This Royal Navy WWII page exhibits the war time diary's of Leading Signalman Charles Earnest Taylor 1941-1946

Charles Taylor was a Royal Navy radio operator and Signalman during WWII. Throughout the war he maintained a regular diary's identifying, locations, ships and events.

- Known aliases “Duke”, “Chas”, “Charlie”, “Lal & Lawrence”

- Locations UK – Aden - Ceylon – India - Saigon - Rangoon - Africa

These diary's show the life of a British sailor whilst at war, his love life and daily challenges including the spearhead action of a single communications ship taking up a loan position in a river outside Saigon City as a command and control center whilst waiting for the allied landing and air forces to arrive. During the devastation he helped a French family escape from the horrors of war back to Europe.



Extracts from Charles Taylor's Navy Wireless Telegraphy Log


25Sep41 - H M S Royal Arthur – Ord Sig

28Jan42 - H M S Pembroke – Ord Sig

11Apr42 - H M S Lanka (Balta) – Ord Sig

04Nov42 -H M S Tarantala

15Dec42 - Confirmed at St Thomas college Chapel, Mt Lavinia Ceylon by the Bishop of Colombo

13Jan43 -H M S Lanka (Balta), H M S Highflyer (RACEHORSE)

12Feb44 - Joined HMS Racehorse at Trinco sailed at 18:00L

18 Feb 44 - Arrived Bombay 14:30. Went ashore at 18:00. Both Hinduson and SS Edward Jackson were there, but though I spent three hours looking for Bernard, I seemed to be just missing him each time, though I met a friend of his.

At 21:00 I went round to the Riw Barracks to contact Les Lath who I heard was there, but they wouldn’t let me in as it was after sunset. Finally at 21:40 I gave it up and went to the Regal to see Abbott and Costello in “Hit the Hay” not a very successful evening.

19Feb44 - Got in Touch with Gavin Elliot and Ben James onboard HmiS Kristine, but as we sailed at 18:00. I wasn’t able to meet them. At any rate they will give Bernard my new address.

During the next eight days – We were escorting a convoy when another convoy less than 30 miles from us was attacked by a Jap Sub and three ships sunk, we could see the steam from the burst boilers while the sea was covered in oil. That same day evening we left the convoy and proceeded at 28 knots to rendezvous with several other Destroyers and Frigates. For three days we swept the whole area with negative results, finally arrived Aden at 271015.

27Feb44 -Went ashore with Harry and George, Two Sparkers. I don’t think much of Aden.

29Feb44 -Left Aden 1745 to rendezvous with convoy and escort back.

03Mar44 - Met convoy, Kristina is only one of the other escorts. So maybe ill be able to meet Gavin and Ben ashore.

04Mar44 -The Yeomen has decided to put us in three watches instead of four and make me dayman. From what he has told me so far it sounds quite cushy. In any case I’ll be getting all night in and that’s the main.

06Mar44- Belay the last pipe, during the past two days the yeoman has been finding extra little jobs to do. Today I went up to action stations at 0440 cleaned the brass-work, swept and scrubbed the hsdo, swept the flag deck, uncovered the flag locker, then spent an hour or so on the bridge while things were busy. Went below at 0700 and got roped in for cook, went up again at 0900, scrubbed one of the flag lockers, down again at 1230 for dinner then up again at 1345, painted the flag locker inside and out, finished and went below at 1615, at dusk “Action Stations at 1735 I blacked out, cleared up the SDO swept the flag deck, covered the lockers, slackened, All this besides getting stand easy teas, hoisting various flags and relieving chaps on watch for a smoke makes it a pretty full day, who wants all night in anyway.

08Mar44 (Wed)-Arrived Aden 1315, Mail came on board , I got three letters.

10mar44 (Sat)- Went ashore with George Harry and Dick, big eats and pictures

12Mar44 -Went ashore with Jock, George and Harry. Bought some materials to send home Aunt Bett

14Mar44 -I put in a request to remain with ship for another year. But the yeoman said that I could put it through like that. This is the second time I’ve put in a request to do another year out here and had to withdraw it for some reason or another, so I’ve decided not to request either way and see how things turn out.

15Mar44 -Left harbor at 0800

Harry Smallwood and I fell out this evening which he started mucking about and I wasn’t in the mood. In a way I am sorry, but perhaps its best for I don’t like having to act up all the time, just because we happen to have been thrown together.

Perhaps it would be better if I could make friends more easily instead of wishing I could meet such good friends as Bernard & Fo once again.

I’ve been puzzling again today over post-war England. Supposing that despite all this talk about Social Security things do drift back to the old ways again I will only have two alternatives, for it wont be possible to remain at steels @ I’m thinking if this does happen there’ll be trouble at home and I will definitely follow the more socialistic line, while I’m afraid wont be on the same side as steels, my first alternative is to get into some trade or get a business going, my second is to go to some other part of the commonwealth. I’ll need to broaden out on both of these alternatives.

19Mar44- Arrived back at Aden 0930, received nine letters heard from (sister) Gertie that (brother) Dennie has been reported missing over the Bay of Biscay. Am trying to get home on compassionate grounds, signal sent to bo..brasc Chatham asking for information (brother Dennie was an RAF liberator Radio operator & Signalman - Sgt Dennis Frederick Taylor)

27Mar44 - (Monday) Aden

Still in harbour. Received reply from bo.brasc Chatham. (sister) Gertie will be in hospital at least another year, is getting very little money, am going to see captain again tomorrow to try and get home and arrange something for her.

28Mar44 (Tuesday)

Left Harbour 1230 in company with three frigates and one sloop escort two aircraft carriers two seaplane tenders and a troopship, Spey, Taff, Lossie, Bowery, Begull, Athidine, Atherby, Engedine and Aroklia, we are escorting them for three days and then going to Karachi.

Captain has told the navigator to draw up a letter of bin b asking for me to be relieved

30Mar44 (Thursday)

Received orders to carry on to Colombo and not Karachi. I’m hoping to meet Bernard or some of the other lads there.

02Apr44 (Sunday) En Route Colombo

HMAS Nizam joined convoy today at 0615. We left at 1130E to get to Colombo. Were ordered to rejoin convoy again during the night.

04Apr44 (Tuesday)

Arrived Colombo 0945. Received some mail. Went ashore at 1315 and met Dennis Jackson who is on leave from Trinco. Later tried to find Ginger Binns, but heard that he’d been drafted just recently, pity, because I’d like to have seen him but nobody knows where he’s gone. Later went to to the J..b and saw Mrs HB (Hunter Blare) and Mrs Hale. Also saw “Destroyer” at the Empire whilst I was ashore.

05Apr44 (Wednesday) 272-20

Left Colombo at 1150 to meet Rotherhay and Rettaro who are escorting the French Battleship Richelieu and accompany them round to France.

07Apr44 (Friday)

Sighted Rechelieu and escorted 1230 took up screen position 1315. Due to arrive Trinco 1530 on Monday.

10Apr44 (Monday) En Route Trinco

Arrived Trinco 1530 besides the EF ships there are quite a few Yanks in now. Mail came onboard, I received 25 Letters, boy am I gonna be busy replying.

14Apr44 (Friday)

Left Harbor 0730 in company with Rotherhay, Ceadrant Aolam, Van Galen and the Yanks Tanning, Cummings and another. Carried out MA and LA and A/S operations.

15Apr44 (Saturday)

Repelled E-boat attack (Dummy) and then made a torpedo attack on two cruisers acting as enemy ships. Returned to Harbor 1115. My relief came aboard this afternoon, I’m at last on the first stage of my journey to UK Monday.

16Apr44 (Sunday)

After receiving a great many signals during the night.We left harbour at 0555 and later joined the main fleet who followed us out. Renown, Valiant, Queen Elizabeth, Richelieu, Saratoga, Illustrious, Newcastle, London, Nigeria, Ambia *, Von Tromp *, Royam *, Rotheram, Petard, Cumberon *, William *, Casearant *, Van Galen, the three yank destroyers, Napier, Nepal, Queenbro and Ceylon. At 1530 the CO cleared the lower decks and informed us that we were proceeding to the Jap submarine base at Salang a hundred miles N.W. of Samata. Planes from the two carriers were going to bomb it. As there are believed to be quite a few Battleships, Aircraft carriers and Cruisers there. We can expect opposition, hence our force of battleships.

17Apr44 (Monday)

Newcastle hoisted the signal “ Hostile aircraft in sight” this afternoon. We had to close up. Everybody had the willies as it will go hard with us if the Japs have time to muster a superior force. Later Newcastle hoisted the signal “Aircraft previously reported is friendly” if turned out to be a Catalina on A/S patrol. Sigh of relief all round.

18Apr44 (Tuesday)

Napier had a contact this morning and dropped a pattern of ten. Then we had one and dropped a charge but it turned out to be a shoal of fish. We have been in two watches since dusk. I’ve just come off the last dog and I’ve got the middle. We are closing up at 0430 and remaining closed up all day tomorrow. So I’m not going to get much sleep. All gash gear has been stowed in case of fire and we have all mustered steel helmets-anti flash gear and overalls. Bing reckons we havent yet been detected, lets hope not.

19Apr44 (Wednesday)

Action stations 0430 had just come off the middle. Aircraft left carriers at 0530 and returned between 0630 and 0730. At 0900 we (Racehorse) got a submarine contact and attacked with 21DGs before rejoining fleet. Later we saw a big cloud of smoke an the skyline astern of us, this turned out to be the last three Jap T B aircraft who were shot down by fighters from Saragota. All quite until nightfall when all ships opened up on Jap aircraft flying around. No bombs or flares were dropped although our barrage was very impressive consisting entirely of tracer ammunition except from the big guns.

21Apr44 (Friday)

Arrived Tinco 0930. Got my gear ready to go ashore. But was told that I wouldn’t be going till tomorrow now.

