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HMAS HOBART 

"TABOO" DIARY OF SYD CLARK, RAN; RADIO & LATER RADAR OPERATOR  

Residing at Cleveland, Q 4163 during Aug 2000

 Compiled, Edited & Corrected by Dr.Pat.ffyske Howden (tel/fax 07-34095100), Son of then Hobart Skipper Capt.Harry L. Howden

 

LEGEND: EPO = GPO. H = Helen Cole. Leigh = Helen's brother. Mrs.C = Helen's mum. Rita Clark = Syd's sister.

Betty Brooker or BB = 2nd Cousin.

Jack Clark = Syd's youngest brother. YL = young lady.

HA = high angle, LA = low angle = 40deg.

EI = East Indies frequency.

NEI = Netherlands East Indies. 

SDO = Signals Distribution Office on HMAS Hobart

BII = ?

BSSI = British Soldiers and Sailors Institute.

TO Trained Operator. Tel = Telegraphist.

WT3 = Wireless Telegraphist. ED = Excused Duty.

DF = direction finding.

KPH/KTS = west coast USA news station in Morse.

GBR Rugby UK radio station.

RI = Radio Inspector to obtain radio operator's licence.

SSO = Senior Signals Officer.

'Y' = reading enemy's radio Morse signals which may need subsequent decoding. 

GI = Garden Island docks.

A/C or a/c = aircraft or aircraft carrier.

G.O.H. = Grand Oriental Hotel fronting harbour, Colombo.

R.N.H. = Royal Naval House. H.F., L.F. = high, low frequency.

R.P.O. = Regulating Petty Officer = ship's cop.

 

Sun 3 Sept 1939: During the past few days we have been experiencing a period of strained relations with Germany. On Friday evening Hitler and his minions invaded Poland; a few hours later Britain and France sent an ultimatum to Germany saying "If German troops are not withdrawn from Poland, Ambassadors concerned are to ask for their passports and WE WILL fulfil our obligations". A satisfactory reply was not expected and fulfilment of obligations means war. "We are ready" says Chamberlain. Ships of the R.A.N. are ready also. This morning I returned to the ship by 8:25 ferry after a telephone conversation with H. We were very surprised to see the ship being made ready for sea: gangways were being taken in and telephone cables had been disconnected. At 9:30 we slipped and a few minutes later were at sea wearing only the white ensign as wearing of the jack is discontinued during war. Paravanes were streamed on leaving the heads and a few minutes later we had turned southward. Radio staff went into four straight watches immediately Sydney was left behind. There are various rumours as to where we are bound, but as yet nothing definite. The most pressing question at present is "when will the British and French declare war?". The reply to the above question came at 8:50 p.m., but I was unaware that war had been declared until called for the morning watch at 4 am.

Mon 4: The morning was fairly quiet and I attempted to write a letter to H but found it impossible until during the forenoon. As yet we do not know when we can send or receive mail. This afternoon the news of the torpedoing of the Athenia was received. She was torpedoed without warning 200m west of the British Hebrides islands with 1400 passengers aboard. So far no news of any casualties. When it was announced that the Postman was ready for the sale of stamps there was a great rush and his supply was exhausted in a few minutes. Three hundred Germans living in Australia were arrested today and are to be interned in a camp near Sydney.

This afernoon identification discs were issued to us.

Tue 5: Today is cloudy and the sea looks dark and forbidding. We have been working farther and farther south during the last few hours until now we are just off Logan Island in Bass Strait (lpm). This we circled apparently looking for enemy merchantmen. Maybe we are looking for the Enderglen which was reported in these parts short of coal. Our main recreation now is reading and many of the boys are ardent Mah Jong-ists. Cards are not at all popular at present although they usually are on a cruise.

Hoping for a letter from H but there is not much hope as she does not know where to address any mail. Although I am now flat broke I would welcome a run ashore at Williamstown, Victoria.

Wed 6: Fairly good weather, passed Wilson's Promontory light at 7am. Westbound and quite close to shore. Had to see the Doc again today as measles contact; whole mess involved.

Still no sign of enemy ships, but Voyager was sighted during the forenoon. Four-inch gun's crews are constantly standing by and watches are being kept in the crows nest. Some of the watchers say they will have the old hen crows eggs hatched for her before we enter port if the entering is not done pretty soon. It is funny how thoughts of some people keep popping up. H is ever in my mind, must phone her if I get the opportunity in VIM (Melbourne). We arrived at Williamstown (Nelson Pier) at 5:15 and leave was granted from 6:45. At the station the crush proved too heavy for one man and as tickets to Melbourne had run out many had to take the train without them. Arrived at Aunt Ivy's at about 7:30 and whilst she was cooking me some tea I booked a phone call to H in Sydney. Sat talking to Uncle George and Dot Haynes in the sitting room until 9:05 when I left to take my call across the road; the call did not come through and as the shopkeeper wanted to shut up her shop I went into the E.P.0. for it . Immediately I had spoken to H I returned aboard by the next available train.

Thu 7: From Williamstown to Princes Pier Port Melbourne at 9:30. Squared up with Vic Truman, R.N.H. and sent 10/- to Richmond for transport of my gear. Received cheque for 2:10. from Wireless Weekly. Leave was only granted from 4:30 until 11pm. Not much anyone but natives going ashore and they are tied by the early return and cannot stay the night with their people. Sail at 2pm tomorrow.

Fri 8: Morning watch and it was quiet so we listened to a Radio program of old wartime songs like "Lord send you back to me", "Pack up your troubles" and others played by 3AK, our all-nighter. At 8:30 this morning ships at Port were, City of Manchester (4" guns) Port Townsville (4"), Strathnaver (4" and smaller), Mariposa (US), Vampire and Hobart. Yesterday when we moved from Nelson Pier there were no ships here at all. The weather this morning was beautiful. Sunny and with hardly a ripple on the water, no cloud and no wind. A light wind sprang up during the forenoon and at mid-day was quite strong. I went up on deck and lay basking in the sun, sheltered from the wind by the breakwater and A turret. Immediately after divisions, all hands not actually on watch were piped to P. on the pier and Oh boy was it a picnic. As a climax they gave us a run around on the wharf and then we all fell in and came aboard again. 1pm saw the paymaster and I banked some money including 2 of the cheque from Radio & Hobbies mag. Also made arrangements to have 2 banked automatically each payday.

