16th May 1917

At sea. On rising this morning I missed the sun shining in the ports which would have been the case had we been steaming South. I spoke about it and was informed that we altered course in the middle watch and was steering west. At 7 a.m. a notice placed on the board stated that the “Ship is proceeding to Chesapeake Bay to complete with coal”. This bay is not far from Washington I see by the map, so am wondering if we are going there for Mr. Balfour – anyhow it is rather suggestive I think.

5 p.m. G.Q’s was the evolution this evening; ought to have been done this morning but for some reason it was left until now.

Windy and choppy again tonight, been calm most of day.

Thought of our appointment with Newman’s tonight. I expect they are just as disappointed as we are now that it cannot be kept.

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15th May 1917

At sea. Nothing eventful happened until 6 p.m. when we came up with two steamers, one the Bermudian bound for New York from Bermuda. The other steamer was ordered to stop and a search party was sent on board. On their return I learnt that the vessel was a British one, 9 days out from New Orleans and bound for Liverpool with a cargo of grain.

Captain made a speech to ship’s company at 5 p.m. Said he was pleased with the way the men had behaved at New York and thought that considering the hasty departure of the ship, the fact that only three men were left behind was very creditable.

A strong wind came on suddenly later in the evning and made the sea quite choppy, but as it was astern there was not much motion of the ship.

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14th May 1917

At New York. At 9 a.m. I heard the Master-at-Arms say “tThere is no more leave here”. I also heard that two men who requested afternoon leave were refused. This looked ominous  and I experienced a certain falling of spirits. I had been thinking that as soon as Mr. Balfour left this city so we should, and since that gentleman left last night for Washington I began to see that my thoughts were going to come true – unfortunately. Other preparations for departure were soon being made, sufficient meat was brought on board for two days, boats were got in and secured and the boilers lighted up.

In view of these proceedings I endeavoured to find Remmos, who is the postman and about the last man to leave shore, so as to send a letter to our friends and inform them of our departure. Remmos had gone ashore so I could not put my wish into practice. Munday and Remmos had arranged to meet Mr. Nadel at 96 Street tonight so it will be a great disappointment to him when he comes there to find the ship gone. Mr. Robinson who manages our football team made arrangements yesterday for the manager, secretary and others of the Overseas team to come aboard tomorrow. He is very disappointed now that these fellows will not be able to come, for he wanted so much to return, in some measure, their kindness of yesterday towards our team.

Such are the fortunes of war I suppose, but we must hope to come here again and so be able to return good for the kindness shown towards us by the good countrymen we have met. We gave them a sort of “leg up” for a while and they felt so much happier with some of their own Navy men with them, because the Americans and others here are so unfriendly for the most. This country is so cosmopolitan that it is difficult to find a true born American. Every nationality in the world finds a representative here. That is what makes it so hard for the Britishers, and so they are delighted to have some of their own breed with them. I’m sure our departure will disappoint them.

We sailed at 4-15 p.m. leaving thee men behind who were breaking leave. No doubt these men would have come aboard had they known we were leaving, for they will not be able to remain at large very long with the police looking for them, and they will require money in this place.

We passed quickly down the harbour and we said silent farewell to the “scrapers” and other places now familiar to us. Wonder if we shall ever see them again, but in any case we must be thankful for having come here and seen this famous city – a fortune that many would wish for. We were soon out of the Hudson River and to sea.

We were waiting to see what notice would be put up with regards to our destination, Dame Rumour said Bermuda, Halifax and England. We had not long to wait and many were the growls and groans when the notice appeared: “Ship will probably arrive at Bermuda on Friday”. Bermuda will be dull!!!

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13th May 1917

At New York. At 12-45 a.m. we were shook up by some fellows bringing in a stoker who was hopelessly drunk and with a deep cut under his chin. His injury was caused I am told through his falling from a taxi. We cleaned and dressed the wound, then laid him down, and covered him with blankets. He was quiet so we went to bed again. The Surgeon on duty put in two stitches this morning and sent the man to duty. The man remembers little of his adventures last night.

The Captain only inspected the men this morning on the upper deck, not worrying about the ship. He seemed in a great hurry. (The British Ambassador came aboard this afternoon.)

Our bandsmen received a dollar each last night, had a good view of the concert and Mr. Balfour etc. but did not have to play at all owing to the concert taking longer to get through than was expected.

Morning Service was held and I attended. Leave was given from 1-30 p.m. so with three other fellows I went ashore. We came ashore with the intention of going to Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, but as the other fellows wanted to go and see the football match between our team and the Overseas Wanderers at Van Cortlandt’s Park I would not back out so went with them.

Sunday is the joy-day in America like most other parts of the world, and games, trips and amusements are carried out. This is chiefly owing to the fact that most of the men are at work on the other days and do not get off on Saturday like in England.

We took the train to 242nd Street same as yesterday. On leaving there we were polled by a young fellow who said we were required in the hotel near the station. We went over to it and there found Mr. Robinson, the officer who manages our team. He told us to go in and sit down as the match would not start until 3-30 p.m. It was now 2-30 p.m.

We had to have a drink with the manager (Mr. Harry Davis) of the Overseas Wanderers. This fellow and the rest of the team are Englishmen and good fellows they proved to be too. At 3-15 p.m. we walked over to the football ground and found quite a good crowd of ladies and gentlemen (English folk for the most) awaiting. These people were glad to meet us and soon struck up conversation with us.

I forgot to mention that during the time we were sitting in the hotel a young Englishman came and joined us and proved a “good angel” through the rest of the day. He has been out here seven years and is the manager of one of the Western Cable Union Stations (Tremont Station). He is only 21 years of age but a well educated chap. His mother is over here. He used to reside at Clapton, London. Two of the fellows I came from the ship with were taking part in the game, so Munday and myself were left with this young chap.