22Apr44 (Saturday)

Drafted ashore 0945 with two other chaps. Told that we wont be able to get a train to Colombo before next Friday. Was sleeping at 1540 and was wakened and told to be ready for draft to Colombo at 1600. Panic stations caught train 1700 with Ian Cockcroft and frampton off the Racehorse.

25Apr44 (Monday)

Arrived Colombo 1020, During the night I drank some contaminated water by mistake but had no ill effects.

26Apr44 (Tuesday)

Went ashore and saw Mrs H B she seems rather sorry that I’m leaving. She’s been very good to me. Went aboard USS Dunlop to see Ginger.

01May44 (Monday)

Had to go to BAO to get some pay as my name wasn’t on books at barracks.

02May44 (Tuesday)

Was told today that I am going on draft to UK tomorrow. Said good-bye to Mrs H.B she has knitted some woolens for me.

03May44 (Wednesday)

Left Barracks 1230 arrived on board the transport TALMA 1600. As soon as we got aboard Ian was told that his draft had been cancelled and had to get back to barracks. He was very disappointed. The TALMA sailed at 1700. The are only a few of us on board so there’s plenty of room and the food is good. We seem to be going about ten knots. The only watch keeping I do is for the Bosuns mate.

07May44 (Sunday) – Colombo HMS Lanka

Arrived Bombay 0900. Disembarked 1030. Reached barracks ( Braganyo RNBT*) 1250. Went ashore with fred Spears the bunts from the Lord Grey who is in this draft. Changed our money and had big eats then saw “Top Man” at the Regal. I was hoping to see Bernard or some of the other lads from Hindustan, but was unlucky. I didn’t go to the docks as for one thing I don’t know which ships they are all on now.

08May44 (Monday) – Bombay HMS Braganza

Slept the night ashore had a comfortable though only four hours sleep in the Salvation Army Hostel. Returned to Barracks 0645. Told to be ready for draft at 0900. At 1045 we started packing our gear into the lorries and finally boarded a train left Bombay 1200. I’m getting choka with lugging gear around all the time I wish we could store it.

I understand that we are being moved to an Army transport camp at Deolali about 117 miles from Bombay and about 2000 feet up until a ship arrives to take us on.

Arrived Deolali 1720, pouring with rain, everything wet, dog tired, arrived camp 1845, had supper, turned in.

16May44 (Tuesday)

Have been taking some of the local white boys around the past few days. They are all either officers or soldiers sons. We get quite a herd of them in here every day and they are quite popular. It certainly is a treat to meet and speak to them. I was surprised to learn that apart from those I’ve just mentioned who are there are where either left out here by there parents who apparently don’t want them or are illegitimates (?) left to tender mercies of the army who apparently owe them a meager education and it seems no moral education. When they become of age they aren’t fit for man nor beast outside the army. The majority of them haven’t even seen England.

26May44 (Friday)

Palled up with an Army chap named Arthur Evans who works in one of the rest rooms, he is 21 but only looks 17. He is very religious, inclined to over do it, in fact, and seems somewhat self-centred, for that he’s a happy sort of chap willing to help others, and is very interested in his work, I rather like him.

01Jun44 (Thursday) – Deolali

Its getting on for a month since we came here and everybody is getting a bit chokka. Still no news as to when we’re departing.

05Jun44 (Monday)

Learned today that we were breaking camp at 2200, returning to Bombay.

The kids came round to say goodbye bit both Jock and Alf were away on duty, so they could only say cheers to me. Brian has given me his address and wants me to write. Left camp and boarded train in sidings at 2400. Slept in train. Arrived Bombay 1130 Tuesday.

06Jun44 (Tuesday)

We were given a tin of bully beef and a packet of biscuits between two on arrival. Took about three hours moving our gear aboard the Strathmore. Boarded her at 1435. Was unable to get my steaming bag before it was stowed, so I haven’t any washing at all, and no money to buy any.

Invasion of France commenced today, progress satisfactory.

07Jun44 (Wednesday) Bombay

Moved alongside quay out into midstream at 1255. Sailed at 1830, six troopers, five escorts. Stratheden, Ormonde etc & Tay . Derg.

09Jun44 (Friday)

This is certainly a better trooper than the others I’ve been on, the foods good and plenty of it, there is a very good library on board, and we get the news three times a day.

The war news is very good on all fronts. The beach heads in France are now firmly established, Bayeaux is the first big town we’ve captured there. Our troops in Italy are keeping Jerry on the run. In Burma we seem to have got the measure of the Japs and have cut off a large force of them around Kohima. The Russian front is fairly quite and nothing spectacular seems to be happening in the S.W. Pacific.

13Jun44 (Tuesday)

Anchors outside Aden Harbour at 0700. Stopped smoking today, had my first apple since we left for Africa two years ago.

Left the remainder of the convoy and proceeded up the Red Sea at 1230

16Jun44 (Friday)

Arrived Port Suez at 1704 and anchored for the night. Saw an Nettie destroyer proceeding down towards Aden

17Jun44 (Saturday) Suez Canal

Left Suez 0600 and proceeded along the canal. We haven’t had a complete black out ever since we left Aden. Seems funny to have lights showing on deck at sea.

Arrived Port Said 1630.

20Jun44 (Tuesday)

Arrangements have been made for all troops on-board to go on a route march this morning. The Navy actually fell in on the jetty and we then marched back onboard, because the Army had cried off at the last minute.

More passengers arrived this afternoon, about two thousand services and civilian. There are about five thousand aboard now.

21Jun44 (Wednesday)

Left harbour about 0710 in company with 7 other troopers including Strathedan, Arion, Ranchi and Armonde. We are being escorted by four Hunt Class destroyers. I wonder if Rotherstone is amongst them. I’d like get in touch with Ken Parker if I can. Gardian joined escort this evening.

22Jun44 (Thursday)

Birmingham joined escort this morning.

24Jun44 (Saturday) At sea Medit

Its getting very cold now, we have been issued with duffel coats and wear our blues on the night watch.

26Jun44 (Monday)

Passed Phillipville today. We are following the African coats, and from time to time we can see wrecks on the shore, there were quite a few at Cape Bon, where the Germans tried to evacuate their Army. Another convoy joined us today and we are now composed of some 17 ships and an escort of about 8 destroyers, 3 cruisers and one escort carrier. Passed Algiers 1600.

27Jun44 (Tuesday)

It gets quite chilly now, and yet its still around 70’. There has been another switch round and the escort now consists of eight destroyers, two escort carriers and a French cruiser with about 14 ships in the convoy. Just before sunset we sighted a large convoy spread about 20degs on the skyline. I wonder if this is part of an invasion fleet. We pass through Gib around midnight.

28Jun44 Wednesday

Changed into blues today, are now on last stage of our journey. Canteen and library close Sunday so it should. Tuesday will see us home

30Jun44 Friday - Atlantic

Have had to report sick with my eyes which have been smarting bloodshot for some time, My sight isn’t affected but I’ll keep on the safe side. I have been excused duty so I’ll be getting all night in now – good.

05Jul44 Wednesday

Sighted Irish coast during forenoon, during the afternoon we closed in a bit and could see Belfast quite clearly at 1500. Dropped anchor about 15miles outside Liverpool at 2330.

06Jul44 Thursday

Raised anchor at 1210, anchored in the Mersey at 1415. At least we are in UK at last even though still afloat.

Went alongside the quay at 1500 hours first crowd ashore at 1930, I am going tomorrow morning

08Jul44 Saturday

Disembarked at 0815. Caught train to Chatham at 0915. Passed through Willesden Junction, so I gave the porter 2/6 to put my luggage in the cloakroom, arrived in Chatham dockyard and entered barracks at 1805. They told us we could proceed on week-end leave. Took Ginger Terry a sparker home with me. Arrived home in middle of a buzz bomb raid, not a very nice home coming, Aunt Lott and Uncle Will were in the shelter sleeping with the children. They were very surprised and pleased to see us. Aunt Lott made a bed in the back room down stairs. Neither Ginger or I got much sleep as there were quite a few buzz bombs coming all the time. Still its nice to be back.

09Jul44 Sunday

Ginger, Derek, Teddy and I went first of all to Willesden Junction to pick up my suitcase. Afterwards we went round to Mrs Jacksons and said howdy to everyone. Aunt Florrie and Uncle Harry came over this evening and we all played cards. Quite a nice evening.

10Jul44 Monday

We were a few minutes late getting back to barracks though nothing was said, I thought our joining and foreign leave routine would only take a couple of hours. Instead we started at nine and didn’t finish till half-six in the evening. We got to London Bridge and caught a Taxi to Euston. Gave the bloke ten bob as I hadn’t any pockets to carry the silver in. Then after putting our gear in the cloak-room, we went into the YMCA to get some eats our first today. After which I caught the train home.

12Jul44 Wednesday

Went to the Odeon with Winnie (sister) this evening. It’s a treat to have a comfortable seat at the pictures.

13Jul44 Thursday

Spent an evening with the Jacksons. Played crib with Mr Jackson and two others. Heard the news of Walli and the rest of the boys.

14Jul44 Friday

Went over to Kilburn tonight saw Mr & Mrs Burne, Mrs Turner, The Cooper family and the Wilsons. Len and I went to the Pictures. I’m just waking up to the fact that I’m home.

15Jul44 Saturday

Len Wilson, Uncle Harry & Aunt Florrie came over so we all played cards. Have arranged to see Len tomorrow.

16Jul44 Sunday

Went to Sudbury Town to meet Gertie this morning, she is up for the day. Ever since I came home Aunt Lott has been talking of a girl called Eileen, an ex-girl of Sidies who has apparently thrown him up but became firmly established in the family. I met her today. She is very small, age about seventeen, hazel eyes, very slight eye scar in her right eye. For the first time I have met a girl near my own age, to whom I can speak naturally and not have make conversation on subjects which interest her. Boy! I wish she was a bit older. I suppose some one is sure to object if we mate up. She interests me. I saw her home and have arranged to take her to the pictures Wednesday. I met her mother and father tonight.

