17th June 1917

At sea. Captain went “Rounds”. Morning Service was held but I was just too late to get a seat so I waited for the Holy Communion Service. This evening a Lantern Service was held between decks – the first since the ​Natal​ disaster put a stop to such demonstrations. The subject was “The Ascension” and proved most interesting.

I have thought much today of our happy time last Sunday, when we went to Torpoint to see Charlie. I had to think of the different happenings some 3½ hours before the corresponding time at home owing to the clock having been put back that amount of time. It was a pity that time did not permit of our going to Ebenezer. We had a most pleasant day, however, and the weather was glorious. Wonder if Charles is nearer home this week.

I passed the remark last Sunday “Wonder where I shall be next Sunday”. At the time I was wondering whether I should be at sea, still at Plymouth, or having left the ship, since there was such a possibility. The first thought seemed correct and now I am some 1600 miles from England in the Atlantic Ocean. A few more Sundays will elapse ere I am to spend one with you.

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16th June 1917

At sea. The ​Isis​ with a convoy passed us in the night bound for England. I bet they are happy on the ​Isis​ for she has not been home for 2½ years, although there are not many of the original crew left in her.

We have slowed down to 12 knots and will, I understand, continue the journey at that speed.

The patient we had to look after slept the whole night and as he seemed quite O.K. this morning he was discharged to duty.

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15th June 1917

At sea. We have been buzzing along on our own today, the two destroyers having left us during night. Went to G.Q’s this morning.

The weather became rather nasty this afternoon and as we were going 17 knots into a head sea matters became very uncomfortable. Three of us have been sick and feeling rotten. To make matters worse a big sea came in over the foc’sle at 6 p.m. and most of it found its way through a ventilator into the Sick Bay. We took up by the aid of a shovel and clothes nearly three bucketfuls of water. We had almost finished when in came another. This was mopped up. The ventilator was closed down after by a shipwright so we put the kibosh on any more seas coming in.

A notice placed on the board states that “The S.S. Scottish Hero was torpedoed today 45 miles North of our position at 4 p.m.” This is rather cheerful news for we thought we were a good distance away from the submarine area. It is a job now to find a part of the Ocean where one is really safe.

About 7 p.m. a fellow was brought to the Sick Bay for observation. The Commander noticed him acting rather peculiar so sent him in. We have had this fellow here before complaining of being afraid of the ship rolling over. He walks about night-times being afraid to turn in his hammock. His nervous state seems to be due to gunfire whilst serving in the Revenge during the operations off the Belgian Coast. We have to keep watches on him tonight – rather a pleasant pastime when one is feeling so bad. If this fellow suffered from sea-sickness he would not worry much about the ship going over. I don’t!

I am keeping the watch from midnight to 2-30 a.m. so am going to bed now (9 p.m.) so as to get a short nap ere going on watch.

We have covered a thousand miles of our journey, thank goodness.

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14th June 1917

At sea. Early this morning whilst lying in bed awake I noticed that the ship altered course suddenly, causing the ship to vibrate and heel over to a great extent. I learn that the reason was that the Brisk – one of the two destroyers escorting us out of the danger zone – sighted a submarine and of course signalled the fact to us. We immediately altered course out of danger, whilst the Brisk dealt with the sub.

We have been travelling at a great speed causing considerable vibration throughout the ship, especially forward. The men who joined the ship at Devonport are new hands in the Navy and most of them have been having a bad time today owing to the motion and vibration.

“Abandon ship” stations were practised this evening. Last week this time we were nearing Plymouth!!!

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13th June 1917

At Plymouth. This forenoon I had cause to feel elated at the possibility of being able to meet you tonight. The Commander seemed to think there would be leave tonight. After dinner, however, matters did not look so bright especially when the Captain returned from the C-in-C. and the usual “watch-keepers’ leave” was not piped. During the afternoon preparations for sea have been made and I understand we are off tonight.

It is 2-45 p.m. now and things certainly look all against my seeing you tonight poor old girl but I shall not give up hopes until a move towards the Sound is made.

4-30 p.m. I’m afraid all hopes must be abandoned now Mabs. for just now it was piped “Both watches will be required at 6-25 p.m.” That means to say we shall be on the move by 7 p.m. Hope Dad will see the ship in the Sound ere he goes home, so as to inform Ma. The weather has changed this afternoon for it is quite dull and chilly now.

