Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Henry Nicholls letters, 2 February-25 December 1916
MLMSS 2250 (K 22185 / Folder 3)

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Palace Hotel
St George’s Terrace
Perth 2nd February 1916

Dear Dad, George & Mum,
This was the last issue of the Paper that was published on board the "Kanowna". The "Kanowna" is a fast number now but we had a beautiful trip on Her. I have not written a page in my diary since I left the ship. I will try & write all about our trip from Suez as soon as I get a bit of time.

I went into Cairo for a couple of hours one night last week but not knowing where to go I only saw dirty streets & dirty niggers & dirtier shops. I will write more about Cairo when I see more of the nicer parts of it.
Well I must say Good-night because it is very cold at night & it is hard to get out in the morning if you have not had a long nights rest.

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My regards to all
From Harry

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Abbassia &
Feb 2 1916

Dear Dad, Mother & George,

These are a few character cards that a chap left behind for us in our Quarters. As soon as we arrived here, we took all the beds etc that the other O.M.C Staff used & they used they left many useful things behind. We have all procured walking sticks & canes so that if the nigger pest us too much we raise our sticks & say "emshi" which means clear out. I have been sorting out me things to-night & getting

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Settles. It is the very first chance I have had. I am second in chard of a ward at present it is an operating theatre as well. I have all the work, dressing wounds & cleaning up, to look after while the Sergeant Superintends at the operations everyday & about 80 men to tend all bed cases in the operation ward alone. There are 3 other wards as well but at present other chaps are looking after them. When the proper operation theatre is ready I will have to see that everything goes right in the whole 4 wards. I will close just now as I have had a very long day. I do 13 hours every day, still the old 13. Love to all from Harry.

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1st August Dermatological Hos
Abassia Deten. Barracks

Dear Dad, George & Mother.
I am going to try & tell you about everything that has happened since we left the Ship & of the few things I have seen. We left the ship at 6.30 & watched the Niggers while they put our traps on the train. We left Suez on a very cold morning at 7 pm. The Egyptian Railway have 3 classes & of course we travelled 3rd as there was no 4th. The seats are ranges the same as ours only they are hard wood seats. We travelled in sight of the canal till we reached Ismailia about half-way up the canal. Sometimes we could see battle ships & other times mail steamers. The canal widens out into big lakes sometime & we often saw 5 or 6 ships lying in wait till other ships came through the narrow parts. The whole of the distance the signs of war are evident. Camps all the way. The country for the most part was rocky sandy, with here & there a patch of green & now and again a mud village. The canal about 3 miles away

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On the average, was fringed with trees & date palms. As Ismailia we changed into another train which was to take us to Cairo. All the way from this place to Cairo its nothing but a mass of green on either side, as far as the eye can see. There is one endless garden & not one fence. I do not know how the different owners know where their own gardens end. There were onions & cabbages, celery & cabbages, tomatoes & broad beans. Most of the gardens were growing Lucerne or maize (common in Egypt. We buy tomatoes from the Niggers that do some of the fatigue, 4 for a paistre and they are beauties. We passed villages & villages of mud. Half the places are in ruins & talk about dirt. At Tel-el-Kebir, where Kitchener once won a battle, there is a camp of Australians. Most of those that have come back from Gallipoli. At every Station of siding that we stopped at, the Niggers were waiting with mandarins & oranges (or or-rang-geez) as they call the, & we bought them at 1d a piece. They were beautiful fruit, not like the dried up mandarins that we get. The natives never work, it seems. In Cairo & Heliopolis

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We see them with their donkeys & camels, but all the way along the line. All they seemed to do was sit & watch the days go away.
The Kids ran about & sing out "backsheesh", & we sometimes threw them pennies. & when we threw a hard biscuit there was a terrible rush. The Niggers wear anything in the way of clothes they can get & in Suez & all along the line you cannot tell the girls from the boys. The men wear skirts & blouses & an overcoat makes one of them a toff. Some of them wear drawers & jackets like girls & socks which soldiers must have bartered for fruit. All the clothes are in rags & it is common to see a chap’s pants so torn that he might just as well have nothing on. In Cairo they have to be decent, but anything does whether it is a skirt or a pair of dungarees. We arrived in Cairo at 3 p.m. & after sorting out our baggage, the motor ambulance conveyed us to Abbassia Detention Barracks. Half of it was occupied by the soldiers doing pack-drill, otherwise hard-labour for different military offenders, but we have taken sole command now & have our own guards

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and picquets. The Sergeants & Corporals had a room each for about a week but we have moved into tents now & I like it much better. It was very cold for the first night but we have drawn an extra blanket. We have beds made out of bamboo by the Niggers, & Mattresses & pillows. The Niggers get a 1/- each for them but Kitchener pays for once. The first day I was here, I was put onto dressing wounds & I had to do them, but after two or three days I was put in charge of a ward of lying-in patients, & 3 chaps & myself tend to 50 men. It takes 1 ½ hours to cut their teas of bread butter & jam & serve it out, I used to work from 6.45 A.M. till 8.30 P.M. without a break except for meals which I scrambled from anywhere & were always cold. I now have either from 2 till 6.30 or from 6.30 on so I As I want to go out with Harold Filohie Roly Hale & Snowy Davis 3 of our North Steyne boys to-morrow night & with Roy & Jack Tredrea (you remember Jack) on Wednesday night. I am working from 7 am to 2 pm & from 6.30 till 11. I started to write last night but first this one wants a drink & that one wants a

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bottle & then a Doctor comes in for ½ an hour & the sergeant comes in to make up his books so I only w rote a very little. I had a bath yesterday for the first time since we arrived. We have No 4 General Hosp. Next Door and No 1 Gen. Hospital about ½ a mile away/ We have camps all around us & sometimes we do not know whether it is our Bugle that is blowing or any one of the other camps. The Egyptians or Jippos as we call them have different calls & they have Pipers too & they are making a row half the day. They only seem to stop for meals. Our Barracks are surrounded by a 9’ or 10’ wall & the walls are about ½ a mile by 500 or 600 yards. The buildings that we are using for wards are on the side of the square nearest the main road & the tram line. There are two storey’s in each of the large buildings & 8 wards in each which are to accommodate 24 inside & 14 outside. There are dozens of tents just like the one we had in Pine Street 14 ft. by 12" for 6 men each & are all arranged in rows like a navvies camp. Ellis, Ted Grundy & Dave Lord & another chap & myself make 5 in our

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Tent. All Corporals are to-gether we had no choice of tent mates. We all have different jobs & sometimes I do not see Billy for two or three days & have gone a whole day without having said more to Ellie than a dozen words. Ellis has charge of two bit marquee treatment tents. The tucker is not too good at present. Stew twice a day & bread butter & Jam for tea soon gets on One’s nerves, stomach nerves particularly. I went for a run into Cairo on night by myself not being able to get away as the same time as Ellis who went with Dave & Billy. I met some of our chaps & we wandered around the town. I did not but anything because the shop keepers ask about 6 times as much as a thing is worth. You have to haggle over a thing for ¼ of a hour before you can beat them down to the value of the article. We all got lost at last, there are so many streets & so many trams that you do not know where your own tram starts from. At length 5 of us jumped into a carriage with a pair of thin white horses about the size of Wild’s are army Ponies. The driver was shica & he made the horses gallop all the way from the centre of Cairo to our Barracks about 5 miles. Roy Farnsworth

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was on the box or goodness Knows where we would have ended. It was as fast as any tram & the horses kept it up all the way. We passed hundreds of other carriages but none of them could keep up with us. All the Egyptians wear those red caps with a black tassel. You only see felt hats & the hats were on Europeans Ellis & I with 3 other chaps went out to the Pyramids last Thursday. It takes 2 hours from Our Home. We walked to Heliopolis about 10 minute walk & caught the fast tram which takes us right into the heart of Cairo in about 15 minutes. The trams that runs past our gates takes 45 minutes. We passed through Old Cairo which is a mass of ruins in parts even along the Main road. All the two top story’s of a building have only the walls left, the ground floor will have a shop or a dwelling. We passed the Museums & Zoo but when I have visited the, I will tell you more about them. We saw the place where Moses was supposed to have been found by Pharaoh’s Daughter & crossed the Nile which is fairly wide, where we crossed & all the water was dirty like Sydney Harbour after the rain. Gardens form one either side of the road for

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A good part of the way but there are some glorious buildings too. Most of the official heads live out that way & the gardens & stonework are lovely. All the houses have flat roofs and are nearly all white or cream coloured. We were pestered by Guides but we drove them all off till we were near the Pyramids when one called Ikey Moses attached himself to our Party of 9 having met 2 more of our Sergeants & 2 Scotch Soldiers. He took us all round for a piaster each. He spoke about 8 languages. Kiddies about 7 or 8 can talk English & French as well as their own tongue. The Pyramids are all rugged just as if big stones had been taken out. I believe some stones & a lot of alabaster were taken away to help build the Citadel. We were too tired to either climb up or go inside. We may do that next time. It is quite safe because of this rugged face I told you of. We went & saw the old Sphinx & the temple of the Sphinx. The Guide told us how all the stones were brought from some place 555 miles away right up to the Pyramids. The Sphinx is ½ of a mile from the 3 Great Pyramids & when the Nile overflows the water comes

[Drawing of the formation of stones in the wall of the Pyramid "Stones in Pyramid"]

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Right up to the wall alongside the Sphinx Temple. We went into old tombs where Pharoahs & other great Kings & Queens were buried & saw places where there was writing & figures on the walls just as you have seen in Magazines. There are hundreds of tombs about the Pyramids & Sphinx but all the poor people live in them now & it is funny it is funny to see about 6 or 8 tombs in the side of a hill with its people sitting in the cave entrance. We had tea at the Y.M.C.A. for 10 piastres & it was lovely. A good feed is what we go to Cairo for. There are fire-eaters to see & magicians & clever ones at that but a god feed is the main attraction. I get plenty of writing paper & envelopes so do not bother to send any.
On the way from Suez to Cairo I think we saw every mode of transport that can been see on earth. Away out in the green country which is mostly sandy desert in summer time. We saw motors, sailing boats on canals which run all over the country & irrigate it, camels, donkeys, mules, elks, mules, bullocks, camels, carriages, horses, aeroplanes, hand-carts with Niggers pushing their bosses about. You will see a little skinny donkey with two men on its back & a large basket of vegetable trotting along as if he was unloaded. None of the donkeys have a bridle or reins except they are in carts

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In Cairo they have saddles for people to ride on but they boy who owns it Just runs alongside with a stick & he will run all round Cairo all day long just the same as his donkey. There are no jobs & I think these little donkeys are the best animals in the world. They can pull a load that McConnell’s horse would have to strain at. You will sometimes see a great green mass moving along the road & when you come abreast of it you will see a little tiny donkey with about ½ a ton of Lucerne packed on him so that only his legs & head & the man on his back are to be seen.
We met Cecil Healy & another Manly chap the other day in Cairo & Cecil is in Heliopolis. We had a good time talking when Harold Filohie & the other 2 chaps came up to see is a couple of nights ago. There were at Lemnos for quite a long time & they had a dreadful time of it. They had to carry their water for almost ¾ of a mile & worked day & night for about 8 weeks sometimes without a day off. I have not an attack of Catarrh since I left but I must use the douche to-night in case it comes on again.
Neither Ellis or Billy or I have been sick since we left Sydney but I suppose we will get prickly heat & the like in the hot weather. I have written home to Marie

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Again but I suppose I will not get an answer for two or three months. Billy has had 3 letters from some girl friends but we have not had any mail yet.
Well, I mist wind up now as I have told you most of the interesting news & anything else will go into following letters.
Love to all, remember me to all the neighbours & to Mrs Stephen.
Au Revoir, Hoping
You are all as well as we are.


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Dear Dad, Mother & George,
Ellis is the letter writer now as he has much more time that I have. I have sent cards to all my Friends & I am going to try & write a letter to you before I forger all the things which I have seen lately. I suppose Ellis has told you a lot & I can only write the same things but in a different order. He must have told you of our donkey ride through the Egyptian Bazaar. It would take a long time to tell you of all we saw there, let along write & it would take a Foster Fraser to describe what we saw. This Bazaar is not one large building. It is just a city within a city. It is mostly made up of lanes twisting & turning like a maze & without the donkey boys it would be quite impossible to find you way. Of course the donkeys know their way but I would not know where to start. These donkey boys cantered most of the way but they kept up quite easily & they are on the run all the livelong day. Sometimes one of them may get tired & go home early but the donk knows that it is too soon to go home & he kicks up an awful row.
We have plenty of noise round us too. The Band practises all the morning & there are over a dozen camps around our walls & there is always a sound of pipes & drums & bugles. Cyril Whitehead is in

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camp quite near to us & Ellis managed to get off to go to see Him. Mr Dean, our W.O. was a sergeant in Cyril’s Company & slept alongside Cyril, so Cyril happened to see him at his own camp last night & gave Mr Dean a note to us. I met Jack Nass the last night that I was on leave in the Garden where the Y.M.C.A. have a writing room & open air theatre every night. He is off down the Canal somewhere next week so I will not be able to have a trip out with him. He has written several letters but at the time you wrote to me, it would not have been possible for a letter to reach Australia. When we post a letter it may lie in the Censor’s office for over a month. Jack is looking fine & ever so much better than he did in Australia. I went out with Roy & Jack again on Monday night & we went to the Pictures & saw Charlie Chaplin again.
We have been to the Zoo but the animals are very tame, by tame I mean Mediocre, but the garden part is glorious.

Billy & I with 3 other chaps went out to see the Citadel Mosque to-day. This place is built inside a fort. The Old Shieks or Priests of Egypt thought the Rabble of Egypt might attack so it is built away up on the hill. It is just glorious inside. Big thick velvet pile carpets, all hand
[Letter finishes here]

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Dear George,

I wrote to Mum 3 days ago but I suppose both letters will go by the one Mail. I was right in the middle of my work to-night when Reg Keirle & another chap names Ross walked into my ward. They were going to Cairo but last night they saw Cyril whitehead & Jim Randall & they told him to call in to see Us. Ellis had taken a run into Cairo to get something or other so they missed Him. We will have tea with him to-morrow night. I have just finished up after working 14 hours to-day. Just fancy asking me to work 14 hours in Sydney. Everybody & every animal earns its tucker over here. It would break your heart to see the loads the mules have to drag through the sand here. A Mule about as big a Mill’s bay horse & not very much fatter pulls a dray as big as McConnell’s biggest dray. We have boys working about the camp & they are smaller than you & yet one of them

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Would pick up a bag of spuds weighing about 1 ½ Qwt. & carry it from the cart into the cookhouse quite easily. I have been working in an upstairs ward for the last two days & we can see over the wall. The Egyptian Reserves drill out behind our walls & by jingo they can drill. They have blue tunics white Breeches & blue puttees & they drill just like machine. You see all the white knees come up together when they are marking time & when they make a right form the line is as straight as a stick. We have 1000’s of men camped round us & all over Egypt. All the Dardanelles troops are at Tel-el-Kebir & I just had a note from Ted Clarke saying that he could not come over to see me as he had been moved to the same place.
I will be able to talk for hours when I come home. We see things all day that are funny but it would be awkward to describe. One thing I noticed the other day seemed strange to me. I saw a beautiful Egyptian woman walking along the street & her black

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Man slave was walking behind, about 5 paces away, carrying her baby, the Egyptian women are not so very dark, they are mostly as dark as Mrs Bunting but most of the toffs wear Veils either black or white, some opaque & some like milk jug covers that one can see through, & they rest on each ear & about ½ an inch from the tip of their noses. I have never seen one fall down yet. I suppose there is a Knack in Keeping these things in position. There are some beautiful women amongst them & they have lovely silk clothes. The Frenchwomen & men dress beautifully too. Nearly all French women wear short shirts about 12 inches from the ground with real high boots. The women here have made a special study of footwear. Everyone remarks on the beautiful boots & shoes these women wear. Well George it is late now & it is very

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Awkward sitting in bed writing, so I will close this time.
With love to Dad, Mum & yourself.
From Harry & Ellis

P.S. In any parcel you may send put in a couple of tins of Kiwi. We want for nothing else. Foods such as condensed Mile, & cocoa are very dear but by the time you pay postage etc, it is just as much if not more then we pay. We only spend out was wage each fortnight & do not touch our Reserve money
Au Revoir Harry

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1st Aust. Derma. Hos.

Dear Dad, Mother & George,

I suppose You are thinking quite a lot about " Those poor Boys." I can assure you that we are having quite a lovely time. WE have to work pretty hard but we have such good leave. I think that we will all be spoiled when we get Home. We will want so many afternoons off. We go to the Pictures nearly every evening on which we get leave & we have very good shows. The music is particularly fine & if there were no pictures at all we would still have our 5 piastres worth. At several of the restaurants that we go to, music is provided. We went to one, Ellis, Roy & I, last night & paid 12 piastres for dinner. An Orchestra consisting of piano, flute, 2 Violins & Bass played all the time. The flautist gave one piccolo selection, accompanied only, by the rest. She is a lovely player & of course Ellis was all ears. We often think, fancy this being war. We have not been to see anymore

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of the sights yet. As soon as we get to Cairo we seem to lose all vitality. It is very oppressive & the smell in some parts is awful. We saw Mr Eric Jones in a car on Wednesday but he did not see us.
I told you that the aeroplane Camp is just behind us & we see all the aeroplanes start out, go out & come down. They sail round & round from any height, lower & lower till they reach the ground, run along the desert & pull up opposite the door of the shed, like a horse & cart. There are hundreds of black hawks flying about here but they are very scraggy & seedy looking, jut like the natives.
Well short letter this mail, as news is scarce when we do not go travelling.
Love to All
Trusting You are all as well as we are & that the Hot Weather has left you.

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1st Aust. Derma. Hospital
Australian Imperial Force
Abbassia Cairo

Dear George,

As you may not hear from Us for two or three months, I am just writing a short letter. We are not allowed to post any letters after the 9th March as the troops may be on the move. We may go to France or Kent. Eng. But we are sure to go in 2 or 3 months time out of this place, the weather ever since we have left Australia has been glorious & up to the present we have had no flies or pests, In about 6 weeks time we will have the plagues of Egypt down on us but we may have moved by then. In summer time here, at times the roads & the ground is sometime covered with bog locusts thicker than ants. We have about 2100 patients now but no extra staff, but we are managing really well, as the weather is so delightful. We have had one case of smallpox & everyone in the Barracks has had to be Vaccinated again. Roy & Jack came out on Jack came out on Jack came out on Jack came out on Jack came out on Jack came out on Jack came out on Sunday but we were not allowed inside. The embargo will be lifted on Friday & then we will see as much of Egypt as we can, because we may not get the chance again. Percy Hodge & Norrie Dempsey often come over here with the A.S.C. Waggons & they have Breakfast & Dinner with us. We have met Ted Blakey in Cairo & we have never yet gone into Cairo without meeting someone that we Know.
We are told that we are to have no reinforcement but we are not sure. They have not had time to get

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here yet so we are still living in Hopes.

How is Manly looking? Don’t forget to plant some buffalo on the lawn so that it wilol be nice & green when we come back again. Get Mr Munro to bring some of that creeper that grows on the Church & make it to cover those old rocks too. How are the trees growing?

Well, George, news is absolutely off, so I must close with Love to All,
From Harry

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Dear Mother, Dad & George,

I am just going to write a few lines before I toddle off to bed. We have such a lot of work & so little help, with everyone nagging at One, so we get very tired & bad tempered by the time we finish at 8 o/clock at night. We went to the Gardens just a little was out of Cairo on Sunday & by Gee! They are gardens. Beautiful flowers & palms & creeks with rustic bridges & everything just as green & sweet as Spring in N.S.W. e rode on Donkeys from the Railway & back again. We

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saw a great gang of Egyptian Prisoners at work. They do most of the unskilled labour such as filling in the swamps & making roads & footways. All throughout this country there are creeks & rivers. We are right in the Nile Delta country & I suppose there are as many bridges between Cairo and Alexandria as in Australia. By Bridges I mean big ones like the Lane Cove & Parramatta River Bridges & the North Shore Bridge. We are still having glorious weather but we are not sure when the hot weather will come down on us.
We saw our letters in the Daily but do not put any more in – We do not like it.

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There are not many in Manly that care much about us & it looks as if we are looking for notoriety which is the last thing we wish. I have written to nearly all my good friends & that will be good enough. We get the Daily’s by every mail & we are very glad to get them. I believe the Venetian Carnival was a bit of a failure socially but that is only to be expected. No decent men who can get away to the front would be hanging around Venetian Carnivals.
We were pleased to hear that Rupert Beale was going to enlist. We do not think he is a coward or a shirker. You want to be over here or in Camp in Sydney to

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see the shirkers. Many men who cannot get a job join the Forces & they malinger all the time they are in Sydney, when they arrive here they try all dodges & schemes to get back again without fighting or doing any good at all. Of course these men are only very few , but still they would make a couple of battalions if added to-gether. We are very unsettled just now. We do not know whether we will move or not, the negative being favourite. But, what are we going to do with 2,500 men & only 100 odd to look after them. We have 60 reinforcements lent to us for 10 days or so but of what use is that. We will have about 1000 more Patients now.

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Well, People, I have no news so I must finish now. I had a nice letter from Marie last week & she gave me the address of my Cousin Jennie at Grimsby. She is keeping house for her Father. The two older boys are married & the younger one is a despatch rider ii the British Army. I have written to both & will get an answer in about 30 days from the time of writing. We were sorry to hear about Bob & Snooker but for goodness sake don’t let the ticks get at Sandy. We generally manage to make our pay last for the fortnight without breaking into the Reserve but it takes some doing. We would like you

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to send chocolate to eat, a tin of cocoa now and again, packets weigh lighter, Welcome Nugget Tobacco & Captain Cigarettes. Pay for these things out of our own money.
We have not used all that Violet powder that George bought for us. We never worried about scented soap or face powder but after being so long away from it we will be very glad to use it when we get Home. We can buy these things very Reasonable over here but when we pay 3/- for dinner and 1/- for a donkey ride x 5d for a tram ride & cigarettes & matches etc we do not have the money to spend on soap or powder.
Send a couple of time of Drummer Boy Boot Polish. We have to pay 1/0 a tin here.

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I must go now as I am wardmaster to-morrow & I want to get a good sleep in.
Love to All with Hope that you are all Keeping well.

I remain
Your Loving one
Harry X

P.S. Dave Niness has never had a day’s sickness so how the deuce the rumour got around about His returning to Australia, none of us can possible guess. We had one of our men sick with enteric but he is nearly well now,
Regards to Mrs Linders & Mrs Niness when you next see them. Also Mrs Melville

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Dear Mum,

We always send our letters to different addresses so that it one goes astray, the other may not.
We are still doing well & have not been sick yet. We get very tired but we sleep beautifully and awake up very refreshed. The weather at present could not be beaten in any part of the world which probably accounts for the great many tourists that spend their winter’s in Egypt. Regards to the Fewell Girls & Rube McConnell & to Mr Park & Family. We did not get any of the Mascots

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out of the Pudding. Some of the other members of Annie’s Room got them
Annie’s Rooms Members are as follows –
Billy, Ellis, Dave Niness, Dave Lord, Ted Grundy, Horace Norton, Devaney High & Myself. We are not in the same tent but still we always club together & mess together.

Well Mum, I must really go to bed or I will not like getting out of the blankets in the morning.

I never did like that or never will, but as always I like plenty of rest.

Love to All
From Harry x

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1st Aust. Derma. Hospital
Australia Imperial Force

Dear Mother, George & Dad,

Here we are again. We have been to see Mary’s Well & Tree since we last wrote to you. Ellis, Billy & I took a Gharry from Heliopolis & drove out The Virgin’s Tree as it is called is still alive but no one is allowed to rest under it as Mary did. It has a wall built around it now. The trunk has split & the tree is very ugly but of course we were very interested. The well is only about 25 yds from it & it is still used. It was all salty water before Mary wished to drink from it & ever since it has been fresh. It is the only fresh water in the district. We drove back passing Zeitoun Camp but it is nearly empty now. We had tea in the gardens & we went to the "Kursaal" which is the "Tivoli" of Cairo. Some of the singers were French men & women but it is nice to hear singing in French. You know I started to learn but I only started. I think I know more Arabic than French now. I am night Ward-Master till 11 pm to-night & I have just made the rounds. No one is sick so far but someone might get bad at 12 pm or 2 A.M. & then I will have to get out of my bed & find a doctor to attend to Him. I might be called out at 12 pm to put the lights out in a tent because some beggar has been sleeping all day & wants to read all night. Roy came out to dinner yesterday & I went to Cairo when I had finished my work. I spent 50 Piastres. Money does not go far when you pay 15 for dinner 5 for the Pictures 8 for Supper & 5 for chocolates besides peanuts & cigarettes & tram fares. We have a bonza time together Roy & Jack & I. when they go to France we will miss them very much. We may go to France to but We May Not.

