Fri 9 February 1917
Got up at 7.10. I have a wash in a pannican of fresh water every day now as every man is allowed a certain amount for drinking. Light wind blowing fine day small swell running. Had good dinner today got some hash from the Sgts. Mess. Lecture semaphore & physical drill this afternoon we had knot tying & I showed how to splice an end of soap them we had physical drill till 4 pm. Had prunes & sago tea. Played banker and won four boxes of matches. Concert tonight by Company. Bought bag of boiled lollies at canteen 4d. Read up book on field training. No man is allowed in dormitory between the hrs of 9 & 11 am and 2 & 4 pm except orderlies. Fresh water tap open between 6.30 to 7.30 am & 11 to 1.30 & from 4 to 5 pm & 6.30 to 8 pm that has been the rule since leaving Albany.
Went to bunk 9.30.
Sat 10 February 1917
Got up at 7 am. Went to our concert last night & it was very good. The last item was on the chief mate a violin solo. After lights out the fellows were talking & the officer of the watch came down & told them to stop & they kept it up & he took Pvt Bennets. H. name. Put Pvt Champion on Line Orderly. Had cold dinner, pinched onion & had onion sandwich. Fell in at 2 pm for inspection & vaccination inspection. Ran into rain today. Fairly heavy wind not much sea. Played banker till tea time & then after tea. Lost two boxes. Was wrestling with Pvt. McLean for fully 1 hr. broke strap of wristlet watch & lost it for second time. Was told Policeman found it so I will have to apply to headquarters for it tomorrow. ...shoulder & cut my lip wrestling. Our mess table got third prize for cleanliness of gear etc. Went to bunk at 9 pm.
Sun 11 February 1917
Got up at 6.10. We started first sitting of meals again today. Wind light this morning sea calm very small roll on. Sago for breakfast. Sighted a whale today saw it spouting about three mile off & could see .... at times. Went to church there was no Mass as the Chaplain was too ill to fast. Pvt. Hall Chas. Linesman.
Had a lively afternoon chasing one another around ship & wrestling playing cards etc. Got arm scratched wrestling. Ran out of cigarettes & no money to buy more. One fellow has been hypnotising fellows & making them do all sorts of funny things. I let him hypnotise me twice. Dry rations for tea. Wind very light tonight a medium roll gone.
Got watch back from an official this morning & the strap was broke. I had a small strap in but I cut it down & put some holes in it. It is much stronger than old strap.
Went to bunk at 8.45.
Mon 12 February 1917
Got up at 6.30. Watch had stopped I couldn’t get it to go & I fooled around with it & got it going. Received a wireless message from the Mauritius that raiders about & we are to travel without lights. All port holes have been painted grey to stop light coming through, no smoking is allowed on top deck and seven men have been detailed off per raft. Had physical drill this morning & reading of Army Act. Put L/Cpl Higgins in charge of my section of bunks for this week. Pvt Walsh P. linesman – Drill as per usual this morning. We paraded at two & all hands were paraded to mess room where it was officially announced by commandant that a wireless message was received at 11.20 last night from the Mauritius to take all precautions as there is an enemy raider in the vicinity. All lights are out & the ship is in absolute darkness & all hands have been detailed off to rafts 7 men per raft. No matches are to be lit on upper deck & no smoking either. Wrote letters & went to bunk at 9 pm. Men saw search light this morning at 1.30 a.m.
Tues 13 February 1917
Got up at 6.40. Had two plates of porridge & a plate of stewed sausages. Had the usual mornings drill & seven men were told off per raft & a captain & first officer was appointed from each crew of a raft.
Sgt Bruce & I are not detailed off to any raft as we have to stand by to see all 28 platoon off ship if anything happens & then look after ourselves. We had no drill this afternoon but they then blew the alarm on the bugle at 3 pm & we had to turn out to our posts.
I played 500 all afternoon till three oclock and after the alarm.
I had a good shower. Two men got 14 days fatigue for smoking in dormitory. No men are allowed to light matches or smoke cigarettes on deck after 7 pm.
Pvt Edwards T linesman was first on the life-belt parade as I lowered a rope down ventilator in our dormitory & got linesmen to tie it on & I hauled it up. Went to bunk at 9 pm.
Wed 14 February 1917
Got up at 6.10 am.
Had gargle parade at 6.20. We have to gargle every morning now as we have four serious cases of diphtheria discovered yesterday & the authorities are frightened of an epidemic aboard. Posted a letter to Jordan Taylor.
Pvt. Loughnan linesman. Fair wind pretty strong, light rain. Was our washing day but put off on account of rain. Finished & posted eight letters. No parades today as it was too wet. Impromptu concert this morning at 9.30. I played 500 all the morning & wrote letters this afternoon. Made up a piece with the names of fellows in the platoon in it & A PIECE OF POETRY ON THE SEA.
