Archive Content: Personal diary, Aden/India, May - Aug 1915

  • Item Type
  • Owner of Item
    RWM Brecon
  • Surname
  • Forenames
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    South Wales Borderers
  • Battalion
    1st Brecknockshire Battalion
  • War
    World War One
  • Area of Conflict
  • Date of Letter
  • Title
    Personal diary, Aden/India, May - Aug 1915
  • Description
    Private G. Palmer, of A. Company, 1st Brecknockshire Battalion SWB, kept a diary covering his wartime experiences in Aden and India, 1914-1917.
  • Total Number of Pages
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  • Transcription 1
    May 12th
    We march to steamer point to change with other con[?] and started at 6, arr there 8:15 all done up and dripping wet.

    Sat 29th
    Two native officers of 23rd Sikhs killed in bed by a native soldier, 3 natives also wounded, one dies [sic], saw the funeral at 2:30 in the afternoon.

    May 30
    Went to town and seen native R[?] or religious dance.

    Jun 15
    Details for outpost cancelled as the [Moveing?] Column as [sic] orders to stand fast.

    Jun 24
    Attended at funeral of a chap from G. Company, they buried him in Mala Plain.
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    Jul 2nd
    Corp on Outpost duty, I was on quarter guard, excitement during the night, in the morning we were relieved as the Jul 3 movable column was to move off at 3. All kits were packed and while at dinner were told to fall in at 2, which we did and marched over to the orderly room. We were served out with field dressings and rations and marched off at 3:30 to the P.O. [?] were along with a company of R.G.A. and a company of 23rd Sikhs. We made the journey to the isthmus by boat, getting off at the isthmus we started on a march of 8 miles to ship [Ottoman?] were[sic] we arr at 8:30. The scene en-route was one rarely to be seen. The huge caravan of camels with transport, guns and the
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    different Regts, 109th Natives, 125th Ba[?] 2 companys of 23rd Sikhs and R.G.As. We marched through the salt mines and the village of Sheik Ottoman. There were plenty of trees, a sight new to the eye. When we got into camp we were issued with tea, bully and biscuits, and after doing various fatigue work lay down about 11.

    Sunday July 4th
    Up at 2:30, breakfast at 3, we were to march off then but did not start till 6 when the sun was up. We were rearguard and marched behind the transport which was very slow and [?] we had gone 4 miles the men started to
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    drop out. The Capt called a halt, but after a short rest I pushed on with a few more, first with me mate then another until about mid-day. I became exhausted and lay down, no water, no comrade till a Brecon chap came by and lay by the side of me. We eventually started off again about 5:30 and got to the firing line about 6:30. We were there all night and retreated in the morning.

    5th July
    and exhausted ourselves by daybreak. We retreated again at 9 o’clock, 2 miles further back where we lay down exhausted at 11. Very little water. About 4:30 a convoy came along with food & water and at 5:30 we started to

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    march back across the desert 12 miles to the base at Sheik Ottoman where I arr at 5:30 on Tuesday.

    Tuesday 6th
    Had a good meal on arrival and during the day we all came in on motors, arr in [?] at 4 o’clock. We did nothing but rest till Friday 9th July when all the company went on outpost for a week.

    13 July
    Met Australian 1 & 12 L[ight] horse on Route March.

    15 July
    Returned off outpost, had coffee and porridge.

    July 16
    Visited town.
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    July 17th
    Severe sandstorm started about 6 o’clock, lasting till 10, fine lightning to watch, with terrible gale and sand.

    July 18th Sun
    [Berkshire?] R.F.A. landed and native troops to go on expedition. Russian sailors of boat in town.

    July 20 Tues
    Heard the artillery shelling the troops at six in the morning.

    July 22nd Thurs
    Go on outpost duty for a week on the range, returned to Bks on July 29th.

    Aug 1st
    Church parade 7 o’clock. Orders to pack kit in the
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    Aug 2nd Mon
    Boat arrives with the 1st 4 East Kents on board to relieve us.

    Aug 4th Wed
    The Buffs come up to barracks at 10 o’clock at night.

    Aug 5 Thurs
    We are up at 4:30, march away from Bks at 8 o’clock to the Wharf, go on board the lighter at 11:30 and get on board the H.M.T. Var[?] of the B & I line.

    Aug 6th
    We weigh anchor at 7 o’clock and pass out of sight of land at 8:30, passed the S.S. Sa[?]ette
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    at 10:30 pm and they signalled that there was a high gale blowing.

    Aug 8th Sun
    The sea very rough.

    Aug 12th Thurs
    Sighted Bombay at 4:30 and am outside the harbour at 6:30, anchored down in Prince of Wales dock at 3 o’clock, next a hospital boat started unloading right [away?] and had a walk about the docks. We got onto the train. B.B.[?]R in the docks and started away at 11:45pm.

    Aug 13 Friday
    Stopped at for Breakfast at 8:15 and started off again at

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    9 o’clock we stopped again at Baroda at 1:30 and detrained and had dinner, and were allowed to walk out, some splendid buildings to be seen, bananas growing, and plenty of monkeys and tree rats about. We also had tea here and got back in the same train and started off at 6:30. We passed lots of monkeys and various birds enroute, and after travelling all night we arrived at Ramlin at 4 o’clock and here we had to change trains on to the narrow gauge.

    Aug 14th Sat
    We started off on the narrow gauge at 8:30, and after stopping at [various?]