At Scapa Flow. Received letters from Mother and Net. Mother sent on a photo which I got Marion to take on one occasion I was at home. The photo was good of me I believe, but had hardly sufficient exposure and so the face came out rather dark. Mother has sent it on in a little mount which contained some other photo – of Marion I think. She asks what I think of her boy – can’t say I think so much of him as she does.
Owing to the presence of Aunt Jennie at No. 19, you didn’t have my Mother’s company to Church on Sunday and so more disappointment for you I guess.
I also learn with surprise and great sorrow of the loss in the Monmouth of a very promising young fellow who used to live near the “Oporto”. He was a teetotaller and athlete and used to be my boxing chum when I lived at the “Oporto”. He passed for a Warrant Officer just previous to the outbreak of war and was in the Barracks waiting for promotion when he was drafted to the ill-fated Monmouth. He left a widow and six children and was only about 30 years of age himself. I can imagine the grief of his wife, for they were a happy couple when I knew them, and he worked hard to better himself and his family. I am glad to learn that the Admiralty has allowed his wife a pension of 27/- per week but it is little enough recompense for a dear one. He was a good fellow and it makes me mad when I learn of the death of such fine men, all through the mad ambition of an earthly devil, for the Kaiser is such. Many a widow’s curse is vented on him these days – but he deserves more.
Went out this afternoon for more firing exercises. Two seaplanes went up from the seaplane-carrier, which I learn is the Carmania. I watched one of them and despite a strong wind the airman reached a great altitude. He could handle his machine splendidly and it was a treat to watch him come down to the water.
An armed liner came in this afternoon. She is very much like the poor old Oceanic.
About 3-30 p.m. I heard that the Fleet was going to sea tonight. We were making preparations ourself and I could see that the other ships were, columns of smoke rising from most of their funnels. We left Scapa at 5 p.m. and from what I can gather we shall be out for two or three days for exercises. This means that there will be a mess-up in our mails and you will all be kept waiting for some days for a letter from me. This departure was quite unexpected and tomorrow we were to have coaled. If I had known before 3-30 p.m. that we were going to sea I should have written a p. c. to you and Mother, pending the sending of a letter on our arrival in harbour again. This is a rotten sort of game, but it can’t be helped I suppose. Poor old girlie you are being made to suffer these days, and I often hope that there are happier times to come to make up for these hard times.