Australian soldiers marching in Albany, Australia. Source: WW1 Picotrial Honour Roll of West Australians

Australian soldiers marching in Albany, Australia. Source: WW1 Picotrial Honour Roll of West Australians

Wed 24 January 1917

Got up at 6.45. Weather very calm but a fair ground swell running. Found that there is a certain way to use Sea water soap & it is the best soap to use aboard ship. Had ½ hr at fire-order instruction in dining hold then 1 physical drill etc including ¼ hrs ….

The instructed men in semaphore signalling for ½ hr.

Specialists signalling international code all morning for practice.  Thousands of small porpoises following ship.

Had dinner at 1.10 pm. Fell in for drill at 2.30. Had lecture for ½ hr then had physical drill & was dismissed at 4.20. Had tea at 5.30.

Specialists practising international code all afternoon. Got a book from lending library entitled “Masters of Crafts”. There is a big library aboard with hundreds of magazines, books of all sorts free.

Went to bunk & read till lights out at 10 pm.

Thurs 25 January 1917

Got up at 6.30 & had salt water shower & wash then came up on deck for a read. Today is G Coys washing day & each man is allowed fresh water for washing dirty clothes. I washed two towels 4 handkerchiefs & two prs socks. Saw sailing ship under full sail evidently making for Sydney.

Fell in at 4 pm for physical drill & finished at 4.30. Saw porpoises again today. Posted four letters aboard& a Camp Courier.

No one is allowed to bring edibles into the hold where we sleep and no one is allowed in dormitories between 9.30 and 11.30 am and 2.30 to 4 pm except men just off duty.  Two companies have been bayonet fighting on deck and Maoris have been practicing Hakas and war cries. We sighted three islands tonight & I think they are the Kings Islands. We sighted them about 6.45.

I changed book in library for one entitled “Jeff Claytons Triumph”. Sewed extra stripe on tunic & went to bunk at 8.45.

Fri 26 January 1917

Got up at 6.15. Small islands still in sight. Weather misty. Ship going very steady. Had a good strip before breakfast. Heard a rumor that there are cases of diphtheria aboard.

We fell in for physical drill at 10 am & had lecture for ½ hr and finished at 11.30.

Islands left behind& have gone out of sight. We sighted Tasmania about 4 pm & a lighthouse on a headland also a small steamer evidently on her way from Adelaide to Melbourne. Later on we passed a three masted sailing vessel. The sunset tonight was really beautiful the prettiest I have ever seen.

We had a lecture for 1 hr this afternoon & life belt drill for 1hr & was then dismissed. We had a good tea of stewed apples & sago at 6 pm. According to report we through Bass Straight into the Australian Bight on way to Albany. It is starting to get very hot of a day & of a night it is stifling of a night in these dormitorys. Rats are beginning to come about the dormitorys. Went to bunk at 9.30.

Sat 27 January 1917

Was called up at 5.15 to take charge of a fatigue party of sixteen men & was put on cleaning sky-lights & finished at 7 am & then reported to Officer in charge of fatigues & was told to report again at 9 am.  No land in sight today so far. Fell in for fatigues at 9 am & some of the men were put on sweeping up & some cleaning scuppers & we finished at 10 am till 2 pm. At 11.30 we were paraded to mess room & received Air identification discs & also 4/- worth of canteen tickets out of our canteen fund the rest 6/- to be given to us later. Reported back at 2 pm & was put on sweeping up forward deck but as rest of the Coy wasn’t parading I dismissed party. At 3 pm we had to attend a compulsory shower & sun–bath parade. The wind was very cold on deck at first but the sun came out & it got quite warm. The wind is very cold indeed tonight.

Bought a bottle of Lemon Squash cordial & made lovely drink of it & fruit salts. Went to bunk at 8.10.

Sun 28 January 1917

Got up at 6.30. It is our week on fatigue & also our week at first sitting at meals so we have breakfast at seven, dinners at twelve & tea at four-thirty. I was put in charge of 20 men to carry stores from the hold to the store-room. Worked for 1 hr & then I dismissed them for the day.

Couldn’t go to church as fatigues wasn’t finished in time. We passed a steamer at 5.30 & one at eight.

 After dinner laid around deck reading till 4 pm when ship blew her alarm siren. All hands had to double to below & fix on life belts & then fall in on deck with their own company & the roll was called & then we was dismissed.

