Defending the Suez Canal
various points along the firing line by camels. The laying of the water pipes caused much difficulty. It was found that the pipes when laid close to the surface were greatly affected by the heat, which caused so much contraction and expansion in the metal that joints cracked making the pipes utterly useless.
The same complaint was experienced during the laying of the Decaville railway lines. The heat greatly affected the curvature of the lines making them positively dangerous for traffic. The Decaville engines and trucks were delivered in very bad working order, and caused much inconvenience and delay to such an extent that it was considered wiser to substitute mules for the engines. The mules pulled the trucks admirably but were very slow causing much delay & annoyance. The engines, however, were replaced after repair, and things worked smoothly. The transportation of war commodities became easier and less laborious.
The railway lines and road always followed one another running from the canal banks to railhead whicha t Serapeum was approximately eight miles distant.
The Egyptian Labour Corps and our engineers carried out the laying down of the rails and road. The lines were laid first, the metal being brought across in trucks & emptied out alongside. As the Egyptians made the road the lines were lengthened.