War Diary of Joseph Anthony Bacos
War Diary of Joseph Anthony Bacos aged 21
Left Trentham at 7pm and embarked on "NIEW AMSTERDAM"
Left Wellington 5pm other transport "MAURETANIA"
Choppy sea seasick in cabin
Recovered beautiful day sea calm, meals excellent.
Good day arrived in Sydney 10am. Passed "QUEEN ELIZABETH" in stream, full of
troops. Berthed off "ISLE de FRANCE" also full of Aussies. Took on 1200
Aussies. No leave.
Good Friday: Left Sydney 8am great day picked up "QUEEN MARY" 2pm lay in the
sun all day.
Cold weather passed Wilsons Promontory, most Southerly point in Australia
1.30pm. Concert in mess room at 7.30pm, good.
Easter Sunday 13.4.41
Cold weather on guard from 8am calm sea saw whales spouting also flying
Easter Monday 14.4.41
Windy rough sea seasick but not bad.
Sighted land 8am berthed Freemantle 10am Leave from 1.30pm. Went for a drive
with lady from Perth reception centre. Miss E Adam. Drove about 100 miles
saw orange orchards visited Canning Dam very large 32,000,000-gallon
Had tea with Miss Adam at her home 27 Keightly Road Subiaco. Ate orange
direct from the tree. Went for a drive after tea saw Perth by night. Miss
Adam drove us back to Freemantle at 12 Great day.
Route March through Fremantle in morning. Leave from 1.30pm had a good day
with the boys got a lift back to the ship in a private car.
Pulled out into the stream at 10am, Stayed there all day
Sailed 10am fine and calm
Fine and calm majority of the boys feeling the effects of vaccine, myself no
ill affects weather warmer
Calm sea very hot as we were nearing the Equator.
Calm sea very hot left convoy 4pm going to Singapore I think. Destroyer
appeared and escorted us. Passed through Sundar Straits between Java and
Sumatra during night. Lovely tropical susets & sunrises, seas like glass
flashes of tropical lightning during nights.
Calm and fine very hot indeed.
Still very hot saw land 11am Sailed up Singapore Harbour in afternoon very
beautiful scenery Berthed at 5pm in naval base appox. 15miles from city. Saw
floating dock and naval workshops largest in the world.
Fri 25 Anzac day
Trans shipped to "ACQUITANIA" in morning. What a change poor quarters on F
deck very hot and unhealthy. Marched to naval barracks in afternoon very
nice place took French leave in evening and went to barracks canteen. Slept
on deck Very dirty ship water very hot and poor taste.
Pulled out into the stream at 3pm stayed there overnight, slept on deck.
Left Singapore 11.30am. Poor food on board this ship. Passed the town of
Penang at 8pm, very calm and warm slept on deck again.
No change from yesterday.
Still calm seas and hot weather went to the pictures in the evening "Music
for Madame" quite good slept on deck again.
Semaphore drill paid 14 Rupees.
Thurs 1st May
Arrived Columbia 9am "Mauritania & Ile de France in harbour. No leave.
Fri 2 to Sun 4
Went on leave toured the city saw Buddhist Temple, visited a Catholic Church
at Bombalapitiya about 4 miles out. Talked to native priest and had a photo
taken on church steps. Visited the zoo. Paid 7 rupees went on a 60 mile trip
to a rubber plantations. Bought 2 elephants baton & silk scarf for mother
Posted it and bought scarf for myself for 40cents.
Mon 5 to Thurs 8
Left on the Tuesday at 9am with Mauritania & Ile de France Leander
escorting. The weather still calm and hot. On Wednesday the boxing champs
started Competed in the welter weight division, weight 10.7 beat Spr
Schrider in the morning and Gnr Wilson in the afternoon. In the latter fight
hurt thumb badly through a faulty punch. Forced to withdraw from the semi
finals. Sgt. Manemin won finals, think I could have won had I been fit.
Fri 9 to Wens 14
Came down with bad attack of the flu on Saturday still ill but not in bed
Passed the Queen Elizabeth at 6.30pm Sunday still orderly runner, easy time.