Sat 9: Drew 10/- from bank and went ashore, visited Betty B. Mrs.Leeden, Gwen and Reg at football match. Ken still at Lord Howe Island but has been recalled. Next went to Uncle Bert's and found no one home. Immediately afterwards went out to Ascot Vale to see the Heather family. Returned to the city and tried to get into a theatre to see a show but was too late, so went to the Albany Coffee lounge and spent an hour there after which I saw a newsreel show at the Tatler. Very amusing Donald Duck short "The better side of his nature". The CQ (amateur radio contact) hi kid made by the devil in the piece was particularly amusing. From there I returned to the ship whilst Bill and Eileen went away to round off the evening.

Sun 10: Bitingly cold weather, during the forenoon we had church on the pier. It was so cold that the response was even chillier than usual. Sydney papers were available during the forenoon and shortly afterwards mail arrived; there was a letter posted a few days ago (8th) in Hobart. Still no sign of a letter from H. I posted another one to her yesterday at Brunswick, very illegal but hang the censors.

Mon 11: Another very cold day. Sailed bright and early, 6:23am. I awoke at 6:45 to find the ship on her way down the bay. A couple of hours later we passed thru the Rip and immediately breasted a heavy swell. Turned eastward and with the sea abeam things became worse. Was a bit sick but didn't lose any food; some of the rockies (rough waves) were pretty bad. At lunchtime the ship was performing horribly and we lost our jug of custard, then after cleaning it up a particularly bad one caught us and upset the table. Very little damage was done but, there was quite a mess to clean up. When the northern turn had been made the motion lessened considerably and things became much more comfortable. During the rough stuff, however, one fellow going aft slipped on the wet deck and went sliding quickly towards the rail. We all expected him to fall over but he did not; instead he retained his balance and sat on his heels with one hand out in front of him to grasp the rail when he arrived there. The rest of our northward patrol uneventful.

Tue 12: We met the Canberra at 11:15 and carried out manoeuvres with her. Gunnery practices, day and night firing then we left her about 8pm and turned south once more. The meeting was memorable in so far as all our salvos were straddles. The southward trip was uneventful with a calm sea, a cold wind and overcast sky.

Wed 15: Arrived off Queenscliff at about 9pm. We expect to enter soon. First watch. Will begin letter to H if possible. Anchored off Queenscliff at 11pm.

Thu 14: Embarked practice ammunition and then put to sea again for H.A. firings off the heads. After which we went to Williamstown for oil. Leave from 5:15pm but not for me as I am duty. Letters received from H and R. Stock. Replied to Rene tonight and added a P.S. to the one I wrote H last evening.

Fri 15: Posted letters via E.P.0. to H, R.S. and Fred P. Shopped; bought macrame, stockings and other small items. Had snap taken for mailing to Kay. Visited Gordon Duck, Then to Nth Melbourne Seamens mission where we spent a few happy moments at a dance there. Received mail from H, Aunt Ivy, Sis and receipt from Vic T.

Sat 16: Ashore at 1pm. Letters to H and Aunt Ivy posted. Also cards to Kay Juranic. Visited Mother, then Betty B where cards were played until late. I stayed there the night. Foster Hillman and his YL Ada were there, also Dick Miller the drunk who blew in about 7pm was rather amusing - said he had had 30/- worth of liquor when he visited Betty's.

Sun 17: Back aboard at 8:45 but leave did not expire until 9:50. Divisions and then church on the pier. After reading Sydney Sunday Sun wrote letters to Rita & H, giving them together with a Birthday present for Bet to one of the boys to post.

Mon 18: Torpedoing of HMS Courageous reported; she evidently had a reduced complement aboard and most of the crew are said to have been rescued by Destroyers. Courageous was an Aircraft Carrier converted from a cruiser built originally in 1916. Converted 1929. Normally carried complement of 1100 with 48 aircraft. Armament 16x4.7" H.A./L.A. guns and a number of smaller. It is also reported that Destroyers sank the Sub that did the damage. Left Melbourne at 9am. and proceeded down the bay for subcalibre firings. Our aircraft was reported to have engine trouble about 2:30pm. Landed safely near ship and was then embarked. Left Mornington for Burnie at 6:30pm. Rough.

Tue 19: Anchored off Burnie at 9:30am and left again at 4:30pm on a northeasterly course. Very rough and cold, quite a few chaps seasick.

Wed 20: Morning watch. Made will out naming Rita and Jack as beneficiaries; Uncle Bert as Executor.

Thu 21: Carried out full calibre shoot off Sydney Heads with Canberra. Arrived Sydney about 1pm; duty. Letter from H.

Fri 22: Sydney: ashore at 4pm. Bought transmitter crystal 7.187Mc. Met H at 5:45 Circular Quay; dinner at Plaza and then to Plaza Theatre to see Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas in "Good Girls go to Paris" Supported by "Torchy plays with dynamite" - good.

Sat 23: Ashore at 12:30pm. Changed and across to 43. We all slept during afternoon for couple of hours. H and I then went to dance at Cremorne Regent. Intended to go to Trocadero but decided it too dangerous in civilian clothes. Glad afterwards that I chose the Regent. Mac says the Troc was so crowded that one could hardly move. Back to shakedown at R.N.H. by 12:40 tram Very enjoyable evening. Gear now safe and sound at 43. Thank God for such friends.

Sun 24: Back aboard 8:25 ferry. Divisions and Church as usual. FD 1st & morning watch. Writing Betty B. General Von Fritsch reported killed in fight for Warsaw.

Mon 25: Leave from 4pm. Dance at Rawson Institute. Phyllis says her Mother and Father are on thair way back and expect to arrive in Sydney next Wednesday. Had good time after which H and I made tracks for Cremorne. Mrs.C and Leigh just returned from pictures and greet us on our arrival. 12:40 tram as usual.

Tue 26: To sea at 9:30. A very unpleasant surprise. H and I were to have gone to a show tonight but now impossible. Thank God that she will understand when I don't turn up. Piped that we are bound for Cape Byron. Expect to return to Sydney 10:30 Thursday 28th. Now operating H.F., better than L.F. taking it all round.

Wed 27: At sea, calm, zigzagging, gunnery drills.

Thu 28: Sea until 9:30 when we arrived at Sydney. Raining, bad visibility, exercises cancelled. Leave from 1pm. H & I to see "East Side of Heaven" at Victory theatre as support movie. George Formby in "Keep your seats please". Note to Jim Price. From Betty, letters Florrie, A.W.Valve Co.