There are about 5 or 6 new wires working every

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day & we do not believe anything we hear. The Prince of Wales was in Cairo & the Wire got around that he was here to visit our Barracks. We cannot write half of what we see but when we get back we will be able to talk for hours. Little things we see in Australia will remind us of the ways the same things are done in Egypt but cannot remember them all when we are writing. Ellis is away developing films & will not be back home for an hour or so. We have some bonnie photos & when we get back we will paste them all in an album. We were going to buy one but we have too many things now & if we have to move we will all have to auction half of our stuff because the Kit bags would never hold it all. Did you go up & see the land at Lake Macquarie? We will be looking out for some land when we come back. How is the Canary. Does it whistle any more now? Do not worry about us now. We have to work but we are having a great experience. I will have two trades now & I Will know more of this than the other by the time I am finished.

I cannot write much more now. We see so much of interest that we can only single out great events to tell you.

I will close now until I can find some other interesting things to write about.
We are both in glorious health & I have used the nasal wash one night since I left Australia.

Very much Love to All & from Dave, Niness, Harry, Ellis & Will.

Yours Always Lovingly
Harry xx

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1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.
Australian Imperial force


Dear George,

I received Your Letter telling about your efforts on the Motor-Bile. It will never go with that old Maggie. I was looking at a 6 horse Motosacoche in a shop the other day. With side Car attached & Kick starter & the very latest model it was only 110 Pounds. You could not get the bike alone for the in Australia. Side Cars that they would have charged Ellis & £ 40 for, are only £18; 10.0 over here. I was going to write a long letter but I am too tired to-night. I will try & write tomorrow.

Monday 27/3/16

Ellis & I find that 1/6 a day soon goes. We have to be very careful now. We have to pay 2/6 for a meal over here. Of course they are good meals for the money but a 1/- would do us if we could get it. Roy & Jack have left the 6th Light Horse & Joined the Artillerie. They go down to Tel-el-Kabir to-day so we will not have any more good times in Cairo with them. We saw an Aeroplane nearly come to grief the other day. The engine stopped about 50 feet up & the plane landed just over our wall about 100 years from our tent. I am having a spell to-day & I am lying on my bed writing this. I can hear the Gyppos practising on their bugles. They practice about 6 hours straight going every day. Some of their calls are the same as ours. A Nigger was talking to me this morning & he shewed me his hands with 6 fingers on each & he has 6 toes on each foot. The extra toes & fingers grow on the same

[Page 38]

side of the little finger & little toe about an inch along the side below the joints. Some of the Natives are huge fellows but is size generally they are just about the same as we are. We have to chase the beggars away in the town. If you say to a donkey boy, How much for a donk, about 50 will rush you & nearly trample you to death. If you ask how much to clean boots about 30 kids will run at you & about half-a-dozen will grab each leg & then try to put it on the boot stand. & if you don’t kick about a dozen-off, between the lot of the, they will put you on your back. We have been going to the Pictures a lot & we have seen some real good films & the music is especially fine. Every orchestra we have seen has had a flute in it. Once down at the Zoo we saw a reed band of Gyppo boys & they played well. We went to the Esbekiah Gardens late on Sunday afternoon & hears some selections by a Gyppo Lancer Band but the tunes were up to putty, they must have been some Egyptian Production. Ellis, Billy, Dave Niness & I went to see inside the Blue Mosque which I sent a Post Card. It knocks the Citadel Mosque into a socked hat. We took some Photos but they will be no good as it was too dark.

Well George, I have told you all the news I think so I must finish up. We are both


[Page 39]

ppretty well. We have all had to be inoculated again against Para-Typhoid & It has brought Catarrh back on me but I am nearly right again now.
Remember me top all the boys, Lily, Mrs Porman & the Miles Family & Believe Me

Your Affectionate Brother

[Page 40]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp
Abbassia Cairo

Dear Mother & Dad,

Like You we have to work & sleep & eat our meals but we cannot find anything in them to write about. Some days we get thin stew but very rarely. This morning we has bully beef, raw onions & tomatoes. We often have meals like this & they are very good. We get lovely vegetables over here, the tomatoes being particularly tres bien. Ellis & I with Billy & Dave Niness went to the Blue Mosque & it is just like a Picture. All the doors which are about 30 feet high are inlaid cedar or sycamore with ivory, ebony, mother of pearl. The pillars are built from alabaster black white & brown marble & granite all fitted into one large column about 6 ft square. It is in this mosque that the Sultans are crowned. We rode back in a gharry for a piaster each about a mile & a half. The tram & carriage fares are the only cheap things we have. I would like to bring many presents back but they are too dear to buy. You could but the same things cheaper in Sydney because these people are making as much as they can out of the soldiers. Of course if you like to haggle for about an hour with 6 or 8 yelling niggers around you. You might get a bargain but I leave that to Billy & others. Billy argues for about 1.2 an hour just for the fun of it. I can’t stand it. There are thousands selling the wares in the streets. Every five yards some

[Page 40]

nigger wants to sell either cigarettes or matches & then walking sticks or Post Cards. Then a boot-black or a cove selling table clothes or books. When we go to Cairo early there are dozens of guides that want to take you to the Pyramids or Citadel. These people for the first month nearly drive you silly. I never say a word. They stand & talk & jabber & I don’t take a bit of notice. After about 3 minutes they think you are deaf & go away. If you say one word, it would take 10 minutes to get them away. They you no sooner get rid of one who two or three more come round. The deaf ear is the best scheme, otherwise you would be saying the same things over & over again. I have had 4 letters from Bess & 2 from Ida Nelson & one from Mrs Merrett but they are the only ones so far with out counting yours. I am lying on my bed writing this & there is a bonny cool breeze blowing. The winter in Egypt is glorious. It has been a wonderful surprise to see the Gardens in this country. I suppose they dry up in summer time, but Sydney Botanical Gardens would go in one garden corner & look dry & dusty. We have all the Australian & English flowers & they bloom beautifully.

Well Mum & Dad I must finish as I am quite out of news. We met Jack Mitchell from N.S.S. Club & he is now a

[Page 42]

Lieutenant in the 54th Battalion. Keep well & look after yourself in the Hot weather & remember we are having a good time/

With Love
From Harry/Ellis

Dave Niness & Billy wish to be remembered & we also wish to be remembered to Mrs Allison & Dad Allison.

[Page 43]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.
Australian Imperial Force


Dear Dad, Mother & George,

I have written many letters to you all & I cannot remember what I have written so I will just tell you what we did yesterday & it will give you an idea how we spend some of our leave. With Billy & Dave Niness we visited Dave Williams who was sick in bed V then left the Barracks at 1.55 pm. Dave Williams is now quite well again & we are very pleased as he has proved a very great friend indeed to Ellis & I. We caught the white car that runs past our gates V arrived at Ataba-el-Khadra Square at 2.45 pm. We then had a raspberry drink each, ½ piaster a drink. We commissioned a gharry then & drove to Kasr-el-Nil Gardens, over a large bridge where 2 huge bronze lions form the entrance gates on either side of the river. This bridge is built on piles, just like our bridges but bricks & stone foundations are used. While we were crossing on foot on the way back again we felt the bridge bouncing just like a suspension bridge. We ten entered the Gardens. We saw every kind of flower that grows in Australia & grown to perfection. We sat down under the trees for a while & watches some Tommies playing soccer. Just fancy anyone trying to play soccer in Hyde Park all over the gardens We met 3 Yankee girls from New York City

[Page 44]

It was quite a treat to be able to speak to any of the residents of this place. Every where they Australians have gone mad & even the black Egyptians & Arabs won’t let their little children of 4 and 5 years of age come near us. It is very hard to be looked upon as a rogue & black guard because that it what it infers. No one but a scoundrel would harm a 4 year old child. We then walked along the banks of the Nile along a narrow pathway with huge Palm Trees on each side. Nearly all the way along the banks there are huge house boats of every make & shape. Some are permanent residences, others are residences in the summer & tourist steamers for Upper Egypt in the winter. Those that are permanent have large wide planks lashed to the lower deck (they are nearly all double-deckers just after the North Shore ferries style & some even 3 decks) & to the shore. The banks of the river are all terraced & winding paths jig-jag to the pathway about 30 feet up. The gardens are beautiful on these terraces & everything looks fresh & clean. We then went into another garden & out on the road which runs alongside the race course. This racecourse is not surrounded by a high paling fence butt by an iron railing fence just as we used to have round Hyde Park. We walked back to the Bridge then & staying

[Page 45]

For half an hour watching the skating at a rink right on the river bank. We walked across the Bridge then along pas the huge Barracks where all malingerers & drunks from the Australian Army & where the town picket sleep. Most of the Australians have moved away from Cairo & the British Tommies are doing their work. We went through the Bel-e-luk fruit market. We saw the natives selling poultry & pigeons & fowls & ask to have them killed. The nigger picks up a huge knife, all covered with gore, & slits the neck of the bird. While it is still kicking & bleeding he pulls all the feathers out. He then throws it on the table kicking & grabs another & so on. The pigeons are not caged up. They are hopping about on the boxes & baskets & when they sell them they just take one & slit his gorge & so on, just as they do the fowls. We then caught a tram & got out at the Gardens. We had tea at the British Soldiers Club. Very reasonably. I had 3 eggs & bacon, twice, a cup of cocoa, a bottle of lemonade, 2 french bread rolls with butter & a desert of rice & figs. It only cost me 8 ½ piasters & it was a very good meal. I went into an adjoining room & tried to play the piano but I cannot remember the bass notes in a single tune & unless I have the music I do not attempt to play.

[Page 46]

We walked around some of the main street shops then but they are to dear so we went up through the Egyptian Bazaars looking for bargains but they rob you in these places. While we away up this place we met one of the Arabs that looks after our mess & he took us to a place to have a drink but We would have one & Billy shouted drinks to Him, His brother & a pal. They took us all through narrow back lanes & streets brought us out right at the tram. I forgot to say that while we were sitting in a shop watching, an Egyptian Girl does some shimery shake dancing, while one chap is blowing his heart out on a set of bamboo Egyptian pipes & another yelling out some song in Arabic as he plays the native Tom Tom or drum, 4 other chaps from our hospital walked in. It was strange to meet in such a place because parts of Cairo are just network of alleys & lanes hardly wide enough for a gharry. We boarded a white car again & arrived home without further adventure at 10 p.m.

This story is just about the usual run of our outings. When Roy & Jack were here I used to go to the Pictures or Theatre While Ellis Billy went for a walk. But you know how much Ellis likes the Pictures. I have kidded him two or three

[Page 47]

times & he laughed at Charlie Chaplin who would not but he says it is no good to Him. We are getting quite economical. We only spend about 3/6 each.
Well, I must close now for this mail. We are still working very hard but as I am in the same hut as Ellis & Horace Norton, & only Major Raffan to take orders from we have a very good time.
Give my regards to Mrs Allison & Dad Allison & to Mrs Bunting & Family & With Love to Dad & George & Yourself Mother

I Remain

Your Loving Son

Harry X

[Page 48]

Billy & Ellis send their love also & we all hope that you are enjoying the best of Health & Spirits
Non-alcoholic of course H

Enclosed is a Photograph taken on the drive just inside our gates.
We have taken a few Photographs but we will get an album & send them altogether in about a month’s time
Ellis will send them but we will tell you more about it in our next letter.
Au Revoir
Harry X

[Page 49]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.

Dear Dad, Mother & George,

I am enclosing a few Photographs which will be of interest to you.

No 1 was taken by Billy Allison
It is a view of the street just round the corner from the Heliopolis Railway. The Railway is only like an Electric Car & it runs right into the City. We are waiting for the tram to take us to the Pyramids. You will see that the native Kids are standing round trying to sell matches & cigarettes. The group of natives round the Pole are Arab Guides that he have told to Emohi. Dave Niness out inseparable & bet Pal next to Billy is next to Ellis & Charlie Holt one of our Sergeants the first chap we worked for on the Island is next to me. I believe I told you that on the day of this outing we started to climb the Great Pyramid of Cheops but about half way up we got full & came down again. They all had their fortunes told half way up the Pyramids but I would not listen to the rit. I called the Nigger for everything & he nearly went mad. When these fellows get annoyed they seldom hit anyone. They just gabble & gesticulate At one another like tigers in

[Page 50]

separate cages.

No 2. This one was taken on the trip to the Barage. We rode from the Railway right through the Gardens. The chap on the left is that other one whop stayed at the Palace Hotel in Perth with Dave, Ellis & I. the two others are two of our Sergeant Dispensers. The 2nd chap on the left is Staff Sergeant Moore whose Brother works in our Tailoring Dept. You might show it to Him & say that His Brother is doing well. Billy also took this Photo.

No 3 this is another of Billy’s Photo’s. it was taken on the same day as the foregoing one. Billy & Ellis walked right over the Bridge to get A Photo while the rest of the Party sat down in the Gardens & got a Nigger Kid to strip off & go into the ice cold water for half a "disaster" Imagine getting a brat in Sydney to strip & go in for a swim in a lake in the Botanical Gardens.

4 This was taken by Charlie Holt & depicts an Egyptian tram on the Pyramid Route. We are the 4 Musketeers again. We afterwards caught a motor driver, an obliging British Tommy who gave us the spin of our lives right into Cairo. We did about

[Page 51]

40 Miles an hour all the way. A distance of 4 or 5 miles.

No 5 is only a face view of the Sphinx which gives an idea of the likeness to a man’s face.

We have taken Photos mostly of Historical Value & without long explanation, would not be of much value to you so we will send them on in a bunch later on.

Ellis is ward-master tonight and He has just gone on duty. Billy is away for half an hour or so serving his patients with dope or medicine as you call it. Billy & I will have a couple of games of draughts when he comes back & then we will pack off to our lovely beds. I like my bed just as much as ever & it is very rarely that lights out, 9.30 pm. finds me out of my nest.

We do not know how long we are to stop here. We have a lot of patients yet but we are getting them well very quickly & they are very grateful for their good treatment.

Well, I will go now & tidy up my writing table as Billy will soon return & I am out of news.

Love to all
From Harry X

[Page 52]

1st Aust. Derma. Hospital

Dear Dad, Mother, & George,

I have not very much to write about because we have had another case of small pox among the patients, & we have only been out once since my last letter was written. Ellis, Dave, Billy & I, went through the great bazaar trying to pick bargains. We saw most of the manufacturing laces. First we visited several tailor shops & they make very good trade.

We then came to another factory where they were making flower embroidery table centres. All that work which looks so hard is done by machine, & it takes no time to make. We wandered in & out of lanes & streets & bazaar & shops, & had a glorious afternoon.

Eric our other tent mate who we met in Cairo & I went to the Y.M.C.A. Pictures, finishing up at Heliopolis with oranges & dates. There are the first dates that I have tasted in Egypt & they were TurKish. Bill & Ellis went round to look at the Big Shops again. About once a week we have a round up of all the patients. We all go down to one end of the ground & form a line right from one side to the other, & drive them all into one corner like a lot of sheep. Of course I only mean that out-side patients. They indoor ones are kept in the ward with

[Page 53]

A guard on each door. I dodged the first two but I had to join in the 3rd hunt. I soon found a good possie in a closed marquee & sat to read a novel while the rest of the Boys did the "shooing". All the ward patients mimic the sheep & goats as we drive them into the corner. All the patients had to be vaccinated again so that meant another rabbit-drive.

By Ghee, the fleas are awful over here. You remember that the little beasts never troubled me at Home, but I am like Dad now. I have a rosary necklet round my waist & I have bites all over my body. I have to take the hair-brush to bed now so it came in handy after all. I still get my hair clipped very short & it is so much better. My new job is a good one. I need not start till 9 a.m. & I am always finished at 11.30 AM in the morning & starting again at 2 pm finish for the day at 3.30 pm. I used to be night ward-master one & twice a week, but not my turn only comes once a fortnight. Last time that I was on duty was the first time I have had anything to do. I had to go down at 11.30 P.M. & put a sick man out of the "Clink" into Billy’s ward. I had to chase all over the place for medicine

[Page 54]

At12 midnight. We have a cove here that has fits but he never had had the tantrums when I was to be found.

We met Capt. Morlau when we were on leave last. He left to-day on the Karoola invalided home for 12 months. He took sick a few days after we arrived. We are having a very happy time now & when we get a letter we are in the 7th heaven of delight. The mails are very irregular. We sometimes don’t get any by one mail, but we get double with the next one, so it is all the same. Do not worry if you get no mail for even 2 months because we must not let the Germans know anything of what we are doing.

We met George Lowe in Cairo last leave day. George Knows George Lowe the cricketer. He was up to enlist the same day as Ellis & I first went up. We had a letter from Os Merrett yesterday & I had one from Bess. Os tells us that George & Reg Close have won their Instructors Certificate. That is very good. The aught to get the Royal Life as well. It is much easier than the surf.


[Page 55]

Are you all getting along? Billy tells us that about the end of February you received a letter. Was it the one we posted on the Kanowna from Port Suez?

Ellis has sent a time box home with a blouse length for Etta & a shawl for you, & an ash tray for Dad. I am writing this in case Ellis’ letter goes astray.

We will send George something when we can find something suitable. I am becoming a very large eater. I used to be satisfied with 2 fried eggs, but I can now eat 6 quite easily, with bread & butter a cup of cocoa & figs & rice for dessert. I feel quite comfortable after it too.

The egg shells are very hard here, no doubt from the grit which is all over Egypt. We drop the, the eggs on the ground & they do not break. We get every night off now from 6 pm till 1- pm & one day in every 12. It is very much better, because we have done most of the half day, trips that can be done cheaply & we wish to make a few long trips. We are trying to arrange for to-morrow but do not know how we will succeed yet. Ellis is barracking now. I can hear him at the Staff-Sergeants tent. We have

[Page 56]

A Peirrot Concert Troup & a tennis & cricket club. I have not played yet because I am a bit green the weather is pretty warm now.

I am enclosing one Photo of Billy & myself taken on a trip out to Mary’s well/ This is not Mary’s well. This is the main way of drawing water in Egypt. These bullocks or buffalos mostly are blindfolded & they go round & round all day without getting giddy. You will notice that I have discarded the leggings for puttees but now I wear shorts. I never liked long trousers & those confounded breeches are worse. The shorts are lovely & cool. I had to pay 5/- a pair for them as we have not had our summer issue yet. We have had another cigarettes issue & Dave Niness gave me his whack to I got 8 packets . Ellis has not bough any tobacco since he left Australia & I have only spent 7/6 on the boat & 16 piastres here on cigarettes & matches.

Well My People, I must close now. I am out of news & the mail closes tomorrow morning so I must give time to the Censor or it will not go in this mail.

We are all well & Hope to receive some letters again very soon. Bess

[Page 57]

Writes every mail & I have jhad 2 or 3 letters from Ida Nelson but that is the lot.

Hoping that you are all looking after Yourselves & are Happy and contented as we are.

I Remain
Your own Boy

[Page 58]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear Dad,

Although we are told that there is no mail for a fortnight, I am writing tonight while I have a night off. We have a roll call at 7 A.M. & 6 pm for patients now as well as our other duties. We have this one week on & 3 weeks off. We have leave every night from 6 pm till 10 pm one whole day off in each 8 days & then every 3rd Sunday as well so we are treated very liberally for leave. This is Palm Sunday & we are to have special Church Services on Good Friday & Easter Sunday. The Parson says he will try & get leave to attend all the functions & make the day one of rest, but there is no rest for the wicked & I suppose we will have to do our work just the same. Our Reinforcements arrived at 2 am this morning, Earn Thomas amongst them. He came over on the Orsova but they had to work pretty hard on the boat where as we had a picnic voyage. We were delighted to see Him & we are taking him out with us to-morrow night. We have all sorts of jokes rigged up for Him. Our Perrot Troup gave a great concert in the Greatest Soldiers Rendezvous in Cairo. It was a great success & our Boys are really good artists. We met Les McLean the 100 yds Sprint Runner from out Athletic Club & He came to the Concert with us. He came up to see us today but He is on Head Quarters staff & lives well. He is also a Sergeant & we could not ask him to sit down

[Page 59

to Sardines & Onions & bread butter & jam. We are going out together again tomorrow night. He was on the Peninsula was twice wounded. I am writing a letter to each of you this time so I will have to keep news for each one. I received the Daily Telegraph by the mail last Wednesday. Do you still have to keep pennies so that you will not waste time before you fo on the boat. Have you nearly missed it since we came away, or do the trams run to time now? How did the blackberries of off the bushes between the gardens. The Bushes were just in flower when we left. I have seen nearly ever thing that grows in Egypt but I cannot remember seeing black-berries, I suppose there are some to be found. Everything is made to grow in this place. We have lovely nights in this country. You know what a still moonlight night is in Australia but they are rare & excite notice but as we so seldom have rain or cloud we have a good run of them. I am sitting in Ellis’ work Hut with Eric our other tent mate. Ellis is at Home writing & Billy was playing draughts with one of the Cook’s

I do not know whether I sent you one of the following group. I mean enclosed group. This was taken about a week after we lobbed here. This is another Australian word which is very ugly but it is used very consistently over here. I am on the left of the Picture, then Dave Lord, Dave Niness & Eric Marshman another tent mate which whom I am now writing. He is a Farmer

[Page 60]

& a very good chap. He is as good a Parson in the tent. Neither drink, swears or smokes, but is a real genuine chap & a great sport.

Well I must leave some news for Mum’s & George’s letter, so I will have to close now

Remember me to Otto & Ruby Mae & the Fewell Girls & Trusting to hear from you very soon.

I Remain
Your Affectionate Son

P.S. I had a letter from Marie on Thursday in which She said that She had received Your Photos & she says that they were very nice. She says that Grandma still lives with them. I have written to Her & also to Grandma Davies. I also wrote Aunty Grace. I told her that we heard the old tune that De Groen’s Band played at the old Water Schute on the Theatre here. You remember Miles’ old verandah how Sunburnt Bert was.

Well, I must go for my life now to get all the other letters finished

[Page 61]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear George,

This is the 25th Letter that I written Home. How many have you received? I have just written to Day & Mother so you may get all three to-gether. Do not worry if there are about 20 missing. We are at the War now & anything may happen. I am now going to tell you about our trip last Wednesday. We left Barracks at 9.10 A.M. & took the tram to Heliopolis & bought some Biscuits 10 piastres a lb & then took the fast electric car to Cairo only to arrive too late to catch the train to go to the other big Pyramids about 15 miles from Cairo. Two Gippos Kidded us to go another way & ride across the desert. We caught a tram to the Bal-luk Railway Station ten minutes too late to go to Helonan. We had a drink in a French Buffet & waited over an hour for a train in which we intended just to run & have a look a Helonan & back again. We got into a cattle truck on rather a 3rd class carriage, lower ranks than sergeants not being allowed to travel otherwise & sat down in the filth & stink & amongst Gippos of all classes. Billy said come on, up into 2nd class & let ‘em chuck us out. We would not get out for the Gippos & as there

[Page 62]

was no picket on the train we got on all right. We passed Maadi where Roy & Jack used to camp & then just out of Maadi the Turkish Prisioners camp where there are 13,000 prisoners. We saw Napolean’s old fort & all the stone granaries that were built for the Egyptian Wars of latertimes. In the sides of the hills there are large cavities which different tribes have dug to live in. I do not know what race they belong to.

We arrived at Heloun which is a very quiet clean city all laid out in squares. It is the terminus this this short railway and it right out in the desert. We bargained with the Arab Donkey man who guaranteed to give us donkeys to Memphis & back for 15 Piastres. We started off at a walk because it is a long way & we are a bit thoughtful of the Arab Boys & men who have to shanks pony it. We left the Village & when only about ¼ of a mile on the desert, Billy’s donkey lay down. It appears that this is one of the places where the poorer Arabs come to sleep & Billy’s donkey evidently thought he had come home to roost. We passed along without mishap till we arrived at the Nile. Ellis & Billy’s Donks were old travellers so they just trotted down the path & hopped into the boat just like a dog. My chap had never been in a boat

[Page 63]

before & he put his front feet in all right but the Arab had to lift the rest over the gunwale. The tide was running very strong at the time & as we only had one big sweep & there were several other boats sailing down with the tide our boat was swept about 300 yards below the landing place. So three of the donkey boys & one of the crew got out & & towed the boat along the River to the jetty. The donkeys all jumped over the side into the water & walked ashore & waited for us. We then crossed an island about half a mile to the next boat. Ellis’ donk tripped in the sand & Ellis nearly had a buster. We crossed safely & set out again. We passed the Railway Station where we should have gone by the first train we missed. Our head donkey man set out to buy some oranges & arrived back with them & mounted on a bosker black donk. As we would not see the other two Arabs walk we gave them some feloos for mungaree (money for food) & pushed on faster. We dodged a lot of camels who were making for Cairo & were struggling all over the road & came to the ancient city of Memphis. It is now only a heap of Mud Pillars but at one time was a great place. There are quite a lot of date palms there now & all round the place, pieces of granite & marble statues are to be

[Page 64]

seen. We at last came to the great granite statue of Memphis himself. It is about 30 feet long. He is lying down now. The Helmet & head dress part of the statue is broken off lying separate from the body. We passed on, passing a small sphinx on the way till we came to the great Statue of Ramases II. You will see our Pictures of this in any book about Egypt. He is carved out of white stone & like Memphis is lying down now. The rats have been chewing at the side of the head but the face is still perfect. It is about 60 feet long. A small statue of his wife stands outside the wall which is built around this great work. We could not go & see the Sakara Pyramids as it was getting late so we turned back & climbed on to Memphis where we eat biscuits & oranges. Billy was higgling about some scarabs & although the chap wanted 4/-each Billy beat him down till he got one for 1 piastre about its true worth. A genuine scarab is worth about 25/- but the others are made in Birmingham or Germany. Some of the boys have found real scarabs round the different cemeteries & sometimes bring home a skull or two in their haversacks but we have not come to that yet. They bury the Arabs 3 or 4 in a grave. They don’t have a coffin in each. You have a coffin to the graveside & them they take the corpse out & stand him up with

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3 or 4 others & take the coffin back. The coffins wear out before they are put down.

