WAR DIARY of 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET April 1916
48 SIEGE BATTERY RGA
1st April. Sat. Weather same. Left Half marched to Kubri to see position taken up by Right Half. Returned by lorry from Kubri Ry Bridge. In the afternoon Hill and I biked to Kilo. 145 and had a bathe. Meade King went to hospital with jaundice.
2nd April. Sunday. Weather same. Took Church Parade as Camp and Btty Ord Off. Rode over to Shallafa after lunch to put up board on site for gun.
3rd April. Monday. Weather same. After breakfast biked to Shallufa to see R.E.s about fencing in our gun positions, arranged it and returned for lunch. Had orders to proceed to France which pleased everybody very much. Melville returned from Alexandria and the 4 47s arr’d at the station but owing to our orders to move we did not unload them. Langford returned from Hospital.
4th April. Tuesday. Weather same. Loading up shell all the m’ning and finished doing so in the afternoon. Right Half returned from Kubri.
5th April. Wed. Weather same. Preparing guns and lorries for travelling and telling off men to lorries, kit inspection. Mail in.
6th April. Thursday. Weather same. Reveille at 5.0 a.m. Took a party down to the station at 7.0 a.m. to carry on with the loading, returned to Camp at 11.0 for dinner and then back to the train which left at 1.30p.m. Had a good journey and reached Alexandria (Gabbari) at 1.30 a.m. were left alone till 5.0 a.m.
7th April. Friday Weather same. Began to turn out of the train about 5.0 a.m. but did not leave station for Gabbari A Camp till 10.30. Quite comfortable in Camp and a good Mess. Went up into the town in the afternoon to cash a cheque. Dined in Camp and afterwards went with Hill to the docks to see if the Motorcycles had been unloaded.
8th April. Sat. Weather same. Battery paraded at 9.0a.m. to embark on the Caledonian leaving 5 men with me also Hill and 10 A.S.C. Went down to the docks with Hill and began loading up on the Edlington, a Hull Collier. After putting all the guns in they took the Beds and Howitzers out again to put them between decks. Got the Caterpillars on board and also 2 belonging to 42 Siege.
9th April. Sunday. Weather same. After seeing about Rations and Cooking arrangements for the men got down to the Docks about 10.30. Loading lorries most of the day. Spent afternoon in Camp and then went to St. Mark’s to Church. Met Hill afterwards and dined at an Italian restaurant.
10th April. Monday. Weather same. Went down to the docks soon after 9.0 with Hill. Continued getting lorries on board and then ammunition. Went to Mustapha with Hill before lunch. Gr Lyle turned up from hospital at Suez. The Navy started mounting a 4.7 gun aft. Had tea with Hill at Grotti’s and dined in Camp. Went to Tawa’s and brought a scarf for Judith also a Baluchistan Rug for home.
11th April. Tuesday. Weather same. Moved from Camp and embarked on board ship. Continued loading Lorries and Ammunition.
12th April. Wednesday. Weather same. Officially embarked, tea being first meal. Meade King turned up from Hospital at Suez, took him up to the Main Guard and to Embarkation Office and then to the Magantic on which he embarked. Continued loading Amm: and Pipes also the Beds and Howitzers in No 3 between decks and the Cars.
13th April. Thursday. Weather unpleasant due to a Hamsheen, some rain and windy. Strolled around the Native quarter with Hill in the afternoon and brought some bracelets and anklets, most amusing time. After tea on board took the Capt to the Pictures at the Iris at 6.0 Heavy rain after returning on board. 1 R.G.A. and 1 A.S.C. turned up from Hosp at Suez.
14th April. Friday. Still fairly windy but fine. With assistance of two tugs left Quay No 10 and anchored in the outer harbour. Rigged up accommodation for the men on the top of No. 3 Hold by a tarpaulin stretched over the derrick booms, several slept in lorries.
15th April. Sat. Less wind but still a fresh breeze. Pilot came on board and we got away at 9.0. The Pilot did not come outside the harbour and we followed the Tug out. Our escort a new mine layer followed us out. Had done 21 miles by midday. There was a fair swell and she rolled a little. Hill and one or two others were a bit sea sick. Sunny day.
