I hope that you will be able to find space in your valuable paper for an account of our move from Rawal Pindi to Jubbulpore by the new travelling accommodation. After being in the —
Division for some considerable time, and undergoing very sever training, that has kept us very fit for active service, we were transferred to the – Division, which we had the honour of being in on arrival in this country.
In the first place, the battalion was divided into two parts, A.B. and C.D.. Off course, the first party was dispatched off first from Rawal Pindi station.
After a little delay, we entrained, and were very much surprised at the great alteration of the interior of the carriages to what the troops had when they first arrived in this country, and had to travel something like 10 to 14 hundred miles up country with the broiling sun and hot winds to contend with.
Well, the comfort the troops had in the carriages! They were constructed to hold 44 men, with 11 partitions, each holding four men, so it was impossible for any over-crowding. Then in the centre was a detachable table, which made it quite comfortable for dining; also, at each end of the corridor were two pull-down wash-hand basins and lavatory. You might wonder how we obtain our meals. Well, it happened that the train had a carriage attached fitted up as a kitchen, with everything being cooked by forced gas; so it enabled us to have our rations cooked while travelling – not the old style, telegraphing from one station to another, having meals prepared by natives by the time the men arrived, when at time it was impossible to eat them – and regular during the day.
Then, at certain stations where we had to stop for the engines to get supplied with water, the men were served out with soda-water. I believe the allowance was four bottles per day, a huge piece of ice included. After about 36 hours’ run we were beginning to feel the heat of the plains again, wo were provided with hand fans. I can assure you that they came in very useful when we had to stop to allow a mail train to pass. Up to the time of writing this message only two men complained of feeling unwell, just a sort of headache, which can be put down to indulging in a little too much smoking and the excitement of travelling in such a grand style.
We just stopped at rather a large junction called Bine, and have had the privilege of getting out of the train for a stretch. Half-an-hour elapsed, when we learnt that the other part of the battalion were due at any moment, so they must have been travelling fast to catch us up like that. We haven’t seen them since we left Rawal Pindi.
While taking a few photographs of the train, I hear a cheer go up, which was the signal that the boys had arrived.
Just then the bugle sounded the fall in, but somehow a little time was wasted in changing the engines to continue the journey, which enabled us to have a chat with the new arrivals.
It appeared, according to their conversation, that they had as good a time as we did, but the only drawback was they had not had their meals so regularly as we did, the reason being the train not having a travelling kitchen attached. They tried this for an experiment, which I think will be a great success and a boon to all those travelling from one place to another.
I gathered at Jubbulpore that the boys thoroughly appreciated the new addition to late Lord Kitchener’s troop train.