We returned all right but had a funny experience crossing the river again. Here were about 8 Arabs & 4 donkeys & an Arab was taking his buffalo to market so as the boat was full, the old buffalo had to swim alongside. There buffalos love the water & lie down for hours in the pool & along the river banks. We rode 2nd class again & arrived at the Anzas Hostel for Diner at 6.45 pm. We had a nice tea & had a good concert upstairs to follow & finished up bu catching the train back to Heliopolis about 9.15 pm arriving Home just after 10 pm.

Well George I have told Dad & Mum most of the other news & as I have to make an early start tomorrow I must go to bed. Ellis is ward-master tonight but he must be finished by now,

Give my Regards to Mr Frost whose letter we were very glad to receive & Trusting that You are keeping well & looking after yourself.

I remain
Your affectionate Frere

Remember me to Lily P & the Miles’ & to all the boys in the Club

[Page 66]

1st Aust. Derma. Hospital


Dear Mum,

We are keeping well & smiling & are very contented. We are not anxious to move. We are quite alright. Eric & I have been talking ‘cockying’ for about half an hour but he is gone to give medicine out to His patients & will be away for half-an-hour. I have moved away from Ellis today V have a Hut to Myself. It will be much better because there cannot be t rouble about too many going on leave together. /we are very busy again now but as we have some reinforcements we will be alright. The Y.M.C.A. hold Sunday Evening Service every Sunday with the aid of the Magic Lantern. They shew the Verses of the Hymns on the screen as they used to do at Sunday School. The have hung the Screen as they used to on the side of my Hut. The Y.M.C.A. are the hardest workers in this war & are doing more for the soldiers than anyone. This war would be a frightful thing without them to help Us, I mean more frightful than it is now. We were issued with our summer clothing this day & they are all Khaki drill of the same style at the British Tommies. All the pants are too long so there will be plenty of work now turning up the bottoms. We get

[Page 67]

2 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of long pants, 2 Tunics & a pair of Puttees. Our Boys played Cricket against No 3 Aux. Hospital but were badly beaten by nearly 100 runs. I went over for an hour or so & watched them. It is only about half a mile over the desert from our camp. I went with Ellis down to No 3 Hospital to see Harold Filshir, Eric Davis & Roly Hall last week. Filsh took us all round the place & we were passing one ward where Alex. Mallinson & two Sisters were dressing a chap who had jus been admitted with a Kick behind the ear from a horse. He was nearly out to it I think. Alex. Was Secretary to Freshy Surf Club. It is lovely Hospital but I would not like it. Fellows come in with broken spines & Kicks from Camels & bites from Camels too & all sorts of sick men. We met Roly as Harold had a meeting at 8 pm & went up to Eric’s Ward. He is on night duty. We went into His Kitchen & had biscuits tea & fruit, Red Cross stuff. It was grand but impossible in our Hospital. As we went into Cairo last night Ellis & I met one of the French War Ministers & His 2nd cousins. Ellis was talking to this Gentleman & as I was sitting alongside a young girl I spoke to her in French & she answered me in English. She was the 16 year old Daughter of the Italian

[Page 68]

Consul. She was a beautiful little girl & only speaks 9 different languages. Her Father has had to go to many different countries & was even in Constantinople when War broke out & that is why she speaks so many tongues. The Gentleman who is a Bachelor has asked us to go into to see Him at the French War Office so you can bet that we will.

Well, Mum, I have to write to George yet. I have written to Dad. Ellis, Billy & I went for a trip last Wednesday & as I have told Dad & you of all the outside news, I will put all about the trip in Georgies letter.

Remember me to Mrs Alli, to the Park’s & the Dabbols & Trusting that you are all well & happy as we are.

I must say adieu
From Your Loving Son

Look after Yourself & don’t go grubbing out any rocks or doing any washing or spring cleaning because we want to see you alive & well. When "wegang home agin

Love From Harry

[Page 69]

1st Aust. Derma Hosp.


Dear Mum,

I am writing this letter in answer to Yours of March 6th. I sent a P.C. to Mrs Clarke but have not written a letter yet. I met Ted twice in Cairo but he had his own mates, & I had mine so we made an appointment, but Ted had to move to Tel-el-Kebir a couple of days before the day.

It is alright about those socks. I have only worn one pair out, & they were issue socks. We keep out toe-nails short & no nails in out boots, so they last a long time. Bess sent me a pair of & a pair for Ellis also. Thomas had arrived & is attached as 3rd reinforcements. He is quartered in the next tent to us with Dave Niness. If all the men in the Arm were as good as Earn Thomas, the Australian Army would be a much better Army. He takes a drink & of a festive occasions, probably gets drunk, but as far as being a rotter, that is quite wrong. He is a good worker & thinks the world of His wife & Kid. He is great company & is a great acquisition both as a mate & a worker.

I never want a better Mate

[Page 70]

Than the same Earn Thomas.

We do not know what to do about the comforts fund. We have nearly everything we want & all we do want is cocoa & milk, but if you send the money, we can buy anything we want, & it will not be dearer than you buying it in Australia & sending it. We do not understand this comforts business. If there is enough sent for the whole unit then it will be alright. We only want little comforts such as I spoke of above & no clothing or towels, there is always plenty in a Hospital & when we wear anything out, we get an issue from the Q’Master. The letters which we wrote to you from Perth have been posted on the notice boards here, & everybody has made a great bit of fun out of it. I suppose it is only a joke, but it made us feel fools at the time. It does not matter now, it is all over & forgotten.

Well Mum I am feeling a bit weary of Barracks to-night so I am going to run up to Heliopolis for a blow. I have just received a letter from Dad but I will not be able to answer it this mail.

Regards to all My Friends & for God’s sake do not let anybody get our letters.

I will write

[Page 71]

More about the money & comforts business next week.

Ellis sends his Love also Billy & Dave Niness

Your Loving Son


[Page 72]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear Dad & Mum & George,

I received a letter from Dad last night.

I will only be able to write a short letter as the mail closes this afternoon. Dave, Ellis & I went for a trip to Alexandria on Sunday & we had a great day. I was very tired last night when I wrote to Mum, so I could not keep awake in the tent. Ellis, Billy, Dave & I went to Heliopolis & had a beano on ice-cream & ginger beer while we watched the Pictures. We received Mum’s parcels alright & we ate the ginger in the train going to Alexandria. I played cricket on Saturday & went in last. There were 9 wickets down for 59 went [when] I went in to partner Dave Niness. We brought the score to 87 before Dave was bowled, I retired with 72 not out. I also caught one man out. We beat the other team by an innings & 45 runs. On top of that game we left in the transport car to catch the 7.30 A.M. train to Alexandria. We had a 3 ½ hour run over 109 miles through cultivated fields the whole distance. The cotton has just been sewn & is only a few inches above the ground. We went to the docks as soon as

[Page 73]

we left the train & found no beach. So we took our passage on a felucca. We had another passenger besides ourselves. He was going aboard the Oxfordshire Hospital Ship on business. He was Chas. Verrers Junior of the Maltese firm of that name. You must have seen the cases & parcels going to the firm. He says that he sends lots of stuff to D.Jones Ltd. We put into the shore near the Sultan’s Palace & walked over the Hill to the beach. We passed along the beach & saw the German internment camp. These beggars are only 10 feet of barbed wire from the road are quite cheeky. We then walked back to the Australian Convalescent Home at Ras-el-Tin. We had a chap from our Unit there. Some went & saw Him. We had our dinner with Him too. Roast Veal, potatoes & cabbage & lovely bread & butter custard to follow. We afterwards went for a swim & it was glorious. There were no breakers because there is a big reef about a mile out, & the breakers only come over in very rough weather. The batch are way out from the shore, & we walked about 100 yds on a narrow footbridge before we reached the baths. We had abacksheesh swim, that is one for nothing. The

[Page 74]

water is very salty & buoyant. I was doing all sorts of tricks swimming going to sleep in the water quite easily. If I tried to do them in Australia I would go the bottom. We went up to the Gardens sin the afternoon & they were a mass of lovely flowers. The Hot-house was like a picture not like life. We saw an orang-ontang light & smoke a cigarette.

We slept in the train after a rush back to the Station. We had just time to eat our tea & jump into a gharry & go for our lives. On the trip down the natives were selling "Easter Eggs". Some were coloured orange, some red or blue. These are already cooked & if you care to buy you can have bread & butter, tea & a little packet of salt & pepper with them.

Mr Keirle is a funny man. It was not place for Him as he was putting up for Election too. Mind I think he would be a good man but he should have his own Meeting.

Well Dad, I think I have told you all the news. Mother, you must not spend too much money

[Page 75]

on this comforts business. There are some rotten scamps in the unit, & I do not want any of your money to go to these people. Do as Mrs Allison does. Billy has written & told her exactly what to do. Anything you have to send, send to me & I will distribute it to those fellows who are deserving of them. No one here is poorer than we are but some go to Cairo & get drunk & spend their money one women. We buy ourselves little comforts instead. When these things which You send arrive, we will probably have something similar, & they will expect to be served first. I still have pound; 7 left but I only want that in case of accidents or to buy a few presents to bring Home.

The papers from Mrs Rogers & one from Dad have just arrived & Ellis is sitting on His bed with Dave reading them. We were afraid there would be more letters of ours in the Daily. It is alright in the Daily but the fellows here post them on the notice board & make a joke of it.

Do only let our Friends read them & don’t let anybody get them who is likely to put

[Page 76]

them in the Daily. Some of the letters read, Pts So & So’s great fighting spirit. Wants to get back to the front. Some of them have never been near the front & are in our Hospital with bad diseases so it is a bit disgusting is it not?

I can only say that we are well & happy, our only worry being the thoughts that you may be ill. We long for our Home but who does not. Now that Earn Thomas has arrived we have another brotherly pal who does anything for us & for whom we would do anything in spite of what others think. You must see his little wife & tell Her that He will be with us all the time & not to worry, because Earn will never go wrong where we are. A word from us is as good as a lecture to Him, & He is not a child. He is one of the best men we have met in the Army. Dave sends his Regards also Billy.

So as we are in good Spirits & are all well & Happy we trust that you will all be the same & look after Yourselves till we come Home. Good old Bess writes every mail & I had a letter from Margaret Millar who is another "one of the Best" give my love to Mrs. Millar & Family also to the Dobsons.

From Loving Son & Brother

[Page 77]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear Dad, Mother & George,

I do not know when the mail closes so I am writing this in hopes of catching a mail. I wrote my last letter on the morning of Anzac Day. We has some small sports in the afternoon & at night time. Ellis & I went down to No 3 General to see the Boys. On our way round to the Boys tents we had a look at their swimming baths & the water was too tempting to stay out. One of the staff brought a towel for us. We stripped & had a bonza swim. The baths are about 25 yds by 15 yds wide & over 5 feet deep as the fresh water is very hard over here it is fairly easy to swim. We went up to Eric Davis’ ward & had Cocoa & biscuits & when he had finished duty at 8 pm we went to the concert which was given by the Staff of the Hospital. Harold Filohie organised all the social doings at NO 3 General & He sang very well "the boys of the Dardanelles".

On the 26th we had a very hot day. It was 111 degrees Fah. in the shade & 158 degrees Fah. out on the sands. I suppose you think this is a terrible Temperature. It was only equal to about 100 degrees of Sydney’s Climate & did not affect us at all. Another case of small pox broke & we

[Page 78]

had to be vaccinated again. Ellis was not done because of the bad dose he had at the small pox scare. It did not affect me, the sores are already healed. I have vaccinated 3 times & inoculated 8 times since I joined the Army.

Wednesday was my leave day & as Ellis & I cannot get off together always Dave & I went to Cairo. We walked all over the City & went to the Museum in the afternoon. I was practising my fast bowling again last Friday & to-day a week later I am still sore. The team went out to play on Saturday but as the arm was too sore to throw the ball 36 yards I stood out. Our Boys scored 116 & the other side scored 236 for 3 wickets. Stirling the South Australian made 100 not out & His partner also a good cricketer was 55 not out when stumps were drawn. Our Boys had the leather-hunt of their lives & I was jolly glad that my arm was too sore.

I received letters from Cousin Hannah, Hilda Hey & Nettie Nelson on Saturday. I have not yet written to Nance but will do so this Mail. I was night ward-master also & after getting to bed & asleep the Doctor came & woke me

[Page 79]

To get a sleeping draught at 12 am. I was very tired next morning because it took me a long while to get to sleep again when I had given the chap his dope.

I did not go to the Church Parade on Sunday morning as I was so tired. Frank Cartright, Dave Niness’ old mate & who I have met many times in Camp came up from Tel-el-Kebir to see Us. I worked with His sister for many years & she was Hilda’s best mate at Jones’. We had a nice dinner of cold roast beef & a salad of onions, eschallots, tomatoes cucumbers & beetroot followed by stewed apricots & sago for dinner & it was real choice. The cook often gives us these sorts of dinners now instead of a hot dinner. It takes them a long time to prepare. Just You imagine cutting up the above kind of salad for about 225 men & only 5 men to do it. Ellis, Billy, Dave & Frank, His mater & I went to the Gardens after dinner & the gardens are glorious at present. The visitors had to catch the 6.15 pm train back to Camp so the rest of Us had tea at the Anzac Hostel & took up our ‘possies’ to hear the Welsh

[Page 80]

Soldiers Choir of 65 voices. The Anzac Hostel was the Khedival Stock Exchange or Bourse & it has a gallery around the first floor like the Town Hall, Sydney so we had a good position in the front row right opposite the stage. They are great as a Choir but the individual singers were only middling. Their Conductor a Lieutenant is a Multi-Millionaire & is a musician to the fingertips. He plays the piano & conducts at the same time using his head & neck as a time Keeper when his hands & arms are busy on the ivories.

We have a Canteen now & a first class Recreation Room, piano & Gramaphone included. Ellis is down there now. He will bring a bottle of ginger-beer back with Him I hope. The weather here is still delightful & it is so cool to-night that I have shut the tent down while I write this letter.


A parcel arrived for Ellis today from Bessie & we have had a little piece of Chocolate each. Chocolates are dearer than in Sydney but we are not mad on Chocolates & we are quite content if we get a taste once a month.

[Page 81]

I smoked the last of the Cigarettes which You sent to me at the Concert on Saturday night & I am using the Writing Pad which you sent me now. We can get plenty of writing paper so You need not send us any More just at present. I will not be able to get Willie Davis into our Unit because we are over strength now. The O.C. cannot possibly put one man in. He will have to send some of the men who were lent to Us from Base Detail back very shortly.

Well, I must close now Dad & Mother & George because I have not been out very much lately to any place of interest at all. We are quite alright & we are getting on much better with the boys of the Unit than ever. We have shewn them how to be sports & they have cut out their priggish ways a great deal.

Dave & Billy send their regards and Trusting that you are all well.

I Remain
Yours Lovingly
Harry XX

[Page 82]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp


Dear George, Dad & Mother,

I am writing just a short note because I forgot a few things in My Hurry to catch the last mail. I thought I had told you all about the time I was run in on the boat. I was on duty for Capt. Bray & using a staircase supposed to be for sergeants only. The sergeant of the guard sang out that he would make it hot for me & I told him I wold report Him. He then made me go down the stairs again & asked me to go into the Guard Room & as I had a black board & easel in my hand & knew I was in the right, I went without resistance. He then took My Name & Number top the 2nd in Command of the Ship but when I was brought before Him there was no charge because it is not legal in the army to touch an N.C.O. let alone run Him in without it is a case of murder or drunk & disorderly. If I had pressed the charge against the Guard, he would have lost his 3 stripes because it is a criminal offence to lay hands or run an N.C.O. into the Boob. Well George I have 10 letters to answer to-night & as I have no news which will be fresh to You, I will wait till Friday before I write a longer letter. With Love Harry

[Page 83]

Mr Geo M. Nicholls
Andrews Bros.
40 King St

[Page 84]

1st Aust. Derma. Hospital


Dear Dad, Mother & George,

I have written one letter this mail but as the mail closes to-morrow, & I have a couple of hours to spare I write a few letters. Ellis & I had a whole day leave together, & we spent the morning by trying to find our acquaintance in the French Ward Office. We failed miserably but I met an English Lady & Her daughter, & they invited Ellis & I to tea. She said that she had an Australian Lady staying with Her. Tea was ordered for 8 pm but Ellis & I went early to have a chat. We sat out on the balcony till Tea was ready, & when we walked into the Salle a Manger – Dining Room – it was a Ship Hindmarsh who is over here at her own expense as a Red-Cross worker. She was entertaining her Brother & one of Dr Traill’s Sons. You remember Dr Traill of Burwood. Helen Nott visited Young Traill, at Ghezerab Hospital when she was in Cairo. He I s Sergeant in the Infantry & went right through the Gallipoli Campaign. He, with several other University Students, have to return to Sydney to finish their Studies as Doctors. Our Host was a Mrs Wright & she has hair & features exactly the same as Aunt Fanny & would pass for Her Sister. It is a strange coincidence isn’t it? We are having pretty

[Page 85]


I do not know whether I told You about Dave & I going to the Australian Comforts Committee to get 2 Cricket bats. We walked in to the place & just asked for these bats, & the soldier who was working in the place asked the Manager if we could have them. He gave his Consent & this chap went to a big case & picked out two bats & handed them to me. One of these bats was an old one of Dave Vernon’s. Fancy it coming to my hands. All old sports sent their bats & racquet (tennis) & cricket balls to the Committee in Sydney & they are packed & sent to the Depot in Cairo. I am writing to Dave to tell him about it.

Au Revoir

Harry X

[Page 86]

[This page should follow on from page 84]

warm weather now but the nights are delightful & we always wake up quite refreshed. Billy, Dave & I went to Ezbekiah Gardens to hear the Welsh Fusilliers Band. They were great & their representation of a Soldiers Life, a piece that t6he Manly Band Plays, was glorious. They quite deserve the reputation which they hold. You remember we promised to cable if we should be moving from Egypt. We may be moving in a few month’s time & will let will let You Know. I may want some money too, but get Dad to go to Crook’s in Martin Place & they will fix matters, & we want to see everything. I may trust to luck & cable before You get this letter. But you will know what the money is for. We want to go to Khartoum & Luxor & other places away in the Interior. We have been dealt with fairly by the Comforts Fund so just do as much as the others do & no more. Do not share at making fly-nets & shirts. Pay someone else to make them. You may go to the trouble to make good ones & somebody else will get them V I will get the cheap ones. Did anyone say that they saw Ellis, Dave, Bill & I at the stern of the Kanowna on the day we sailed. We saw you quite plainly as I suppose you saw us.

I have no more news this time, so will close with Fondest Love to You all

From Harry x

[Page 87]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear Dad, Mum & George,

I have not written since the 12th inst. & I do not know when there will be another mail leaving so I am writing & chancing to luck. I believe a mail leaves in two days time so I am just in time. The Authorities are having a general round up so no leave has been granted to any Australians to go to Cairo. We will be free again tomorrow night.

Last Sunday, Ellis & I with one of our next doo neighbours went to Kasi-el-Nil Gardens on the Banks of the Nile. We only went to lie down under the Shady trees because it was a very hot day. We had no lunch with us & a young gippo Scholar shared his. He had real Egyptian Mimgaree & Ellis & I had to force it down as we did not want to offend. There were some Apricot trees near by & an arab woman who pays the Govt. for the fruit sold us quite a lot. They were hot from the trees & not very ripe in some instances. But we developed no after effects.

We left the Gardens about 3 pm & went to the Anzac Hostel. After a nice cold lunch we were

[Page 88]

in time to hear a Band Performance by one of an Regimental Bands.

Monday was another scorcher, so at 6 pm Dave & I went to Heliopolis for ice cream & Lemon Squash. We had a nice evening. There are 3 Backsheesh Picture shows, one each on 3 corners of a street. One walks into the open air Restaurant & sits down. He has a drink if he wishes but it is not compulsory.

On Tuesday 16th May, we alter our Treatment Hours. We fall in at 5.30 am & work till 7.45 pm & breakfast at 8 am. At 9 I go to my hut & work till 10 am. I finish at 3.30 pm. I dress till tea at 5 pm & finish for the day. We play cards or draughts or tennis as we wish in the other hours. We have only bread & jam & perhaps sardines or salmon for dinner & have a hot dinner at night with pudding to follow.

I received some chocolates & peaches, Tewy-gum socks from Bess on the 15th & it was very nice indeed.

We have had a tennis court made & it is a beauty. I have

[Page 89]

had one game but no more. A Club is to be formed & as the court needs a nigger constantly at work there will be a sub wanted & I cannot afford it.

Ellis & I went to the Pictures last night & had a walk along to the Catholic Church. It is a beautiful place, It has the tallest position in Heliopolis. The buildings in Heliopolis are glorious. Huge buildings & very artistic. The Rooms in most Egyptian Homes are large & high & rugs carpets are plentiful. In the Street which leads to the Cathedral there is a large Garden running along the centre about 30 feet wide. Cedars & Jackeranda form the large tree border on either side. These cedars which are a mass of red blossom are the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. I think they are cedars but although they are large trees, the leaves are hardly noticeable because of these bell-like blossoms.

Well Dad & Mother & George, I have no news as I have not been out for over a week so I must close now.

We are all well & contented & Hope you are all the same

[Page 90]

Love to You all

From Harry & Ellis

[Page 91]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear Mum,

I received Your letter & Dads in a bunch of 15 to-day. I am late starting to answer it as first post has just blown, 8.45 pm & I will have to put the light out at 10 pm. One of my patient orderlies is sitting reading alongside me. I have 4 patients who clean-up the Hut & make themselves generally useful. I get Tobacco & cigarettes daily from the I.M. for them & allow them to read or write in the Hut. Ellis is back in his hut now. He was Orderly Corporal for a couple of weeks. We have had a couple of hot days but we were able to stand them quite easily. One day was 111 degrees & another 113 degrees. The sweat is rolling off one all the time even while sitting quietly in the tent. Ellis had to move in a tent with Dave Lord as we were only allowed 4 in a tent & one corporal in each. He is only next door & Dave Lord is a great fellow, one of the very best so He will be alright. I have not seen or heard of Tom Porman or Will Davies. So many troops are moving to France now that they may be away down the line & not allowed into Cairo. We may go to England at the end of June or July but all sorts of wireless gets around.

[Page 92]

I had a letter from Grandma & Mrs Clarke & also Mrs Melville. I will have to answer them by the next mail. Fancy Mrs Royal coming down after all this time. I am meeting old Friends too. I met Aubrey Hickson that I stayed at Balmoral with. He went through 5 ½ months on the Peninsula. He looks a bit think & he has grown a beard again. He says that Percy & Roland are in France. I suppose He will be going soon too. He is camped away out on the desert & they are only allowed one day a month leave. We have heard that Capt. Stoddart is here. We have old Capt. Clay from Narrabeen in our Hospital as Medical Officer. Dave Niness looks after Him. He will be leaving shortly as he is a Transport Officer. I do not think that we will get a trip back not before the end of the war anyway.

Well Mum this will have to be a short letter as mail closes to-morrow I think. Regards to all & Heaps of Love to Dad, George & Yourself

From Harry XXX

[Page 93]

P.S. Thank Mrs Rogers for her papers & views of the mountains. They are very nice but we cannot hear the ridicule which we are put through, if our name goes in the paper.

Good Luck From Harry X

[Page 94]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp.


Dear Dad,

Our mail only came in last night & as I had 15 letters & Ellis 9 we had hardly time to collect our thought & write. The mail closes today so I will have to write only a short letter.

I wrote to Jack Bimson’s wife’s people in Glasgow. They have answered me & extended a hearty welcome to visit them. I will go there sure if I get the chance. I expect to see another country most likely the land of the Fleur-de-Lis in July. Tommie’s are going to take our place. As the Australian troops more so the Tommies take their places. The British General was here a couple of days ago to inspect. We are to have a staff sent here to learn how to carry on.

