1 November Thursday
Nothing doing very much today. I went to a ERS lecture this morning, it was about housing, I learnt quite a lot I didn’t know before. Wrote Janet three cards tonight. It started to rain very heavy about 1900hrs but by the time we were ready for bed it had stoped There was terrific thunder and lighting with it.
2 Nov Friday
Only three days to go we told ourselfs this morning but at 1500hrs word came round that the boat had been put forward 10 days, this will (if it is right) make our date about the 15th of this month. So far we have had the dates as such 26th, or 24th Nov and now this new one
3 Nov Saturday
Our boat has been put forward 10 days so the date will be the 18th. Went to the pictures tonight. I haven’t received any mail from Janet for 3 weeks.
4 November Sunday
Today as usual was very quiet. Wrote Janet card
5 November Mon
Today is Janet’s birthday she is 27 today the same age as myself. I had saved a bottle of beer from my last issue so I drank her health and happiness for the future. At one time I had hopes of being home for her birthday but now we will have to fight hard to be home for christmas
6 November Tuesday
Wrote Janet a card. Never went to the pictures tonight as I didn’t think I would like it. Went to the ERS workshop and made the pattern for our glass shelf in the bathroom I also made a good tooth brush rack for two, the bath jobs were made out of perspex
7 November Wed
I had my new slacks fixed up today, loops on the top and I had the bottoms widened from 29” to 22 ½ “ They don’t look so bad now. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Where Salome __________” (fair) The weather is cold now and the rain is holding off so far.
8 November Thursday
This morning for breakfast we had egg powder making it the third morning running. The food is very scarse and we are just getting enough to eat and that’s all. There has been another cut of 20% this makes 60% cut now of the rations we were getting when we first came down here 5 weeks ago. 800 more men are coming off the draft for NZ they will be going to Egypt now, the date will be Sunday 11th. There are only a few single chaps here left of the NZ roll for this boat, all the married men are going home
9 November Fri
We have only a week to go now until we get on the boat. The days are cold now too. Pictures tonight
10 November Sat
Another cold day. The chaps who are going to the ME are going on Tuesday now instead of Monday(ME would be Middle East)
11 November Sun
It rained for a while this morning but not very heavy. Played bridge after tea. Ray Jarden arrived down here this afternoon he is going home with us he is a 11th but as his wife is very sick so he has got Compos Leave
12 November Mon
The chaps who are going to the M.E. packed up today it took them nearly all day to get done. Med Parade, pay parade just as we will be doing them in two days
13 November Tuesday
Rex Ball arrived Italy
At 0630hrs this morning it started to rain and at the time the boys left it reached its peak. They got pretty wet before they actually left the camp. The rain continued all day and all night. It was very cold too. Received my list of Bulletins from England. Wrote Tom Stoke(?) and give him the list of what I wanted. Spent most of the day in our tents. In bed at 1730hrs and read a book
14 November Wed
Today we changed our money. I put in 6 pound, 4 pounds for myself and 2 pounds for Ray Farden. “Short Arm” inspection. Rex left us today for Florence, he was around with me most of the time he was here. Pictures tonight The Naughty Ninetys “Costello Abbot”
15 November Thursday
Our boat has been put on 24hrs so we leave on Saturday instead of Friday as before. We will be very lucky to get home for Christmas now. A fine day today. Had a trial pack this afternoon. I shall have two large bags one down the hold and one with me. Picture “Black Swan”
16 November Fri
This is our last day in Italy. We are leaving at 0845hrs tomorrow morning. We have to hand in our blankets and webb etc at 0630hrs in the morning. We shall be going on the boat at 1015hrs in the morning. Our bag for the hold is being taken on board this afternoon. We collect our BMA at 1400hrs this afternoon. I arrived in this country (Italy) 2 years 10 days today. I have been overseas 2 years 6 months now. In the army altogether 3 years, 2 months 5 days today
17 November Sat
Left Adv Base at 0905hrs and traveled to TARANTO in trucks. The day is fine and warm.After waiting on the wharf for some five minutes we went aboard lighters and so onto our ship the “MOOLTAN” We left the shores of Italy at 1021hrs and it ws the end of the winter for us, within a week we will be in a much warmer part of the world. There are quite a few men on this boat and just about every “service arm” is represented even if only by half a doz. We embarked on the ship at 1050hrs. At 1400hrs the ship pulled out of the harbour and we were soon on our long way home. We were told that there were three ports of call. Tufick first then Colombo, on to Freemantle and then home. We would be arriving in NZ somewhere near Dec 21st so we should help to bring some happiness home with us for Christmas. Our quarters are not the best, we are sleeping in hammocks above our mess tables. Last night (today) I tried to sleep in my hammock but my back ached terrible so my sleep was almost nill I am going to sleep on the table tonight if I can. This ships top speed is 17 knots.
