The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
(Anzacs on leave in Australia are being given free passes on trains and trams. Commonwealth Cable.)
Though you're freezing in the chilly night, or scorching in the sun;
Though the days and nights are all the same, the work seems never done;
You must never fret or worry, be as gentle as a lamb,
'Cause if you were back in Aussie you'd ride free upon a tram.
Though you've lost your pipe and bacca, and you're hogging for a smoke:
Look upon the shiny side and treat the matter as a joke.
Think yourself a giddy hero as you're riding o'er the plains,
And remember, back in Aussie you'd ride free upon the trains.
Though you sometimes wait for tucker, and at times you're pretty dry,
Do not raise your voice in anger, you'll get something by and bye.
If your throat is filled with dust, or p'raps your boots are filled with rain;
Just remember, back in Aussie you'd ride free upon the train.
For the folks back in Australia look upon you boys with pride,
And refuse to take your cash if on the trains or trams your ride.
And, as in Cairo town you've always got to pay your way,
Just wait for leave to Aussie. Oh! that'll be the day.
" Sarg": Finance in Palestine, with the "askarry", is a complicated and formidable business, demanding a high degree of resource and intricate mathametical calculations. The reason is the famine in small change. Very little of it finds its way to the Units out here, and what little does is usually speedily transferred to the natives for small luxuries ihat are obtainable. The Gyppo or Arab, whatever he is, seemingly hoards it up, because "fukka" is an article he professes never to possess; and you'd think you were dragging his mottled past out of him when, on very rare occasions, you bluff him into disgorging the much desired cash. The troops are invariably paid in notes (the new 25 "dizzy" note supplies a long felt want), and when you sally forth to the canteen to purchase a packet of cigarette∗ you must, perfoice, lumber yourself up with a lot of undesirable impedimenta to the value of the note. I quote a dinkum case:— Harry bob was going to hospital and owed 10/-in sums as under:— Ack, P.T. 16; Beer, P.T. 13; Cee, P.T. 9; Don, P.T. 4 1/2; Ee, P.T. 4; and Ef, P.T. 1 1/2 with P.T. 2 backseesh. Ack being the chief creditor, Harrybob handed him the fifty piastres and commanded him to liquidate the debts to the best of his fertile imagination. Beside the notes A'ck had one Australian half-crown (reckoned at a dozen piastres) which he gave to Beer, s till owing him P.T. 1. Then he purchased at the canteen the following:—2 tins condensed milk, PT. 10; I tin sausages, P.T. 7-50; 2 tins veal loaf,P.T. 12; I tin sweet biscuits, P.T. 9.50 —total, P.T. 30. This left P.T. II change, which was all the canteen possessed. As Ack was desirous of ihanging onto all the change he could he gave Beer one tin of milk, on the understanding that Beer gave Cee P.T. 4, which he did in kind: one pencil, P.T.2, two boxes matches, P.T.I and one packet of fags. Ack then gave Cee a tin of milk, and Beer and Cee were squared. Next he gave the sausages at P.T. 7 1/2 to Don, one tin of veal loaf to Ee, P.T. 6, and one ditto to Ef at P.T. 6. Ef owed Don P.T. 4 1/2 and gave him P.T. 5, and Don gave Ef a suasage. Ee gave Don a half-used writing pad and Don gave Ack a two bob piece. Result, all squared, excepting the odd P.T. 2 to Harrybob, which Ack swears he'll owe him all his life rather than cheat him.
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"First Major": In the June "K.O.C", "Emma G.I.'' introduced a champion iron-jawed Banan-alander. I rather fancy I am acquainted with the one and only absolute champion "iron-toothed" Billjim. Here's my reason. Crown-corks, in the absence of a dinkum crown-cork opener, a jack knife, or an ordinary issue knife and fork, are hard to shift. Of course, the quick way of getting at the liquid in a bottle so corked is by cracking its neck, but bottles are useful. My champion never dreams of using any of the above artificial aids. He places the bottle in his right hand, gently but firmly puts his left hand round so that the fingers of both hands are interlaced, then he raises the bottle until the crown-cork is on a line with the right canine tooth of his lower jaw (he's got good solid iron-jaws, too), places one of the corrugations of the stopper on the point of the aforesaid tooth, and gives a hefty but quick tug downwards on the bottle, when it is no longer a crowned monarch.
