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Hal Winters' War

Diary No.1 goes from 18th October 1914 to 4th April 1915
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HFW Diary No,1, Cover

Diary 1 cover

Diary 1, page 1a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No (1)

Henry F Winters
B section
No.2 Field Amb
1st Division
Aust. Exped. Force

18th Oct. Sunday.
Arrived on troopship Wiltshire about 4 p.m. Very merry night but not like Sunday. Fun with Hammocks.
Wrote mother.

19th Oct. Reveille at 6.
Breakfast:- Porridge Milk, sausages. Good. Sailed at 8 a.m. Wrote mother. Through the rip at 12 noon. Sent back 2 men L. Horse with measles. Got a bit giddy in afternoon. Good tea. Slept on Boat deck with Miles McCabe.

20th. Not much work. Nothing doing – no ship sighted. Slept on Boat deck.

21st. Bandage practice & medical inspect. Saw two whales in morning & 1 in afternoon.

22nd. Quiet Day. Whale abt. 6 p.m.
Smoke showing over port quarter stern. Had friendly go with Keith Barrett; walloped me. Started to write mother.

23rd. Nothing new. Slept in showers.

24 Land in sight. High cliffy islands. Anchored abt. 9.a.m. Albany. No parades in afternoon. Hospital duties. Wrote Mr Wilson, Vera & May King & mother.

25th. Hospital orderly. Quiet day. Wrote Grace Dowling & Maud Petersen.

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Diary 1, page 2a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No (2)

26th. Monday. Nothing doing.
Finish of chess game with pocket chess.
Speaker, Bugler Thompson:- Now this is what I want to see - how you get those things into that box.
Some singlesticks.

27th. Mail – letter from mother - about little Miss Billy. Hospital.

28th. Nothing special.

29th. Mail – 2 letters from Mother & one from Aunt Laura
Camp Stove        (drawings)
Kerosene tin        Trenches   

30th. All mail to be censored. Hospital orderly 6 p.m. Wrote Mavis and Mabel Fuller. Komencis kreskigi liphararo
(Esperanto = "Started to grow moustache").
Slept on Parade Deck.

31st Hospital all day.

November 1914
1 Sunday  Weighed anchor & started at 7 a.m. Albany out of sight 1.28 p.m. Dropped Cape Leuwin 6.30 p.m.
Great fun clipping all long hair. Fine sing song in evening

2 Lecture on fractures a.m. & p.m. Major Hearne. Hospital 6 p.m. Slept on Port Parade Deck.

3 Hospital all day. Medic & Ascanius joined fleet.

4 Nothing special doing

5 Kit airing. Rifle splint for fractured femur. Flying Fish. Boxing with K.B. Library started

Wiltshire   18        Orvieto  3    Euripides14   
Medic         7   Southern 27   Argyllshire  8
Ascanius   11  Pera          4  Shropshire  9
Star of Eng 15 Armadale 26 Afric          19
Geelong       2 Saldanha  12 Benalla     24
Pt. Lincoln  17 Katuna      13 Rangalina 22
Karroo        10 Hymettus    1 Star of Vic.16
Marene       21 Suffolk      23 Honorata   20
Clan McC     6 Anglo Egyp25 Omrah       5
(Sydney in L margin, Melbourne in R)
      Miltiades  28

Mess Table
Frank Pifferer    Chas. Johnston
Val Peverell        Andy Vale
Bill Hard            Jack Edments
- Chapman        Chas Mayne
HFW                  Stan Low
Rup. Hammett    Cedric Newey
Keith Barrett        Billy Millard
Alf Peacock

6 Storeman’s Fatigue. Appendicitis opp.

7 Paid in morning. 14/- & tobacco. Holiday in afternoon. 2nd Typhoid Inoculation. Very warm. Rumour about cruiser sunk off Valparaiso. Crown & Anchor man arrested. Read Barrier. Paid for mess orderly 4/- & washing 2/-
Boxing gloves for A.M.C. brought out. Fine sight of phosphorus round propeller. Fire & Collision alarm 8.30 p.m. Slept on Parade Deck.
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Diary 1, page 3a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No (3)

8th Sunday Church Parade 11 am. Very hot all day. Funeral Service on board Euripedes – Tetanus. Hospital 6 pm. Slept on Parade Deck. Started Kenilworth.

9th. 12.30 a.m. On Duty in Hospital till 3.30. Some excitement in morning when Sydney, Minotaur & Jap ship went full steam towards West. Reports of German wireless messages intercepted. Great excitement & rejoicing when news arrived of sinking of German cruiser & armed merchant man. Utmost joy when the report was confirmed, and the German boat known to be the “Emden”, some-what tempered by the news of 2 men killed & 13 wounded aboard the Sydney. After guns had been cleaned & manned & put under guard.
Longa parolo Kuna R.F.G. pui la reveno – tra americko K.C. (Esperanto = "Long conversation with R.F.G. about returning home via America K.C".)
All lights out at 7.15, and special guard put on to prevent throwing overboard of floating rubbish etc.

10. Nothing special. Still very hot.
Started semaphore. Cesigis liphararo (Esperanto = "Stopped growing moustache")

11th. Very hot. Hammocks aired. Lecture on camp sanitation. Holiday in afternoon. Ruling dress fashion – Boots, towel and hat. Hospital 6 pm. Wrote aunt Laura.

12. Hospital all day. Night 11.40 – 2.20. Report of 100 cases of typhoid on Orvieto. Orvieto steamed N. followed by Jap. Nescias Kialon (Esperanto = "Unaware reason")
Armed ship Empress of Asia passed on way to relieve “Sydney” of German prisoners at Cocos Is. Crossed the line at 7.50 p.m.

13. All N.Z. ships came through the lines & out to front. Eng. Cruiser joined. No parade after 9.30 am. Rain. During discussion at next table of Ruskin, Shakespeare etc. “Yes I think Shakespeare’s a good book.” Burns reading by Sabellierg “For a that & a that” – accent on “that”.