Monday we left the convoy and made for final port at full speed. Tuesday
arrived at port Tewfik 7am a large number of ships in harbour. Saw the
entrance to the Suez Canal. Wednesday lay in harbour Div car left ship.
Disembarked 8am caught train at 11.30am from Suez arrived 4.30pm at Garavi
Camp in a sandstorm. Passed through Cairo en route, had to put up own tent
had a photo taken.
Isolated in camp due to a flue epidemic, On Sunday rec a letter from Mary
and Eileen and replied to it .On Monday route marched 4 miles and on Tuesday
did 6miles Temp 105F Wed R/m in morning.
Issued with shorts shirt underpants and puttees went on patrol
duty 7-9pm wrote to mother
on guard 7pm for 24 hours paid one pound 24th on guard again temp
Sunday 25th to 28th
weather was cooler was cooler
Left for Maadi camp at 2.45 the drive along the banks of the Nile was
excellent, very pretty scenery. Passed prison camps enroute and arrived at
Maadi 3.45pm the section slept in a large tent for the night it was temp
quarters attached to F company 9th infantry brigade for training. In the
evening visited the canteens, found the YMCA very good. Read airmail news
from NZ. I think I will like life at Maadi.
Thursday 29th I was attached to B company of 32nd, went to a band concert at
the YM in the evening.
Did squad drill and dug trench, in the evening went to Naafi and YM
saw Ted Dawkins & Ian Wilson FIND OUT WHO THEY WERE
From Sunday 1.6 Mon
on fatigues washing dishes etc and on parade.
went on leave to Cairo, had tea at NZ house with Win
This was Win Ferris Aunty Eileens husband had a good talk with him and heard
of his experiences in Greece and Crete.
Wed & Thurs I was ill with dysentery
Spent the afternoon with Win he is going on 7 days leave to Cairo. I
am starting to feel better
Sat non eventual Sun went to church in the morning and into Cairo in the
afternoon Saw Gone with the wind sat in the best seats the theatre had been
booked out but bought a ticket from a man at the door who had a spare.
Mon to Thurs Uneventful
on parade Went on leave in the afternoon made enquires about a trip
Thurs Shot well on the range glasses made a difference.
Parade until morning then deserted, went to the Pay Office and
cashed a warrant for 2 pound 8 shillings that mother sent. Went to the YM
for a drink Provo took my name and number check up evidentially. Met Ted
Dawkins and Jack O'Sullivan after evening mess. Had a beer at the Naafi and
Went to Alex arrived 10.45am and got off at Sidi Gaber, went to 10
Rue de Juirga, found people had evacuated owing to air-raids. Got a new
address and went to 7 Boulevard Zaghoul and found whole family.
Uncle Louis had died 12 months ago His widow, my aunt, also widow of my
uncle Dominique made me very welcome. Saw my Aunt, fathers sister old lady
87 confined to bed for last 8 years Memory gone did not know who I was.
Large family was living together, all cousins etc. Dr Zacharopoulos was
married to one of the daughters and his surgery was at the house.. Had
dinner there and went with Rafael Anthony and Mr & Mrs Zacharopoulos and
another married couple to Rialto Cinema, saw "This man Reutwer" with Edward
J Robinson in it Excellent picture. Had tea back at the house Rafael came to
the station with me and I caught the 7pm train to Cairo. Arrived back at
Rafael gave me the address and name of another 2nd cousin in Cairo, called
Clement Bacos he was a prominent lawyer and a rich man, must visit him first
chance. He also gave me the name of another distant relative George Assaf.
Found Alexandria very nice clean beautiful harbour, I would like to stay ,
the family showed me a photo of myself as a baby dads sister had it and I
was surprised to see it.
left Maadi for Helvan, temporary only leaving on Mon for new camp
Win was at Helvan but out when I went to locate him. I saw Mort and Jack
Elsmore played crown and anchor and lost
Left Helvan 1.30pm new camp not very impressive at first sight it
will need straightening out It will be good when settled down. I am still
ration clerk and will probably go to orderly room later
Had the option of going to orderly room with ED pay or staying
with QM without extra pay Much preferred latter I am now storeman.