Cecil Healy took his decision in September the 15th, 1915. He went to the "Victoria Barracks", an Australian military base in Sydney, and engaged himself in the army to participate in the war effort. He is integrated in the 'Head - Quarters Infantry Base Depot, Australian Service Corps' ranked as a warrant officer class 2. Soon on November 27th, 1915, he embarked on HMAT A23 Suffolk and left his native homeland of Sydney Harbour. At this beginning of year 1916, Cecil Healy is therefore part of the 107 members of the Manly club engaged in the Australian army. He reached Egypt on February 1916.During transport towards Africa, Cecil Healy enjoys a great popularity with the other soldiers. He participated notably in boxing matches. But at the most great regret of his friends, he only plays the role of 'third man', a referee. They dream to compete with the great champion. Healy is, indeed, a lover of boxing and he is also known for his articles in the press. He was chosen too, by the crew to play the role of Neptune in the line crossing ceremony. During this ceremony, still practiced nowadays, Neptune and his court perform the baptism of passengers never having passed the equator line . Neptune, God of the waters,obviously plays really a central role. This ceremony is above all,an opportunity for the crew to relax and spend a pleasant moment. A companion in arms of Cecil Healy will tell that during the trip, the whole crew was frightened when it believed to have seen a torpedo melting in the direction of the ship. However "this fear was all imagined" because the torpedo was not other than a great fish. Arriving in Egypt, Cecil Healy is led to Gezireh, a british training camp located in the desert. It is here the soldiers are subjected to a first military training. The British people formed there the new recruits then selected before deploying them on the ground. Therefore, Cecil Healy was assigned to the British Expeditionary Force (the British army in France). He went then on March 21st 1916 on board of HT Oriana in order to reach Marseille on March 27th, 1916 . From there, he took the train to le Havre. He joined the 2nd ADBD (Australian Base Depot Division), re grouping spot of Australian forces on French soil .
By Bertrand FARENEAU,