Fri 29: Post from H & Rita. Leave 4:30. H at Bridge party, yours truly with her for tea. Spent an enjoyable hour and half at VK2ZB radio station. Bought Lissen Hi-Q dial. Note re meters.

Sat 30: Usual routine, to sea at 12:30. Most glad that I saw H last night, we miss each other very much but that cannot be helped and we both realise it. Reported we return Sydney Monday; hope it's true.

 

Sun Oct 1 1939: Sea off Queensland coast. Wrote Florrie. Calm, sunny and uneventful.

Mon 2: Arrived Sydney. Leave from 11:30. Public holiday. As luck would have it H had accepted an invitation to go out with some friends and so my luck was definitely out. Saw her for a few minutes during the afternoon before she met her friends. Spent the evening at Rawson Institute dance, won statue dance with Joan P. Wrote Crown Radio to buy parts to make radios at Flinders Naval Depot (where Capt. Howden was later in charge.).

Tue 3: Duty, middle watch. Letters to Rita and Elsie Benson.

Wed 4: Ashore 12:45pm at Leigh's during afternoon, his Mother there. Met H Circular Quay at 5:45. Dinner at Wynyard Grill room and then to see Sonja Henie in "Second Fiddle". "Charlie Chan at Treasure Island" as support with actor Sydney Toler.

Thu 5: To sea for exercises and south coast patrol.

Fri 6: Sea patrolling. Letters to Rita and Betty.

Sat 7: Arrived Sydney at 07:10. Uneventful.

Sun to Fri: Alongside G.I. doing short refit. No report of doings ashore.

Sat 14: Left Sydney northward bound for Singapore sailing Oct 15, 16, 17. Arrived Darwin. 09:45, Oct 18 off Cape Flattery, Lizard Island. 19 Oct rounded Cape York at 10:00 today and turned westward. Almost lost paravane in Strait. 20 Oct sea uneventful.

21 Oct: Reached Darwin today and spent a few hours there. Officers the only people who got ashore - Big Bill came back aboard drunk. No inward mail but I managed to get some away to H, BB, & Richmond. Sailed at 4pm for Singapore. After dark I lay on the forecastle for a while just watching the stars and thinking of H and Sydney; some of the glorious nights we spent together before we left for the north. Had to wear Helmets to Divisions for the first time and they had the mike rigged to the type 404-type valve power amplifier gear.

Mon 23: At sea, exercised night action and took second inoculation.

Tue 24: Passed Bali 5:45am. Spent a short time up on deck watching the dolphins and flying fish. British station GYL now good strength on 88.2; nothing else.

Wed 25: At sea calm sunny, nil.

Thu 26: Rained during the middle and morning watches. There was a false alarm at action stations this morning caused by the appearance of a Dutch merchantman.

Crossed the equator at 4:15am this morning. Arrived Singapore at 5pm and secured alongside oiler Apple Leaf. Airmail to Australia 1/9A via Imperial and 2/3 via K.L.M. Ordinary mail to be marked "On Active Service" and sent in special bags.

"The Last Hero" by Leslie Charteris. Another Saint book and very good too. The lights of Johore can be seen just across the strait which at this point is only about 4 hundred yards wide. A viaduct spans it and some of us were hoping to be able to go over and have a look around Malaya but we were prevented by the quarantine. Mumps is the cause. In any case leave would only have been to the canteen.

Fri 27: Off dockyard at anchor, provisioning. etc. Otherwise uneventful. Repairing damage done to aerials last night by Lt.Cdr.Johns and his efficient handling of the crane.

Sat 28: In stores. Left Singapore at 2pm for patrol in vicinity of Sumatra. Expect to return on Nov 5th, Birmingham to keep us company.

Sun 29: Says the press: Admiral Scheer is loose in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Uneventful, exercises.

Mon 30: Calm & uneventful.

Tue 31: Informed that pay will be in local currency with sterling value. This brings mine up to a value of 5.16.6A. At 7:45 Walrus amphibian (Pusser's Duck"), insignia A2-23 crashed near the ship on landing. Although on watch at the time I was up on deck soon afterwards to witness the salvage efforts. Extensive damage was done to the forepart of the hull and she was brought alongside upside down. After an unsuccessful attempt to hoist inboard, during which a hawser parted, the job was carried out successfully by attaching wires to catapult points and lifting very slowly on the crane. The plane was inboard by 9pm and as soon as the cutter was hoisted and the 'plane made fast we were again under way.

 

Wed Nov I 1939: Partial dismantling was done last night and the rest today. Last night although I never mentioned it all the crew were rescued safely. And so Dave's prophecy came true. Finished reading "The Sailor's Holiday" a book by Eric Linklater. It was not a very good story at all. Another by Arnold Bennet, Helen with the high hand was very good indeed.

Thu 2: Paid today in Straits Settlement currency, $18.

Fri 3: Bound for Singapore again, uneventful.

Sat 4: Passed boom gate at 6:15 oiled and down to wharf alongside at 11am. Wrote H and the Public Trustee. In mail, nothing from H but a letter from VK2AGU (amateur "ham" radio station) written before we left Sydney turned up. Leave to Temporary canteen ashore from 16:30 and we were warned not to contact anyone ashore or everything would be spoiled, as mumps should be isolated.

No one to go to Singapore. Beer then served at No 1 sports ground about two miles away. "Tiger" was the brand but it was very poor stuff. Some people thought they could get through a lot and bought dozens of bottles. Many were wasted. Bought two tickets in the Sweep; hope I have some luck.

Sun 5: Leave to canteen (not allowed off ship because of rubella) as for yesterday. Many of the fellows went to Singapore or Johore despite the ban on such escapades. Duty. No 1 girls were much in demand: it beats me how a white man can lower his dignity enough to have intercourse with a Chinese. Maybe there is something in the old adage "Sailors don't care". I still prefer Blondes - H is one.

Tue 7: Last night the 'Ship's Company Sweep' on the Melbourne Cup was drawn. What a swindle! Owing to the manner in which the sweep was drawn, the draw favoured those first on the list. Officers and Petty Officers being first, naturally they had the best chances. Officers 9 horses, C & POs 8 horses out of 28 runners. The other 11 were whatcked (shared) up amongst the rest of the ship's Coy. I drew Frill Prince in the small sweep. Cup results were made public a little after 16:00 and I had no luck. Danny Ward of Maffra (Victorian town) won the ships Coy Sweep.

