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 "Larry", “Duke”, “Chas”, “Charlie”, “Lal & Lawrence”
- Locations UK–Aden-Ceylon–India-Saigon-Rangoon-Africa- Singapore.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arrived Tinco 0930. Got my gear ready to go ashore. But was told that I wouldn’t be going till tomorrow now.
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.
Arrived Colombo 1020, During the night I drank some contaminated water by mistake but had no ill effects.
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.
Had to go to BAO to get some pay as my name wasn’t on books at barracks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Passed Phillipville today. We are following the African coast, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Went to the Odeon with Winnie (sister) this evening. It’s a treat to have a comfortable seat at the pictures.
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.
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.
Len Wilson, Uncle Harry & Aunt Florrie came over so we all played cards. Have arranged to see Len tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Took May out have some eats at Uxbridge. Paid the Skipper a visit and had a right old scandal..
Went round the Jackson’s tonight and played cards
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.
Went for a stroll in the park with Aunt Lott, Uncle Will, May, Winnie and Eileen who stayed over here last night.
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
Took Eileen to the Queens to see a couple of films and forgot what they were but it was grand being with her.
During the succeeding months Eileen and I grow closer to each other and were engaged on Tues 05Dec
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
The CO’s gone ashore officially on a seven day course, but something tells me that most of it will be home work.
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.
Managed to pass a message though to Iris’s dad on HMS Cleopatra today, no reply has come through yet. (Archie Whittington)
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eileen and I went to see May (Gertie) this afternoon, she is very well and being discharged next Saturday
We went to an ARP stand down party and dance this evening, had quite a nice time although Eileen didn’t like it much
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Received two letters from Eileen and my gas-mask which I had left behind when I returned from leave.
Stayed onboard tonight as I thought Eileen may phone, but she didn’t.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most of the hands are pretty sea sick, the sea’s pretty rough too, but they should be ok tomorrow.
Sea is still high, but everyone seems better.
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.
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”
Left harbour at 0800 proceeded more or less Eastward in the company of Nith and Blackmore
Doing a steady 15 knots all the way. Passed Algiers at 1200
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.
Changed into tropical rig today. Temperature 74 deg
Arrived Aden 1250. Went ashore brought a khaki rig and had big eats. Aden has changed a bit even in this last year.
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 Sun – Bombay
Arrived Bombay 0830. It looks much the same as ever. Received quite a big mail bag, eleven letters five of them from Eileen.
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
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.
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.
Received a reply from Eileen's Aunt Lil who I wrote to some time ago.
Went ashore with Bungay Williams, Bernard and his Oppo Alan ..ges to a boxing tournament here.
07Apr45 Sat – Bombay
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
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.
Left Harbour 0730 headed south.
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.
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.
Left Mynlim at 0900 and and returned to Kyaukpya arrived 1130
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)
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.
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