Ellis & I have been separated temporarily for the first time since we joined up. He has only gone next door & is with Dave Lord. We received the groups Photo & it is Tres Bein or cois Kateer. French & Arabic for very good. Kitching have been going to move for a couple of years. It is about time He moved. They have moved up Balgowlah way I think. It is a lovely spot

[Page 95]

on those heights.

I have been to dozens of Picture shews but it is too hot in doors. We have 3 open air restaurants in Heliopolis & they are all free picture shows. We often go to these places & try perhaps one bottle of lemonade each. We pay 2 Piastres for the drink which is 1 piastre anywhere else so we pay 2 ½ to see the show. There is also an open air Vaudeville run on the same lines. Next month & afterwards we will have to put stamps on out letters but it is only 1/2 a Paistre. I am going to answer all my mail before the end of the month.

Well Dad I am not able to give you much news. We have not been out & nothing very exciting happens here. One of the patients mess huts was burnt down the other night and about a week back an aeroplane dived into the sand. Ellis ran about a mile & a half over the desert to Photograph it.

I must wind up now hoping that the garden will still keep green i=until we come Home again.

Love to Mum, George & Yourself

From Harry X

[Page 96]

1st Aust. D. Hospital


Dear Dad, Mum & George,

We are getting very hot weather now & even writing needs a lot of forced energy. It is only about 105 degrees but that is quite hot enough. Ellis & I ran up to Heliopolis last night for a change. We only go out with a purpose now. We do not go into Cairo looking for adventure. On Saturday night we went to the Gardens to hear the Welsh Fusiliers Band again. They are a glorious Band. They go in for a lot of characteristic music. Sleigh Ride, Representing of Hunting & so on. They played Florodora. You will remember well out night at the Victoria Hall. Last Monday our leave day we met our French Friend. He took us Home & we spent quite a pleasant day. We had stuffed cucumbers for dinner. I did not like the look of it when the Arab girl servant brought it in, but it was lovely. His aged Mother, a Syrian Dame, lives with him & cooks his meals. His wife is an Epileptic &

[Page 97]

& stays in her Rooms. He lives on the 4th flat in a Building about 1/1/2 mile from Cairo. Although He lives so high up in the world he keeps Poultry & Rabbits. They do not run in the back yard. They live in the flat room. He has 70 fowls & 30 rabbits. The natives keep their fowls on the roofs too. Where there are no fences & plenty of hungry people, the fowls must be cooped elsewhere.

I have just finished my dinner & after a fruitless chase down to the gate to but a watermelon, I am going to try & finish this letter. The sweat is rolling off me. Ellis & Billy have gone for a shower. Dave Niness is lying on the floor of the tent & Earn Thomas is on his Bed. Both are sweating a treat. I have drunk about a gallon of water V I feel I can go on Drinking all the time. We have native pictures of a porous stone & they keep this water as cool as an ice drink. My hand, with writing, is just as if I had plunged in into water. The heat is playing up with the Patients

[Page 98]

Fellows after certain treatments often go out to it. I have just had to go & get a chap taken from the Tents into a ward & have a Prescription made up. The Cooks are getting very poor too. Never mind in about 6 weeks we will be wishing for a bit of warmth, or so we are led to believe by the "wireless" which is just as brisk as ever. We are very stuck for news now. We do not care to run about in the heat. We just try to keep cool from 9 am to 6 pm. We have a route march every morning at 5.30 am. We march out the back gate & round the walls of the next & then along the road to our front gate. Only about ½ mile & it helps to keep us fit. It is nice & cook at that time. The nights are very nice & cook & we sleep well.

We get tinned fruit every dinner hour now & very often blanc mange & jam as well. So we do not burden out stomach with heavy mid-day meals. We get tea for every meal too. We are the only Unit that has ever got that,

[Page 99]

that I know of.

We have very few Patients now, we are getting rid of them very quickly, The sooner the better, as this place is getting too hot altogether.

Well Dad & Mother & George, I have given George, I have given ou all the news such as it is, & I must now end up this letter. Everything is O.K. & the hot weather is easy to stick. When one becomes used to being in a continuous perspiration it is alright. I forgot to tell you that we often have eggs for Breakfast. One day we had a few bad ones, & now as soon as the nigger brings the dixie into the mess room there is a noise as of a farm yard of chickens. Of course you know that it does not turn my stomach over, but Ellis & some of the other Boys go off a bit. One day I had 3 rotten ones but I opened some more & eat them. The 3 rotten ones were on a plate in front of me. Ellis did not touch eggs for a week after. We have had no bully beef for about a fortnight. The steak

[Page 100]

& chops which we have been getting lately are beautiful & tender & jolly sight better than the tack we sometimes got from old MacKenzie. We have received some more ‘Mirrors’ from Mrs Rogers. You must thank her because if we write she will put our names in the "Daily" & we are ridiculed too much, & can’t stand it.

Must go now,

Hoping you are all well & Happy, & to hear from you regularly.

I remain

Your own Boy

Harry XX

[Page 101]

1st Aust. D. Hospital


Dear George,

As it is Your Birthday to-morrow & I may be very busy, I am going to try to write to-night. Ellis & I have packed a parcel which will be sent to the Comfort Club. All our People will go there & receive them. Capt. Clay is taking it Home on this shift. There are many things which you will not understand, but we will be able to tell You all about them when I get Home. We should have sent many other things, but we have been robbed to many times that we are very wary what we buy. I have been trying to get on with this letter for 2 hours, but Billy & Earn having been talking about old Camp Life & I could not get my mind away from theirs. I don’t think I could go through what I had to go through as Warwick Farm again. By Gee! It was awful. Whenever I hear that anybody I know has enlisted, I am very sorry for them. Don’t you bother to enlist. We depend on you to look after Dad & Mum. We know that you would like to come away but let some of those who are over 21 come away.

[Page 102]

[Rest of this letter is written on Y.M.C.A. Mediterranean Expeditionary Force letterhead]

You would be able to get used to the life. But why, why should you come away before the others. Why should you leave a good Home & risk all the illness & disease that is prevalent in an army when so young, when there are so many over 21 who are so much better able to go. I believe there is a rumour that there are 100’s of Manly Boys in this Hospital. It is not true. Manly Mother’s should not worry. We have had very few & they are absolutely cured & will never be troubled again. I am in a ward again now & I have some very bad cases, but we
ought to be moving in a couple of month’s tome & a change will do us good. We are to have a week’s rest but Ellis Dave & I are going to try to spin it out & get our week off in England, & we will go to the Island. Billy is going in a few days time, that is if we are not stopped by the General. Our C.O. has recommended it but the General has not confirmed it Yet. Ellis & I met Captain

[Page 103]

Kenneth Prior of the st Artillery Battery in Groppi’s, one of the large open air Restaurants. His brother Bruce Prior is a Bombardier in the same Battery. We had a great chat. He is not in Cairo now.

We had Sheep’s Tongues for Breakfast this morning. This is the first time that we had them issued. I am sitting on a table, using the window ledge for a writing desk. I can see several Mosques & large buildings. It is lovely in these large Houses. They all seem to have a cool spot somewhere. The Tennis Court is just outside my window. I do not belong to the Club all my spare time is taken up with letter writing. About twice or thrice a week I go to Cairo, but I always go to meet a French Monsieur. He was with Kitchener & General Marchland. The French General who died recently, through the Soudan War as Interpreter. He was wounded twice in the leg in the Retreat from Mons. I had a sail on the

[Page 104]

Nile for the first time last Tuesday. I will tell more about it in a letter to Mum. My hand is too sore to w rite any more this time. My arm aches very much with writing, although I write about 10 letter every mail fortnightly. We have about 20 minutes drill on the desert at the back of Camp every morning now it is quite alright. It is a bit dusty but at 5.30 am it is very cool. We still have nice weather. We have had 3 hot days only so far, & the nights are lovely & cool always.

Well George it is dinner time, Son, & I must to. Don’t worry about Us. We keep well & we want you to see that Dad & Mum are kept well too. We only live for them & we want to see them when we come back. Never mind the war, we can win it without the Boys joining up. You might think that it is great to enlist, but it is alright for men not for Boys. Love to Dad & Mum & Lily and Believe Me.

Your ever loving Brother

[Page 105]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp


Dear Dad,

You letter re the Easter dinner of Duck to hand. Did you kill the old Drake or one of the young ones. We donot have duck but we have good tucker. We have tinned fruit every dinner hour & it is real prime too. We have the very best of everything to eat. Fancy Sandy swimming all the way across the dam. I took him there once & had to carry Him. Did you not feel giddy going across that wall. Did Mum & the Youngsters go with you too. I wrote to George on his Birthday but I have been very tired & unsettled for a few days. I closed my Treatment Hut & passed the Patients on to Ellis & I have gone into a Ward again. Of course everything was upside down & dirty, & it has taken me over a week to get straight & to know My Patients. I have a mate but he is no good as an orderly, so I am getting him "imshied" to-morrow & will get a good mate. I told George that we went sailing on the Nile but gave him no details. Ellis, Billy, Dave & I made the trip & we hired a boat with one of those funny sails. They sail bonzer

[Page 106]

& are twice as easy to manage as an ordinary sailing boat. There are many Bridges as I have told you before, & these boats cannot sail very close to the wind, so when it is necessary to go under a bridge, the boat is steered to a floating jetty arrangement & the natives haul the boat along the rail of the jetty to the other side of the Bridge. One nigger was lying full stretch on his back & Dave splashed water all over his face. I think the nigger must have thought that he had rolled off into the water. We sailed closed to the shore & brought some water-melons & had a good feed & ten landed at the Gardens. We had an Ice Cream & then made for the Anzac Hostel where we had a great feed. We had not eaten anything but water melon since 8 am to 4.15 pm. We then adjourned to the Y.M.C.A. & I beat Ellis, Billy beat Dave, & I again beat Billy. This was playing Billiards at 5 for 100 up. We came Home early because, up at 5 am is rather early. I do not think rising early makes us more tired. I like it much better & as we have a quarter of an hour’s drill every morning we are feeling OK. It is very hot in the

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mid-day but no hotter than 100 degrees in Sydney. It has often reached 112 degrees here but it is quite bearable. How are you screws this winter. It is about time you were rid of the, altogether now. Have you made use of my leggings & oilskin? Has the old creek been over the road yet?

Look after Sandy & Snowy & the Nigger & trusting you all keep well.

I close with Fondest Love

From Harry

P.S. I am also writing to Mum this mail.

[Page 108]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp


Dear Mum,

We were very pleased to hear that our mail was not delayed for of course we write regularly in the hopes of catching a stray mail boat. We have not received your parcels yet but we will get the, by & bye. Never mind sending us any more parcels of soap or clothing. We can get anything in that line almost of the asking. If you can send a Parcel without Comforts with some chocolates & cigarettes & a couple of Pound notes out of my pay in the Bank, we can buy comforts cheaper than in Australia. You know that we may go to a Country where things are cheap but don’t send the money unless you put it in a Registered letter. We have only a few patients now & have a much easier time. We are all to get a week’s Holiday at a Rest Camp at Alexandria. Billy is away this week & the week after next Ellis & Dave & I will be going. The Camp is right on the Beach and one has to hop out of the tent & run about 20 yards into the water. This is what we are

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told but anyway it is quite near the water.

Dave Niness gets his letters now & we always get Yours. We will always get yours. The reason some chaps do not get their letters is because they are moved about from one camp to another & one unit to another. Some times a patient who has been on the Peninsula & wounded gets a bundle of 50 letters. These letters have gone to Malta & to England & back to France & His news is sometime 8 months old. Ellis, Dave & I went for a trip on the Nile yesterday. We bough some melons & shook some tomatoes. I took a tin of peaches that Bess gave me & we had a nice time. We tried to find Choubsah Gardens but failed. We saw a nice residence with a walk by the riverside & pile of nice trees, so although there was a notice on the gate ‘No admittance except on business’ we walked through & ate our meal of melons & sandwiches. Nearly every time we are coming home from Cairo, we pull the tram up & but about 6 melons. That is about a melon a piece. After we have eaten the edible part we use the

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the route. We bring off some very good shots. I have just received a letter & a Photo from my Cousin Jennie. As I came up from the Ward, Dave Niness said Here is a letter from Your Cousin. I picked it up without looking at the envelops & saw Ida. I just said fancy Ida sending me that. Dave remarked I believe she has 3 Brothers. Ellis had seen the Photo & told Him so. I said 3 Brothers be hanged, She is married with 3 youngsters, thinking of Ida. He said that Ellis had told Him that our English Cousins had 3 Brothers. I only then tumbled after a 5 minutes argument that it was my Cousin Jennie & not Ida. You remember Marie’s Photo was like Ida as a girl of 16 but this Photo is Ida at 22 or 23. No doubt if the Photo was taken full faced it may be different but side faced it is Ida. You can realise how near it must be when I state the argument with Dave. Our cousin John Lawton is with the R.E. at Mesopotamia. I will give his full address & you must write to Him Well Mum I think I have told

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You all the news. It is pay night & most of the Boys are out. Billy is at Alexandria for a week’s holiday & Earn has been on leave all day & Dave has just gone to Cairo for a feed of watermelon & a run round. Everything is O.K. & we are Keeping well & happy but we are anxious always as to how You & Dad are keeping & wether George will stay. I must now answer Cousin Jennies letter & by that time it will be quite dark.

Remember me to all enquiring Friends & Trusting that you are all well & Happy

I remain
Your loving Son
Harry X

[Page 112]


Dear Dad, Mother & George,

I am just scribbling a hurried note to say that we have just received our comforts. Billy Ellis & Dave have got theirs & I received a separate parcel from Bess. We have got some bonza stuff & the cake you sent Ellis is glorious. All the other boys will not be able to let their people know this mail, so you can tell them that everything is O.K. There is a bonza breeze blowing now & lights out has just gone. Mail closes to-night so I will have to post this before I turn in. We are in good health & are happy enough & the comforts, which are indeed comforts, will be a great treat for all of us. It was Billy’s Birthday yesterday & we had some wine to celebrate it & Ellis’ cake to-night. Thank Bessie for me & tell her I will write next mail as it is too late to-night. Tell Mrs Allison Billy got his things too. Love to all from Annie’s Room. From loving son & brother Harry
Ellis has missed this mail too. H.

[Page 113]

[Image of back of envelope. Handwritten on it is: Oct. S. ground Mr T. M. Nicholls David Jones Ltd George St Sydney Australia
Also there is one Army post office stamp and one Passes Censor stamp.]

[Page 114]


1st A. Derma Hospital Abbassia Cairo
Dear Mum, Just another short note as the mail goes again tomorrow at 7am. We are in the thick of the hot weather but I might just as well as be sitting on our verandah. There is strong cool breeze blowing. Yesterday it was 108 [degree?] in the shade but it was only what we could call a warm day. We have plenty of water-melon & cool drinks so we are quite at home. Last night Earn bought a rock melon & a water-melon. You should have seen Ellis Billy Dave Vin & Dave Lord & Earn all sitting in a ring round a dish in the centre of the tent belting these melons. I ate mine in my own corner & only water melon. Grapes are coming in now & dates will be ripe next month. The Nile is starting to rise & very shortly we will see water right up to the Pyramids as many of the pictures we have sent We are getting much easier times now but it is just as well. It is a great strain to keep awake in the heat of the day but from 12 to 4 we can sleep if we like as it is our

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Midday rest. We are very probably staying here till the end of the war now. They are giving everybody a week’s Holiday at Alexandria & we are probably going to treat Tommies as soon as our Patients are well. We only have a small number now & nearly all are well on the way. It is peculiar to learn the different places where a Patients come from. I have a Manxman & S.A & Tas. one from W.A. a Victorian & 3 N.Zealanders. A couple from [Q’land?], one from Burwood & another chap who used to live at Manly. Do not tell anybody about this because any Mother who lives in Burwood or who has just left Manly may think it is Her relative: I have no more news now. Mum, so I will close with love to all & trusting that you are all well & happy as it leaves us at present
I remain your own son Harry x

[Page 116]

Sunday 2/7/16

Dear Dad, Mother & George, I have some time to spare & I will try & write a few lines. Yesterday I was in sole control of the whole pavilion of 8 wards, & again to-morrow I will just sit in the Staff Sergeants office & wait for work. This is General Inspection Day. The Major goes round into every Hole & corner of the Camp. He has passed my ward. On Thurs. night last the Remount Unit gave our Patients a Concert. Ellis Billy & I were standing around in different parts of the large YMCA Hut. An old man got up & sang the Village Blacksmith. Billy recognised the voice so after the song was finished, Billy went round to the Stage Door to see the Singer. On his way he met Ellis & He said to Ellis "come with me". there is an old chap I want to give a surprise. Billy found the singer & hailed him as an old Friend. The singer said, Well, I know that you are an old Friend of Mine, but I’m

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hanged if I can place You. He said have I met you in Inverell Ashfield, Burwood or where. He then remembered that he had studied with Billy for the Sanitary Exams at Summer Hill & Ashfield. At mention of Burwood Ellis pricked up his ears & asked if he had ever lived at Burwood. The singer remarked good life I nursed you as a Boy. It was Dick Rowe or R.H.Rowe who lived in Andy Keiran’s place in Condor St Burwood. Ellis did not know him. Ellis then set out to find me, & with our familiar whistle he soon called me out. I did not know him either. His hair is nearly white now & in the dark & meeting him so unexpectedly, I could not place him. Billy & I met him last night at Heliopolis House & enjoyed a couple of hours at the pictures. He met Stewart who is a Corp. in the 53 Battalion, but he has gone away now. He says that Mrs Rowe is not at all well now. He is a game old

[Page 118]

chap to come out here at all. We sent a few sick men home last Friday with 3 of our boys. Ellis, Billy, Dave & I went to see them off. Ellis then went home, but we three went to the Zoo for the day. We spent a good time looking at the animals again. The keepers call them by their names & they come to them. There are some good lions & one lioness has 3 cubs. She is in a separate room & no one is allowed too close. The keeper stroked her like we would stroke a cat. The rhinocerous is a beauty & and although he must weigh almost a ton he makes a squeaky noise like a rat. The hippopotamus came out of the water and opened his mouth for us. You talk about a mouth. I could get in and curl myself around & my feet would not even stick out over his lips. The giraffe would be able to stand below our steps & drink quite comfortably out of our roof guttering. We waited till the Gipps Boys Band had murdered one march & then set off for Cairo. We met Ellis in the Ymca so after tea we had a few games of billiards & and then back to barracks. We are not troubled by the hot weather at all as yet. I have only 18 patients & can do the dressings in about I hour, so I have plenty of time to keep the place nice & sweet & clean. These latter 3 words are very great in all

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Egyptian mouths. Every vendor says about his wares whether they are boot laces or lemon squash, ‘berry nice, berry sweet, berry clean.’ Santo, the rouseabout for the office always greets us with how are you this morning, very clean? He says to Capt. Dawson, how are you, berry clean & Capt. Dawson replies yes Santo berry clean. At present the Arabs are holding ‘Ramadan’ equivalent to our Xmas. They fast for a month. They only eat between the hours of 12 midnight & 5 am. It is strange thing that most of the better class people hold their parties and receptions in the late hours at night & about 1 & 2 am. Dinner is not served till 8.30 pm & after dinner the Kursaal or Cinema & then to Receptions etc. I have met a Frenchman several times coming home on our tram at 930 pm to get dressed. He never goes to bed before 2 am. He says Cairo does not live until 11 pm. Although this is a sunny place I am not a bit darker than usual. The chaps on general duties are burnt but we seldom go out in the sun. We are still in Egypt as you know & are likely to stay. There are many things to see

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yet & we are quite acclimatised now. How are all the animals keeping. We are really interested in tales about the cat & dog & canary too. Does it whistle anymore than when we were at home. We had some lovely apples issued to all by the Red Cross. We are getting a few comforts now as nearly all the other hospitals have moved away from Cairo. Well Dad, & Mother & George, I am not able to think of anymore news likely to interest you so I will say Au Revoir. It is nearly lunch time 12 noon. I will have my usual dinner with tinned fruit, & tea with bread, butter & jam & then a 3½ rest before doing my dressings again. I have a nice mate now & we do well together. I am Matron tonight so I will be pretty tired at 10.30 pm tonight. Matron is supposed to be on duty till 11pm but I generally manage to be in bed at 10pm.

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In anybody wants me they know where to come & if they cant find me, so much the better. I will not have to get out of my bed & go to give a fellow some medicine which I have to kid him is a sleeping draught.
Love to you & all to all my enquiring friends from your own boy Harry xx

[Page 122]

Abbassia, July 12th 1916
Dear Dad, Mother & George, I have no news to give you but I am sending 3 photos which may give you an idea how we exist. The first was taken just after Earn arrived. He is wearing the Tarbush that I send home in your parcel. Don’t think that Ellis reading. He reads the Egyptian mail to see how the war is going but that is all. The second was taken on one of our river trips. We had a good feed on board, water melon being very

[Page 123]

much desired. Billy Dave & Ellis went ashore at a native village to get the melons, Dave being the only one to don his boots. They had to walk along some hot wood planks & then over hot concrete. They hurried along to get off the hot concrete and 100 yards further on ran onto hot sand. They were nearly at a full stretch gallop at 100 yds over the sand & then had to go a couple of 100 yds on asphalt. They pelted for their lives & rushed into the first shop. The native thought that they had come to raid the shop & was just beating

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retreat when they pointed to their feet. They had to make the return journey & you can bet that they had a great treat especially carrying a melon each. No 3 was taken in the little shirt that Bessie sent to me. All the boys, said I ought to have it taken. You will notice that Ellis is lying on the bed in my tent. We have no patients in tents at all now, they are all in the wards. We have only a few patients & in about a month’s time we ought to be finished here. We do not know where we will go then. It may be Port Said or Alexandria but we hope to get to a cold climate. I will close now, Dad, Mum & George. It is the memorable day to day & I have not forgotten it. I hope to hear Kentucky Fire in the old place next year. We are having an easy time & I will be having a week’s surf bathing with Dave & Ellis probably in a week’s time.
Love to you all from Harry x

[Page 125]

1st Aust. Derma. Hosp. Abbassia Cairo 15th July 1916.
My dear Mother, You were a beauty to go & get concussion of the Brain. Fancy the rush of blood giving you concussion. I thought that the knock would have done it. You know we told you to be very careful. This war will last one year or so yet, & we must see you when you are waiting on the old verandah for us. Oh God, what a happy meeting that will be. Don’t work yourself. Use my money to pay for the work. What is the good of the money if we return & not find you hale & hearty to spend many happy days together. I hope by this time that you are really well again. I can just guess the dressing down the Doctor got. Who was the Doctor? Fancy Sandy getting so savage. I am glad that he keeps well. It is good that you have some more kittens. It is about time that Dad got rid of his screws. He has not been free for about 2 years now. Do the salt baths not do any good? I received 12 letters besides the two from you dated 14/5/16 & 8/5/16. We will wait anxiously for further mail now to see how you are all getting along. What sort of work did George do on the farm. He was pretty good at chopping trees. Do you remember the one, he chopped that fell on

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The fence. Whenever it blows hard, Ellis & I think of the time Dad was nearly blown off my bed trying to fix the blind. I am writing in our recreation room to-night. Ellis is Matron & will not be her for a while as he has to go the rounds. We have no tents for patients now, they are all in the wards. We only have about 400. We may go to England in a fortnight’s time. We are only waiting for a boat & we will send the patients to another hospital. I have no work to do at all. I go to the ward but there is only an hours work in the whole day. I play cards or read & write. Ellis has an easy time too. Earn Thomas is permanently attached to the Unit & goes to England with us. I had a day out on Thursday & will proceed to tell you all that happened. On the previous night, I was Matron & did not sleep before 11 pm. I had to be up at 4 pm next day & shave & dress. I had fried eggs & went to the orderly room at 6am. I then got my papers & passes. I had to take 8 convalescents to the Rest Home near the Sultana’s palace at Alexandria. We caught the 7.30 am train. I had a nice ride through cotton fields mostly & arrived at Alex at 11 am. We soon boarded a tram & I handed over my patients at 12 noon. I met one of our Sergeants & Aub Hickson that I stayed at Balmoral with one Easter time. I had dinner

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with the patients who of course get good tucker as they are recruiting their health. Aubrey had a skin disease which is very common over here. He kept losing the skin off his hands. I have seen many such case here & 3 of our staff have had it. I went for a swim you bet. The water near the shore is as hot as anything, but in about 5 feet of water it is lovely and cool. I had tea & sat on the Beach in the lovely breeze for a while & then I had to catch the train at 6pm back again. I was all on my own & I was not going to travel with a dirty lot of Gippos’ in 3rd class, so I waited until the train was ready to move & hopped in the 2nd only Sergeants are allowed to travel 2nd, officers 1st. I met a Maltese chap who had just taken his wife to the seaside for a holiday. He lived in Malta for many years, but he has been all over the world & I had a very interesting 3¼ hours chat. I am going to meet him again. His Grandfather was a Scotch man named George Nicholls, but as the Maltese could not pronounce that name it gradually changed into Nicholas. Alfred is his Christian name. I arrived in Barracks very tired at 1030pm. Last night I was again night ward- master till 11pm so although it is pay night I am too tired to go out to the Concert.