Tonight I got in with the Maoris & nearly picked up the Haka doing it with them. Strong fair wind blowing with rain fair sea running. Port hole open in dining room & sea came through & washed dishes & food off the table & wet fellows through. Same happened in dormitory & bunks sopping through. Went to bunk 8.40. (7 cases of diphtheria today)
Thurs 15 Feb 1917
Got up at 6.30. Had salt shower. Tapioca for breakfast. Had row with mess orderlies about rusty plates. G coys washing day today. Ships covered in wet clothes. I washed 6 handkerchiefs 1 shirt 1 singlet 2 towels. Finished washing at ten & played 500 till eleven & fell in for gargle at 11. A Maori put in isolation. Medical authorities don’t know what is the matter with him. Great row on about some of H Coy having to shift quarters. Some of the fellows who were vaccinated poisoning set in. Played 500 till three oclock. At three the Cpls in charge of tables decided to spend the extra £10 on enamel pannicans & plates in Durban or Cape Town. Had row with one of H Coy and wanted to fight him but he bluffed out of it.
Heavy fog today. No wind or sea on. Crib tournament on in crew room. Got bag of biscuits off canteen 4 four supplies. Played 500 after tea. Went to bunk at 8.40.
Fri 16 Feb 1917
Got up at 6.30. Had a shower. Hardly any wind all day & no sea on. At 9.30 we had to take all our gear blankets kits pillows etc. up on deck to air &this deck was one mess of bedding kits & clothes. Left some men in charge on deck & went to dinner then they went. A fatigue party was told off with me in charge to clean & scrub out the bunks. About two oclock it started to rain & our things were nearly all wet through before we could get them in. Some of H Coy was shifted to let the rest of 28 plt who have been in the next dormitory come in with us & I have taken a top bunk as my old bunk was a bottom one & had no light for reading & this bunk has a electric light right at my head. Had stewed apples & sago for tea. We had lime juice for dinner instead of tea every day now. They had an impromptu speech competition & singing tonight. Played 500 in all spare time today. Went to bunk at 9.10.
Had a shower at 3 pm.
Sat 17 Feb 1917
Got up at 5.30. Had a shower. Fixed up gear about bunk to make it more convenient. No wind today but heavy mist & very damp on deck no sea. Fell in at 9.30 full dress parade with overcoats on as it was raining. We was inspected by the platoon O.C. Mr. DeLambert & I had to take the names of fellows who were short of gear & what gear it is. We went to dining hall to be paid.
Pvts were paid £1 & all N.C.O.s 30/-. Bathing parade was a washout this afternoon. We had to put our bedding & clothes out to dry that got wet yesterday.
Lifeboat parade at 4 pm.
Heavy gambling going on account of fellows being paid today. Bought a money belt for 3/- second hand using it instead of braces. Had some fairly heavy showers today at times also some very hot sun. Bought cigarettes 6d & chocolate 6d. More cases of diphtheria it is getting serious. Went to bunk at 9.10.
Sun 18 Feb 1917
Got up at 7 am. Had a shower sago for breakfast. Ship rolling so much as she has done yet. Wind fairly strong was blowing a gale through the night.
Went to church had rosary & sermon & hymns. No Mass as ship is rolling too much. Had hot dinner & we found maggots in meat & soup. Bought biscuits after dinner to fill up. I played 500 & read till 2.30 & I went to sleep & bathing parade was held at 3 pm. But I slept it through. Gargle parade at 4 pm but I had none as it is strong carbolic & it made a couple of the fellows sick. We also had gargle at 12. We had dates for tea bought from the canteen with our canteen fund from Trentham & they were maggoty.
Got a rub from the O.C. for putting too much in the letter I posted, Wrote a letter to ..... & H Harkiss. Had wrestle on deck & lost nail clippers & knife. Went to bunk at 9.30.
Mon 19 Feb 1917
Woke up at 12.30 by fellow mad drunk. Can buy whiskey at £1 per bottle. Got up at 7. 28 platoon on fatigue rest of company airing bedding etc. again. Five men and myself went on store fatigue & five of F Coy 10 specialists & 10 Artillery. We got stores from hold to deck store room extra lot to last us while in port as we expect to reach Africa tomorrow or Wed. Had a meeting of our table fellows about giving mess orderlies donation but we came to no decision.
Had to go on fatigue this afternoon with 5 men to sort out ships washing. There was 27 large bags. We packed it up in bags in the linen locker & I put the .... in the steward for a cup of tea & we got it & water biscuits. Had good wash under fresh water shower which was on for two hrs as we are getting near shore. Got cigarettes 6d & biscuits 8 d. No wind & no sea & sun very hot. Lovely sunset.
Went to bunk at 9.10.
Tues 20 Feb 2017
Got up at 6.40. had a shower. Had a tussle with Pvt Mulvaney & fell on wrist & hurt it. Had porridge and stewed sausages for breakfast. I have porridge every morning. Heavy fair wind & it is a very warm wind. Big sea running boat rolling as much as she has done yet. Got piece of jam tart out of bakehouse.
No parades this afternoon as pillow fight was on. None of those who put their names in turned so they held an impromptu fight. I went in it & I won as my opponent fouled. It started raining & final was put off.
Some of our fellows haven’t a penny to go ashore with as they lost it all gambling. I am still holding 23 shillings the other seven I have spent on myself.
We shipped some lovely seas .... wind blowing a heavy gale.
