The 1/11 Finsbury Rifles were split at this point. While half the battalion stayed at Halfway House for specialist training and the never-ending maintenance and repair of the defence system, the remaining two companies were sent to the army base at Kubri. This was also the railhead for supplying the defence outposts and all the troops in the Southern Canal zone. Camels were used for transporting food & equipment in ‘mobile columns’ and were the mainstay of the final part of the supply chain here and as well as later on in the Sinai Desert and Southern Palestine.
While the overall direction of the Supply Lines was organised by the Army Service Corps and the camels belonged to the Camel Transport Corps, the transport officer in each battalion was responsible for the mobile column. Lt Wynn Evans was detailed to B Company CTC for a course in ‘Camel Management’ in 1917 where he would have learned the importance of loading camels correctly and taking care. Nearly 400 officers were sent to hospital with camel bites one year – male camels could be violent during the mating season.
©IWM (Q57884) Suez Canal Defences. Somali camels of the Camel Transport Corps.
Somali camels could only carry a load of 200lb. This was less than the larger Egyptian camels which were becoming difficult to obtain. It was important not to overload each camel –replacements took a long time to arrive.
Location MANCHESTER Date 25/8/16
Company and specialist training. Lt L Fox rejoined from English leave. Orders received to proceed to KUBRI RAILHEAD.
Location OLDHAM Date 25/8/16
Company specialist training resumed. Orders received to proceed to HALFWAY HOUSE.
Location MANCHESTER Date 26/8/16
Striking camp and loading camels preparatory for moving. Marched off 1615 and relieved the ¼ Northants at Kubri Railhead,
Location OLDHAM Date 26/8/16
Relieved by 1/5/ Essex Regt. march off at 1600. Spent night at SHALLUFA EAST.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD Date 27/8/16
Day spent in pitching camp and generally clearing up.
Location HALFWAY HOUSE Date 27/8/16
Left SHALLUFA EAST 0400 arrived HALFWAY HOUSE 1100. Remainder of day spent in settling down.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD Date 28/8/16
A coy training B coy working on defences. Usual routine.
Location HALFWAY HOUSE Date 28/8/16
D Coy training C Coy working on camp sanitation. 2nd Lt Rodgers to hospital.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD Date 29/8/16
A coy training B coy working on defences. Routine as usual.
Location HALFWAY HOUSE Date 29/8/16
D coy training C coy working on defences.
Locations HALFWAY HOUSE and KUBRI RAILHEAD Date 30 to 31/8/16
Company training and work on defences
September and October 1916
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD Date 1/9/16
A coy training work on defences.
Location HALFWAY HOUSE Date 1/9/16
Coy training and work on camp sanitation.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 2 to 3/9/16
A coy training and B coy working on defences and camp sanitation.
Divine service usual routine. 2nd Lt Pethybridge (Sherwood Foresters) attached to 11th London Regt. Transferred to 1/1 KENT FIELD DC9 KUBRI Captain HAD Collins reported for duty and took over command of HALFWAY HOUSE.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 4 to 9/9/16
A coy training B coy work on defences and specialist training.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE 10/9/16
Divine service and usual routine. Lt Herring left Battn to transfer to 2/17 F coy (EVANG RE) at GENEFFE.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 11 to 12/9/16
Work on defences and coy training.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD Date 13/9/16
Work on defences. Battn also employed preparing camp for mobile column. Lt Owen Lt Gibson 2nd Lt Hamilton and 2nd Lt Du Cane detailed for duty with mobile column. Capt Horner 2nd Lt Ince Alden and Bradley detailed for duty at El Shall during absence of 2 Battn 1/5 Bedfords on column.
Location HALFWAY HOUSE Date 13/9/16
Work on defences and specialist training.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 14/9/16
½ Battn employed in filling and loading camels for mobile column. Remainder at work on defences. Specialist training. Mobile column moved off at 1800. Lt Rogers reported for duty in connection with convoy loading for mobile column.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 15 to 16/9/16
Work on defences and specialist training.Part Battn deployed loading and preparing camels for mobile columns.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 17/9/16
Divine service. Fatigue parties employed on Convoy F despatched at 1300.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 18/9/16
Battn fatigues on convoy G for column. Remainder working on defences. Specialist training.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 19 to 20/9/16
Battn fatigues on convoy H for column. Remainder working on defences. Specialist training.
Location KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 21/9/16
Mobility column returned and dispersed. Battn furnishing parties for fatigues and work on defences. Specialist training. Lts Owen and Gibson reported on return from mobile column also Lt Hamilton and Du Cane.
Locations KUBRI RAILHEAD and HALFWAY HOUSE Date 22 to 23.9/16
Work on defences and specialist training. Capt Hooper and 2nd Lt MEE BADGLEY and ALDEN returned from duty with 1/5 BEDFORDS at EL SHATT.