7 p.m. Ship is just proceeding down the Hamoaze. Folks are cheering and waving all the way along. A good crowd is assembled around the bandstand on the Hoe and a great deal of waving can be seen.

I thought of you at 6 p.m. and wondered if you were very unhappy because I was not there to meet you. I prepared you for such a disappointment so hope you are not too sad in consequence.

Anchored in the Sound at 7-30 p.m. near to three large transports. The weather seems to be unhappy because of our departure for it is dull and raining. We are now waiting orders for leaving and I expect when the morning arrives we shall be buzzing down the Channel. Ah! well, the sooner we get on our journey the sooner we shall be home again for that promised leave. My, won’t we all be disappointed if we do not return so soon as expected. The hopes we have for the future leave is our strength and help against the usual misery of departure, and altho’ I feel disappointed at not being able to see you tonight and also to keep that appointment with Aunt Nina, I am not so unhappy as usual.

10 p.m. We are just leaving. It has struck me that Dad will not be home tonight so perhaps he will see the old ship leave. Hope so anyhow. Well, I am giving the old town a farewell look and think of you there, then to bed. Goodnight Mabs. may we meet again soon and have the good time we ought to have had this time although we did not do so bad. Roll on the time when such departures as these will not be so often and we shall be able to have a good long time together.

A notice placed on the board states “Roxburgh is proceeding to Halifax”.

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12th June 1917

At Plymouth. Preparations for taking in 120 tons of coal were in progress when I arrived on board at 7-30 a.m. I think this looks rather ominous. Commander returned to the ship last night, his ship went into Liverpool. Captain brought his wife on board to lunch.

Leave was piped about 1 p.m. and caused great relief to the natives of this port, for matters were pointing towards our leaving tonight. I shall not be home tonight as Woods S. B. A. is going with his chums. There may be an opportunity of seeing you tomorrow but I am doubtful as we were informed that all leave expires at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Drafts of men are leaving and reliefs arriving at all sorts of times. A draft of 23 seamen left this evening for the R. N. B.  Dr. Brown came to the Sick Bay about 5-45 p.m. with a Dr. Churchill. The former – a fine chap – is leaving this evening and came up to say “Goodbye” to me and also show the other M. O. the Sick Bay. We are very sorry Dr. B. is leaving.

At 3-15 p.m. it was piped “The first boat for liberty men will leave at 4 p.m.” At 3-45 p.m. I went along to the Boatswain’s mate to ask him to get the men leaving the ship to muster at the Sick Bay for medical exam. He informed me that leave had been cancelled owing to a signal having arrived ordering preparations to be made for sea. The Captain was ashore with his wife so the signal was sent to him.

Many were the long faces when the news got around about the leave being cancelled. However, they brightened up again when at 4-30 p.m. liberty men were piped to “fall in”. I wish I could have gone ashore since it is possibly the last opportunity this time, but I must not grumble Mabs. for I have not done so bad for leave this visit.

I have been pretty busy this evening getting the draft examined and their papers signed up and dispatched. I thought of you at 8 p.m. and wished I could have met you. It seems a pity that we cannot have more time together when the ship is here, especially in view of the little time we have had at our disposal before and since the war. I hope we shall be more fortunate when peace comes again, otherwise we shall not gain much by marriage. I just long for the time when war and rumours of war, and other troublesome items, will have ceased to prevent us from having a really good time together. The unhappiness of separation we have experienced should only tend to make any such opportunity worth double as much. I wonder if tomorrow will bring disappointment or joy for us.

It has been quiet since 8-30 p.m.

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11th June 1917

At Plymouth. Returned on board at noon. On arrival aboard I saw one of the “Boys” – Remmos, Lance Corpl. – about to leave for Headquarters with four other marines. They are going to armed merchant steamers. Am sorry this fellow is going for he had been a great chum during our adventures at Jamaica, Bermuda and New York. Good luck to him.

I am informed that a telegram came for Captain on Saturday night. He was ashore at the time so officers were sent to look for him as the telegram was an order for him to proceed to the Admiralty. Captain went to London early Sunday morning. We are wondering what he has gone there for, orders I fancy for the coming trip and escort duties. No leave can be granted until he returns on board this evening.

There are no orders about going to sea yet (2-15 p.m.). Ratings have come on board for passage to Bermuda and the Carnarvon, so I suppose we are bound for Halifax.

