5th January 1916

At Queensferry. Too rough for the Hospital Boat again today. This afternoon the Battle-cruisers and light cruisers received orders to proceed to sea at 3-30 p.m. One of the l. c’s the Cordelia had a serious case of gastric ulcer (ulcer of the stomach) on board which has been awaiting passage to hospital. It is impossible to send him to Hospital and it would be murder to take him to sea in such bad weather, so the M. O. signalled to us for permission to send him aboard here until such time as he could be conveyed to Hospital. I had to go over in our picket boat to fetch him to our ship. It was awful rough and it was a hard job getting the man down into the boat – he was in a cot. However we managed to get him safely on board this ship, altho’ the rough trip shook the poor chap up some.

These cases of gastric ulcer are very serious and require great attention. A ship is no place for such cases, since they may require an operation of a dangerous nature at any time to save their life. He will have to be watched day and night. However we don’t mind having such a bad case to look after in harbour, instead of going to sea in such rough weather.

The urgency of the departure of the ships leads me to think that there is something doing outside. The last time these particular ships went out, they escorted 24 subs. into the Skagerack, breaking through three lines of net and mine defences for them to pass through into the Baltic, where our subs. soon made their presence felt.

10 p.m. I am keeping the first watch until 1 a.m. so thought I would finish off these notes while the patient is asleep. He is pretty quiet and does not need much attention. He has to have 2 tablespoonfuls of Albumen (White of Egg) Water when awake. This is the only thing he is allowed to receive by mouth.

I am sorry to say that I have not been able to write to you today, the afternoon and onwards having been taken up by this case. In view of the circumstances I know you will forgive me. I started a letter to you but only got as far as “My dear Mabel” when I had to go to the Cordelia.

Last Sunday I sent away for 4 of those pictures such as Marion sent for and which Joe framed. I was rather struck with them and so decided to get some for the future. They are very nice and the price is remarkably low.

Nearly every Wednesday a “show” is given by one of the concert parties from the ships here, in the Y.M.C.A. at Rosyth, and so many men from each ship are allowed to attend. My mates have been occasionally and have given good opinions of these concerts. One of the S.B.A’s went this afternoon and very much enjoyed a pantomime given by the Hindustan’s concert party. The name given to the panto. is “Robinski Crusow”, a corruption of good old “Robinson Crusoe”. The male and female characters are played by men since no ladies are carried on the present day fighting ship. The latest songs were introduced into the show and apparently the performance was very good.

Lady Beatty, who has done so much towards the building and organising of the Y.M.C.A. place here, was present. This lady spends most of her time here-abouts and has done quite a lot for the men in the ships under her husband’s command. She is or was an American woman and is worth a few millions of pounds, which she puts to many good uses.

Well I think this is all the news for today and as I’m beginning to feel sleepy I had better pack up writing, since I must not go to sleep until after 1 a.m. It is now nearing midnight and no doubt you are well into Dreamland.

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