little or no tact since taking over the draft tried a little bluff but we stood firm. An inquiry was opened and the food has improved somewhat.
Further irritation has been caused by two wires received from Fremantle. One stating that we should have to undergo quarantine on arrival & the other saying that a payment of £9 ration allowance on board to all ranks was cancelled.
On the morning of the 13th the transport arrived in the roadstead outside Fremantle but on account of the strict quarantine regulations no-one landed. The friends & relatives of the W.As. were on the wharf waiting for them. Nothing further happened until yesterday afternoon when orders were received to sail at 6 p.m. for Melbourne taking the W.As. on as well & who would then stand no chance of being home for Christmas. The 90 W.As. including 5 Officers & numerous W.Os. & N.C.Os. thereupon lowered away 4 of the ship's boats with our assistance, put their kits in and set out for the shore amid loud cheers. A picquet boat between the shore & us subsequently took the boats in tow and brought them alongside us but they were refused embarkation and the tug driven off of potatoes & all kinds of invectives. Signal lights flashed to and from the shore & several attempts were made during the night to get naval "heads" & the "rebels" aboard but without success. Numerous red, blue, yellow & green german flares were fired into the air amid howls of delight (& sometimes spuds) from the crowded deck. The shore authorities have not given up hopes of getting the W.As. aboard and have not yet landed them; their tug is lying off us now. Although anxious to get away we are fully in sympathy with the W.As. and do not intend to let them be sent on board. The authorities ought to let our skipper leave or there may be further trouble. The troops on board are quiet so far but there is a restive feeling in the air.
We have gained a victory! During the morning the authorities decided to land the