1 February 1915

Mena Camp Cairo
Sunday 1st Feb 15

Dear Homefolks

Got a letter from you Mum & you Dad, but they were both delayed about a month. They were dated 25/11/12. The last lot before them were about the 25th Dec so you can see how much they've been delayed. Also got a delayed letter from Clytie. The expected letters didn't arrive. Heard something to the effect that ## the mails not connecting, the Austn mail will only arrive once a fortnight. It looks as if its true.

Percy, I'm rather late in wishing you many many happy returns of the 5th Feb, but tho late my wishes are none the less sincere. Hope you have a very happy birthday & many many more of them.

I'm writing against time tonight. There was a short service in the messroom tonight & I attended. It was splendid. I wish you all could have heard it. The minister got so warmed up to his work that the service was much longer than he originally intended. But I could have listened to him for hours. He was splendid. He intends to hold them every Sunday night. Hope that he does.

Had leave last Sunday from 9a to 9pm. Went into Cairo, but spent til after 2pm writing letters so didn't have too much time to look around. Cairo is getting a wretched place to go. Prices in everything have gone up wonderfully. The Tommies say that we are to blame. Before we came they used to get things pretty cheap, but now owing to the Austns being very free with their cash everything has gone up.

On Monday & Tuesday we did a bit of firing practice. Advancing on a position & opening fire on targets representing enemy. We all did fairly well.

Had a soft time on Wednesday. The whole Coy was on guard except two or three, including yours truly. So the Capt gave me a bit of clerical work with Lt Beckin. We were making up the conduct sheets of all the A men. Some of them have their sheets nearly filled with various misdemeanors.

On Thursday there was the general half holiday but no leave was granted owing to there being a big Mohametan celebration in Cairo, & the authorities were afraid of trouble. So we stopped at home & passed the time messing about camp.

On Friday A Coy got wiped out attacking another Coy. They were in a strong position & they shot us down like rabbits as we advanced. We all recovered very quickly tho. Had a torrid time of it going home. The Capt was riding so he went on ahead & got back some time ahead of us. It was his absence that caused it all. The 4 platoons were marching in columns of platoons. No 1 being the guiding one. The others chaffed us about going so slow so we increased till we got ahead, then the senior officers got wild & made us slacken & then changed the directing flank & when getting near camp the pace increased till we were almost doubling & you could hardly see the 2nd row in front with the dust. We were all done up when we got in.

Yesterday A got in position for C to attack but as C didn't find us we had a lovely day of it. Doing nothing all day. It was great.

A lot of men are leaving here for Aust tomorrow. They are the sick & the undesirables. There are a lot of undesirables & its the best thing for all concerned. They are a disgrace to their regts. There are also a large number of men suffering with an incurable disease going back. The whole lot leave early tomorrow morning.

There is nothing definite about going to the front. The English papers speak as if we are going to replace the Indians but of course I don't suppose they know any more than we do.

Well I must close now. Lights out in a few mins. Will write a longer one next week. Love to you all. We are both well & happy & hope you are the same. From your loving son & brother Bert.







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