1st Jan. Battalion Training.
2nd Jan. Embarked on H.M.S. MAGNIFICENT. CASUALTIES: 7949 Pte W. Dandy accidentally injured. 9955 Pte J. Steen; 9122 L/ Cpl E. Pitcock; 8779 Pte S. Pitt; 6876 Sgt A. Stace; 8758 L/ Cpl G. Gibbs, accidentally injured, but able to embark. See Appendix II.
APPENDIX II: Details of ACCIDENT on EMBARKATION of 1/5th Bn South Staffordshire Regt. at Marseilles on 2nd January, 1916.
The Battalion embarked on H.M.S. ‘Magnificent’ at Marseilles, on the 2nd January 1916, being taken to the ship by tug and lighter.
While the lighter was taking her first load at the quay side, at about 9.0 am, a slight accident occurred. Some 150 men and several machine guns and other stores were aboard, when the girder supporting the hatches gave way, with the result that about 50 men, the Machine Guns and the bulk of the baggage were precipitated to the bottom of the lighter, a fall of 10 feet.
The men were in full pack and carrying rifles, and were thus handicapped in saving themselves.
Many complained of Bruises, Slight Cuts and Shock, but the only serious Casualties were:– 1 man with broken leg. (Sent to Hospital). 5 men injured about the head. (Proceeded on the voyage and were medically treated on board and returned to duty at the port of disembarkation).
Signed: J. LAMOND. Capt. & Adjt. 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt.
2nd / 8th Jan: Voyage to Egypt. ALEXANDRIA.
9th Jan: Disembarked and entrained for SHALLUFA.
17th Jan: handed over No. 5. POST to 1st Batt. Monmouthshire Regiment and encamped at the POST. 18/ 29th Jan: Battalion Training.
30th Jan: Entrained for ALEXANDRIA. CASUALTY: Pte A. White accidentally knocked off the train while in motion, by a piece of timber projecting from a passing goods train. He proceeded with train and was sent to Hospital at ALEXANDRIA.
SIDI BISHR CAMP.
31st Jan: Encamped at SIDI BISHR CAMP. Battalion Training. TOTAL CASUALTIES JAN. 1916. 2 accidentally injured sent to Hospital; 5 accidentally injured remained at duty.
Signed: Major Cmdg 1/5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regt.
Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: A Little Book of Words & Doings. 16th Jan – 31st Jan 1916. ‘At Isberque on coming out of Hospital. Joined Transport, from thence we entrained to Marseilles, Borelli Camp, where we had easy time. I went and had photo taken & passes to town. Embarked on ship Andania (one night only). Good grub in dining rooms & hammocks to sleep in. Did not budge an inch. Came off ship the next day. Up the Line again after a fortnight.’
The British Army had decided to concentrate its efforts on the Western Front after the disastrous Campaign in Galipolli. That the 1/5th South Staffords were ordered to leave Egypt after only one month indicates that the Suez Canal was considered to be under less threat from the German Ottoman Army than it had been at the Battle of Suez Canal: 26th Jan – 4th Feb.1915.
Photo Link: Suez Canal District <www.nzetc.victoria.ac.nz>.
NEW PAGE: My Memories of First World War & Battle of the Somme. The Revd A.H. Hibbett. 1967.
NEXT POST: 7th FEB. 1916.