Wed 8 Nov: Departed Singapore 14:30 in company of HMS Eagle. A few minutes after clearing harbour she began landing Fairey Swordfish aircraft which had been practicing formation flying around the two ships since about 16:00. A number of us were up on the fo'csle watching the procedures. All the aircraft made good three pointers and it was an experience to see then landing. After four planes had landed we were a bit close in to an island so we went about at 18:00 and returned down wind for a few minutes. Then resumed our previous course & the others landed. An airmail arrived for us today but no letters from Helen. I felt disappointed that I did not get a letter. It is rumoured in the ship that a merchantman we nearly ran down last week was a German. Some say she was flying a German ensign when first sighted and that she hoisted three Dutch ensigns and made for Dutch territorial waters when she saw us. When she saw she could not get close enough she made a smart turn and crossed our bows. They say that when 'Torps' told the skipper she was a Nazi he laughed and said not to be ridiculous. Tonight they announced that we are bound for Colombo and ETA Sunday 11th. Hope we actually go to Colombo and not to Trincomalee as I should like to find Norma X Fred's YL. Should be quite possible to find her if we get any leave, but we will probably be quarantined again as we still have mumps aboard.

Thur 9: Today a piece appeared in the news regarding the acute food shortage in Nazi Germany. I hope it is true and that the war will soon end so allowing us to return home. At midday we were almost up to the northern end of Sumatra. During the forenoon exercises were carried out with aircraft from Eagle and action stations sounded. The day was fine except for a sharp shower about 13:30. Clocks were put back 50 minutes at 19:00. I did quite a lot of Helen's bag today and hope to have it finished soon (Macrame) I should be able to send it to her from Colombo.

Fri 10: We entered the East Indies Station at 02:30 and a few minutes later took over on EI frequencies. Bombay Fort, Colombo and Aden to listen out for and quite a job on HF as they do not keep special routines but, come up any time. They are not very particular about call signs either and the surest way to tell who is called or calling is to listen for the numbers.

The system in use was called the 'Intercept Method' The shore stations would send signals from one to the other and back again depending upon the shore station's assessment of the most likely 'pair' to provide the ship for whom the message was intended the best path.

The signal received and most of them did not concern us, have all to be partially decoded and the pile in the SDO has been growing steadily since we entered the station, even though the signalmen have been working overtime on them.

NB. After a few days decoding all the coders became very adept at ascertaining the addressees and only completing those intended for us.

Sat 11: Still at sea; no Captain's rounds. 2 messmates received a kit muster and one with two hours extra work for skulking. Gloucester in company with Eagle & Hobart. We should sight Ceylon about 16:00. Speed 20k approx. Notice advising Airmail to be posted early & sender's name & parcel weight to be marked thereon so postman can charge. Currency Rupee (Ceylon) = 100 cents. Value 1/6s (l8dS, par exchange rate). This afternoon the Skipper Capt.Howden said a few words to us and said we should be on the EI station for an indefinite period. Told the geographical limits of the station & the steps he had taken to ensure a regular mail service. Lying on the upper deck & watching the stars, my thoughts go back to Sydney & Helen. "In the Still of the Night" is not very appropriate here thousands of miles from home as we are. Still it would be worse to be in the North sea instead of fairly secure on the EI station. By the latest PX ("supermart") news it looks as if Holland, Belgium and probably Switzerland will be involved in the conflict before long. If Holland, that means the NEI will probably give Japan an opening for a "Coup de Grace". Then it will be exceedingly hard for Russia & the USA to remain out much longer. Unless it ends very soon I firmly believe the whole world will be involved before long.

Sun 12: Arrived Colombo 08:30 preceded by Gloucester & Eagle. Sloop also present name unknown. Noticed a few white people on the mole, apparently tourists. We did not expect that we would be granted leave, but we were and away we went at 14:30. There was a short wait at the gangway before we were able to board the Pinnace and shortly thereafter landed at the wharf. Colombo's harbour system was to moor ships fore and aft in lines down the length of the harbour. Service to and from the ship was then by ferry or ship's boat. The wharf was a floating pontoon similar to a Sydney ferry-wharf. Bandsman Jack Haynes and I went ashore together. He had visited Colombo before and spent five years in the BII. We changed some Australian currency to Rupees at the rate of 10R/l0d per A. Then we went sightseeing around the city & saw most of the sights including Hindu, Mohammedan & Buddhist temples from the outside. Down into the native quarter of the town we went for a look around. It was not until sometime later that we learned the place was called the Pettah.

It was not exactly "de rigour" for whites to go there & very few did We soon found out that giving begging children 10c pieces only attracted a larger crowd, so we used the "Polly Ann" trick and got rid of them.

We bought some postcards and Christmas cards and then went down to the Post Office & bought a few stamps. Then around to the British Soldiers & Sailors Institute and prepared some of our cards for posting. I sent one card each to Fred, Helen & Rita. After posting these we had a meal and a rickshaw ride and were then going to the pictures (cinema) but instead spent a very pleasant couple of hours in a Jewellers shop and bought a Pendant & Brooch of Moonstone for Helen and a pair of King Ebony bookends for myself. In this shop of De Silva's we were shown some wonderful jewellery, stuff that could not be bought in Australia for even twice the prices asked. He showed us lots of stones of different types: diamonds, emeralds, rubies, zircons etc. and showed us how to tell the real from counterfeit. At 22:30 we returned to the ship tired but very happy and feeling that the run ashore had done us the world of good. I made an attempt to find out Norma's whereabouts - without result. I really had no right to expect miracles for I did not even know the girl's surname, though wished I did. At 12.2.1940 I have not the foggiest notion who Norma was, but, later on we made friends with a number of Australians living and working in Colombo. There were quite a few tourists about & they also appeared to be enjoying themselves.