Had a gamble at house & won 3/6 on it. Bought canteen book bought bottle ginger beer 6d & chocolate. Charlie Irvine asked me to go to meals with him as they get twice the food we do & I went & had a good supper. Steak roast spuds etc. Had fresh water shower this afternoon. 9.30
Wed 21 Feb 1917 – Ash Wednesday
Got up at 6.55. Had salt showerwashed in fresh after. Settled 2/- with a fellow that we are going to Cape Town, not Durban. Medical Board sat yesterday & a Sgt Maj & about 12 men are unfit & have to return to N.Z. Had breakfast with sailors pork sausages & potatoes.
Fell in at 9.30 went to dining hall for signalling & at 10.30 fresh shower & sun bath. Lost 6d on house. Collected 6d per man from table to give mess orderlies to go ashore with making 10/- from table. 18 men per table. Had dinner with sailors. Pvt Chitty had hair clippers and we started hair dressing in washhouse all this afternoon & this evening at 3d per time and we made 8/-. Won bet from the Mulvaney as we are goint to Cape Town but I gave him his 2/- back as he is nearly broke. Got sago & sauce from Sgts mess & had tea below. Pillow fight finishes this afternoon but I didn’t go in it as I was busy hair dressing. Had supper with sailors. Saw reflection of Cape light house at 8 oclock. Went to bunk at 9.15. Cleaned buttons on tunic overcoat ready for going ashore tomorrow.
Thurs 22 Feb 1917
Got up at 6 am. Never had shower. Land in sight at six our first view of Africa. Wamaroa in sight aft. Passed two steamers passed very close, We could see people aboard very plain. Full dress parade at 9.30 & inspection overcoats rolled.
Lecture in dining room at 10 am for Adj about going ashore in Cape Town. The Mountains look very rugged from aboard. Anchored in harbour about 3.30 & hung on there till 6.30 when we were berthed in docks. It is the prettiest place I have seen yet coming up the harbour to the docks. Passed eight large vessels coming out as we came in.
Couldn't get ashore till 9 pm as Port medical officer didn’t arrive aboard till 8.30. We got leave till 1 am. Went ashore with some of 28 & had a walk around & bought a lot of fruit which is very cheap especially grapes & you get a large bag full for 6d They are 1½d per lb. They don’t weigh them just dish them out. Started coaling immediately we berthed. Could hardly sleep in dormitories for sound of coal & winches. Bought water melon 6d. Got back to berth at 12.50 & went to bunk at 2.30
Fri 23 Feb 1917
Got up at 7 Am. Got cleaned up & dressed to go ashore. We fell in on Quay at 9.30 & went for a two mile route march up near the Cape Town Museum & were dismissed till 11 pm. After we were dismissed I bought some grapes & Pvt McLean, J Selly J .... & myself went through the museum & gardens. All African things in museum
Took a walk around back blocks where every nationality on earth lives then we went back to the township & had dinner 1/6. Strolled around town after dining & bought a game of house. Went for tram ride to Camps bay. I had swim in hot salt water baths & picked up about 10 of our platoon & went for afternoon tea which is free to soldiers also the baths. I met Frank Olsen & Len Barnes & we all came home by different route. Got back to town & bought more grapes & some cray-fish then went to the parade for 1 hr & into the Visiting Soldiers Club& then went to look round Railway station & then saw first engine that ever ran in Africa. Australians stole barrow of grapes & cases of them out of the shops. Bought bag of grapes & got back to ship at 10.30.
Saw tortoises at museum also aeroplane guns captured from Germans. Saw tortoises at museum.
Sat 24 Feb 1917
Got up at 6 and put L/Cpl Marney & 6 men on fatigue to carry marrows from wharves to ship. We all put our shorts on as we expected to leave wharf at 9.50 but we got orders to parade full dress at 9.30 for route march. Went for six mile route march through town & through some avenue & went to parade to be inspected by Mayor & Mayoress & Maoris gave a Haka & we marched off back to ship & Maoris were taken off by Mayor for morning tea. We got back to ship aching all over as the heat was terrible & we are soft & not used to marching. One part of the 20th are camped here but they are on another troopship & coming with us. I got out of uniform & knocked around deck all afternoon in just shorts no shirt & had three showers. Three Australian transports with us. We left wharf at three & sailed at four. We saw three funnelled cruiser & have 6 other ships are with us. Pvt McLean & I have started our house & we made 7.3 each. Ship doing good roll fair wind. Went to bunk at 9.10.
Have sailors & marines aboard. Got gun on in Cape Town.
Sun 25 Feb 1917
Got up at 6.45. Started first sitting at meals. There are transports altogether & we are sailing in two lines of three with an Auxiliary Cruiser leading in the centre. (diagram on back cover). We had two houses & I was stopped as N.C.O. Marc running now with Pvt Loughman. Mac half takings & Lockie & I ½. Made 6d each this morning. Went to church at 10 no Mass as ship rolling too much. Souvenir paper of 21 Rfl sold this morning. I bought 4 for myself & 1 for Pvt Mulvaney.