18 November Sun
We had to get up this morning at 0615hrs, breakfast is at 0645hrs so getting up is necessary. Today is a bit rougher and we are all feeling a wee bit off colour. I hope I am alright because I have been a good sailor up to now. We have been playing “bridge” most of the time so far. Was in bed by 2100hrs
19 November Mon
Today is our last one in the “Med” We will reach Port Said during the night. A very quiet day aboard ship
20 November Tuesday
When we got up this morning we were outside Port Said. After letting some South A’s off also some Poles we were all ready to get on our way again. Only vegetables had to be loaded on. I sent Janet a “special” air card. They were printed on the ship by the crew and they were very nice costing us threepence. We got under way again at 1220hrs and once again I was going through the Suez Canal. We were stoped about 1530hrs and we waited for two aircraft carriers to come through. These were the only aircraft carriers I have ever seen and they were there in all their glory. By tea time we were on our way again but I never seen anymore of the canal in daylight
21 November Wed
We were in Tufick this morning erly about 0500 hrs We are still here and the time is now 1245hrs. A very busy morning indeed, water and oil has been pouring into our tanks all morning. There are 1000 more men on board now, they are the 8ths that was left in Egypt. Reclassified 15ths and married 9ths. I don’t think we will be here very much longer as soon as the oil etc is on we will be on our way. I don’t think we will be here in the morning anyhow. I bought an Egyptian handbag from the “Wogs” that came alongside it cost me a pound but it is not so very good therefore I don’t think Janet will be wanting. I shall give it to young Norma I think (that’s if Janet doesn’t like it of course). There are one or two things to come on yet so I just heard, only time will tell I suppose. After loading some 1100 men on board we left Tufick at 1715hrs and headed into the Red Sea. It is getting warmer every day now, soon we shall be getting about only wearing shorts.
22 November Thursday
This morning found us well into the Red Sea. The sun is becoming very hot now. Living conditions are not so good now the heat combined with the salt sea-air makes our bodies feel very sticky at times but every day is a day nearer home and to Janet my dear wife.
23 November Fri
Our kits that we left in Egypt when we came over to Italy are now on the boat and we are allowed to get them for 24 hours. This will allow me to put a lot of things in mine when I get it, within a few days. The meals are still very good and they seem —— to continue to be the same for the rest of the voyage. They have stopped the sale of tobbaco for a few days. We were asked today for men to volunteer to work in the RNZAF WO1 Mess, we! Were asked , we of the army! I don’t think they shall get one. Our group “5” goes on ships fatigue on Sunday it lasts a week. I hope to get a good job and it will help to pass the time away for a week. Another week should see us in Colombo
24 November Sat
Today is our last in the Red Sea. During the day we were passing small islands and darkness came before we reached Aden. This time we passed ADEN at 2300hrs. Played bridge after tea
25 November Sun
This is our first day on fatigues and our group is on for a week. I was given a job for this morning but I couldn’t find the part of the boat I had to go to. We have now been on the boat for 8 days. We are due at Colombo either on the 29th or 30th of this month. Today was washing day for the troops and the top deck was covered with clothes just like thousands of flags. Bruce Coburn was down to see me today and I asked him if he would look after my battle dress for me until I needed it to get off when we reach New Zealand. Since we left Egypt the food has not been so good as it was the first three days at sea but I may say the meals are still very good and they will have to drop a long way until they come down to the army level that was set in Italy at ADV.BASE
26 November Mon
This morning we seen the last of Africa the most Eastern point . About an hour after we sighted two islands and then we were on the way to Colombo which is going to be the next land we will see for four days or more. The “Cap” said he hopes to get into Colombo by Saturday 1st Dec, now about 20 minutes to 2am. If this is right we should leave again for Freemantle at noon or later. Doing the speed we are now doing we should get there :Freemantel about the 9th or 10th and 9 or 10 days more will bring us about home arriving there about the 19th or 20th Dec. Life on ship is very dull now we have to do the same things every day. Had a talk with young Frank Allan. Played bridge after tea
27 November Tuesday
Best distance on trip so far. 383 Miles. We have been aboard ship 10 days today the time, although hard to pass, seems to be slipping by alright. We have just a little over three weeks to spend on the boat yet before we reach home. The sun is hot now and I have been getting a bit browner than I was when I came on the boat
28 November Wed
We received another NAT PAT issue today. 1 pkt biscuits, 1 tube tooth paste, and 1 cake of chochlate per man. I hope to get my “base kit” tomorrow morning at 1100hrs. In the 24 hours ending at 1200hrs today we had travelled 372 mls. Today for some unknown reason was not as hot as it should have been. We are now 2 ½ days off Colombo. I will have to write Frances a card tomorrow so it can be posted at Colombo on Sat the mail closes at 1000hrs on Friday. Although we are only a short distance from India we havn’t yet seen any sharks and I havn’t heard of anybody seeing one either
29 November Thursday
Today we came upon some islands, there was plenty of growth on them too. All afternoon it was showery and this was the first time I had ever seen rain at sea, there has been rain of course but I never had the chance to see any of it. To me it seemed funny to see rain pelting down on the deck with sea everywhere. We are due at Colombo about 1900hrs tomorrow. So far we have seen very little sea life
30 November Fri
Arrived in Colombo at 2000hrs. It was too dark to see very much only the lights of the harbour was all we could see. As usual in these ports, boats come fussing around here too but we were in bed by 2130hrs. It was very hot down in the ship tonight
Did not do any work again, to hot, just sit around and swet. We must all be losing weight. Bed bugs still around some more chaps lost there bunks yesterday. Clocks back ½ hr makes 6 ½ hours.
