3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Wednesday evening 14 February 1917 – at sea, last concert, Red Sea

Last on-board concert ~ won 4/- in spud race ~ unlikely to go to Cairo ~ church service & evening sing-song ~ entry to Red Sea ~ packing up library
At sea
Letter dated ‘Wed evening’, written 14 February 1917
Dear Mother

The final concert is in progress – nearly over now so I’ve cut! Not too bad programme – & we made stacks of fun out of the awful items, encored the performers who came back too in all good faith!!There was the distribution of certain prize moneys of which I had the luck to collect a share – 4/- for my win today in the spud race. We have been paid 30/- up to date so have plenty of cash – with what we started with, to buy stuff on land if we have a chance. I don’t know whether we will go to Cairo or not. It is hardly likely cos as far as we know it’s right out of the way of any camp to which we may be going. I’d like to go there – if only for a day – to see the place & people we’ve heard so much about. Still it’s not a tourist life we are leading – after all so we must not growl I guess if the ‘Heads’ have planned otherwise for us. We’ll soon know now anyway.

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3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Wednesday 14 February 1917 – at sea, on-board races, Two-up, Gulf of Aden

Sports – races & wrestling ~ shovelling coal in stoke hold ~ lifeboat drill ~ Two-up and Banker Schools ~ ponders on biblical story of Red Sea

At sea
Wednesday 14 February 1917

Dear Father

As we have to post our mail tonight for purposes of censorship & probable disembarkation on Friday I must bring my story up to date this afternoon. It is now about 3 o’clock and sports are in progress on the afterdeck.

I’ve just won the potato race, had a good run in the first heat & a stiffer one in the final, but got in by about a foot. George Potter & I ran in the ‘thread the needle race’, but were too slow doing the trick. I’ve been entered for 23/3 for teams’ race – here they are now – back again and I lost the race so I think I can write now without further interruption. I’ve been about an hour getting this much done.

I ran in the ‘onion and spoon’ race which was won by Jack Hardwicke after a large number of runs ie heats cos a crowd had entered for it. I did enter for obstacle race but am not waiting for it or I’ll never get any writing done. The best thing I can do is to write from my diary notes, cos one day is so like another that I can’t easily remember things.

I forget whether I told you of the boxing & wrestling which took place on Tuesday of last week. There were some good exhibitions with the gloves & Lance Neville, though beaten, stood up to Robertson who knocked Herb Groves out previously, for the full number of rounds; indeed it looked at the last as if Lance might win, cos he stood the strain the better.

I entered for the wrestling & was thrown after a bit of a push by Stew Sommerville – one of 23/3 chaps. It was a good evening’s programme.

On Wednesday evening a bridge tournament was commenced, but I was busy reading ‘Under the Thatch’ by Allen Raine – couldn’t play bridge anyhow.

The next morning for an hour Les & I went down to the stoke hold & tried our hands at the ‘banjo’ as the firemen like to call their implements. It’s not very simple pitching into those furnaces with only a small opening – to get the stuff up and well back as it should be; needless to say we amateurs did not stick it too long & afterwards got up and had a bit of a swim in the canvas bath on deck. It is about 3 feet deep and 12’ long by 10’ wide, so we had a good splash and cooled ourselves off.

We had a ‘family gathering’ for supper that night: toast and butter & cheese & some cocoa to drink. It was about full moon & very bright that night. Now of course the moon is not up till late – but we often wake to find it shining in on us – asleep – as Paddy would say – up on deck. I think I mentioned before that I was sleeping on the boards again. It’s hard of course but better for a good stretch than the hammock was, much fresher too outside. Lots of the fellows sleep up on the deck & hatch in preference to the stuffy troop deck down where we eat up.

I go & lie down with only my hammock & rug underneath me & no pillow – tho I could rig the latter if I liked & seem to sleep comfortably enough. It’s surprising what you get used to. Frank J, Les W & I usually sleep together in about the same place every night.

Woke up on Sunday morning with the island of Socotra on our right & two smaller ones on our left (believe I wrote about these to Dorc). All looked barren enough as far as we could see. Before the day was out we passed several more – but all were out of sight by nightfall. I did some washing for myself again that afternoon; spose I’ll be an expert at the job some day & when I come home – if all else fails (!) I’ll be able to take a position as a washer-leddy. That’ll be nice. I never thought of it before – but I spose that long ago when you were batching at Laura you must have done a bit of washing for yourself. Another case of ‘like father, like son’, tho the scene is changed somewhat. Is that why you got married? Good scheme I reckon – (with all due apologies to Mother) though I don’t know about the next step for me. Plenty of time for that & lots of things else when the war is over I guess.

