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Tale of a Donk
Tale of a Donk 
 

Western Mail, Thursday 12 October 1933, page 2

Tale of a Donk,

Dear "Non-Com.,"-Many humorous incidents cross a digger's mind after hearing and reading yarns of happenings at numerous places which were familiar to us as members of the A.I.F. This comedy took place in Egypt, on the opposite side of the Suez Canal to Ismailia, where we were waiting, in readiness for further developments, We had with us a good-hearted farrier, nicknamed Buck, who was always on the alert to do a good turn - not for himself - but for the troops, individually and collectively.

On one occasion he and several others were on Q.M.'e fatigue, which necessitated their going down to the Canal to the Army Service store. After having obtained their rations, Buck left his mates to take them home while he visited some of his friends in a nearby unit for the purpose of a loan. Hurrying away to catch up with the party he came in view of a tall Gyppo astride a small donkey. The Gyppo's feet were dragging in the sand and raising a dust, much to the discomfort of the donkey, which was frothily at the mouth and dripping with sweat. Buck, without any apologies or explanation, pushed the Gyppo into the sand and left him somewhat peevish. The donkey with its load lightened was taken by Buck for a run through horse lines in the vicinity. On looking around Buck noticed the Gyppo in hot pursuit, but, continuing, a zig-zag course, he evaded capture.

Buck eventually arrived at our horse lines with the donkey, and after examining the animal it was found to be alive in more ways than one. With a bucket, Buck went to the Q.M.'s store and obtained some phenyle. Then he calmly set to work to give the donkey a spring clean with the crude phenyle. Having satisfied himself that the job was well done, he tethered it to the end of the horse lines to dry.

Next morning; on going out to feed the animal, the coat, colour, and shape had changed. .considerably. The effect, the phenyle had removed all the hair and raise numerous blisters, making the donkey look the most hideous creature living. Next thing Buck did was to go to the vet and get a mixture that would relieve the animal's suffering. Having applied the intended remedy he had, to await results. Several weeks elapsed before the new coat was restored, and the donkey became snow white. Buck tended his mascot very closely on account of the presence of the original owner, who, however, never claimed his property.

Our Unit received marching orders shortly after this incident; and, of course, the mascot went with us. We crossed the Canal and entrained for Alexandria, there to ship our horses and stores for France. We managed to get the donk aboard without being observed, this being done with the aid of a tarpaulin. The ship had a rough trip in the Mediterranean, and nearly, all on board were sick, the horses suffering badly. The donkey did not stand up during the whole journey. After losing several horses we eventually arrived at Marseilles. We started to unload, and then the trouble began. The donk was seen by the disembarkation staff and was not allotted to proceed any further with the unit. Buck had the job of his disposal, and he gave it to a mademoiselle as an Aussie souvenir.

"No. 1, A.F.A.," Mt. Lawley.