Quite a Good Scrap

Woke up at 3.30am by one of the Sergts to go on guard, as during the night we had steamed into Port Said.

They were now coaling ship, our duty was on the troop deck to prevent the troops from buying any spirits, etc. through the portholes, all men were kept below.

These precautions being taken as so many troops were previously ill through stuff they bought here, and we were to stop any possibility of this occurring again.

Our order was to confiscate any intoxicants that troops might get possession of, nearly all were asleep when I went on guard so no excitement at all.

The ship was being coaled by natives from lighters drawn up on each side of the ship.  Boards were adjusted from the lighters up to the scoops in the side of the vessel up which the natives ran with the basket of coals on their shoulders and emptying it into the scoops, jabbering and squealing in their peculiar way all the time.

No goods were allowed to be bought over the side of the vessel at this place only those who have a licence are allowed to come on board and sell.

Many natives in produce boats tried to get a line aboard to do some transactions with us, but as soon as the police caught them they swamped their wares with water, this nearly leading to a free fight on one or two occasions.

One native who was a bit quarrelsome received a smack in the face that sent him sprawling into the water, his mate in the boat started being saucy to the police, only a boy of about 12, received a box in the ears for his cheek.

All this caused a great deal of sport for the troops, many fruitsellers while the police were engaged in a miniature naval battle one side of the boat, would row quietly up on the opposite side and try to sell their fruit, but oh what a lark when the police boat gave chase and caught them, they up with about 1/2 dozen pails of water and simply swamp their fruit.

One fault about these native police they do argue the point so with these unlicensed traders and then get so excited which leads up to quite a good scrap.

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