Lifeboat drill on Saturday morning for quarter of an hour. We hear an awful row – repeated 3 times – from the ship’s whistle – & know that it is the signal to scurry for our lifebelts & hurry for dear life – I hope not – to our respective positions at boat & raft. If anything ever is wrong it won’t take us long to get our raft & load it into the sea. Not much chance now for us to get submarined with only 2 days to go. We will soon be able, I hope, to send our cablegram, so that early next week – or even this weekend you may possibly know we are all OK. I reckon that will be good news to get.

Some are a bit suspicious of the safe journey of our old bus, cos the black cat fell overboard last week! It was an accident – but I think, as there is still a black kitten on board the whole of the good luck has not left us.

The voyage has been A1 all through. The weather could not have been much better, interest has been maintained throughout by some means or other, not the least of which has been the library & lately the ‘2 up’ & ‘banker’ schools, of which I am not yet a pupil, have fairly carried away the crowd; losers looking mostly in vain for the return of their money & the winners winning more or losing again what they have won. Fortunately there are still a few who don’t go mad on that game. Some put in lot of time at letter writing. Moody reckons he has written over 40 during the voyage. Not for me – I thought to do wonders but I’ve written to none ‘cept home so I guess you’ll have to tell people & friends & relations that I’m alright & live in hopes of writing to them some day. I can’t seem to settle down to writing at all.

I’ve just been down & got a piece of bread & butter & brought up some bread to eat up with the last bit of my apricot jam! Worse luck it’s gone – but we have had quite a number of lunches & suppers with it for part of the menu: it was well worth bringing. Did ever anybody ever dream though that I should be eating Mother’s apricot jam in the Red Sea? It’s bit ridiculous – but it’s a fact! Many strange things this war is accountable for.

We were discussing the other day the story of the rolling back of the waters of the Red Sea: it’s a big job all right – I s’pose it did happen all right, but it’s past understanding how this enormous volume and width of water could have been withdrawn and held – as recounted in the Bible. I don’t reckon there’s any need to worry about it anyhow’s – but you ought to see it.

To continue from last Saturday’s boat drill! Don’t spose it matters If I get off the track. We were in the Gulf of Aden & nearing the city of that name when we learnt that, after all, we were not to call there. We saw a vessel going out in the opposite direction: getting into shipping route & seeing land at a distance occasionally on either side.

Sports & concert on Saturday afternoon & evening. Early Sunday morning – 4am or thereabouts we woke up to see a big searchlight playing on the water way to our right & when daylight arrived we could see land – a hilly ragged looking coastline & not a habitation anywhere. Then 2 steamers met & passed us – & through the day we saw 5 – beside 2 others which we saw lying in a harbour at one place – don’t know what it was – but there seemed to be a fort & sort of settlement or village – & two big lighthouses a distance apart, with some big decent looking dwelling houses attached or near.

My glasses were in constant requisition all day – as were others on board, & where we were too distant to distinguish things & places & passing ships with the naked eye, we had good views with the aid of the glasses.

At the fort above mentioned we picked out several men walking about & flags & all sorts else – just any little thing that was of interest. In the afternoon – away on our right – on the mainland – a great white patch showed up – which when looked at with the glasses was easily recognised for a city & one apparently of some size & fine structure. It was said to be Mocca – a Turkish possession [Mocha, Yemen] on Arabia – I don’t know, but it certainly looked all right from I spose 12-15 miles – or more. A big steel lighthouse too [possibly on Jabal al-Tair Island] stood out in the sea. It was a jolly interesting day – best yet by a long way; looked as though we were really getting somewhere at last.

I think I’ll close off for now & continue in another letter – cos I want to make sure of this going. A ship just now out on our right – I’m going out for a look for a minute: she is a big black & red boat – don’t know of what denomination or country; suppose she is British though.

I’m sending the PC [postcard] photo of our troop with this – it has not turned out too badly for a crowded group.

Well farewell & I’ll continue this in my next. With love to all of you & remembrances to all friends – that’s a contract – but you know!

Goodbye

Spence

Socotra IslandOn 9 Feb 1917 HMAS Bulla passed close by Socotra (Suquṭra) Island in the Arabian Sea.