Captain has returned aboard (3-45) and leave has been granted till 7 a.m. tomorrow so I shall be able to come along with you tonight after all. I hope this sort of “putting off” goes on for some time for I want to see you a great deal after all the lack of opportunity during the past months.

4-30 p.m. Going ashore now.

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9th June 1917

At Plymouth. Missed 7 a.m. boat by 8 minutes through train not running. Reported myself at the Signal Tower, Flagstaff Steps at 7.8 a.m. Boat came in at 8 a.m. for Officers and I went aboard. Saw Officer-of-Watch but there the matter ended.

This forenoon a notice was placed on the board stating that long leave had been postponed but 24 hours leave would be granted to each watch or 48 hours to men finding substitutes. At 11-30 a.m. Captain made speech to ship’s company. Stated that we had to return for another convoy and then we should get leave – 6 days probably.

Wood S. B. A. has offered to look out for me tonight so I am taking the weekend.

1 p.m. Going ashore now until 11-30 a.m. Monday.

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8th June 1917

At Plymouth. We went up the Hamoaze at 8-30 a.m. and secured to No. 6 Buoy. This latter business strikes me as being a wee bit ominous, for if we had come here for leave I think we should have gone alongside the wall.

Soon after securing to the buoy I had to hustle down into the “infectious boat” with the Major, his servant and “tons” of baggage. We spun off to Hospital. I had orders to return by the 11-30 a.m. boat, but as it was 11-40 a.m. when I left the R. N. H. with the servant duly disinfected and considered free from infection, I could not very well get to the Flagstaff Steps by 11-30 a.m. – unless tomorrow would do as well. Knowing that another boat would be leaving the Steps at 1-30 p.m. I decided to run home quick.

I walked to No. 82 in 20 mins and gave the folks a surprise. I met my old friend Beattie going down Wesborough Rd and she was not sure whether it was me or not but gave two hard stares and went on towards her home. I caught her up and, of course, spoke to her.

I found Ma, Jude, Ethel and Mrs. Rowe at home all merry and bright. The letter I sent to Ma arrived about 10 mins after I did – hence their surprise at seeing me walk in. I did not have long with them but had to go to Friary and catch the 12-57 p.m. train to Devonport. It was 1-15 p.m. when that Station was reached so I had to hurry to get to the Steps by 1-30 p.m. but managed it O.K.

The men were coaling when I arrived aboard , having to get in 933 tons then. I made enquiries about leave, but nothing hopeful was granted me. A notice on the board states “Roxburgh‘s movements are not certain, but Admiralty orders are expected soon. A telegram has been sent to the Admiralty for leave as no long leave has ben granted since August last”. So this does not look much to build up hopes on.

Late this afternoon permission was given for men not coaling to go ashore. As I have been ashore today I have elected to remain until the coaling is finished and so give Munday a chance to get ashore early.

8 p.m. Just going ashore.

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7th June 1917

At sea. The old ship was bumping along fine this morning, and kept it up all day. It was splendid to be getting along so fast after the slow progress of other days.

An S.O.S. signal was taken in last night from a ship somewhere about the Bay of Biscay. The signal seemed suspicious though as it was not in code. All allied shipping have a code danger signal now owing to raiders and subs. having lured ships to destruction by sending out S.O.S. signals. We did not go off in replay to the signal.

We passed a lot of wreckage in the forenoon. Met a fleet of steam trawlers accompanied by an armed trawler some distance west of the Scillies. A notice on the board states that we shall arrive at Plymouth at 11 p.m. but I think we shall get there sooner if we keep up our present speed.

Passed the Bishop Rock Lighthouse and Scillies at 4 p.m. Passed several ships from then onwards, and it does not look as if the “terrible U-boats” have much effect. Passed the Lizards at 6-30 p.m. Sighted the Eddystone at 8-15 p.m. – what a joyful sight to such as we, I can tell you. We slackened speed a little after passing the Eddystone and arrived inside the Breakwater at 10 p.m. and dropped anchor. It is still twilight but of course rather too dark to make out the old landmarks, so must wait till morning. An observation balloon can be seen in towards the Hoe – an unusual sight for Plymouth.