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There are 2 concerts held at the Anzac Hostel every week & all the good Soldier Artists are to be heard there. The Best comedian I have ever heard in Egypt & equal to any I have ever heard, has been out to our YMCA several times & I go every time. I have the Champion Bugler of Egypt in my ward as a patient. He is a beautiful bugler & is ranked as Bugle-Major. I wrote as soon as I received our last comforts. The best way to send is through our Comforts Committee. I had a pair of shorts & a tin of Polish out of it today. Good life! What trousers. They have been cut from a woman’s pattern, but they are very acceptable. The boot polish came in time. I can’t afford 10 ? per tin for boot polish, so I am back to my younger days, when the two horrors of life were boot cleaning & neck washing. I sometimes go 2 weeks without cleaning my boots. It is our day off to-morrow, so we will probably go to some gardens or other. We always take the comforts which you send us on these excursions & buy a few trench rolls as well. Of course we don’t eat the boot polish, as Dave Nivess’ Mother says he does. I remember the exact spot where I got those fern seeds from in Kangaroo Valley.

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It is not a very handsome Fern but it grows bout 4’6" high. Figs & dates are not ripe yet & I guess we will be well out of this place by the time that they are. Major Raffon is in England of course. Well Mum & Dad & George, I hope that you are all well. I am very tired now & out of news now but I must finish this page. Don’t worry about my bringing back a Pommy, Mum. I have no intention of getting married I have no money to get married with & I want to have many goodtimes with Dad & you yet. I can get a wife anytime. Now look after yourselves & spend my money as you wish to keep fit. Does the Doctor say that every rush of blood to your head is going to give mum concussion of the brain. We are very anxious to know the whole trouble & its cause. Give my best thanks to Ruby & Mrs Mac for their kindness. We will not forget them if they are ever in need of help. Now, my dears, I must go to rest as I am quite tired out.
Love to All from your own boy Harry,xxx

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28/7/16 1st ADH Abbassia Cairo

Dear Dad & Mum & George, I am on my own to-day as the Sergeant is off & I have to sit about the office all the time. I have just had dinner & I am writing in the ward set apart by our Doctors for any of our own staff that are sick. We only have 2 in here now & the chap in charge is little Tommy Williams. He is a grand little fellow & the ward is the best in the hospital. We get our boys everything that they ask for & jellies & custards are a change I can tell you from stew & eggs. While I am trying to write the flies very nearly drive me mad. They have very hairy feet & are so hard to drive off or kill. You talk about ducks. I am right off poultry. I never did like it much. A fellow will be sitting down in an open air restaurant & a nigger will come along with about half a dozen naked chickens in his hand. They strip these birds of their feathers before they leave home & sell the feathers separately. Just fancy 6 chickens in each hand dangling before your face &

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Fancy killing & eating them. I have very little to write about this time. I had to go on leave by myself last week, Ellis could not go out & I only met my French acquaintance & went with him to the pictures. I do hope that you are both O.K. & look after yourselves. We are tip-top but we will not get our holiday in Egypt. All the better to have 8 days in England. We must go now we have less than 200 patients & they are getting less every day. I must go now. The flies are awful & I will have to walk about to drive them away. Good luck to you all. We are quite over the hot weather & the nights are beautiful again. Always write to the same address as usual until you get our new one
Love from Harry

[Page 132]

1st A.D.H Same address 31/7/16
Dear George, We get your letters alright now. Sometimes we have long wait but we get them. No doubt Mrs Porman is troubled but what do think Mr Porman could do. Never mind, hope for the best. I am very glad to hear that Sandy is alright. I can see him now in my minds eye, standing looking over the verandah. I had some bonza trips into the bush with him. I hope that very soon, he will hear my own voice & I will be able to take him out for a run. It should be a treat to see the cars & motor bikes spin up the hill when the road is O.K. By Gee! It was awful going that way on the motor. I hope the post does go out to our place. I very often write to Ballararane so that if the Sydney address fails the Manly one may succeed. Where about have they built the Soldier’s Homes. It is to be hoped that a tram will run up the Beacon Hill & the road put in repair. I hope that you help Dad sometimes with our Garden. Did you have any tomatoes or fruit lately? How is the orchestra?

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Keep up your practice. We will be able to have a go at nearly anything then. I sometimes have a go at our piano, but there is no Band or Orchestra Music. Finish Presents. I had to scale home on the tram last night. Ellis & only had a Millieme between us, 1/10 of a Piastre & it was too far to walk. We managed alright & it is pay day today. We are not allowed out at night now for 4 days. It is the Mohommedan Xmas to-day, & they feast & booze without cessation for 4 days. WE must be in Barracks at 5 pm. We went to a French Gentlemen’s house for Dinner yesterday & after Dinner his wife, who is a great Pianist entertained us for a couple of hours. We went to Cairo about 5 pm & sat in the cool, watching the moving throng all the time. We arrived in Barracks very early as we were tired & broke. I am sorry that I cannot write more than 2 pages in answer to your 5, but better when I have more news. Love to Mum, Dad Lil & yourself from Harry
PS. How are you getting on at Andrews Bros? Give my regards to Mr Frost & with hope that He & His wife are well, also yourself adieu H

[Page 134]
2/8/16 Abbassia
Dear Dad, Mum & George, Just another short note, before the mail closes to-night. I have just answered a letter to Marie She has been staying at South port near Blackpool for 5 weeks. Jennie Lawton is spending 3 weeks on Kent. I will be entitled to a short furlough soon. I have been in the Army 12 months at the end of this month. We have practically nothing to do now, so we will have to move somewhere soon. Dave & I had a 3 hours Donkey ride through the oldest

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part of Cairo. We saw some of the oldest mosques in Egypt & we scaled a 20 foot perpendicular cliff to visit Napoleon’s Fort. It is an exact example of the old Forts that were in use in the 16th Century in England. The view is too wonderful to describe. It is possible to see over 20 miles in either direction. We arrived in time to have our dinner at the YMCA but Ellis & Billy had just finished. They would not go across the desert with us & it is just as well. They would have gone mad climbing cliffs & hills

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as bad as the National Pass, with the Temp at 110 [degrees?] in the shade & nothing to drink. My word you should have seen the drinks that Dave & I got rid of. Luna Park, a show on the same lines as our White City has been renovated & is in full swing again with Water Shutes & Scenic Railway. Everything is dirt cheap, 1¼ to go on even the Scenic Rly. The Egyptians give everything half-price to the Soldiers & our own Red Cross people who run the YMCA & Anzac Hostel charge 7½ for a cold shower

Just think of paying for a bath to the Army. Anzac Hostel charge 7 Piastres for a dinner, which a Gippo would only charge 3½ for. A Gippo would give a bath for nothing. We are both well & hope that you are all the same. We are going to Luna Park next Friday. We are not allowed out after 5pm because of the Arab Xmas. Love to all
From Harry & Ellis, our best regards to Mrs Allison & Dad & all the neighbours H

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15/8/16 Same address In answer to yours of 27/5/16 & 4/6/16

Dear Dad, Mum & George, I was glad to hear that Mum is well again but sorry to hear you were sick. What work did they give you inside? I thought that 25% on cost was too good. Of course the firm is not making as much profit as before the war & that may be the reason of the change. How did Vic come to be in Manly hospital? Did you fix it up? I suppose by the time you receive this letter he will be on his way. I hope he lets us know where he is. We are going to England & he may be sent there to train. Will Davies or Tom Porman never write so we do not know what became of them. We remembered George’s Birthday & wrote to Him. We get your mail alright but they have been sent to England & we get them a month later that we aught to. I knew a shop & dwelling would have to make a start but I think he is a little premature especially with a war on. Still it will be handy to us if only for the P.O. Whatever made the doctor say Manly was no good to you. Do you think you aught to move. Jennie Lawton writes much nicer letters than Marie.

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Marie is old-maidish & Jennie has 3 Brothers & is quite a sport by her letters. We were very sorry to hear about poor Al Bowden, but that does not bring him back does it? When does Skete make a move again? Appy is sure to be full as an egg for a while. We had a letter from S. Merrett & he says that Appy is going mad again. S & his wife are very good. They write frequently, first S and then his wife. Was the House shaky or did you want to make sure? S. Merrett told us that the pubs were shut at 6pm It is very good & I hope it lasts forever. As you have changed from an outside job to an inside one, I have done just the reverse. I am on General Duties. All I have to do is stand & watch the fatigue parties water & roll the Parade Ground & road from the Officers quarters to the Gates. The Patients do this work & they do it for something to occupy their minds & a packet of smokes. Of course I stand in the shade & not too far from the canteen where nice iced drinks are to be had. We saw the

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The result of the great Battle on the Canal. I was off duty of the evening of the 8th Aug & I noticed a number of ambulances making toward our hosp. from Cairo. They all went next door. I walked up the road & saw 130 Turkish wounded arrive. They only 1 pair of boots amongst the lot. There were no two uniformed alike. They were in rags absolutely. They had not eaten for 4 days. Some spoke English & they said that they were very happy. The Tommies have taken the Hospital over from our Australian boys. These latter are going to England with us. They are going to Alexandria to-morrow to wait for their Transport. On the following day, we went & saw the arrival of a lot of our own Boys & Tommies. Our boys make not the slightest fuss & with few exceptions not a groan or a moan of pain. They skylark & act the trick as if nothing was the matter. Well Dad, I want to leave something for Mum, so I will wind up. Hoping you are all well & that the Garden will not suffer from your illness
I remain your loving son Harry

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15/8/16 Same address
Dear Mum, Dad & George, I am glad that Mum is off the Doctor’s Books, but you should take the medicine. Your blood has to be kept thinner, & if you do not you will have to have more injections into the arm, & you might get very bad before the Doctor has time to make the injection. You will always have heart trouble unless the blood is thinner & kept thin. We have received a bonza lot of things from Bessie, but unfortunately they are nearly all consumed. I must write again to Mrs Stephen & Mrs Grey. We are very glad that you see a lot of Mr & Mrs Allison. I suppose you both feel the same, & it is nice to talk about our doings. Earn Thomas did cable for money & He received it alright. He has not had one letter from His people, & He has written over a dozen. He does not know where his letters can have gone to. Lizzie Gosper’s husband is a mate of one of our cooks & I knew that he had gone back a long while ago. I saw him in Cairo.
Girls are quite off for me. We have only

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the sort that are waiting for the Bus to talk to. There is nothing in talking to them. I have not had 20 minutes chat with a girl since I left the boat. I wrote about Egyptian eggs in one of my previous letters, & as it is a [?iffy] subject I will say no more. I can eat 8 quite comfortably & not be nearly satisfied, & they are a fair size. Does Mrs Bowen still live in the same old place. I remember Dad & I digging over the tomato patch. I have had one 2 letter from Jule, I think, one for Nancy & 2 or 3 from Hannah. I write to all of them. Young Nic aught to have a good time at our place. I have been up to Luna Park amusement Grounds several times. It is very nice. The water chute is exactly the same as the one we had in Manly, only in this one they don’t guarantee you that you will not get wet. Of course Ellis & I jumped into the front seat & got wet. The nose of the boat is square & makes a lot of splash. The scenic Railway is O.K. & the Brooklyn Cake walk is the same as the one we had on the beach near the Mutoscope. There are several other attractions & a joy-wheel as "Carter" wanted on North Steyne. Half the troops in Heliopolis & in our unit have

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got the skin scraped off their knees from this latter. I am too old to be caught at those monkey tricks. I am on duty till 11pm to-night & there is some work to do. I will have to go & get water hot to put foments on two men. I have taken to Tennis during the last two days, & I can have a little exercise after tea at 5pm now. It is lovely & cool at night now, & standing out in the sun is cool. There is generally a bonzer breeze blowing. I must go and put in an hour dressing now & as it will be late when I come back, I will close for tonight. My regards to Mr & Mrs Stephen, all next door & Ruby & the Macs, & all my enquiring friends & with regards from Annie’s Room from your loving son Harry

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24/8/16 Same address

Dear Dad, Mum & George, It is just getting dusk ad I sit down to write. Ellis & I have been for a stroll on the roof in the rather boisterous breeze. It has been very windy & dusty to-day. I am doing night work now from 7pm to 7am. I put in the time by trotting round the wards & doing a little dressing. I am always finished at 9pm & I spend the time till 12pm by writing or reading in Ellis’ treatment room at the end of the pavilion verandah. The tents are all packed up & sent to ordinance, & all the boys have occupied the empty wards. Ellis sleeps in his treatment room on a bed from the adjacent ward. The rest of the boys have to put their mattresses on the floor. At 12pm I get onto a shelf in Ellis’ room & go to sleep till the Guard wakes me at 4.30am. I then go & rouse all patients who are discharged, so that they may dress & breakfast, & be out of the Barracks by 6am. I go off at 7am & get ready for brekkey at 7.45am & after the meal is over I take my mattress to a shady spot on the roof & read or write but not sleep. 4½ hours sleep is plenty I never get half so

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tired now. I miss all drills & parades. In over 6 weeks, I have done 1 hour’s route march & 3 drills. Now I miss all tedious parades & drills & marches. I still play the piano for Church Parade & seem to manage well enough, anyway I have not been counted out yet. We received your parcel of May 3rd last night, & we were very delighted. We were in need of shaving powder, & the soup will be wanted in a colder climate. Colgates put tooth powder up in the same sort of tins, & Ellis made a slight mistake. He grabbed the wrong tin & cleaned his teeth with soap. He did get in a mess. I have about 6 cakes of good soap in my kit now, in case we have to travel. I still have the small cake of Colgates soap that George gave me. On my last day of [indecipherable] Billy, Dave & I went through the Mouski (Bazaar) admiring brass work. It is lovely workmanship & very quaint & interesting to watch it being done. We all went to the Y.M.C.A. for dinner as usual. Ellis & Billy went to the Nile for a drive while Dave towelled me up at Billiards. Last Sunday Dave, Ellis & I witnessed one of the oldest Egyptian ceremonies. I did not stop to the feast, but

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Dave & Ellis did. Of course they did not feast. The Governor opens the Ceremony Feast at 9pm but only the heads have the feast, like the comforts committee. Ellis sent a paper which will tell you more about the "Cutting of the Khalig." I must adjourn for a while & do a few dressings.
We have not been vaccinated or inoculated since I told you last. These things are very necessary & save thousands of lives. Why the Devil didn’t George go to Government House. I would not have missed it for anything. Everything is right about the Comforts now. Mr Teece is a molly-coddle but a gentleman, Dave Niness makes him mind his p’s & q’s. Dave has him bluffed & talks to him like a Dutch Uncle.
I was sorry to learn that Dad has his wheezing again. I can see cough mixture & rubbing of chests & sundry other a.w.e. jobs going on. Did Dad sleep inside? Never mind the garden. Try & get some creeper to grow over the rocks. We will fix the garden when we come back. I suppose the nectarine tree near the kitchen window

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is ‘some’ tree now. Ellis is making coffee & as we have some tinned apricots & fresh tomatoes, salt & bread & butter, we will have a nice little supper I always have supper now. I have 4 meals a day instead of 3. This night job is absolutely the best I have ever had in my life. Tomorrow I will probably have to go off it, but I have had a good innings. It is about 10.30pm now & nearly everyone is in bed. I can hear the donkeys clitter clatter as they pass on the asphalt road outside the barracks. I am out of news, if you can call the foregoing news, so I will go & finish a couple of dressings & by that time it will be nearly time to get on the shelf. I am well also all the other musketeers. We hope & trust that you will never be sick again, until we are at home to nurse you. Regards to all enquiring friends, Mrs Hennessey Mrs Niness & Ali & Dad Ali & Mrs Thomas & Jean, Your loving Harry.

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Abbassia Aug 27 1916

Dear George, Dad & Mum, we received the Sydney Mail o.k. & George’s letter of the 18th June. You should try & keep as many Mails as you can too, because there are many Egyptian scenes that we could describe in the photographs. You save your money George. We like you to send the Mail but we see it in the Y.M.C.A. & other places, & if you keep a copy every week we will be able to tell you all about the Egyptian scenes, when we come back. We are very pleased of course that George has had a rise in position. You want to keep your knowledge George. Never tell a sole anything about your business. Use your head you know. We were sorry to hear about poor Ally Bowden & also that Ronnie has been so ill. Give Ronnie our regards & tell him that he knows his duty better than anyone else, whether to enlist or look after his poor old mother. You were a mug George not to go to Government House. It would have been alright. You need not have made a speech, & you would have a backsheesh feed anyway. What sort of tweed did you get for dad? I suppose a very dark grey & a striped trousering. What do you think of the Broadway, it’s good isn’t it. I had very many good times up there. I used to chat very often with little [indecipherable] Husband. You ask Julie, she will show her to you. She wears glasses & helps Julie on the top floor. It is Sunday to-day & I have played the piano for church again.

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We have no work & have permanent leave passes from 9am to 9.30 pm. Ellis & I & all Annies Room are picked to go to England, & we are only waiting for the boat. The new staff have taken over the hospital & we have only to eat our meals & sweep out our wards before breakfast. The life would be o.k. if we had money but everyone is on the rocks. We are to be paid to-morrow & it is just as well. I am sending two photos, one of some Turkish Prisoners who were transported from near the No3 General Hospital to a new internment camp at Zeitoun, where the Australian Soldiers were in camp before The Peninsula & afterwards. The other one is taken from Napoleon’s old fort. The Building with the steeples is Mohamet Ali Mosque on the Citadelle. It is surrounded by a great wall & is really a fort itself. There is a prison & Barracks & Hospital for pommies in there. The Gippos are allowed to go to Church but Civilians & Soldiers without special permit are not allowed in. The wards are so many & intricate in position that ward orderlies get lost sometimes. The photo was taken from the tower of the fort. The Pyramids are directly in line with the Mosque but the photo does not show it. I have no money to gain experiences by, George, so I only go to Cairo & have dinner & play a few games of billiards & back to Barracks again. I will go to Luna park to-night & watch the fun. I have a couple of Piastre left so I will be able to pay to go in & watch others go on the different side shows. There is much more

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fun watching others on joy-wheels or rather off joy wheels, & in encircling barrels & human toboggans. Well George I must close now as I absolutely cannot think of anything to write about. Give my regards to Mr Frost & thank him for the Illustrated Paper he sent to me. Also give my regards to Lily & the neighbours & I hope that Ada [Fewell ?] & Vic are o.k. now I must answer some more letters now. Love to Dad, Mum & yourself from Harry. Dave & Billy & Ellis & Earn all send regards H.

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Same address always till further notice 30/8/16
Dear Dad, In answer to yours of the 16th July. I am sorry to say that I shan’t be able to enjoy the fruit this year, but [Ma-lish,?] next year it will be much better. It is a scheme I thought much about, that land next door. Would it be possible to buy the two lots. I suppose it is too much, but we can at least have Mrs Todd’s piece. We will be able to extend the 10ft verandah then & build a billiard room. As for the other business why not. If only in a small way it will be something to do & you can make a bit on it surely. Never mind about paying me interest. You can have that backsheesh. Don’t let Sutherland get in on you. The piece next Mrs Doyles is very broken & low. He can build what He likes there. Let us know how you get on. Certainly buy it if only for a Billiard room & a few more fruit trees. I was always sorry that I did not buy that land myself. It will not need to be fenced for a long while & then only front & back. We can get the other shifted over & grow a hedge where the present one stands. How did you get on with the bathroom? We have lovely showers here & water closets. We have no work at all. The Hospital has been handed over to a new

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staff & we only loaf all day. I thought of you both on July12th & got out my colours. How is poor old Mrs Clayton? Mum must have looked o.k. I did not think she would ever have the chance to wear it on the town hall platform on July 12th. What sort of a pal did you have up in the Gods. We had a lovely seat last time didn’t we. How did you find your way to Cuneo’s. You say You met mum there? Isn’t Mr Cuneo a grand old chap. He can talk on anything & is a very fair man. The girls are great sports too. I had a letter from each this mail & they were all so pleased that you went out to see them. I’ll bet you had a good time. Mum said in one of her letters that she was going to see all the Mothers & show our letters. I suppose she only means Mrs Ali &Hennessey & Niness & Thomas. Don’t show them to any of the rest of the canaille. Not that they are all bad but Mothers may be better than their sons, or vice, versa, & we may be very much against some boys here, whose Mother’s mum speaks to, everything that is written comes back again enlarged on. I will now proceed to answer Yours of 23 July. I received this letter 4 days before that of the 16th but that is only a trifle. I believe that you were short

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of water in Sydney. I have never seen out dam low. I have heard that you have had rain since so I suppose everything is o.k. again. I am always glad to hear that you have visitors. Mum wants company & the more the merrier provided it is of the right sort. Well Dad, I have no news at all to give you. I have occasional trips to the Y.M.C.A. for billiards & others to Heliopolis to the Pictures but nothing else happens at all. We have an hour’s drill before breakfast & Tommy Williams from the office, - you know little Tommy the pay master at one time, - & I have a few games of tennis occasionally so I deep fit. Give my regards to Frank Blackwell & Mrs & Mr Allison & hoping to hear very shortly that all’s well & again love to Mum & George, I Remain your Loving Son Harry

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Egypt 30/8/16
Dear Mum, Dad & George, I have received 14 letters this mail so you can just guess that I have to go for my life to get them answered by tomorrow. I am glad that you got the parcel o.k. That shawl you gave to Bess was only cheap more for ornament than anything else still she deserves something. I cannot buy anything now. I want the £5 I have when I get to the land of ice & snow. It does not matter whether we get the parcels in time mum. We get them all the same & that is good enough for us. Fancy George being an A.M.C. Corporal too. He is camped in a good spot too, quite handy. I am also pleased that you have joined the Brookvale Worker’s Association you can always be discreet & go into any society without making yourself in the same class. Some of the Brookvale crowd are pretty low down but that does not matter. I hope you had a good night at the sale. I have received a letter this mail from Elsie & May Miles. They are two bonny girls. This first part of my letter is in answer to yours of the 9th July. I will now go on to the letter dated 23/7/16. I hope that you

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are not disappointed when you go to Manly for my letters & do not get one. I don’t always write to the Manly Address. It will be o.k. when the Post office is at the corner. Do you buy things there. It will be very handy if at all reasonable. We hope that you will like the few little things that we sent home by Capt. Clay. Stan McGowan has stones in the bladder & had to go to Australia for treatment as Summer just coming on it was no use trying to do anything here. Fancy Ethel with a baby. I hope the poor little beggar goes on alright. Jack Gillespie must have been born under an unlucky star. He has never been out of trouble since he joined up. I hope that he does not lose his eye. [Never mind] Hang the Xmas Billy. Send us money. When we get away we will cable through Cooks for money both for Xmas & from our own money. We will want money to travel about I am sure. Get George to write and tell us all about their camp experiences. We do not work & have leave everyday from 9am to 9.30pm. It is very nice but as we have no money we cannot go anywhere. It is just as well. We rest or write & yarn & although time hangs a bit heavy, we must wait. You will excuse a short uninteresting letter. We have no experiences in such an idle life. Bess, Laura & Nell all wrote to me this mail & they were very happy

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to have had you & Dad there. They are the most hospitable people I have ever had to do with & I must try & give them all a good time when I come back. My regards to the neighbours & love to Dad, George & yourself [Love] from Harry.

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Dear Mum, Just a few lines on Your Birthday in answer to your letter dated 27 June. We have been in a change of air camp for a week’s holiday, & it was just lovely to be dipping in the briny again. We had good meals & concerts & only ½ a mile to the surf. We had to lie down on the sand again but it was nice clean sand just as if we were camped on North Steyne Beach. I was standing with our Bugler talking to one of the Aust. Flying Corps & I seemed to know his face. Most of the Flying Corp. came from Victoria so I did not bother asking his name. But as he spoke his face became more familiar, so I asked if he had ever been in Sydney &he said yes. I said in Manly or Burwood & he claimed Burwood. His name is Charlie Gibson, Frank Gibson’s brother. He used to play in the old Burwood Band. You remember he lived in Spring St. It is 17 years since he left N.S.W. he is Bandmaster & a Corporal late Sergeant. At Damanhour on the way from Cairo to Alexandria, I made Ellis get out & talk to him. he knew Ellis better than I he used to nurse Ellis. After a few days at Sidi Bishr we came into this camp at Mustapha.

