Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 82
soon as one appeared anywhere, he always got a reception to pull it down, "quick of course", they were always the same, they also got ours when looking through the loop hole they used to get our boys and you could scan the ridge and couldn't find where the fire came from, they are great trench fighters. We heard all sorts of rumours that our Brigade was going to have a spell, never dreaming that the whole mob was to be evacuated, till three days before time. I can tell you there were some smiling faces then, we were absolutely fed up, our next thought was whether we should be stiff enough to stop one before we got away.
Things went very well, our doctor taking precautions in case we should get a bit of hurry up. He gave orders for us to carry our packs down close to where we were to embark, so as we could collect the wounded. As luck happened it came otherwise. Saturday afternoon came for the first lot to go, which we were amongst, we had orders to secure everything so as nothing could rattle, anything shiny we were told to cover, we also had to cover our boots, so as the trampling of feet would not be heard. We moved off about dusk, slowly following the leader through the Sap (or trench) such a march I will never forget. It was funny to see them going past with all sorts of old clothing on their boots, anyhow I think we had about a three mile walk to the beach from the position we held, and the lighter which conveyed us to our transport proved to be the old battleship "Mars" we reached it less than an hour, and I tell you there was a continual stream of troops coming all the time.
Once on board, and settled down, we moved off on a four hour trip to Lemnos Island "Goodbye to Gallipoli" arriving here about daybreak. It was here we spent Xmas and New Year, we camped here for a fortnight and the remaining rearguard joined us up safely, there were a big camp of Tommies here, had a couple of games of Football against them, with our 5th Field Ambulance. There were some quaint old Greek villages here which were quite interesting to us. Then we went to Egypt again by the troop ship "Aseanius" [HMAT A11 Ascanius] landed at Alexandria, how nice to get back to the old home once again, took train from there to Tel-el-Keba, spent a fortnight there, and then sent here in the land of the desert "Arabia" preparing for the so-called attack on Egypt.
Well Bob, old boy, you have it up to the present as near as I can give you, I have cut it a bit short at the finish, getting tired of it as I suppose you will be at the finish. Our next move is France we are led to believe, which I am eagerly looking forward to should it be my luck to get through safely, then to see old England will fix me nicely, and a safe return to dear Australia.
I hope you will be able to understand it O.K, you can build on it and show it to my other brothers, I cannot write them all one
hoping this finds you safe and in the pink as it leaves me at present.
I will conclude with "Au revoir".
No. 1075 Bandsman J. W. Masters,