Four of my pieces in it. Called the “Waitemate Wobbler”. Partners ran house & took about 14/-. Mac 7/- D Loughman 3/6 each. Cut Pvt Campbells hair & made stairs in it. We slackened down & other ships all passed us. We were cleaning fires. We have Man-o-Wars men & marines aboard for England to join other ships. Worked it out yesterday & there are 1076 men aboard minus sailors & marines.
Went to bunk at 9.10.
Mon 26 Feb 1917
Got up at 6.40. Parades at 9.30. Just issued with 16 rifles for platoon. Sgt Bruce 8 them & I rest of platoon for signalling. Went to dining room after smoke & I had gargle at 11.45. Holding 12/9. Had two wins at House. Bought two more souvenir books. Had just shorts on for a while. Mac started house at 3d. per card & 5/- the winner but it never took off.
Fell in at 1.30 & shifted rafts & had rifle exercise & physical drill till 3 pm. Then bathing & gargle parade. Played house & poker tonight & lost 11/6. Very hot today fair wind & no sea.
Bought 4 more souvenir books.
Went to bunk at 9.
Two pay Sgts missed boat at Cape Town.
28 Plt had rifles issued.
Lost watch in washhouse.
Started letter to Ivy & Nan.
Tues 27 Feb 1917
Got up at 7.40.
G coy had to take bedding up on deck to be aired. I took mine up & read book all morning. Took off shirt. Watched bedding while Coy went to dinner had mine after. Lost last sixpence at house. A reward of £20 is offered to anyone who can give information about £65 that was stolen out of Pvt Howie H Coy portmanteau which he left in forecastle when he was in clink on board. Tug of war was pulled this afternoon & J Coys team won. Pulled in B team we lost first pull.
I had shower at 3.30 & sunbathed.
Mac ran our house & I made 2/6 out of it & lost it at the card house.
Sighted smoke another steamer at 6 pm. Unwrapped souvenirs I wrapped up to send home & started to get the fellows of our platoon to put their regt number name & township they came from in back page. Skipping competition won by Cpl King H Coy. who kept up to 2346 second man kept up to 1764,
Went to bunk at 9.20.
Wed 28 Feb 1917
Got up at 6.50. Had a shower. Fell in at 9.30. Went to dining room for lecture by Medical Officer on first aid then came on deck for smoke & then back to dining room for reading of routine orders & semaphore. No parade till 3 pm then we had bathing parade & lunch after. Played 500. Was coming past house school & had no money. Pat Salmartin had two hands & marked one for him & won & he gave me half of it & I played with it & I won 17/- & then lost it except 2/- then went to tea at sailors quarters & started playing house again. I won 12/- then as my platoon was short of cigarettes & had no money I went & bought 20 packets of cigarettes 10/- & gave them out. A chess tournament is to be held between Wamaroa & us by semaphore. Watch not returned yet. Mr Howden hurt his leg yesterday. Never got platoon names finished as mail closes tomorrow.
Went to bunk at 9.
Too hot in bunk & went & slept on deck. Started raining at 10.30. got in shelter.
Thurs 1 March 1917
Got up at 4.40. Brought bedding down & Pvt McLean was asleep in my bunk & so I went & slept in his till 6.15. Went on parade at 9.15 rifle exercise & physical drill till eleven o clock then gargle. Cameron came very close this morning we could talk to them by shouting. I lost my last 2/- at house. Fixed an awning over deck to shield the sun off.
Got rub from O.C. for letting the men fool on parade. No parade this afternoon till 3.45 so I played 500 till then. Was in the middle of a shower when we heard gun fire & then we saw a shell strike the water very near the boat & then another crash that seemed like striking our boat in the stern & then the alarm blew & down I rushed & got knocked from the top to the bottom of the steps in the rush. We all thought it was a real attack & some of the fellows didn’t look too good on it. It was the cruiser & us trying the guns. Lost last 2/- on house. Had a shower at 8.30. Slept on deck under canopy. Posted 8 books home.
Fri 2 Mar 1917
Got up at 5.25. Had shower. Lovely sunrise. No parades this morning as it is too hot. Had game of 500 & shower. Had sun bath. Just got shorts on & I am sweating all the time. No parade till 3.45 then we had shower. Water fight in washhouse. Played 500 all afternoon. Started raining at 4.15. Had tea in sailors quarters.
Slept on deck again & had argument with fellow who said I jumped his claim but as I had my bunk there first I wouldn’t shift. Missed one of my military boots & it is one of my best ones.
Sat 3 Mar 1917
Got up at 3.30. Brought blankets down & had wash in fresh water. We never had breakfast till nine o‘clock & second sitting at ten. Had three or four showers this morning. After dinner it started raining & a big crowd got stripped & stood in the rain till we got wet all over & then lathered up with soap & had a good wash.
Some fellows went & washed in a pool of water & some of the fellows underneath the awning started hitting them up with sticks & they had to get out & no one would risk going down there so I got a large billie & ran down the awning to the water & stood in the bucket & then they couldn’t hurt me through the bucket & I washed away for ten minutes or so. Played dominoes after tea. Lovely sunset ocean like glass & very large flashes of sheet lightening very regular. Slept on deck.