Photos of Socotra below courtesy Rod Waddington via Flickr CC-BY-2.0

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Photo of Jabal al Tair lighthouse courtesy Lighthouse Digest Magazine
3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Saturday 3 February 1917 – at sea, on-board sports

Letters handed to censor ~ no stopping at Colombo or Bombay ~ church services ~ helping in the engine room ~ writing while sitting on case of onions ~ haircuts ~ quoits tournament ~ boxing – chap KO’d ~ onboard sports – obstacle race, potato race

 

Same boat, still going
Saturday 3 February 1917

Dear Mack

Think I had better write up to date & hand in my letters to Mr Heath, who, during the voyage, is acting as censor. We may have a chance to post in about a week if we happen to call in at Aden, which of course I don’t know.

Bad luck not going up to Colombo or Bombay for preference. Seeing that we are on a pleasure trip they might have shown us round a bit on the way. Never mind – I’ll meet you on the way back & we’ll cut up to Pubna [Pabna, West Bengal?] & around to see old Hal & Coy & play them tennis. I wonder at what outback village you are now residing & what sort of youngsters are now being tortured by the school marm, or – by some lucky chance – have you been retained at Woodville?

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3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Tuesday 30 January 1917 – at sea, King Neptune

Being paid for taking a sea trip ~ washing ~ calm sea ~ islands ~ sunset ~ King Neptune
At sea, HMAT Bulla
Still further
Tuesday evening 30 January 1917

Dear Dork

 

It is after 10 & tattoo has been sounded, but being a bit independent up here in my little den, I’m going just to scribble for 10 minutes or so. Things are going finely – very comfortable indeed just here in my ‘digs’ – but in fact I think most of the chaps are keeping very comf and cheerful. We are fortunate in having a comparatively small company on board. I guess a crowded troop ship would be about the limit! But all this is a picnic – & we are actually being paid for taking a sea trip! It is very interesting – for all we see of it – to sit on the railing at the tail of the boat & watch the sea – it beats all! To think that we have gone steadily ahead all this time & still are apparently nowhere! I wonder how big the sea is? It’s past comprehension.letter19170130

But I didn’t start out to tell you this! I have had a ‘washing day’ today – sure & you should see my line full of things even now hanging across from the roof of my den to the fence round the AMC quarters up a bit higher & across 4 or 5 yards (3 ft yards). There are 2 shirts, 2 singlets & pyjamas, my brown trousers (at least they were once brown), 2 towels, besides socks & hankers – so how’s that? I fixed ‘em this afternoon in a tub just outside the door so as I could attend to my library customers as the same time. This evening as usual we had the usual ‘gathering of the clan’ before bedtime for supper. My Fremantle cocoa is still hanging out but all my other tackle is ‘out’! Finished Mother’s biscuits last week & the cake on Monday (yesterday). Velly nice too! Of course we had lots between us so just took things gradually, but I fear our stocks are now running a bit low. So far though we have done well – the jam had not all gone yet – it’s all right too. Good night.

Spence

Friday 9 February 1917

Spose I may as well fill up this side of the paper before posting. I have posted 2 letters separately to Mack & Ruth & hope to catch the mail with this also. I think we may be able to post properly tomorrow ie get the letters off the old bus. Just now we are passing some islands – quite close too. One is marked on the map – Sokotra – that is long and narrow, apparently steep sides of rock & very little sand or vegetation visible. It may be bigger & better than it looks from here of course. Don’t know if it is inhabited or not (heard since that there are 12 000 people living there). The above is on our right & to the left are other islands standing up out of the sea like gate posts. They are small barren looking with the steep high sides, look softer and more like crumbling away than the other one. But I dare say they are pretty solid for all that. Someone says they are called ‘The Brothers’.

It was quite a change this morning to wake & see these bits of land after nearly 3 weeks of nothing but water, yet it’s marvellous how the appearance of the sea can change. You should have seen it last Monday! Like a sheet of glass all day & not a ripple broke the surface & I reckon that’s pretty good for mid-ocean. Some days it has been so calm that not a fleck of white foam could be seen anywhere – away out – but on Monday even the ripples were ironed out. The ship was gliding through as quietly as could be – scarcely making any foam or mark on the water. You should have seen the sunset! It’s past my power of description. We were crossing the Equator all day so were well above centre line. When the sun was 20 minutes or more from setting, things started to happen. The sky became ablaze so to speak & a blazing track was made cross the water between us and the west. This all gradually toned down to a rich golden colour which spread over all the sea west of us & the sky!

