WAR DIARY OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET March 1916


OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET



1st March. Wednesday.  Fine sunny day.  Battery drill in the morning, Harvey doing B.C.  In afternoon exam of Lydd class on Helio and reeling in line from Water Wks Hill to Battery.  Went into Town after tea.  Orders came in during evening for Battery to move to Suez, half on 3rd & ½ on 6th.


2nd March. Thursday.  Dull early and windy but fine and sunny later.  Went out with the Left half B.C. staff in the morning doing Map reading; in the afternoon with the Signallers doing some soldering of wires with some success.


3rd March. Friday.  Fine hot sunny day. Harvey and I took our guns down in the morning and got them ready for travelling; in the afternoon went down to the Station and finished loading the rt half guns.  The Rt half Battery with Hill and Meade King left for Suez at 8.0 p.m.  Melville was posted to my section No. 4 yesterday.


4th March. Saturday.  Rather dull.  Loaded up Beams and Ammunition in the morning and then went into the Town with Melville and cashed a cheque at Cox’s.  Went into the Town again after tea, ordered 3 boxes of Lonconns at Temracas to be sent home also brought a Persian rug at Tave’s for £6 10/- to be sent home.  Wrote 2 letters at The Mahomet Aly Club.


5th March. Sunday.  Fine hot sunny day.  Church at 7.0 am and 6.15 p.m. dined afterwards at Larene’s .  Loaded up remainder of Ammun at 9.0 a.m.  Mail in.


6th March. Monday.  Fine sunny day.  Accompanied Caterpillars and guns to Gabbari Station and entrained them.  Struck Camp after lunch and the whole of the left half left Camp about 5.0 p.m. for Gabbari.  Got some dinner in the Town.  Train left at 10.0 p.m.


7th March. Tuesday Fine hot sunny day.  Had a good night in the train.  Woke up about 6.30 and found we had not yet reached Ismailia, interesting journey down to Suez but slow owing to many stops on the Single line.  Saw many Camel trains going towards Ismailia.  Arrived Suez about midday were supposed to be there at 7.0am.  Unloaded very successfully and quickly by 2.10.  Accompanied guns and caterpillars up to Camp.  Got fairly well settled down by 5.0 p.m.  Very sandy and not hard as at Mazacita.  Troops wearing helmets, said to be much hotter than Alexandria, but today was a cool day.


8th March. Wednesday.  Fine sunny day but windy which caused the sand to blow about horribly.  Spent the m’ning with Lane in the side car.  Went to the outflow of the Sweet Water Canal then along track between Sweet Water Canal and Suez Bay to El Kubri, examined Bridge across Suez Canal there which has been built strong enough to take Caterpillars, then along track by side of Suez Canal to Signal Station at Kilom 152 after having tried to cut across marshy land unsuccessfully.  Back to El Kubri and across Sweet Water Canal by Railway Bridge and back to Camp along desert track.  Very rough travelling indeed all the way.  Afternoon parade now 4.0 to 6.0 with the Signallers,  sending test messages.


9th March. Thursday.  Fine day no wind but dull.  Out with signallers, started laying line from Water Tower to K. 152 only got line across canal.  4.0 to 5.0 attended lecture by Major to NCOs on the country and our probable work.  After tea went in car with Major, Langford, Melville and Hill to Tewfik, back for dinner.


10th March. Friday. Fine sunny day. Battery Ord. Off.  Out with B.C. staff in the m’ning, one party at Water Towers and the other at The Signal Station on Suez Canal K. 152.  Lorry took 1 ¼ hrs. to get there.  Distance between the two 4,440 yds.  Signallers also proceeding with the laying of the line between these two points.  Afternoon with the section on Rifle drill.


11th March. Saturday. Fine day but windy and dusty.  With the section for about an hour while they were putting the gun into the cradle.  Then proceeded on Motor bike to see signallers who were laying the line and walked across the Marsh to K. 152.  Parade at 2.0 p.m. for handing in Rifles and inspection of socks and Titles.


12th March. Sunday.  Fine day not much wind.  Wrote some letters.  Went into Suez with Hill intending to go to Church but found it was 5.30 instead of 5.50 as we thought, Church was vary full with people standing outside so gave it up.  Wandered about the Town till 7.30.


13th March. Monday.  Fine hot day.  Went with Hart by train at 7.18 am to Geneffa and found on getting there that it was about 23 miles from Geneffa Canal Station where we had to cross the Canal to start our reconnaissance.  There was no means of getting there so had to wait until the train back at 3.20 p.m.  Visited a Camp of a troop of Patiala Lancers near the station, entertained by a native officer to tea and chapatti.  This man had been here on the Canal for 17 months and had fought against the Turks in the attack last year.  He spoke with intense loyalty and struck me as a very fine man.


14th March. Tuesday.   Fine hot day.  Went with Lane by 8.0 am boat from Suez Docks to El Shatt.  Met there by horses from E. Lancs. (T) R.F.A Bde. at 8.30, rode across desert and walked too far South eventually reaching Junction Post from there struck N. W. to Point 153 and then on to Pioneer Post where there is a Company of Imp: Service Rajpatana troops with English Officer, stayed and talked to him for a bit and left him just before 2.0 and rode back to El [Esh] Shatt returning to Suez by 3.30 boat.  This was the first time I had been into Asia and the first time I had been on a horse for about 5 years.


15th March. Wed.  Weather same.  Left half By drill in the morning, did B.C.  Signallers laying a line out for Aeroplane practice.  In the afternoon with the trained signallers doing exchange work.


