Harbour was alive with shipping — British, French, Greek, Italian and many captured vessels. Some of the latter—the “Lutzow
,” the “Annaberg
,” the “Haidar Pasha
,” and the “Goslar
”—were requisitioned to make up the fleet of thirteen ships necessary to carry our Division. They ranged from liners like the “Lutzow
,” down to dirty, lice-infested tramps like the “Goslar
,” and had mostly lain in Alexandria
Harbour for about eight months, tended only by a few Greeks, who, scrupulously observing the regulations, had thrown nothing overboard, but dumped the galley ashes
On the Quay at alexandria
Vehicles, Stores, and a mountain of Hay for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.
and refuse on the once immaculate decks. The carpenters were still in possession of some of them, improvising horse boxes and fitting the tramps to carry more passengers than they had previously been accustomed to. As the journey took only about three days, a little congestion was not of great moment.
Going out to take over one of the transports, two New Zealand officers had an amusing illustration of patriotism not
peculiar to Egypt
. The usual picket boat of the Ports and Lighthouses Administration not being available, recourse was made to one of the bumboats selling Turkish Delight and other delicacies. The two boatmen—a stolid Nubian
at the bow oar, and a flashy Arab at the other—were both quite sure of one thing: “German, no good—English, very good.” The Arab was a fascinating person, who gripped the thwart with his big toe at every stroke. Listening to the eloquent and reiterated denunciation of the Hun, one officer noticed that part of the stock-in-trade was brown boot polish with a German label, and drew the attention of his companion to the
The Otago Mounted Rifles putting horses on board at Alexandria.
fact. The Arab overheard the conversation. “What!” he said, pointing to the offending polish, “that German?” “Yes,” said the New Zealander. Without more ado, the Arab scooped the lot into the harbour. “That's true patriotism,” the officers agreed, but were puzzled by the grinning of the suppositions patriot. “What are you laughing at, you fool? That must have cost you a lot of money!” “Aha!” came the answer, and pointing to the black man in the bows, who seemed a trifle angry, the Arab said, “It is not mine, it's hees!”
Lying at anchor was the United States cruiser “Tennessee,” with her huge “paper-basket” masts. For some time
she had been employed around the coast of Asia Minor safeguarding American interests. Greek and Italian ships were busy bringing refugees—English, French, Jews and Armenians—fleeing from their homes in Palestine and Syria. Just outside Alexandria these unfortunates were housed in concentration camps, at one of which many Jews, mostly Russian subjects, enlisted in a transport corps styled “the Zion Mule Transport Corps,” the members of which certainly looked most unhappy with their big, rough, North American pack mules.