Received a call from Ma – my faithful alarum – at 5-20 a.m. I didn’t want to turn out until 5-30 a.m. so was glad of the extra 10 minutes. During that time Ma made some cocoa for me and came in to wish me good morning ere she returned to bed. I soon tumbled out after her departure. Having dressed and had my cocoa I left about 5-50 a.m. casting a farewell glance up at “the window” as I left our kitchen. I had some misgivings then as to whether I should be in these surroundings again as soon as I expected and I wished I could have seen you then.
I arrived on board at 6-45 a.m. On going aboard I noticed that some small boxes were being taken on board. On enquiring I received some astonishing information. The boxes were full of sovereigns – 5000 in fact, and were being guarded during their removal from a special railway van to the ship, by Scotland Yard detectives and also marines. I further learnt that we were taking this money to Halifax (Nova Scotia) being payment for munitions from Canada and America. We are taking 6-1/2 million pounds altogether, it is a safer method than sending it by liner these times. The secret mission of the Argyll has also come to light for she went over with a similar amount of money and is at present in Halifax. I may say I am not a little surprised with the knowledge of where we are going and the mission on which we are going. Surely these are remarkable days and one feels quite proud at their ship being selected for such important duties.
Having heard that we shall leave on our journey across the Atlantic tonight I have written a card to Mother and Judy and a hastily scribed letter to you. A dockyardsman is taking my letter to you and Ma to post ashore as no mail is leaving the ship before we leave here. Of course I am a little disappointed at the turn events have taken and it is the knowledge of what feelings of the same kind you will have that makes me feel the position more acutely. Poor old girl your trials are many these times and I’m afraid that they are to be added to ere all this strifeful time is done and finished with. But you are a cheerful sufferer and most hopeful of better days to come; it is well that you are perhaps.
There seems some hopes of our return to Plymouth on our return from Halifax; if such be the case and leave is given well we shall have been compensated for the disappointment we are to suffer this time. Our little time together last night will serve to give us food for thought during our weary (and rough I expect) trip across the Atlantic. Never thought I should go to that part of the world altho’ I have been told “to go to Halifax” before now by an angry person. It will be one more place to add to my travels abroad.
Near the basin in which we are lying is a transport with Botha’s troops in. They arrived this morning and apparently have not lost much time in coming from the scenes of their success. One hopes they will meet with similar success in the new war zone into which they are to embark – old and tried campaigners.
3 p.m. Left the basin and proceeded into the Sound. I cast longing glances at the scenes of so many happy times – the Hoe and adjoining parts. I also picked up the landmarks, with the natural consequences. At 5-30 p.m. we were joined by our escort (3 destroyers) and left on our long journey. I had a last look at the old Tower. I thought of you at 6 p.m. and could picture your disappointment when you arrived home and found my letter awaiting you. The letter – unopened – will suffice to let you know that our hopes are not to be realised this time. I feel so sorry for you and wish I were not the cause of your sorrow. I have been thinking of you and the folks in No. 19 all the evening and not with any too happy an expression I feel.
Well we are on our mysterious mission now with a vengeance and I am just a little astonished at the secrecy that has shrouded us ever since we left Queensferry on Saturday. I learn tonight that we are taking a course from Cape Ushant to Cape Race and the trip will take about 10 days as we are to travel at a ceremonial speed – about 10 knots. I don’t mind how long it will take as long as the weather keeps fine.
I’m going to bed now – unfortunately not in the same place as last night.