16th March. Thursday.  Hot morning but clouded over about midday.  Picked as Prosecutor for a Court Martial on Gr Whitford at 10. am, afterwards went on bike to Kubri and then up the Suez Canal by road to Kilom. 144.  Did Semaphore with the Sect in the afternoon.


17th March. Friday.  Fine day but very windy and dusty.  Out with Lane all day on reconnaissance.  Left Camp at 8.15 on motor bike for Kubri.  Crossed Canal by the bridge and followed the road by the Canal to Shallufa, very good for 3 miles then all loose sand very heavy going; arrived Shallafa at 11.0.  Found the horses which were waiting for us and dismissed them.  Went to Geneffa by a very good macadam road, blinding dust and unable to see any distance.  Returned to Shallufa crossed by chain ferry, mended puncture in my back tyre and proceeded back to Kubri on W. side of Canal, bad going some of the way but good in parts.  Arrived back in Camp at 4.0.  Mail in.


18th March. Saturday.  Fine and hot early but clouded over and was windy and dusty the rest of the day.  The Major, Harvey & Condon (Sig) left in the Car at 8.0.  I went on my Motor bike.  Crossed over the Canal at Kubri and went up the road to Railhead where we met the horses and continued to Halfway House, I went there on my bike.  I mounted a horse here and went with Condon to Gebel Murr, found a position for observing effect on a target at a point to which The Major and Harvey had gone.  Driving sand very bad on the top of Gebel Murr.  Went into the 10th Gurkha’s Mess here.  Returned to Halfway Hse and then back to Railhead.  Stopped sometime in the 57th Native Inf. Mess and then back to Kubri and had to wait for the bridge at 5.0.  Back into Camp at about 5.30.


19th March. Sunday.  Rain during the night.  Fine day but windy.  Went to church parade and afterwards biked up to Kubri to find the road to Shallufa on this side of Suez Canal.  Track very slippery in parts owing to the rain.  Did not do all I wanted and returned to Camp at 12.20.  After lunch went with Hill and followed a track through to Shallufa, very loose sand for the latter part; returned over the desert on the W. side of the Ry.  Very good going most of the way.


20th March. Monday.  Fine day but cool breeze.  Took a route march in the m’ning.  Went to Suez and Tewfik with Meade King after tea.


21st March. Tuesday.  Fine hot day.  Camp and Battery Ord. Off.  Battery Drill in the m’ning.  Put Cartridges in recess in afternoon.  Capts. Massy and Cobb and Lieut. Kennedy to dinner in mess.


22nd March. Wednesday.  Fine hot day.  The Major went to Ismailia.  I went with Hart in the Car to Shallufa to see gun position.  Returned for lunch.  Mail in.


23rd March. Thursday.  Weather same.  With the section all the m’ning cleaning up the gun and digging drainage pit.  No afternoon parade.  Major rtd at midnight.


24th March. Friday.  Weather same but hotter.  With the Signallers most of the morning. Harvey put my gun into his cradle and had the drawing and hauling chains off the wagon to clean them, replaced them in the afternoon.


25th Mch. Saturday.  Fine but windy and sandy.  First half of the m’ning with the signallers on the vibrator; second half, Harvey and I took the Left half to Kubri to bathe.


26th Mch. Sunday.  Weather same.  Camp and Btty Ord. Off.  Had the whole Btty all the morning digging a trench for the Shell.  At 5.0p.m. Lane, White and I joined a Rugger team that Carey of 90 Heavy got up against 29th Div. Train.  Quite a good game, were beaten 17 nil.  Mail in.


27th March. Monday.  Fine hot day.  Lane and White were both crocked up after the footer so I went out to Kubri to where they were digging in.  Retd at 4.0p.m.  Melville went to Alexandria to draw 4 4.7” guns.  News came in after dinner that Johnstone had died in Hospital from Dysentery.


28th March. Tuesday.  Weather same.  Cleaned up gun bed in the morning.  Paraded at 3.50 with party for Johnstone’s funeral.  On arrival at Hospital found no coffin had arrived which caused a delay of an hour.  Quite a long walk to the Cemetery, the Burial took place at 6.10.  Back in Camp about 6.45.


29th March. Wednesday.  Very hot.  Hill drove me in the car to Shallufa and I took Pts. Wide and Winchester.  Went to the gun position and after doing about ½ hours work an Officer came and told me that piece of ground was quarantine for Camels suffering from Camel Pox, a horrible disease.  So we had to clear out.  Saw a Sanitary Off, and the A.D.M.S. who said we couldn’t go there.  The car got stuck in loose sand and took 1 ½ hrs to get out.  Went and had a lovely bathe and returned to Camp at 5.0p.m.



30th March. Thursday.  Fine day hot sultry with a very little rain in the m’ning.  Hill drove the Major, Br. Wilde and myself to Shallufa.  The Major approved of a new sight for the guns which I had chosen and then was told that the camels were being moved from our original sight area and that we were to take it up.  Arranged a ground for camping and then returned to Camp about 2.20.  After tea went with Hill and Hutchings to Suez.  Capt Langford went to Hospital with Dysentery.  Meade King not at all well.  Mail in.


31st March. Friday.  Fine day corker.  Btty Ord Off.  Rt half Battery moved their Camp out to Kubri taking their guns with them.  Left Half scheme for going to Shallufa cancelled.  Langford reported to be doing well.  Meade King still rather bad.


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