Monday, May 07, 2007

Wednesday 11th March 1936

Went along to President just in case there was anything “on”. We were to have been “kitted” on the 18th and “rated” on the 25th, but the hustle still continued.
We were kitted and rated tonight!

A most chaotic evening. Our kit was issued from the slop room. Then we had to mark it with stencils; try on our uniform for misfits. The devil of a rush! At last we were rigged out – a furious CPO helped to dress us – and then doubled up to the main deck to be rated. (“Captain’s – and Commander’s – request men and defaulters – fall in on the main deck!”)

Ayton was the first Jellicoe man to be called up and Baxter, I think, the next. (They took us in alphabetical order.) I volunteered for gunnery and was put in the Forecastle Division. A fo’c’s’leman.

Afterwards, a frantic rush to change into “civvies”. Our uniforms seemed remarkably complicated. Decent, comfortable boots, anyhow. I staggered away with a gigantic kit bag on my shoulder, pipe in mouth. Felt rather hot and dusty, but happy.

Admiral of the Fleet, Earl Beatty died this morning. I saw him during the War, when he came to Grimbsy, cheered as the hero of Jutland.

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