Good Friday was a bad day for Australia
and New Zealand. This was the occasion of the great riot. There were reasons for this outburst. On that holiday morning all troops were given leave for the day. There was nothing to do in
[Photo by the Author
Showing Head-quarters cars and signallers on the old Suez Road. The officer in the foreground is Lt. Col. G. R. Pridham, D.S.O., R.E., the talented C.R.E. of the Division in Gallipoli and France.
the town, so some men got more than was good for them of the wretched liquors sold in those tenth-rate cafes and dancing houses. Soldiers under the influence of drink do not behave any better than their civilian brothers. They are necessarily high-spirited people and very fit. In retaliation for some real or fancied grievance, a few irresponsibles commenced throwing things out of a top-storey window. The red caps were not popular, and both sides receiving reinforcements, a melee ensued. Some fool fired the broken furniture lying in the street, and from this it was only a stage to firing the houses. An Egyptian fire brigade arrived, but the soldiers, by this time numbering thousands, cut the hoses and pelted the unfortunate firemen with their own gear. Realizing that only disgrace could come of the affair, the sane people gradually
got the rioters away, and after about four hours of Bacchanalian revelry the city was again quiet. A legend has grown up that the work was a good one, and that the soldiers had determined to rid the city of those sinks of iniquity. It is almost suggested that the good work was the result of a religious revival among the troops. It must be admitted that it was a bad business; but without apologizing in any way, it may be honestly set down that throughout the four years of War this is almost only the only instance of excess participated in by the New Zealand troops.