Monday, January 19, 2009

Wednesday 15th December 1943

My reckoning must be incorrect. I thought it was Wednesday yesterday, but apparently it is still Wednesday today! This morning we saw land to port as soon as it got light – a grey mass from which a light winked regularly. Except for the light, we should have thought it was a bank of cloud.

Just after breakfast we passed a high, rocky island on the same side, which most people considered to be Pantellaria, although others swore it was Cape Bon, and not an island at all.

The ship seemed to roll a fair amount during the night but is steady again now. In the forenoon (joyful surprise!) we were allowed on deck for an hour. On the port side there was plenty to see; we were beginning to pass along a high, rocky coastline – quite certainly Tunisia although there were again arguments as to whether it was the Cape Bon, Tunis or Bizerta area.

Presently, an east-bound convoy came in sight, passing between us and the land. A grand picture, it seemed to me, who'd never seen a convoy at sea before. There were about 30 vessels in all, chiefly American, and including a corvette and a submarine. Quite near, to starboard, we also saw a small, rocky island adorned by a black and white light-house. The convoy and the island are far astern out of sight now, but the Tunisian coast is still on our port side.

The stupid orderly, mentioned previously, says the long coast-line cannot be part of the African mainland. “We passed Africa yesterday mate,” he says, “We do 350 knots a day, y'know!”

Received a magnificent pay this afternoon – three crisp English 10/- notes each.
Weather cold and misty all day; greatcoats were worn on deck for the first time. Now it is tolerably warm however. It usually grows warmer in the evenings.

However, warm or cold, clear or misty, smooth or choppy, the "Atlantis” plunges on westwards and Britain-wards at a steady 14 knots, usually 340 miles a day. Good old “Atlantis”! Keep it up!

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