The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
When the squadron first saw him, he had red hair, a smile, and a waist abnormally developed through a sedentary occupation. Two years have elapsed since then. The waist is somewhat reduced, and the red hair is getting a little thin on top; but the smile remains. Through the burning sands of Sinai, through the dust and mud of Palestine, that smile was ever apparent; it was indifferent alike to the freezing winds of the barren, comfortless hills of Judaea, and to the hardships of campaigning in the mountains of Moab, when the elements conspired against us, and discomfort was at its maximum. When others bemoaned their lot, he smilingly agreed with them, but cheerfully carried on.
With such a smile, and such a waist, the name "John Bunny" was inevitable.
In less strenuous days, as an occupation, John wielded a pen and collected rates; as a recreation, he drank some liquid. By inclination and enviroment he is more suited to riding on a tram car than a horse, and more adapted to brushing an office chair than a moke; yet no horse has a better master, and a worse rider, than "Stumpy". Packing a saddle is a mystery to John; if he fails to find a sympathetic person his saddle resembles a combination of a camel laden with cook-house gear, and the proverbial Christmas tree.
He might succeed in getting into a stripped saddle at the third attempt; but with a load up, it is a case of being lifted on or having to walk. Well do I remember such midnight supplications as "Hold his head, Jack", "Give us a light, Charlie." He got help, and a great deal of abuse in addition. John invariably weathers gallops by a firm grip on his rolled overcoat. When "chipped" about hanging on to the saddle, he maintains, that he doesn't hold the saddle; it's the coat he hangs on by.
He glories in talk; he will talk for hours without saying anything. A good audience is all that is necessary, place and time are immaterial. To his troop's regret, John often choses midnight for a conversazione with the picquet, and will, in a loud voice, describe the meals he has enjoyed when on leave. HeisScotch, and troop Quartermaster —unhappy troop! He delights in issuing light and being able to justify it.
On a stunt, John's speciality is aeroplane signalling. That he is not particularly successful at this is evidenced by the fact, that it requires at least a section of men to keephim from sleeping on the report "centre sign". There let us leave him, dreaming of 5 per cent reductions, and of the time in less eventful days, when his smile shall beam again in the best land in the world-Australia.