Saturday, 5 March 2016

Bedford Soldier Enjoying Life in Egypt

1/1st Signal Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers in Egypt (Beds Times 10/3/16)

Sunday 5th March 1916: Private C. W. Chettle of the 1/1st Eastern Mounted Brigade, Field Ambulance, has written home to Bedford describing life in Egypt:
“I am having a most enjoyable time. Our camp is about 5 or 6 miles from Alexandria, which can easily be reached by taking a tram which is only about 10 minutes’ walk from our tents. The journey is a magnificent one, and only costs ½ piaster (in English 1¼d), much cheaper than the Bedford buses! There are some very beautiful houses and buildings, all of which are white, and flat roofs, where clothes are dried. The gardens, which surround them, are full of orange trees, tomatoes, and palm trees. The latter grow dates in season, and dead and dried ones can be found lodging in the branches. Alighting from the car at the terminus you are immediately accosted by a number of natives, wanting to black your boots, and to sell their wares, and after telling them to “imshe” (go away), you wend your way then to the Y.M.C.A., where a good meal of ham and eggs, tea cake and fruit can be obtained. A visit to the reading and writing room kills the best part of two hours. The remainder of the evening is spent by visiting the picture palace or theatre. There are one or two English Churches, where we can go to on Sunday, but, of course, I would much rather it be Bunyan.”
 Source: Bedfordshire Times, 10th March 1916

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