Once again, a snapshot of the repetition of camp life, with Route Marches, to maintain fitness and practice specific routes, alongside training, providing much of the activity. Here the men are stationed at Mena.
Joe Guthrie, a machine gun Sargent in the Finsbury Rifles, produced an Oral History recording of his time at war, held at the Imperial War Museum. In it he recalls stories which illuminate the experiences of soldiers which fall outside the rigid, formal information stored in the War Diary.
Mena was close to the Pyramids, and Joe Guthrie tells this anecdote about climbing them with a local guide:
‘I swore when I saw that Pyramid, I’m gonna climb that…thing and I did, the next morning I was up there…Had a drink up the top of the Pyramid. And then when I went into the pyramid at Mena, the chap…who was showing me round met another…and they had a fight about who was supposed to be taking me round! Showing me round the Pyramid. That was all very interesting. And we stopped at the Pyramids until we moved up to the canal of course.’
Date 3 to 5/2/16
Normal camp routine. Training continued.
Church parade under Brigade arrangements. Battalion on duty for camp and Brigade. Very numerous guards, picquets and fatigue provided.
Brigade Route March.
Date 8 to 9/2/16
Normal Camp Routine.
Brigade Route March. Battalion on duty.
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After a period at Sidi Bishr, near Alexandria, the Brigade receive news that they will be moving to Cairo in the next few days. This passage illustrates the preparations for this move.
Brigade Route march. News received that Division would proceed to CAIRO during next few days.
Normal Routine. Battalion on duty. Pioneer Sergeant sent to CAIRO with Brigade Advance party.
Brigade Church parade. 16 men arrived from Details Camp. D company reclothed and cleaned at MUSTAPHA.
Remainder of battalion reclothed. Definite orders for move to CAIRO received. 1 officer and 50 other ranks sent forward as advance party. Lt. J. A. Stanbrook to hospital.
Location: SIDI BISHR
Morning spent in striking tents and cleaning up camp. At 1pm Battalion paraded and proceeded by Route March to SIDI GABER Station where entrained for CAIRO. Arrived ABOU ELA Station about 11pm. 200 men required for unloading and loading up baggage. Remainder of Battalion proceeded by Route March to MENA.
Arrived camp about 3.30am. Battalion on duty, numerous fatigues and guards provided. No parades.
Explore our Glossary to discover the meaning of any unfamiliar terms.
In this passage we can see the impact of weather conditions on the routine of the Regiment, with a violent hurricane blowing down numerous tents in the middle of the night.
We are also introduced to the 3/11 London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles), which was formed after the outbreak of war. Its purpose was to supply trained soldiers to the first line Battalion and second line Battalions to replace losses, either through death, injury or illness. After the 1/11 Battalion’s horrendous experiences at Gallipoli, two separate drafts of men joined them in Egypt to help bring the Battalion up to its full strength of 1007 men.
© Darren O’Brien.The 3/11th London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles)
Normal camp routines.
Church parade under Brigade arrangements.
Normal routine. Violent hurricane and many tents blown down during night.
Brigade Route march. Battalion on duty. Weather still very bad. 6 Officers and 151 other ranks reported from England from 3/11 Battalion.
Date: 26 to 27/1/16
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Staff Ride for mounted Officers. Battalion on duty. Routine as usual.
Church parade. Routine as usual. 1 man to hospital.
Normal Camp Routine. Battalion on duty.
Orders received that battn would return to SIDI BISHR following day. Advance party sent over to DAMAN HOUR
Location: SIDI BISHR
Battalion entrained at 10 am and proceeded to SIDI GABER marching from there to SIDI BISHR camp. Lt. Moreton returned from hospital.
Normal camp routine. Lt. Sandercock and 14 other Ranks rejoined from Base Detail Camp together with 2nd Lieutenants Barry and Selby from 3rd Battalion. 2nd Lieut. Radloff to hospital.
Normal camp routines.
Explore the Glossary to discover any unfamiliar terms.