Lieut W L Waterhouse
14th Rfls 2nd Battn
Intermediate Base Depot
15 January 1916
Although tired after the march thro' the streets & heavy day got very little sleep: 2 or 3 of us took blankets outside the pavilion on to a platform erected for machinery, & taking boots putties off turned in about 1 am.
The men came in by 2s & 3s, most of them perfectly sober: perhaps half a dozen were the worse for liquor. It took some time for them to stop singing & settle down & as reveille was sounded at 4 am there was not much sleep. Coffee (at any rate they told us it was coffee tho' from the taste it might have been anything) was issued to the men at 4.30, & by 5 they had their gear together & were fallen in inside the pavilion. We were kept standing there, - with numerous rollcalls between times, - until 6 o'clock, when the band struck up & the column commenced to move amidst cheers from the men camped at the Show Ground.
Trams were waiting at the main entrance & the troops were saved the march with their kitbags by entramming & being taken right down to the Quay where crowds of people were waiting, & with much difficulty some sort of order was got & the men with friends hanging on to them moved down to the wharf where the troops were separated & taken inside the gate where the final roll call was made: our company (14th of 2nd) was 1 man overstrength, & with considerable heart-burning one had to be taken back to Liverpool; he will be sent with the next reinforcement for the 2nd that leaves.
"Mess leaders", men from the units who had come down previously as "Advance Party" & so got to know the run of the vessel, led the way to the troop deck where there seemed to be a general state of bustle & confusion owing to one unit getting out of its place.
The atmosphere was very steamy