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[Page 27]

Our crews were kept very busy rehearsing the landing with the 11th Australian Infantry under Colonel Johnstone, who it was understood were to be disembarked from our ship. Every day parties of men fully equipped were brought on board, and practiced leaving the boats and climbing the ladders. To facilitate the rapid embarkation of a great number at one time wide wooden ladders were made on board the ship up which two fully equipped men could climb at one time, and also wide rope ladders were made, up which several could climb, but these turned out unsatisfactory and were abandoned in favor of the wooden ones. Thus these with the ships ladders enabled five or six hundred men to embark from, or disembark into the boats and steam pinnaces in a very few minutes with a minimum of delay. The crews of the boats would sometimes be away for the whole day landing troops on the shores of the bay, and taking them off again. The most careful preparation was made to insure success and every item was constantly rehearsed until the crews and the landing party had obtained highest possible state of efficiency.
      This was the first time I had seen anything of the Australian troops, and I was at once instantly impressed with their physique and general bearing. I had never seen before such a magnificent body of men, but of course their idea of discipline was very different to what you expect to find in an English Regular Battalion. The men seemed rather to discipline themselves and the officers seemed to have but little authority over them, except that which came from the personality and not from the rank of a Captain or Lieutenant of a Company. This position was easy to understand because many of the officers had had but

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