Sun 4 Mar 1917
Got up at 5.25 brought blankets down & slept in my bunk till 7.30. Got up again & had shower. We started second sitting today. I was put in charge of fatigue breaking up old boxes & sending them down to other hold. Pvt Neil, Collett, Brown & O’Connor are box fatigue. We started at 9.30 & finished at 11.30. I pinched rope to make a hammock but never had enough to finish it. Started raining heavy & we had another fresh water wash & diving off boom into 6in of water in awning. No one else would do it. Pinched piece of canvas & made hammock out of it. Went down in dining hall & played 500 with Maoris & dominoes in dormitory.
Swung hammock under mast & turned in at 10 oclock.
Mon 5 Mar 1917
Was woke up at 4 am by thunder & lightening & it was spitting with rain so I took down hammock& put them under awning & went on deck till 4.30 & then brought blankets down & turned in. Got up again at 10 to seven & had shower. Went on fatigue with four men on boxes finishing at 11.30. Preparations going on on deck for receiving Father Neptune as we are crossing the line tomorrow, We see shoals of flying fish every day now in large quantities. Had shower at 12.30. Got watch back today.
Played dominoes & 500 till two oclock. Canteen tickets 4/- worth were issued to those who wanted them. Never took any. Medical parade straight after tea. G, H & J Companys were issued with lime juice & lunch biscuits at 3 oclock they were bought out of rest of Camp Canteen funds. Had stewed figs & rice for tea. Our fellows gambled their canteen tickets & most of them lost.
Slung bunk & turned in at 10 pm.
Crossed the line at midnight.
Tues 6 Mar 1917
Crossed line just a little after twelve.
Got up at 5.30. Had fresh water bath.
The announcement was made re crossing the line & supreme court of Father Neptune. We went on our wood fatigue at 9.45 & finished at 10.45.
Father Neptune & his suite arrived on the ship at 1.30. He had about 20 of a suite & their dress was something marvellous how they were made up. The king took his throne & the judge behind him. The prisoners were first lathered with paste & shaved with a wooden razor. Then the peg was pulled out of the dip chair & they were dipped in the pond that was about 5 ft deep. All the officers who had not crossed the line before and only a few men were done. I couldn't see from the deck so I climbed the mast to the cross trees & sat there. After the court closed the fellows started throwing one another in. Played dominoes. Swung hammock & turned in at 9.30.
Wed 7 Mar 1917
Got up at six brought hammock & bed ding down had fresh water wash.
Went on fatigue as usual & there was an extra large dose of cases to break & we knocked off at eleven. The O.C. issued orders that all fatigue must work between 9 & 11 and 2 & 4 o’clocks. Saw Sgt Maj & got five more men for my fatigue that made nine. We started at two and had to knock off at three as G. H. & J Coys were issued with lime juice & biscuits. Bathing parade at 3.15. Played 500 till tea time. Made a hammock for Pvt McLean J. & then swung the two of them together & then tested his then we went to dining hall & played 500 till nine o’clock.
Turned in at 10 o’clock.
Thurs 8 Mar 1917
Got up at six.
Played 500 till we went on fatigue at 9.30. Had six men today washout at 11 have to go back at two. Piece of wood fell out of bag & hit Pvt O’Connor on forehead & raised a bump on it & cut it a little. Got board to put across my bunk for writing on. See big shoal of dolphins every day now.
Went on at two o’clock & we washed out at 2.40 finished.
Had issue of lime juice & biscuits & I had bathing parade at 3.15. Played 500 till tea time.
Everywhere you go on the ship the men are playing 500.
Just opened last tin of tobacco I bought at Capetown gave most of the cigarettes away to fellows who had none.
Played 500 in dining room till 9 pm. Swung hammock & went to bunk at 9.40.
Fri 9 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.15. Went on fatigue at 9.30. Washout at 11 am. Pvt Collett hurt hand so got Pvt H.E.Taylor.
Sighted 4 small fishing boats about ten. Sighted land at 11.30 Western Africa. Sighted Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone about 2 o’clock. We trailed out in single file & entered harbour & all anchored inside harbour.
Coming into harbour the scenery was beautiful & the tropical palms & sandy beaches look beautiful too. There was a couple of hundred natives out fishing in a heap in funny long narrow canoes made by hollowing out logs & they look very light. Two four funnelled cruisers & one two funnelled cruiser in harbour & a good number of other boats. Natives brought out fruit very dear. No leave granted here. Slept on deck in hammock. Turned in at 9.
Sat 10 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.15.
Still in port. Went on fatigue at 9.30. Finished at 10.40. Played 500 till dinnertime. Had great game with natives selling fruit in canoes alongside ship throwing stuff & turning hose on them.
Fruit is very dear bought from canoes bananas 1d each cocoanuts 3d & mangroves 1d. As there is no leave granted two of our lifeboats have been lowered & teams of men under an officer & N.C.O. are allowed to visit the other ships but are not allowed to land. Never went on fatigue this afternoon played 500.
Ship been visited by a lot of military officers today. Police dressed in khaki. The names of the battleships are H.M.S. Swift sure, H.M.S. King Alfred & the H.M.S. Sutley. The weather is twice as hot here as it was crossing the equator.
