A Dorricott's army diary

YDorricottAArmy2465v.pdf

Title

A Dorricott's army diary

Description

A handwritten notebook containing the war diary of A Dorricott from October 1914. He embarks the SS Deseado at Southampton and sails through the Bay of Biscay, past Gibraltar to Malta. They continued with naval escorts to Port Said, through the Suez canal, a stop at Aden then on to Bombay, Calcutta then finally Rangoon. After a stay there he sails for Singapore then Hong Kong. He describes the trip with comments about Australian and New Zealand troops on their way to the Western Front, the coaling station, his living conditions, the food, and the animals he saw.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Contributor

Nicki Brain
Alan Pinchbeck
Karl Williams
David Bloomfield

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

One handwritten notebook

Language

Identifier

YDorricottAArmy2465v10001,

Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

3 Deseado
A Dorricott
2 Besford Sq
Belle vue
Shrewsbury
Salop
[underlined] Oct 28th 1914 [/underlined]
Embanked for [one indecipherable word]
29th Oct 1914 at South Hampton, [sic] on a passenger boat named SS Deseado, set sail about 7.30pm

[page break]

On the 30th sea fairly calm but weather stormy. On 31st fine day. We were [deleted] in the bay of Biscay on Sunday 1st Nov. It was very ruff [sic] it tossed us about and cleared all the crocks off the tables when we were having dinner.
We came in view of land on Tuesday

[page break]

between the coasts of North Africa and Portugal also of Spain. The rock at Gibaraltar [sic] were a site [sic] worth seeing we could see them fairly well although it was a bit misty. All round the coast it was very mountainous. We could see the forts very plainely, [sic] and we could see them

[page break]

signaling [sic] from the one side to the other.
The towns in Spain looked very funny the houses were all white.
The rock Giberaltar [sic] stood out in the water more than the other, and it is a very high rock, the fort [sic] are placed at the very edge. There were

[page break]

some very high Mountains on the coasts of North Africa, they were also very picturess. There is about 8 boats with soldiers and horses in with us besides crusers [sic] to guard us.
We passed some of the troops from India going to the front, we passed them at Giberaltar [sic] on Tuesday,

[page break]

about 5pm they were 4 and 5 Borderers.
[deleted] The last sight of land again on Tuesday morning. [/deleted]
It is the finest day we have had since we started, the sea looked splendid. We could see one of the towns [inserted] in North Africa [/inserted] lited [sic] up from the ship, on Wednesday night splendedly [sic] We also passed the 2nd Shropshires going to England on

[page break]

Thursday about 7pm they are going to have 6 days furlow before going to the front.
We passed more troops going to England on Friday Nr Malta about 4pm. We landed at Malta about 4.30.pm on Friday, and ankored [sic] there for the night, about 2 mile out

[page break]

from the shore Malta is a very nice town and is situated close the to the shore. we could see the lights of the town very plainly, and when the surch [sic] lites [sic] came over us it lit the boat up like day.
We had to wait for escorts at Malta because our other

[page break]

left us, to take the troops to England that we met from India.
The building in Malta look to be very well built their [sic] are some very fine churches their [sic] We started from Malta on Saturday morning aboat [sic] 8.30 [inserted] am [/inserted] with a fresh escort of Battle ships and torpeado [sic] boats we also had

[page break]

a submarine with us it was tugged by another boat. It was very ruff [sic] on Sunday again especialy after tea. It was not quite so ruff [sic] as last Sun when we were in the Bay of Bisky [sic] We were inockulated [sic] on Tuesday 10th Nov, we also reached Port Said on Tuesday about

[page break]

9 pm and stayed their [sic] till 5am on Wednesday morning we could see some of the streets, and see some of the Hotels. The natives are a tan colour. They were working all night, they were shouting all the time, makeing [sic] very funny noises There is a very big dock their [sic] with

[page break]

all kinds of boats in it. We saw them loading the vessels with coal, they carry it in wiskets from of [sic] a coal lanch [sic] We came into the Suez canal about 7pm There is a railway running along the side of the canal it run’s [sic] for miles and miles. Most of the native’s [sic] live in tents other’s [sic] live in stone build [sic]

[page break]

sheds, with a [inserted] slightly [/inserted] slooping [sic] roof, there are some very picture’ss [sic] building such, as “Palais. D Administration. Du. Canal” this is a very fine building We saw droves of camels, donkes, [sic] and mules, on the desert we also saw them drawing the [deleted] the [/deleted] sand and, spar from the hillocks The spar resembled [deleted] britez [/deleted] britze very

