Monday, January 19, 2009

Tuesday 21st December 1943

As soon as we awoke we saw a light flashing at port. Impossible to estimate the pauses or number of flashes as it was hidden by water every few seconds.

At 7:45a.m. however, William looked out into dawn's twilight and sighted land. Nothing but waves visible to starboard, but that long grey line of Irish coast is gradually becoming more clearly visible to port.

The seas have considerably subsided in the last hour. The coast we sighted was that of southern Ireland. We were not sure for a long time, as there was not much sun and the ship didn't seem to maintain a particularly constant course. In between games of “sevens” and “whist” with Mathematical Genius Horrocks, Horrible Parkes and Nobby, I saw the coast slipping past all the morning. Cliffs and rocks, flying spray; ploughed land and fields divided by walls and hedges; cottages and lighthouses. About noon we slowly beat around a windswept pair of islands and later passed to the west of a lonely lighthouse stuck on a rock out at sea, and looking grandly solitary.

Obviously Saltee and Tuscar Rock, and we at last knew our position. Shortly afterwards the “Atlantis” swung out to sea and the Irish coast drifted from sight, in mist and sea-spray. We played “whist” all afternoon.

Just before dusk, many of us cast wistful looks out of the starboard portholes, but there was no sign of England. Apparently we are crossing the Irish Sea in the general direction of Anglesey and Liverpool.

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