Whilst the game was in progress two lady friends of our “new chum” came along and were introduced to us. One was a Mrs. Newman – a Birmingham woman – the other a Mrs. Sedgwick – a Lancashire lass. They were jolly company and such patriots too. Mrs. Newman had a small Union Jack in her handbag to wave if the ship’s team won. Mrs. Sedgwick is a typical Lancashire lass and kept us in roars with her funny talk. Don’t they “love” Germans and Irish-Americans, the latter chiefly I may add. The Irish-Americans are pro-German in most instances and have made matters very uncomfortable out here for the English people; to such an extent that the Americans have not taken very kindly to the English. Some Americans we have come across are very decent and sociable, others are very stand-offish indeed.

We (Munday, I and Mr. Nadel) were in conversation with the ladies throughout the game. The result of the match was 2-2 – a very fair score and quite in keeping with the game. Spectators and players were delighted with the clean game – the best the Oversea team has had this season.

After the match Munday and Mr. Nadel walked away with our two chums, who had been playing, back to the hotel. I followed with the two ladies and on arrival back at the station, shook hands and saw them away. Mrs. Newman wanted me to make an appointment to come to her home, but I would not do so owing to our possible departure at any time. I returned to the hotel to find Mr. Nadel and my three chums.

Coming across Mr. Nadel and Munday I was informed that the Oversea team had arranged a dinner for us and we were to stay. This was unexpected by the team and we others who came to see the match, but goes to show what a good lot of sportsmen these fellows are. Mr. Nadel said there was time for a stroll whilst the players were changing, so we went out around the Park for about half an hour.

On our return we found the other fellows sitting at the tables ready to dine. Munday and I were given seats right there, but Mr. Nadel decided to go home and meet us later in the evening. He left us after making arrangements to this end. I was just getting settled down in wait for the dinner when to my surprise Mr. Nadel came to me and asked if I would like to go to Mrs. Newman’s house to dinner instead of remaining at the hotel. I was quite taken by surprise and wondered which would be the best course to pursue. It did not strike me as particularly good form to get up from the table and go away, but I also thought the English lady would be offended if I did not accept her invitation. I went over to Munday and asked him if he would come, and as he was in favour of accepting the invite, I made up my mind and so with a short explanation to the gentlemen who were arranging the dinner we left. I also spoke to my other two chums about it, but we arranged for them to come to Mrs. Newman’s house after the dinner had finished at the hotel.

Munday, Mr. Nadel and I went down and joined Mrs. Newman and Sedgwick. I told them I thought they had gone home. Mrs. Newman replied “I was feeling so mean at not having asked you to come and so when I was nearly home I decided to come back and ask you”. I thought this a very kind action and thanked her, and was very glad that I had accepted the invitation after all the trouble she had taken.

So to Mrs. Newman’s home we three fellows went, Mrs. Sedgwick going to her own home and promising to come and see us later in the evening. Mrs. Newman has a little cottage – one of very few in this city, but she could not be happy in the usual flats or apartments. A paper Union Jack is pasted on the glass of the front door, her next door neighbours – Scotch folk – also having one in a similar position. German people live in the houses in front and one of the women made a Union Jack and has it hanging out – this by Mrs. Newman’s request.

The interior of our hostess’ house is British in excelsis. Besides flags there are photographs and pictures of Queen Victoria and King Edward and Queen Alexandra. A small terrier barked at us on entering – this dog was once the property of Germans and when the dog’s present owners first had it the animal could not understand them. It is a most obedient animal now and quite British.

Leaving us in the drawing room to make ourselves “at home” Mrs. N. went into the kitchen and got to work cooking some supper. Shortly after our arrival Mrs. Newman’s son and a young English lodger came in. The latter had been playing football – plays for the team ours ought to have met yesterday in fact – and had a swollen eye through a kick. We gave him a tip on how to treat it so as to bring the swelling down.

Mr. Newman was the next arrival. He is a hot Britisher of about 40 years. He simply stood and stared at Munday and I then rushed over and gave our hands such a grip and shake. He is a keen sportsman and manages the team we should have played yesterday. He has been playing today – the first time for 5 years – owing to his team turning up short of players. I spoke to him about yesterday’s match and he was quite surprised, for although he arranges the matches he knew nothing about playing our team. He is angry over the disappointment and hopes to get up a match.

Remmos and Tierney our two football chums turned up much quicker than we expected; they came away as soon as the supper – which they say was a sumptuous affair – had finished, and found the house quite easily. Dinner was served and during the meal three gentlemen – Irish, Scotch and English – and a lady came in. Another gentleman came later, so there was quite a merry gathering. We had to answer all sorts of questions of course. The general impression seems to exist that we brought Mr. Balfour to America.

9 p.m. came around and as we had decided to go aboard at 10 p.m. we made a move. Mr. Nadel particularly wished to show us his station which is near Mrs. N’s home. All the gentlemen came away with usand we left Mrs. Newman with a promiseto come again on Tuesday. She seemed sorry at our having to go so soon. We trooped over to the Cable station and had a quick look around. I noticed one fine-built chap with only one arm – the left – and which he was working away at a typewriter with, taking in a message at the same time. Time would not permit of our seeing much, so we hurried off to the “tube”. At the station we bade “goodnight” to our acquaintances except Mr. Newman and Nadel, these two despite our protests coming back with us. They seemed a jolly crowd of fellows and assured us of a good time whenever we could come ashore.

We had a long way to go to get to No. 96 St. and it was 10-15 p.m. when we arrived there, so we had little hopes of getting a boat until 11 p.m. However, with our two friends we went down to the Pier, only to find, as we expected, that the boat had left. It was chilly standing about so we strolled up to the Broadway. Mr. Newman wanted us to have a drink so we went into one of the temperance bars and had some iced drinks.