17Jul44 Monday

Went down to see the firm today. On way back stopped at the YMCA for some eats. A reporter from Picture Past asked for my opinion on some pictures there. He took one or two photos.

18Jul44 Tuesday

Went over to Kilburn saw Aunt Edie had a chat with everyone. Cousin George has lost in T.aly, but is now back in the Army graded A4. Went to the pictures with Len.

19Jul44 Wed

Met Eileen at her house And then went to the Regal Golders Green, she’s a fine kid she is coming over to a party on Saturday with her mum.

20Jul44 Thus

Took May out have some eats at Uxbridge. Paid the Skipper a visit and had a right old scandal..

21Jul44 Fri

Went round the Jackson’s tonight and played cards

22Jul44 Sat

Went down and met Gertie who is coming home this week-end. When we got home Aunt Lott showed me a letter which she said had come from Eileen, saying that Eileen wasn’t coming, I wondered whether I had offended her.Boy. was I pleased when I went to answer the door and found Eileen and her mum there. Apparently it was just a hoax of Aunt Lotts.

23Jul44 Sun

Went for a stroll in the park with Aunt Lott, Uncle Will, May, Winnie and Eileen who stayed over here last night.

24Jul44 Mon

Went over to see Aunt Lott, she was pleased to see me but was upset when she heard Dennie was missing as nobody else had told her, also met Rene and her baby Barbara

25Jul44 Tue

Took Eileen to the Queens to see a couple of films and forgot what they were but it was grand being with her.

26Jul44 Wed

During the succeeding months Eileen and I grow closer to each other and were engaged on Tues 05Dec

06Dec44 Wed

I never realised how young Eileen really was until today when something happened which shouldn’t have done it spoilt the whole day ive never felt so fed up with myself in years, during the evening I felt more like bursting into tears than anything else. I love her so very much.

07Dec44 Thu

Eileen saw me off from Victoria, in barracks at 1048. Reported main drafting office1115. Left main Barracks at 1600 arrived Victoria 1758, left Euston 2040

08Dec44 Fri

Arrived at St Enochs Station Glasgow 0700, had breakfast at the Navy Centre. Boarded a lorry 1100 arrived at dockside 1555. Boarded Waveney and washed and shaved. Proceeded ashore, had a meal, wrote to Eileen, went to the pictures and saw “Stello Dallas” returned to ship 2210.

09Dec44 Sat

It was freezing on the mess-deck during the night I was jolly glad to get up this morning. Drew three pounds out as I want to post twelve to Aunt Lott on Wednesday.

10Dec44 Sun

There are only five of us in the mess, as the majority of the crew are still on leave. Was nearly frozen again last night. I am still very chocka and missing Eileen a great deal.

11Dec44 Mon

Was surprised to learn that the chap I’m relieving as L/Sig is Arthur Rowe who came home with me on the Strathmore

12Dec44 Tuesday Glasgow

The possibilities of any more leave before we sail is very small now but I am still hoping.

13Dec44 Wed

Took over from Arthur Lowe today everything seems jumbled up, but I suppose they’ll straighten out in time. Ill be glad to get some news from Eileen soon.

14Dec44 Thu

No mail from Eileen yet I do hope I get a letter from her tomorrow. Went ashore with my oppo Jimmy Brown saw “Cobra Woman” and “Slightly Terrific” then slept at the Navy Centre.

15Dec44 Fri - Glasgow

Had a letter from Eileen at last and one from May. I was so scared Eileen might have changed her mind through what happened that last Wednesday. Moved out of dry dock to alongside N.th at 1030

16Dec44 Sat

All the cinema’s and theatres in the town were crowded so Jimmy and I went out of town and saw a couple of films at a place called Moss Park.

Jimmy and I saw “Thanks for the Memory” and “Till we meet again” a pretty good programme.

19Dec44 Tue - Greenock

Moved down river at 1030 today to Greenock, well have to keep full v/s watches now.

20Dec44 Wed

Jimmy and I went ashore this evening it was pitch black, pouring with rain and pretty cold we only had a couple hours and then returned to the ship feeling really chokha

23Dec44 Sat

Did foxer trials today. (FOXER decoy decay is towed astern of escorts and consisted on metal tubes to produce low frequency noise to divert attacks by T5 weapon – Torpedo)

Nothing has been heard of any leave for Christmas. Eileen has been writing regularly.

24Dec44 Sunday

The CO’s gone ashore officially on a seven day course, but something tells me that most of it will be home work.

25Dec44 Monday

Had a good enough time, but I’d set my heart too much on spending it with Eileen to enjoy it here.

28Dec44 Thu – Greenock

Pay day today received £2.10, went ashore and put £1.10 in the bank. Went to a dance at the Y.M.C.A. not bad.

30Dec44 Sat

Managed to pass a message though to Iris’s dad on HMS Cleopatra today, no reply has come through yet. (Archie Whittington)

31Dec44 Sun

Reply came back and I’ve sent another asking him to meet me at the Naval Canteen Monday or Tuesday. I bet the shore station are chokha with me keep calling them. Reply came back “OK for Tuesday” good enough.

02Jan45 Tue

After waiting an hour for Archie to turn up I suddenly decided to phone Eileen. The call cost me 2/11 for three minutes, so I arranged to call her again at Mrs Smiths in the evening. We had nine minutes together then leave, I wish I could have climbed along those phone wires. Afterwards I saw “It happened tomorrow” and then went back to the Naval Canteen and ran into Arch. I went back onboard with him and had some super and a tot and quite a long chin-wag then arranged to meet again on Friday.

04Jan45 Thu – Greenock

The Yeoman switched our watch round again which means I get three days duty instead of two, Jimmie Brown is subbing for me tomorrow so that I can meet Arch ashore as arranged. Eileen sent me a parcel today with Brilliantine and shaving soap in it, she thinks of everything.

05Jan45 Fri

Went ashore at 1715 then after booking a bed went along to HMS Cleopatra to meet Arch. He showed me all over her bridge and flag deck, and then we had super in the Chief Stockers mess. Later we went to the pictures and saw “ Alfred the Great”.

06Jan45 Sun

The skipper announced this morning that we would be going up river again and that he is asking for a few days leave to each watch (Yippee) P.A. went out today so I guess she’s gone without us, who cares!

09Jan45 Thu

No signal has yet arrived ordering us to proceed up river. Everybody is impatient, and every five minutes somebody comes onto the bridge to ask if it has arrived yet. I’m hoping it doesn’t arrive until the twelfth or the thirteenth so that I will not have to return by the 20th, otherwise I guess Eileen will be feeling chokha when she sings at the concert of hers. Mrs Horrigan sent me some biscuits and things to eat today. She is very kind. I didn’t get a letter from Eileen today for the first time in nine days, it seems strange. I guess I was expecting to much.

10Jan45 Fri

Prospect of leave fluctuates with each signal that arrives, and half the ships company including the Officers seem to be taking it in turns to come into the SDO (Signals Distribution Office) and ask for the latest news, I’ve reached that stage where I don’t give a hang either way. When I returned from leave last time I was prepared to move off straight away and be done with it, then as the days began to be gathered into weeks and Eileen letters started arriving regularly, frank letters, which made me sad for the first time, or at least made me realise that Eileen’s feelings for me may not be just an infatuation which I was hoping would develop into love but the real thing. I felt that I just had to get home. If shed asked me to come home I think I’d have broken ship or deserted, the possibility of leave came like a bolt from the blue. But now I’m sick to think that (well, I don’t know what I’m sick about), but I’m chokha and I wish to hades that we would move out of this hole either back to Glasgow or out East.

16Jan45 Tue

At last the signal arrived today ordering us to return up-river. It came just before I went off the afternoon watch, and as owing to a pretty bad gale and rainstorm, there was nobody else on the bridge. I had to yell down the voice pipe to the W/T Office. By the time I had acknowledged receipt of it, I had half the crew on the bridge.

17Jan45 Wed

Left the buoy and proceeded up river arriving at Princes Dock 1120. We are nearer the town than we were last time. The CO has sent a signal to FO I/C (First officer in Charge) requesting five days leave to each watch.

18Jan45 Thu

Port watch went on leave at 1120 today. No work has yet been started on the ship, as 14 days was given as the latest minimum of time that the job would take. I shouldn’t be at all surprised if we get an extension of leave.

19Jan45 Fri

Phoned Eileen this afternoon and told her about my leave. Went to the pictures and saw “These Three” and “ Don’t take it to heart” best programme I’ve seen for a long while. Returned to the ship and phoned Eileen again at Mrs Smith’s to give her the ships phone number.

21Jan45 Sun - Glasgow

A week ago the Russians started an all out offensive East of Warsaw which Stalin stated “was the attack to end the war” , it certainly looks like it now, they have advanced half way to Berlin and are now only 180 Miles off. In the West, we and the Yanks are slowly, very slowly advancing, this will probably speed up now for the Jerries will require their reserves on the Easter front. I shouldn’t be surprised if they withdraw from Norway now in order to release more men to defend Germany.. In Italy Kesselrig is abut finished, and now that Greece is quiet we can probably attack more strongly on the Balkans. It looks as if Jerry is on his last leg. I hope so. The early spring should see him down.

Having been slack all day and no books to read, I decided to read a few stories from the New Testament, and eventually came upon the prophecy of Daniels which many people say refers to this war, the prophecy say that the trouble shall last Two thousand and three hundred days, which puts peace at Dec 10th this year. Further on in the book of Daniel it says that the covenant shall be taken away from us a thousand and two hundred and ninety days.

