Sunday, 5 October 2014

5th October 1914

Port Melbourne
Monday October 5 1914

It is very hot today and just the same old thing over and over again. Just watering and feeding the horses.  The horse lines are about 500 yards from the Pier and as the water troughs are at the entrance to the Pier we have to lead 3 horses over at a time to water and it is not easy for they start bucking and trying to get away.  It is very sandy here and so it is hard walking over it.  Sorting our harness out to-day such a tangle you never seen in all your life.  It was all bundled into the hold and 3 lots together, but neverless we got it together again.  I am in charge of Picquet tonight and seen plenty of chaps passing the Pier - but that is nothing to do with me.

Oct 5

No 1728 Gnr E.D. Lonsdale diserted

An excerpt from 1728 Gunner Edgar David Lonsdale's Service Dossier,
penned by Major Hughes: "Struck off strength from 5/10/14 "Deserter"
Authority O.C. 3rd Bde FA"

Monday 5th October

Full muster parade at 6.30 AM. I had overnight carefully considered my course of action re Sunday’s business and had decided that as the men had admitted their offence to the O.C. Battery, and had expressed their regret for the incident I felt the best interests of the Brigade would be served by publicly censuring the men, pointing out the seriousness of their position and releasing them. If I have erred on the side of leniency I must abide the consequences but I want to have a loyal command, and I feel an appeal to their honour will in the long run be more effective than fine or imprisonment. I have therefore dismissed the cases and the future must show if my confidence has been misplaced.

During the day Saddlery of Battery was checked with that of Divisional Column, which latter harness had been returned from Broadmeadows by order of Colonel Tunbridge. Capt McGee was in attendance with Major Hughes. No less than 12 Battery saddles and other harness were found among Capt McGee’s equipment. Brigade Headquarters unpacking and stamping Harness. Battery at Gun drill, Column teaming horses.

Received a hint from my Orderly that leave was being irregularly obtained by Brigade Headquarters men. I resolved on a Tattoo parade for Head Quarters details, with the result that it was discovered five men (including a N.C.O) were absent without leave. I decided to wait up and check all men returning to Ship. In the meantime in Company with Several Officers I searched the ship in an endeavour to find if any other way of leaving the ship than by the gangway had been prepared. I discovered 4 rope ships ladders hung on the side at various dark points of the ship, also planks leading from Horse decks through iron doors in ship side to jetty. These approaches had evidently been used by the men when leaving ship, with the cooperation of local boats.

I was so annoyed at these discoveries that I posted Officers at the entrance to troop decks, and myself with Capt Leslie took post at gangway. One by one, gunners, drivers and N.C.O. returned to ship, some hiding themselves among wharf piles lying on the wharf. The Guard had to turn them out.

Between the hours of 11 PM and 5-30 AM on 6th inst no less 62 NCOs, gunners and drivers returned to the ship, having been absent without leave. In this list were included 16 men who had been participants in the number who mutinied on Sunday morning.

My leniency and warning of the previous day had apparently not been appreciated or acted upon, so the whole squad was ordered into arrest.
The Officers retired at 2 AM, 6th inst, leaving a strong guard to apprehend any other leave breakers who might put in an appearance.

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