I have scribbled short letters to you and Ma informing you of our arrival and hopes to see you tomorrow. I thought of you leaving shop at 8 p.m. and of Dad arriving home at 9-30 p.m. Rather a pity we arrived too late for Dad to see the ship come in. However you should get the letters by dinnertime and I hope to be on land in the evening. It is good to be in the old environs again after 9 months absence. It will be a treat to go to bed tonight without thoughts of subs. and on board a still ship, although we have not had a bad trip for the Atlantic Ocean.

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6th June 1917

At sea. This is the day we have been looking forward to, since it is that appointed to meet the destroyers, and when we should know where we were bound for. The chart stated this morning that we should meet the destroyers about 6 p.m.

Late this afternoon the “buzz” went around that the destroyers would be with us at 5 p.m. This proved correct for at 4-30 p.m. they were sighted on the horizon and the 8 of them soon came up with us. At 5 p.m. the pipe was made “Roxburgh is proceeding to Plymouth” and which, as you may guess, was cheered.

After some manouevring, during which the convoy formed into two lines with three destroyers in position on either flank, we left them with two destroyers as escort. A good speed was soon worked up and we have been nooming along at 18-19 knots. This high speed is a change after the dawdling of the past 13 days. We are about 450 miles from Plymouth, so should soon be with you. In case I leave the ship at Plymouth this time I have been busy today getting my gear ready.

There has been a high wind all day.

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5th June 1917

At sea. We reached the beginning of the danger zone this evening. All the ships have been zig-zagging today in case any subs. were on the wait. Nothing much doing.

Very quiet in the Sick Bay now we are homeward-bound.

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4th June 1917

At sea. This morning we were 677 miles from our rendezvous. Increased speed a little during last night and all the ships are zig-zagging as we are nearing the German War Zone.

Went to “Abandon Ship” Stations tonight. Extraordinary precautions are being taken this trip, and it is enough to make one feel “nervy” but I fail to see whether the danger is any greater than used to be the case in the North Sea when we were there.

Ship is rolling heavily due to her getting light I suppose through lack of coal.

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3rd June 1917

At sea. No rounds. No Morning Service proper. Still rather roughish. Went to Evening Service.

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2nd June 1917

At sea. Wind shifted from south-west right around to north-east and a gale has been in progress all day, making matters very miserable. Very heavy seas have come aboard and there seems to be water everywhere. The Sick Bay was flooded out tonight and we had to dry it up from end to end – not a very pleasant job when one is sick I can assure you. Speed has been reduced to 4 knots as the steamers are having a bad time. Two of the vessels have dropped astern.

Roll on next Saturday!!!

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1st June 1917

At sea. G. Q’s. Very rough.

Major of Marines is sick with what appears to be measles, but the rash may be due to medicine he has been taking. It has gone round the ship that he has got measles and growls are going about because of the possibility of the ship having to go in quarantine. F. S. says he will not have ship put in quarantine if possible.

We are 1,200 miles from England now.

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31st May 1917

At sea. Weather very foggy and the siren has been in great demand. Much rain has been experienced too. We lose sleeping time these nights for the clock is put on 15 minutes every night in the middle watch.

Today and tomorrow are the anniversary days of the Jutland Battle. I wonder if the Germans are still claiming that battle as a victory.

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30th May 1917

At sea. Greater precautions than usual are being taken on entering the danger zone this trip. The various compartments below are being made watertight and will be kept closed when we enter the danger zone. This evening the exercises for abandonning ship were tried.

Captain made a short speech this evening. He said “I have not had any orders yet as to whether we are going to England, Scotland, Ireland – or the Azores (this with a smile) and those men who are spreading rumours about must know more than I do. We should, of course, all like to go to Plymouth for a few days leave”. He then went on speaking about the “abandon ship” drill. The joke about the Azores which the Captain laughed about is this:- Two days ago a rumour started and soon went around the ship to the effect that when we had turned over our convoy to the destroyers we should proceed to the Azores, coal ship, and escort a convoy to South America. Goodness knows what grounds the originator had for turning loose this yarn.

This afternoon we passed a large British motor-sailing ship going South-west. It has been foggy at times today and a peculiar spectacle has resulted on occasions for the ships on either side were enclosed in fog from their gunwhales upwards, so that although the hull was visible the masts and funnel were not. The ships looked like huge motor-barges going along.

We have started on the Great Circle Track today. This runs in a semicircle from a point south-east of the Great Bank to a point in a line with Lands East and slightly North East of the Azores.