There are people who think the world will be given to Bolshevism after the war, I wonder if these later verses refer to it. I must read this book again some time to understand it.more clearly.

23Jan45 Tue – Glasgow

The first leave men returned this evening, I can hardly believe I will be going home tomorrow.

24Jan45 Wed

Left ship at 1200, train left central station at 1300 and was due in Euston at 2200, but owing to a derailment North of Crewe we were still travelling at midnight.

25Jan45 Thu

Arrived at Euston 0135, I didn’t bother to see if there was any transport but hoofed it to Eileen’s house arriving there just before 0300, her mum came down and let me in, and Eileen came down a few minutes later, it was good to see her again. Had a cup of cocoa and then turned in. Awoke at 0900 and went for walk with Eileen in the park, we had a snow fight then returned home. Went over to Harlesden just after dinner Aunt Florrie was there but just leaving. I took Eileen home just after ten, then I borrowed Dicks bike and cycled back, boy were my hands cold too.

26Jan45 Fri

Eileen and I went to see May (Gertie) this afternoon, she is very well and being discharged next Saturday

27Jan45 Sat

We went to an ARP stand down party and dance this evening, had quite a nice time although Eileen didn’t like it much

28Jan45 Sun

Slept at Eileen’s last night, we went over to Harlsden about 1200 as we were expected to dinner. Syd and Josie were there and in the afternoon Aunt Florrie and Harry came over then a daughter of uncle wills with her little girl. Relations definitely cool between them all and Eileen, I think it will be a good idea if I have a chat with aunt Lott tomorrow. After, Eileen and I stayed in the kitchen by ourselves and discussed “Sex” of all things. Its hard to believe that we, a boy and a girl, could talk so easily on the subject, yet we did and I think it did us both good. I certainly feel that I know Eileen better now.

29Jan45 Mon

Left home about 09h30 and went over to Eileen’s house, but before doing so I had a chat with aunt Lott, about Gertie coming home, and about this coolness between Eileen and she (Aunt Lott) which was satisfactory, I think they’ll get on OK now that I’m out of the way. Had dinner at Eileen’s house and then she came with me to Euston. Met the Yeoman and his wife, and all four of us chatted until the train left. I last saw Eileen standing on the platform waving, then the train rounded a bend, I guess that’s all in the way of leave for a couple of years or so now. Again the train was late.

30Jan45 Tue Glasgow

The train was three and three quarter hours late tonight it arrived Glasgow central 0145, I didn’t sleep much as I was thinking quite a lot until about 0400. This evening I went ashore for a haircut and then saw a show at the Kings, Agatha Christies ”Appointment with death”.

31Jan45 Wed

A party of 60 of us went to a school Whiffit Coatbridge which has adopted us, we had a marvellous time swapping addresses with the pupils and then went to a concert given by them in the evening, there was a dance and I chummed up with a young Scots lassie of about 17 who showed me the steps, we had a grand time together, and swapped addresses. I was really sorry to leave her she was nice girl, I met her mother afterwards, but I couldn’t help wishing it was Eileen there instead.

03Feb45 Sat

The school children from St Mart’s came aboard today, 60 of them with their teachers, we had some in each mess, gave them dinner and showed them around the ship. Everybody had an enjoyable time. Bert Davey and I went ashore in the evening and got mixed up in a to do, I think we gave more than we got though.

04Feb45 Sun (File 0790)

Went ashore with Bungey Williams and three wrens to the TOC H where we had a scandal corner. Phoned Eileen and May who was discharged from Hospital yesterday, left the rest of them at TOC H and returned to the ship about half past nine.

07Feb45 Wed

Received two letters from Eileen and my gas-mask which I had left behind when I returned from leave.

08Feb45 Thu

Stayed onboard tonight as I thought Eileen may phone, but she didn’t.

09Feb45 Fri

Phoned Eileen

10Feb45 Sat

Went ashore with Bert Davey to see Gordon Marker in “The Frog” at the Kings theatre

11Feb45 Sun Greenock

When I returned to ship last night I learned that Eileen had phoned twice while I was away. I phoned a number that she’d left but she wasn’t there. So this morning I sent a telegram telling her I’d phone at seven this evening. Came down river with Nth this morning, did DG range compass swinging.

Was unable to get ashore to phone Eileen, despite the fact that we secured by 1710, what made me so sore was the fact they never piped that there defiantly wouldn’t be leave but just kept us hoping all evening.

12Feb45 Mon

No mail came aboard today, we went outside the boom to do M/F calibrations. Have been getting quite a lot of mail from pen-pals at St Mary’s lately, but I am not certain Eileen likes, am trying to find out, and if she doesn’t ill drop the lot of them.

25Feb45 Sun

Eileen wrote to say that her dad has given consent for the two of us to be married at the very first opportunity. I hope it will be soon.

01Mar45 Thu

 Left anchorage and proceeded to sea headed for Gib I think in convoy with Glenray, Montelair, Blackmore, East way Teaser, Whiter Emperor, Veraline Nith turned back I think she has a major defect, lucky B’s, I guess they’ll get some more leave, we’ve had it now I guess I wont see Blighty and Eileen till 1947 some time now. Nith rejoined later

02Mar45 Fri (Atlantic Ocean) (File 0791)

 Action stations sounded 0900 - Asdic contact – fixed two patterns – no results – possible sand bank.

03Mar45 Sat

 Most of the hands are pretty sea sick, the sea’s pretty rough too, but they should be ok tomorrow.

04Mar45 Sun

 Sea is still high, but everyone seems better.

05Mar45 Mon

 Its much warmer now a blue sea and sky its like old times again and I guess I like it as much as ever, but I wish I could have brought Eileen with me.

06Mar45 Tue

 Had a scare today when during the afternoon watch the escorting Ventura dropped a smoke float, investigated and found it to be a false alarm, went on watch with just white tops and blue trousers today, beginning to get very hot.

 07Mar45 Wed Gibraltar

 Arrived Gibralter 1400 went ashore with three other ba,,ngs. Brought tons of bananas and oranges. Later we watched troops and band in a parade call “The ceremony of the keys” which was rather impressive, then after having some big eats, the others went to get a drink and went with Bearmore to the pictures to see “ So proudly we hail”

08Mar45 Thu

 Left harbour at 0800 proceeded more or less Eastward in the company of Nith and Blackmore

09Mar09 Fri

 Doing a steady 15 knots all the way. Passed Algiers at 1200

10Mar45 Med

 Arrived Bizerta 1100, laid outside with Nith until 1500 when Blackmore who went in to Oil, returned, then we all left again and preceded Eastwards. While we lay off about half a dozen letters arrived one of them was for me from Eileen dated March 5th , jeeze was I pleased. I do love her.

13Mar45 Tue Med

 Passed by Alexandria from 2000 to 2200. It looked quite pretty, all lit up from the sea

14Mar45 Wed – Port Said

 Arrived Port Said 0800. Mail came onboard about 1100, I got eight including four from Eileen. Was on duty most of the time so didn’t get ashore. I let Busby go ashore he came back ready for the s…le but as he looked pretty tired I let him get his head down again.

15Mar45 Thu - Suez

 left Port Said 0600 and proceeded along the canal toward Red Sea. Arrived Port Suez 1410, Nith, Blackmore and Ordzani arrived about a couple of hours later. We left with Nith at 1805 and proceeded down Gulf of Suez toward Aden.

17Mar45 Sat

 Changed into tropical rig today. Temperature 74 deg

19Mar45 Mon

 Arrived Aden 1250. Went ashore brought a khaki rig and had big eats. Aden has changed a bit even in this last year.

20Mar45 Tue

 Left harbour 1330 with Nith, this is the last stage of the present trip, we expect to be in Bombay for some while. I suppose Rangoon will be our first opps. Ill be glad to hear from Eileen again

23Mar45 Fri – At Sea – Indian Ocean

 The news came through in the week (Monday) that Mandalay had fallen. Other news this week is that allied troops are firmly established on the east bank of the Rhine, the Russians have cleared all the North side of the Ceder . The Yanks are gradually forcing the Japs out of the Philippines. British troops are moving Southwards toward Rangoon and like me moving east on another two year commission, I’m chokka

.5Mar45 SunBombay

 Arrived Bombay 0830. It looks much the same as ever. Received quite a big mail bag, eleven letters five of them from Eileen.

26Mar45 Mon

 Had a pleasant surprise today, I went ashore with Bungay Williams and noticed a couple of sloops in dock, I asked their names and found them to be Kistna and Narbada, Gavin Elliot and the rest of the crowd from the Kistna are on long leave, but I found Bernard aboard the Narbada. We had a good old chin wag then went ashore and saw “Frenchmans Creek” at the Eros

29Mar45 Thu

 We went alongside the wall today, have shut down V/S (visual signals) watch, but are maintaining S.D.O watch (Signals Distribution Office)

30Mar45 Fri – Bombay

 Bert Davey and I went ashore this afternoon, we spent the afternoon aboard the Narbada, then we carried on to see ”Gipsy Wildcat” it was a pretty poor show.

31Mar45 Sat

 Bernard and one of his pals came aboard this afternoon, we had a chin wag then I went ashore with them by 1630 boat. We had some eats then we went out of town to a dance  we picked Apton up on the way. The dance was quite good but it was also pretty dear. I didn’t dance with any girls but danced occasionally with one of the other fellers, we were quite a merry party including 2 RN lads (Myself and Apton) 4 RiN lads, 2 RN Commando’s and a couple of the ex prisoners of war who cottoned on to us. Somebody sent us over a bottle of Gin which went down very well. We all left at 0420 and I finally turned in at 05h25 getting up again at 0655, jeeze do I feel tired.

04Apr45 Wed

 Received a reply from Eileen's Aunt Lil who I wrote to some time ago.

