Daily Archives: February 4, 2016

4 February 1916

S.S. Megantic

Before going to bed last night I had the misfortune to run into our ship’s Adjutant Godsall, who informed me of the one thing which I most particularly desired to remain in complete ignorance, the early morning parade.  Officers in command of units, he said, will have a private parade tomorrow morning, to fix boat stations, you will command the H.Q. people who will be on the boat deck.  The time of parade for the boat deck people is 6 a.m.! arrangements had accordingly to be made to be called, these last as it turned out were quite unnecessary, for at  5.55 our siren let forth a succession of the most appaling blasts, apparently to signify to the people on shore that she was ready to sail.  Unable to sleep through such a din I arose & put on a few clothes, leaving the very chic blue collar of my pyjamas showing above my jacket, to make the G.O.C. jealous.  After many peregrinations I was allotted two boats into which my people were to get in the event of the order being given to abandon ship.  These were changed three times, & in the end we fetched up on what was called the after island, a sort of isolated little boat deck in rear; this we have got to ourselves.  Various orders were read out & we then retired to dress, to the accompaniment of further blasts on the siren, to which no one on shore seemed to pay any attention.  At about 10 o’clock we at last began to get a move on, & in accordance with orders we all donned our life belts, with which it seems we are never to part company until the end of the voyage.  At 10.30 while the ship was still in the midst of a swarm of ships & on our way out of the harbour we had an inspection parade, a daily affair, when the Brigadier, who is O.C. troops, walks round & has a look at everybody & everything; we of course were all drawn up at our boat stations.  On this occasion the General found so much to occupy his attention below, that he had not reached us by 12.30 & we then dismissed; we hope for better luck tomorrow as I personally have a complaint to make.  Our biscuit tin, that is to say the tin on board the boat, in which we are to be rescued when torpedoed, is full of weevilly biscuits.  If he wont listen I shall have a meeting & hang someone from the yard arm – that ought to liven things up a little; voyages are apt to be devoid of excitement on board these days.  After parade I played one set of tennis with Thomson of the Monmouth’s & managed to beat him, after a terrible set which got as far as six games all.  After lunch we had another set & played on for the rest of the afternoon, with intervals of quoits at which I am now getting most proficient.  We adjourned for tea & having had a cup or two I am now writing this, meanwhile, as to our voyage; we started as I said at 10. a.m. & at 10.45 we dropped anchor again in the harbour & waited; this was apparently because two naval people paid us a visit, & as soon as they had gone we cleared out.  We are now going along at a good pace, the sea is just sufficiently disturbed to cause a slight movement on the boat, & the movement is just sufficient to cause the Brigadier to keep to his cabin.

The sky ahead looks none to promising, but at events I think we are going to have it considerably better than last time.  There is a bit of a swell, nothing at all like the tempestuous rollers through which we ploughed on the Aronda.  Things are very different on this boat to what they were on that.  Here we have machine guns mounted at every possible corner, a whacking great 4.7 gun in rear (aft I mean) & a firing party armed with rifles always on duty on deck.  Besides this there are always military officers on watch as well as the naval authorities & we are determined first not to miss seeing any visitor, secondly not to miss hitting it when it is once seen.  At the present moment we are wobbling a lot vibrating vigorously & to this is due the somewhat curious patches of scriggly handwriting.  The lounge is rather far forward & consequently we feel it more than we should when we were amid ships