5th September 1915

Anchored Scapa Flow at 8-30 a.m. Rather unexpectedly we came in harbour in broad daylight and unaccompanied by torpedo boats. Shouldn’t think the subs. could have been about when we came in. Started coaling on arrival – a pleasant task for a Sunday you’ll agree. Makes one forget that it is the Sabbath and I do hate these kind of Sundays. It is such a nice morning too. Sunny, calm and warm – absolutely remarkable for this show. I should so much like to go ashore for a walk, but it can’t be done. Owing to an outbreak of measles at Kirkwall, no communication with the shore has been allowed. The Captain’s and Wardroom Stewards and Canteen Manager generally go ashore in the morning to order victuals, etc, but none of them have been allowed to go ashore.The result is there is very little to get from the Canteen – and I’m the caterer. Managed to rake up some breakfast, dinner and tea. I wanted to give the lads something new for supper and so I tried an experiment. Bought some Lunch Roll (German sausage in pre-war days) and fried it with some chip potatoes to add lustre to this unpretentious article of food. You should have heard the remarks and seen the expressions at suppertime. I was accused of “being a German spy”; “having designs on their lives”; “serving up the disguised untruth”, etc. However, it is peculiar that there was not much left at the end. Oh! the troubles and trials of a Caterer are without an ending – not an happy one anyhow.

An happy event occurred this morning for I received a letter from you. I also received a letter and parcel from Aunt Nina. Parcel contained a chocolate-covered sponge cake and half a pound of butter. Very good of the old girl. Can’t make out why she takes so much interest in me. There are a few items in your letter I want to comment on. You bust off by stating that you did not receive your usual week-end letter and so was not able to spend your Sunday afternoon in writing to me as has been your wont. In answering this sentence in my letter to you today I have not been able to state that it was due to our being here that caused the letter to be later than Sunday in reaching you. You noticed that it took a day longer than usual but I don’t suppose you guessed the cause and of course I couldn’t give you any clue. So you will learn the reason when you come to this day’s notes.

In begging to excuse your differently sized writing on one page – and which you put down to varying light – you need not have written “now you know the reason you will not wonder if I have taken leave of my senses, not that I could be much more senseless than I am already”. This leads me to administer a censure on you fair lady. Senseless eh! That accounts for your taking so much interest in a certain “boy” and by so doing making him a happy ¬†and light-hearted fellow midst the many unhappy and melancholic events of these days. I say events but really these days are most uneventful – they are so much of a sameness. Yet the knowledge of a certain girl’s love buoys the writer through these troublous and miserable times, times which might cause a person without such a person to think of, to grow sad and a poor companion for his fellows. Senseless you are for your great love and patience which you so nobly bear and which deserves a greater reward than I can give. If there is any “senselessness” in your make-up dear, it is for saying that you are senseless. I wish I was as “senseless” as you – I should be a deal more clever than I am now. I think I suffered a spasm of disappointment when I read the sentence commented on. I do hope you will always be as “senseless”.

So glad to learn that the photos of Flo and family arrived home all safe. I was worrying a bit over them for things get roughly handled going from these uncivilised parts. Glad they are in safe keeping again.

You expected me to say in last letter that the “girls could not do without the boys” just as you said the vice versa. I should have liked to have written quite a lot on your remark but you know my ideas about the Censor and so I had to remain dumb. But it is common knowledge and we know it is so by experience, that one cannot get on without the other. Guess that’s love all the way girlie. That was the cause of a certain unhappy Sunday too. Sorry to dig up old scores though for an example.

You write “if any other man than you were to attempt to hold or caress me I believe I should either scream or faint”. I quite believe you , for I have told you what I thought was going to happen the first time I did so. That was in April 1914. Things were different in April 1915 eh!

You wind up your very affectionate and interesting letter by a description of your trip to Batten. I’m afraid I envied your companions, for how happy I should have been in their place, only I should have preferred that the whole company numbered two. Should liked to have been handy with a camera when you were bathing your “tootsies”. I’m missing all the sights, fun and frolic, through this nasty old war. I’m optimistic though and so ” bide a wee laddie, your turn’ll come”. Glad you had such a jolly time and I’m sure you must benefit by such excursions. I like to hear of such outings you know and I wish they were more frequent.

No hopes of an evening service this Sunday. Coal ship did not finish until 8 p.m. Don’t go anything on such Sabbaths. Thought of you at Churchtime – what a dissimilarity in our positions I thought. I am glad though that you are able to go every Sunday and that you find strength enough to go alone. I know full well the power that influences you to attend and I rather fancy that you would prefer to stayed home some Sundays rather than go on your own if it were not for that influence, in fact, you have practically admitted so. I must confess to having experienced a similar influence myself on occasions. I have felt much happier after attending a Service away from home for one big reason and that is I had carried out what I know would be one of your greatest wishes. At the same time I did not lose sight of the truly religious aspect – I had worshipped.

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