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


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This page contains a single entry by Dick published on April 15, 1916 11:59 PM.

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15 April 1916

Posted by Dick on April 15, 1916
The usual Saturday morning inspection. Bathed at midday. After lunch I went for a ride with Franklyn; we went for about five miles along the Sweet Water Canal. We saw any amount of chameleons, both small and large, and varying in colour according to the background they were on. We brought one big deadwood coloured one back in a holster and put him on a green palm branch in Franklyn's tent, and tonight he has turned quite a bright green. Some of the bushes growing in the water were thick with locusts. We saw any amount of kites; Franklyn shot at several with his revolver but with no success. We saw several flocks of very pretty birds indeed, I don't know what they were, they flew very like a woodpecker and much the same size and shape. As far as we could see they had dark yellow backs, some blue under the wings, and lovely green breasts.

On the way back we suddenly saw a very weird animal about fifty yards ahead of us, about the size and build of an otter, but a shaggy coat and it moved very like a stoat. We galloped after it and it disappeared into some thick rushes. We got off and beat about but could find no sign of it, when we suddenly saw it about two hundred yards away. We again gave chase but it got into some very thick undergrowth. If we'd only had a terrier or two, I believe we should have got up to him. Powell tells us he saw some of them in the Cairo zoo but can't remember their name.

After tea I went out and helped Elliott try and catch some fish in the canal, but we had no luck. The major has eaten the crab that was caught yesterday and so far there has been no ill effects. In fact he said it was so good, that Elliott has rigged up a very ingenious crab trap made with an old sack, some wire, and old horse shows for weights (and luck!), and baited with old meat.

He swam out and sank it in the canal with a line running in to the shore. We've just been out to see what luck we've had, and found the line caught round a rock or something, and we couldn't pull it in. So Elliott swam out to free it (pretty cold at 9:30 at night out here). We got it, but no luck. We've set it again and hope for something in the morning.

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