05Apr45 Thu

 Went ashore with Bungay Williams, Bernard and his Oppo Alan  ..ges to a boxing tournament here.

07Apr45 SatBombay

 Germany is being thoroughly whipped by the allied armies from all sides, now British troops are now in North Eastern Germany, Yanks in S West and central Germany & Russian troops in North Eastern Germany & .astria . Last night Russia renounced her neutrality pact with Japan

09Apr45 Mon

For some time there’s been a buzz that we will commence operations before the monsoons start, instead of waiting until they’re over. It looks as if the buzz was right as we’re moving off Wednesday. I went ashore to say cheerio to Bernard tonight. He’s given me his address again in case I call in at Madras.

11Apr45 Wed

Left Harbour 0730 headed south.

13Apr45 Fri

 Death of President Roosevelt announced this morning. One American Army is only fifty miles from Berlin. The worst and best news.

14Apr45 Sat (file0795)

 Arrived Trincomalee 1200 moved straight alongside the refuelling jetty. Mail came aboard but none for me. Left harbour at 1600. and proceeded North East bound for Ramree Islands and operations proper.

15Apr45 Sun

 The skipper chatted to us over the S.R.E (Sound Reproduction Equipment) today and gave us a few details about our work in the near future.

17Apr45 Tue (Berma)

 Had morning watch. Sighted and challenged Nith 0555. she’d a four hour start on us when we left Trinco too. Arrived in Kyaukpya harbour on RamreeIslands at 0800. The harbour was dive bombed during the night so we just missed. Left harbour at 1000 and proceeded to the South Eastern tip of the island and anchored off shore. Apparently we are acting as a Communications ship and Radar guard to an Army attachment ashore. I wonder if those little yellow B – s will come over tonight.

18Apr45 Wed

 Left Mynlim at 0900 and and returned to Kyaukpya arrived 1130

19Apr45 Thu

 Left Kyaukpya 0600 arrived Mynbim 0800

21Apr45 Sat (Minbyim – AKAYB)

 Left the anchorage on being retruned at 1430 by lags, proceeded to AKAYB arrived 1915 . partial blackout in force.

22 Apr45 Sun

SOSLT’s  staff left this morning. SOAG W2’s staff will be aboard later.

(Senior Officer Assult Group)  or (Special Operations Aviation Group)

23 Apr45 Mon   Kyaukpya (Burma)

  Left Akayb at 0130 arrived Kyaukpya 0645. Went swimming this afternoon in a bay inshore. Went to an Ensa Show this evening there we no seats or microphone so we had to stand up and sweat, and we could hardly hear, but we enjoyed it all the same.

(Ensa Show = Song & Dance show)

27Apr45 Fri

 For some days now, ships have been arriving until this moment when the harbours full of them in all shapes and sizes the buzz that there’s an invasion coming off, has been going around for some time, I think it will be Rangoon but don’t know. SOAG W2’s and staff came aboard yesterday, signalman are now in three watches

28Apr45 Sat (File0796)

  The first wave of LBV (Landing Barge Vehicle) left this evening, the objective is defiantly Rangoon. We’ve had ten Army sigs land on us in mess, making 19 of us. The ship is absolutely chok full of staff officers of the various assault groups.

29Apr45 Sun

 The second wave consisting of, LBV’s, Cruisers, M.Ls, Frigates and LSV’s (Landing Ship Vehicles) left this morning. Troop carrying planes flew off from the strips this afternoon. This morning 4 escort carriers and six destroyers arrived outside the harbour, I think all the HQ ships will be leaving at first light tomorrow, that means as the wireless announced that the Japs are making a stand 62 miles from Rangoon, that’s what they think.

30Apr45 Mon  “OPPERATIONS” Bay of Bengal

 Left harbour in convoy with Silvid, Persimmon, Glenroy, Prins Albert, Phoebe, Largs, four AirSea rescue craft and three troopers. To the south of us another force consisting of force consisting of four Aircraft carriers, four Destroyers and a Cruiser. A battalion of Ghurkha paratroops is being dropped on D minus One and we’ll arrive on D-day which is Wednesday. We’ve to run the gauntlet of six five inch guns at 400 yards range, but we should be able to quieten them once we get within Oerlikon Range providing they don’t get us first and first target is a store depot which it is expected will be defended by about 500 Japs   

01May45 Tue

 Last night a gale sprung up and is expected to last two days, the Ghurkha Paratroopers have been dropped but aircraft are now grounded, we were relying on the aircraft to wipe out the battery of 5-gs at the mouth of the river, now we will have to dispose of them ourselves. Another peace rumout going around in eagerly we close up to action stations at 1900 tonight.

02May45 Wed

 Had a shake at 0001 for the middle watch we’ve anchored about 30 miles from Rangoon. Landing craft and ML’s started going in at 0300 we’ve got to stay here for five days apparently. Turned on at 0420, action stations at 0455, turned in in the wheelhouse  awoke at 0755 aircraft approaching, didn’t materialise. Landings on the two main beaches unopposed.

03May45 Thu

 Radio has announced that all the German armies in Northern Italy have surrendered unconditionally the agreement was signed last Sunday. That must have been the peace gamo we heard. Out here the troops have arrived in Rangoon and we’ve hoisted the white ensign. Forty Japs killed and one prisoner taken by the Ghurkha Paratroopers, ten jap ships sunk, we lost one LBV blown up by mine. Eastern fleet bombarding Nicobar Islands, I guess that be our next job

06May45 Sunday

 Weighed anchor and proceeded halfway up river and anchored. All the German armies in Northern Germany, Denmark & Holland surrendered to General Montgomery yesterday.

07May45 Mon

  We are V/S & W/T controlling ship until they rig a shore station up here, there’s plenty of work to be done. Mail arrived onboard today.

 Silvio struck a mine today while proceeding down river she didn’t sink but has returned up river. The japs must have laid them during the night. News came through this morning that Germany surrendered unconditionally to the allies’ yesterday afternoon

 10May45 Thu - Rangoon River

 Moored up river today we are still controlling shipping, it’s a hell of a job on the bridge.

12May45 Sat

 Phoebe has moved off to intercept a Japanese Cruiser and two destroyers 300 miles South of here, had a buzz competition against the other communications mess this evening and beat them.

13May45 Sun

 Was asked to sit on the “Brain Trust” this evening, it was quite an interesting experience

14May45 Mon

Phoebe came in today, re-fuelled and moved straight off again

15May45 Tue

 Aircraft are attacking the Jap Cruiser, Nubian intends making a torpedo attack at dusk. Mail came today, I had three letters from Eileen, I miss her a hell of a lot, I wish I could hurry up and get back too her.

16May45 Wed

 News came though this morning that the jap cruiser has sunk, the others are still being chased. Quite a lot of bets on tonight’s quiz between us and the wardroom.. it was a draw.

18May45 Fri

 Weighed anchor at 0600 and moved down river, passed Kistin on the way out, we’re escort the Islami Sontay and Alinga.

20May45 Sun

 Left the convoy just after midnight and proceeded southwest to Colombo. The Merchantmen are proceeding individually. There seems to be some trouble in Glise Slavia  between Marshall Tito who wants Trieste and us and we, who refuse to give way to force.

23May45 Wed

 Arrived Columbo 1300, but didn’t get ashore until 1800 and had to wear my Sis Suit. Met Mrs H.B (Hunter Blair) and we had a real old chin wag. She’s going to write to Eileen and showed be a gold broach with three moonstones in, that she is going to send her. Left her at 2045 and went to the Regal where I met Nathe and Geordie Hope, saw “ Andy Mardys Double Life” not bad. Returned to ship 0100.

24May45 Thu

 Sailed 1600 for Bombay, the Yeo has been sick for three days now and I have been running things, we’re pretty busy Job. We received about six answer back messages from Columbo this morning.

25May45 Fri

 Was rated L/Sig from 08/12/44 and was awarded GC. From 25/9/45 intend putting in for higher course shortly this means that I may have to do a full commission instead of going home with the ship which will be in the near future. I’ve been mulling it over for some time whether to or not , I did think of asking Eileen’s opinion, but its not fair to worry her about it, I guess I must look at these things from a financial point of view in each case. I do want to make her happy. 

27May45 Sun – Bombay

 Arrived in harbour 0730 understand we are going into dock tomorrow. I hope that means a spell of leave. Tons of mail arrived today

28May45 Mon (File0799)

 Went ashore with Bert Davey and brought some material for Eileen’s birthday

30May45 Wed

 Am at rest camp in Bolaba today just outside Bombay, all red watch are having five days leave here.

02Jun45 Sat

 Received a letter from Eileen today it only took five days to get here, posted 27May

04Jun45 Mon

 I’ve done very little but loaf around since I’ve been here. I miss Eileen badly. I miss that funny little smile of hers and that gay laugh. I’m longing to get back to her.

05Jun45 Tue

 Returned to ship today at 1600. There are only 4 of us in the mess now as the rest are on leave. 

10Jun45 Sun - Bombay

 Hutch, Bungy and Jock went on leave on today, the rest of the crowd came back. I was glad really, as the mess seemed so empty and those three aren’t the best of company by any means.

16Jun45 Sat

 Attended Capt’s requesting this morning to sit a six week course for V/S III hr. Course starts on Monday. Granted

18Jun45 Mon

 As no reply was received to the signal we sent re my course. I got a letter of authority from the skipper and went ashore to make enquiries. After a lot of chasing around I managed to get myself accepted for the course to Braganza II in Gun Barrage Basin.

19Jun45 Tue

 Started the course today it’s a seven week course, have met Jimmie Derbyshire, Bob Mclean, and several other sparkers for SOLSTs Staff. Also Malcom Lewis an Anglo-Indian  friend of Bernard’s who I first met about 18mths ago in Columbo.

20Jun45 Wed – Bombay (file0800)

 So far in this course Ive found that I can still remember most of the things we are being taught from last Octobers course.