Had a good tea of pork, peas, potatoes & such.

Went to bunk at 7.45

P.S. Had gift cake for dinner also yams.

Mon 29 January 1917

Got up at 6.30. Passed big steamer at 6.30. Was on same fatigue this morning but I had thirty men instead of twenty & we finished at 11.5 for the day. Couldn’t sleep much last night as the ship was rolling too much & had to hang on to strap in bunk. We are in Australian Bight. Can see smoke of steamer aft & expect it is Wamaroa with the other half of 21 Rfts we left in Wellington when we sailed. Held sports on deck this afternoon. All drill & fatigue postponed for sports. Boxing & tug-of-war etc. Maori won tug-of-war. Had stewed apricots & rice for tea. Wrote to Neil MacCormick & Wal Grocher. A lot of card playing & gambling goes on deck but is strictly forbidden.  “House” is the only gambling game allowed as it is a sort of lottery. Got paid tonight Pvts got 10/- Cpls 15/- Sgts £1 first pay at sea. Went to bunk at 8 pm.

Tues 30 January 2017

Got up at 6.30. Ate some biscuits & chocolates in bed & was too full to go down for breakfast. Took 20 men to store fatigue & went down hold with them & lifted some heavy cases & have got a head-ache through it. Worked till 9.40 then washout. Played 500 on deck till dinner time. After dinner played 500 till 5 pm. Had head-ache all afternoon. About 3.30 wave busted in port-hole & swamped half a dozen bunks out mine included. Got dry gear in place of wet ones.

Half men crook & had violent headache & turned in bunk at 4 pm.

Wed 31 January 1916

Got up at 5.30 slept up to that time from 4 pm yesterday.

Had 30 men for store fatigue finished at 10.45. Lecture in mess room from then till 11.30.

Passed two steamers this morning. Had a wrestle with Pat McLean a 16 stoner on top of a heap of spuds.

Was put in charge of fatigue party cleaning up decks finished at 2.20. At 3 pm boats whistle went for life-belt drill. At 3.30 shower & sun bath was held. Had red leather for tea named by authority corned beef. Had to go on fatigue for 1 hr to get ship clean for arrival in port tomorrow. Cleaned buttons & boots ready to go ashore.

Thurs 1 February 1917

Was woke up at 1 am by ship anchoring in stream at Albany. Went to sleep again & got up at 4.30. We weighed anchor & wharfed about 6.30. Being on store fatigue we went ashore 1 hr before the Reinf & had to come back 1 hr before them. Got a large motor & we motored into the township which is two miles from the wharf. Fare 1/-. Town is very small about the same as Lyttelton but there is some very pretty buildings there. The harbour is very pretty the most noticeable thing is the large amount of tremendous large round rocks. H.M.S. Encounter in port.

There was a tremendous lot of fighting amongst the soldiers & plenty of blood flowing.

Got back to ship at 3 pm 1 ½ hrs late. Stores were not down so it didn’t matter. Stores arrived by rail from town & my party unloaded the trucks & put stores aboard.

Left Albany at 7 pm.

Went to bunk at 8 pm. Wamaroa fricked us up in port.

Fri 2 February 1917

Got up at 6 am. No land in sight. Ship very steady & we have a fair wind. Posted two Albany souvenirs to Ivy & Nan yesterday. 20 men & myself went on store fatigue will 10 am. We were kept back to stack cabbages & to cut the top of carrots & turnips & store them away. Worked till dinner time & were relieved by six more. I told six off to carry on after tea & put a L/Cpl Liggins in charge for ½ hr. We changed our course more morard & we are now in the in the Indian Ocean. Had a row with a Sgt. & we put the gloves on to settle up & we had a real dindum set to & I knocked him out after 15 mins solid going. The sun today is terribly hot & most of the fellows were living under the shower bath. I had ½ hr under it. Left off singlet as it was too thick. Left off smoking cigarettes & took on smoking my old pipe. The Mamaroa was coaling in port when we left yesterday. Concert on tonight by T Coy in dining hall. Never went. Went to bunk at 8.30.

Sat 3 February 1917

Got up at 6.30. Went on store fatigue as usual & had 30 men.  All hands worked till 11 then I worked it in shifts of 6 men per hr. till 4 pm. We had a shower & sun bath parade at 3 pm & I got well sun burnt as the sun is very hot. We seem to be sailing Nor West judging by the sun. Gambling is going on very strong aboard ship. Heard a roumer that 22 men missed the boat at Albany but as the Wamaroa was stopping for two or three days I suspect they got on her.

