Monday, 2 April 2007

Chapter 4: Broadmeadows

From Men of Beersheba, 1993 pp 3-4:

One soldier, Tom Cranwell wrote about Broadmeadows:

" Let me try to give you some idea of our camp life. Everyone is up at 6 in the morning, and our straw beds are at once folded up. It's a fine sight to see 3000 men lined up at the 6.30 parade to answer their names. From then to breakfast we pass our time at drill and physical exercises. One of our Sgt major instructors can speak seven languages and has seen much service in India and among the Afghans. You should see the rush there is for breakfast, for we acquire a very keen appetite. Our typical breakfast menu - coffee without milk, and very little sugar. Boiled beef and a huge slice of dry bread, no butter - that's a luxury. I haven't tasted milk for a fortnight. These are what are known as active service rations.

Our comfort is that all the British at the front are braving it on the same fare. After breakfast we fall in again when the Squadron Leaders receive their instructions from headquarters. This may be drill, swimming or riding tests, and last until 12. After diner we parade and drill until 5.30, when we have tea. Although there may be a few doubtful characters here, the remainder are a jolly good and fine lot of fellows, and also good comrades. We are free after tea, but we cannot leave the lines. The YMCA also have got some huge concert tents erected for the men, and they also have a good reading and writing room. It does one good to see the crowds of fellows waiting around every night to take their turn at the writing table. The Church of England also has a huge tent for the same purpose and the Salvation Army is also doing very good work."

AWM photo showing Mess Parade at Broadmeadows. (P01700.011) The caption reads in part: "Broadmeadows, Vic, 1914.Mess parade for recruits...The recruits are gathering for dinner at the camp kitchen. The meal has been cooked in large dixies balanced on two poles stretched over a long pit, in which a fire has been lit."

From Patsy Adam-Smith The Anzacs, Thomas Nelson Australia, 1978 p. 33

"They arrived at Broadmeadows to mud and more mud. So tenacious was this mud claimed to be that the New South Welshmen swore that in Egypt and Gallipoli there were still 'Broadmeadows' mud marks on our clothes'.

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