George Ryan’s letter home dated 14 Nov 1914
Nearing Port Said
14 Nov 1913
Dear Mother & F,
We left Gibraltar last Sunday at mid-day. We seemed to have been there quite a long while. It’s a nice place, I would not have minded staying there; but I was glad to leave it as we had got a long way farther to go & the sooner we get off this boat the better I shall like it. Of course we all get jolly hungry but each mess-table is only allowed a certain amount. The food is practically the same as we should get on land; bread & butter for breakfast & tea, &fresh meat & potatoes for dinner. We could generally eat double what we get. But of course we can’t get anything extra. The canteen’s jolly short of stuff; no mixed biscuits & what biscuits they have got they charge 1d for it. Oranges they bought at 3 or 4 a penny in Gib they charge 1d each. 2/- for a 2 lb tin of marmalade etc, etc. but we will soon be there now I hope, then we shall be able to make up for lost time. By all accounts we shall live alright in barracks.
We’ve had quite a smooth journey since we left Gib. The first day the sea was like a lake, but it’s not been more than choppy since. There was a thunderstorm all Thurs night; we couldn’t hear much thunder but there were flashes of lightning every half minute. It’s the rainy season along here, so the weather has not been so very grand. It doesn’t give you much warning when it does start; it’s more like a cloud burst. When we were in the harbour at Gib. we could hardly see the rock when it was raining, it was all misty.
We reckon to reach Port Said early to-morrow morning, I don’t know if we shall catch the other boats up there, they didn’t wait for us at Gib, we’ve come all the way from there by ourselves, no escort at all & we are not fitted with wireless. But we’ve met no Germans or Turks so far so I don’t suppose we shall now.
We shall not stop more than a few hours I think at Port Said, that is if the canal is clear. Then it’s 4 or 5 days journey through the Red Sea to Aden. We shall stop there 3 or 4 days as the other battalion on board is staying there. I don’t know whether we shall pick up some more in their place; I hope we don’t; we shall have a little more breathing room then. Then it’s about another 5 days journey to Bombay (or Karachi).
I’ve had the first dose of inoculation & got over it alright. There’s nothing much in it as long as you keep quiet for 24 hrs after you’ve been done.
Hope you are all quite well.
Write as much as you like
Love to all,
Yr affectn son
Excuse the scribble as the pencil is so small.