Slept on deck in hammock turned in at 9.40.
Sun 11 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.10.
Bought two African combs to send home one to Ivy & one to Nan. Had shower not having so many lately as we are all getting covered in salt water pimples.
Went to Mass in Sgts Mess. Mr. De Lambert advanced out platoon with a few shillings we wanted I drew 3/- & paid 1/- for combs & 6d cigarettes 1/- fruit & 6d lollies. Issue of lime juice at three. At 3.45 a party of four ladies & one man came aboard off one of the other boats to give a concert till five. We went to tea at five & had plum pudd.
The party stopped aboard for tea & gave a concert from 8 till 9. They were excellent singers as they are some of the Fullers singers going home to England.
Had two Lts aboard today off H.M.S. Swiftsure & they were New Zealanders.
Swung bunk & went to bed at 8.45.
Mon 12 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.15 & got a basin of hot fresh water out of the winch & had a good wash. One cruiser left here at 8.15.
We followed out at 8.45 & are going in same rotation as when we left Capetown. Muster parade at 10 am gargle at 11.45. Lime juice at three then shower parade,
Played 500 nearly all day. Officers were shooting at sharks & other fish with revolvers & rifles off the bridge. Had stewed peaches & sago for tea.
Submarine lookout has been posted all over ship at various posts & 12 men posted on each side of the bridge to fire & smash glass of periscope so as to dim it. Bullets would penetrate it.
G Coy has to go this week 28 platoon is on from 2 am to 5 am. Was told off to our positions.
I was put in charge of 12 riflemen on starboard side under shelter deck.
Slept in dormitory so as to be woke up at two am. Turned in at 9.45.
Tues 13 Mar 1917
Got up at 2 am & was stationed with twelve men Sgt -------- & I in charge. Put four men on lookout with rifles & two on sentry for 1 ½ & then relieved them with other six men. Men when not on lookout can sit down & smoke or yarn & they muster below on lower deck to light their pipes no cigarettes allowed. Men when not on duty must not read, write or play cards. Came off at 5 am & we had coffee which was light bilge water & turned in.
Got up at 7 am for breakfast & turned in again. Got up again at 9.30 & has shower. Water getting cold. Played 500 till dinner time. Layed down & went to sleep from 12.30 to three. Got up & had drink lime juice. Played 500 till tea. Have to go on from 11 pm till 2 am in charge of riflemen. Turned in at 9.30. Got up at eleven & was on duty till two am. Had coffee & toast & curry from galley at 12.30.
Wed 14 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.40.
G Coy washing day. I washed two towels 6 handkerchiefs & shirt 1 singlet. Was paid 30/-. I paid Lt. De Lambert 3/- & spent 2/- in canteen. Played house nearly all day & poker. Started poker with an Australian 3d. Had extra & finished before tea with 3/- & lost 1/- of it at house.
Men had two nights on running & one off so far & I have been on every night. We go on at 2 am till five am tomorrow morning. Routine orders that were issued tonight stated that all officers & men must take their lifebelts wherever they go & there is to be a lifebelt parade at dawn in the morning.
MacLean started our house & I got 2/- out of it & lost it at house & also the 3/- I won at poker. Pvt King & I was partners in the 500 tournament tonight but we pulled out as we wanted to get some sleep on account of going on duty. Turned in at 7.30 pm. Search-light reported to of been seen.
Thurs 15 Mar 1917
Got up at 2 am & went on duty in charge of riflemen on starboard side. I made coffee & toast in the galley and had cool feed. At 4.40 the alarm went & we had to remain where we were all hands had to turn out. We were relieved at 5. & I went down to bunk. Never got up for breakfast. Went up & got biscuits at canteen & ate them. Got up at 9.30 & had fresh water bath & then played house till gargle & played house till dinner.
Played house after dining till 2 pm & then played 500. I am on duty tonight from 11 pm till 2 am in charge of riflemen as Sgt Bruce & some of the other N.C.O.s are sick or I get extra duties. A steamer passed us very close & we opened up & surrounded her in case she was a raider.
Got up at eleven & went & turned on lights & woke up men. Posted sentries at ten to eleven. Had tin of fruit in Sgts mess with Sgt Goldfinch & Sgt Hart & we was nearly caught by Officer of the Watch. Made toast & coffee in galley. Bought belt & Australian Commonwealth badge.
Fri 16 Mar 1917
Relieved from duty at 2 am. Had drink of coffee & went to bunk at 2.10. Got up at 6.50 & went down for breakfast. Turned in after brekkie & slept in till 11.30. Got up for gargle & dinner. Slept after dinner till 2 pm. Went on deck & played 500 & got nearly wet through with spray as there is a fair choppy sea & a strong wind blowing. Sgt Bruce is very ill. Heavy gambling going on as the boys were paid yesterday. I am not on duty tonight. Our boys go on from two to five in the morning. Concert in the dining room by F Coy. I never went. Played 500 & draughts till 9 pm then turned in.
Light winds today since we left Wellington. Wind getting cold now.