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29th May 1917

At sea. About 10-30 a.m. we sighted ahead a large steamer and a two-funnelled cruiser. On getting closer and through exchange of signals we learnt that the steamer was inspecting cable and the cruiser (Isis) was acting as escort. These are the first ships seen since leaving the trade route off America.

At noon today we were due South of the Great Newfoundland Bank.

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28th May 1917

At sea. The steamer that had engine defects has joined up again, having made good the trouble.

Early this morning the hatches were battened down and preparations made for rough weather. The wind was very strong during the forenoon and a heavy sea running. Rain fell heavily too.

Up to noon today we had covered 1,200 miles, about a third of the journey. Roll on the other two-thirds.

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27th May 1917

At sea. Captain went “Rounds”. I attended Morning Service and Holy Communion. Attended Evening Service.

Two of the steamers have not been able to keep up with the rest of the convoy, through engine defects. They have been ordered to Halifax N. S.

A strong wind sprung up this evening and a nasty sea resulted.

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26th May 1917

At sea. Our pneumonia case seems better today and much brighter.

A chart showing the course the ship will take across the Atlantic, the German War Zone, and where the destroyer-escort should meet us on June 6th has been placed on the board. The point where we meet the destroyers is a short distance inside the danger zone and lies in a line with Lands End and in a longitudinal point with the Azores.

The distance we have travelled per the chart looks very insignificant and has caused much growling. We have travelled, and are now travelling, north-east but will turn more northerly when about in the same longitude as the Great Banks. We then steam in a semi-circle (The Great Circle) until we come to the German War Zone. The point where we meet the destroyers is about 48 hours run from Plymouth.

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25th May 1917

At sea. I came on watch at 2-30 a.m. relieving Woods S. B. A.  The clock was put on half-an-hour so I have made the alteration in our watches.

Patient still complains of pain but gets to sleep again after a foment has been applied. Hope he is not going to be an appendix case requiring operation, especially if the weather turns rough.

G. Q’s this forenoon, had a rare time getting wounded from the main top and other places.

The M. O’s think our patient is suffering from pneumonia, and at present an operation is not necessary.

The sea has gradually got rough throughout the day and it is rather cold.

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24th May 1917

At Sea. 4 a.m. preparations were made for sea and we left Hampton Rds at 6 a.m. One steamer (Leeds City) was left behind because she was too slow. A notice was placed on the board stating “Roxburgh is escorting convoy of 12 ships. No other orders have been received yet, but a W/T signal is expected giving full orders”. Destroyers are expected to meet us on June 6th. So that is 13 days to go ere we meet the destroyers and as that generally meet ships well outside the danger zone it is safe to say that it will be all June 8th ere we see harbour wherever it is on the West or South coast.

These cargo boats are all slow vessels and so the journey so far as the danger zone is being done at 8 knots per hour. “Some” steaming. We have been steaming in a north-easterly direction all day. The air is cold and the temp. of sea at 4 p.m. was only 50°.

We only had one bed case yesterday but two more men were put in bed today. One of them is suffering from severe abdominal pain and as he seems distressed and only eased by repeated fomentations we have to keep watches on him tonight.

Our mails were left with the Vice-Consul at Norfolk, Virginia, and should go via New York in such a manner as to arrive in England ere we do.

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23rd May 1917

At Hampton Rds. About 12-30 a.m. a sudden storm arose, the wind springing up and in a very short time assuming hurricane-like force. Lightning, thunder and a rough sea completed the show. The steam pinnace broke away from the boom, drifted past the ship and was damaged before being caught by a tug. It was brought back to the ship and hoisted inboard by the men of the Starboard watch who had been called. The storm raged for about an hour, then died down only to start again shortly after, but this time not lasting very long. This morning the weather was nice and calm again.

This afternoon the men ordered to go to the ships we are convoying were paid six weeks money (suggestive of leave on the other side) and shortly after left the ship for their different billets. Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. the 14 cargo vessels comprising the convoy passed down and went to sea. As the mail had been sent ashore we expected to leave as well, as it was rather surprising to us when we saw several officers going ashore at 4-15 p.m. I understand we are leaving early tomorrow morning.

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22nd May 1917

At Hampton Rds. This morning a small operation was performed on a young fellow suffering from Pleurisy, 40 ounces of fluid being drawn off from around his Right lung. This young fellow has not been complaining of any pain but has been running a peculiar temperature, which is now known to have been caused by this fluid.

