21 Stanley Street
28th. July 1922.
My dear Nesbitt,
I was very pleased to get your letter and the news of the reunion of the old 4th Coy. of which I have so many pleasant memories and must wish them all a really good time on the 5th.
I am not quite sure what you mean by writing a few words but perhaps a note or two on the earlier dyas of the company may be of interest to some of those who came after. Read what you like and leave out the rest.
Some time in July 1915 on the decision to form a 2nd Australian Division from the reinforcements then gathered in Egypt, Colonel Elliott who had been wounded was commissioned to organise the Engineers. Lieuts. Barber, Cutler, Sturdee and Mather from the 1st. Div. Engineers were sent over together with Sgt. Thom. Various Infantry Officers who were engineers in civil life were gathered up and finally after a few days the 4th. Field Coy. emerged with Capt. Barber in temporary command, Lieuts. Riddell, Carr, Bowra and Thom in command of the four sections, C.S.M. Healy, C.Q. M.S. Puttick Wynne, O.R. Sgt. Coghlan. After a few days (about ten) of engineer training which chiefly consisted of the simpler knots and a little digging and rifle shooting during which time the tools and equipment were acquired by purchase from the shops and marine stores of Cairo, the company marched to the railway station followed by the "stretcher cases" in cabs and so to the pier and the fine ship Knight Templar which was provided with iron decks for the greater comfort of the troops.
The march to the station was the first company parade held as all training up to then had been by sections, the second company parade was several months afterwards on the island of Lemnos after the evacuation.
On board the Knight Templar our O.C. Major Newcombe joined us, a man whose varied and romantic adventures during the War probably surpass those of the famous Colonel Lawrence, they culminated when as an escaped prisoner of War in Turkey he arranged the terms on which the Turks abandoned the War and greatly influenced the surrender of the Germans.
On arrival at Gallipoli the company went ashore and was immediately divided into two parts numbers 1 and 2 sections under Capt. Barber going into the Line Pine and numbers 3 and 4 to Johnston's Jolly all being chiefly engaged in mining operations. From then on until after the evacuation the two halves of the company saw nothing of each other and it is probably that few of the members of the right half company would have known by sight or by name such