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Monday, April 27, 2015

Keeping up with Grandfather

Adelaide Y.M.C.A. Army Department with the Australian Imperial Forces
Mena Camp
Egypt
Sunday 2 PM
25th April 1915
Dear Father & Mother
I have not very much time to write, as I must get my things cleaned up this afternoon.  I have to go on guard tonight and we have to be spick & span.  Most of the men are on leave in Cairo today; it is a horrible day with a strong hot wind blowing great clouds of dust and sand over the camp.  I have just been having to talk with Sergeant Gooch.  I was on leave in Cairo yesterday afternoon and evening.  I had a hot bath in town for 1/3d, two good square meals, and a few glasses of cool lager beer.  There is a wet canteen in the camp also hot baths so there is really no need to go into town for these luxuries.  I got a cool uniform the other day and yesterday passing one of our trumpeters in town he gravely saluted me thinking I was Keith.  The whole Brigade went on a route march on Friday to Cairo & back.  There is an avenue of trees all he way in – eight miles – so although the day was hot we enjoyed the ride.  I have a good horse but she is pulling the whole time which is not pleasant.  Two men from my troop get sentenced to 14 days in the detention barracks today for overstaying their leave in Cairo.  They came back to camp at 9 o’clock this morning instead of 11 the previous night.  One of them is a shearer who finds military discipline irksome; the other is a wharf labourer from Melbourne.  They will get a rough time in the barracks with English non coms to roar at them.  We are teaching the horses to lie down; they take to it very quickly.  I don’t know if you get all my letters; I have written every week.  I have got all yours up to No. 6.  I am liking Egypt all right tho the heat & flies are drawbacks.  Each squadron has a big shed for meals, which is much better than feeding in the tents.
We passed a military hospital on our route march on Friday and I noticed Richardson from Sale at the gate with a broken arm in a sling.  Young Cleaver can be seen in the Canteen any night with an empty glass on the table in front of him and a wistful look on his face.  There are several regiments of miserable looking little Territorials in Cairo.  The height limit must be very low in England.  Colonel Hughes has taken on his nephew young Kent Hughes, last year’s Rhodes scholar, as Orderly Officer.  I am beginning to think we will return to Australia without seeing a shot fired.  We are told that mounted troops are not wanted: however time will tell.  I hear that there have been good rains in Victoria; if so you should have winter feed.  Those steers you bought should be nice little bullocks now.  I must hurry and clean up.

Yr affect son
AH Borthwick

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