|1st Battalion Lines Mena Camp 1914|
9th December: Entrain for Cairo. Miles of flat country under cultivation & irrigation. Saw many typical biblical scenes. It is said Egypt has not changed since the time of Christ & I quite believe it. See fields of maize, cotton & vegetables, fruit, etc. Arrive Cairo 1pm. All treated to hot cocoa & a hot roll each. Take tram for Pyramids where we encamp.
Perhaps we should briefly look at how these young Australians came to be in the shadows of the Pyramids almost 100 years ago.
The "History of The First Battalion", published in 1931, opens with these words,
"August 4, 1914. Cable and wireless hurried Britain's declaration of war against Germany to the world. At Victoria Barracks, Sydney, as in all parts of the empire, were enacted the opening scenes of the great drama that was to have the world as its stage and millions of men and women as its actors."
The military was charged with forming the 1st Australian Division. The main components of this Division were to be four infantry brigades, each brigade would have four infantry battalions and each battalion would have eight (later changed to four) infantry companies. In turn each company would be comprised of a number of platoons, usually four. In addition to the infantry component, the 1st Division would also have artillery, engineers, field ambulance, signals, transport and other support elements.