14. No parade after 11.30 a.m. mail to be collected tomorrow 6 a.m. for Columbo. Wrote to Aunt Laura, Mother, Mrs Stubbs, Patty & Sid Low. Started French. On Guard at 5.45 p.m. Report of beaching of Konigsberg. Duty 10 till 12 midnight.
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Diary 1, page 4a


HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No (4)

15th. November Sunday
On Guard 4 am till 6 am. Sydney and Empress of Russia came up through the lines about 5 a.m. Land in sight as soon as light. Rugged mountains. (sketch)

Numbers of outrigger “sampans”, even far out. Porpoises. Waterfront looks fine, specially a long stretch of grass on the right, extending from a large new brick building, probably a hotel, to a low white building. About the centre is a tall tower, next a yellow stone building almost rectangular every way. Next is, apparently, the Admiralty Building, flying the Union Jack, a tile or brick building, with verandah all round, & a lawn to the front of and between it and an imposing concrete building. To the left is the breakwater & wharves, crowded of course with shipping – all grey. N.Z. troop ships & various men o’war. Further to the left, cocoanut palms and beach fortifications etc.

At about 2. p.m. a gun was fired from bridge of Orvieto on which all the ships dropped anchor, and all the sampans scuttled for land like hens, except one, which getting in our lee, lost all wind & caused much merriment by their efforts to paddle away. 5 niggers & one white sweater.

Then came a cross between a miniature Spanish galleon & a Chinese junk. Most picturesque.
About 3 pm. a 5 funnel Russian Cruiser steamed past our stern, with steam launch beside. Soon after 4 p.m. at fall of the tide, the sea became gradually yellow, the circle widening, but showing well defined. Estas du blink buoys, (Esperanto = "Two flashing buoys") to seaward, red & white & the lighthouse shows 3 flashes & then blank during the time of 4. (sketch) The lights of the town & ships look fine.

Konigsberg blocked in West African river by sinking of colliers across entrance.

16th. Still in port. The butterflies are numerous & of varied colors. Heard officially today that Earl Roberts had died of pneumonia from chill while inspecting troops in France. 5 Niggers alongside begging. Aired blankets. Started German.

17th. Two boatloads of niggers alongside, diving for money and off ships boats etc. Could swim some. Signed for uniform & equip. Weighed anchor at 11.20 a.m, land out of sight about 1 p.m. going about 10 knots still. Cruiser Hampshire passed & went ahead at 3.30 p.m. Hospital 6 p.m. Much cooler.
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Diary 1, page 5a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No (5) (Nov.)

18th. Hospital all day. Night 11.40 – 3.20. Very bad throat & cough. Temp up to 101.4

19th. Lecture on haemorrhage not much food.

20th. Spud sorting fatigue. Finished “Cruise of the Cachalot”. Paid 14/-
Since entering the tropics there has been almost invariably, each night, a shower, more or less heavy. Sun rises abt. 6 & sets abt. 5.30.

21st. Started “Histy of Aust’sia”. Fine concert in evening. Lecture a.m. “Treatment of wounds”. 1st Haemorrhage 2nd Infection 3rd Shock 4th Pain. No morphia in abdominal stabs. Drain deep stabs, or open up. Two men overboard from “Shropshire”.
Cruiser went across played searchlight. Numbers of lifebuoys. Started fish for breakfast.

22nd Sunday Divine Services in morning. Read “Sky Pilot” Wish I could turn round & go home for Christmas. Doing average 250 Knots a day. The numerous purple

  jelly fish are beautiful. Flying fish very numerous, specially like flight of starlings. “Hampshire” returned & took “Orvieto” forward. Latter then fell back into line again.

Yarn with (code in morse, semaphore & greek letters = "Jack Stubbs").

Cough nearly better.

23rd. Sacotra in sight about 8.30 a.m. Very high, rugged hills & mountains volcanic in appearance, meeting the clouds. Sand hills and shrub – one would say something like ti-tree, but all seeming most desolate, in sight all day. Cruiser took mails – closed at 2.30 p.m. Wrote mother. Orvieto & Wiltshire ran ahead some distance to give off mail. Paid Mess orderly 3/9. Hospital 6 p.m. Night 11.40 – 2.20. Bad pneumonia case. Lecture on treatment of Disloc’n.

24th. Hospital all day. Amputation of malformed toe at 11 a.m., after a couple of cuts pretty well to the bone, in response to the Doctors “How does that feel?”, “Well! It’s a bit tight.”, meaning a piece of gauze tied in order to pull aside the toe. “Wiltshire”
Diary 1, page 5b
Diary 1, page 6a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (6)

 now flagship as Orvieto has gone on, therefore in middle line. Great number of brownish-red jelly-like animals up to 10 ft. long & 6 inches in diameter floating past. Good concert. Read “On an Australian Farm”. Near sundown a light was noticeable to port & some said they saw land.

25th. Land in sight to starboard. Lecture on Epilepsy, Apoplexy & Sunstroke. Came up to very steep mountain at Aden. Anchored abt. 4 p.m. in 10 fathoms. Rest of fleet further in coaling. To the right of mountain is a round tank cut out of the rock. Then comes a signal station and lighthouses, with a few small bldgs. On top of a peak to the left is a wireless station, seemingly plastered on. At the base is a tall mast, & further to the left on a slight slope the barracks. Then the harbour. On the extreme right, in the distance, apparently some houses. On the left of the harbour, is a high steep hill, with some sand slopes & inlets.

26th. Just before reveille we weighed and went down

the line & away to land in sight to starboard the whole time – a succession of hills – and later on, to port. Lecture on Unconsciousness, Sunstroke, Alcoholic Poisoning, congestion & apoplexy. About 4 p.m. we passed a settlement on the starboard with a lighthouse & 2 or 3 vessels in harbour. On the port, the mountains were flat topped, specially three, two large & a smaller one – which showed out like tables. Sgt Kennedy enquiry still going on.

27th. Passed a high rocky island, about 9.45 a.m. with a lighthouse plastered on top of one of the peaks. Slept on seamen’s washhouse.