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Dear Mum, things have been umtyte-do, since I started your letter shifting & packing etc so now I make another start on the 10th Sept. We have to lie on sand & have all the old inconveniences that we had at Warwick Farm as to sleeping. The tucker & other things are better though. The beach is only 5 minutes walk & the train 5 minutes the other way. I have just had my letters given to me. As I was away from the Unit I only got my mail late yesterday when I joined up. I have now received 14 more so I have 17 letters to answer. I answered one from Auntie Annie this morning. She extends a warm welcome to Ellis &I &our mate. We are going to take Dave Niness & he is ever so much better as a pal than Billy. Don’t show this letter to Mrs Alli as it will cause jealousy & we don’t want to fallout. I am glad that you have palled up with Mrs Williams. Old Dave as we call him, is a good old sport. As J.M. is O.K. is a jolly good friend to us. I shook him up about not writing but our Lieut. is a worry, Bella Teece you know, & he is always pesting the life out of Dave. I have not received the cake yet mum, but I will get it in England in time for Xmas, so everything will be o.k. My hanky’s are getting holey, so the new ones will be very welcome. As Dad is sending us some "feloos" [indecipherable] well we will

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very glad to get the Billies. I said not to bother about the Billies, but this is why I said it. I have enough face rags & soap & nail brushes to start a box & hawk around Cairo like an Arab, & in these billies they generally put a face washer & a nail brush. I have half a dozen cakes of soap & I can always square Mr Williams if I want anything at all. You must not let any of the Unit know this though, because Mr Williams will get into trouble. I do not smoke many cigarettes now, & we had a lot issued just lately, & they will last till the others come along. I have 2 Khaki shirts now, & with the silk one I will as well equipped as an officer. How did the spuds turn out. I suppose you will have eaten all the fruit by this time too. Well Mum I will now start to answer your letter of the 30th July. I will not say anything about the trouble at the Comforts Committee, everything seems to be right again by your later letters, so I am glad that all trouble are over. Mrs Stephen is very good to do what she has for us. She is a real good pal. Give her my love & tell her I will write again, as soon as I have answered these 18. I have just received a

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letter from George in camp & he is doing well, & it is quite an experience for him. Dad said nothing about the chickens, so although they are fowls now, we will be pleased to hear about them. I am now about to answer your long letter of the 9/7/16. I had a 3 days touch of my old complaint, so it was nothing to worry about. I have only had that one since I left Sydney, which is less than I had in Civilian life. I am now writing in Kitcheners Home near Gen. Abercrombie’s Monument. It marks the place where the General fell mortally wounded in 1801, but was not raised till 1901. It is 5 minutes from our camp in the village but inbounds. We did not know what to send George. Anyone of those things were for George. I will look around to see if I can get anything. I have something in my bag for him. An ink stand of Brass representing a Sphinx, but it was too heavy to put in the other tin. It is only small but solid brass. We have had to form a new tent party at this new camp of 10 in a tent. Billy & Earn & Ellis & I are still together & young Linden is in our tent also. He is a nice quiet little fellow & is doing good work with the Electric Light Plant. [High has gone to Head]? Young Linden has just come into the writing room & is going to write to his mother now. He is a bonza chap.

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Quarters & all that staff are Sergeants. He is a good writer, & a typist & shorthand expert, & a smart little fellow so he will be a good man at his work. He is a spoilt child & you know how & what they are. At heart he is a good fellow, & when one gets used to his ways is a good comrade.
I hope Miss Valentine has a good time with you & recuperates fully. Let her sleep in my bed on the verandah. I hope poor Mrs Mac is well strong again too. She has a rough hard road to tread. Give all the Mac & Park’s family our best wishes I am glad that your Brookvale concern is going strong & I hope that all the works for Soldiers will be successful.
Well mum, I have answered 3 of your letters & I have 3 of Dads & one of Georgies to answer yet, & then about 12 others so I must answer them as quickly as possible. We may get only 1 hours notice to go on the boat. Heaps of love to Dad, George & yourself From Harry.
PS Better not let anybody read this. There is likely to be trouble out of it. Dave & Billy send their regards Harry

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Mustapaha Egypt. 10/9/16
Dear George, yours of the pretty writing paper to hand & I am going to answer it as best I can. All my stray letters turned up this mail & I have 18 altogether. I think by all accounts mum must be pretty right now, but I know that you will watch her. We get pretty good grub as a rule but we only get army rations now, so no butter is served & the bread is not as good as we got in Cairo. How do you like the Hospital orderly job. You wait till you have to go at our game. Gee what sights & stinks. I was on night duty for a while from 7pm to 7am, but I used to get on the shelf in the Sergts. Office & sleep from about 12 [?] till the guard wakened me at 4.30am. I do not remember Mabel Parker. It is not Wally Parker’s sister is it? I saw where Wally is in France & still doing well. Someone sent me about 20 dailies. Rube Charles I think anyway not Mrs Rogers. I don’t recognise the writing at all. I hope Sandy still lives when we get home. I wonder if he will know us. Nevermind the mail George. Buy a

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copy each week & save them all up, also any old copies, & we will be able to tell you a lot about a lot of the pictures. We sleep 10 in a tent now on a dusty sandy floor. We have such a heap of Kit that all our bags have to be stacked outside day & night. It blew a hurricane to-day & you can just imagine what a state our things are in. Fancy young Bill Gosper being in your tent. I do not remember Sid Morgan. You are not ‘masseusse’ you are masseur. The former is feminine in French, & of course only a nurse can have that job. It is hard work but you may get stripes & a Corporal’s job is the best. You tell the coves that got the ‘pox’ off the seat, that is a rotten place to take a girl. Only one case in a 1,000,000,000 is got that way. They have got if from women. We have treated about 12,000 & over 35,000 have gone through the hospital & we have not struck one case yet. It is a pretty nasty job cleaning up after fellows isn’t it. Wait till you get a fellow that is paralysed from the stomach down, who does everything like a 6 months’ old

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Baby without knowing it. I don’t know whether any of you will be able to understand the writing, but I have a rotten pen on bad paper, & I am writing my hardest. As soon as I have any good news & more time, I will write again. We had some little ‘shoots’ of about 30 yards at the change of Air Camp as Sidi Bishr. One chap was bathing & as we go in naked a fish took a nibble at the wrong bait, & he had a nasty swelling. We have met Tommies from all over the British Isles in that Camp. I was casually talking to a man from Glasqie this morning, & he lived quite near & was an acquaintance of Mr Flaherty, the father of Mrs Bimson. The world is small isn’t it. Well George I must go now & make a start with Good old Bessie’s letter. Love to all at home & remember me to the Club Boys, & Mrs Keirle & the neighbours especially Bunny Doyle who gave us many a lift. Love from Harry.

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Mustapha 10/9/16
Dear Dad, This is in answer to yours of the 28/6/16. Don’t think that the heat cures rheumatics. It draws them out & I have seen many fellows with the ‘screws’ over here. Glad to hear that the dahlias were good. Did any of the roses on the big bed near Parks’ do any good. Arthur Cohen never takes his dahlias out. I suppose George is equipped the same as us now he wears that tunic of mine. It is a bonza. It is hanging in the wardrobe. I hope you wore my leggings & oilskin, & used my umbrella, if yours were worn out of course. Give my regards to Ada Fewell & tell her that I hope she has no more trouble. I wrote to Aunt Annie this morning. She says she has written to you also, & has had no answer. Ellis wrote saying that we had received the family group. It is a lovely photo. I was mad when I wrote to George about the letters in the Daily. We are only a few months ago free from ridicule about it. Everything is allright now as long as no more go in.
Now in answer to yours of the 9/7/16. I am glad that you like the presents. I did not send Georgies & overlooked

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the fact that I had not told you, I told mum all about the two boys you asked about. Dr Clay has forgotten all about me by now. We were very glad to hear of Georgies good fortune & it will be a great lift for him. We will be glad to get the money. Dad it will just be all right. We will be able to go to see Cousin Jennie & also Auntie Annie when we get our furlough. We will cash the notes in England I hope. It was very good of Otto to think of me. He is a grand fellow & with a mate like him & another in Dave Niness, I can always have two absolutely faithful & pure friends. We are always pleased to hear that mum has company, she must be her old self again if she is spring cleaning. How does the old mop go now?
We had a lovely holiday at the seaside before we came here. There were no parades or roll calls & leave everyday from 1.30pm to 11pm. I walked all round Alex. with Ellis & Dave & 3 other chaps who were tent mates with us. We tried to find some old Roman & Greek Catacombs but failed. We may find them another time. On the following day 11 of us went sailing all round the Harbour &

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outside the heads also. There is a great breakwater round Alex harbour, about 1½ miles long I think. The sailors of the War Ships swim in the harbour. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, there were 50 of us & I spent the best holiday for a long long time. We are not in such a nice place now. The shore is a bit rocky, but at the other place which is only a few miles & inbounds, the Beach is glorious & the water as clear as glass. It is 6.30 now & I am only on my 3rd letter so I must go for my life. I have no more news Dad we may go any day, & yet not for 3 weeks. I hope that you are all well, & trust to hear again from you shortly. Auntie Annie wrote a lovely letter & says that when we go to the Island she will come to Dongles Pier to meet us.
Now I must go wishing Mum, George & yourself the best of health & with love to you all. I remain yours always Harry.PS Excuse the hurried, crisp & snappy letter. I may not get the chance to write again for a week.

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12/9/16 Egypt
Dear Mum, tomorrow will be 12 months since we went into camp, but this is the 365th day of our soldiering. We are weary no longer as we enjoy our swimming & bread & marmalade does not make one lazy fat. But we are only sojourners for a few days. I am glad to learn that Aul Kelly is joining up. He is a good lad with a very big heart. Don’t expect Harry Taubman to go. Harry is doing much more good at home. You take it from me, that he was most anxious to go & Billy & I know why he stays. He is having a H…[indecipherable]

on earth & nobody knows hit position. Harry is white all through & a braver heart was never given to any man, so don’t you think as others do that he is frightened of a bullet. You are having [meets?] after long years too. I will drop her a card. It is nice to meet our own relatives. Look how good & nice our North Sydney cousins are.
I have found our more about our camp. It was a grave yard & 50 yds from our tents lies a cemetery, which belongs to the mosque quite adjacent & the 3rd oldest in Egypt. The part whereon we now lie, was blown up in the battle of 1801. Bits of mortar and stone lie everywhere now. & one of

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Sergeants picked up a human finger bone yesterday. I can tell you that the place is very dirty & surfing is doubly welcome to help keep us clean. I had 8 letters from you & dad, one from George, 2 from Bess & Ida Nelson, 27 all told. I answered your first lot immediately and the day following I got 3 more & these are those which I am answering. When at Sidi-Bishr we were surprised to see so many pianos. Nearly every canteen had one, private refreshment rooms I should have said. I saw a Ronisch grand in Ebony in one place & only about 6 years old. Some were "Kettelly" but most

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were good pianos. We had good concerts every evening. It was glorious those 5 days. No parades or anything to worry us. It was the best 5 days since I left Australia. Ellis & Dave were with me. Billy was in the very first party to go down. Some months ago. Well mum I only wrote two days ago, so I have no news. Our "Black" Bags with our kit are dancing somewhere on this lovely sapphire blue sea, which I can see out of the window.
Now mum, look after yourself & trusting to see you all well in a few months time, I say adieu, which is not good-bye but means " I commit you to God".
Love to Dad & George, & the neighbours one & all, & Mr & Mrs Keirle & Mabel,

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Mustapha 12/9/16

Dear dad, just received your letters of the 3rd & 9th July. The mail has all been mixed up but we will be right now we hope.
I had to get out of the canteen as it also a mess room & the Tommy orderlies wanted to lay the table. The Tommies set all the tables & serve the food out before anyone is allowed in the hut. It saves all arguments & greedy men only get their share. I will leave all business matters to Ellis. He has all sorts of schemes. My only scheme is to get back & then talk. I expect the war is on its last legs now & we are [indecipherable] to be home for the fruit next year. What did you shift out of Mum’s room to put the wardrobe in. About the land next door. You can see which is the best. If you think it likely that we will all go up the country, well it does not matter much. It is a nice place for you & mum & we can always let it, especially if it were a little larger by a big verandah. Fancy being back on the Konowra. I may take a trip on that lovely Adelaide steamship Co’s Boat the Warilda. Censors are very strict, savez. Ma feesh, [cream?] ponies

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& gharry rides. We will take a motor. We have numerous gharry rides over here, & we now wish for a faster mode of locomotion. I have not had a letter from Jennie lately. She went on holidays & probably addressed my letters to the English Base as I told her but we get a free pass to Scotland, & I will try & alter mine to Grimsby. I am writing in the Y.M.C.A of the Camp. It is glorious weather & cool. I can see the "Blue" Meditteranean & it is really very, very blue. We went for a 4 mile march this morning after breakfast but it was so cool, in sight of the sea nearly all the time. As soon as I arrived
back, you can bet I wasn’t out of the water long Ellis is O. Corp. to-day & has to stay round the lines all the time. We will take Billy to some places, if he will come, but Dave is our mate now as well. We can’t all get off to-gether, some have to go on leave different days. Well Dad, I only wrote two days ago, as I have no news that would pass the Censor, so you can see that it is very important news to us, & possibly only 3 days more.
Love to Mum & George & heaps for yourself from Harry N.B. For perfect weather this is the place H.

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Dear Dad, I have just received you registered letter & it has caught me in Egypt just by a 48 hour stroke of luck. The money will be very handy. It will pay our passage to the Island & back & that is what we wanted it for. I am Orderly Corporal to-day on the anniversary of my going into camp. I am sleeping in a worse place than Warwick Farm but not for many more days. My next bed will be clean I know. I have heard about the chicks in this letter. I see that you are already getting the farmyard going. I am sitting in the camp canteen-mess & the gramophone is playing away all the old Manly Band tunes. I have no news Dad as I have written to you for the last two days. I received 3 more letters this day & 2 papers. One from Mrs Whitehead & Mrs [Merrettous?] & yours which I am now answering. The orderly Sergeant has just sung out for me to go & write the last batch of passes for Egypt.
I am well also Ellis Billy Earn & Dave. I must go now. Love to Mum & George & trusting you are all well.
I will say Au Revoir Love from your loving son Harry
14/9/16 All’s well. H.

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Image of Back of envelope addressed as follows.
Mr T M Nicholls
David Jones Ltd
Geo & Barrack St
Sydney Australia
Signature Lieut RA[indecipherable]

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Letterhead as follows
With the Australian Imperial Forces.
 Address reply to 1st A.D.Hospital 29/9/16 Military Camp at O.A.S

Dear Dad, Mother & George,
It was on the 14th Sept, that I last wrote to you all & I have travelled some since then, so I will try & relate the most interesting things that have happened since that date.
On the morning of the 15th inst. we marched to the tram from Moustapha, only 5 minutes march and special trams took us right down to the Docks. We went on board the Gloucester Castle about 11am & took up our quarters on the lower promenade deck [aloft?] the engines. We camped on deck for the 3 days steam to Mudros Harbour Lemnos Island. The Scots Guard who are stationed on the wharf treated us to bagpipe selections & a gramophone was reeling off music for 5 or 6 hours. The last tune that I heard as we pulled away from the wharf was "Fishers Hornpipe Melody". We had a calm voyage through the archipelago & lovely food. We sailed from Alex. at 5pm on Friday the 15th. On the morning of the 16th about 5.30am a Sister woke all those boys who were sleeping on the starboard side of the deck, myself included, to ask if one of our party had gone overboard as one bed was empty.

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It is a long time since I have had such a thing as a lady in my bedroom. On Sunday we had Church parade & I played the Hymn tunes. We were passing the Island of Patmos at the time. Most of the Islands are only blessed with one small village, of course I mean the large islands. The small ones of course are desolate of all but rock. Most villages that we saw were perched as far to the tops of the hills as possible. It is said that it was to avoid the quick raids of smugglers or pirates. They are mostly built of white, probably marble in some cases. On Monday the 18th we sailed into Lemnos & went aboard the "Aquitania". You can read about the Aquitania in Cook’s Guide Books. I counted the steps from the upper promenade to our deck, elevation steps I mean, 130 altogether. I was only on G deck & there were 3 decks lower than ours. While at Lemnos I saw a dirigible baloon, & several man-o-war craft of every type. We left Lemnos on Wednesday, 20th Sept. We made good pace, about 20 knots or so, & on the following afternoon we saw the coast of Sicily to the North. Next day we sailed in sight of the Moroccan Coast most of the

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time we sighted a submarine but do not know what breed she was. I avail myself of the ships library & pick a book all about Grimsby just to learn a little about the place. We had herrings or bloaters for tea. The boys gave a concert & General Street ? presided. "He remarked we know that the Australians can fight & we have learnt to-night that they can also sing." on 23rd Saty. we sighted Spain & at 5pm passed the Gib. I always thought that the Gib was right at the end of the Straits ( Niness will jabber & a cove at the end of the hut is practising a big brass instrument like E.Scully plays so excuse mistakes) but it is about 2 miles from the Atlantic. We saw two Nth African Towns right opposite Gib. but I forget the names of them. The Gib. is a wonderful Rock but you learnt all about it at school & one can only see the outside. We saw porpoises in schools in the straits which are 7 miles wide. I went below for tea, smoked fish being the meal.
I was orderly Corp. on Sunday & with about 6000 aboard it was easy to miss Church Parade.

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We passed a school of whales at 5pm. Some say they were dolphins & some porpoises. I never knew of either of those animals of the deep blowing a spout of water oft in the air. There were dozens of them & two came within a ¼ of a mile of the boat. We passed Finisterre Light House & entered the Bay o Biscay oh' about 8.30pm. We met with nothing rough in the Bay & entered the Solent or Southampton Roads on the morning of the 26th Sept. It was misty but cleared up before lunch, & we were able to see the Gardens of Osbourne House, where Queen Victoria died & Cowes on the Isle of Wight & Portsmouth dock on one side & the Top of Netley Hospital on the other, the English side we were much struck by the numbers of destroyers seaplanes & aeroplanes. Next morning we put into the wharf, & in drizzling weather the Patients were dispatched to various hospitals. After tea all the Australians 350 all told, tried to get out for a roam round the town. We walked about ½ a mile to the gates but no go. Some of the Boys chatted with the P.O. Girls who were really nice, & it was quite a

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treat to see good English people & hear them talk. I took a walk to one of the Dry Docks & saw a Monitor that was lying up for repairs. She had been hit by a torpedo right at the Bows, but managed to struggle home. She has a lookout like a navy crows nest without the upper part of the mast & the crows nest is armoured like a turret of course. She carries 15" guns, only two I think & only draws 8ft of water, & is built like a tank steamer, [the] which we have seen in Sydney Harbour with sides thus: [diagram of a deck and sides] We had supper of cigarettes, bananas & chocolates. Dave, Ellis & I.
Next morning in glorious, aye perfect weather, we boarded a special & after a couple of hours train journey, in 3rd carriages which would quite equal our first, through Hampshire into Wiltshire we came to Tidsworth training camp. We had a 4 mile walk from the station to this place along a good road. We passed under pines & tall chestnuts, through hedged lanes, hedged with blackberry vines & wild roses, the roses alas, having

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fallen. The boys when able helped the blackberries to fall too. We had no dinner & bully beef & bread butter & jam, margarine. I should have said, for tea. This latter is quite palatable & infinitely better than Gippo camel's milk butter. We passed through lovely country on the way up, but it is absolutely country. Everything is exactly as I pictured it from the hundreds of books I have read. The well kept hedges, although not in bloom, & the gardens which are still rich with beautiful flowers, serve to show us that this is indeed the beautiful England in the springtime. Last night Billy, Earn & I walked back to Tidsworth. It was nice going but we were pretty leg weary coming back, although we took cuts through the fields & through the gaps in the hedges. It has been raining all day today, & my overcoat has been unrolled for the first time for 4 months, & on my back for rain protection first since I left Australia. We sleep in huts & just as well. Some fellows can't sleep for the cold, but I don't notice

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it, & we will soon be having a fire in the hut. I am feeling lovely, & as we only do drill here & mostly marching, we get nice & warm in quick time. It is lovely marching through the lanes & villages, but I suppose in a weeks time I will be wanting a change of scenery. We are camped higher on a hill, & we can see for miles over the plains, & the trees & hedges are still in full bloom. Stone Henge is only 7 miles away, & the original chestnut tree of the village blacksmith 5 miles, but they are out of bounds, so I do not expect to see them. I sent a cable as soon as I arrived in England so I hope you got it quickly, & told all your mates that we are all here together.
I must go to tea now. We have not had a hot meal for 36 hours, so we will be quite happy to get a change from cold bully beef, & bread & jam. We had very good grub in the Aquitania, & lovely quarters to sleep if the engines had stopped till we got to sleep.
I will write again soon, when I get established in my new hospital.
Love to all, & tell those of my friends not to be disappointed at not getting a letter.
We are too unsettled to write much

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to anyone se we can only send a card now & again.
I am quite happy & contented & very soon I hope to be in our own Hospital.
Love to all, From Harry,
PS The boys all send their love, H

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H.M.H.S. Aquitania, Southampton 26/9/16

Dear Dad, Mum & George,
We have just arrived in dear old England. It is a nice place what we have seen of it. The I of Wight as seen from our vessel was prettier than even Sydney Harbour. I am too unsettled to write a longer letter. When we are settled at our Hospital, I will write again. I have written to Aunt Annie & Jennie. Of course it is raining, but you know that I like wind & rain. When I get a pair of top-boots & a waterproof, I will be in clover. As in the old days I will be able to play in the mud all day long. We had an uneventful trip on the biggest ship afloat. If she berthed at the Manly Wharf at low tide the door of the 5th deck from the top would only be level with the wharf. We are all well & very happy to be again amongst decent people who speak the English tongue. I must go now. This is the first chance I have had to write. we had a big crowd on board & there was not a vacant spot. 6 train loads have

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Back of envelope

Mrs T M Nicholls
Corry Rd P.O.
Nth Manly, Sydney

gone to different hospitals & only half have gone, about 4000 altogether.
Love to all & hoping this finds you all well,
I remain yours Harry

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Angel Hotel, Liverpool. 9/10/16

Dear Dad, Mum & George,
While we are waiting for the boat for Douglas I am just writing a few lines, we left London at Midnight & had a little sleep. The train was a very slow one & went all over the country & we only arrived at 6.30 am this morning. We saw the great St Georges Hall with Wellington's Statue & while Dave & Ellis were down at the Pier enquiring about the boat, I chipped in with a Bobby & he took me all through the Liverpool Town Hall which is only a stone's throw from this place. I was shown the latest addition to the Brass Plate which contains the names of those who have been honoured with the "freedom of the City of Liverpool,"

Billy Hughes, to wit. I was shown all the State Rooms & the Ball Room etc, also the room where the King & Nobility dine on their visit to the city. At the rear of this Building there is a small statue erected to Nelson. We dined at a little place in Fleet St last night just near Holborn Circus. We have travelled in the celebrated [indecipherable] Tube & my word she does fly along. I saw the Dome of St Pauls in the distance while in Fleet St. London is in darkness all lights being shaded. It was a glorious moonlight night, there was no fog, the streets were as clean as a new pin & there was no mud or dust anywhere. We rode on the top of an Omnibus from Euston to Holborn & an overcoat was unnecessary. We had a lovely breakfast & all the table service was silver, different to a greasy rusty mess tin & one slice of bread

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only. It is very windy to-day & all the good Manx boats are away on active service, so we will have a nice toss up on the 3 hour run. I suppose I will be sick but never-a-mind. This is a different Angel Hotel to the one in Pitt St near Gordon & Gotch. I saw Gordon & Gotch's London House & also the Phoenix Insurance in Fleet St. The L'pool Branch is just opposite this Hotel. It is just below Angel Hotel in Pitt St. We are going to our new Camp at Bulford when we go back from our leave so we will soon be settled down & quite at home again. We do not mind the rain a scrap. We even wish that it will rain so that we will not have to drill. Route Marches are

not bad but squad drill is up to putty. Well, Dad & Mum & George, I must go & have a clean up before I go to the Boat. Ellis has written to George. Dave Ellis & I send the best of love to you all. See that Mum does not do any stooping or hanging out of clothes. We want to see her alive & well when we come home. This war will not last another year so all in good time we will be home again. I sent a Telegram to Auntie Annie & she will be at the Pier to meet us.
Good luck to you all & believe us all
Your dearest boys Harry Ellis & Dave. Love to Mr & Mrs Alli & your pals.

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1st A.D Hospital Bulford England 14/10/16

Dear Dad, Mum & George,
I have just received Mums letter of the 17th July & one of 20th Aug. & another undated. I arrived back from the Isle of Man yesterday & arrived at this place also yesterday. I am glad that you & Dad go about a lot. The Cuneo Family are very nice & you are sure to have a good time. Poor Jack Cuneo is sure to worry, but tell him not to mind. Life in the Army is no cop at all. We have been exceptionally lucky & our luck continues. We are in our own Hospital with our own officers, but Lt. Col. Ramsey Webb is our new c.o. & He is a good man like Lt. Col. Raffan. Each ward

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is self contained with Lavatory, Hot & cold showers, Kitchens, Treatment rooms & offices. I am just pottering about from one ward to another & do no dressings & it is a much better. I am sitting in a ward office at present writing. I should be looking for work but it will come to me soon enough without looking for it.
I am glad to hear that Sandy only rounds up the ducks & does not try to eat them. Aunt Annie has two dogs & 2 cats, & Marie has a lovely puce Persian Cat. Grandma makes bread & milk for them & all the animals live well. I will now answer yours of the 20th Aug. You will not have to entertain

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Mr Welland. He can talk allright. I am so grieved about poor Ted Clarke. It seems impossible to believe that He is gone. I can never go there again. I cannot write even. I am afraid that his people think I am in an easy cold-footed job & I could not write. I have lost dozens of other mates & I suppose dozens more will go before this war is over. I hope that Reg. Keirle gets on allright. His poor Mother will be broken up. We get mails & papers sometimes, only. Papers are not always sorted. We get somebody else's papers & they get ours. I told George to keep a copy at home & we would be able to look them up when we arrived home again.

