Volume 1: Letters written on active service, A-L, 1914-1919 - Page 189
Of course we have climbed to the top and penetrated to the interior of the Pyramids, crawled on hands and knees through stuffy tombs and visited the Sphinx by moonlight (again as per guidebook). Of course as we are so close, we have ample time to discover new points of interest about them daily. Oftimes, sitting on the piazza of Mena House in the evening, an argument will commence as to their antiquity and origin and then the conversation naturally trends to the Captivity etc. etc. Us poor fellows then try to cudgel our brains to try and remember some long-forgotten portion of Bible history and wish that we had attended Sunday School more diligently in the days of our youth. One of our privates, a curate or something of a small country church who was rather despised on the boat is now our only authority on these matters and he is having his revenge on us by giving us all a dust up in the arguments.
Yesterday I took a trip round the native bazaars on a donkey, and it was wonderfully interesting. The streets are only about 3 feet wide and the native craftsmen may be seen engraving the gold and silver ornaments as in days of yore. The silk and scent bazaars are also very interesting.
It is wonderful to see the ancient methods still in use here in Egypt – the same old wooden plows that have sufficed for over 2.000 years and the old wooden water-wheels driven by buffaloes. In fact one might have stepped straight out of a page of the Old Testament if it were not for the modern trams and motor cars, and the incongruity is most marked.
As this letter may have to go before the eagle eye of the Censor I cannot say too much about the state of affairs here but one hears some startling news from the front which I am sure you would not hear
from in Australia. I don't think the English Tommies and the Australians get on too well together here owing to their great difference in temperament. It is great to get the patients talking about their experiences in the Dardanelles and not too many seem anxious to go back just yet, so awful have been their sufferings. We are receiveing a lot of patients now suffering with frostbite and I think that that must be a criterion of the weather over there.
I am now trying to transfer to a unit whose duties are more likely to take them to the front and I think that I shall be successful.
Kindly accept my rather belated wishes for A Happy and Prosperous New Year for yourself and my co-workers in the Police Department. If any of them care to write to me, I shall be very pleased to hear from them and of course will reciprocate.
I hope that it will be my good fortune to resume duties with you again at the expiration of the war but Kismet –
Fred. A. Collinson.
No.8057, Pte. F. A. Collinson,
No.2 Australian General Hospital,
P.S. Please excuse my atrocious typewriting but I am doing same under difficulties. F.A.C.