The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
A Dead Sea Stunt
"There's a stunt on on Thursday", your Section leader tells you, on Monday. "Abdul", one of the camp walids, told him. You ask the Adjutant's batman, as the person most likely to know; he scorns the idea, but tells you. quite confidentially, that the C. in C. will be in Haifa, Damascus, or somewhere, by Christmas. The Colonel's batman says there's something in it, because he, the Colonel, wrote to his wife the other day, and he always writes before a stunt. You are still inquisitive, and the Troop leader informs you that the Brigade is resting, and that there will be no work for a fortnight. Small matter that he falls in his Troop next morning, and goes off for a day's road-making.
You observe the Quartermaster's offsider hunting for sacks. Now, that is a sure sign that there is a move on. That worthy's dreams are haunted by visions of Courts of Inquiry into the whereabouts of sacks that are "charged up at five dizzies each." A move seems to galvanise him into action that would do credit to a "cocky" the day before he expects a threshing mill. The Farrier Quartermaster sons up the worst of the crocks, and sends them to Mobile. The Veterinary officer doesn't send them back, saying they are quite fit. There must be a stunt on.
"The Regiment will move out at 04.00 on Thursday. All bivvies to be stacked by the Quartermaster's dump at C8.00 Tuesday", so reads the movement order. Now, you wonder why those bivvies aren't allow ed to stay up until some time on Wednesday? You are sorely tempted to discuss the matter with the Squadron Sergt-Major, but you remember, of course, that it is an order and get to work. You roll up your bivvy and sleep out in the night, as you have done before. You sleep out for two more nights after that, because the Brigade didn't move out till two days after the time-table date; but that is by the way. You want to know whether you are going out on a dinkum Armageddon, a second Ayun Kara, or just a plain sort of a stunt. Two lance-Jacks don't know, so what's the use of enquiring further.
When you start to sort your gear up, and throw last week's water out of your bucket, you discover that the iron rations for your horse have been "cleftied". The Troop Sergeant is coldly unsympathetic, the Quartetmaster's off-sider is more than unsympathetic—he is aggressively hostile.
Now, these iron rations you have been warned to guard zealously and treasure, and to feed "Ginger" on them only at the express order of your Squadron Commander. You go along the line and explain the position to "Ginger." He is tired, and if he were told that a firing party would assemble at dawn for his benefit, he would take it with the same stoic indifference. The Q. M.'s offsider intimates that he might be able to arrange a little bakseesh if you could get some sacks. No refusal could be more emphatic than that. We'd have to trust to luck. Certainly, the Q. M. does turn up with rations at unexpected places.
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