At 10-30 p.m. we left again for the Pier, but received a shock when arriving at the level crossing which has to be passed before one can get on the Pier. A goods train was just going through and our hopes went down further as this apparently endless procession of trucks went past. That train took about 10 minutes to pass, and so we missed the 11 p.m. boat by a few minutes. We found out from the U. S. training ship Granite State moored nearby that a boat would be in at midnight, so we decided to stay, although we were in half-a-mind to accept Mr. Newman’s invite of returning and staying the night at his house.

We wished that we had remained there in the first place, but now that we were on the Pier it was as well to try and get aboard. We tried to persuade our friends to go home and eventually about 11-30 p.m. they agreed to, so we walked a short way with them, then with promises to see them again, we bade them goodnight and returned to the Pier.

When the boat came in there were about 30 officers and men waiting to go on board. I was not sorry to get on board for it was rather chilly on the beach. So ends the day’s outing, which although full of the sort of happenings one would not expect to meet with at home on the Sabbath was nevertheless full of good feeling and fellowship, and nothing wrong.

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12th May 1917

At New York. At 8 a.m. an A. B. was fetched from shore in the steam pinnace having met with an accident whilst riding with some Yanks in the early hours. He was taken to the Hospital first, but as the man had only sustained a badly sprained ankle he was brought to the Pier in a motor-car and then aboard. He states that the motor car was going at a great rate along the road outside the city when it ran into a bank and turned over. The owner and driver of the car was thrown out and sustained a broken nose. This man considers they all got off very luckily. He is now in bed and will probably have his bad ankle as a memoir of New York for some time.

Leave was given from 1-30 p.m. until 7 a.m. tomorrow. At 1 p.m. the Captain had the ship’s company on the Q. D. and made a short speech. He said “When we came here it was not to give leave but for a special reason. During the time leave has been given the mission has been in progress. You men here are to represent the British Navy and I want you to behave yourselves, not get drunk and fall or lay in the streets. The people on shore are very friendly for the most and offer you plenty of drink. I want you to have a good time but do not have too much drink or fail to come aboard. I want you to uphold in every way the honour and good name of our Navy. I was present yesterday at Mr. Balfour’s reception and the dinner given in his honour last night. On both occasions the British Navy and its work was highly praised, so it’s up to all of you to keep this maintained.” This speech was much appreciated.

I went ashore at 1-30 p.m. with three other fellows. It was blowing very cold and raining slightly then but cleared off later. The fine weather is late in arriving this year, just like at home. On arrival at shore first went and changed some money. Then went and caught tube train to No. 242nd Street which is a good way out from the city. We went there because our football team had arranged to play a match with one of the tube railway teams.

On arrival at 242nd St. station we went off to find Van Cortlandt’s Park where the match was to be played. The Park was easy to find and proved to be a very big place. Baseball games were in progress in many places, girl guides and boy scouts at drill, etc, etc. We went to the football pitch but the other team had not put in an appearance, and none of the Englishmen there knew anything about the match. We waited for an hour and then as the opposing team had not come we went to the station again and returned to the city.

It was 5 p.m. when we got back into the Broadway and we were very unhappy about the wasted afternoon. On coming past 5th Avenue – the home of the millionaires, and one of the best parts of New York – we found a big crowd of people apparently just dispersing. On inquiry as to the cause of the gathering I was informed that Mr. Balfour and the British War Commission had just passed, so we had missed a sight by minutes only. Hard lines eh?

We went into a restaurant in Broadway and had tea. Most welcome this and our spirits were somewhat raised by the meal. Next some shopping was done, I having some photography gear to get. Then we went to the “Strand” picture house in the Broadway. This is a big place and was formerly a music hall. A lovely toned organ was playing when we entered and we were treated to some grand music. The place was full when the show started with some very good travel pictures, and which since they were of Arizona I was reminded of Flo and the children. I have wished often since being here that I knew their address so as to drop a card to them. What a surprise it would have been for them. Sure!

The orchestra (about 40 strong) now started off with a selection. The next picture was a comic one called “Neptune’s Daughter”. Then came “H.M.S. Roxburgh one of the British patrol cruisers which is visiting the port”. This was greeted with great applause – to my surprise. The pictures were those taken on the day of our arrival. They shew the vessel from the bow view, the quarter deck, the side with the men waving, and the foc’s'le with the men waving. The pictures were very clear and men recognisable. Similar pictures were shown of the French cruiser which brought Marshall Joffre here from France. This was also well applauded.

A pianoforte solo was rendered by a very good musician. Then came the “star” picture featuring Miss Mae Murray. The title of it is the “Primrose Ring”, and is a modern rendering of an old legend. The picture rather bit at the old style of treating patients by doctors (the kind, affectionate and unscientific method) compared to the latter day style (science before love or gentle thoughtfulness). It was a very pretty picture and the acting very good indeed.

The time was now 9 p.m. so we had to leave. Just as we were coming away a tenor was singing “I stand in a land of roses”, which caused one of my chums to say “Ain’t he a liar”. Leaving the “Strand” we went to the tube station and caught a train to 96 Street. It was 9-30 p.m. when we got there and we went into a restaurant for some coffee and sandwiches, then went down to the Pier. Caught the 10 o’clock boat and went aboard.

Our band is playing a the Carnegie Hall tonight where a concert in Mr. Balfour’s honour has been arranged. Some of the best artistes in New York are appearing. There still exists doubt as to why we came to New York, and although I have no doubt that it is something to do with Mr. Balfour’s visit, I also think that what an officer told me today is true – that we are here on Secret Service.

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11th May 1917

At New York. Many instances have been related to me by our fellows of the open-heartedness of Americans, Australians and Englishmen they have met here. Many very wealthy men have taken them to see the sights, to the theatres, and got them safely put up in an hotel for the night. Our fellows are being treated splendid from what I have seen and heard.

