Leslie S Allen
ROWING MEN AND THE WAR - SPORT ON A TROOPSHIP
An interesting letter has been received from Lieutenant Les S Allen, who was a member of the Balmain Rowing club at the time of his enlistment. It was written just before his arrival in Egypt. He states that he was skipper of a tug-of-war team representing the 17th Battalion reinforcements. The team was successful in defeating all their opponents. It was a heavy one, averaging 13st 4lb, and included H Pickering the profession sculler. The boxing tournament which was in progress was exciting and a great deal of interest. A stage was erected on the afterdeck, and during the progress of the various bouts the decks, rigging, roofs, etc., are simply crowded. One of the boxers called “Bluey” is the cause of much amusement. He has a dozen trainers, with Happy Eyre (the old Manly life-saver and representative foot baller) as trainer-in-chief “Bluey has no idea of fighting, but all his opponents pretend to be knocked out in order to let him win. He relates a rather amusing incident. One day the doctor of the ship was examining a number of the men. The ship was rolling a good deal, and suddenly one of the men lost his balance. To prevent himself from falling he pushed his arms out in front with the result they they fell round the doctor’s neck, and everybody smiled when some wit call out “Oh kiss me doctor!” he wishes to be remembered.
Referee - 19 January 1916