The 1916 war diary of 2nd Lieut. Dick Willis Fleming


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This page contains a single entry by Dick published on March 5, 1916 11:59 PM.

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5 March 1916

Posted by Dick on March 5, 1916
We were lying off Alexandria by six o'clock and began to go into the harbour around seven. We anchored in the harbour for an hour or so, and it was very amusing watching the police (Egyptians with red fezzes) trying to keep the Arabs and people away from the boat. But the police were bad oarsmen and the Arabs invariably scored off them, and there was a lot of jabbering and shaking of fists. We lay out in the harbour for a couple of hours and then a tug came and towed us into our berth. There was a transport full of Australians disembarking next to us.

It was several hours before we disembarked and the whole quay was crowded with Arabs and beggars in the most weird clothes, all scrambling and fighting for anything you threw them, while an exasperated Egyptian bobby, trying to look fierce and important, was pursuing them with a stick and attempting to keep them from the ship. He made them howl, too, when he got a good one in, but it made him look very much off his dignity when a Tommy threw a hot baked potato which hit him full in the small of the back, much to the delight of the rabble. 

Bradley, Pearce, and myself with our 60 men have got to go to Gabarri Rest Camp for a day or two to pick up our Batteries. We walked up into town this evening, and a more filthy place I've never seen, swarming with natives of all colours, from jet black to white, and all dressed in very gaudy robes. It really is a very pretty sight, but the smell is something awful. I saw a good many camels going along, rather a mangy looking lot, and any amount of Arab ponies, some very nice.

I sent a cable home, but they say it will probably take six days. Also changed some money. At present I am very much at sea with the piastres and things. Bradley and I are sharing a tent and have started by putting a thick layer of bug powder all over the floor.

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