Still very hot. New Amsterdam left us was convoyed by the light cruiser just as she was going away another ship was sighted on the horison. Very well worked out we thought. The time was 1400hrs. The ship that we seen was only a armed Merchantman, so I hope we don’t meet anything , expect to reach land Monday
Clocks back 1/2hr. Still don’t know for certain whether the Art is going to M. East yet. Will be on this boat another 10 to 14 days yet past over the line at 1000hrs or there abouts don’t know yet the exact time. Going west now time 1700hrs. Seen no sharks yet but hope to soon.
Escort left us at night. Wind very strong. Clocks go back ½ hour. Right down to 2/- again. Won 30/- again playing pontoon. Expect to be in port Sunday or Monday our letters will be droped there. Having a cold bath every night (salt water) Getting a ration of Lime juice twice a day. Received a voucher for 8d from the Pat board.
3 weeks at sea. Sea very rough and wind strong. A monsoon. We will move out of it soon we hope. Some of the boys not feeling so good. Received so far from the pat board 3 pac cigs, 2 apples 3 pears 2 cakes of soap.
Clocks back 1 hour. Clocks now back 8 ½ hrs..
Sighted land 1350hrs. Arabia. Pulled into Aden and dropped anchor at 1630hrs. Seen our first Camel. It was walking along the street. We could see from the ship buildings are all grey stone and a lot of them have flat roofs . It is great to see the blacks. We have to get oil here. Can see the ———– Hotel, but ¼ mile over water have to go dry. Some of the natives are black as coal (——– up until tie up) Freemantle to Aden 14 days 23hours 30 min. Aden built on solid rock.
Left Aden 0900hrs no escort . Two other ships came in about 0600hrs. Tommies were on them. The blacks selling mellons 1/- ea. Bananas 12 for 2/- green and soft. Heat still bad on the boat. Entered Red Sea very calm like a lake. Land on either side. Dolphins very plentiful. A hot wind like a north west at home.
Sea a bit rough today. Seen first shark one about 7 – 8 ft long , first one so far. We are now within range of the enemys planes long range, A lot of chaps have got the runs. The doctor said the water is the cause that is the water we got from Aden. Canteen closed up. Expect to land Friday 11th.
The weather is a bit cooler now, the last two nights have been alright. Paterson —– and I started a board 1 – 6 and threw the dice. We made about 10 pounds between us. I have now got 8pound again. The clocks went back ½ hour that makes 91/2 hours behind NZ. Got 2 oranges, 2 pks cigs, 1pk tobacco 4 apples, 1 cake chock from the Patriotic Fund.
Port Tewfick. Landed 1330hrs out in stream. There were a lot of boats there. Had our first look at the Wogs. They are very dirty and very black. We came ashore in fighters about 100 per boat. It was great to see some of our own boys and are they brown. We seen all sorts of ———– too. Went through Cairo 1930hrs. Great buildings.
Our first day in Egypt. We had tea at 2130hrs last night and then to bed, up at 0530 this morning, it does not get hot until about 0900hrs and then until about 1700hrs. After that it starts to cool down, it is very cool at night and it never seems to get dark at night. We can see the three pyramids from our camp. Our camp is Mena Camp
I think Dad was in this camp last time. So far our food is very good. The glare of the sand is very bad.hard on the eyes.. Got paid today 1 pound equale to 1 pound and 7pence. The water here is pretty good but it is very warm. I suppose we will get used to that. Have not seen Norm yet for he is in Maadi MC about 14 miles from here.