22Jun45 Fri

 Went ashore with Malcolm Lewis this evening to see “Rebecca” at the Strand he wants me to write to lady in Columbo for him as he thinks that somebody is tampering with his mail ti his girl there, and he wants me to make enquiries though this lady. I will write tomorrow. Didn’t write to Eileen today it’s the first time I’ve missed unintentionally, but I mustn’t let it happen again.

23Jun45 Sat

  Received six letters today including one from Eileen another was from Mr Payne who among other things advised me not to get married for another three or four years. He too thinks that there will be serious labour disorders within the next few years. I want to find out what Eileen’s views are on going abroad after the war.

06Jul45 Fri – Bombay (Braganza II)

 Halfway through course and still as dumb as ever. Mail has started to trickling through now.

10Jul45 Tue

 Not long ago I wrote to Eileen and asked if she ever thought of coming abroad to live me after the war. Today I had a reply saying she was game. I always knew she would be somehow or other. She’s a grand girl.

 Mr Payne wrote to me not so long ago advising me to hang on a bit before thinking of marriage, and I had been a bit hesitant about marrying as soon as I return, now however I’ve made up my mind to tell Eileen all about the various risks  eg unemployment, and if she still wants us to get married right away, I’m all for it and hang the consequences

22Jul45 Sun

 Went ashore with Bunty and Mally Lewis saw the “ The Great Waltz” at the Metro, then after having some eats went on to the Empire and saw “Love Story” . Had a letter from Bernard at last, Election results will be published on Thursday. I hope the labour will get get in with a small majority.

 LABOUR GOT IN WITH HUGE MAJORITY.

05Aug45 Sun – Marine Drive Bombay

 The course ended yesterday. I think I’ve tripped up on coding instruction and I’m a bit shaky on Fleet work but I was well up on everything else so I may be bumped up yet

06Aug45

 Returned to Waveney this afternoon, she is loaded up with Pongo’s again, so it looks as if the next operation isn’t far off though SOAG isn’t aboard yet. I expect it will be Sumatra and Malaya this time.

09Aug45 – Thursday

 Jean Buchan sent me a little appointments book for my birthday today. Went ashore with Bert Davey . we were to late to go to the pictures so we took a stroll along the sea front, it ws quite interesting mixing with crowd.

11Aug45 Sat

 Yesterday it was announced that Japan had agreed to surrender unconditionally provided that her Emperors position isn’t compromised. No statement from the allies yet.

12Aug45 Sun – Bombay

 Nith left harbour today, I guess she’s the first away on this next operation. The harbour is choc-a-bloc with invasion ships. The staff started coming aboard last night, so I guess well be going shortly. No news of the peace terms

15Aug45 Wed

 Japan has finaly agreed to surrender. Everyone has been blowing sirens and letting off fireworks. SOAG W2 and staff arrived onboard today.

16Aug45 Thu

 Left Bombay 1230 bound for Columbo, it’s a hell of a swell and most of us have been under the weather at some time or other. The Japs are still lighting up ..  most areas usually because they haven’t received the “Cease fire” 

19Aug45 Sun

 Arrived Columbo 0800. Went ashore on duty run but enquired after Mrs H B and found that she is having a holiday at Lagano it will do her good. Came ashore on leave at 1400 with Bert Davey, Jerry Harvey, Bungy Williams and a pongo named Mooney who is billeted on us. We hitch hiked out to the Zoo at Bombayitya had quite a pleasant time. Then went on to Mount Lavenia beaches. Finished up at the SWOC were we had big eats and read books and listened to the dance band until it was time to return. Arrived back onboard at 2300

20Aug45 Mon

 Left harbour 0730, bound for Mandapan I think.

21Aug45 Tue

 Arrived Mandapan 1700

22Aug45 Wed

 Bernard ship arrived this afternoon, we’ve been having a chin wag, still don’t know if this will be a full scale invasion, or whether Japs will surrender first. Left for 48Hr exercises this evening

25Aug45 Sat

 Exercises finished at sunrise, heard that we’d be leaving at 1400 for Madras, so flashed Bernard who asked me to look up his folks. Left 1400

26Aug45 Sun - Madras

 Arrived Madras 0800. Went ashore with Bert Davey and Harry Mooney and after booking some seat at the pictures. Left them to visit Bernard’s people. Met his Father and Mother, promised to meet them again on Tuesday. Returned to the pictures met the other two, saw “ Arsenic and old Lace “, had big eats and returned to ship.

28Aug45 Tue

 went ashore again with Bert Davey and Harry Mooney, did some shopping in town, had fixed up to meet Bernard’s people again but changed my mind, will write to them later.

30Aug45 Thu

 I put up Wilson in the Hittle today for shirking his duty as cook of mess. That’s the third time he’s been adrift it isn’t fair in the rest of the mess. He go 1st LTS report.

02Sep45 Sun

 Japan signed the formal surrender today.

03Sep45 Mon

 left Harbour at 1200 in company with Bulolo, Largs, Persimon, Glegray, Sansouda, Rocksand, Selton, Nith, Gorleston, and three or four large transports laden with troops bound for Malaga to take over from the Japs, we are due to arrive at dawn on Sunday.

08Sep45 Sat

 joined in with several large convoys, and formed single line to pass down the swept channel through Japanese minefield. Dropped anchor at 0210

09Sep45 Sun

Raised anchor at 0515 and moved to take up station on King beach-head to direct the troops and supply landings but as our L G H didn’t turn up we had to lead the assault craft in ourselves. There was no opposition I guess here too the Japs have decided to give in quietly. I had only 10hrs sleep in the last two days as I’ve been on the bridge almost continuously, I’m going to crash tonight even if the ship is sinking    

11Sep45 Tue – King Beach Malaga

 Left the anchorage at 1700 bound for Rangoon, passed 17 Nitto Mara during the night. She’s a Jap Sub chaser.

14Sep45 Fri

Arrived in Rangoon, passed Nadada on way in and I was able to wave at Bernard.

16Sep45 Sat

 Bert Davey and I went ashore and visited the Shave Dragon  Gagoda and a realy sacred pool full of turtles and strange fish, Rangoon is looking very battered as the generator is broken down and we haven’t been able to effect repairs to the bomb damage and other defects.

17Sep45 Mon

  Had a buzz competition against the Army and lost by six points.

20Sep45

 Left harbour at 0600 proceeded down river and southwards bound for Port Swettenham.

23Sep45 Sun

 Arrived back at King Beach head , secured alongside the water boat. Left and proceeded into port Swettenham at 1730. Quite a tiddly harbour here, but it seems to be all swamp

24Sep45 Mon

 Went alongside Song Hiang at 0930 and stored ship, left at 1730 bound for Singapore.

25Sep45 Tue

 Arrived Singapore 1000, moored alongside RFA Alben for oil and water

26Sep45 Wed

 left Singapore 0900 in company with Challenger, Corbra, a flotilla of Byms  two M M S’s and SS Bela  we are bound for Siagon,  seems to be in turmoil, the Annamite Rebels are fighting in the town .

30Sep45 Sun

 Weighed at 0830 and proceeded up river to Siagon. Arriving at 1230. The whole town turned out to greet us they were singing and dancing and generally making merry , we are the first real sign of order that they’ve had, as the army hasn’t yet arrived in force and it’s the Japs who’ve been fighting the Annamites on our orders. A brigade of Ghurkha’s arrived this afternoon by air and went straight into action. They and the Japs have now driven the Annamites out of the town, The position is now:- 

 

Sniping goes on most of the time, about two hundred French were murdered in their homes when the revolt broke out, the remainder are now crowded into the defended sector.

01Oct45 Mon Saigon

 Went ashore with Bert Davey and John Harley there’s quite a bit of stuff here in the way of silks and foot wear.

03Oct45 Wed

John Harley, Bert Davey and I went for a stroll around the town. Around six o’clock in the evening a Frenchman came up to us and started chatting I gave him a tin of fifty Gherkins which I had in my pocket and which are as scarce as gold dust in Saigon. He has invited us to visit him when we are next ashore.

05Oct45 Fri

 John Harley was delayed owing to having to shift some staff gear ashore. But bert and I went round at 1430. We took round as much tinned food and milk as we could cram into our pockets. They wanted to give us money but we didn’t accept. I get quite a kick out of giving them the stuff when I know how badly they need it. John Harley came round later. Bert left at 1800 to do some shopping. Leave has been extended until 2130 so John and I stayed later. They made us take supper although we desisted, as it happened, it was Currie and rice, but I managed to eat it with good grace. When we returned to ship John learned that he is to go down river on the pilot vessel for a week, I guess its good bye for well be gone by the time he returns.

06Oct45 Sat Saigon

 John Harley shook me at 0520 to say cheerio. He was a fine lad, its lousy always saying good bye. Jeanot the son of Markinos whom we visit, came on board today and I showed him all over the ship, then gave him some decent food and tea, I think he enjoyed himself. He’s a nice lad aged 16 1/2 , he doesn’t speak much English but with little he does speak and the little I know we are getting along fine.

07Oct45 Sun

 There is an armistice on with the Annamites, so things are more or less quiet now. Called round at Markinos, took some more food and cigarettes a jar of ovaltine and a bottle of cordial. John and I went cycling in the afternoon he showed me all the notable buildings in the town, he understands my English quite well if I speak slowly and clearly

08Oct45 Mon (File0806)

 The amnesty with Annamite is over, and hostilities have recommenced. Leave has been curtailed to 1930. This evening I went to the pictures with Mr & Mrs Marhino, John and Mrs Marhino’s sister. They were all very excited as it was the first Cinema show in four years. The film was “Across the Pacific” Both Raph and Antoinette can speak English and understand the American dialogue well enough, but I had to repeat the dialogue very slowly to John, who in turn translated to his Aunty who cannot speak English at all. On the whole it was a swell evening.

