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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Wagons in Excelsis

Wagons in Excelsis.

G. S. wagons, as a rule, are not particularly beautiful, but those entered for the competition at the sports were resplendent. A Lighthorseman, who reckons that he has done a lion's share of fatigues lately, was observed to shudder as he gazed at the shining array. "What's wrong, Cobber?" asked his neighbour, fearing that Bill had a touch of malaria. "What's wrong?" was the reply, "Why, I'm thinking of the poor blokes who worked at those......... wagons. Strike me dead! I pity 'em."

But the "poor blokes" didn't pity themselves, at least, those whose wagons won prizes didn't. The amount of elbow grease expended on those G. S's. would have sufficed to make all the wagon axles in Palestine move silently for a year. "Fit for a king or a Duke to ride in," remarked a Transport Sergeant, as he patted the side of a wagon. The limbers, too, were right glorious to behold. One is-forced to admit that beauty dwells even in vehicles, which in work-a-day times have to carry such burdens as bacon and bully. But who can picture that proud prizewinner ever again being used for such purposes.

When Event 8a, Swordsmanship Competition, was in progress, excitement ran high. At the critical moments you could have heard a grasshopper chirrup; then, if the thrust proved true, came a burst of cheering which made the gentle, jerbils tremble in their burrows. It was splendid to see a charging swordsman with flashing blade poised, to see his horse's head thrust out, and hear the beat of its hoofs. Australians did remarkably well in the competition, winning-all but the first prize in the officers' section, which fell to the share of Major Watson. They had the bayonet, this being the first occasion on which it had been used in a swordmanship competition.