Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 10 September 1916
Dear Mr. Payne,
I feel I must not forget you in my correspondence home by tomorrow’s mail as I know you are specially interested in the land I am now in.
I left England on May 6th this year after just upon a months year’s training in Canterbury Barracks under the 3rd & 6th Dragoon Guards & after calling at Gibraltar, Malta & Salonica for a days or two arrived in due course at Alexandria. I was specially interested in St. Paul’s Bay at Malta where we anchored off St. Paul’s for about ½ hr. Salonica you can also feel sure was likewise of equal interest particularly as I read Acts 17 on a Sunday whilst in Harbour & in full view of the City. After a weeks stay in the environments of Alex during which time I spent one Sunday at Alex & attended St. Mark’s Church (named after the harbinger of the Gospel to Alex) our draft – a very small one – travelled all night to Suez & later joined our Regt then on the Canal banks. We were at several places on the Canal in the Sinai Peninsula & I must say we were glad to get away from it because of the heat etc though unfortunately our removal took place just when we thought we should have seen action in the recent fights just close to where we were. The temperature varied from 120o – 130o in the shade. The hot winds were cruel. One thing we had to be very grateful for & that was the Canal. I soon became a Swimmer.
After a day or two stay at Alex once again we embarked for the W Front & have come to the scene of the recent fighting – a very lonely out of the way spot – & have the Senussi to contend with.
We have become quite used to the climate by now which is very much better here & also accustomed to mountaineering because the desert off here lays in very high ground with deep ravines & gulleys running down to the sea. For an account of the fighting that took place here I would refer you to 2 articles in the Aug 1916 number of the London Magazine. I am glad to say I have stood the climate splendidly. On the Canal it was trying to everyone – I know at one place – though the temp was the same as the place we had just left – everybody was constantly perspiring even at quite late an hour & when not engaged in work. It was at this part of Canal that Ismalia crossed what was part of the Red Sea. I have only had to report sick once & that was the other day when I caught a chill. It is very cold here at night. There is quite a lot I should like to say about things and have but fear lest they would not pass the Censor.
You will be interested to know & pleased too when I inform you that my parents have had a short note from my younger brother (Don) to the effect that he has been recommended for the Military Medal for rescuing his Officer under shell fire on July 1st. My brother has always been a chap to keep things to himself & the letters received from him at home have been generally short & I feel quite sure that this great reward for his gallantry in a thing unsought for by him. I am hoping for further news by tomorrow’s Mail boat.
I shall welcome a letter from you when have time as I know you must be very busy just now. I hope & pray the N. Mission will be a success & that the people will rally round the Clergy & do their most important part.
My address is – Trooper C. N. Homersham 2684 Canterbury Troop 3rd Squadron, 1/1 Royal East Kent Yeory 3rd Dismounted Brigade Egyptian Expy Force.
My kindest regards to you all
Yours v sincerely