09Oct45 Tue

 The last of the Staff went ashore this morning, and we are on our own once again. We have closed down v/s and are keeping telephone watch with the shore. We get ashore two days out of three. Good enough.

10Oct45 Wed

  An L B T  took about six hundred troops up river and landed them behind Annamite lines, there was merry hell to play and firing has been going on all through the night, we seem to be using light artillery too.

 Went cycling with John again, I’m beginning to like John a great deal, we string along fine together

11Oct45 Thu

 I take foods in some description or another each time I meet the Marhino’s they are pretty short of almost everything since the revolt began. I’m only to pleased to be able to help them. They gave me a couple of ornaments as souvenirs this evening.

12Oct45 Fri

  John and I can speak to each other normally now and understand each other too, our few days together has helped us to speak each others language fairly well. I’d like to continue our friendship beyond this visit to Saigon, but I guess that’s in the hands of the Gods.

13Oct45 Sat

 I’ve been taking some medicine and vitamin tablets around to the Marhino’s apparently they’ve done some good for his sister in law who had had malaria pretty badly has been taking them and has never felt better.

15Oct45 Mon

 A signal was received today ordering us to sail for Singapore tomorrow. I’m sorry in many ways. This evening I said good-bye to the Marhino’s, both Raph and his wife cried, John had tears in his eyes and I wasn’t so very far from it. Its funny how fond of each other people can get in such a short while. I want to keep in touch with them, for they are a happy family.

16Oct45 Tue - Mekong River  - Cap St Jacques French Indo China

 Shipped at 0845 and turned round to come down river. There were many French people to see us off . Capt Scott Bell and various other staff officers also came down to say good bye. It was rather like starting on a train journey, everyone waving and bidding each other adieus. I felt sad and wondered when I’ll see Raph, Antionette and Jeanot again. Saigon was looking very pretty when we left, the sun was shining full on the town, it was a mass of green growths and white house. To the South East, and down river, of the city there was an oil dump burning whether due to an accident or Annamite I cannot say, and thick black smoke rose lazily to the sky. It looked for all the world like any small English town. The two twin towers of the cathedral stood out above everything else except the smoke. Our last clear view of the town itself was a sea of waving arms which gradually disappeared as we rounded the bend. A lump came into my throat as the last handkerchief disappeared. I’d had such a happy time there, the country is very flat and the river winds in almost compete circles so that I could still see the twin spires for sometime. I looked at them and wondered what Jeanot was doing and whether he was thinking of me too. I didn’t see of them in the crowd. Finaly at about 1040 the spires disappeared beyond some trees and there was only the spiral of smoke to watch. We had come about 25miles and were going at 15 knots. At 1110 we had our first view of  Cap St Jacques  as it peeped over the top of the trees. We finaly reached and passed Cap St Jacques at 12.15 and Piped the French battleship Richelieu and the French Destroyer Le Triumphant who were lying in its lee. Its now 13.15 and we are heading into the blue again, Cap St Jacques is fast falling astern. Goodbye Raph and Antoinette, Good bye Jeanot may we meet again in happier circumstances to renew this friendship.  

17Oct45 Wed

 Passed three French Destroyers this forenoon, Gazelle, Annemite & Somali

18Oct45 Thu - Singapore

 Arrived Singapore 0900 went straight alongside the Oil. Then after sunset we moved alongside the stores ship and stored up. It doesn’t look as if we’re going to get our boiler ever, now.

19Oct Fri

 Lower deck was cleared this afternoon. The old man told us that we are to do another operation. Sourabaya this time. Its pretty hot there according to the news we sure are getting around lately. We’ve seen more action since the war ended, than we saw in the war itself

21Oct45 Sun – Singapore

 Went ashore this afternoon with Harry Upson, Pete Freezel and Jock Barley. We got lift into town. I was surprised to find that 80% of the goods for sale consist of pre-war British goods, which were hidden away during the Jap occupation. Prices are very high. I brought one or two things to take home. Singapore seems to be recovering from the war far more quickly than most other towns out this way. Transport and repair services all seem to be functioning, though not at full rate.

22Oct45 Mon

 Capt Garlston RN and a brigadier with skeleton staff arrive this afternoon. Plus two field Capt’s aboard this afternoon. We move out into the stream and alongside the Oiler at 2200.

23Oct45 Tue

 Sailed at 0100 by ourselves.

25Oct45 Thu

 Arrived Sourabaya 0830, Capt Galston is to become N O I C. The Brigadier is commanding the 49th Brigade who are being landed here. As all the staff Signalmen are on Prinses Beatrice, the Yeoman and the three of us have been working the whole show we’ve been going top rate since six this morning with hardly any breaks, it is now 1900 and some of the sigs from PB have been sent over to help. 

Fri 26th Oct45

 Bert Davey, Milner and I were sent over to the Indonesian Signal Station. We had a Guard of twelve Marines and had orders to haul down the Indonesian Ensign and hoist the white Ensign. The Indonesians objected and a conference was called, we had to wait. The Indonesians served us up with pre war Dutch beer, the best I’ve ever tasted, cigarettes and tuned in the radio to Sidney for our benefit. They placed armed guards with fixed bayonet’s near us, though not near enough to making it seem that they were keeping an eye on us. We made ourselves comfortable and waited until 1300 when we were ordered back to the ship, the white Ensign is still not hoisted.

27Oct45 Sat

 The three of us went ashore again today and hoisted the white Ensign at 0800. 

28Oct45 Sun

 The Army started a drive to clear the dock area of Indonesia, they seem to be meeting opposition for firing broke out this evening

29Oct45 Mon

 Went ashore unofficially today to try and get some stores,. Brought back some binoculars, hand flags, a tool chest, a portable gramophone, a wall clock & two sextants.

Gave the chest of tools to the Coxn of the motor boat, the binoculars to the Yeoman, and a Jap Helmet to Bert Davey. I’ll sell the two sextants to a merchant ship somewhere. Things are going bad for the army , there are only about ten thousand British troops here, and there are rumour of some forty thousand well armed Indonesians marching on the town. Our lads are doing some hard fighting and we are standing by to cover their flanks if necessary. There is supposed to have been an armistice on while Dr Lochams met our Brigadier, but there hasn’t been any break in the gunfire

30Oct45 Tue

 Firing has continued all day despite two amnesties that the Indonesians have broken by opening fire again. These natives are demanding independence on the grounds they can organise themselves, the swine can’t even organise their army, the rabble just open fire when they feel like it. We have been standing by since sunset covering the armies flanks.

 They are heavily out-numbered and are being forced back. They’re having a rough time.

31Oct45 Wed ( File0810)

 News came though that Brigadier Mallary was murdered by the Indonesian mob whilst trying to restore order. His Brigade H.Q. with 300 men was surrounded by Indonesians he went out under a white flag and was talking to their leaders who demanded the immediate surrender. He told them what to do with themselves, the mob started firing and he and four others ducked behind the car they all escaped death, and the Brigadier told the two reporters who were with them, that if they got to splash it all over the world. When the mob dispersed he got up and asked for the Indo leaders and was shot and killed instantaneously. The others escaped by diving into the river, the three hundred men were escorted back to the main army. A truce has been called, I think the Indonesians have now realised what they’ve done for the truce is being strictly obeyed. The army has withdrawn to the dock area and hold a pocket of about three square miles. Already re-enforcements are on the way about 9,000 from Singapore. H.M.S. Sussex and Bulolo are due in tomorrow, we are trying to get the European women and children away in them. There have been bodies floating around the harbour for the past two days. I think the Indo’s tip there dead into the river.

06Nov45 Mon – Sarabaya

 The truce continues, we have now managed to evacuate the biggest part if the internees, and have brought a good deal of supplies and re-enforcements in. Bungays relief arrived onboard tonight he’s due for demob, 31 group, bert Davey & Jerry Harvey are still waiting for their relief’s they are 26 & 25 groups respectively

10Nov45 Sat

  The truce ended this morning at 0600. At 1100 the Carallier  opened up with her 4.7’s for about an hour and ariel bombardment has been continuous. Prinses Beatrix arrived today with mail. I had nine letters six from Eileen.

11Nov45 Sun – Sourabaya (File0811)

 The firing ashore is getting heavier, there are several large fires burning. We observed two minutes silence for Armistice day this morning.

12Nov45 Mon

 Barron swapped shots with a shore battery today, I watched through the binoculars and saw trees flying in every direction. I shouldn’t think there was much of the shore battery left after that lot landed.

14Nov45 Wed

 Caesar commenced bombarding the town this afternoon when an Indonesian battery on Madura Island opened up and potted all around us, Ceaser used her secondary armament and silenced them but they opened up again at sunset and we had to shift our berth. We were unable to locate the battery

 

 16Nov45 Fri - Sourabaya

  The staff moved off today, we are sailing at 0800 tomorrow for Singapore. Capt Greenwood cleared lower deck this forenoon and gave us the story of Sourabaya to date. When he and Brigadier Mallory first went ashore they had three demands of the Indonesians.  To get RAP Wi away, to maintaining law and order, and to disarm the Japs. On the way back from conference they were both cheered by Indonesians, then unknown to both of them pamphlets dated three weeks previous ordering the Indonesians to lay down their arms were dropped. The Indonesians did not believe that they knew nothing about them. Hostilities broke out. Brigadier Mallaby made every effort to stop the the fighting and get the RAP WI away, he was shot by an Indonesian mob while still trying. Eventually truce agreed upon, but nearly broken again by General Christissen threatening to bring all weapons of modern war against Indonesia. At the time he said this we had fewer men than ever in Sourabya due to heavy casualties. We managed to get nearly twenty thousand RAPWI away before fighting recommenced. Tanks were ordered to be brought here but instead they were taken to Batavia were the weren’t needed. Seems to me General Christissen is the big stumbling block in these parts. The harbour has been under bombardment for two days now but we have no casualties so far. The Indonesians keep moving their guns so we have a job locating them, though the destroyers have opened up in retaliation several times. More bodies are floating around today, they all seemed to disappear a couple of days ago. Capt Greenwood said he believed that the gunners who are bombarding us are Japs.