Woods S. B. A. has been ashore tonight and met a Birmingham man who has been out here 14 years. This fellow took my mate to his mother’s house, then around the city and saw him down to the pier after giving him a fine supper. He has arranged to meet Woods tomorrow, will take him to Woolworth’s and other places, home to tea and in the evening to the Winter Palace to see “Passing Show 1917″ – the best revue here. Woods has asked me to come and I feel like going too.

Mr. Balfour and the other members of the British Mission arrived here today and were given a good welcome.

A U. S. Navy doctor came on board this afternoon and was shown around by Dr. Brown. This doctor seemed a nice fellow, and in the course of conversation I learned that the system of our work and theirs was very much alike.

I wrote to Aunt Nina this afternoon. I am watch aboard tonight and have had a busy time with the work of the Sick Bay, photography and other jobs. Also extracted three teeth.

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10th May 1917

At New York. The men started coaling again early this morning and finished their irksome task and cleaned up ship by dinnertime.

Wrote to Mother this afternoon. At 4-30 p.m. went ashore with 5 others. First went to Cook’s and changed our money. Then took a tube train to Smith Street (Down Town). We were amongst the “sky-scrapers” now, Woolworth’s being prominent. Hereabouts too is Wall St. – the Stock Exchange of America – and other famous business centres.

I noticed that 90% of the names over shops and on offices were German; America is rotten with them no doubt, and that’s why Wilson hesitated to declare war.

We also saw St. Pauls, the oldest church in America. The City Hall, where Joffre came today, was seen and a fire in the clock tower had just been extinguished after $25,000 of damage had been done. It is a small hall considering the size of the city, and the ring of high buildings around it only serves to dwarf it even more. This end of Broadway is much dirtier than the up-town end, and the roads are very poor.

We were returning to the tube train at 6-15 p.m. when a fellow stopped me with the usual question “Are you Britishers?” I answered him and shook hands when he said he was. He hails from Stamford Hill, London, which part I know something about. I should have liked to stop and yarned with him for he was eager to engage in conversation, but the other fellows had gone down to the station so I had to leave him.

When I got down to the station the other fellows were in the train and through a misunderstanding on the part of the ticket collector at the barrier I was kept from joining them, and whilst arguing with him the train rushed off with the others aboard. It is a recognised thing on the tube-trains for British or other foreign sailors to travel free. We came down free of cost, but this ticket collector for some reason would not have it although he let the other fellows through apparently thinking I was paying for them. Two American fellows who had witnessed the scene spoke to the old bounder about it and to settle matters one went and got a ticket for me, although I did not know he was going to do so. With a “Come on pard, we’ll see you through O.K.” they rushed me into a train and told me where to get off. They left at the first stoppage so I shook hands and thanked them for their assistance.

I got off at 72 Street, thinking the other fellows had gone there and would wait, but no sign of them could I see. I left the station and decided to walk along Broadway, hoping they would guess my intention. I was stopped by a young American named Flynn – his father was Irish, hence the name – and was engaged in conversation with him for about 1½ hours. He was very keen on Ireland, Home Rule and Naval Topics. I left him and walked along Broadway to a picture place the party of us had decided to go to.

It was now 8-30 p.m. and too late to go in so I decided to wait about for a while in case the fellows came out. At 9 p.m. they had not arrived so I started to walk back to the pier to catch the 10 p.m. boat I had not gone far when a fellow in the U. S. Army uniform walked up alongside me. He proved to be an Englishman who had been in the R. M. Band – has served with some of our bandsmen – but after a short period left it and came over here, joining up with the Band of the 22nd Regt. He has lately returned from the Mexican border and stated whilst down there he was stationed at a mining-town, the miners for the most part being Devonshire and Cornishmen. He left me to go to a dancing house – they are plentiful.

Soon after another fellow joined up with me. A civilian, Scotchman from Dumbarton, engineer by profession but chiefly speculator nowadays. He was very interesting company, for having been here the greater part of 14 years and being a shrewd man, knew most of the inner aspect of New York, its customs, politicians, and business men. He has almost made two fortunes only to lose them in other speculations. States he is now on his third attempt by means of heavy investment in a punctureless tyre. He shew me a small part of this kind of tyre, which is the invention of a doctor, and which if really efficient should have a very great boom in all countries. He has tried the tyre himself and says it is “the goods”. He walked right the way back with me. After giving me his card and shaking hands we went our different ways. His name is Andrew Cassidy.

I made my way to the pier and whilst waiting for the boat a few minutes observed a sudden blaze and fire on the New Jersey side of the river opposite the ship. This blaze was near a green-lighted house which we on board had noticed before and wondered about. I was informed tonight that the green-lighted place is a film studio and that the fire had been made for the taking of a picture. So that’s another puzzle solved.

It has been very cold today and I had cause to be glad at having taken my overcoat tonight. A type-written letter has been placed on the board this evening. It was sent to the Captain by the Secretary of the Marathon Race. It asks for the Captain to come and witness the finish of the race at the City Hall, also for the presence of as many men from this ship as possible to meet the the men from the French and American ships so as to form a sort of guard of honour at the finishing post. The Captain has put a footnote stating that he has replied to the letter and hoping the men will attend.

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9th May 1917

At New York. We have been treated to two instances of American “hustle” since we have been here. Firstly, on the day of our arrival fresh meat was ordered for the following day, but it did not arrive until two days later. Secondly, 560 tons of coal was ordered on the day following our arrival but it did not put in an appearance until this afternoon when lighters came alongside about 2-30 p.m. Coaling started at 3 p.m. and has been kept up continuously until midnight when the hands went to sleep. No leave has been granted in consequence.

Marshall Joffre and other members of the French Mission arrived here today from Philadelphia. The Marshall and M. Viviani were given a great reception, I am told by some of our fellows.

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8th May 1917

At New York. At 9-30 a.m. the ship proceeded up the North River and is now anchored off 96 W Street. In coming up the river we passed the Statue of Liberty; had a good view of the “sky-scrapers” (Woolworth’s and Singer’s); the jetties of all the big lines of steamers – alongside the Hamburg-American jetty was the Vaterland and two other large German liners – all interned since the outbreak of war and now seized by America – “some” capture. A French cruiser was moored alongside one of the jetties.