Mon 13: Still at Colombo. To sail Wednesday for Gunnery drills and patrol. The Captain has informed us we may not return here. The Captain has worked out a method of inoculation to try and rid us of the mumps. Gloucester left last night and Liverpool entered 1300 today Eagle & Leith left this morning & so did the French Submarine L'Espoir No52. 'Sous Marin' L'Espoir is on their cap tallies. Leave has been granted from 14:00 and I shall go ashore again to get some sandals and a pair of pyjamas. Airmail ex Sydney has not yet reached us and the skipper is making quite a row about it. Am looking forward to a letter from Helen. Went ashore at 14:00 and after a beer with Tom Liddell we wandered into the Pettah where we had a look for some sandals and pyjamas. These, of the variety we wanted, proved to be rather hard to obtain and we eventually came back to the shopping centre and bought them there. We then went around to the BSSI (British Soldiers & Sailors Institute.) and after a couple of lime drinks and reading the newspapers, we were told it was about two miles out to the swimming pool plus it would cost about 3R's each for a dip. This evaporated our enthusiasm. Instead we met Jack Allen and went to the restaurant for a meal. Lucia is the sub-depot ship. After which we intended to go to the 6 o'clock session at the Regal Theatre. Then Harry Harwood returned so Tom and he decided to go to the "Olympia", After the 'flics' we returned to the BSSI to listen to the news. On our way back to the ship we visited a couple of native shops and I bought a small Moonstone brooch for Rita. So far I have bought very little here, but hope to be in a position to get an Emerald (blue) for Helen's birthday and maybe an Emerald pin for Fred's 21st also if it can be worked. Moreover I would like a signet ring for myself. Quite a few of the boys were drunk by this time and some of them got into fights.

Tues 14: Today the usual harbour routine was carried out. I am on duty tonight and glad about it too. One soon sickens of the wandering around looking at 'niggers'. The first time is a novelty but the place loses its glitter after the first run. Today we were told that none of our mail will go to Australia by air, but will go by sea to Fremantle tomorrow or the next day. Yesterday was a festival of the Hindu New Year of 1206.

Wed 15: Rough & wet today, put to sea about 13:30 bound for Bombay. Good job we have a head sea or else... Some of the boys did exams for Tel, TO & WT3 yesterday. In Bombay I may get a chance to see the lady who Helen had stayed with when there. Calling on people uninvited is a little unconventional, so we'll see what happens.

Thur 16: Last night Leith reported seeing some starshell bursts and gave her position after which she said she was proceeding to investigate; nothing was found so we resumed course. Today is much calmer than yesterday and it is now possible to have portholes open. During the forenoon we went to General Quarters" and exercised Action Stations. A freighter was sighted about 10:30 & Action Stations were again sounded. A boarding party stood by, but the ship satisfied our Capt. that she was a Greek merchantman going about her legitimate business. Soon later, normal routine was resumed. Today pay was in Indian Rupees, I did not collect any. Tomorrow I shall draw some money out of the bank to send to Mum, Rita, Jack and Helen. Some of my shipmates have Aust notes so I will buy 7. The most interesting piece of press news today was about machine gun bullets being sprayed around Rose Bay, Double Bay and Waverley, Sydney.

Fr 17: Enroute Bombay. Sea calm, fine day and nothing eventful. Obtained the money I wanted and hope I can arrange to register an airmail letter from Bombay. Wrote H & H.C.Hatton.

Sat 18: Arrived Bombay 08:30. From the ship the city looks very inviting and we have hope of getting ashore & perhaps going to a dance. When leave is granted I shall try to look up the Mrs.W.A.Clarke as Helen stayed with her when here. Will also look at the Zoo which according to Helen was exceptionally good. (For readers, Helen Cole was a secretary at Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo and had recently returned home from a trip to Bombay.) There may be some difficulty about my leave because last night I was unlucky enough to miss the first of a series of broadcast messages. Ashore at 14:00 for a look around the city. Went out to Victoria Park and found the manager was away for that weekend. Later I came back to town and sent Helen a postcard by airmail and then out to Worli to try and find Mrs.Clarke. I finally located "Buena Vista" only to find that she had had the misfortune to lose her husband in June and had moved. Mr.McCallum of the "Reserve Bank" of India is supposed to be a chap who can put me in touch with her.

Sun 19: Today we were told that we were to go on four days recreational leave in groups of 120 (S.Coy 610 approx) & were to quartered in the barracks in the local RN dockyard & allowed to leave at any time after midday and remain out until 23:30. We went out at 17:30 and after meeting Dave Moodie went to Breach Candy baths for a swim. There we thoroughly enjoyed an hour in the water. Then we went over to the Ritz Cafe and had some milk drinks. Returning to the city it was decided to the Eros Restaurant. There we found we could buy anything they had to sell although they would not let us dance. This is certainly not in keeping with Australian customs so Jack Box and I intend to go and see what we can do about obtaining permission to dance where ever we please. There are plenty of theatres, but at present we would very much like the pleasure of the company of white women on a dance floor. Lord! I wish Helen were here. It would be glorious then instead of just so so.

Mon 20: Another glorious day. Breakfast at 7:30 then after reading for awhile we changed and went in our No6's to Breach Candy swimming baths. This is a most beautiful spot just like some of the pools one sees on the screen as patronised by the 'Stars of Hollywood'. We stayed there about two hours and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Then for good measure we spent about half an hour playing hand tennis on the court provided. There are two very nice tiled ones available. Returned to the barracks for lunch and then off on my own for a little shopping. Buying shorts, sandals, underpants and a copy of "Lady Chatterleys Lover". Then out to "Victoria Park", arriving about 14:30 to find the Superintendent was away and would not be back until 15:30.

I decided to return to the city & see if I could locate Mr.W.T.McCallum at the "Reserve Bank of India". I finally located the bank and after sending in a chit with my name and business he very kindly consented to see me. I spoke of Mrs.Clarke and he told me that she was away from Bombay and that unless I wished to go down there (it's out of bounds so cannot be done) I told him what I would like done and he kindly consented to do it. And so I forward my money to Helen & Rita. Mr.Mac said he thought the H.G.Cole was familiar and asked her Christian name. When I told him Helen, he said "My wife knows her well". Couldn't it be grand if we could change into Mufti. We could then really enjoy the company of some of the European Residents. Bombay is really a dream city & there are hundreds of modern buildings going up. Buildings of the style one sees in the overseas architectural books. Tonight an Airmail notice came out and so I shall write a letter to Helen.

Tue 21: Today I loafed around the dormitory after breakfast just waiting to see if Mr.Len Walker would call. He did not so about 2pm I left for Breach Candy and spent a very enjoyable two hours there. On my return I went to see Mr.Walker & after his wife came home we went down into the market to have a look around. There I bought a pocketknife and some razor blades. We then returned to the Outram Hotel where we had dinner. Afterwards we sat yarning and very soon it was 23:20 and I had to get back to barracks. (From memory Mr.Walker was an Inspector of Police).