28th. News of our disembarkation for Egypt. May see something of interest there & see England “after the ball”. Paid 14/-. Lecture on poisons.

29th. Sunday. Divine Service 11 a.m. II Timothy II. Hospital 6 p.m. All books to be returned to library. Long yarn with (Morse code = MILES). On duty 9 – 11.40 pm. Sherman just opened beer. Cork landed him in the eye & by the time he’d finished dancing about every drop was spilt – over everything. Sighted revolving light on port 11pm
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Diary 1, page 7a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (7)

30th November. Monday
Passed lighthouse on island about 10 a.m. Black Kits brought up in afternoon. Land in sight about 3.30 pm. Passed a curious, cauliflower formed peak at 6 p.m, an island to left front. Very cold in night.

1st. December 1914. Land in sight on either side at sunrise. Just about here there’s not much to choose between Asia & Africa. On each side are the most sterile, barren desolate hills of stone, with stretches of sand & rocks – no vegetation or colour whatever – down to the sea. The shadows are deep & the light glaring. At midday we passed a small cluster of houses on each side, a couple of ships being at the port one.

Anchored at 12.30 off Suez. Native boats immediately surrounded the ship selling cigarettes, Turkish delight, nougat, fezes, rings & very fine oranges.

The entrance to the Canal is on the right of the town, with three large tanks on its bank. Then a cluster of buildings, a dock & more buildings, with 5 more enormous tanks. On the left of this is sand & rock, as on the extreme right.

We entered the canal at 7.15 p m. A building on the left, with a small area of water

enclosed & sandy flats on the right. In the bay, to see a smart tug steered by a quaint figure, fat & unshaven, in a flowing pink night dress seems as curious as a smartly dressed young man, dark skinned, with collar & cuffs & well cut sac suit, but with a scarlet fez cap. A porpoise in the middle

On the way through we passed some native soldiers & also of a Lancashire regiment. On the left side of the canal at first, is shallow water, & the same on the right further down. A railway runs right along on the African side. Not far from Said is a station, & opposite nearby, four oil tanks, two Vacuum Co & two Asiatic Oil Co.

2nd Dec. A number of engineering works are on the right, & docks etc. on the left. A fine building with two domes in tiles is the canal offices. The rest of the water front seems to be hotels, a specially fine one being the Casino Palace, the last building on the Mediterranean side. Then comes the De Lesseps Statue. We anchored at 8 a.m. opposite a tall signal tower, about 200 yards from the casino. Coming in we passed 5 warships French & English, & 2 torpedo crafts.

Between 3 & 4 p.m. the N.Z. ships are passing. During the morning, the Wiltshire took in coal, the coolies working like furies & yelling like a dozen Eastern markets. We received a mail this afternoon – letters from Mother, Trix, Muriel & Mr Paul
Diary 1, page 7b
Diary 1, page 8a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (8)

One of the natives calls everyone Mr McPherson, another “Bill Johnson from Aberdeen – Father’s Irish un motherr’s Scotch”. 
Wrote Mother, Mr Paul, Miss Moon & Muriel. On special guard duty 2.45 – 4.45 a.m. Got pinched for pelting onions at a passing boat.

3rd. Dec. Ate fresh dates, oranges figs tomatoes etc. Wrote Trix, Nurse Gordon, & Rea.

4th. Leave granted at 6.30 a.m. for parties of 40 to go ashore. Was not in first batch. About 8.30 a.m. a notice was posted up, cancelling it in consequence of the pelting of police boats, and the taking of “French” leave.

Anchored out in the bay at 10.45 a.m. Up at orderly room for pelting onions at 4.15 p.m. Don’t mind so much about the “disgrace”(?) as the trouble of getting togged up for the ordeal. Got 2 days extra fatigue. Slept on Horseboxes aloft.

5th. Resume on water supply. Got warned for Orderly room for leaving kit out of order. Explained to (Morse code = SGT ILLMAN) and he didn’t send in the charge. A war hydroplane reconnoitres each morning over surrounding country. News of an Egyptian rising – not much faith in it.

Half weeks rations only issued. Wrote Biddy & Amy Jones, & Queenie Booley

6th. Dec. Storeman’s Fatigue – no work. Some Indian Troops arrived. Wrote Gus Priestly & Mother. Wrote Mrs Rust

7th. Dec. Lecture on Bullet wounds of abdomen. If through alimentary canal, don’t remove, just lay still. Up anchor at 7.37 for Alexandra

8th. Rain turned us off horseboxes. Dreamt that mail came aboard, and I saw my address at the bottom in (Morse code & Esperanto = "Muriel's writing")

When they had called 4 letters for me, I said to Frank “There’ll be another at least for me, one from mother” & there was. 6 altogether. Then a bit later, I thought Mavis had come in on a Sunday morning & was waking me for breakfast – but it wasn’t – it was Frank waking me because it was raining.

Dropped in Alexandra harbour at 11.30 a.m. Most noticeable were the lighthouses, half a dozen of them, and lattice-work guides for channels, well over a dozen. On the extreme right a rocky point juts out. Near are some clumps of palm trees. Then Yellowstone houses & shipping & 4 large oil tanks
Diary 1, page 8b
Diary 1, page 9a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (9)

Then the Khedives new palace, a large concrete building, then the old palace, destroyed in 1882 & abandoned.

The passage into the harbour is very tortuous, tho we anchored in, some say, 60 fathm. The harbour is crowded with troopships, some ex-German ships & a heterogeneous mixture of other shipping, with a French Warship having a ram apparently about 10 feet. (drawing)

1.Eng Pound = 97 ½ Piastres, Egypt’n. Pd = 100
20Pt. = 4/2
10Pt. = 2/1
  5Pt. = 1/-
  2Pt. =    5d
  1Pt. =    2 1/2d  nikel
  1Pt. =   10 mills
  1mill =   ¼
Had a most exciting dance in the evening, on the starboard Parade deck, with lights of the harbour for background, Paid 8/-
(code=Arabic Numerals - decoded thanks to 'Phil' vis Feedback)

9th. (Dec.) Hospital 11 p.m. Leran’gis (Esperanto = laryngitis) 2 a.m. Wrote Mother & Mrs Robb
Served with disembarkation rations & blankets
Komencis skrib al Sro Fensham. Cirkain 7 p.m. (Esperanto = "Started letter to Mr. Fensham. Finished 7 pm.")

