To Kondia Bay with 20 men and two lorries to load up a piledriver and material for pier construction and deliver at South Pier. The transport of long heavy timbers over such rough hilly roads was a big job and I was quite glad when I was through with it. Kondia Bay is a naval base and very interesting spot – a splendid harbour.
As instructed with Gould and Stybbings I reported at H.Q. at 10a.m. After short interview Stub’s and I were posted to No. 1 Field Co. and Gould attached – with orders to proceed to Staveros on Wednesday next. In the afternoon I supervised the loading up of a pile driver from Turks Head Pier to the South Pier – being now attached to No. 1. Field Co. it is probable that I shall reman at Nucdus for a long time.
Lieut. Molyneux with 70 men from the new draft left camp and embarked for Staveros.
Walked out to a village near here – Portyanos. The island is very hilly and the hills are very bare, stony, with a very thin covering of grass which in summer is soon burnt up. Even now the hills look khaki-coloured. The country is exactly like the pictures of Palestine and the costumes worn by the natives quite Eastern. There are practically no roads and as there are no horses or mules available walking is the only way of getting about. There are Greek churches in all the villages.
One hut is set aside for officers’ quarters. At one end is the kitchen, then the mess, then officers’ cubicles with the orderly room at the other end. The quarters are furnished with the barest necessary furniture and the food supplied is the Navy ration. This is the camp of No. 1 Co. We are temporarily attached to this Coy. but will probably be posted to other companies almost immediately. We reported at headquarters and were told we should be free from duty until Monday. Afterwards we went across by the Naval ferry to East Nucdus. The French regiment is quartered here and it was interesting to me to see the strange uniforms. The village itself is small and not very interesting.
Going on deck after breakfast found that Lemnos was in sight ahead. Got into the harbour about 11 a.m. A magnificent harbour crowded with vessels of every description, British and French war vessels, submarines, transports etc. As we sailed into the bay could see various camps on shore. We were ordered to be ready to land about 2. Transhipped into small steamer and got ashore about 4 p.m. With a guide in front marched off to a camp about a mile and a half away. Reached this camp, formed up and found that the three other field officers had dropped out en route. Waited about for some time without receiving any attention and then after consultation with officers of divisional train I detailed off the men into the empty huts. As there was no food for the men went off with Lieut. Primrose and finally reached the Q.M. Stores where we were able to get rations. Had some dinner while wagons were being loaded and returned with wagons. Reached the camp again and found that the Field Coy. draft had marched off and also that my kit had been removed. With guide set off in the dark to find them, and after first calling at the Headquarters Mess (the wrong mess) was redirected over very rough country to the right lines. Found the other draft officers there and received a very pleasant welcome. Had to make up my own bed in a small cubicle where the four of us slept.
Tremendous excitement this morning. About 8.45 a submarine was reported about 1/4 mile away on starboard side. The alarm was sounded and the troops paraded at their alarm posts. Three shots were fired and it is rumoured that the third shot found its mark. The ships orders gave position of attack as Lat. 18 degrees 50′ E, Long. 36 degrees 34′ N.
One report goes that when first seen the conning tower was above water, our gun was fired, that the submarine was submerged and brought up again on the port side of the ship, that she fired a torpedo, but that as in the meantime our course had changed, the torpedo missed its mark.
There are many rumours and as the authorities do not furnish any information it is impossible to say what did really happen. I was out of the excitement altogether – I was down at breakfast while the excitement was on, and the alarm for some reason never reached the dining room. I arrived on deck just as the men were being dismissed from the alarm parade. For days our course has been very zig zag and today this has been increased, some of the changes being almost at right angles.
Sports concluded this afternoon, the Maori team winning the men’s tug and the English officers team beating the R.N.D. Officers in the Officer’s final. Bright and fine but rather cold – so far we have not had any rain at all on this trip.