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"Zulu": The following story is known to a select few, and it proves that truth is stranger than fiction. We had taken up a position on a hill, and one of our Sergeants took a party down to a listening post. He was as cool as an icicle. I know he was, because I was with him, and we were so cool that we were shivering. Having that nagging feeling in the stomach, the Sergeant thought he would have something to eat, so calling to his mate above said, "Aye ! Choom, have you got any bully.?" The moment was intense—picture it to yourselves, you fireside readers, a small listening post of men,surrounded by Turks armed with bombs, rifles, and every other munition of war. "Whizz! Bang!"..... a scatter—shrieks—groans, and somebody says, "The Sergeant's hit"; and then we saw him, lying on the ground, groaning. We tried every means in our power to bring him round (water, chafing his hands, etc.);. then, bending down, I said in tones soft and low, "Da you think vou could ride a horse to the Ambulance"? Our Sergeant stirred and whispered huskily, "I'll try." He was led to a horse, taken to Ambulance, and sent down the line, with his ticket marked N.Y.D. (not yet diagnosed). I remarked, '"Lucky the bomb never busted." "Bomb be blowed." said my mate, "it was the tin of bully that hit him."
J.T. Gannon: In June issue of the "K.O.C." it is stated that the first member of the A.I.F., below commissioned rank, to receive a Military Cross was R.S.M. Thomas L. Keen, A.L.H. Shortly after landing at Anzac, in June, 1915, C.S.M. Dave Smith, of the 5th Battalion, was awarded the Military Cross.
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"Spotted Dog": A whisper to Miss Anzac, in confidence. For figure developement cultivate the habit of carrying weights on the head. The ladies of this part of the world carry all their wares, from the baby's socks to the household furniture, on the spot where they do their thinking; and their shapely figures would make a fashion leader look as awkward as an elephant taking its place in a coterie of butterflies Of course, I really don't mean that our girls need the tip; but head-transport is also an excellent labour saving device, and one that will materially assist Billjemina in her domestic routine.
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"Spotted Dog: I arise in wrath from this dip of desolation to buzz angrily at "Gerardy", June issue "K.O.C", for casting aspersions on the working abilities of the ladies who inhabit this land. I have watched the fair ones at toil, and their energy has fairly made me perspire in sympathy. The method in which they fill their baskets with stone and mould the heaps which adorn the roadside would do credit, to a Yankee gang getting a hustle on. Of course, "spello" is on the routine card four times daily, which enables the dusky bints to exercise their vocal organs, which they do too, as only women can. Possibly "Gerardy" came across the toilers in their moments of relaxation, or else the dust clouded his vision.page 5
G.E.J.: Can any "Kia Ora Coo-ee-ite" dig up anything to beat this for the pure and unadul-terated? A certain New Zealand Regiment, camped on the Jordan flats, recently came under the eagle eye of brother "Jacko", who immedia-tely went "butcher's hook" or "ram's horn" and launched forth much frightfulness by lugging a 5.9 up on to one of the spare hills and chucking ironmongery promiscuously about the landscape. When the Squadrons had beaten into the "long grass" of adjacent gullies and the Headquarters Sergt. was busy getting his neddies off the lines, he suddenly got an earful of an oncoming shell and immediately camouflaged by trying to look like the of side of a pack saddle—the only cover handy. The coal-box lobbed about 20 yards away and gently rolled against the other side of the saddle—a dud. P.S. Have often wondered if the Sergeant tip-toed away in case it woke up.
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H.5.H.: Interrupters—sometimes known as interpreters—amuse me with their painstakingly quaint sayings. One day, out in the Judaean Hills, a forlornly hopeful trooper approached our genius with enquiries about the commis-sariat. The answer he got was, "Of biscuits I have many, of bread I have a few." Another day, being despatched by a syndicate to a nearby village to buy eggs, he came home with sad news, thus: "Of shells there were many; I ran speedily, breaking many." Quite recently, on a stunt across the Jordan, when bullets started dropping close to Headquarters, he expressed himself thus: "It is unsafe, I am escaping"-which, being translated into our own very good English means, "It's time to imshi."
"Gerardy": Trooper Butman once had the misfortune to be detached from his Unit. His new duties placed him among Gyppos and Camels, and the strange environment wearied and oppressed him so much, that he was forced to make occasional appeals to his Adjutant for a re-transfer. Nothing transpired as a conse-quence, but one day a "Sydney Mail" happened along with the usual application form, which invites men to enlist for service in the A.I.F. Cutting out the form, Butman at once filled it in. stating age, occupation, weight, etc., and addressed it to the Colonel of his Regiment. It brought about the desired result.