Frank Ray mi (esperanto "I") got down a rope at the bow, into a boat that was there & to shore. After wandering about a some foul lanes we struck a tram like an ice cream cart, & rode to the city. Alighted at the central square, went up past the left of the Bourse – a fine concrete building, & up past the theatres.

Turning to the right, we went down a semi-respectable street & then through a couple of smelly little native lanes – stalls right across the footpath. Then we took a cab – sort of brougham - & drove for 1 ½ hours through all parts of the city. The sight of a tall, dignified Arab(?), mounted on a tiny donkey, with his legs a few inches from the ground, moved us unanimously to mirth. Our heads were soon dizzy with “piastres, milliesnes, sheelings and francs”.

(Mixed code in French, Esperanto, English, using Morse, Semaphore and Greek alphabets =

"The impure women are dreadful. They stand at the door and call out. The brothel keeper beckons to the young chaps 'Hello', 'Come on!' 'Come on'!")

A doorway every ten feet. We went to all the lowest parts of the town, & the better, too, tho’ this latter seems like Little Collins St.
Diary 1, page 9b
Diary 1, page 10a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (10)

10th. (Dec.) Orderley Room with 93 others for breaking leave. Fatherly talk from O.C. concerning various things & then the sentence “Fined two days pay with 14 days C.B.” Very fortunate, would do the same again. Those who broke at Pt Said got 4 days pay & 3 weeks C.B. Wrote Mr Fensham & Rev A Steele. Drew into quay at 6 p.m. Wrote Uncle Tom

11th. Reveille 5.30 – hammocks returned. Light Horse disembarked abt. midday. Scrambles for money & efforts of Police with cane to scatter crowd most amusing. On guard tonight Wrote Manly, Mavis, F Grant. On guard at 6 pm. 8.10 & 2 – 4 a.m. Spoke to (code) pui Christ (Mixed code & Esperanto = "Clive Donaldson about Christmas")  Wrote Lucy.

12th. Guard all day. Most of the horses are like fine carriage horses. About 4 p.m. we got our kits & put them into baggage van. Had tea on wharf, eating meat with fingers. Entrained at 5.30 p.m. Train pretty fast & altho’ the carriages were old & dull – IIIrd class, they rode very easily. Express past us at Teh el Baroud, going very fast indeed. Arrived at Cairo about 11 p.m. had cocoa & cheese, marched to tram, waited some more, & then boarded the cars – 4 in complete tram. A very fine road goes on the right of the tramline, & on this two carriages raced with Australian soldiers in. Too tired to see much. Marched from


terminus to camp, arriving about 3 a.m. Turned in at 4 a.m. under the stars. We would have slept if it had been under the sand, I think. During a stop on railway journey we threw some money onto opposite platform, & the porters joined in the ensuing scramble, using their lamps.

13th. Sunday Breakfast with sand sauce – sand everywhere. No wash till 3 p.m. Laid horse lines etc. After breakfast went to pyramids  Bought pseudo old coin 4p. Found small pottery. Pyramids some size. Guides beastly nuisance. Oranges cheap. Excavations very interesting. Went up great pyramid in afternoon, reached top as sun set. Coffee on top. Wonderful view. Sphynx down below. Race on donkeys from foot of pyramids. Numbers of old inscriptions on pyramids. On 20 ft square on top hardly room for another name & put mine.

14th. Spent day placing stone boundaries & tent pitching. Apportioned to tents.
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Diary 1, page 11a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (11)

15th (Dec.) Carted stones for boundaries, stones that had probably been shaped some 4000 years ago. Amb. Wagons came in.
Tent mates.
G. Lonie   C. Mayne.  J Tulloch,  B Sherman
A. Orchard   Fetherstone,  B Brown,  B. Hard,
F Swaby –  HFW,   A. Austin,   A. Jack.

16th Tent Pitching. Coming home at night the pyramids seem to cover a third of the sky. Called on Miles – he was on leave.

17th. Tent Pitching. Went to Sphynx. What seems more wonderful still is the tombs & lowered courtyard to the right front of the Sphynx. Walls of some tombs of alabaster, roof of two enormous granites. The places for door hinges show fine workmanship. Many of the stones are of enormous size and precisely true. You see a small hole in the hillside, go and look in, and inside it widens out into tombs, etc. There are numbers of these holes.
Went on guard at 6 pm, but was taken off about 7 pm. To go on hospital duty. One patient. About 2 a.m.18th a man brought in who had swooned while on sentry go.

18th. Hospital all day. 16 patients in by end of day.

19th. Paid £2.10. Wrote Mr Amess & Mother & Glad Dowling

20. Sent Mother du funtojn (Esperanto = two pounds)
Fine Church service in morning
Hospital in evening. Saw the tomb of son of Cheops. Wonderful sarcophagus.

21st Hospital all day.  Fixed up operating tent in evening.

22nd. Fitted (mixed code = venereal's) operating tent. Went through surgical pannier with Major Hearne. Holiday in afternoon. Went through

3rd pyramid. Slide down a shaft into a chamber in the middle of the pyramid & fifty or so feet underground then through into the queen’s chamber & the children’s – 6 of them. 2 sarcophagus.

23rd. Stretcher drill in morning. Route march round pyramids in afternoon. Bought 1 small scarab P.T. ½  & 1 large P.T. 1 ½.

24th. Stretcher drill. 2 o’clock leave. Frank & I went to Cairo. 1st a hot bath & then dinner at the new Khedivial. The town seems more up to date than Alexandra tho’ we didn’t see very much. We got down in the native quarter. Home just on 11 p.m.