On the other side, looking away from the sun there were colours quite as wonderful though not so brilliant. Blue, purple and paling all the time till it seemed as if the sea were nearly white & then gradually darkening until it was hard to see where water ended & sky began. The ‘gold’ in the west & on the water (from the other side again) slowly paled though it was wonderful for long after the sun was out of sight – & at last all became murky and indistinct till the moon shone up. I only wish I could start to describe the whole performance to you but that would be well nigh impossible. You’ll see for yourself some day – that’s the only way to get any idea of it.

Last Sunday afternoon I wrote to Mack as probably you know. That evening, as on a previous occasion, we had a song service up on the forehatch, which, despite the fact that the tin pot organ had gone bung, was enjoyed by all who took part. We sang altogether mostly, but a few specials were given. Some of the WA chaps are good singers & 4 of them sang a quartette & another a solo. Dave Lines & 2 mates sang a trio besides other items. I tried again with George Potter ‘Looking this way’ but somehow or other I couldn’t strike the tenor decently at all until the last verse so am afraid it wasn’t a success. I got on alright with Mr Heath – sang t’other one again – No 24 or 26 Alex [hymn book].

On Monday night the programme was slightly different – a concert for an hour or so & then an interruption in the shape of a visit from King Neptune & his Queen and retinue. The Captain was presented with a document containing information & also bringing with him numbers of uninitiated newcomers on to the sacred precincts of his Kingdom – ie over the line.

The King & Queen were seated & respective places taken by Parson (who acted as clerk of Court, introduced the culprits & read forth the charge laid against them as they were brought in by the policemen), Doctor, Barber & assistant, 3 or 4 policemen & 4 sailors who stood in the canvas bath already prepared for the occasion, close by on the deck.

The first to be brought before the court was Dr Holder (but first of all the Parson read a few verses from the Book!). The Doc was charged among other things with ‘committing no murder up to date’. The New Doctor examined him & prescribed and administered some pills (specially prepared) & sent him on for treatment by the barber. He was lathered up with some soapy concoction in a bucket – gently administered by the assistant with a whitewash brush & then the Barber, with a razor about 2 feet long (closed up that is) & 6 or 8 inches wide, shaved him. During this latter performance he was seated in a box just above and at the edge of the bath which was filled with water of course – & without warning when the barber had finished, the box was tipped up & the patient flung backwards into the water where the aforementioned sailors concluded the round of torture – or fun – by well & truly ducking him before setting him free.

To this the Captain replied by expressing his sorrow & giving permission to the King to hold his court & proceed in examination of all & sundry on board the vessel.

Thus – with varying charges & slight changes of prescription were we all initiated into the mysteries & privileges of citizenship in the Kingdom of King Neptune. The programme was a long one – for all that were rushed through quickly: a few of the more serious charges I may be able to remember.

Mr Heath was 2nd in & was charged a serious charge with overstepping the speed limit allowed for sermons, viz 14 minutes, by 1 min 50 secs or something to that effect on Sunday – the previous day. He had pills to take & also a drink of lotion – nice of course to the taste & was shoved and dunked as the Doc before him. But he caused some fun by resisting somewhat & also by ducking one of the fellows in the bath. The OC went next – I forget his misdeed – but after he had been through he came straight back to the barber’s place & hoisted his assistant bodily into the water! As time went on the barber & various policemen were also ducked & in the end all of the court & company – the only ones allowed to go quietly & without hustle being the King & Queen.

The Chief Officer & Chief Engineer & various other ship’s officers were caught & ducked, some after much struggling & persuasion! But it made no difference – they had to go. Some of our chaps who tried to dodge got it worse & some were caught the next day. (My King Neptune certificate is enclosed herewith. I may lose it if I keep it so you can look after it for me till I come home – good!)

My charge was that- being librarian, having 4 books in my charge, I stole 3 – ‘Why did you not steal the four?’ I pleaded that the 4th was stolen by my assistant & I was sent on for treatment. I passed the Doc & sat down like a lamb to be whitewashed & shaven (I don’t think) – & then while they were making ready I tipped myself off into the water & missed getting mucked up because another candidate was following close behind me. It was a fine evening’s fun.