[page break]

much. They get it from big hillocks close to the canal They fill truck which run on rails for the donkey’s [sic] and mules, to pull, with slime, and the camals [sic] have to take the big lumps on there [sic] backs, in wooden boxes, the boys lead them about, and the men load them up

[page break]

The nataves [sic] run after the ship after pennies which the soldiers threw to them. The canal is about 100 yards wide and about 90 miles long. We passed a ship load of English passengers at “Gare De. Ballah, near the railway station We saw a lot of Royal Engeniers [sic] from [deleted] Lankeshire [/deleted]

[page break]

Lancashire at “Gare. De. Kantara the barricks, [sic] in which they stayed were very good looking building’s, [sic] build [sic] [deleted] of [/deleted] with stones, the roofs [sic] were flat.

We had five of the natives on board selling, tirkish –[sic] delite, [sic] post cards, cigeretts, [sic] and matches. We saw about 7 dredgers at work

[page break]

in the canal.
It is supprising [sic] to see the number of natives that work in the hillocks getting the spar The engins [sic] on the railway are something similar to the Midland railways Company’s engins, [sic] they go about 30 miles per hour.

The trees are very different to ours

[page break]

there is one class of tree that looks [inserted] like [/inserted] our fir, We saw some of the Kirkers’ from India at “Gare. De. Kantara camping in tents. We had to stop again for a fresh escort just out side a town called “Port Suez” or the town of Suez on Wednesday

[page break]

night, we were also there all day on Thursday.

On Friday we went on shore in coal boats drawn by a tug. When we got on the shore we went for a march around the town of Suez and to a-nother [sic] town about 1 mile away. The town is a lovely place. the houses are build [sic]

[page break]

of stone, and then plastered [deleted] over [/deleted] over There is generaly [sic] a lot of fancy wood work in the front of the houses which makes them look pretty. It is supprising [sic] to see the different coulors [sic] of the people there, there are some white people their, [sic] mostly French and Spaniards

[page break]

Then there are the natives which are tan coulored, [sic] also a lot of niggers. When we were on the march they stopped us and told us to go and paddle in the sea, which we enjoyed very much, as it was very dusty, and our feet were hot from marching. Then we went and had some

[page break]

thing to eat, a hard roll like a dog biscuit and a sardines.

Then we went to see a football match between the right and left half [indecipherable word] of our brittalian [sic] they had to finish before the proper time as it was getting dark, we then made our way to the shore but it was to [sic] ruff [sic] to go across to our ship in the coal

[page break]

boat, so we had to stop the night in a cargo boat called “Neghileh” we were packed like sardines in a box, some of us had to sleep on the top deck, our company were sleeping in a poky old hole were [sic] there had been a lot of hay, and which smelt [sic] of tobacco [indecipherable word] very bad, we

[page break]

had to sleep in our cloths [sic] and had our boots for a pillow, we did not have much to eat and only water to drink. We came back again on (Sat) morning about 9pm and glad we were to get a good breakfast. We saw some of the native police x they look very well in there [sic] uniform

[page break]

but I should not like there [sic] job as the natives are a ruff [sic] lot to deal with, the mounted police have splended [sic] horses. I only saw 2 bicicles, [sic] and I did not see a motor car at all their. [sic]
There has about 75 thousand Indian troops come into the harbour today Monday 16th Nov

[page break]

for the front.

We started again from the Suez harbour on Wednesday morning about 9am. The town of Suez is in Arabia. Our company were inockulated [sic] again on Thursday 19th Nov. We have two big gun’s [sic] on boat they are 4.7 bore. I saw the sailors practising

[page break]

this morning Friday our sailors are very good with them they hit the target almost every time, we have been rear guard biggest part of the way yet.

We [deleted] got to Aden on Monday at 11am were [sic] we stayed to post letters, and waite [sic] for a fresh escort. On Tuesday

[page break]

there several vessels came into the harbour with Austrailian [sic] and New Zeland [sic] troops on them, they were going to Aldershot for a short time and then going to the front if they were wanted. Aden is a very quiet place it look’s [sic] a lonely place to live at.

