Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 400
Suez Canal Defences
Arabic [date written in Arabic numerals; see image for details.]
Spending new years eve in my tent on the banks of the canal which is a marvel in the amount of sand that had to be shifted, no doubt the work was done by the natives who for centuries have worked under the lash and still do. Under my very nose here every foreman has a whip and uses it too on young or old men that work about 10 hours a day for 1/- to 1/6 a day. Yesterday I bought one of the whips for 2/6 & will bring it home in my trunk.
The situation of my tent is most delightful, it is the best spot on the Canal I am told. A grove of trees kept alive with Nile water brought by a small canal for about 60 or 80 miles keeps them growing. Other spots on the canal are not so delightful because no fresh water is at hand to grow the trees. My tent is right against the Suez Canal & I see all the boats go through, today a big boat had 31ft forward & 29ft aft in the water. The Canal is supposed to take up to 32 feet deep so there was not much room underneath eh! even then she passed another big ship in the canal 100 yards from here. The Canal is 40 yards wide at the bottom & about 140 yards wide at the waters edge.