Part 6 - Capt. B.E. Bardwell Diary Transcription - September 1915
Convalescing in Cairo
Wednesday 9th Still here + will be really sorry to leave as it has been a real home during past weeks. My room mate Cpl. Banks left this morning + has gone to Helonian. He still carries bullet in forehead, doctors seem afraid to operate. I should have been turned out long ago but they have kept me on while I have been waiting for some official notification of my commission from Cairo. Still got limp but leg is getting stronger every day + now there is only small scar to show old wound.
Nurses are all very good + have looked after me excellently.
Louch came over to see me about a week ago + I told him news of commission.
He was at Attur Hospital, poor fellow, bullet severed nerve + he has lost use of arm. After he had gone Mrs Branch of Ghizech came along inquiring for him. She wanted him to go out +
stay with her to convalesce, she generally has a few chaps out there. She asked me to call when I felt fit. Well a couple of days ago Mrs. Summers who spends all her time over here among the patients doing excellent work, wife of Major Summers of Victoria who is Registrar here, brought an invitation to me from Mrs Branch to go + convalesce at her home, which is in the centre of the beautiful Ghizeh Gardens. Of course I jumped at it, my doctor Capt. Knight being agreeable, but when it was put before Col. Mordsley (G.G) he just shook his head, anyhow I hope to be allowed to go in the end for a week or so. Louch is already there.
Hospital train arrives here every few days bringing their loads of sick + wounded to be distributed amongst the hospitals. There a great many dysentery + gastric cases coming across now. Have heard no news at all from front lately. But there is a rumour floating round that transport carrying 21st Batn. (Vic) was torpedoed but is not official + there are no particulars to hand.
Wednesday 16th My happy stay at Heliopolis came to end on Tuesday morning when I was transferred to Al Hayat Convalescent Hospital Helocian. Got word my commission was gazetted last Saturday, was allowed to take advantage of it
Monday when I got permission to
go into Cairo + draw some of the needful + get some appropriate clothing + by jove it does run away with the money.
I have to thank Sisters Jackson, Mastyn, Scott, Smith and Tyers for the kind treatment I received while at Heliopolis. Arrived out here Helocian, Tuesday morning + am now ensconced in the Officers Quarters. Al Hayat Hotel which is a winter pleasure resort, a beautiful high position on edge of desert about 20 miles from Cairo. The Nile with its fertile flats is visible from here with the Pyramids of Sakkara in the distance.
There are about 30 Officers + some hundred men recuperating here. Some of them are being sent to England or Australia on furlough. I reckon in some cases men have imaginary complaints to get this furlough + then so few are discharged fit for active service + so many for light duties in Egypt.
I have heard rumours of one Division being hauled out of the line for a spell + to reorganise, lets hope it is true
My room here No 67, shared with a Capt. Paull of Moora, 16th Batn., only a boy of 24 summers promoted at ‘Anzac’, is on the upper floor + is extremely comfortable + fine beds, wardrobe + chest of drawers, wash stand + table + chairs with small balcony in front with cane lounges. Then we have natives to wait on us. We dine during the day in the dining hall + at night on the piazza at small tables seating at the most from everything is of the
best + the meals are excellent. Officers are allowed out for walks, but it is fairly difficult to get into Cairo unless one just walks out catching the tram + chances to being caught.
Hithersay who was wounded first day is here as he runs the place under the Adjutant an excellent job. I have also met Jack Bonney, Harry Payne + several other boys I know here.
Wednesday afternoon went with Capt. Paull + paid visit to some acquaintances of his in Helonian + at 9pm we went with them to the Observatory here, being invited by a Mr Price, a mechanic there, + had a look at the stars. They have 4th strongest telescope in the World here with 32 inch lens, but we were unable to see it.
Taking the day on the whole I did not enjoy myself so very much as I was not very Interested in the people + the walking is still pretty solid on my weak joint.
B E Bardwell
This is the last entry in the Bardwell Diary.
Captain Bardwell went on to serve with the 51st Battalion on the Western Front. He returned to Australia and settled for a time in Broome where he became a pearler and merchant before being appointed as harbour master. He married in 1921 and had 2 children. He died in 1961 at the age of 71 years.
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The Bardwell Diary transcribed by WAGS member Janet Hutchinson.