[page break]

There is a big barracks their, [sic] were [sic] they bring rigements [sic] that have disgraced there [sic] self as a punishment. They do not keep [inserted] them [/inserted] their [sic] more than 12 months because it is so lonely [insered] and difficult to get water [/inserted] We started from their [sic] on Thursday at 1.30 On Sunday 29th I was vaxanated [sic] most of the company were done on (Sat)

[page break]

[underlined] December 1914 [/inderlined]

We reached Bom Bay [sic] on Tuesday Dec. 1st at 7pm we ancored [sic] just outside the town till Wednesday morning and then we went in the dock, we were allowed [sic] off the boat from 4pm till 9pm to go just around the dock buildings

[page break]

only. Bom Bay [sic] is a very pretty place. Their [sic] is a big Y.M.C.A. their [sic] They use bullocks mostly to do the hauling an ploughing and use ponnies [sic] to do the cab work There is a splended [sic] market their, [sic] it is much bigger than the one at Shrewsbury.

[page break]

We started from Bom Bay [sic] for Calcutta on (Thur.) about 12 oclock. We were traveling [sic] on the Great Indian Peninsula and the Bengal Nagpur railways. The [indecipherable word] ride through the cuntry [sic] was lovely we saw droves of cattle, sheep, and goats, and a lot of monkeys

[page break]

India is a cuntry [sic] with a tremengous [sic] quantity of fruit growing in it We saw large quantites [sic] of bananas Oranges and [deleted] coca [/deleted] cocoa [sic] nuts We were three days going from Bom Bay [sic] to Calcutta we only stoped [sic] just to get our food at different stations.

[page break]

We landed at Calcutta on (Sun) about 3.30. We went on a [indecipherable word] boat called the “City of Marseilles” as soon as we could after landing. It was not so fine a boat as the Deseado We started from Calcutta on Monday morning about 7.30 for

[page break]

Rangoon. We arrived at Rangoon on Thursday morning about 7am. We disembarked about 10am. the natives brought us roses, cigars and matches and gave them to us. We then marched through the town up to our barracks, we had 3 bands

[page break]

playing us up there. The barracks are very nice places, we each have a bed and a locker of our own. Rangoon is a splendid place by what I have seen up to now. There are several other barracks were [sic] we are with different rigements [sic] in them.

[page break]

Part of our company and D company had to march back to the ship about 4 pm because we had to go back [inserted] to [/inserted] an island about 300 miles from Rangoon to guard convicts. the island is called Andaman island. We were allowed to go off the ship from

[page break]

3pm till 9.30 pm on Friday I went for a strool [sic] through the town and afterwards to the picture palace Rangoon is a buisness [sic] like town you can get almost everything you can menshon [sic] from the shops.

The shops are [indecipherable word] very much

[page break]

different to what they are in England. There is very [inserted] little [/inserted] frontage to them they are all open in the front so that you can see them making the things inside them. There are a good many British people in Rangoon. I was in the Y.M.C.A. on

[page break]

Saturday evening it is a lovely place. On Sunday morning the Wostershire [sic] regiement [sic] came on the boat they were going to England and then to the front. We are going to get of [sic] at Port Blair on one of the Andaman, [inserted] isles [/isles] and then the boat is going to take

[page break]

the Wostershire [sic] regiement [sic] on to Calcutta.

We left Rangoon about 11.30 [inserted] am [/inserted] on Sunday, we reached Port Blair on Tuesday morning at 7am. [inserted] Dec 10th 1914 [/inserted] Port Blair is a nice little place we have decent barracks, nearly the same as those at Rangoon

Dec 21st my birthday

[page break]

Dec 22nd I was on guard for my first time I was on guard with 2 more at a wireless station on the Aberdeen island about 1 mile from Ross island There is about 13000 prisoners on the two island There is a very big prison on

[page break]

the Aberdeen island were [sic] most of the prisoners are kept We did not have a very good day on Christmas day we had stew for dinner, and each man had 1 packet of cigarettes and a cigar, we also had a bottle of pop. we did not have any milk in our tea and

[page break]

very little sugar. On New Years Day we had bacon and 2 eggs for breakfast, beef and potatoes and pudding for dinner we were also allowed 1 [inserted] tin [/instered] herrings between 3 for our tea, so that is all the Xmas and New Year we have had.

[page break]

On New Years Day we selebarated [sic] what is called procklumation [sic] day in India the chief commisoner [sic] was there.

Ross island [inserted] is [/inserted] a very small island it is about 2 miles all around it It is very quiet here [inserted] there is [/inserted] no place of ammusement [sic] of any kind

[page break]

The natives of these islands are called Andamanese. They are supposed to be one of the lowest tipe [sic] of umanity [sic] there is in exstance [sic] They wear no cloths [sic] at all except a string tied around their middle and some of them not even that.