25th. Church parade in morning & then holiday. Went up Great Pyramid – writing this on the top. The Light Horse out past the Sphynx seem like insects – The sphynx itself seems small. The antics of horses passing camels are amusing. The pyramids of Sakara are to the S.E. The floodwaters of the Nile are half dried up – Cairo is to the E.S.E. The Arab villages seem like islands with many palm trees. The varying manner in which the men arrive on top here is interesting – some with blasphemy – others enlarging on the beauties of “a pint” just at the moment. Some paying attention to the view, others being most occupied in restoring normal respiration
The shadow of the pyramid lengthens perceptibly as the sun goes down. There are 6 other pyramids to be seen in the middle distance to the left of Sakara.

Wrote Mother & Vera.
26th. Route march around 3rd pyramid. Leave from 12 noon. Went up Musky St as far as Old Cairo. The old city looks & is absolutely dead. In the foreground are the tombs. As we went down the widow’s & mourner’s cries sounded
Diary 1, page 11b

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (12)

  most melancholy. Our guide, who had just “come” from nowhere, was positive in his belief of the devil’s down there & when an extra loud cry came from one of the “dead Arabs”, he turned & ran up hill, but we brought him back & he took us through the lanes in the twilight. The feeling of the place came upon us with a most real feeling of sympathy for those women in black, with black hoods & face coverings, returning at evening to mourn.

The view from a sandhill between the two Cairo’s is wonderful – The sun setting with fluffy clouds & the pyramids showing up on the skyline. The minarets & mosques of Cairo for a foreground & the Citadel on the left.
Coming down to Cairo again, we tasted the native confectionery at the street corner. Quite the best we’d ever had – any of us. Then through a bazaar off a lane up a bystreet – with a magnificent stock of silks, antique jewelry etc. Bought necklace for Mavis – hardly worth sending home. Went about the city till 9.30 & then to camp. Frank arrived home at 5.15 a.m.

27th. Church Parade. Sleepy afternoon Very fine service by Col. Unsworth in evening.

28 On Bulk drug store sorting cases etc.

29 Ditto

30    “    Another fine address

Diary 1, page 12a

by Col. Unsworth.

31st. Went into tomb near 2nd Pyramid without guide. Some wonderful pictures on the walls. Seems to be a list of sacrifices. Goats, Bulls, Fish, Cane, and others gracefully carved, Tea at Mena Café. Went to 4 L.H. in evening. Went to 5th infantry about 11 p.m. Great rejoicings there. One, a small Welshman just far enough to be a bit quarrelsome, loudly complaining to everyone “I wenta th’ door there, an’ they tol’ me. No Welshmen admitted. Th’ Irish, Scotsch an Welsh all fi’ for Brittin. Then everyone marched round, with the pipes, bands & tins, pulling everyone out of bed & generally rejoicing
To bed about 1 a.m.

Friday 1st Jan. 1915.
Worked at Drug Store all day.

2/1/15 On leave in afternoon. Tea at Santi Café. Nothing doing.

3/1/15 On Hospital all day

4/1/14 Wrote Mavis & F Reynolds.

5th. Hospital

6    “     Letter from Mother, Mrs Stubbs, Mabel Fuller.

7      “     

8      “       9 eggs & 4 sausages
        Wrote S. S. Boys

9      “                “    Mother. 3 operations
             “    Laura, Alf Runnell
Diary 1, page 12b

Diary 1, page 13a

HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (13)

10 Hospital.

11 Went to Zoo – Paths worked with coloured stones. Giraffes about 15 ft high. Went up Monsky St.

12. Went as brakesman on light transport. It was very interesting coming back. The ancient arrangements for raising water. The camels loaded head & all with maize. Bullocks yoked to old plows. On the left are the Sakara Pyramids, in the front the Gizeh ones looming great & on the right are the tents of the camp. The road itself is lined with fine trees.

13th. Nothing doing. Went round with Ray Thornton.

14th. Full active service parade. Letter from (4) Mother & Laura, Vera & 2 from Mr Paul.

15th Marched up Cairo Rd and across country & back through the light horse horses in afternoon. On guard at 6 p.m.

16th. On guard.

17th Went round the tombs etc with (Morse code = RAY THORNTON) & Through the marquees at foot of pyramids.

18th. Letters from Edith Hooper 29/12/14, S. S. Boys, 12/12. 2 Mrs Stubbs Bob Garnham, Mabel Fuller, Grace Dowling, Trix; Alf Quinnell, Miss Kustler, Ben, Maney, Maude Petersen, Grace Fensham, card M. Fuller, Mr Stretton May King
Helped to lay out new A.M.C. Camp

19. Route march through Arab Village, sewerage systems rotten. Read three times “No man must cut down or injure any trees near to or in the camp”. One looks around and sees in the distance one tree – the rest – sand!

Wrote to Maney.

20th. Paid 14/- less 1/- for kit. Went to Mena house with 3 patients. Leave in evening. Went in with Frank. Went round lower native quarters (Mixed code of Morse, Greek & Semaphore = "Women in cages").

In a narrow street we came to a small crowd and, pushing into it, found a tom tom accompanying a native dancing most happily, without any apparent reason. The music in some of the cafes is really ear splitting. Some have a kind of bagpipe – multiplied by a hub brake – other an instrument apparently by a flute out of a cornet – made of wood and producing a noise more nerve racking than a tin with resined string through. One can realise why the inhabitants of the town came out at the call of the Virginian’s music.
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (14)

Got map of Cairo & silk Handk

21st. With No1 A M C we put up 19 marquees for general Hospital Div, near Cairo Rd. Wrote to A. Hulse for Feb 10.

22nd. Bivouac pitching morning. Holiday in afternoon. Faked passes and took guide to Roda Is. Saw traditional place where Moses was taken from the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter. Also very ancient Nile guage, having marks showing up to XXV PICS, apparently about 2 ft each. A Khalifs house also on the island. Coming from the ferry, we went through a hole in an old Roman wall, through vault like lanes, into a Coptic church.

