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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

A Great Welcome at Hobart

page 15

A Great Welcome at Hobart.

After six weary days at sea no one was sorry to see Wednesday morning break with the rugged coast of Tasmania ahead; little wonder that the prospect of a three hours' route march on the morrow was received with jubilation. Next morning it seemed that all Hobart was astir. With packs up the infantry cut a fine figure. All along the route women and children showered flowers on the troops. Whereever a halt was made the people brought out bunches of beautiful roses, which the soldiers carried back to grace their none too ornamental quarters. Thousands of the famous Tasmanian apples were pressed upon the men. Some enthusiasts presented the artillery with a garland on a pole, which the proud gunners carried before them as a colour. Back again at the wharf, the sellers of apples and crayfish did brisk business, and many were the commissions handed over by the sportsmen aboard to be dealt with by the celebrated Hobart house of Tattersall. When the gangways were up the people thronged the wharves, handing up parcels of cakes, sweets and apples. The regimental bands struck up “It's a long way to Tipperary,” and the ships pulled out to the accompaniment of tumultuous cheering.

It was three o'clock that afternoon when the ships again put to sea. The “Psyche” returned to New Zealand, and her place was taken by the “Pyramus.” The long rolling swell common to the Great Australian Bight again made things very uncomfortable for the horses; to make matters worse, a thick fog descended, speed was reduced, and every few minutes the ear was assailed by the blasts of the “Minotaur” syren and the answering shrieks from the vessels of the fleet.

Gradually the weather moderated and the men became steadier on their legs. Musketry practice at floating targets was initiated; where there was room on the crowded decks physical training was carried on, while the mounted men had their horses with the never-ending stables—it being recognized that the habit of absolute cleanliness in regard to both the men's and the horses' quarters should become second nature before the really hot weather was encountered.

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Black and white photograph.

[Lent by F. W. Randall
The well set up infantry of the Main Body parading at Hobart for a route march.

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A private of the New Zealand Medical Corps died on Sunday, October 26, and next day a most impressive burial service was conducted on the “Ruapehu.” At three o'clock she steamed out of her line and took station in the centre of the parallel divisions. At half-past three, when colours were hoisted and lowered to half-mast, the troops in each transport paraded with their bands. The flagship having made the signal to “Stop engines,” the troops on all ships stood to attention, whereupon the “Dead March” was played, followed by a short funeral service; the body of the first soldier of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to die overseas was reverently committed to the deep. The firing party having fired its three volleys, the solemn notes of the “Last Post” floated over the sunlit waters, the flagship signalled “11 knots,” and the convoy proceeded on its way.