150 tons of coal were taken aboard this morning, a lot of it having to be kept on deck. There has been a rumour about leaving tonight, but that has not been confirmed, and the latest is that we shall leave tomorrow.

I wrote to you this afternoon so it is probable (if we are coming to England) that we shall take nearly a fortnight to do the journey, and so the letter should arrive first. This evening I wrote to my friends at Jamaica.

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21st May 1917

At Hampton Rds. All whites is the rig today but it is quite cold compared to yesterday’s temperature. Our patient is rather worse today and arrangements were made to send him to Hospital in the forenoon. His temp. suddenly dropped at noon and the M. O. was fetched. An injection of Strychnine was given to stimulate the heart’s action. The patient was rather depressed and spoke of “not getting over his illness” and “not seeing England again”, etc.

Accompanied by Dr. Browne and Munday he was taken to the U. S. Naval Hospital at Norfolk this afternoon. He received a shaking up in the boat going to the Hospital and another injection of Strychnine had to be given. On arrival in the Hospital he, however, seemed quite cheerful and a lot brighter. It is feared he is suffering from advanced tuberculosis in which case it is doubtful whether he will live to cross to England again.

Provisions were taken on board this evening. A coal lighter with 150 tons of coal aboard came alongside at 5 p.m. I understand our Commander is going to take charge of a transport for the trip across the Atlantic. One signalman is standing by to leave at any time for a grain ship and 15 seamen are being trained in signals to be sent to the grain ships which are collecting here to be escorted home. Everything points to our coming home yet I was told last night by the Chaplain that there was nothing known yet as to our destination.

The U.S.S. Wyoming passed down today and went to sea.

I wrote to Ma this afternoon.

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20th May 1917

At Hampton Rds. I turned out at 1 a.m. and relieved the S. B. S.  The patient awoke at 1-30 a.m. the first time since he had the morphia injection. I gave him some brandy and milk and took his temperature. He is slightly delirious and spoke about “his name being in the papers for his idea for the prevention of insanity”. He soon went off to sleep again.

During the watch I wrote a letter to Mrs. Newman and others at New York. I called Munday at 3 a.m, got some cocoa for both of us, then turned in. I could not sleep though and watched the day come in, and was very much awake at 5 a.m. when Munday called Woods to relieve him. I got off to sleep about 5-30 a.m. but was awake again at 6-45 a.m.

The patient was restless and moaning from 3-30 a.m. onwards, but became quieter at 7 a.m. The two Surgeons consulted together in the Sick Bay at 9 a.m. and it was decided that Dr. Browne should try and persuade the Fleet Surgeon to send the man to Hospital here. The man himself is desirous of being left, so much as he would like to go across (if we are going to England) and see his wife. He is not a good sailor and so is afraid he would not survive a rough trip.

Dr. Browne saw the Fleet Surgeon and after much argument persuaded him to try and send the man . However the Fleet Surgeon could not make a move as the Captain went ashore early this morning for the day. The F. S. came and saw the poor chap and pointed out the chance he would miss of getting home, but – rightly so – the man held out for being left behind. There is no comfort or the necessary fresh food in a ship for such cases and hospital is the proper place.

As the Captain had gone ashore there were no “Rounds”, I went to the Morning Service held on the upper deck. It was terrible hot and we were right in the rays of the sun, necessitating our hats being kept on. We were perspiring considerably and I could not face the Holy Communion Service which was held in a casemate below.

Had a happy surprise today in the shape of a mail. I wondered when fellows were going to stop bringing in letters. There were three from you (dated 16th, 23rd, 30th April), three from Ma (dated 16th, 22nd, 30th April), one form my Cousin Fred in France (dated 22nd April) and one from the Secretary of the S. B. Staff Club. The latter contains some very good news in the shape of “certain alterations for the Lower Deck in which our branch is mentioned”. Through our Club we have been trying hard for the past five or six years to get automatic promotion, raise of pay, and to be placed on a similar footing to the Writers and Ship’s Stewards for promotion and privileges. We can do with a whole lot of “legging up” and the Navy is about the only job where one has not had a war-bonus, or any other help towards the increased cost of living.

I have also received two more “snaps” of our friends at Kingston. It is very nice receiving all these letters but the job is answering them, and I would much prefer to have them regularly once a week.

This evening it came in very cloudy and we were treated to a very fine display of lightning, both fork and sheet. It was very powerful and lit up the heavens and shore. The air was much cooler afterwards.