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"Bomber": "All's fair in Love and War." Perhaps that is why some kind-hearted individual issued a "Hun" with a Mills hand-grenade on the chest outside our position, suddenly stopping his process. Later, while we were burying him, we learned that the Hun had the oil for money making right through, his "personal property" including a crown and anchor board complete, with a bag of about 500 Turkish coins. Perhaps he was on his way to try his luck with us, know-ing what good sports we are. He was lucky right enough, receiving a "skinner" first pop.
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N.W.H.B.: I should like to say a few words about Dust. A Light Horseman, after the war, should have the word Dust written on his heart. Dust is part of his life; daily he rides through it and very often he eats, sleeps, and lives in it, and finally, if he goes "west," he is buried in it. You can't blame anybody for Dust, worse luck. Last winter, during the rains, the dust turned into mud. This was a change even if it were for the worse. Our horses and limbers were bogged in the beastly stuff, and there was mud on everything; but there was generally enough rain to wash it off again. With a few fine days, that mud soon changed back to its original form, and we now wait the next winter for it to revert back to mud. En passant, I should, mention that the Jordan Valley species of Dust is the most villianous I have ever tasted. Combined with the good earth are the finely pow-dered bones of the prophets and portions of the walls of Jericho, mixed in suitable proportions.
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"Emma G.I.": One of the most thrilling feather-weight contests ever witnessed in Pa-lestine was decided recently, in a special stadium. There was a large attendance of the "fancy" and every move in the ring was followed keenly and critically. The match was for the Arachnidian championship of the Promised Land. When it was mooted, parties were organised to search for "Black Hopes," and after a long hunt, a huge scorpion was discovered. He was promptly christened "Fantasi Joe." After a few trials he proved some stouch artist, and in consequence, a challenge was issued, and was soon accepted. One of the sports in a neighbor-ing unit had made a similar find in the form of a big amber-colored spider, namely, "Yellow George," which also shaped well in a few preli-minary goes. The stakes were fixed at P.T. 100 a side, and proceedings followed almost im-mediately. The stadium was a large enamel basin. The official referee, on announcing the antagonists, explained that both held unbeaten records, "Fantasi Joe" having annexed no fewer than four opponents in one day, including a spider, a centipede, a small viper and a smaller scorpion. He (the referee) hoped that the issue would be satisfactory to all concerned. On the sound of the gong, both "boxers" glided gracefully into the centre of the ring, and, after a fine bit of feinting, "Fantasi Joe" opened with a series of short, claw jabs to the body, but with little effect. "Yellow George" retaliated with some excellent footwork and nipped off one of his opponent's claws. Then, after dodging a savage thrust by "Fantasi Joe's" s ting, he adopted clinching tactics. But "Joe" took the advantage of a clean break. saw his chance, and got a strong grip with his good claw between "George's" second and third pair of legs, and held fast. Then he inserted his sting, and "Yellow George" took the count. The referee, after placing his hand on "Fantasi Joe's" head, proclaimed him the winner in half a round.
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"Twenty-Two": A foot note to history. It concerns the first arrival of representatives of the A.I.F. in Cairo. You have doubtless heard of the jokers who came down from Alex, per motor car. They are not in this stunt at all though. The first of the A.I.F. swam ashore at Suez, They were infantrymen of course. Well, the two footsloggers stowed away on the train, and eventually reached Cairo. Incidentally, they purchased liquid refreshments on the trip. Gett-ing off the train, they ran right into the arms of the M.P. at the station. I don't know who were most surprised. The police asked the new comers what they were doing and to whom they belonged, and were told the —th. Battalion, A.I.F. "But what are you doing here? It's a long way to Australia; how did you get here?" "Oh that's easy; we just got off the boat at Suez and came on by train. And there's a few thousand more will be here in a few days time." The two pioneers remain-ed at Bab el Hadid for some days, until the main body arrived.
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"Ephraim Flaxstick": Veritable, and other-wise are the tales told of the blunders made by "New Chum" reinforcements, who are rather too prone sometimes to display their ignorance by endeavouring to come the "old soldier" stunt. About sunrise one morning four of us were put on water guard in the Wady Kelt. First thing this deponent did was to have a wash, and while so ablutioning, he was startled by the appearance of a "late arrival," who, with his rifle at the ready, was cautiously making his way through the bamboos. "What's up, mate?" I asked, somewhat alarmed. "Hush!", he whispered "We'll have poultry for breakfast; I'm after those ducks." I explained to him briefly and succintly, that the alleged "ducks" were not considered "poultry," in Palestine. It was a case of mistaken identity. The frogs were giving vent to their usual matutinal chant on the Brook Cherith.