I’m enclosing 2 photos herewith – so go ahead & puzzle out whom you think you all are! My guesses are as follows: first in the close one. See the affair that look like parallel bars – back behind the crowd. Well just at the left hand end of it I reck I can see Bennie, Mrs Tommy & Ruth, Wit is probably one of the soldiers next to Ruth, then miss 2 ladies and see Sal with her head down & Stell R I think standing by her side on. I don’t think the next two in front, one tall & one short are Mack & you! Doesn’t look ’zactly right, so I dunno where you are. Neither can I see Father or Mother – they must be just back in the crowd. Now for the other one. See a leddy in black nearly under a white umbrella away up under ‘to’ in the station notice? That’s not mother is it? Then – will that be Mack a little further back – right in line with the corner post? She has a black bag or something in left hand.

 

Sometimes I think I can see some others away back but can’t be sure! If any of you can pick ’em or suggest – just do a bit of counting or explain where you reck anyone is & I’ll compare with the photos I’m keeping myself. Guess I’ll have plenty of time to look for any you suggest & you’ve got plenty of sharp eyes at home to pick ’em out.

Reckon this letter is about fixed – I want to write to Father & that will be one all round since I left – so that’s pretty good. I reckoned to write lots of extra letters but haven’t written one since Fremantle.

‘This place always looks tidy’ says the Captain at inspection this morning. ‘Good on his pluck’ sez I to mesel’.

Hooroo the noo & mind any of that secretaries work that you have to do!

Hooroo & hurrah.

Spence

PS I must crawl up now into my hammock – else in the morning when Jack H comes in & tells me ‘it’s tomorrer morning’ I won’t be awake enough to get up to ‘jerks’. Hooroo

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3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Saturday 27 January 1917 – at sea, ship library, concerts

Grand Concert on deck ~ library ~ boxing ~ deck quoits ~ life raft drill ~ cake ~ food ~ jam ~ running ~ high jump

 

At sea, HMAT Bulla
Saturday 27 January 1917

Dear Ruth

It’s just after 7pm so I’m ‘on duty’ for my library hours are as follows: 8 to 9am, 11 to 12 noon, 2 to 4pm & 7 to 8pm. However, tonight there is a Grand Concert on deck with awnings and flags around & numerous lights to make it as brilliant a success as may be.

The concerts we have are not bad – considering: only a few of the chaps can recite, so the programme is comprised mainly of songs, some with & some without the little organ accompaniment. The Doctor generally plays & gets on moderately well: he told me that he was used to a piano (the Doc is named Holder – a son I believe of Lady Holder). I wish we had one on board. But we’re well off for sport and amusement all round. The nice stock of books & magazines in my ‘library’ is now well used, the boxing gloves (2 pairs) are regularly used before breakfast and after tea, deck quoits have recently become the rage – a punching ball has now been put up – so you can see that with our sports, which happen 3 afternoons a week, we have plenty to occupy our time (punching ball had since been punched overboard & a second one is still waiting to be set up).

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3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Thursday 25 January 1917 – Jean Gilmour, Perth friend

Letter to Mother from Jean Gilmour, Perth friend

Manning Street
Fremantle
Thursday 25 January 1917

Dear Mrs Kentish

Thinking Daddie’s telegram would be unsatisfying unless you heard from Spencer himself, Mother asked me to write and tell you all we know of Spence’s welfare so far.

The ‘Bulla’ came right into the harbour but anchored mid-stream at a good distance from the wharf. We would not have seen Spence at all if he had not broken away from a route march while the others went into a hotel for a drink. By chance the NCO marched them towards our place and Spence took his only chance of seeing us and ran down to the house.

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3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Monday 22 January 1917 – march around Fremantle, WA chaps on board

Route march in Fremantle streets ~ visited the Gilmours ~ dinner at Cabin Tea Rooms



HMAT Bulla, Fremantle
Monday 22 January 1917

Dear Dork

It’s almost time for our bus to sail again & I may get this off – I don’t know. There’s a chance of some one posting for me after we leave.

I’ve been pretty lucky: we were not allowed any leave for all our expectations but we were taken out for a route march around Fremantle Streets – marched up near Gilmours & broken off for 10 minutes to get a drink! I cut for my life and found Mr G and Jean at home. He walked back with me & soon met us again with Mr Lamb – who has a tennis court you know – and after a bit of waiting they got me off for an hour or more. We arranged to meet at the Cabin Tea rooms for dinner.

I went with Mr Lamb to his office & rang up a few – Mrs Carey, Dot McLennan, Mrs Harry – but the latter was not at home, all away on holiday at Busselton – & later went to the CBA [Commercial Bank of Australia] Fremantle & rang up Bourkie in Perth office.

