Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday 24th July 1936

“Wakee, wakee!” at 5 o’clock this morning, and ship under weigh for Devonport by 6. A nasty swell when we’d cleared the land. Fell in standing sideways, on the iron deck.

At breakfast our dixies of tea slid off the table rather messily. McLaughlen came in with the appetizing news that, “McDougall, was in the heads, spewing his heart out”.

Washing oars by the break of the focsle. A sudden lurch threw me against the guard rail, still clutching an armful of boat’s stretchers. “Don’t go overboard my handsome; we mustn’t lose that boat’s gear”. McDougall began to vomit, “Over the side, Jock. Don’t make a mess on the guard rail”.

Dinner time. The joint of beef rolled off the table just as the tea had done. I took a plateful of spuds and some bread and took it on deck to eat! Sands, alone of Mess 9, had dinner in the awful focsle. Climbed onto Q gun platform for a doze with McIntee and some others. 30 minutes, but I felt beastly cold. Felt much better by, “Out pipes!”.

Afternoon; a lecture by the Killick. Presently, McLaughlan, with gastly face, said politely, “May I go to the heads, Killick?”.
“Want to spew?”
“Yes”
“Alright. Don’t be long about it”.

The Navy, though not unsympathetic is eminently practical in these delicate matters.
Looking over my shoulder, I saw land ahead. It was Devon. Plymouth Hoe. Dock again. After tea, my first wash of the day. Then supper, and work until 10p.m. Turned in – for the last time, blast it!

This “holiday” has been rough and delightful too. Realism and romance.

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