The Copts are the most direct descendants of the Ancient Egyptians, and form a small Christian community living amongst Mohammedans. It was undergoing repairs. We were shown a crypt where Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus hid when in Egypt. Another crypt has a font for child baptism. If an adult wishes to become a Coptic Christian he must undergo a novitiate of two or three years, during which he is given the dirtiest work and hardest to do. Baptism is by immersion. The altar is very old, as is a fine inlaid ivory screen. The Coptic cross is everywhere

From there we went to a Greek church. Just inside the door is a large assortment of candles, from tapers to those 2 inches in diameter and 3 ft 6” long. Incense is burning and a young girl is walking round kissing the altar each time she passes. The dome inside is blue, with a painting of Christ surrounded

by cherubim. A cut glass chandelier hangs from the centre of the dome. In the sanctuary are numbers of devotional paintings and crucifixes, and some braziers. A very fine silver bass relief of St George, with ornaments on a cord across the front and lights floating in coloured liquid is to the left of the sanctuary.

Going from there, we walked to the Mosque of Amr, the first Mohameddon to get to Egypt. Concerning one of the pillars, our guide, although a believer, was incredulous of the fact that Mohammed whipped it and it flew over as a present to Amr from Syria, even though the mark of the whip is there.

Getting into a lucky carriage we drove over the site, as the guide said, of ancient Babylon. Here, there are many places from which soil for manuring is taken.
After being followed for 3 or 4 hundred yards by a young woman, wailing for “backchiche”, we arrived at the tombs of the Mamelukes. The Mamelukes became rather strong for the ruling sultan, so he devised a scheme. Having invited 300 of the chiefest to dine he had them killed as they rode in. The last, seeing signs of slaughter escaped by jumping over the wall, at a spot shown to us by the guide
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   near the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, jumped off the horse as it landed, and, although it was killed, escaped himself, and became ancestor of the new Sultan now reigning.

The tombs show wonderful samples of bronze work & inlaid work.

From there we drove to the Mosque of Sultan Hassan.

In Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt the French took the lamps that hung from the chains – 100 or so – some 100 ft or more in length. The dome is most imposing, tho’ it was dark at the time. In the front is the marks of cannon fired by the French soldiers at riotors who were taking refuge there in 1797.

It is part built of Caroca, the Pyramid casing.

The Citadel, which we next visited is on the top of a hill, a solid fortress.

Inside is the Mosque of Mohamed Ali, otherwise Citadel Mosque or the Alabaster Mosque.

In the courtyard of this is what appears to be a large water pitcher, fastened to the floor. The guide calls through a keyhole in it, and on putting ear to the hole, one hears the echo roaring within. It is, in reality, a well

100 metres deep, supplying the fountain, a large structure in the centre, carved & decorated 20 ft diam. for the triple washing of those who pray 5 times a day, 4 am, 12, 3 pm, 5 pm & 6.30 pm.

From the courtyard we went to the dome roofed interior. One enormous centre dome and 4 half domes around the central, with the name of Allah & that of Mahomet.

The whole floor – some 240 ft or so diameter, is carpeted from Turkey with a great number of electric lamps in a circle & three cut glass chandeliers.

Most of the walls is of amber alabaster and when one holds a light on the other side of a half pillar in the wall it shows through. Just outside is the place from where the last Mameluke jumped.

Meeting again our guide, who had been unable to enter the Citadel where the furloughed Indian troops are, of whom two died the same day – we took tram up Sharia el Mohammed Aly, to the Gasbekiah Gardens, dismissed the guide, had tea, and wandered
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (16)


 up Monsky St, had some sweetmeats & then through the native quarters. Assisted in bringing home one of the fellows fighting drunk. Altogether most profitable. (mixed code = Forty Piastres).

Wrote Mrs Stubbs

23 On the brake in afternoon.

24th. Arranged for trip to Sakkara and was put on hospital duty (mixed code = Venereal ?arg).

Went to communion with Ray in morning.

25. Hospital. AMC & 4 L Horse concert.
                Very good.

26    “    Wrote Miss Smith
Started 48 hours clearing of hospitals.

27 Hospital

28    “    Frank & I in the evening at 9.45 went to 2nd pyramid with intention of climbing by moonlight. No trouble as far as the casing. After a bit of searching we got onto the casing & began to ascend, When some 20 feet up, decided to return a few feet to test possibility & ease of descent. Found it sufficiently hard to warrant retreat. There would be no chance if a foothole or handhold

gave way. A drop of 20 or 30 feet onto rocks & certainly bouncing further.

29th. Leave. Went to Heliopolis. Palace Hotel, now a hospital. Is the 3rd largest in the world. That & the whole city was built 7 years ago by a company. All buildings uniform & of concrete. Streets wide & at right angles. Fine pillars to verandahs – granite. Met people of American Mission. Got scarf & blouse length for mother.

30th. Hospital all day

31st.     “    “       Washing. Wrote Mother

1st. Feb. Monday. Off Hospital duty. Wrote piu (= about) Esperanto to Egyptian Mail

2nd. Lecture on fractures. Route march & lecture in 3rd pyramid temple on burns etc.

3rd. put up tents. Pay 14/,
Chess with KB

4th. Crook pass to Museum. Ghezirch Gardens very fine. Lying in shade of shrub with birds
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (17)

soaring aloft thought much of Australian “Black Swans”.

The museum beggars description. The jewel room is wonderful. In one place are dices & cribbage boards

5th. Nothing special

6th.     “    “

7th. Wrote Mr Paul & Mother. On leave. Went through Citadel. Saw Joseph’s Well & returned Indian soldiers. Went to American Mission

8th. Field day. On Brake.

9th. Lectures etc. Wrote E. Mail

10th.     “  & tent pitching. Paid 14/-
7.55 p.m. Now, while I write, we sit around a fire of cotton twigs & maize cobs, under the middle of one of the small pyramids, Frank, Ray, Len Bagley, Abdul Zakim Mohamet & Abdul, preparing to smoke hashish.
(after) Only enough brought for 2 people. Supply finished just as effect was beginning.

11th At 11 a.m. Ray, Keith & self set out with water bottles for Sakhara. We got donkeys at the pyramids and after sundry accidents to harness and falls etc – not serious – we got to the other pyramids – the oldest of all. In the first tomb was a sarkophogus and some very fine wall decorations & representations. Then we went into the Serapeum.