Then we had dinner, Mr G, Mr Lamb, Jean & I & as soon as had finished Mrs G & Miss Ashton & Ron Thompson appeared. Nellie T is away for a week or so at Wagin for a holiday. They gave me some fruit, cake etc to bring back & saw me off at the wharf whence we were ‘motored’ across to the Bulla here – out a bit from the wharf & we are still waiting to go. The WA chaps are on board & all is ready I think – so I’ll duck up and try to find a ‘cobber’ to post this for me.

Goodbye to all of yez.

Spence

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3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Sunday 21 January 1917 – tucker on board splendid, bonny on the sea tonight

Same address only nearing Fremantle
8pm Sunday 21 January 1917

Dear Mother

I s’pose you are all getting ready for bed – or will be soon, cos it’s after 10 by your clock.

Word has just come in that the lights are in sight – good O!! That is the beacon and lighthouse of course but we are getting in.

Mr Younger, the OC as far as Fremantle, has told us that that we may dress ready for ‘leave’ when we arise and shine in the morning, so that is hopeful – as long as the officials in the west can be squared or satisfied as to our trustworthiness we will be Kirect for most of the day I guess and that will be great! How about cutting over and flying round a bit with me to see Gilmours and Harrys & Wilsons & Careys and McLennans and any more I have time & inclination to see! What O.

I guess I won’t write much more when we have landed, so I am putting in a bit this evening. I’ve not written a line beside these 2 epistles so far! So please tell all friends and relations the news if it interests them.

Our tucker on board is splendid! I never growled at Mitch. but this is twice as good. Porridge and hot meat and spuds etc – plenty of butter for brek – and cond. milk in any quantity. Good hot dinners, soup, meat etc and pudding and for tea we get cold meat, bread and jam, butter, cheese and stuff. We do well. (Just now by the way in here are Jack H, Frank J, Phil P and Lance N and Les and Arch have just left after doing some writing – so as Jack says ‘it’s still the old family – in the same place etc’).

I’ve just been out for a blow – it’s bonny on the sea tonight – nice fresh breeze but not enough to make the old Bulla rock. Not much to see yet – Rottnest Lighthouse and Fremantle search light switching round.

Today as usual we got up about 6.30am and did some jerks before brek. At 11am there was a church service conducted by Mr Heath, the parson, who is a decent sort of chap and gets on first rate with the men on board. There was pretty ‘rum’ bet on or rather ‘sweep’ about the length of the sermon. Two chaps guessed 15 minutes and won half each. The estimated times ranged between 14 and 18 minutes. This afternoon we dressed up in full marching order and were picked in squads of 10 for a competition – first as regards the turn out ie appearance of 23/3 I was picked in Number 1 team. That was for best 10 in rifle exercises.

We had 3 teams and 23/9 had 3 teams, and our squad – although we took no trouble to get our gear clean – won the first and after all had a cut at the exercises with OC as judge – we and No 1 team of 23/9 were declared equal. It was a good go evidently as he took a long time and gave us plenty to do before deciding. We had tea then and besides the ordinary fare we had buns as well.

Now it’s about bedtime. Phil, Jack, Frank, Herb and one or 2 others have been in for supper on your biscuits and others and cocoa so we are doing alright.

Lt Hugo Throssell VC of 10th  Light Horse is joining us as OC in the west and Mr Younger will return to SA. A reinforcement of WA LH are to get on board here. Wish Roy Dyer was with them.

Well good night to you all. I’ll add a line or two from land tomorrow if I have time.

Love

Spence

3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Friday 19 January 1917 – departure from Adelaide on board HMAT Bulla

Departure from Adelaide ~ ship library ~ sleeping on deck ~ sea sick ~ boxing on deck ~ sports ~ concerts

At sea
Friday night [undated – but written on 19 January 1917]
see record of embarkation
Dear Lic

Look at me now! It’s 8.15pm and I’m up in my hammock as comfie as may be – in our own ickle library, enjoying the ‘sporting life’ as Jack Hardwicke calls it – as well as most & better than some. It’s been rough today & is still but I’ll start from the beginning – last Tuesday. I can hardly realise that we have actually started on our trip – when I think of it at all. Seems as if we’ll be home for a leave night or weekend soon at any rate. Did you get all of those Australias etc and pins the other day? The last went from a good distance but I think they lobbed safely on the wharf. Seeing that those in my coat collar wouldn’t shift & also that I had 2 Australias in my pocket – I still have a set to wear in the west.letter19170119 Continue reading “Friday 19 January 1917 – departure from Adelaide on board HMAT Bulla”