Wed 22: Another 21st except that I had a much better time at Candy & on return cleaned myself up and went with Jack Box to dance at the "Prince of Wales institute for Seamen". We had a most enjoyable time there although I was a bit shaky on my legs for the first dance or two. The "girls" were outnumbered at least four to one & most of the dances were "Excuse me", but despite the apparent shortage of partners we had an absolutely rip roaring time (no liquor either). The dance ended at 23:30 and we stayed talking until midnight, followed by taxi back to the barrack gate and crept up to our beds only an hour late.

Th 23: Today the first recreational party returned aboard and a second party went into the barracks. Duty tonight, with nothing much happening. It is rumoured that we shall be here for Christmas. Hope we have a good dinner. May even have an invitation ashore if present run of luck holds.

Fr 24: Today Jack & I went ashore in the 19:15 boat to a dance at the "Seamen's Mission". Collected my model aircraft from the jewellers and paid him the required Rs 4/8. Had an excellent time at the dance. The only thing really wrong was that our leave expired at 22:30 & therefore only 1-1/4 hours there. Still it was fun whilst it lasted. Intended to remain aboard until Monday, but Miss Bessie Jones (who takes her charges swimming daily) asked me to meet her at Breach Candy by 17:00. Mail from Australia today.

Sat 25: Intended to go ashore by the 16:00 boat but Jack persuaded me to go to Breach Candy with him & remain all afternoon. I went ashore and then found he had missed the boat. Nevertheless I decided to go out immediately & picked up with Sam Lush & Eric Abbott & we three went out. After swimming around for a while I saw Dave, had a bit of a yarn & then began a game of Deck Quoits. This didn't go our way at all and Ron Ponting and I were beaten 6-0. Attempting to jump a low hedge I caught my foot in a depression and sprained my ankle albeit not badly.

Then decided that the best I could do was to get my book and read. Sitting on the sand in a deck chair I was asked by a young chap (who turned out to be a subaltern in the Indian Army) who all the others were and when I said mostly Australian Navy from HMAS Hobart he said "Oh! that's why they're all expert swimmers". I knew they were not locals by their color and we began talking about Australia & India. He then asked Eric to join him for tea. This we consented to do and then about 16:45 Bessie put in an appearance with her two charges. We cavorted for awhile on the rocky foreshore & then Bess had to leave at 18:10 so when 18:30 came I decided to decamp also. Whilst waiting for a bus a long low Morris sports sedan pulled up and I was offered a lift into town. This I accepted with thanks and was dropped at the Regal Theatre entrance. There I met Dave & Bill & finding I still carried a box of chocolates intended for Bess but which I had omitted to deliver, I decided to give them to the people in the car who had so kindly given us a lift. They thanked me and drove off a few moments later.

From the "Regal" corner we went to see "The Angels Wash their Faces" at the "Eros". A very good show indeed & really a beautiful theatre. Ann Sheridan, the American "oomph" girl had the leading feminine role & was excellent.

We also saw a trailer of Danielle Darneux in "Return a Lark" or "Return at Dawn", the next week's attraction.

I was surprised to see in this trailer a picture it seemed of Helen & the indescribable beauty of her look when she was in my arms awaiting my kisses. There was a great similarity - the facial expression & the general appearance of the scene. 15.2.1940 India did then as they do today, make more movies than Hollywood to serve their market of some 600 million people.

Sun 26: Saw the Doc this morning about treatment of my sprained ankle. Had it X-rayed and strapped. Divisions and afterwards church in the Starboard waist. I am E.D. so did not go. Mail was piped to close at 19:00 so I set to during the afternoon and finished Helen's bag (Macrame). It only needs lining now and that will need to be done in Sydney. Managed to get it cleared by censor before 17:00, though it looks as though we shall be going to sea so mail may not get away. I wanted to write her yet there was no time. In any case an airmailed letter should easily catch up on a seamail parcel. At 16:10 it was announced that no more liberty men would land until further orders. It sure looks as though there is trouble brewing somewhere! They have called up patrols and a special patrol to land. I suppose to get as many men as possible back aboard in case anything does happen. Many of the chaps are in barracks & they too may be recalled. All liberty men have been recalled, those in barracks told to report in though not yet to return to the ship.

Mon27: Nothing eventuated, however we are still at two hours notice for steam. Second recreational party returned and third did not land. Leave was granted (recreational) from 16:20 till 20:00. Orders say we are to sail tomorrow at 13:00.

Tue 28: Sailed at 13:00, Action stations 13:20. Wrote Mrs.Collis, will write Helen to catch First airmail. Also owe letters to others.

Wed 29: Calm and uneventful. Wrote Helen. Some of our letters are pretty basic because there is so much we cannot say anything about.

Thu 30: Payday. All into the bank. RslO from Col Peterson. We are still at sea heading North and we expect to arrive at Bombay tomorrow after carrying out a 4" full calibre & 6" sub calibre shoot.

 

Fri Dec 1 1939: Today I wrote Florrie & also answered one of Helen's which came by air. It was dated Sydney 20 Nov. We arrived Bombay 17:45 and went directly to our oiling berth. Papers were available during the evening & no leave granted. Although nothing has been announced about our departure, rumour has it that we shall be convoying troops to Aden. Maloja carried out a shoot before us yesterday & took so long about it that we had to wait until afternoon for ours.

Sat 2: Usual Saturday panic, but no rounds. Bought "Illustrated Weekly of India" which I hope to send home to Helen. I'm sure she will appreciate this tremendously as she knows Bombay. I think the other paper we saw whenever in Bombay was the "Bombay Times".

This afternoon was spent sunbathing & reading. Our sailing has been delayed from 12:15 indefinitely & now we know we are going although not when. Aden appears to be a sure bet with about nine days at sea. Hope it remains calm. On deck this afternoon we were watching a tumbling exhibition by a Jap and an Indian kid. Their prowess was far greater than any I have seen on stage or at a circus. It was wonderful the way the young Indian (in long trousers) would give his body a sharp flick and turn completely over in the air & land on his feet. The Idiot was there too & when he saw the others getting "backsheesh" he put on a show of his own. More ludicrous tumbling could never be witnessed, still he earned a few annas. The others must have earned three or four rupees before they were hunted away by a 'buttercup' policeman. Quite a crowd of our men gathered at the rail to watch these men go through their repertoire. Also there was a poor kid with 'Elephantitis' in one leg begging.