One goes down a slope into underground galleries that extend for 200 feet. There are 24 enormous sarcophagi for the sacred bulls. 23 of blue-green granite, some 6ft X 9 X 6 deep and a foot thick, and one specially large of red granite (all polished & carved). One wonders how these could have been got down here, and one striking thought is the fearful waste of labour just for bulls.

We next went down a well by means of a circular staircase of 119 steps 8 ins ea Reaching the bottom we wander through galleries & into tombs & large chambers, the walls of which are covered with carvings. These extend right under a pyramid. Passing through the village of Sakhara, where all the population turned out to greet us, we went through fields of “bermese”, a kind of Lucerne, meeting returning labourers we came to Rameses II

The scenery reminded one of the 1st verse of Grays Elegy. The statue of Rameses was 45 feet long, It is finely finished & smoothed. 50 or 60 yards away is a sphynx and further another prone statue of Rameses of red granite. These are in a palm plantation.

Coming back through the village a native of the many with “something to sell”, offered what
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (18)

    really appeared to be a genuine scarab for 3/-  finally the price came down to “wahed piaster – gwan take it”. We got back to the Giza pyramids at 9.10 after much whacking of the biggest donkey, had tea and back to camp at “lights out”.

12th. 2 m. fatigue pretty stiff.

13th. ACA. 21st naskotags (Esperanto = birthday).

Wrote Will Ashby, for 3/3rd, Mother. S’no Lee, S-no Veronesi (S'no = Mr).

14th. Hospital

15th.     “    Leave. Monsky St. Ren Koutis S-no Fidail,
 “Bis-Bonsia, minfarlak!” ( = "Another scarab, please")
 “Khatta Harak, qu’teel”. ( = "Thank you very much").
Met 15 year old youth from near Zagazig in purple. Most fascinating face.

16th. Hospital. Ma Flesche filoose. Letter from L cpl. Deasing

17th. vaccination. Pay 14/-

18th. Hospital. Leave 2 p.m. Went along Nile shipping front. Loads of beans
Then went through Arab village and looked round a Coptic Cemetery. Some wonderful tombs, with a room, table, & chair, & often a photo or painting of the deceased.
Coming from there, I was

met by a dragoman, who was willing to show me round for a reference, as I was British. “This man Michael John”. He took and introduced me to “Pater Tadroos” and numerous others (names on 2nd last page), who made me most welcome. Coffee and cigarettes and a general reception.

Ilia ideo de faranta ajojn estas:- unue fari cigaredon, tram lumigi gin pon omi
(Esperanto = Their idea of doing things is:- firstly get a cigarette, then light it for one).

These people are the finest I’ve met in this city.

One has quite a different feeling with them, from that with which one regards the Mohammedan Arabs, which these Copts regard with hatred & despising.

These are the first Egyptians too who did not take money.

They showed great tact in many small things. One felt they could be trusted.

They all came out to say goodbye, and two beside the dragoman came as far as the tram, in the twilight. Promised to write to them.

Met tourist on tram. Met Ray in Soldier’s Café. Went to Prayer Meeting at American Mission, To Abu Fidail’s Store

19th. Hospital.
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (19)

20th. Hospital. Plenty work. Wrote Mabel Fuller & Mother.

21st. Hospital. Adelaide Y.M.C.A. in evening.

22nd. Field day. Very heavy work marching across sand.

23rd. Mail in evening
Letters from Mr Fensham, Muriel, Nurse Gordon, & Mother, just at lights out.

24th. Reveille 5.30 a.m. Full field day. Letters in evening from Laura and Daisy Coventry.

25th. Started out for Shubra on a falouka. When at Kasr-el-nil bridge the boatman refused to go further, we got out & went into Café Santi for dinner.

12 started out.
Charley Mayne, Jock, Stred, Pal Brown, Billy Hard, Tom Swaby. Aust, Alex., Gill Williams, Ray, Clive Donaldson & HFW.

Half way up the river Aut and Streddy got tired and disembarked, when we all went into Cairo for lunch, Jock & Tom went by train to Barrage.

After lunch we lay in the Esbekiah Gardens for ½ an hour. Then Clive & Pal went for a game of billiards, Charley, Gil, Billy & Alex went to learn skating & Ray &

I went through the bazaars. The scent bazaars were beaut.

Very interesting were the hollowed stones for crushing spices

(sketch) blue granite.

The boot bazaars are most interesting. Went to Amer. Mission Prayer Meeting. Coming home arranged with Ray Thornton that this night next year he should come out to our place for the evening. Thursday, 24th Feb ’16.

26th. Quiet day. Went to showers. Wrote Muriel,

27th. Wrote to Mr Campbell & Uncle Ferna & mother.

Rode some horses to water. Realize I can’t ride near as well as Scaddan or Wooton.

28th. Quiet Day. Cook’s guard at night.
 Aeroplane went over at 10.45 p.m. Wrote Juon Box,

1st. Mar, S-no Veronesi venis nor min viziti. (Esperanto = Mr Veronesi came to call on me). We went in together.

2nd. Issued with two more gift shirts. Officers mess cleared out (sending stuff home)

3rd. Field Day. Picture show with boys in evening.

4th. Went to Cairo with S’no
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (20)

        Veronesi – through bazaars and pawn shop of Egyptian Furniture. The most wonderful marquetry imaginable.

Amer. Mission in Evening.

5th. B section started out in full marching order at 2.40 p.m. Marched a couple of miles towards Cairo, & there waited for further orders from Headquarters.

The whole division taking part in a Field Day & Bivouac commencing at 2.35, started out at about 3.15 back, and formed a Field Hospital at a hollow just a 100 yds or so from the Pyramids.

Slept under light wagon. Mavis’s birthday

6th. The Best One’s birthday celebrated to the extent of a car to Cairo, Train to Barrage & Donkey there.

Donkey boy tried blackmail but I was able to proceed by making a hostage of the donk’s necklace.

7th 5 a.m. reveille. Struck hospital tent etc & back to camp at 7 a.m. Holiday & leave for remainder of day.

