.S. Sydney was profound. And the faithful w«• not disappointed. At

chant man Kmptess of Russia. hound for Cocos Island to t,ak« oil the Knulen's wounded. She was .-tc-aming 2r> knots.

N('.\t day tour of the faster New Zealand t tr..i is ports and! two Australians went on ahead dm charge of the Japanese () a leer and ff.M.S. Hampshire, which had vim d ihc squadum. This fast- section wont to (al v o in coal and water at 1 'ojiunho liefore Hie others arrived. On the 13: it all the New Zealand t-ratisp'uts ’.vert- iin<•(;'»i. <i inside the breakwater at(.'oiondirv. The An.-trahans anchored outside. Till' Sydnev and the Empress of India, arrived there the same day. This was the first tie' t myisporta saw of the Sydnev siuoH P le> had hurried away to (ie- ;rov the Kmden. A bout 60 of the Ihcdcn's i-v-iv. ware distributed amongst the New Zealand' - transports. '1 he prisoners w-nc quid, and i.heir armed guard? gave then', httle opp-oriunit' - to exhibit any oiler .v tit ml". On the 17th the transports left Colombo, and the protect,-

in; vessel..? new included a IIii ! -!iii! fivefiuinelicd warship, which staved for two ilavs and then hipped away in Iho night. (In flic 19th news was received of the death it: Ofloinbo Hospital of Gaptain Wobb. who had nr'i vbh a. 7i;i-ha.;i on the 1 ra n-i.oit Aiiitva, A mcuidiial service was held on fill tin; 11 amspurts. The ftiiroo-iiirc am! the Arabic collided c.-iriv on the Tiiorning of Hie 2let, but, litllit dimiagf w;im (in;m to cither sloamcr. The island of fmcoiia was sighted at 7 a.m. on the 2.5; d. ar"l Mas abeam by noon. An invalid army ofliccr was transferred from the Wiuinana to n, tramp s!c;;incr bound for Golniubo. Next- day tlie ila-mpahire and tit*- Orvicto went on ahead for Ado; which wa.- ihen SGO miles distant. At 5 p.m. the following dav the t arrived ai. Aden. When t he squadron ulutwed their light.- that night they looked like* a. great- tloating city. Aden itself wild ,i dull-luokiue place, v.'ih icti-roofed houc.-c perched among-', nvoIrmling r<-jks or the hills’do. At- 6.30 a.m. on tho 26'h A.den was left behind. With the New Zealand tranziwirts in the lead, the squadron tiled inio the Bed Sea. throu-gii the fatuous strait which the Indian troops in olden days named Hell’s Gate. Fvory Ihx!’. on tho trausitorts deemed the name most appropriate. Tile weather was almc-st unbearably hot. The troopers' experiences wore ‘'T:>o lint t-o tun’ in," "Hear, awful” Sun .scalds arid prickly h*?at followed. Strange to say, two mare- on 1 he trauapoits foaled in the Ofd Sea. and tifspite- the infensa heat- the foals thrived. On Sunday a cool breeze refreshed all hands, and n-ext- day Mount Avarat was abeam. On December 1 anchor was dropped at Suez a.{. 7 a.m., weigh,xl again in the afternoon. 'I he vessels ]ias?ed into the canal. The. German pri-onerii were transferred to the HatuDsiiirf. 11.M.5. Minerva lay at anchor ;i(- Sue/., wheie thtnc vca.s great activity din- to the war. There was said tu bo '-50,000 Indian troops at Suez ready for anv emergency, and 20,00(1 mure, in detaulinients. were etuu'ding the banks of yi e canal. On Ih coiuUw 21 I've squadtou ieitclted Holt Said ,'d ,'i..',o a.m.. and at 2 p.m. hatches of trun.-pwls siarird to leave on llv 14 hours' steam to Alexandria. Though there were good wharves a’ Alexandria there was only room for a few transports to lay tliera at, a time.

When one batch had finished they left and made room for the next. In the harbor were 30 large captured German steamers, and there wore also about 40 sailing ships of all rigs and national'.tit's at anchor. Alexandria impressed the visitors as being a busy city. '1 hero were Large buildings, good markets, good strops Paris fashions in the shop windows, and «c?\<r<rVr\Cr YttWCuA AYVTr'io \ctCrWVAoA\CVV\. Yv\.'OaSsXarL'b~ \ Tho New Zealand transports lauded fheir troops and horses at .Alexandria, where trams waited to convey them to Cairo. The troojis were keen. but never-theie-rs wistful looks followed t ••c troopships as they steamed away to Port Said en route to Now Zealand.

Ihe trip back was uneventful. 1* mo weather wnu experienced all the way, though fogs bung over the Tasman Sea. The Man ngnum and the Tahiti wore bound for Wellington, but when approaching Cook Ktva.it a wireless message dire. led them to proceed to Port Cholineis. Ihe Maimgamii brought buck three invalided troopers.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150113.2.52

Bibliographic details

OUR TRANSPORTS., Issue 15699, 13 January 1915

Word Count
2,211

OUR TRANSPORTS. Issue 15699, 13 January 1915

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