Sun 3: We departed Bombay 16:30 Sat Dec 2 to convoy Akbar, an Indian troopship, part of the way to Aden. After rendezvous we will return with a fast transport as our charge. Last night the water was very phosphorescent & small piece of broken water would make the phosphorescence dance like a million fireflies. One could plainly see the Paravane and it's wire as they cut through water. This afternoon after a good 'bake' we stood in the shade of the awning & for awhile watched an enormous shoal of porpoises at play. Normal Sun. routine

Mon 4: Still at sea with Akbar. Nothing eventful except for Capt.'s memo re explosions which may be caused by mine, torpedo or internally.

Tue 5: Sea with Akbar. Uneventful. In addition to my 'standby job as reserve Radio Op for our observation aircraft the Pusser's Duck or more correctly Seagull Mk5. I have been appointed a member of the Boarding Boat's crew. This crew is detailed when it may be necessary to board a suspicious or enemy vessel for sailing to the nearest port or perhaps in the case of a rescue. Today my tools were 'drawn' from the store.

Wed 6: At sea with the Akbar. "Illustrated Weekly of India" posted. News reports from KPH/KFS and other stations broadcasting ship's news is read daily by Leading Tel "Wombat" Sutton. I think he spends half the night sitting up in the DF office with his little old "Imperial" portable typewriter copying news from a number of sources in addition to those already mentioned. GBR Rugby, UK was a popular station. Another German ship of 9000 tons has been captured in the South Atlantic. This is the third they have lost in that area. Their own crews scuttled the others, but this one appears to be safe.

Thur 7: In last night's broadcast news there was much about the Soviet-Finnish war and also about the war at sea & comparison of losses between now and the Great War. The position appears to be somewhat better now than it was then. If no more countries are to be drawn into the war on Germany's side, the struggle should be fairly short. Widespread indignation is felt at the invasion of Finland, & Sweden says she should give much more than sympathy.

Bulgaria and American States are on Finland's side. Italy also has had anti-communistic demonstrations. In Sweden or Norway, I'm not sure which, Their House is reported to have walked out on a communist speaker & left only members of his own party to listen to the blah. We are to meet the fast transport Ettrick some time today. She must be a new ship, as our 1938 books do not mention her at all. Ettrick was contacted at 09:00 so we have handed the AKBAR over to the other escort from Aden and turned about to escort Ettrick to Bombay.

Fri 8: Still at sea with Ettrick. Quiet & uneventful.

Sat 9: Early this morning we increased speed to 25kts and proceeded direct to Bombay. We have a Petty Officer aboard with acute Appendicitis. We arrived Bombay at 15:00 and leave was granted. Since I had the afternoon watch (12:00-16:00), Dave, Jack & I went ashore at 16:30 and caught a taxi direct to Breach Candy. We spent two hours there and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. On leaving the baths we returned to the city. Terry Owens was with us both ways. Bessie Jones had her two charges with her at the baths and we were talking to her for half an hour or so. On our return Jack Box and Terry went to the flics and Dave & I went to do a little shopping. Books main1y. Although I tried a number of bookstalls, I was unable to get the PMG's Handbook or find any Jone's handbooks either. Dave got some Penguin series and I one about the Indian underworld. Reviewing our finances we found we were very low on funds so went up to see the Walkers at the Outram Hotel. There we spent a very enjoyable evening over dinner with them. Fruit cocktail, soup, fish, duck, ice cream & toast cheese with coffee. Boy! What a change from our own frugal fare. Then before we knew where we were it was 10:40 and we had to return post haste to the Alexandra Docks. There was no mail for us and the acute appendicitis case, P.O.Barker, died tonight.

Sun l0: Left Bombay 07:30 with Maloja and another AMC to escort troop convoy to the gulf of Aden. When we leave them we're off to Colombo arriving about Dec 21. Short Division's today. There was a memorial service for P.O.Barker at 10:30. Composition of the present troop:

Convoy Escort:

Ranchi AMC Ex P&O 16,700t, 548.5'. Built by Hawthorne Leslie 1925.

Maloja AMC Ex P&O 21,000t, 600.8'. Built by Harland & Wolfe 1923.

HMAS Hobart. Cruiser. 8 x 6", 8 x 4", 8 x 21" torpedo tubes + smaller weapons 72,000 HP, 32.5knots.

Convoy:

Rajula BI 8500t, 462'. Built by Barclay Curle 1926.

Rohna BI 8500t, 461'. Hawthorne Leslie 1926.

Lancashire Bibby Line 9500t, 482'. Harland & Wolfe 1917.

Tairea BI 8000t 450'. Barclay Curle 1924.

Talamba BI 8000t 450'. Hawthorne Leslie.

D'Artagnan Nessenerins Maritime15000t, 543'. Abel & CH, Bordeaux 1924.

Cap Tourane 8000t, 417', built by Chargeun Rienis, at CH Abel Nautia 1932. (?)

Tota1 escort: 44,600t. Total Convoy 65,500t. Overall 110,000t. Dispersal as follows:

Hobart

Rajola Rohna Lancashire Tairea

D'Artagan Cap Tourane Talamba

Maloja Ranchi

 

Since leaving Sydney we have travelled 17,667.7nm and consumed 5,110t oil fuel, or 3.457 nm/t.

Akbar was previously a Pilgrim ship of 4043t gross, 375'. Owners Bombay & Persia SN Co. Built Glasgow 1924. Ettrick 11,200t MV. 0wners P&O SN Co.

Today I finished reading "Gay Batchelor" by Helena Grose. This is the second of her books. The other one I have read was "Second Class Angel" and another one I now have is tit1ed "Secret Honeymoon".

Mon 11: At sea with convoy. Uneventful.

Tue 12: As above.

Wed 13: As above.

Thu 14: News of the Exeter, Achilles and Ajax, versus the German 'Pocket' Battleship Admiral Graf Spee reached us today at sea. The action took place off the east coast of South America and the Admiral Graf Spee put in to Montevideo badly damaged. Exeter was also badly damaged and forced to retire.

Fri 15: In this morning's press there were two accounts of the Montevideo action. The German account claiming a victory and saying that they ran for port because shellfire had damaged their food store. This is the first time I have ever heard of a victor running away because some of his food was damaged. Most of the ships that were engaged in the action are in Montevideo carrying out repairs. Others are waiting just outside and ready to pounce on their prey if/when she comes out. It seems probable that she will remain there and eventually be interned by the Argentine authorities. This morning we left the convoy and after steaming down the centre of it with the usual pomp and ceremony set off for Colombo which is almost SE. We expect to arrive there on Thursday next 21 Dec & will probably remain only long enough to take on fuel & provisions.