During the passage up the river we were the subject of much curiosity, and the appended cutting from the New York Evening Herald will be enlightening in consequence. Innumerable photographs of our old “tug” must have been taken.

Several Dutch steamers are anchored in this North River – vessels, I understand, which have been stopped by America from leaving the port as they are carrying grain for Germany. At a rough guess I should think there are 20 steamers under this ban.

We anchored opposite a training ship for U. S. Navy Militia. Leave was “piped” from 4-30 p.m. to 7 a.m. tomorrow. In company with three other fellows I went ashore. We made for the famous Broadway – the main avenue – which runs the length of Manhattan Island and is .14 miles in length. The avenue runs lengthwise and the streets crosswise and go by numbers not names. This is a good institution and necessary in such a big city. Broadway is nothing but shops of all kinds, theatres and picture palaces, and a continuous stream of vehicles – mostly motor-cars and taxis – exists. It is a busy thoroughfare no doubt but I do not consider any more so, if so much in fact, as Oxford St. or other of the London big streets.

One hears in England of the “hustle and bustle” of New York and other cities but it is all “swank” and London is miles ahead. As for the “sky-scrapers” they are wonderful buildings, but the only solution to the problem of getting as much business places into a small amount of ground as possible. There is not room enough for wide, long shops or suchlike, so they have to be built skywards.

There is an overhead and underground railway, also tramcars galore. Recruiting posters are almost as conspicuous as at home, and I believe good work is being done in this line, especially for Roosevelt’s Corps, which that strong personage is going to lead.

During our progress through the streets we were the object of much curiosity and at times we heard people say “Frenchmen”, “Dutchmen” – anything but English, which both amused us and made us wonder why the mistake. Ours is the first man-o-war to come here for 3 years, so perhaps that is why the Americans are unable to “place us”, as they say. Occasionally a fellow would be bold enough to stop and ask if we were from the English ship and what was “her” name. Sometimes the enquirer was one of our countrymen.

If we stopped to ask a policeman a question, a crowd quickly gathered. We were warned by the Commander before coming ashore about the Germans here who are very hostile to Americans or Britishers, and would endeavour to do us harm or make trouble if possible. German names are very prominent over the shops, and I particularly noticed the name “Schultz”; cigar and tobacco shops bearing this name being numerous, no doubt all owned by the same person.

Joffre and the French mission arrive here tomorrow, in consequence greetings to him and the flag of France are conspicuous.

The English notes are hard to pass and it is easiest to get them changed into American notes and money; we changed ours at Cook’s – the tourist agency – losing a penny on a shilling.

We had decided upon going to the New York Hippodrome but on arrival there found it closed. We went up to a policeman and asked him to put us on to a good show. He said “Thar’s a decent leg show at the Gaiety at 8-15″. By “leg show” I am told he meant ballet dancing but wondered at the time what he was getting at. All the theatres commence at 8-15 p.m. and have only one performance, usually ending at 11 p.m. As we had decided to catch the ten o’clock boat aboard this would not fall in with that so we decided to go into a picture palace. We went to a place called the “Rialto”.

The “big” picture was about half way through when we went in but we picked up the threads of the plot – so to speak – and understood it. I forgot what the piece was called but it was about a Russian dancer and the efforts of an Indian prince to kidnap her for his harem, which efforts were frustrated by her lover – a reporter. It was a very pretty picture. A very fine organ provided the music and most remarkable effects were got out of this instrument.

At 7-30 p.m. the orchestra came in and numbered about 60 – “some” orchestra eh? They first played the American anthem, then the intermezzo of Cavalliera Rusticana – a splendid performance. A tenor vocalist then sang, followed by travel pictures. Then a harmony turn was produced by six ladies and five gentleman vocalists. Another picture followed showing the American Navy at target practice, etc. Four men gave a fine glee song. Pictures of the French Navy at sea were next shown, preceded by the “Marseillaise” – to which the audience rose. These were very fine pictures, some of them taken during rough weather at sea. One of the violinists from the orchestra gave a very fine performance next. Then came the big picture again.

We left when this came round, the time then being 8-30 p.m. Apart from the very good pictures, the music, comfort and decorations of this place are excellent. Coming out from the “Rialto”, it was very cold so we decided to go and have some supper.

It was dark now and the real beauty of Broadway was now on view – the electrical effects of different adverts being most beautiful and wonderful. I should never have thought it possible to get such effects, and I must say the Yanks beat us easy in this, for London did not have anything like this when I was up there last. One of the prettiest effects was that of a representation of the American flag waving, the various colours coming into play and the lights so arranged as to give the waving effect. It is impossible to describe the wonderful effects produced. I passed the remark “Wouldn’t the Zeps. have a target if they came over here”, for the place is one blaze of light.

We had supper at a place called “Childs” – there are many of the same kind here like Lyon’s and A. B. C. restaurants. Had a nice supper, during which we got into conversation with a middle-aged civilian who told us he came out here in September. He is in the cinema line and comes from Chatham. Does not go much on New York and all its “swank”.

On leaving him at 9-30 p.m. we promised to meet him tomorrow night at 6-30 p.m. if leave is given. We had to put in half-an-hour’s sharp walking to get back to the boat, but just managed it.

From what I hear the officers and men have been given a good time by various people on shore, and many invitations have been received. I think if the people here had known we were coming they would have prepared a grand time for us, and I should like to come here under peace conditions. Tonight we have only been in a small part of New York City, if time permitted there is Brooklyn, New Jersey and many other famous parts to see. I should like to hunt up my Uncle Tom at Brooklyn but am afraid time will not permit.

Now to bed.

