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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

Ordered to Disembark in Egypt

Ordered to Disembark in Egypt.

In the Red Sea a wireless was received instructing the Force to prepare for a disembarkation in Egypt. Turkey being at war with the Allies and already threatening the Suez Canal, this turn of affairs was not surprising, but some were disappointed that anything should occur to defer our landing in France to help the sorely tried British and French Armies.

At 5 o'clock on December 30, the first New Zealand ship, the “Maunganui,” entered the Canal. Each ship had a little engine installed forward to provide for the powerful electric headlight fastened on the bows. The armed guard stationed on the starboard side strained their ears and eyes for any movement, but there was nothing evident except the beautiful
Black and white photograph of a ship steaming into Alexandria.

[Lent by F. W. Randall
Steaming into Alexandria.

stars, the Indian sentries pacing noiselessly up and down their sandy beats, and the incessant chatter of the little engine forward.
“Who are you?” shouted a voice from the desert, and continued, “126th Baluchis here.” “We're New Zealanders,” was the quiet answer. “Hooray!” cried the Baluchi, “Advance Australia!” It must be said that since that December day of 1914, both Baluchi and New Zealander have page 30
Black and white photograph.

[Lent by F. W. Randall
Disembarking at Alexandria.
In the foreground is a white “ramp” used for disembarking horses. On the outskirts of the group of soldiers may be noticed two Egyptians endeavouring to “change the money.”

page 31 gained a good deal of geographical knowledge—at the same time removing an amount of ignorance, the price of previous insularity.

From Suez to the Bitter Lakes, past all the posts we were destined to know so well; past Ismailia and the fortifications of Kantara, the transports slowly steamed. It was the New Zealander's first real glimpse of Empire. Here lining the banks were the picturesque bearded Sikhs, the native cavalry and infantry from every frontier State, and the alert Ghurka with his familiar slouch hat and short trousers.

At Port Said the German prisoners of war were transferred to the “Hampshire.” This was the last we saw of the famous cruiser, fated to become, on the disastrous day, July 5, 1916, off the Orkneys coast, the ocean mausoleum of that great soldier, Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener of Khartoum.

Exactly seven weeks after leaving Wellington Harbour, the look-outs saw with the dawn of December 3, the great white city of Alexandria standing in a sea of mist. Slowly we forged ahead until clustering spars resolved themselves into a multitude of transports and captured sailing ships, for here were interned most of the enemy mercantile marine captured in the Eastern Mediterranean. By 8 o'clock that morning six of the New Zealand transports were alongside, and clamouring round, the long-skirted rabble of the Egyptian seaport beheld in the stalwart colonials the same material as that which wrested victory at Tel-el-Kebir and Omdurman.

The poor horses were delighted to get ashore; groggy on their feet, they cut the most amusing capers. Soon men and stores, guns and horses, were en route to the railway station, where troop trains were waiting, and in a few hours were speeding across some of the most magnificent agricultural country in the world—the delta of the Nile.