The Locks and sluice gates & bridges are worth seeing. Went through Monsky. Met Emile Ayoub.

7th Sunday Hospital. Wrote Mother.


8th. Hospital, 7 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Wrote Mrs Coleman.

9th Hospital. Wrote W. Matthews

10th.     “    Letters from Trix, Grace Dowling & Mabel Fuller.

11  Hospital. Letters from Mother, Mr Paul, Gus Priestley, Vera & Lucy Charles.

12th. Went into Cairo. Round Monsky etc.

13th. Hospital. Wrote Mr Stretton.

14th. Wrote Mother & Miss Jenkins. Letters from Muriel Emsly Boms & George Lockyer. Wrote Wal Meyer.

15th. Wrote Miss Kirolli. Full day for mending & washing. In morning went with Charley, Aut, Jock, Andy Vale & Pal Brown to the Sphinx & had photos taken. Letter from Mother

16th Went to Cinema in evening. Coming home we smelt steak & onions. We at once separated & endeavoured to locate the divine aroma. After some scouting we found – essence of sadness – that it was in the barbour’s – the natives tea. With saddened air and depressed mien we returned to camp to comfort our hearts with oranges & walnuts. Rain during night.

17th. Pay. 14/- Marched A & B sec.
Hot bath.

(16) see next page
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (21)

18th. Ray & I went to Cairo & after lunch went to the Coptic Church of Patros Tadroos – 2060 years old. They were very kind to us and invited us to Sunday evening service. Gave the cross which Emile Ayoub gave me to one of the girls – a happy faced “country” girl.

Into Cairo for tea and home by a tram. Some old Coptic Bibles & prayer books.

16th.  Issued with caps. Holiday for B tent sub division. Went with Charley & Jock & Pal & Aut & Aleck over excavations near third pyramid.

Climbed down a few wells & found some ancient bones & ribs, jawbone, vertebra & femur etc. Some photos went round with Ray & Feather in evening.

19th. A & C sections on march. Nothing doing in camp. Wrote Trix.

20th. Cleaned horse lines. Wrote Mother (sent photo). Nothing doing

21 – Church Service & Lazy afternoon.

Cookhouse picket – 2nd shift. Wrote May King, Miss Nicholls

22  Nothing special.

23  Company drill & showers – Letters in evening from Mother, Laura, Naomi

Alf Quinnell & Mrs Peterson.

24  Company drill & Lecturette on taking cover etc.

25th. Q.M. Fatigue. Very curious willy willy taking the dust & smoke up 100 feet & more, keeping it like a thin compact rope of smoke.

26th. Lecture on pressure points & then Company Practice in afternoon in taking cover etc. Millions of locusts near sphinx. One can hear their wings.

27th. Full Holiday. Went through bazaars – amber and goldworking.

Met some more good Coptics in gold bazaar. Bought Yushmak & shoes for Mavis.

28th. Rotten day. Wrote Pte Schofield & Mother. Y.M.C.A. service in evening

29th Monday Hospital – surgical ward.

30th. Man brought in – been in tent for 4 days with so called sprained ankle. Pressure along fibula produce pain in ankle, also any foot movement. Broken fibula. Cleared hospital – filled again in evening

31  Cleared hospital. Easy morning. Wrote Verna

1 April. Nothing doing all day. Dressed dog’s tail.

2nd. General cases. Fairly Easy day.
Next page
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (22)

Good Friday. A big riot in Wady el Birka. Shooting and burning of furniture in the streets.

3rd Nothing doing all day. Heard of going. Wrote Mother.

4th Preparations for departure carried on quietly. Last night the fires in the incinerators & the cartridges in them gave 4th of July appearance to the place.

Today the heat of the sun was modified somewhat by a cloud of locusts – bright yellow.

4 – April 1915

April continues in Diary No.2

End paper notes on page 22b                                              
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HFW War Diary No.1, page spread No. (23)
Back page notes (incl. addresses, medication formula, Arabic phrases)
Diary 1, page 23


Wiltshire leaving Melbourne

Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain, Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

A18 SS Wiltshire leaving Port Melbourne, possibly with 4th Light Horse Regiment and 2nd Field Ambulance on board on 19 October 1914.

Officers at Mena Camp
Image copyright: 
Copyright expired - public domain, Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain
Group portrait of seven officers of the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance. Note the pyramid in the background. Identified left to right (back row): Captain Roy William Chambers; possibly Captain Balcombe Quick; Captain Christopher Norman Matheson, smoking a pipe; Major William Weston Hearne, who, as Acting Director of Medical Services, 5th Division, was killed by a shell fragment on 17 October 1917. Front row: Captain Andrew Victor Honman, who died on the Western Front on 20 May 1917 after being gassed; C O Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Hobart Sturdee, seated on a deck chair; Captain Charles Morley, Quartermaster.

Australian troops marching, pyramid beyond
Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain, Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain
An Australian Imperial Battalion passing along a Cairo street from Mena House.

Pyramids postcard
Pyramids: Contemporary Egyptian postcard, courtesy of Claire Trevorrow

The Citadel at Cairo: Contemporary Egyptian postcard, courtesy of Claire Trevorrow

Sphynx: Contemporary Egyptian postcard, courtesy of Claire Trevorrow

Mamelouk Tombs: Contemporary Egyptian postcard, courtesy of Claire Trevorrow

2nd Field Ambulance on route march near Mena Camp
Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain, Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain
The 2nd Australian Field Ambulance on a route march near the camp at Mena, ten miles from Cairo. The pyramids at Gizeh, close to Mena, are visible in the background. The march was along the Sharia el Ahram, the road running between Cairo and the Pyramids. Railway tracks can be seen running beside the road.

Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain,
Cairo, Egypt. 1915-04. Street scene of Haret El Wasser, known to Australian troops as the Wozzer. The buildings badly damaged in the riots involving Australian and New Zealand troops on 2 April 1915 are seen at rear. Australian troops, Europeans wearing straw boater hats and local civilians can be seen on the street.
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