There is a lot of fellows sick now and it is put down to the water we got at Freetown & most of the fellows have got colds in the head account of the quick change from hot weather to cold. Razor gone rust with salt air will have to buy new one in England.
Sat 17 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.40. Played 500 till dinner. Went down in dining hall & wrote letters till tea time. Was put on with riflemen but it was a washout & we never had to go on till tomorrow at eleven am.
Went to impromptu concert in mess room & wrote letters at the same time. Played 500 just after tea. Most of the fellows are broke gambling at house & crown & anchor, Went to bunk at 9.15.
Sun 18 Mar 1917
Got up at 7.30. Start on second sitting. Played 500 on deck till 10.30 then we fell in No. 1 dormitory both the riflemen & the sentries. We went & relieved the old guard. We was relieved by J Coy & the unit for duty from 1 pm to 1.30 for dinner & was relieved by next shift at two o.clock. We had real good soup then pork beans & mashed potatoes for dinner. Played 500 after dinner. Passed collier today. Never went to church as we had to go on duty before church was out.
Got piece of plum duff out of Sgts Mess for tea. Went down to dining hall & wrote letters.
Spent Australian 6d. I was keeping at House & lost it. One of out mess orderlies is laid up. Pvt J. Ward & I have put Pvt. Peoples F. on in his place.
We are on duty tomorrow from two pm. To five pm. My shoes are beyond wearing & I am going about bare footed. Turned in at 9.30.
Mon 19 Mar 1917
Got up at 7.30.
Had shower. Water very cold. Played 500 till 10.30 then out fellows fell into go on duty at 11 am. They wanted two Cpls so I tossed up with L/Cpl Luggins S & I won the toss so he went on.
I went down to mess room this afternoon & wrote letters & there was 21 pages in Ivy’s & 16 in Nan’s. I also wrote to Wal Crecher, Mrs McCormich Stan Beechcroft, Rev. Father Cooney, Mr Storey, Harry Harkiss, Jessy ...., M. Williams & A. Dip.
We got good war news today. The Captain got orders for the ship to travel now onwards in absolute darkness & new restrictions are placed on us re smoking & striking matches.
The Adjutant announced at tea tonight that they expected to land at the end of the week & all hands are very pleased to be getting off the ship but I don’t mind this life but I am anxious to see England & to see Francis.
Played 500 after tea & went to bed at 8.10.
Tues 20 Mar 1917
Got up at 7 am. Had shower & cleaned up buttons & boots ready for inspection. Found boot I LOST.
After breakfast we got in full dress I had to take all our equipment up on the parade deck for kit inspection. Sgt. Goldfinch & I inspected them at 9.30 & washed out. We went on duty at eleven o’clock & I was relieved for dinner at 10 to one & we went on again at 12. 30 & then was relieved again at 2 pm. We were advised to wear boots to get out feet used to them I tried mine on but it is too big a risk to wear them on account of the slippery decks.
Played 500 & house all afternoon & won 7/- at House.
Went to bed at 9.45.
I bought a set of good buttons off Pvt Kelly ST for 1/-
Wed 21 Mar 1917
Got up at 7 am.
Sgt Hart & I got some sulphur & a candle & we blackened our buttons. I played house before dinner & after dinner till we went on at two. I had a couple of wins but I lost it all again & I am still winner as I am keeping a African half crown & Australian 1/- & 6d & 3d & 1d.
I pinched two cakes out of saloon while on duty with riflemen. Our sentries went on without overcoats & it came on to rain heavy & they got wet through. It was extremely cold this afternoon & it is still so. A steamer came in sight astern about 4 pm & everyone was anxious about it.
I had wart cut off elbow& acid put on it. I have to go back tomorrow. Blackened buttons & badges after but it got too dark to finish. Turned in at 8.30.
Thurs 22 Mar 1917
Got up at 7.10. Finished blackening my badges this morning & posted all my letters as this mail closes at noon.
Blackened a set of buttons for a fellow for 1/- & I lost it all at house. Cigarettes have gone down to 4d for 20 as they want to sell them before they close up for good. Went down to mess room & played 500 after dinner. We went to first sitting tonight for tea as we had to go on duty at 5 pm.
Our O.C. Lt Howden shouted the coy pineapple for tea. It was perishingly cold on duty tonight. About 6 pm. We sighted eight steamers evidently a convoy of English Tommies going out to Mesopotamia. We were relieved at 10 to eight & it just started raining as we came off.
I came down made my bunk & turned in at 8.10.
We got issued with field dressings outfit.
Fri 23 March 1917.
Got up at 7.30. We got orders to pack up everything in our kit bags bar our blankets & uniforms. We had a full dress parade at 9.30 was inspected by Lt. Howden. Went to Sgts Mess & played 500 till eleven then turned in and slept till one. After dinner we went to the Sgts Mess & played 500 till four & went to tea at 4.30 had stewed apples & sago for tea.
We have got 24 riflemen & only two sentries on tonight from eight to eleven. One of the boats has something wrong with boilers & we are only going five or six knots.
We sighted two steamers on the horizon at different times today. There was a concert tonight by the Artillery & Spec. I went about eight but couldn't get near it.