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7th May 1917

Arrived off New York at 11-30 a.m. We came in sight of land early this morning although a thick fog obscured it to some extent. Passed through an outer net defence just after taking on board a pilot at 10 a.m. The track of water leading up to New York is the scene of much activity, vessels of all descriptions being constantly on the move.

The officer of the Guard – a typical American Naval Lieutenant – came alongside just before we anchored and hailed us. He stated that he had received no orders about our arrival, and there seems to have been some misunderstanding about our arrival.

We anchored about a mile below the Statue of Liberty, and close to two American men-o-war, the scout Birmingham and small cruiser Olympia. Our Captain went aboard the latter vessel this afternoon, later returning with her Captain and then going over to New York with him. The Captain returned on board about 5 p.m. with several bags of mail for company.

The fog that lay like a pall over New York and its environs up to 2 p.m. gradually lifted and gave us a view of the Statue of Liberty and a “sky-scraper” (Singer’s building I think). The Brooklyn suspension bridge also came into view.

Some fun was caused about 3-15 p.m. by the appearance of a cinematograph operator who came near the ship in a small tug. He asked permission to come aboard but as this was not granted he took pictures of the men looking over the ship’s side and also cheering on the foc’s'le. I snapped him whilst he was at work.

There was a rumour about going up further at 4 p.m. but this did not materialise. A notice on the board states that “the ship will proceed up at 9 a.m. tomorrow and anchor off 96 Avenue. Orders have been given for coal and this will be taken in as soon as it is ready. Night leave has been applied for”. The Jeanne d’Arc is lying further up I am informed.

It is very cold here, and we have found it necessary to light the fire in the Sick Bay.

It is a very fine sight tonight to see the Statue of Liberty and the “sky-scraper” lit up. There seems to be no light restrictions here yet for the place is all lights.

I received quite a huge mail this evening, letters coming from you (dated 8/4/17), Mother (dated 8/4/17), Miss Hocken (dated 9/4/17), Aunt Nina (dated 3/4/17) and from our friends at Jamaica (dated Mar. 18th). All the letters are of good report and happy messages. The ladies at Kingston are not able to get across to England owing to an order barring all women and children from taking passage – owing to the submarine activity no doubt.

I wrote to you this evening.

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6th May 1917

At sea. Captain went “Rounds”. A short Service was held on the Quarter Deck which I did not attend. Went to Holy Communion Service afterwards.

A heavy sea has been running all day and it is rather cold. We have returned to blue rig today. This afternoon passed a British steamer.

Went to a well-attended Evening Service at 6 p.m. Enjoyed it very much. Thought of you and your probably being at Church as well.

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5th May 1917

At sea. We had hopes of arriving at New York on Sunday but when this morning we started steaming about in circles as if to “kill time” our hopes fell.

Later in the forenoon a notice was placed on the board to this effect – “Roxburgh will arrive off Sandy Hook on Monday morning, proceed to New York and coal. From information received the ship will not go to England in the near future”. The latter part of this notice is considered to be by many a bit of bluff, put up to prevent any men – in case leave is given at New York – writing home stating that they expected to be home shortly, and also to stop men from speaking about likely movements to people on shore. There are men prepared to bet that we are going home. I shall not make up my mind on such an happening but wait events.

Munday S. B. A. who recently rejoined the ship from Hospital and who was on the Sick List two days ago for 24 hours, is now ill again and has been put to bed.

The weather during the trip up to this dinnertime has been splendid and a calm sea, but this afternoon it is raining, blowing, and a nasty sea running, so the prospect of being out until Monday is not a cheerful one.

The Commander, who has travelled a good deal in the States and Panama way, gave a lantern lecture to the men this evening about New York. It was very interesting I understand.

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4th May 1917

At sea. At noon we were 180 miles South of Bermuda and going North. Went to G. Q’s this a.m. As many men as possible had to attend Evening Quarters at 5 p.m. and take their swimming collars or other life-saving outfit. Tubs containing a solution of ammonia chloride and sulphite were placed aft and into these had to be dipped the covering of the rubber swimming collar, or the waistcoat served out to some men. This solution is to make the outfits non-inflammable.

It has been very warm today considering we are going North.

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3rd May 1917

At sea. We sighted and came up with a small sailing vessel at 7 a.m. A boarding party was sent across to search her. She was flying the American flag. On the return of the boarding party I was told that this craft left Cape de Verd Islands 29 days ago. She has on board several Portuguese emigrants and is bound for America. The people did not know that America had declared war on Germany. She was allowed to proceed.

We have started wearing white rig again today and the warmer weather experienced necessitates the change. This evening about 7-15 we suddenly altered course from South-East to North-West. I went on deck to ascertain the reason. Fresh orders had been received and we had altered course to come in with the Berwick. Tomorrow early we shall alter course North and keep together until 27° N. of Equator is reached (South of Bermuda). Then ships disperse, the Roxburgh proceeding to New York.

A notice was placed on the board about 8 p.m. stating “The Roxburgh‘s orders have been modified (meaning yesterday’s) and ship is now to proceed to New York”. Of course, numerous “buzzs” are on the go now – Mr. Balfour’s ears must be burning tonight I should think, because we are going to escort him home, Dame Rumour says.

I thought all along that our movements were too secret for Jamaica to be our destination. Wonder if New York will be a starting-off point for a trip to England?

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2nd May 1917

At Bermuda. Before rising this morning I heard certain “pipes” that left me in no doubt that we were off to sea. I first heard “Picket Boat and Steam Pinnace’s crews get your boats ready for coming in”, then “All boats’ crews secure your boats for sea”. The ship was vibrating through the engines being tried, and the men were making preparations on the foc’s'le above for getting up the anchor.

