Diary of Herbert Austin Bailey, 1917

Accession Number AWM2018.19.40
Collection number PR90/018
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type File
Item count 1
Object type Diary
Physical description 34 Image/s captured
Maker Bailey, Herbert Austin
Place made At sea, United Kingdom: England
Date made 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
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Diary relating to the First World War service of 19636 Sapper Herbert Austin Bailey, 15th Field Company, Australian Engineers, At Sea, 31 October - 26 December 1917 [Diary is incomplete - pages 33 and 34 are missing].

In this diary, Bailey documents his voyage from Australia to England aboard the troopship HMAT Euripides. Diary entries commence immediately after embarkation from Sydney, with Bailey commenting on the prevalence of sea-sickness, a case of meningitis prompting ship-wide precautions, and an incident involving a German on board arrested for attempting to access firearms. Bailey subsequently describes his own duties as well as general routines on board the ship ranging from guard duty and drills through to sports played on deck during half-days, and concerts and lectures presented during the evening.

After a month at sea, Bailey comments on the growing monotony of the voyage, and observes anticipation amongst the troops as the ship calls into Port of Spain, Trinidad. He provides a detailed description of a day of leave in the town including the reception of the locals, gifts showered upon the troops and the spontaneous pageantry of the day. He also makes note of many troops remaining ashore without leave and comments on their character as well as official efforts employed in their return to the ship.

During the final leg of the voyage, Bailey describes their departure from Port of Spain with a small flotilla, different formations adopted by the ships at sea, and procedures enforced on board whilst in dangerous waters. During the final week at sea, Bailey describes suffering from dysentery and observes expectation amongst the troops as the ship approaches England. Closing diary entries detail disembarkation at Devonport and the transfer of troops to Parkhouse Camp at Salisbury Plain.