 17Nov45 Sat (File0812)

   Left at 0800, everyone is in the best of spirits. The old man is sick, so Jimmie the one is in command.

18Nov45 Sun

 Passed Gambian and Caprice they asked for news at Sourabaya, and were very pleased when we told them to make birds nests out of the gals.

19Nov45 Mon - Singapore

 Arrived Singapore 1830. Now we’ll see whether or not we are going home.

20Nov45 Tue

 Bags of mail today, I had another letter from May who tells me that Wallie Jackson was killed on his way home in an air-crash. It must have been a horrible shock to his family. His girl was at Willesden waiting to greet him they were to have been married at Christmas.

21Nov45 Wed

 FOW has sent a signal to C in C telling him we are in need of a refit which cannot be done here and that we are no longer required in Force “W” which is as good as suggesting that we be sent home. Bert Daveys relief arrived onboard today, but he isn’t going off yet in case the ship shoves off for home.

22Nov45 Thu

 A signal came today ordering us to do a boiler clean here in Singapore on 30th Nov, so bang goes our hopes of getting home yet awhile

23Nov45 Fri

 Bert Davey and Jerry Harvey drafted off today, they are catching a ship which is going non stop for home. They should arrive in good time for Christmas. Two more lads who I’m not likely to meet again

29Nov45 Thu – Singapore (file0813)

 Had some mail today, our first in eight days. Mail is very bad still.

30Nov45 Fri

 Received orders to go alongside Beachy Head for a Boiler clean tomorrow afternoon.

01Dec45

 Moved alongside at 1600. had arranged to have a run ashore to the pictures, but it was six o’clock before we got ashore and too late, but we made a round of the shops until it was time to catch the boat back.

02Dec45 Sun

 Saw “Mr Skeffington” onboard Beachy Head, not bad.

03Dec45 Mon

 Mail seems to be improving a good deal lately we’ve had a delivery each day for the last four or five days. Its taking about a fortnight to reach us.

04Dec45 Tue

 Had another to do with Hutch this morning. He has taken over nearly all the various jobs which we paid for from the Canteen funds. The trouble is he’s taken over too many and is becoming incompetent. There was a canteen committee this morning and he is postman so was unable to be present. But detailed Jock Barley without asking any of us whether (A) it was OK or (B) Whether we had any suggestions to put forward, several of the mess complained and I told him that we’ll decide to choose a new representative. I was chosen by eight votes to three.

 Had a surprise today when my relief arrived onboard. I’m wondering if this is for demob or whether 1’m wanted on another ship. No draft note has arrived yet.

05Dec45 Wed (Singapore)

 Draft note arrived today. Am going to Sultan for onward passage to U.K. Its going to be heavy work lugging all my rabbits about. This afternoon I went into the wardroom with a signal, and the officers decided to make a farewell party. Most of them got drunk, so did I for that matter, but I remember telling each present, frankly and sometimes not too politely what my opinion of him was. Also sold my statue to the EO for £20 so I couldn’t have been that drunk.

06Dec45 Thu (Singapore) (File0814)

 Couldn’t look my mum in the face today as a result of yesterdays affray. Most of the lads invited me round for sippers but I had to refuse. Left the ship at 1330. When I arrived ashore there was no transport waiting, but I managed to thumb a lorry and put my gear aboard. Arrived Sultan 1510. Did my joining routine. Then had to carry all my gear up a quarter of a mile hill, had to do it in stages it took me three quarters of an hour and I was dead beat at the finish. Later on I went down to get some tea and met Jock Harding of the Waveny, he was drafted off a week ago and is going on the move tomorrow, he had used up his Beer and Cigarette ration, so I was able to give him mine which I had just received. Needless to say he was pleased to see me. Turned in early as I was very tired there were no beds to snare and I didn’t bother to get a mosquito net I just laid my hammock on the stone desk and crashed.

07Dec45 Fri

 I wake at 0600, I’ve been bitten to pieces by the insects, and as stiff as hell from lugging this B------ Gear around. Reported to drafting office and was told to do drafting routine and have my gear ready for leaving at 1400, I am going on the LST 337 to Columbo. Its now 1100. Ive finished the drafting routine and at present I’m sitting on my kit bag surrounded by the rest of my gear. I shudder to think of carting it all down again. Met Johnny Webb SOAG W’2 party who had been drafted down from Siagon. He gave me a hand down with my gear, stowed it aboard a lorry at 1430. Arrived alongside LST 337 at 1515. She is lying around the back of the island in the Johore straights. It was raining steadily and we were all soaked through, so was the gear. There are about 150 of us in this draft all bound for Columbo, we are being accommodated in the Tank space.

08Dec45 Sat

 We should have sailed for Columbo today. But we aren’t sailing now until Tuesday as 368 who is accompanying us has broken down.

09Dec45 Sun

 Met Padre Banks today who used to be the Padre at the L.c. T. C. We arranged to visit Mrs H B (Hunter Blair) together when we reach Columbo.

10Dec45 Mon – Singapore Johor Str (File0815)

  Received orders to sail to independently this morning, but they were cancelled before we could execute them. I suppose we will wait until 368 is ready tomorrow. At the rate things are panning out it looks are though I’ll be spending Christmas in M…. . I learned today that our destination is Trincomalee and not Columbo. That means we’ve got that horrible train journey overland to Columbo to do.

11Dec45 Tues

 Same ting happened today. We again got orders to sail and again they were cancelled. Met Padre Banks today, he is taking passage to Mayling  we’ve arranged to pop in to Mrs H B together. I don’t like that chap and Mrs H B doesn’t either, but I could think of no excuse to put him off.

12Dec45 Wed

 Sailed at 1100 in company with LST368 we passed the main harbour at Singapore at 1600 our speed of advance is 8 ½ knots I feel like getting out and walking at times.

ESTIMATE TO BE HOME AROUND 21ST FEB, BASED ON PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES  

16Dec45 Sun – Bay of Bengal

 Had divesions on board and prayers today. Afterwards I went to communion. Was thinking today about my return to civey street there are so many things I want to do it doesn’t seem possible that I’ll find time to them all. As regards Steel’s I have a good job there; but I fand . Mr McGreggf us  thinking of offering me a job in Calcutta. There are various reasons why I don’t want to know. As soon as I am demobbed I want to joind the Labour party its there that my ambition lies, but I need to keep a job such as steels offers me. For I think it’ll be some time before I get a permanent job in the party. I feel I can be of some use. Everything else seems to lead into a blind alley. It will use up quite a lot of my evenings, but I think Eileen will understand. I’ve also promised the Skipper that I’ll train a signals class at BB each week, that will take up another evening of each week. I think the Skipper is going to offer me a job as an officer in the BB, but I’m afraid I’ll have to refuse at least for the immediate future.

19Dec45 Wed – Bay of Bengal (File0816)

 Our ETA was 1000 today; but this old tub has broken down twice and I don’t think we’ll reach Trinco for another five or six hours, its now 1220. Reached Trinco 2030, were told to disembark immediately. Disembarkation completed 2330, and were told we were too late to catch the train which left at 2345 so were ordered back to 337 for the night. Just another example of Naval stupidity and disorganisation. They must have realised that we couldn’t do it time. They allowed us two lorries to carry a draft of 160 men with kit four miles from the jetty to the station. Returned to the ship and crashed about 0115. Slept rough on a form in the seamen’s mess deck.

20Dec45 Thu

 Got up at 0600 sore, cold and very Chokha. Left ship at 2030. embarked train for Columbo 2145. train left at 2345 managed to get into the luggage rack and slept on top of  the hammocks for the night and had a good sleep.

21Dec45 Fri

 Arrived at Columbo Fort 1515 and transferred to lorries, reached Maying 1600. It appears to be well organised here, were told that we will probably catch Cumberland who leaves 31st

23Dec45 Sun – Columbo

  Went ashore to the J F C today and after tea, went round with Padre Banks to see Mrs H.B. Went round to St Michael’s with her to a carol singing service. Then relaxed with her in the convent and had a rare old scandal. Mrs Hale has invited me to dinner on Xmas day.

24Dec45 Mon

 I have a special duty which allows me to get ashore every day. Brought some elephants and things today, then went to the J.F.C. and helped to put up the decorations

25Dec45 Tue

 I haven’t brought anything in the way of Christmas presents so I am going to give Mrs H.B. the little Chinese idol that Raph gave me in Saigon, and to Mrs Hale Ill give the vase that he gave me. I don’t like parting with them but its no use giving them presents they don’t like. Had tea at J.F.C stayed until 2000 and then went out to Mrs Hales for Dinner we all had a good time; but I had to leave early as my leave expired at 2230, Mr Hale drove me down town in his car.

26Dec45 – Wed Columbo (File0817)

 All leave stopped today for ratings APUK, a rough draft note is expected through and some will have to go today.

 List went up at 1700 My name was on it we’re going on the Cumberland tomorrow.

27Dec45 – Thu

 Stowed gear in the baggage shed. A working party has been made available for seeing it onboard . left Maylina 1545 arrived Cumberland 1525. I have been put in charge of a mess of  17 seamen . We leave at noon tomorrow

28Dec45 – Fri

  Left at 1145 doing 20 knots have been put in five watches on the bridge. I have the first tonight.

30Dec45- Sat

We are still moving North Westwards towards Aden. I felt cold this afternoon and it is still 75 deg. Its going to be pretty cold by the time we reach the Med.

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