On looking out the port at 7 a.m. I saw the Berwick coming out and also the Isis already out to sea. The presence of these two vessels with us made room for our wondering what was “in the wind”. We got up anchor and sailed at 7-15 a.m, following the Isis, and Berwick coming along astern. On enquiry as to where we are going I was told that our instructions by signal this morning were to proceed to Latitude 19° South and then disperse and act according to sealed orders. These orders came from the Isis this a.m. A notice was placed on the board about 8 a.m. stating “Ships are proceeding to search for raiders in a southerly direction and will be well spread out”.

When we got got well out to sea we parted company with the other ships and soon lost sight of them. A further notice on the board gives a description of the raiders known to be out. They are the (1)  Seeadler, a large steamer; (2) St. Theodore, a British collier captured some 2 months ago by the Moewe and turned into a armed raider; (3) a full-rigged sailing vessel with powerful motor-engines and armed with guns (she sent the crews of 11 vessels into Rio last month, has been raiding South, but 4 days ago was reported to be about 250 miles South of Bermuda by a vessel who escaped from her); (4) a armed steamer – name unknown; (5) several small sailing vessels have been seen acting suspiciously in the North Atlantic of late.

The Captain makes a note on this notice about the look-outs and asks them to be very careful, especially first thing in the morning as that is the best time to see a vessel on the horizon. The French and American cruisers are assisting in the search. Our course now is for Puerto Rico.

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1st May 1917

Shelley Bay (Bermuda). Munday came on board at 7-15 a.m. having been called at 4 a.m. and told to pack up and go to the Dockyard. The “hands” were called early this morning before daylight. A party of men were sent in at 6 a.m. to bring down the bags of two men being discharged from Hospital.

Later. Firing exercises are being carried out. The fires have been “banked” and we are only nder short notice for sea. No orders yet about going.

The Berwick came in at 7 a.m. and went alongside the Dockyard to coal. She has been doing a steam trial I understand.

Went to G. Q’s this morning. Quite a strange happening after so long, and we were all surprised at the shortness of the evolution, for we quite thought the Captain would give us a good doing after so long. However, that will follow when we get to sea I expect.

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30th April 1917

At Bermuda. The ship was taken out of the basin at 8 a.m. and is now at anchor in Shelley Bay, a short distance out from the Dockyard. Firing exercises are to be carried out during the week out here.

The Bermudian and another steamer arrived today but neither of them brought mails for us. The Berwick went to sea this morning. It is a sudden change to be out here with no leave or sport after so much of both during the past seven weeks.

I wrote to Ma this afternoon in case a mail leaves during the next day or so.

11-30 p.m. Had gone to bed and was just dozing off when the S. B. S. shouted out to me. I awoke and answered him and asked what he wanted. He then told me about a signal that had just been brought in stating “Steam to be raised for 12 knots by daybreak and stand by at 3 hours notice to proceed to sea. Munday S. B. A.  and two men at the Canteen are to be fetched at 6-45 a.m.” I suppose this news is a sequel to that I heard about tonight with regard to a raider being in the Atlantic – a steamer disguised as a sailing vessel. More patrolling now I expect!

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29th April 1917

At Bermuda. There was no Church Parade after the Captain’s Rounds today, the Service being held on board. Through having some medicine to dispense at the time I missed the Morning Service, but went to Holy Communion afterwards.

The dockyardsmen have been working all the day, and those working on the wireless finished up at 10-15 p.m. Some of the men were taken off this job suddenly about 8 p.m. and sent off to the Devil’s Head Wireless Station – the principle station on these Islands – where a breakdown had occurred and needed urgent repair.

Rumours are still numerous and varied and at times it is really amusing to hear some people’s “confidential knowledge”. One man will come along and assure you that it is definite that we are going to England. Five minutes later another fellow will tell you that Kingston is our next port of call. We exist on such “buzzs” these days – for want of something else. I am watch on board today so have not been able to go ashore to Church. Our Chaplain is preaching in the Dockyard Church tonight.

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28th April 1917

At Bermuda. This afternoon I went over to the Football ground and saw no less than three matches, but none of our teams took part.

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27th April 1917

At Bermuda. The Canteen Manager, 3 Signalmen and Dr. Blanford left for England via Halifax today. Our mail went by the same vessel. The dockyard people are still at work on putting in a more powerful wireless installation. They are at work on the trunk in the Sick Bay and the hammering and other work keeps us awake at night, as they are working night and day on this urgent job.

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26th April 1917

At Bermuda. Three signalmen are leaving by steamer for Halifax tomorrow, so as a mail may go at the same time I have written a letter to you.

This evening I had to referee a match between the P. O’s and E. R. A’s, this being the semi-final game. After 70 minutes play the score was 1 – 1, so a further 30 minutes was decided upon, but the score still stood the same at that time, and as it was getting dark (it was 7-35 p.m.) I decided to finish the game for today. These teams will have to play again. It was a most exciting game and I was kept going from end to end throughout.

The dockyardsmen are still working on board.

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25th April 1917

At Bermuda. The refit ends at midnight. This evening I went ashore to play for the “Fore Top” team against the “Marines and Band” in the semi-final of the inter-ship matches. I did not think we would win, but we were beaten by 5 – 0, after a most strenuous game. We were handicapped by having two of the best players away – on the Sick List. The “Marines and Band” will win the Competition I think – and have thought so all along.

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24th April 1917

At Bermuda. F. S. sent for me about 11 a.m. and informed me that I was to take a stoker belonging to the Warrior to the Dental Surgeon at Hamilton. I had to go on board the Warrior to see the stoker and inform him and also see Commander Cochran. I told the stoker to be on board at 1-15 p.m. and then I met the Commander. I told him what I had to do, to which he replied ” All right”. Fancy having a yarn with a millionaire – but he is a gentleman and easy to converse with. No “swank” with him.

