“After the war – providing time allows – I shall rewrite the diary I have kept and so if possible make one book, which will be a memento and possibly a heirloom”.

This is an ongoing transcription of a diary written by my grandfather, a 2nd Sick Berth Steward (later promoted to Sick Berth Chief Petty Officer) on HMS Roxburgh from July 1914 to July 1917.

I’ll add photos and scans of the journals later; if time allows I shall index the whole and make an ebook version.

I’ve censored one or two passages which give names and information that I guess families might prefer to be left undisturbed.

The sick berth:

“Every ship is fitted with a specially equipped “sick berth,” which is really the ship’s hospital, and all minor cases of sickness are attended to here, the more severe ones being sent to one or other of the naval hospitals, as opportunity offers. In the event of war the sick berth would be supplemented by an “operating theatre,” fitted up below the waterline, the doctors and their staff, the sick berth stewards, carrying out this work. These sick berth stewards are all properly qualified medical and surgical assistants, having to qualify at our naval hospitals before they can rise above the rank of “attendant.”

[From  http://www.royal-navy.org/lib//index.php?title=The_Ships_Company_(1914) ]

2 Responses to About

  1. Karen Dickson says:

    Hi, I’ve just come across these fantastic diaries and they are a such an interesting read. I have been researching my great grandfather who was a RM on Antrim during this time. So, although he was not on Roxburgh I have gained so much more knowledge of his whereabouts, and what was going on thanks to the references your grandfather made. In particular it was great to get the thoughts and feelings of someone away from their loved ones and how they felt about what was going on, on a daily basis. It gives me some idea of how my great grandfather may have been feeling. Is this in a book yet? I would certainly buy it if it is.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Karen, Many thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m delighted to hear about your great-grandfather and his service on Roxburgh’s sister ship. It’s been a wonderful experience blogging my grandfather’s diaries and when they come to an end (in a month or so!) I hope to re-package them in ebook format – but I shan’t charge for it. I’ve moved the blog to http://www.jimtothill.com/roxburgh/ (although I shall continue to mirror it here for a while) and will post any updates over there. Best wishes, Jim.

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