We had a game of football on deck after tea with rags tied up.
Very cold now wanted all clothes on.
Turned in at about eight.
Sat 24 Mar 1917
Got up at 7.45. Steamer passed us very close at eight o’clock. Wind is blowing very hard and it is perishingly cold. Went down in mess room & played 500 till 10.45 then went to hospital & got Pvt Bade who is ill & got him a pannican of arrowroot then blackened a set of buttons for a L/Cpl In J Coy.
Made out a list of Sentries & riflemen for duty from 5 pm to 8 pm. 15 sentries 12 riflemen. A steamer passed us at 2 pm & our boats didn't know of her coming & our cruiser pulled her up the rest altered their courses so as to get their guns to bear other.
Wrote a letter to the T.Robertons father-in-law in England. Had an hours sleep this afternoon. Went on duty at five till eight. We sighted four steamers after tea & we are passing steamers all the time now. After coming off duty Sgt Bruce & I went to the Sgts mess & made a jug of cocoa & made sardine sandwiches & had a good feed. Farewell concert on tonight we was too late to go. Turned in at 9.10.
Sun 25 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.45. We are padding steamers all the time. There are at least three in sight. We passed a full rigged ship under full sail very close about eight o’clock. Got ready & went to church no Mass. After church collection was taken by fellows for Father Bartley. I collected 12/- from 8 Catholics. When we came out of church there was seven destroyers coming to meet us & then we can go like greased lightening & they are coming with us for escort. I read message sent from No. 86 to us & it was & it is in front of book. We also saw two mine sweepers. All our boats have gone in different directions & a destroyer with each as there is a German submarine close by. The other ships have gone off & we are on our own except for our destroyer which is patrolling backwards & forwards in front of us.
We had a good feed of duff & tinned fruits. Mess orderlies & permanent fatigues had a special tea.
We don’t go on duty till eight o’clock tomorrow morning. Went to church tonight & Father Bartley was given a presentation.
Went to bunk at 8.30.
Mon 26 Mar 1917
Got up at 6.40. First sitting for breakfast. It is blowing a proper gale & there is a big sea running.
We went on duty at eight on the lee side & at half time we changed to the weather side & it was perishingly cold we was relieved at. A submarine was seen this morning just before revalle by four sentries at different parts of the ship. We cant see our destroyer half the time for spray. Passed about 12 small sailing boats & a decoy. We have a very heavy hail-storm at 1 o’clock.
Our auxiliary cruiser paid us a visit today & went straight off again. The Adj announced that we would arrive at our destination at midnight tonight. The ship is rolling very heavily & the mess room at dinner time was one mass of food from end to end. Had prunes & sago for tea. Cleaned buttons & got gear packed up ready to go ashore tomorrow. The ship is sending water from stem to stern. I made out list of riflemen & sentries for duty from five to eight tomorrow morning. Went to bunk at 7.20.
Tues 27 Mar 1917
Got up at 4.30 to go on duty at five but as there was one N.C.O. over I ducked off & came down to bed. We saw Eddystone light flashing just off the port side. Got up again at quarter to seven. Land in sight. We anchored in Plymouth harbour about 8.15. It is one mass of ports. It is a pretty sight from the ships the castle & township. Saw sea-plane right up in the air & it came down & landed in water. Got news that submarine that was after us sunk the 12 fishing boats that we passed. Had dinner on board at 10.30. saw sunken steamer that had fight with submarine & just reached port & sunk just inside harbour.
Ive got our kits up on deck at 9.30 this morning ready to go ashore & at 3.30 we got orders to take our kits below as we are not going ashore till 8.30 tomorrow. All troops have disembarked except us. We are last as usual. Not a light to be seen anywhere except a light-house. We had a rag-time tea aboard. Searchlights are flashing up in the air looking for Zepplins. I never unpacked my kit & I have turned in full dressed at 8.10.
Men-O-War men were taken off in Navy tenders.
Wed 28 Mar 1917
Got up at 5 am. Went on deck & had wash & smoke & turned in again at 6. Got up at 6.30 for breakfast & then got away on deck ready to disembark. Tended came alongside at 8 am & J Coy was first to board her at 8.30. About 9.15 she left the Waitemate for the docks. It was a five min run. We landed on the Quay & embarked by train straight away for Salisbury. We was told it was a three hour run but we was eight hours getting there, The train went very fast at times but on the whole very slow, The scenery was lovely all the old fashioned villages & towers & fields. We passed fields that were absolutely brick red & we also passed a back train about every 20 mins. At ……….we got tea & a large bun each from the Mayor & Mayoresses fund & also two tins of bully beef & a dozen biscuits per carriage of six men. I bought pack of cards. On arrival near camp we saw 13 aeroplanes doing manoeuvres. We had to carry our kits about two miles to huts in the N.Z. camp. They are good huts a fireplace in each. I never got a paliass so I got some blankets to sleep on as there was about 30 extra ones in the hut. We had tea soon after arrival boiled rice.
Wet canteen here. I bought 3/- worth of cigarettes. Woodbines & Golden Flake & they are 5d. for tin lollies are dearer here than in N.Z.