At 1-10 p.m. I caught the boat to Hamilton, and arrived there at 2-15 p.m. Took the fellow to the dentist and he made an appointment for 5 p.m. so we left again and had a stroll around, during which time I did a bit of curio-hunting and purchased a few trifles to bring home. I could not get what I wanted – some shells with the coat of arms painted inside. At 4 p.m. we went to tea, at a cafe right opposite the dentist’s house. Had a nice tea and then went for a stroll again until 4-45 p.m when we returned to the “teeth-extractor”.

The dentist – a nice young fellow with a Scotch name and similar accent – dealt with my patient right away. We were away again at 5-10 p.m. I did some more shopping – articles of clothing this time – and then we caught the ferry steamer at 6 p.m. This steamer did a trip around some of the Islands and we passed Boer’s Isle where some German prisoners are interned. A slight drizzle spoilt a trip which would have been enjoyable otherwise. We arrived back at the ship at 7-10 p.m.

This trip took me away for a time from the misery of “coal ship”, for about a thousand tons of coal have been taken in between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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23rd April 1917

At Bermuda. The Bermudian left at 8 p.m. Dr. Blanford was to have gone in her but was too late in arriving at Hamilton. I had to take a patient to Hospital this morning. This was not a very pleasant job for the prayers of the Chaplain and people for rain have been answered, and it has been raining heavily all day. The rain gathered during this and next month provides most of the water supply during the summer months.

Preparations hve been made tonight for coaling tomorrow. A collier has been secured alongside, so that coal will be taken aboard from her and a party will also coal from the heap on the Jetty. There is a rumour about the ship leaving at the end of the week, and as the Boys are to come back from the Camp a day earlier than originally intended, some colour is lent to this story.

Leave has been given until 11 p.m. not 7 a.m. owing to coaling starting early in the morning.

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22nd April 1917

At Bermuda. Captain went “Rounds”. Church Parade held and we marched to the Dockyard Church. Chaplain has come back from Camp to officiate at the Morning and Evening Services, and is returning to Camp tomorrow. He has been having a fine time, I learn in conversation with him.

Dr. Blanford is leaving for England on Monday, via New York.

This evening I went to the Dockyard Church. Enjoyed the Service very much. After supper (8-30 p.m.) I went for a stroll with one of the “Boys” around the Island, returning aboard at 9-30 p.m.

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21st April 1917

At Bermuda. Wrote to Cousins Nina and Net. Bermudian arrived but brought no mail.

Heard a remarkable story today about Commander Campbell V.C. of the Loader. It is very secret so will not log it bt leave it to memory’s recording.

Our football team played and beat the Berwick after a hard game this afternoon. Being watch aboard, I was not able to go and see the match.

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20th April 1917

At Bermuda. Carnarvon arrived from Kingston today. She has come here for provisions. We have provisioned today. Dame Rumour is very busy about our future movements, Kingston, Halifax, England, G. S. W. Africa being some of the places mentioned. We hear that the Antrim and Leviathan have gone home, the Devonshire having become the flagship.

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19th April 1917

At Bermuda. Nothing of interest to report. Wrote to Ma this evening. Watch aboard tonight.

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18th April 1917

At Bermuda. At 1-30 a.m. I was called by the marine “Corporal of Gangway” and informed that a stretcher was required to fetch a man in from the Dockyard. I turned out, called the S. B. A. and made preparations to receive the patient. He was carried in and I found him to be our Ship Steward. I was then informed that another stretcher was required for another man. This fellow was a P. T. I P. O. belonging to the Caesar.

Happens that these two men went to the Dockyard Gate at 11-30 p.m. but was refused admission to the Yard as it was past 11 o’clock. They then walked along the road outside and above the Dockyard, climbed over the wall with the intention of descending into the Yard by way of a large pipe, but both being the worse for liquor, fell and were rendered unconscious. A policeman found them and blew his whistle which was heard by the “corporal of the gangway”. He went to find out what was wrong and then returned for a stretcher.

The Ship’s Steward has sustained a fracture of left wrist and fractured rib. The other man sustained a bad fracture of the ankle. Both suffered from injuries of mionor importance as well. The Fleet Surgeon and a Surgeon came to the Sick Bay and examined the men and gave us assistance to dress them and apply splints. The men were put to bed. The time was then 2-45 a.m. Wethen had some hot cocoa and returned to bed. Sleep however was impossible owing to the shouting and talking of the P. O. He went to sleep about 4-30 a.m. and then we were able to doze off.

The sequel is this, the P.O. was taken to Hospital by the Caesar‘s people, and I took the Ship Steward later. I also drew stores at the Hospital and got on board to dinner at 2 p.m.

The Isis arrived from Halifax today bringing a mail for us, a crew for the Warrior, a temporary Surgeon for this ship, to relieve one of the others.

I had two letters from you and two from Ma, the letters bearing dates 20th and 25th March in each case.

I went ashore at 4 p.m. to referee one of the “Knockout” matches. Enjoyed the game.

The Berwick arrived this evening from Halifax. She has lately returned from England, where the crew had 7 days leave.

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17th April 1917

At Bermuda. Went to Hospital after dinner with two cases. Arrived back on board at five minutes to two, picked up my football gear and hurried over to the field. I played for the “Fore Top” team again against a team of stokers, in the “Knockout” Competition. Our team won and so we enter the semi-finals. The ship’s team played the Britannia afterwards, and won by 3 – 1 after a very good game.

The Boys went to Warwick Camp today, probably for ten days. The Chaplain and one of the Surgeons also went.

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16th April 1917

At Bermuda. Went to Hospital again this morning with a patient. This afternoon I wrote to you in readiness for the next mail. Went ashore at 5-15 p.m. and refereed one of the “Knockout” Competition matches.

The Kleber sailed at 6 p.m.

I went to the Cinema “show” at 8-30 p.m. There were two pictures, the first a comedy, the second a drama-play called “The Seekers”. The latter was very fine, “The Seekers” being a Community much like the Quakers in customs and dress. The plot was very good and the acting splendid throughout the five parts. These two films took until 10-30 p.m.

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