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As to the comforts, I can't grumble. I was always one of the first & if I did not get anything from the 1st case, I got it from the second.
Don't send any more Khaki shirts now, Mum. We have to wear our tunics now as it is quite chilly. Send me £10 by Registered letter. I will only spend what is necessary. I want to go to the Island again & make a few other trips If you have laid it out well never mind but if you have it by you well I would like it very much. Meals are very dear in England & one has to eat. I liked the flowers very much & I will send them to Marie as she is some botanist.

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1st A.Derm. Hosp. Bulford 15/10/16
Dear Dad,
In answer to yours of the 13th Aug. I suppose Mr Cuneo was not well enough to come. He would be sure to enjoy himself in Manly. Poor Ted Clarke has gone, It is dreadful. I do not know how I can ever go & see the people of any of my dead mates. Wellard can talk alright. He is a bit of a leg-puller too I think.
Well Dad we have at last visited the Island. We arrived in Douglas on the new pier at 6pm & were met by Marie. We missed the train as the weather was rough & we had tea at some place where Marie took us. We caught the 8.5pm train for Ramsey but the Vicar was waiting for us at Sulby with Aunties Dog Cart. So we all squeezed in, Marie & I on the front seat & Dave, Ellis & the Vicar on the back. We arrived at the home after a 20 minute drive, & met Grandma, Auntie Annie & Uncle Tom. The home is an old farm house & is sittuated amongst tall trees with a croquet lawn in front & out buildings all around it by the dozen. Auntie has a lot of fowls & ducks & gets lovely big eggs from them too, and they got some turkey eggs but we did not

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eat them. Auntie Annie is just bonzer. She is a great character, full of life & jokes & she could not have been more pleasant if she had been my own big sister. Grandma is stout but quite hale & hearty & is never still. She cuts up the thin bread & butters it, & generally helps in the household duties. She feeds the animals & unlike our Australian Grandma, she encourages them into the house. Uncle Tom does not say much but he is a good man & of good principles. He took us for a walk one morning all around the village, but my heel was too sore from all the marching we had at Tidsworth. The home is beautifully kept & all the furniture, ornaments, & silver are of the very best. Marie sees to that. I slept in her room & the lovely rugs on the floor made me afraid to walk on them. Just outside on the landing is Marie's Library & private room. It is lovely & all her keepsakes & photos, curious etc & kept beautifully. Marie is the prettiest loveliest, good, cultured & dearest girl in the world. You have no idea what a glorious girl she is. If she were not my cousin I would not be able to keep up Mum's

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warning about not bringing back an English girl. She managed the whole of the 150 bedrooms in the Hotel & one ward of 40 beds is enough for me. She is wonderful, modest, even shy, but Dave & Ellis & I gave Grandma, Auntie & Marie the liveliest two days that they had for a long time. We made them & ourselves sick laughing, often. We had music & gramophone. Marie has the loveliest collection of songs I ever saw & she plays both piano & organ well, & sings in a sweet contralto voice. The large cabinet phonograph is 5ft high & a beauty. Ellis & Dave went out shooting & mushrooming with the Vicar twice, but I stayed at home. I hurt my wrist too from slipping on some mud. We lived on the best & Auntie & Marie were so good. They were just as good as possible. There is absolutely no false pride or put on about any of them, & oh'we had the loveliest time since we joined the army. Aunt Hannah came up on Tuesday & stayed a few hours but she is getting in her harvest, so had to go home the same night. She is very fair like young Dulcie, but Marie & Auntie are dark. Grandma is hardly grey yet. Grandma says that Aunt Helena was the most beautiful girl of the lot, & was reckoned as the best on the Island. poor Jennie's mother that is. After two days at Jurby we had to go back again. We were driven to the Sulby Bridge by Auntie & went to Douglas at 7.10am. We met Uncle

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Harry at the old pier & we chatted with him for an hour. He is slight & wears a moustache. He is a jolly nice chap. He had that morning received his exemption certificate, as his work as a farmer is needed. He only manages Grandmas farm it is all her money but he will get it when she dies. I told him that N.S.W is the place for farming, but I said that we all knew that he would never leave the Island while Grandma is alive. Uncle Tom still has a farm & £4000 nearly in the Athol, besides some acres of land which is just lying waiting for anything. He has lost a lot of money by speculation some £14000 or so in the last few years, but they are quite well to do & Uncle has a good manager on the farm. He only works for a hobby. Auntie has lived in some lovely places on the Island & nothing she ever wrote about was exaggerated. She & Marie had to work in that blessed Hotel. They only saw one another at meal times & they spent 7 years altogether at the Athol. It is the only Hotel open now in Douglas. Auntie has told me of all the great nobility who have stayed there, even to the P of Wales only a short while ago, before they retired to Jurby. Uncle Harry goes in for mixed farming. They nearly all do on the Island. There are about 30,000 German internes on the Island. They live on the best of everything & do just as they please, they live, each one of them, as well as any retired gentleman in Australia. Just think of them having such a good time while all our boys are

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This is Sunday afternoon & as I have a few spare moments, I will write a few lines. It is a beautiful day & the green hills & woods & hedges show up well. Our camp or Hospital is very well arranged. The footpaths & gutters are concreted & the roads concave & blue metalled so the mud nuisance is minimised as much as possible. There are shelters over all the paths so one may move from ward to ward without getting wet.
Last night our meal was doped & from 12 midnight till noon to-day everyone was very much troubled with diarhroea. Not soldiers diarhoea. This latter is nothing to eat & can't go to ease one's self. We get very good meals & as much as we can eat. There is no bustle & everyone gets a fair deal so food is again O.K. I played the little organ for Church this morning. It makes a great noise & is really too large for our small church. We have an alter & candles & communion table all complete. We had a lovely time on the Island but I will tell you all about it in Dad's letter.
I will write to Dad now.

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Everything is O.K. & we are doing well. I could not sleep in Marie's lovely bed but I sleep again now that I am on the floor. I must leave something to tell Dad do will say Au Revoir.
With best of love to you all my dear people,
From Harry xx
Ellis & Dave of course always with me to say a word for them but I forget.

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Oct. 30. 1916 Bulford

Dear George, Yours to hand of 23 Aug. I am glad to hear that you are going well at your music. There is a good picture show about 10 minutes quiet walk & they have an orchestra of about 10 & are quite a good combination. There are 2 clarinets & good ones too. You will soon have enough money to open a warehouse yourself. Keep it going like Ellis keeps the fire. I'm nearly roasted. He has just gone out to find some empty beds for new patients. We have not 10 vacant beds in the whole place. We only have room for about 1450 & every vacancy is filled. We have a few in marquees but the weather is not like Australia & no one is to sleep under canvas after to-morrow. We don't do any dressings now. We just potter round from one ward to another & see that the shirkers come up for their treatment. I suppose Smiths place on Bell Bird will be some style eh?
Lovely flowers grow in England. In the lane just near Aunties place I saw a lot of lovely sweet peas. Uncle took us through the grounds of a Belgian Count's Mansion. There were two bronze statues over one gate way of two runners. There were lovely flowers there & we took some home to Auntie. I was trying to kick a chestnut & fell flop & hurt my wrists but there are right again now.

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I am sweatin' like anything. I do not wear breeches now. I bought a lovely pair of Canadian trousers. They are much easier to slip on in the morning. Lacing breeches & putting on putters takes time. In Egypt I used to be up for a shower before Reveille but now I wait till the quarters goes before I say come on Ellis. Sometimes it is too wet for parade & the no parade bugle goes I think it is a more welcome call than cook house. We can easily go to the canteen if we miss dinner but we can't go back to bed after morning parade. I am canteen Corporal to-night but I have not been near the place. I was not warned & was not present on the 6.30 parade this morning so I don't care. I hate the job. Sitting in a cold canteen watching other fellows boose for 3 hours. I will go up at 9 o'clock & see that it is shut. I am not able to think of anything else, George, this time. I will write a letter to you all in a couple of days time. My regards & congrats to Mr Grost if all's well & hoping to hear that you are all well & happy,
I will close with love from brother Harry.

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30/10/16 Bulford
Dear dad, I have received your letters of the 27.8.16 & 3/9/16 We are not afraid of Zepps. Jennie Lawton was quite near one explosion. She was taking a 5 weeks holiday in Kent & she had quite an exciting time. Nearly every week there was a raid over Grimsby. She & her dad had to get up & get dressed ready for anything. She has a very anxious time always. John Lawton the youngest brother is in the Royal Engineers as a despatch rider. He has been in hospital some months with malaria. By Jennie's letters he is getting on well now. Mesopotamia is an awful place. John was in hospital at Deolali in India.
We hear every week of the death of some of our old acquaintances. It is to be hoped that this cursed war will soon be over. All the white people are being killed off, & the black & yellow will rule the roost if something is not done soon.
Ellis is just finished lighting the fire. He roused a treat. I have been putting all the waste paper into it for a couple of days & it was choked up. We have a bonzer room to ourselves. All the ward orderlies sleep in a small room in front of the ward. Dave comes in very often at night for some supper. We go to the Pictures or theatre now & again but we

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never get leave in the daytime as we are too busy yet. I hope that you had a good time whether at the mountanes (Mrs Loxton "Glenbervie") or at Moonee Valley. There are sulphur springs at Helouan in Egypt but it is too far away for you. Why don't you try the bee sting cure. It does not hurt. Make George go through the Grand Canyon if you go to the Mountains. It is a dreadful walk isn't it?
I have just had a long letter from Marie & also one from Jennie. Both are bonny girls. Oh Dad, you aught to meet them. I have not met Jennie as yet, but she must be bonzer. I have her photo & her letters to judge by & she is so nice. I could not write all about Marie & Aunt Annie. Oh, they, are just the loveliest people you ever met. Grandma is so nice too, a lovely old soul. She cuddled me on the sofa by the fire. Do you remember poor Uncle Charlie at Bertes' [indecipherable] in Windsor, when old Jack Fitzpatrick was riding the buck jumpers. I am very reminiscent tonight. One of the patients was just chanting "I missed the Bus" & "I lost my 'at". These are two lines of verses of an old song. I remember once when Dad was taking Ellis & I to Mortlake for a run, when the old buses were running. My hat blew off when we were waiting near the station. Dad started to sing these verses. I remember that it was one of those pepper & salt straw

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nan-nans. [indecipherable] We are having our Autumn. It has rained very heavily during the last two days, but as I have nearly all indoor work, I don't care if it snows. The fire is here at all times if I wish. Hot water is laid on for showers & washing purposes. I can get 20 blankets if I wish. So as I have plenty of comforts in the cupboard, I am doing A1. Auntie sends us little comforts now, & I have just received a bonzer parcel from Bess. We received the piece of Boronia & the other flowers as well. The scent has gone of course. How I used to love gathering wild roses. Many a time have Otto, my good pal, & George & I gathered them & X'mas Bells. Send me a couple of pressed Xmas Bells if you can & some Xmas Bush. Marie is a bit of a Botanist & makes a collection. Some of our wild flowers grow in the I of Man. There was a big new film taken recently of the Play the Manxman. Auntie & Marie were in the crowd at Tynwald Hill. As you haven't seen their photos you would not be able to pick them out. Well Dad, as I have so many letters to write & so little news I will draw to a close for a few days. I have 21 letters to answer. These double mails are nice but it is a very long job answering them all.
Regards to Otto & the girls who used to run home with us on wet nights from the Tram & with heaps of love from your dear son Harry, I say adieu.

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30/10/16 Bulford
Dear Mum, I have been going to write all the week, but I have been so busy that I was too weary to start writing at 8.30 at night. Now your letters have arrived I will be able to think of something . Nothing happens here so like you we are stuck for news. This in answer to your of the 27th August. I received 20 letters this mail & a parcel from Bess. It is a bonzer parcel. We have a good stock of eatables in our cupboard. Dave Keeps his here too. We are brothers in arms all right. We share everything. Billy is in the next ward to us, Earn in the one lower & Harry Valentine in the one lower still. They aught to call it the Manly wing. I am very glad to hear that Emma Johnston stayed with you. get'em all down for company. Make it a home of rest for the weary & try & cheer them up. There must be an awful amount of misery in Australia. Every week I hear of some old acquaintance who has done his duty & died for his country. I did have a happy

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Birthday. I am nearly always happy I don't care. Others worry & grumble & get cranky, but still I don't care a scrap. I have given up smoking. I hate to tell lies & if I have cigarettes & matches on me, I nearly always give when asked. But it is an awful bother & I have either to borrow a match or cadge a cigarette when I want a smoke. The canteen of course is always closed when you want either, so I have given the whole business up.
I have not received your cake, mum dear. I will get it for xmas I hope. You're the limit showing that photograph. a good job it is nearly faded. Dave is a devil. He would make me have it taken. Ernie Grigor is our boss now. He is not too bad to work for. We have no bother at all. All our doctors are nice & our Colonel & registrar Major Brown are two bonzer men, something like Colonel Raffan. We will send Mrs Thomas some photos. We are in such a desolate place, that we can't get near at village to get anything done. Billy & I had to walk nearly a mile to

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get washing done. It is too much trouble to go & get it again. I suppose I'll have to go to-morrow night, or the woman will sell it for unclaimed property. I will shake Dave Williams up & make him write. they nearly drive him mad, you know. He has to sneak out sometimes for a spell. While ever he is in the place someone wants something. I am sending a small photo of a part of our hospital. I was attached to the Top hut for a while when we first arrived here, but I am in another division now back at my old game. There are thousands of these huts round Salisbury Plains. It is the Liverpool of England. Many a time I have run around this blessed place after on thing & another. I suppose I will run round a good few more time yet.

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Dave has just come in & we will have some cocoa & cake. I cannot write anymore just now mum. I will be able to think more to-morrow when I write again. I must go to bed now. It is raining & blowing like billy oh, so bed will be very nice. I am going to '[indecipherable] Dave now that suppers over.
Ellis is already in bed so I must say good-night. Love to all from Annie's room, your loving son Harry x

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England. 7.11.16
Dear Dad, I received yours of the 17.9.16 so I will just answer it before I turn in the night. It is just as well you are not here for the screws, lots of the older men having them bad at times. It is very nearly time that you got rid of those blessed old screws. I suppose you have quite a busy throng round to help at the house. Mr Wellard only had 2 weeks at home, & is now back again at the camp we lately vacated. My word you want some of our rain. It rains every other day & I think it rains every night. I hope they catch the beggars that are setting our shops alight. We had a vote here. It went off very well. I suppose our votes will get home sometime..
You never hear about the A.M.C being knocked out, but there are thousands going out to it. The Field A.M.C is the worst job in the army. It has been a lovely fine day to-day & the stars & moon are shining as bright as day. Dave & I went for a bit of a stroll, but there is nothing very impressive in walking round Army Huts & Horse Lines. This is all camp & at Lark Hill there is 14 miles of an Australian Camp.
Well, Bed-oh Dad. It is just lovely in bed. Some mornings are very wet & rainy & the no parade bugle blows. We just turn over & have another hour's sleep then. Very often we go for a bath then. We have bonzer hot-baths & we go there as often as we can. Love to all Harryx

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back of envelope
Mr T.M.Nicholls
David Jones Ltd.
Geo. & Barrack Sts
Sydney Australia via 'Frisco'

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Bulford Military Hospital 9.11.16

Dear Dad, Mum & George,
I am sending a few photographs & I have just had Mum's letter of the 17 Sep. 1916. Isn't it dreadful the way our boys are being killed. Poor Harold Donkin now, who is going to be next. Oh this awful war & yet what are we to do. I read all about your efforts with the comforts club. I suppose you were bullocking the boxes down the staircases. Mrs Niness is very good to do what she does. I do not know how I'm going to repay my debts of gratitude I'll be glad when my hanky's come along. I'm down to about a dozen now & I need at least one a day.
Cyril's brother is always unlucky. He's always the one who gets hurt. I hope he was not seriously knocked about.
I will go on to describe the few pictures that are enclosed.

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No1 is the Royal Chamber in this big structure. The carpets are all red & genuine Turkisk & the seats are all red & gold. The Sultana's Representative & all the Govt. Officials dine & lounge in this part.
No2 is the place for the ordinary guest & Ellis & Dave went there. Dave & I are taking it easy. You will find a description of the place in our letters about the 15 of August. It is all built of coloured hangings & draperies of the Turkish design. It is really a beautiful sight.
No3 was taken while we were going strong at Abbassieh. I am two to the left of the officer & Ellis is 2 to the right. Billy is behind the officer & Harry Valentine to the left one hot day in Egypt. Dave Niness snapped us as you see. Note the large table in the tent. You should just have seen the rubbish that was on that table. At the bottom is the Melbourne pavilion, along

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verandahs of which I used to patrol when on night duty.
No5 was taken at Auntie's place. Uncle is behind Auntie & the vicar between us. He is a nice man. Although the vicar stays there, none of the house go to church. His Kirk is 3 miles away too so very seldom they go unless in the summer. Marie gets on the back of the Vicar's motor bike & goes that way. I think she only goes then for the bike ride because she is a girl after all. Auntie looks as if butter would not melt in her mouth but really she is full of life & jokes as Sandy is full of fleas. Dear Grandma looks well & she is indeed very handsome. Marie is too nice for a photo to give a true idea of what she is but you can see that she is indeed nice & oh what a lovely natured

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girl she is. Uncle does not say much but like mum's room mate at Marsden, Mrs Hennesy at the Mountains, he notices everything that goes on. Both he & gran are a little hard of hearing but not noticably & as gran says she always hears the things that she is not supposed to hear.
Here we are all laughing at the Padre with Dave's hat on. Turk the dog could not be induced to face the camera. I want you to understand that Marie & Gran gave up their rooms for us.
No8 of course we are [indecipherable] again.
Now Dad, Mother & George I have had to hurry with this letter to catch the mail so you'll excuse the dryness of it. I will send my album of about 50 views from Egypt very soon so you aught to expect it in about a month's time.
Love to all & best greetings From Dave Ellis & your loving boy Harry xxx

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Bulford 14.11.16

Dear Mum, George & Dad,
Glad to know that you got all our letters. It must have been a budget to read. I suppose you catch the trams & boats all right now, & don't blame Dad & George for having the wrong time. I suppose poor old Mrs Doyle is very sad now. It is awful, this war, & gets worse every day.
Aub. Hickson had septic hands I believe. He wrote to me from Ras-el-Tin convalescent home so he was alright then. That was about 3 or 4 months ago. I do not know where he is now but he will be alright.
I am very glad to learn that you are at last looking after yourself so well. Emma Johnston will be a great help. I hope she gets well & strong too, while she is at our place.
My word the people who are interested in our unit have done well in our behalf. Only about half the unit is left now. We will never be able to

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thank them all for their goodness. Mrs Melville is a great worker. She is a lovely lady. I have had some very nice times with her. Dave is just here & is gassing a treat & I'm not aware of what I'm writing. We have had 15 more reinforcements & when we went for tea who should Ellis sit down opposite to, but Tommy Adams. He is one of our staff now & helps us. He is sitting in our arm chair now & joining in the gabble.
I will enjoy the cake very much when it comes. The shirts & hankys will be acceptable too. I wear my cardigan now & flannel shirts always. I still wear my short whites. The thick underpants are not necessary, yet. We have not had rain for 7 days, just think. We had a dreadful fog last night but I did not have to go out.
I hope Mrs Ali keeps well now. She has had as bad a time as you. Billy told me that his mother had written saying that you were in for breakfast one day. By that I mean you were in to see her

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about 9am.
It is a nice place to drive is Sutherland. I have been round a good but of it in a motor.
Well, mum, it is getting real late & I am a little tired so I'll only write a short letter this time.
Now, we are well & doing ok. The weather is not cold & we are getting quite used to plenty of work again. As we rarely go out there is no news. Tommy is just as bad as ever about stopping late. We have managed to get him off to bed at last.
Now Ellis will make some toast & cocoa & we'll have a nice snack before we go to our lovely beds. I get lots of letters from Jennie & Marie & Auntie writes about once a week. I am going to try & get a weekend off to go see Jennie. Dave is going

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up to London on business to-morrow. A nice day's trip. I just had some papers from Mrs Rogers & lots from George. Thank them will you for me until such time as I get the chance to write them each a letter.
I will go & see Mrs Rogers relatives the very first time I'm in London.
Now Mum, I must go & help make our supper.
Love to all & with best wishes for your good health & Mr & Mrs Ali
I remain your loving son

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Bulford Military Hospital

Dear Dad, Mother & George,

Just a short note to say that we are all well. I am going to the Dentist now to have a tooth filled. One of the back ones that old Twigg filled has broken a bit off. The nerve was dead so I have lost the trouble of having that done. It was done while on the Island. I have posted a Brass Ink-stand to George for X'mas. I have filled it with Rock Melon seeds from Cairo & a few Canna seeds from Nubar Pasha's Gardens Alexandria. I gave some melon seeds to Uncle Harry & Auntie. I do not know whether they will grow in England. Dave Lord is just down for a chat. We do not see so much of our mates now. We all have our own work to do & we have to do it. Our latest comfort is a lovely arm-chair which would not disgrace David Jones. I have enclosed a P.C. which Aunt Hannah wrote to Grandma. Well Dad I have been nearly an Hour writing what I have, so I will have to say Good-night.
Love to You,
Dad & Mother & George & Best Wishes for X'mas & New Year. Love also to Mr & Mrs Ali & the Neighbours & all enquiring friends. Dave, Billy & Dave Lord send Best Wishes also.
Yours Always
Harry xx

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[On Andrews Bros. Proprietary, Limited printed letterhead with 40 King Street Sydney address crossed out]


Dear Dad, Mum & George,
Just a wee note in answer to Dad's letter of the 10.9.16. All my letters must be wee notes now we never go out except to the Pictures & there is absolutely nothing to write about. To-day was our first cold day & it has been a beauty. I have had to run everywhere on my rounds or to the Mess Room. It is much too cold for walking. We have had no rain for 10 days & that is the reason I think. We have a fire going most of the day & it keeps our room lovely & snug. We have finished for the day now but I am pretty tired so I'll make some Toast & Cocoa soon & go to bed. It is an awful strain to get out of bed in the morning. 3 mornings out of the 7 we have to start work at 6.15 am in the dark but we lie in till 7.30 on the other 4. My word we deserve it too. I suppose you have arguments now as to who has the correct time. Do you remember the time we were all arguing the point & we missed the tram & had to walk to Manly.
We were very glad to hear that Emma Johnston was living at Home. It is good to think that Mum has some company. One of us will have to get married when we come back so that Mum will always have someone near Her. I think the pony & trap & good stunt but don't let Mum go on Her own. The confounded Horse may bolt or collide with tram or motor & then its good bye.
I do hope your hands get better. Good life they've been bad for about 2 years. It is time they got right now. I know that the springs are good but the bee idea is

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a good one too.
You are sure to have busy crowds now at Bell Bird & the Soldiers Homes. It is good that so many people that so many people are taking up the work. We had a lot of papers from George last mail but I have not written to Him to thank Him yet. This is the paper that was rolled up inside it.
Now Dad I am pretty tired & everything is so everyday the same that I cannot give you anything this time. I am getting next week end off to go & visit Jennie at Grimsby & will be making other trips later.
Now Au Revoir
With Love to Mum, George & Yourself
I Am
As always
Your Loving Son
Harry x

Eltes met Leo Baker from our shipping office a fortnight ago. He was well & is camped about 5 miles from us

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21 Nov. 1916

Dear Mum,
I received Your Comforts about 3 days ago that you sent on June 7th. 1916. We shared the things properly with Earn Thomas, & everybody was very happy. The silk shirt now will do to put on over my Woollen Shirt for warmth. I may be going up to see Jennie Lawton some week-end in the near future. It will do nicely then.
I also received the Cake which you sent on June 22nd. It was very nice & we had some for supper last night. Ellis Dave & I went to the theatre last night. It was a real good show too. Ellis is darning socks & says He will write to-morrow night. He has 7 pairs to do, so I suppose He will have had quite enough darning for a while if he gets through them. I did my 6 pairs this afternoon. I am Canteen Corporal again to-night. I am not going to stay up there. I'll go up & have a look in the Door soon & then buzz back again. I have just been out to to the Shop in the Camp to buy a writing Pad. I'm full of this fooling little paper. I was playing

