Bowler war diary, 21 May-July 1917 / William (Bill) Gordon Bowler - Page 38

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[Page 38]

Well under very trying circumstances………We have beds on board for 65 patients, but since leaving Cape Town mumps broke out, and we have averaged 98 Patients.      … The Patients were slung in hammocks over the beds. …I have had nine trips since I first took command of the Second Sea Transport Section, and I have never had so many Patients, nor have the A.M.C. been worked as hard as you have, … We are facing dangers now, and you will no doubt face greater dangers in France, but if you give the same satisfaction in the future, as you have given on board this XXXX ship, you will have done more than will be expected of you, … I may have found fault with you at times, but not often, and no man would be worthy of the rank I hold , if he did not do so, …I wish you all God -speed and a safe return….I hope to have you all under my command when you are returning to Australia. …Goodbye". We had a very good concert, and found some really good talent among the members of the detail. We closed just before the Last Post with the National Anthem. We were ordered to sleep fully dressed, and in our lifebelts. All the patients in the hospital were also dressed and their lifebelts placed close handy, in case of emergencies. About 2 a,m, on the 19th July, we passed Lizard Light, and soon after the lights of Falmouth were seen. At 5 a,m, we were off Eddystone Lighthouse. I got up about then and went outside. The first thing I saw was the Lighthouse. I recognised by the pictures I had seen of it, with the stump of the old one alongside it. The whole ocean was alive with Destroyers and Steam Drifters. They seemed to be everywhere, and were buzzing about

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