Tobruk diaries: Drawing to a close
Cosgriff’s diary: Friday 24th October 1941 – 6 November
...Sr. Finlayson was a fuss-pot and got on one’s nerves a bit. She left to take a C.C.S. team of nurses to Syria. Peterson replaced her and once used to like joining with the patients in riots and thus her stay was quite brief. When O’Keefe – a friend of Johnston and Horan replaced her we were soon made to feel like school-kids – especially after her report which resulted in our being CB’d to the ward for four days. Meals in the patients mess were dull affairs...Went to the Lido and I took Joshua there once where we had some excellent eggs cutlets and tomatoes. The trip was too much for his injured leg. One hospital ship left for home while I was at Kantara among those who went were Jordon, Hornby, Ure – Jim Best is to go on the next boat to finish his medical course. At a farewell concert to the homegoers. Thomas was compere and they sang the R.S.L. very well also the Chocco’s theme-song. I received the cutting from Mrs. Tooze which libelled me by saying that I had slunk underground because of bombing. It came from Steele but he denies having written it – worse in the Qld papers. The last thing that happened at Kantara was the visit of our fellows en passant. They all looked terrible but I was very glad to see them. A few days later they began to drift back on their way to Cairo on leave.
Bryant’s diary: Friday 24rd October 1941
I visited the cemetery this morning and it is pleasing to see that the graves are so well kept. We left by truck about 7:30 at night and travelled to the other side of Tobruk. There was a little delay because the destroyer ran into the jetty, but as soon as we got moving we were on board in no time. The destroyer was the H.M.S. Griffin and she took off some 300 men. We moved off at about midnight.
Bryant’s diary: Saturday 25th October 1941
We travelled very easily on the destroyer. The sea hardly had a ripple. Ours and another destroyer did a submarine sweep, but without success. We hit Alexandria about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We passed a naval convoy of seven destroyers and three cruisers, which were going out for some mischief. We disembarked and were taken by truck to Amariya where we were fed and received a bottle of beer free along with other comforts. We then entrained for Palestine.
Bryant’s diary: Sunday 26th October 1941
We reached Kantara in time for breakfast, after which we entrained for our destination. Just on dark we reached Beit Jurja where we stayed the night. Here we received a gift of 200 mils (5/-) from the canteen services.
Bryant’s diary: Monday 27th October 1941
This morning we were taken by truck to Hill 69 and spent most of the day settling in.
Bryant’s diary: Tuesday 28th October 1941
An easy day we had, with an occasional tent to put up.
Bryant’s diary: Wednesday 29th October 1941
We get a bit into our routine today. The food here is excellent and the camp itself is first-class. We have organised sports in the afternoon so we are having a very easy time. Mail is arriving by the ton.
Bryant’s diary: Thursday 30th October 1941
The day again was easy. The Battalion had a rehearsal for a Brigade inspection which comes off tomorrow.