Sunday 23 / 4 / 1916

Dear Father,

We are now settled down in a new camp and do not know for how long we have been here about a week doing fatigue work about the camp and have only done two days drill which was meant to try us to see what our lot were like.  I think I have helped to dig an underground tank there through the hardest ground I ever saw.  I have harnessed myself to a rope and helped to draw an army service wagon about full of firewood and have done many other jobs like that.  We are now engaged in building sand walls around out lines about a foot high.  Goodness knows what for unless it is meant to give us some pick and shovel work, and at any rate they are not much use for anything else.  We are beginning to get the ferry fly to the natives little jokes as regard to taking this down. They charge with all their might.  It costs us equal to a schilling for 6 mini Nestle chocolate and a schilling for Kiwi polish which cost 3 & 6 a dozen in Sydney.  Oranges cost but a schilling each which were sold here once for half the price.  It seems that the natives have got the idea that Australians are all rich men which idea was gained when the Australians who came over first throwing their money about like chaff and when it was finished they used to cable for more so now we have to pay through the nose for everything.  We have about four or five canteens including two or three wet ones and if we can get Dutch, French scotch and Rap?  Beer for about 1/3 a bottle.  We can also get a fair feed for about 1/6 or equal to 7 piastras with tea and bread.  Running through the camp is a fresh water canal which is used for irrigation purposes and also for sailing boats.  It is about 5ft deep and 25 yards wide.  All along the banks on either side where the soil is deep.  The soil is very fertile and the natives grow chaff, wheat, vegetables etc.  They plough with old ploughs and two hump backed bullocks.  They have to swear a lot harder than the Australians to get a move out of them.  They plough about a mile a year.  The natives also have donkeys and camels and treat them rather too harshly.  We saw one donkey with sore eyes which had worn all the skin off its head through brushing its head on its knees to get rid of the flies.  The native who owns it was too lazy to put a piece of net over its eyes to keep the flies off it.  We see all kinds of troops in this camp as it is rather a big one.  A lot come and go too.  Those that are here one week go somewhere else the next week probably.  We are not allowed to mention the name of the camp we are in yet and where we are going eventually although you would have a fair idea.  I hope to be able to see Aunt Clare and Aunt Bell as I believe they have now arrived in Cairo or at least that is what Bill says.  Fine thing to be a tourist isn’t it?  We got paid the day before yesterday and I received 150 piastres equal to 30/9.  Most of which was spent on photographic material and our stomachs.  The Australians that are back from the peninsula are a grim looking lot and give a man a chill down the spine to hear some of them relate their experience.  A good lot of the glory seems to be on paper.  They don’t seem to care whether the sun rises or sets and all they seem to want is beer and fight, but they are a fine big manly lot all the same and it will be alright wherever the fight is.  It would be nice to know just where we are off to.  Of course we will have to go where our division is supposed.  We were all inoculated again today and supposed to be done twice more the next 10 days, I feel okay so far.  Hoping you are well and that you will be able to understand this letter.  I conclude by wishing you the best of everything.  Your son Walter.  23/4/16

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