The New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Egypt made use of the British Army prisons for soldiers undergoing detention: short sentences were served in the detention barracks at Helmieh and longer ones in the military prison at Abbassia. Once a week a New Zealand chaplain visited these men. A staff car would deposit him outside the grim gates of the prison and, after signing a book inside, he would be conducted to some small room filled by a dozen or twenty hot and weary New Zealanders. There would usually be a short service, followed by the distribution of such comforts— boot polish, shaving materials, and toothbrushes—as the regulations allowed. Finally there would be a short period for personal interviews.page 81
Often in these interviews men would complain to the chaplain about the length of their sentences, and on his return to Maadi Camp he would go to the correct office at Headquarters and ventilate these grievances. Often they were imaginary, for some prisoners tend to believe that they are completely innocent or grossly misjudged. But sometimes there was something to be put right, and perhaps such an occasion might lead to the chaplain's first meeting with the Legal Staff Officer. Crime and domestic problems brought chaplains into frequent contact with this officer, and they owed much to the wise and kindly advice of the legal branch of the force.