3 August 1915

Extract from the war diary of George Wardle, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

[At Port Said] we were awakened by a loud humming, buzzing sound which proved to be a French water plane which was skimming along the water just near the boat at an enormous rate. It went about 100 yds. along the water when it rose up into the air with the ease of a sea gull, it rose up in circles until it was a great height and then shot away in a westerly direction and was soon lost to sight. We did not get into the hammocks again but took them down and fell in to go on shore for a walk through the town and bathe among the breakers on the beach. Camped out on the beach were the Indian troops, jolly fellows they were and laughed at us when we said it was hot. This morning we went through the slums of the town, here we could hardly breathe for the stink. The houses were mostly six and seven storeys high with verandas on each storey, french windows opened out on these verandas, we call them french windows but there was no glass in the frames but a kind of basketwork. Each room was packed with people, we should think scores lived in a single house, the streets were not paved or metalled and were swarmed with fowl, goats, dogs, cats and kids. The houses were all distempered, each house a different colour than the next and were flat roofed. The Natives were dressed in loose robes of oriental colours; some of the women wore a veil covering the whole of their face and only leaving the eyes exposed. The white inhabitants were mostly French.


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