I put the small cross & three scapular medals the Agnes Deu my identification disc & Sacred Heart badge into the small leather locket that the Nuns of Lyttelton gave me & fixed it around my neck with a cotton boot lace. Had a gamble today for the first time in my life. Started with 6d & won 5/- & then lost the lot. A steamer came up behind us tonight & turned away.

Went to bunk at 7.30.

Sun 4 February 1917

Got up at 6.15.

The N.Z.T.75 has been taken off both sides of the ship. We only get meat once a day now as some of the chaps are starting to come out in pimples & boils, especially the Maoris. We started on second sitting for meals again for the coming week. Saw tons of flying fish today & some of them were of a fair size. Head wind & sea today. The nights are very hot in bed one blanket single is too much & dozens of the fellows sleep on the deck already. Our week of fatigue was up yesterday. Went to Mass this morning. Life belt parade at 3 pm.

Played euchre after tea for 1 hr. All there is to do in the spare time is read, play cards, boxing & gamble & we have tons of spare time too.  It has been decided to print a paper or booklet as a souvenir of the voyage at the next port of call. There is a strong wind & a fair sea on the ship is doing a bit of roll too. Head wind. Went to bunk at 8 pm. (Started to write letter to Ivy & Nan)

Mon 5 February 1917

Got up at 6.45.

No drill this morning as we were vaccinated at 11 am. At 10 am we were issued with Timaru Womans Patriotic Fund gifts for T Coy only. We all got different stuff I got a pair of Mittens & a towel. The towel half size of ordinary towel. All hands were short of money & have no matches cigarettes etc. There is a euchre tournament going on in dining room between the companys tonight.

It is fairly calm tonight & there is hardly a breath of wind.

Just heard tonight that America is involved in the war. Some of the fellows are sore with the vaccination but most of us haven’t felt it yet

Played euchre after tea & went to bunk at 8.15.

Had stewed pears & rice for tea.

Tues 6 February 1917

Got up at 7 am.

Went to dining room for lecture & reading of army act & routine orders. There one hour then came on deck for physical drill was dismissed 11.45.

No wind on sea. After dinner we went out dining room & had 1 hr, visionary training & then 1 hr at signalling & physical drill. Started a two man tug-o-war. Get a circle of soap round each mans neck then get on hands & fingers & pull it is very hard on neck. Played euchre after drill.

Nearly everyone out of cigarettes & tobacco. I started smoking pipe but it proved too strong & I started cigarettes but have no more or no money to buy some so had to smoke pipe again. Laid on deck yesterday stripped & got back all sun burnt & felt it in bunk last night. Wrote one article & sent it in to the ships paper. Concert tonight by ships officers & crew. Never went. Went to bunk (9 pm).

Wed 7 January 1917

Got up at 7.10.

Fell in at 9 pm. Had physical drill & seamanship for 1 ½ hrs & when we were drilling some of us got nearly wet through with a wave that broke over. Had lecture& reading of Army act for 1 hr.

Just rice for dinner but I scored a large plate of bread pudding that was made for officers mess.

Fairly strong wind blowing but sea not big although choppy. Weather looks wild have ran into rain. Saw flying fish again.

Physical drill & lecture in afternoon. Played euchre in evening. Went to bunk at 9.10.

Was awakened at 12.30 am by ships siren blowing all hands turned out in lifebelts but it was a false alarm as the whistle cord got caught so we went back to bunk again.

Thurs 8 February 1917

Got up at 7 am. Had sago for breakfast. Weather gone but large ground swell running & ship rolling more than she ever has.  Lecture & physical drill & semaphore this morning. Knot tying physical drill this afternoon. Got two books of canteen tickets from the camp canteen fund. Bought 6d lollies 1 doz safety matches to play cards for (4d) a pack of dates 6d & 20 cigarettes 6d. Before tea played poker & won one box. Played poker & nap after tea lost 1 box & then won three making me two to the good.

Sunsets are very beautiful. Went on deck at 9 pm for smoke & it is a lovely moonlight night not a breath of wind but ground swell just as big & ship still rolling heavily.

Got two training books from Sgt Bruce for swatting as a examination is coming off through trip. Went to bunk 9.30.

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