I was informed tonight that during our stay at New York secret arrangements were being made for a convoy to be taken across.

No watches will be kept on our patient tonight as he seems quieter.

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19th May 1917

At Hampton Rds. Another American battleship – the Pennsylvania – passed by this morning.

Whilst the men were painting ship this forenoon the Commander came along and stopped them saying it was of no use as some more coal would have to be taken in today, tomorrow or Monday, the bunkers having to be filled and some more carried on deck. This carrying of an “upper deck cargo” looks as if we are going a long journey at a good speed. I suppose it is only natural for most of us to conclude that England is to be our destination, although personally I should not be surprised if Brazil was the place.

Leave granted from 4-30 p.m. to 9 p.m. I am watch aboard. Munday and Woods have gone ashore. We have a bad pneumonia case in bed and Dr. Browne after visiting him tonight considered it advisable to keep watch on him during the night as his time of “crisis” (usually the seventh day) is due. The patient has been given morphia and is now asleep, the first sleep he has had for five days. The Chaplain came up tonight and seemed very interested in this man.

9-30 p.m. Munday and Woods have returned from shore. Maryland is not much of a place they state. Some of our men took a car ride to Newport – a 40 minute ride – and say that it is quite a decent place. Woolworth has a big place there.

I may have a trip ashore myself, but am undecided as I have some letters to write. I have a letter from you to answer, but if I am coming home there is no need to write yet, because we shall certainly arrive before the letter.

10 p.m. I am now going to bed as I have to get up at 1 a.m.

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18th May 1917

At Hampton Roads, Virginia. The men started coaling at 5-30 a.m.

The Wyoming went up to Newport to dock and give leave.

9 a.m. U.S.S. Arkansas – sister ship to Wyoming – passed down playing “The King”.

11 a.m. Coaling finished, 345 tons taken in.

1 p.m. A notice has been placed on the board stating:- “Roxburgh is waiting for orders. As the months go by there is an increased chance of going home for a few days leave. But there is no information at present. There is no sleeping accommodation here so leave will be given to 9 p.m. when possible. Virginia is a “dry State”. German agents are known to be about on shore so the men are warned to be careful what they say”. The general idea seems to be that the Captain has received information about going home but, of course, could not tell us outright and so just gave a subtle hint. Some fellows think it is a bit of bluff.

No leave tonight.

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17th May 1917

At sea. Sighted land about 10 a.m. Passed through boom defence of Hampton Rds at 11-45 a.m. Anchored between U.S. Battle-cruiser Wyoming and the French cruiser Marseillaise at 12-10 p.m. The presence of the French ship here further intensifies my belief that we have come here for Mr. Balfour, and I think Marshall Joffre will join the Marseillaise. Wait and see.

This place is one of the U.S. Navy bases. At present we are anchored a good distance down stream but, I hear, we are going further up after coaling. Later: The coaling lighter has come alongside so evidently the contractors here are a bit smarter than at New York.  Remmos has been over to Maryland to see if a mail had been sent for us from New York. Nothing has turned up yet.

9 p.m. A stoker came up to the S. B.  about 8-30 p.m. having dislocated his right shoulder whilst getting down from the lower boom into the steam pinnace. It is rather rough and a very strong current makes the boats alongside pitch and roll so making it very hard for the crew to get out and into the boat from the boom. The F. S. tried to reduce the dislocation by the usual method but the pain was too severe for the man, so he was put under chloroform for about 10 minutes, the F. S. successfully replacing the joint. The man soon recovered consciousness.

We are having a busy time again and have 4 men in bed and 2 in hammocks. I wonder we have not had more sick considering the cold weather experienced at New York after coming from Bermuda. I was making up a drink of milk for myself and a patient about 10-20 p.m. when to our surprise the following was piped: “Hands darken ship, deadlights closed, but scuttles may be left open”. We certainly did not expect this here, but as we are only about a mile inside the boom defence, there is a possibility of submarines getting in, I suppose.

This seems a busy port here, for several British and other steamers have passed by since we arrived. Newport News is the nearest town of any size. This place has become famous in this war because the German raiders Prince Eitel Frederick and Prince Adelbert came in here to escape the British cruisers, and were interned. The Appam was also brought here by the Moewe‘s prize crew. The two German ships have been seized by America and renamed. The Appam is at New York – and is not a German prize.

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