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football on Saturday in a Snow-Storm. It was very cold for a while but after about 10 minutes it was real good. I was playing Centre-Forward. We were badly beaten but we played two men short. On Saturday night it snowed pretty hard & when we got up in the morning it was a lovely sight. About 4 inches was on the ground & as soon as first parade was over, snow-balling started & I got one on the ear for a start. Ellis & the other Boy joined in but it looked too cold for me. I had to march 30 men over to Park House, our late camp, where another small VID. Hospital has been started. I had to mount a very steep Hill & cross through a fir-wood. The Hill was a Knock out & the Patients were very fatigued. Walking on sand is bad but snow is worse I think. It was a lovely sight through the woods. Oh it was just glorious. The snow had fallen heavier in this region, & the Trees were Silver & Green, & all the Tree Trunks on the weather side were white, & on the leeside

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green or black whichever was the natural colour. I eventually arrived & two men had broken away. They are searching for them now. I suppose they will go to some friend's place for a few weeks, & when their money is all spent, give themselves up. Anyway I did not care if the whole blessed lot got away. I rode back in a Car but Gee, was it not cold. For two hours I had to stay in the Car, as the motor was wanted to take other Patients to a Hospital further away. I passed along through the same roads, that I passed when in Parkhouse Camp, & was surprised at the difference one month can make. Nearly all the trees were bare & lovely houses were to be seen where only a bushy wood seemed to have stood, & of course the lovely gardens were 6 & 8 inches deep in snow. I did not get back to camp until 3 pm. It was colder than I had ever

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been in my life before. I soon had some dinner & then lay on Ellis' bed near the fire, & did not go out of the Room for the rest of the day. I use Bess's mittens & comforter, & I bought a pair of leather gloves, so I keep warm under ordinary conditions. On Sunday night it rained, & in the morning everything was washed away, & it was impossible to tell what had happened. The Hankys & Smokes were just in time. We do not smoke very much so the Cigs. will do for a month or so. I am going up to buy some margarine to make Toast. We never get butter & anyway I like margarine just as well. Good margarine is better than butter. You try it. Now, Mum, Dear, I must wind up. We only have the ordinary routine here, not like Egypt where we saw strange things & new sights. We are doing really well. Have very little worry & things are getting better every day as far as we are concerned. Give my Best Love to Dad & George & my Best Wishes to the Neighbours, Mrs Stephens & Ali, all enquiring Friends & poor old Mrs Bowen
Heaps of Love From Harry xxx

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Dear Dad,
Yours of the 23rd Sept. to hand. Jack Beales used to be our next door neighbourfor a long long time in Abbassia. He had varicose veins very badly & that was the reason why He returned to Australia. He is not a bad old fellow but He will be too busy to visit You very often. Don't lend him any money. You will get it back but will have to wait a long while & then have to ask for it. I am glad that you are able to to help those people who are building the Homes for the Soldier's. I suppose they appreciate very much all that You are doing for them. I do not remember saying anything about a shop & dwelling but anyway, You will know what is best. Eggs are 6/- a doz over here, sugar 6d per pound, butter 2/-. Tinned fruit is not obtainable. We are winning the war easily so they say. No doubt Germany is in a much worse plight. They have to live on dog's & eat's flesh in some parts. Thank goodness we still have a few

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old horses left. We get very good food here. Butter was our only worry. We did think that we would have got the same food as we had in the Pommy Camps in Egypt. No butter is issued at all in Egypt. We get margarine but is a lot better than much of the Butter I have had in Australia. It ought to be better too. It is made from absolutely the purest of ingredients. It is only 1/- per pound. You ought to try it stock it in Your store. People do not know how good it is or butter would not get a look in. I get a letter from Marie & one from Jennie every week & sometimes one from Auntie. They write bonny letters. I was already to go to Grimsby on Friday but they could only grant me 1 1/2 days leave. I will wait another month & get 3 days. It will be much better then. I will leave here on Friday night at 5.42 pm & reach London at 8.7 pm. From there I will go down "The Strand" or round Piccadilly until about 11 pm & then catch the midnight train for Grimsby at King's Cross. I will sleep in the Train I can sleep anywhere now & will

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arrive at Jennie's Home in time to take up her morning cup of Tea. Her Dad gets his own breakfast & goes to work so Jennie does not get up till about 8.30 a nice time too. Marie rises punctually at 7.15 & at 7.30 has the fire going. She is an "ideal" girl. She is shorter than I by half a head & is 15 months younger. Jennie is 26 & Tall so I'm told, most likely like Ida Dulcie. We get up 3 morning's of the week at 6.25 & the other 4 at 6.55. It is not cold a scrap when we get up but my word bed's lovely. It is cold on the Parade Ground too, but in bad weather the "no parade" bugle goes 5 minutes before the usual fall in time & then we just turn over for another hour. We never get up until the 5 minutes Bugle goes, some dressers eh. Dave & I with 4 other chaps went to Amesbury yesterday afternoon. We visited the old Church there. It is only a little over 1000 years old as far as they can trace but there are Saxon Pillars aimilar to Stonehenge in the Walls of

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the old parts so it may be very many years older. There are all sorts of strange legends about it & bits have been added here & there & bits cut off, that it is really about 6 little churches shoved into one. The whole floor is stone. Fancy sitting to Rev. Littlemore's long sermons with no hassocks. I do not know how the people stand it at all. We had Tea in the Village which is about as lively as Bell Bird on a week night & then set out to do 4 miles through the muddy lanes & fields. One of mates did rouse. First of all He was tired & then he slipped & sat down in the mud. He got very hot & took off his overcoat. About 10 minutes afterwards on going up a slippy bank, He fell face downwards & slipped on his stomach all the way to the bottom again. I came home & went straight to bed. I don't mind these walks when the fields are dry but it is too tiresome when the grass & mud is so slippy. I have not yet been to Stonehenge or the Village Black-Smith's Tree. Stonehenge is 6 miles each way, so I'm waiting for a nice fine week end. Now Dad, I still have to write to George & my little Auntie Annie. Best of Love Harry x

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26 Nov. 1916
Dear Mum,
Your letter of Sep. 30th to hand. We cabled on the 28th Sept. so You ought to have received it on Monday 8 hour day. I suppose Dad would receive it on Tues. when He went to work. I remember many 8 hour day's. It always rained on 8 hour day. I had a letter from Hilda this mail. She told me that she had called to see Dad. I do not know what to think about Conscription. Most of the Soldiers voted No I think. They said that they would not fight alongside Conscripts but all the Allied Troops & even N.Z's. are Conscripts. Why don't they make the Indians fight & let the Japs have a go. They will over run the earth when all the whites are done. We heard about Tom Porman about a month ago. None of those you told to write or try & find us have even bothered to do so. Our Unit can always be found but we don't know what units these Friends of ours are in, neither do we know when they arrive or where they are likely to arrive & be stationed. Dave Lord met Jack Molyneaux in Park House Camp & Ellis met

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Billy McRoberts an old Sunday School mate of ones at Burwood. We have also met Leo. Baker who used to be at D.J's with Mr Kennett. I remember poor Bol Allen very well & Dick Badmington, McGowen was at the North Steyne send off with us on the night when we were given our sheep-skins. It has not been cold enough to wear them yet. I suppose about the end of January & in Feb. & March we will want them for the cruel east winds. Luckily we have nearly all indoor work & the fire keeps us nice & warm all day & we have plenty of bed clothes & can keep warm at night. My word with all the comforts coming we will have a good time. Mrs Stephen has been so good. She is a real true Friend isn't she. I will know who are my Friends now. Jones will do good too by sending comforts. Of course Marie & Auntie Annie wont forget us. They are real handy & we are sure to get their things for Xmas even if the others are delayed. I can just do with another suit of Pyjamas. My others are not worn out but sleeping in the blankets our

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pyjamas become very dirty in such short time that we can never seem to have clean things. In this wet climate it takes about 6 or 8 days to get the washing dry. I have 3 flannel shirts, 2 khaki & one silk so I am well off for shirts. They are all in good repair hardly worn as yet but I can always do with warm shirts now. I can only wear the khaki & silk over the others. The case in which You sent your parcels after chasing about for months only arrived about a fortnight ago but I told you all about it in my last letter. We have to wait such a long time for these cases but it does not matter. It is the safest if not the quickest way. I am very pleased that the Comforts Club is now a comfort both to You people at Home & to ourselves. It must have been awful to be always wrangling & arguing. Poor Mrs Tingcombe has had her life made miserable enough through this war. What a cursed thing it is. We are having a bad time of it. Don't think that we are winning easily. We are no more winning than we were at

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the start. Of course the Germans can't win but very soon a draw will be called & Germany will go back to Her usual position. That is my opinion of it. You must be doing nothing but sew, sew, sew. Take it aisy, now, or You will ruin your eyes. Give it out to someone to do. There is no neccessity to ruin Your eyesight over the business I hope that Emma can stay for the summer too. It must be a great change to have someone always handy to help. Randall Carlisle & Mr Welland that called Home on Duty from our Hospital have been in England some time now. They only had a couple of weeks at Home & came straight back again. Well Mum, I have to write to Dad & George & Auntie Annie to-night & I have about 12 other letters to answer & only 3 nights in which to do the lot. I went out for a walk yesterday to the Village near bye. It is only 4 miles away. It was good going but coming back through the mud was awful. Everystep for about 3 miles was through mud & as slippy as ice the whole way. We were very weary when we returned. Now Mum, Keep well & Happy & Believe I will do the same. Heaps of Love From Harry

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Dear George,
Received Your letter of the 23.9.16 to day & as I am very busy on week-days, I will answer it straight away to-night, because the mail goes on Wednesday. If I waited for another month I would not have anymore news so I will get on. We knew about Tom Porman because we have tried to find Him. No one that You ever told to look us up or write ever bothered. We do not know when they arrive some cannot find them & do not even know what units they belong to. Of course transfers are hard to get but we may be able to do something. Poor Tom has gone I'm almost sure, & so is Bob Allen & His Brother. Missing in France is always nearly always gone altogether. The Germans do not get many prisoners. They leave all the old men & youngsters in the Front Trenches for our Boys to capture. The good Troops retire & then the German Artillery blow, their own old men & our Soldiers who have advanced easily & captured them, to smithereens. They are not fighting much. The Artillery do all the work. They purposely retire & our men advance & occupy their trenches. Of course they have the range perfectly 10 miles in the rear & they blow the whole show to pieces. Well enough of war. Glad to know that there will still be some Native Roses growing when we come back. I have walked miles for those little things & then not to get a bunch. Ellis has told You about the "Brittanic" going down. The Sister ship of the "Gloucester Castle" that took us to Lemnos was also sunk. My word we were lucky. They were not fully loaded ships as we were. Fancy getting 6000 away

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in a few minutes. If she had struck us at Night-time, You would never have heard of us again. We were about 2 decks below the water & would have had to climb 5 decks to the boat deck. Well anyhow, here we are so all's well. Every mail we here of many of our old time acquaintances who have either been wounded or gone under altogether, & we think that very soon we will have no mates left at all.
Well George, as I say, nothing happens & of course no news. Our sympathy, Mrs Porman knows that she has poor Soul, so we need not send that. Nobody but the Good God above can comfort Her, & to Him she must turn. Some say there is no God. But if They knew the sin that was in this world you would not marvel. It is unbelievable that there is so much wickedness round about us. The War has made everything worse. Venereal disease amongst women & men is now more the rule than the exception in both low & high classes, & theft & every sort of vice is becoming as common as living. Now George I must write to Auntie Annie to-night & as it is getting late & I want to make some supper I will say Au Revoir Give my Regards to Mr Love & the Club Boys & to Mrs Porman & Lily & with Best of luck & Good wishes & all
I Remain
Your loving Brother
Remember me also to Mr Frost

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Dear Dad,
I am in receipt of Your 4 letters of the 1.7.15 & 21 Oct. & will answer them as I can. The mail closes to-morrow, so I must post this to-night. We were sorry to learn that Emma had to go Home but It must have been a great help to Mum while she was there so Mum had a good Holiday. You don't know what storms are. By Jingo, You aught to have crossed to the Isle of Man with us. You know what the Kuring-gai was in the rough weather. We had 7 hours of that & the waves rushing round our legs on the very top-deck. Of course we struck the Equinoxial gales & it will not be so rough again. I am really beginning to think that there are more impure women than pure. Hundreds come into us who have been with married women. Some men have come in who have contracted the disease from their wives. There are 50,000 soldiers suffering from the disease in England, & it is generally pretty virulent in England too. There are not the same steps to prevent the disease here. In Cairo all women have to be examined twice a week & shew it stamped on their license. Girls here do not know that there is such a thing as a Venereal disease, & of course do not know how to look after themselves. All women should have licenses & be examined twice a week. They will do these things, & the public must have their eyes opened to the fact that

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the life of the race is at stake. Just as well the fire at B.W's was not the cause of our shop going too. Look at the poor Devils that would have been out of work. My word what a flood you had. It must have been a sight. Fancy you not being able to get Home. How was it that You did not get Home till 10 p.m. You should have left the top of Condamine Street about 8 pm & it is only 35 minutes walk from there. Of course it would be very muddy, & You would have left Your Electric Torch at Home. I suppose the flood washed our garden nearly away. Never mind about Todd's land. Of course if You can get it for £60 well take it. We will not want for a job when we come back & can get a financier anyway. I wrote for £10. The registered letter is alright. It costs nearly £1 to send a cable, & then D. Jones London office would have to be informed that we were likely to draw from them. But anyway, Ellis is going up to London this week-end & I will get Him to call at the London office & see what can be done for further money that we may want. We all always very interested in garden notes. I suppose we will not know the place. It would be nice to arrive back about next September, when all the trees are in full bloom again. I know that You will all enjoy the fruit if it comes to any good, but we will soon be Home I hope to share it. We have not received Your papers yet but they very often

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do not come until after the letters. I wonder if the I.W.W. will get jail or the capital punishment. I suppose the usual thing & the war on too. My word it will be just lovely to dig in the old garden again. We will make it some garden I tell You. Has the Ivy geranium covered up those old Rocks yet. Get something to cover them before we come back. That creeper that grew on Trinity Church would be better than nothing. A slip of it will strike root if you plant it like carnations. My Roses in bloom eh. Did the La Belle France, the pink one, do any good? We were very glad to learn that Tom Porman is still alive. I think he will be alright. He is alive anyway even if He is in German hands. Why do You not wear the leggings. They are lovely for the cold weather. It is only cold here when it is frost, or the wind is blowing very hard. We have the taps & W.C. cisterns all ice whenever it is frosty, & all the puddles in the parade ground & elsewhere are ice. Ugh! Does the ground not get hard? It hurts the feet to walk on it. Beales is a habitual drunkard. I do not think He was even sober in Egypt, the dirty swine. He used to be the worst fellow in the place & everybody was damned glad to get rid of Him. I am surprised at Ellis not writing & giving You the full strength of Him. Mr Wellard, that also called on You has rejoined the Unit only last night. Valentine

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was like a raving lunatic for a few days, but now every one is laughing, & it the common joke to say to anyone, Oh, I believe old Beales is going to Your place for Xmas dinner. It will be funny You & George going Holiday making to-gether. It is to be hoped that if He goes riding this time, He will make a better job of it. Donkeys are the bonny things to ride. They amble along for hours and are so comfortable. The one we did not take to auntie's place is too selfish & petty jealous, You will understand. Street angel & house devil again, but, we are Friends, only that we have only one bosom pal & that is dear old Dave. Auntie has adopted Him as Her nev., & always sends love to Her 3 Australian Nephews. Ellis is going up to Lunnon with Quarter Williams this week end. Dave is just the same. I weigh 10ST 9LBS, the heaviest I have ever been in my life, so English weather has put it on for me.
Now Dad, It is getting late & I have to write to Mum & address a short note to Marie who is 25 years old on Monday. She is a lovely lass & writes such bonny letters so always does Jennie. I am not lonely. I get 3 & 4 letters a week from them & long ones too. I have received altogether about 36 letters this week so I have no time to get lonely. I have only answered your 4, 4 to Bess',

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 & about 2 other short notes. It will take me a month to get them all done. Now, Dad, thanks for Your Xmas Greetings & may You all have as Happy a time as I intend to have
Harry x
Love to Mum & George & Regards to Otto
I will answer His letter at the first opportunity
You might let Him read this letter or any of mine
Harry x

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Dear Mum,
I have just received Your letter of the 3/9/16 & two others Oct 7 & 21st. I played the Piano for Church on the morning of my Natal Day & in the afternoon packed all my things for England. We were only going to Sidi Bisha for a Holiday but something seemed to tell me that we were leaving Cairo for Good. It proved correct too. Thank You very much for Your Birthday greetings. I did real well on that day. My word what a flood You had. No wonder the people in the tram laughed. It must have rained dreadfully. How did they all get to work the next morning? The rainy season has not started here as yet. I suppose we will get plenty when it starts. Charlie Gibson is no older it seems. We took his Photo but lost the film somewhere. We just did have a lovely time with Auntie Annie & Marie. Oh Mum, they are lovely people. Auntie is as full of tricks as a cat's full of fleas. You know that we always thought she was proud & given to "putting on the dog". She is a simple & homely as an unspoilt innocent child. Marie is reserved & haughty so she says when out in the world, but in the Home she was such a bonny girl to all of us. She sings in a sweet Contralto & plays the piano, organ & concertina too I think. She is one of the most cultured & learned girls I have met.

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I am only waiting for the chance to go & visit Jennie. May it come soon I pray. I forgot about Grannie. She is such a nice old soul & will not sit idle a minute. She is just like Mrs Lucas only much taller. She is about Mrs Rogers height. Uncle "saws wood", He is a good sensible man & interesting to talk to. They are not as wealthy as they were, but there is heaps of money in the Family, which must come sooner or later to Uncle & Auntie, & Marie will be rich some day too. They have ample to live on, I suppose £1000 a year so don't think they have to struggle. Sorry George can't make up. He must stick to His music It will always be a fall-back & is so nice to enjoy a few Hours at any time. You still keep the farm-yard well stocked. You will have heard by this time that the cases have turned up at last. Give my regards to Jess Kitching. She is a very nice young Lady. We have spent many pleasant hours to-gether. I knew that Her Cousin would be able to get my address. I write to so many that I forget that I have not put the full address on. You did not send Ella's address. So You had Mrs Copestake out to see You at last. I have never met Her that I know of. Of course You have spoken of Her many many times. I think Her Christian name is Julia. So the old garden still blooms eh. I suppose cosmas & geraniums & marigolds as usual. How do the orange trees fare. Have they grown at all & the lemon too. I suppose You will be cutting

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Mrs Bunting our of Her reputation as a Pastry supplier. Remember me to Her & to all of the Bunting Family. Let me know the names of Your strange visitors, I may know some of them. Well Mum, I am nearly out of News now & I have 25 letters to answer yet so I must make a start. I had a long letter from Jessie Sheldon (52 Corso) & I will answer Her as soon as possible You may tell Her. I wrote a long letter to Dear Mrs Clarke. I could not do it until I had a letter from Her first. She seems to bear up, poor soul, in her dreadful infliction. Ellis & Quarter Williams are going up to London to-morrow but Ellis is going to Richmond & Quarter to Windsor, strange isn't it. Now Mum, I must say Good night. Love to You all at Home & keep happy, hale & hearty, as we intend to do.
Remember me to all my
good friends
& with Love to you my
Dear Mother
I say adieu (To God)
Harry x

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Dear Dad, Mother & George,
Just a short note in time to catch the mail to-morrow. I've no news except that it snowed again yesterday & everything is in a rotten mess to-day. Ellis & I have bought Top-boots of rubber so it can hail, rain, snow, or do what it likes now. We have had a wet week this week. As a rule we get 4 fine days to 3 wet ones, but it has been wet & foggy all the week. We are just jogging along. Everything is all right, can't grumble. Good grub & a good bed, & a room all to ourselves. I have nothing to write about until I get Your letters to answer, so it will just tell you what a quiet time we are having. I had a bonzer Xmas parcel from Bess this week & some Red Cross Comforts have come in too. I put in for pyjamas & slippers. Our other pyjamas are still going strong but some parts are just beginning to wear. You know we have worn them over 12 months now so have not done too bad. Ellis is just going to make some cocoa & then will go to bed. How are You all keeping? Are Dad's screws any better? He is having a rotten

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time isn't He.
Now, Dad, Mum & George, I must drink my Cocoa & go to bed. I have written 9 other letters to-day, so it is pretty late, I as a rule, only write one a day, but another mail will be in a couple of days, & I will have another dozen or so, amp; I had to make a special effort.
Good luck, Health
Happiness & Love Be Yours
All the time we are away
Love From Harry Ellis & Dave.
Regards to Mrs Niness & Mrs Hennessey & to my oldest Friends also

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Dear George
Yours of the 17-10-16 to hand a few days ago so I will answer it right now. Soldiering for fun is not bad but for a living it's up to - Home Service would not be bad either, but it is being away from all our Friends & Relatives that is the worst part. We get ice every day now but it does not cover the ground yet. The snow soon covers the ground but it has always rained before the frost has frozen it hard.I remember Mabel Parker alright now. I never spoke to Her or to Her Sister. I am always glad to hear about old Sandy. We still have our little white dog mascot & the monk. We have to keep the monk in a box in the big Cook-House. We brought them both ashore in haversacks.
We knew Tom Porman was a Prisner in Germany. I think He will get through allright. The Germans say that they have no quarrel with Australia & don't want to fight them. A German is about equal to a Frenchman & a Tommy double the Frenchy & the German says that it takes 4 of their troops to equal 1 Australian. I will see if I can get a letter through to Tom Porman. But I am not sure if I can. I will make enquiries at H.Q. & see if I can send Him a cheery letter & some comforts. I am so pleased that all the N.S. Boys are so shunning. I suppose the Marathon Games with Bondi are off. I will have to dry up for to-night, George. Ellis has

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banked the fire so that we will not have to relight it in the morning, so I have to get up early to-morrow & must go too. Bon Soir, Monsieur.
22-12-16. To-day, George, Twelve months ago, we left Sunny New South Wales. For a change it is Sunny now. The Sun has this very minute broken through the clouds. We had him for about an Hour yesterday, but previous to that we had a week of snow & rain. I could not get X'mas Leave. Only those wo had Parents in this Country could get off. There is a rumour that there is to be no more leave - I hope it is not true. I am feeling well now & so is Ellis. We had colds of course but thankful it was our acclimatising cold, & let us hope that now we will be free - we have Top Boots & good coats & are seldom out in the Rain, so we ought to be all right. I have dozens & dozens of letters to write & have written about [number on a tear in the page] since I left Sydney.
Well, George I can't think of anything to write. You must ask me about the things You wish to know. We are just as confined as if we were in jail. Sometimes for a whole week I don't go out of the Gates, & then I only go to the Pictures or Theatre, & I cannot make a letter out of what I see there. Remember me to all the Boys & Mr Love.
Love to All at Home & Yourself From Harry

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Xmas Eve

Dear Dad, Mum & George,

Just a few lines to-night, to let You know that we thought of You. We are to have a spread to-morrow & I am to carve for my Table. We had a X'mas Gift from the Red Cross, the Tablet from which this paper was taken being amongst it. Lollies, chocolate, pipe tobacco, cigarettes & one or two other small things as well. I received a X'mas parcel from Bess a little while ago, But "Our large boxes of Comforts" are not here yet. Never mind, we'll have plenty of things for X'mas, but next month & February & March is the time we will want the Comforts & they will be just in Time. We are both well & to-day was a perfect day, no colder than any ordinary spring day in September. Now dear Dad, Mother & George I'll say Good-night with Heaps of Love & Kisses from Harry x
Ellis sends his kisses too, Your own Dear Boy

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[Australian Red Cross envelope]

Mr T.M. Nicholls
David Jones Ltd.
Geo & Barrack Sts

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X'mas Day 1916

Dear Dad, Mum & George,
We have had a nice day to-day & we were quite happy. We had plenty of good food & I carved for my table of 12 men. I hacked rather than carved, but Army knives are not very sharp. We unfurled the Australian Flag & now this is an Australian Hospital altogether. Previously we had just taken over from the Tommies. It was a showery day but more sunshine than wet, quite different from what You or I thought to have at X'mas in England. Up North they are having bad weather but we do not get the bad weather that is the rule further North. We had Church this morning & I played the piano this time, as it was held in a bigger army Hut than the one we usually have. I have no news, Dad, Mother & George, but I am just writing a short note on this lovely day of the Year. We are quite happy & one plum pudding to day was as good as any I've ever eaten I think. Of course it is 12 months since I had any plum duff. I may have forgotten what a good one ought to be like.
Love to all & Hoping to spend the next with You all back in dear old Manly. I say Good Luck till then From Harry

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[Australian Red Cross envelope]

Mrs T.M. Nicholls
Corny Rd P.O.
North Manly

[Transcribed by Beth Macauley, Lynne Frizell, Robert Woodley for the State Library of New South Wales]