Sat 16: Still at sea bound Colombo. My present bank balance is 13.7.1. Wrote Helen & Chief R.I. Melbourne. Since the news is still mostly about the South Atlantic battle perhaps some details of the ships involved will not go amiss. The battle is officially known as the "Battle of the River Plate", Admiral Graf Spee was the third of three ships, which are about 600' long, 70' beam and 12000t displacement. They mount six 11" guns and have a top speed of 27kts. Engines: Diezel 50khp.

British squadron Exeter, Ajax & Achilles: 575', 8,500t, 58' beam, 80khp, 8x8" guns. Latter two are similar to Hobart as they are 500' long, 60' beam and displace 7000t, mount 8x6" guns, and 32.5 kts. The weight of broadside lay with Graf Spee but disadvantage of simultaneously engaging at least two targets apperently told. No doubt Brits would be trying their best to take advantage of their somewhat higher speed too.

Sun 17: At sea, calm, nothing eventful, usual routine.

Mon 18: At sea for Colombo, wrote Eileen Heather. Graf Spee blown up off Montevideo. All crew saved.

Tue 19: At sea for Colombo. Admiral Custance died in London last night Age 55. He was last Flag Officer Commanding Australian Squad'n.

Wed 20: Arrived Colombo 1345; duty watch. Working on 'bug' (= Morse key which pressed left gives dots, right for dashes). Seven letters & Polaroid glasses received. News received that Capt.Langdorf of "Graf Spee" committed suicide.

Thur 21: In harbour, Colombo. Company; Kent, a sloop & gunboat. Ranpura sailed this morning. Leave from 13:45. Went off in the first boat and after a bit of shopping and a couple of drinks we went out to the "Galle Face" Hotel for a swim spending about three hours there including one in the lounge drinking a Pimm's No.l Cup. Then returned to the city where we bought a few stones. I bought an Emerald ring for Helen, a Jade tie pin for Fred & birthday stones for May. We then went to the BSSI to dance, but only had an hour as it finished at 22:00. After wasting quite a lot of time searching for a Miss Norma Wockner I finally found her during the last dance at BSSI. She has been married some three months now to a soldier (Jim Davies) at Trincomalee.

This session we were granted the first all-night leave since leaving Sydney on October 14th.

Fri 22: Leave to two watches again from 13:45 to 06:45 tomorrow morning. I went ashore at 13:45 to do a little shopping and having finished this early returned aboard by the 16:00 boat with tie pin & a small pill I had ordered.

Dec 23: To sea 08:00. Completed 'bug' which operates OK. Gunnery program carried out, full calibre shoot, late due to Widnes the sloop losing the target for awhile. We are to proceed to escort a French Convoy from Malacca straits to Colombo & meet Suffren pm tomorrow.

Sun 24: Christmas eve at sea. The first I have ever spent & I hope it will be the last. Usual Sunday routine. Met French cruiser Suffren at 17:00 (Zone 6).

Mon 25: Christmas day with a special edition of the "Wombat Times". Dinner of Duck and vegetables with a good duff, nuts & beer also. The beer was horrible stuff though some of the fellows enjoyed it.

Tue 26: Picked up three ships in convoy this morning about 07:00. Suffren & ourselves work alternate 500kc/s guard.

Wed 27: Wrote Helen, Gwen Dalziel & Betty. Left Suffren at 18:00 bound for Colombo. The 'buzz' merchants have it that we shall be in by 18:00 tomorrow 28th.

Thu 28: Arrived Colombo 17:45. Company: Kent, Widnes, Oden & another sub also here. Kent has now been hare for more than three weeks. Leave from 18:30 until 06:45 tomorrow. Landed 19:00 with Dave to dance at BSSI. Stopped for a glass of "Beck's" beer at the Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH).

I phoned Mr.Davies bungalow & found he was out at his golf club. We had a meal at the BSSI restaurant then up to dance. Had quite a good evening. Slept ashore - never again!

Fri 29: We were to sail sometime today and pick up the Convoy again after they had refuelled. They did not arrive until late however & so we had a few hours respite. Leave was granted to two watches from 14:30. I am on duty but, do not mind a bit. Expected a letter from Helen but was only lucky enough to get a card. Norma says Fred sent her 5 for a wedding present. Believe Ramillies has been in Sydney. God I wish they'd send us home again. This seems so damned useless to us all - we've not been wanted anywhere we've been so far. Details of last convoy & Escort. Suffren 9,400t 8x8", 8x3"AA, 2 A/C, 6 or 8 tubes. Savorgnan de Brazza Escort vessel 1969t, 340', 41.8' beam, 14.6' draught, complement 136, carries seaplane + 50 mines; 3,200 hp diezel eng. 18kts. (A sister ship Admiral Cherner visited Melbourne for the 1934 Centenary.) Yalou 856t Messageries Maritimes built 1914 at Bremen as Raimund 478', 58'4" beam, 28'3" draft. Bougainville 7,1110t, Chageus Reunis built 1913 Le Havre; 414', 53'8" beam, 34'8" draught. Si Kiang, Messageries Maritime. 7014t, 473'9", 59'B, 28'D, built 1914 at Westermunde Germany as the Meininger.

Sat 30: Left Colombo 1130. Convoy as before. Suffren left us soon after departure. Now in company as escorts are Bulldog & Glorious.

Sun 31: The last day of 1939. In this morning's section of the ship's news the following poem appeared. I shall call it:

 "The Milky Way"

We must go down to the bar again

With the Neon sign in the sky.

All we ask is a good 'milk shake'

And a straw to drink it by.

With fierce foam and a tall glass

From which the ice is breaking

The soft purr & the swift whirr

Of the next one shaking.

 

We must go down to the bar again

For the call of the milky way

Is a long call and a strong call

So we cannot say it nay.

And all we ask is a tankard tall

Or two if one's heeding

And the brown dregs of the nutmegs

To us through the straws come speeding.

 

We must go down to the bar again

Where the whirring mixers whizz

To the swirled spray of the whirled whey

Where the frothy fountains fizz

And all we ask is the same again

With another to follow over

And a pink dream of an ice cream

When this long war is over. C.H.D.

 

Today the church service was the best I have ever attended on a warship. The hymns we sang were some of those Xmas hymns with a decent "swing" to them. "Come All Ye Faithful" & 2 others. The chaplain took as his text a question ever present since we left Sydney - "Where are we going?" He made quite a good sermon out of it. Chaplain J.E.Romanis (NB. later vicar at East Brighton about 1952).

 

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