16th April. Sunday. Still a fresh breeze with a swell, Hill recovered after dinner several others still bad. About 4.0 p.m. our escort turned round and left us without saying a word and we had expected him to accompany us all the way. Saw a patrol about 6.0 p.m. who asked our name. Passed between Casso Island and Cape Sidaro, the E. extremity of Candia at nightfall and altered course along the N coast of Candia (Crete).
17th April. Monday. Still a fresh breeze from the W. Saw several ships during the day and passed a patrol towards evening. Passed C. Spado, the W. extremity of Candia and through the Cerigo channel at nightfall. Several heavy squalls during the night with lightning and thunder. Progress slow.
18th April. Tuesday. Still a fresh breeze veered slightly to N. Bright and sunny day. Progress slow 115 miles for 24 hrs to midday. Passed a trawler patrol about 9.0a.m. and 6.0 p.m. Rolling and pitching a fair amount. SS Baton passed in the morning, steaming alongside another tramp all day. We drew ahead at dark. Squalls again at night.
19th April. Wednesday. Fresh breeze sunny fine day. Wind went down and ran into calm sea about dusk. Saw a warship on the horizon at sun set. 170 miles to noon, with calm sea. Speed increased to 9-10 knots. Lovely fine moonlight night.
20th Ap. Thursday. Dropped anchor in St. Paulo Bay Malta at dawn and received orders to proceed at 7.30am. French TB passed at 9.0 a.m. and a French Cruiser overhauled us at dusk. Passed Pantelleria at 7.0 p.m. Day’s run 209. Calm, no wind cloudy. Passed Cape Bon at 11.30. p.m.
21st Ap. Friday. Fine day dull and cloudy, light breeze. Passed C. Pietro S.W. of Sardinia at 7.0p.m. 245 miles.
22nd April. Sat. Sunny m’ning with light breeze, cloudy over in the afternoon and the wind freshened causing her to roll a bit. Saw the Titan light at 6.0 p.m. and the Iles d’Hyeres after midday.235 miles to noon.
23rd April. Easter Sunday. Gale from N.W. from afternoon of 22nd. Very slow progress. Very rough night, ship turned right round once, rolling heavily. Picked up Pilot outside Marseilles and came to anchor in outer harbour at 2.0 p.m. Pilot stayed on board. Fairly sunny day.
24th April. Monday. Fine sunny day. Fresh breeze. The Capt., Pilot & Hill went ashore at 7.0 a.m. Capt. returned at noon. Pilot came off at 4.0 p.m. and took us in to a berth. Heard that the rest of the Btty had gone on. Cabled home and to Judith.
25th April. Tuesday. Lovely sunny day. Started unloading. Various M.L.O.s etc. came on board and all seemed very nice. Sgt. Lew went to Hosp: Went ashore with the Capt and Hill, dined at the Novelty and to a Cinema afterwards.
26th April. Wed. Weather same. Continued unloading. Went to the Paymaster obtained money for the men and paid them. The Capt and I went ashore, Hill and Hay joined us and we dined at the Basso.
27th April. Thursday. Weather same. Continued unloading. Went ashore with the Capt. in the evening, dined at The Novelty and to the Palais Crystal afterwards, quote a good show.
28th April. Friday. Weather same. Continued unloading. Loaded up a train consisting of all the transports except Caterpillars. Also loaded most of the guns and Caterpillars on to trucks. Capt., Hill and I went ashore, dined at the Novelty and went to a Revue at the Cassino afterwards. Left Hill at the Station at 12.0 mid’t. His train was due to leave at 1.12 a.m.
29th April. Saturday. Weather same but dull. Finished unloading ship and made up train. The ship left at 10.0p.m. for Cette [Sete] for coal. We disembarked and slept in the hanger for the night.
30th April Sunday Weather same. Left by train at 10.0p.m. without our caterpillars and guns and the 25th Heavy Battery with 33 horses. Nearly missed the train owing to barley and oats for the horses not having been drawn from store. Very pretty country but it rained during the evening. At Orange hot tea with rum was provided by the French.