Got payed 100 Akers (?) for a bottle of drink 31/2 A/C 8d Large cake choc 20/A 4/- 6 sticks gum 4/A 10d. There are some wonderful things over here to buy but we would have to be getting 5 pounds per week to get all we wanted, somethings are cheap and some are very dear. Sunglasses 4/- about double our price.
Went to Mence (?) and seen the grounds and sphinks, they are very interesting and old. It cost 20 Ahkers for 5 of us for a guide. We got some orange drinks which were very cold and we seen our first girl and what a beautie. Went into a shop and it was full of tinned salmon and other things we have never seen at home for years.
Marched past bridge and then had talks on health . We have not had any leave yet. There has not been any cards been played here yet, reason, money very short. Things aare very dear here. Got oranges again.
Went to Mena again got a guide half-way in but had to walk home 3 miles. Had my first wiskey no good don’t like it. Have not had any beer here yet. I don’t think it is much good. 6 of us went to Merva (?) House one round 53 Ahkers equals 10 shillings 7 ½ pence. Got home 2200hrs.
One week in Egypt. Done squad drill all morning in the hot. I am getting very brown about the arms and legs. Morning tea this morning, tea and watermelon, for dinner tonight we had oranges chopped up into boiled rice, we got orange for lunch again with other stuff besides of course. We get 50 Cigs and two matches every week free.
Getting used to the weather a bit already. In Cairo there are hundreds of tailor shops all hand done. Seen some good purses around 150Ak will get one next week when I get some more money. Had an Ice cream first since I left NZ with fruit. 4AK about it cheaper, about double.
Had first leave into Cairo went in by trucks we had to ware longs for at night the are marlaria Mossccators about, we were pested with boot blacks they are just kids but they can sure polish shoes. Went to Globe Cabaret 5AC to get in. Went into some dark streets to see some of the low class and are they dirty.
No more rout marches for a week M.O. said that we had been getting too much for one week and that it was the wowwrk that we were doing that was upsetting us, for we are far from used to the climate over here yet so they cut it down a lot. Expect to be posted to the Div. in about 3 weeks.
Went in on leave just went around town with some chaps. I have got a bit more sense now and did not get————– but they got mixed up with some bootblacks. Seen some more wonderful things to-day. We went to the Bazaar, that is the place where they make all the shops for the shops but the prices high.
The chaps are going down like flies . We have 40 in hospital out of 220 so you see what the climate is like, nine went into town into the hospital tonight. One or two dust storms are passing through our camp and are they a curse . Everything we have gets covered in sand our ears a good catcher to, not so bad on the eyes.
Received a letter from Norm. Had to fix up leave, change Fridays for today meet him at 2.45 outside NZ Club. It was great to see him again, he has aulted very much. He said I seemed to himjust like a kid he told me some great tales. We had a great day together I left him at 9.45. He wants to get home.
Not feeling so good. Have got a small pain in my tummy I don’t know what it is yet. I hope it is not the runs. There is a lot of disentory amongst the boys . There is only 3 out of our unit not had them yet. Changed 1 Aus pound got 68 Ahkers for it have got one more note left, but have got about 25/- in silver
Still feeling funny I hope it does not come to anything. Sold a NZ shilling to a chap for 5 AK made ½ AK. The weather is getting a bit hotter now. Our camp area has now been proclaimed a malarias area. There are 4 in hospital with malaria now we have to ware our long pants with shirt sleeves rolled down.
Went to Cairo Zoo, seen my first live snakes, python also. There were mostly beasts from Africia, birds also. We traveled 20 miles in the tram for 2 ½ d very cheap. Have seen no gambling going on yet since we landed. We had ice-cream and orange drinks 8 ½ Ahker each at the——– a open air sort of grill or tea rooms.
Got my C.Hat changed this is the first change I have had since I first got it., so now I got a pommy’s hat a bran new one now. Still getting plenty of water melons nearly every day. Had no oranges for about a week. For dinners we get a lot of tomatoes, melons, fig jam to. Puddings getting a wee bit worse lately
Had no mail yet but I suppose I am expcting to much to soon. I am hoping to get a cake with our first mail. The heaat is not so great yet but the worst time is at mess times when we are having lunch and tea. We sweat very bad for there is so many in such a confined space.
Pay day again. I had to get some this week as I never got any last week. I am trying to get some more credit in my pay book in case I want some money in a hurry sometime. No cricket this week we played last week, a Essex Reg team. I made 12. I hope to be playing in two or three weeks.