[page break]

They are not very big about 4’2” or 3” in hight [sic] with very black curley [sic] hair There [sic] skin is also very black.

Up to about 50 years ago they were savages, and used to kill everybody that went into their quarters unless they belonged to their tribe. Their [sic] is twelve tribes

[page break]

of them, At one time they were a very big race of people and used to cover biggest part of Burma, but have been driven down by the other races from the north, till their [sic] is very few of them left, these islands are the only places their [sic] are any left except a few in

[page break]

the south of Burma They are very good shots with bows and arrows, and live entirly [sic] by fishing and hunting. Their [sic] is one tribe still that are savages called gallowoys, and often when convicts go to cut timber from the part off [sic] the island in which they live,

[page break]

they kill them Since we have been at Port Blair there has been a fight between the gallowoys and the other Andamanese It was over some of the convicts cutting some cocoa [sic] nut trees down the gallowoys killed several convicts, then the other Andamanese

[page break]

that are more civelezed, [sic] and are emploued [sic] by the government of India to keep the gallowoys quiet went to stop them and then they started to fight but it did not last but a day or two or we should have had to have gone to help the Andamanese

[page break]

The reason they started this settlement here was because years ago when sailing boats were mostly used, in stormy weather this part becomes very rough so that boats used to get drifted onto these islands when crossing the bay of Bengal these islands

[page break]

are in the direct line boats take when crossing the bay.

When the boats got drifted unto the islands, and were waiteing [sic] for the sea to get calm the Andamanese used to rush down upon them and kill them and take all the things belonging them

[page break]

This was a big loss to the government (then the so called East Indian company) So they determined to start a settlement here so that if any boats got drifted the [inserted] people [/inserted] would be able to come on shore in safety, They had very great diffucalty [sic] in starting it they had to drive

[page break]

the natives off. and had many big battles with them, but after a time they began to get more freindly [sic] towards one another They afterwards started a convict settlement [sic] and build [sic] a big prison on Aberdeen Island which has about 13000 convicts in it.

[page break]

On Sunday 28 Mar I saw a shark which the convicts had caught, with a ordainary [sic] fishing line. it was only a younge [sic] one and was exactaley [sic] 8 feet long. its two side fins are 20 inches long and the fin on the tope [sic] of its back is 15 inches long.

[page break]

We left Port Blair for Singapore on Good Friday Apr 2 we started at 6pm on board a small troop ship called Mayo. The 2nd forth [sic] Somersets realeived [sic] us. We landed at Rangoon on Sunday morning (Easter Sunday) about 8.30. We were allowed to [inserted] go [/inserted] off the boat from 10am

[page break]

to 6pm. I first went up to the barracks to see some off [sic] my pal’s [sic] that were in the hospital that had been left behind the rest of the brittalion [sic] when they went to Singapore. After dinner I went to see the pogoda [sic] it is a magnificunt [sic] place, it is the

[page break]

finest pogoda [sic] in the world and is supposed to be one of the seven wonders of the world. It would be useless to attempt to describe it. We saw some very find carveing [sic] at the show room at port Blair but it is nothing to be compared with

[page break]

the carveing [sic] in the pagoda. Their [sic] is four entrances to it and you have to go up a lot of steps to get to the palace were [sic] [indecipherable words] are along the bottom of the steps there are people selling all kinds of things, especialy [sic] candles, also a lot of natives begging The natives have

[page break]

to take off their shoes before approaching the idle [sic] which they wish to worship. I afterwords [sic] went to the enclousure [sic] were [sic] the wild [inserted] beasts [/inserted] are kept. I saw several kinds of snakes, bears, lions, tigers, elephants, camels, dears [sic], monkeys, parots [sic], and many more things I cannot remember

[page break]

the names off [sic].

We started for Singapore on Easter Monday with the men that were left in charge of the lugage [sic] at Rangoon and those that were left behind in the hospital that were [inserted] now [/inserted] able to travell [sic]. We reached Singapore on Sat 10th Apr; Singapore

[page break]

is a very fine place, must hotter than Port Blair.

We started from Singapore on Tuesday 13th for Hongkong [sic] in China on a boat called Eumaeus. We reached Hongkong [sic] on Sun. 17th Apr.

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[2 blank pages]

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[numbers]

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[6 pages of addresses]

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[notes]

[page break]

[addresses]

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[list of locations and other notes]

passed a ship full of English passengers

[list of locations]

Citation

A Dorricott, “A Dorricott's army diary,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 21, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/7524.

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