In the Old Country

September 1st – At Sea (Sunday)

Weather rainy & foggy all day except early morning. At least 5 freighters were sighted before 9am. At nightfall fog became heavier. Expect more difficulty in keeping formation during night. Clocks advanced 40 min[ute]s.

September 2nd – At Sea (Monday)

Rain & fog all day. Three freighters passed through the convoy & at least one has a near collision with the Oronsay. One past to starboard & the other to port of us within about 30 yards. They just seemed to suddenly loom up alongside of us out of the fog. I watched from 20.00 – 23.00 hrs for the escort of destroyers from Britain but saw nothing as fog & darkness closed in. I stayed on deck, depite wet, wearing my travel coat, for most of the day.

September 3rd – At Sea (Tuesday)

Weather cold & foggy. Escrt of at least 6 destroyers caught up with us at noon. Considerable wreckage & oil on surface- mostly logs. Bomber met us at 20.00 & flew very low-about level with A deck. At dusk depth charges went off to port of us on two occasions. Several of our destroyers were seen rushing to one place. It is likely that two sub[marine]s were sunk. At 22.00 hrs, red light flashed from starboard point & also many white lights indicating land. We were steering due east at 23.00 hrs & turned about five points to the south at 24.00 hrs. Fog cleared about 20.00 hrs. The lights were directional signals on the Northern coast of Ireland. A petty officer on board the Revenge died & was buried at sea.

September 4th – Firth of Clyde & River Clyde & at Gourock Harbour (Wed)

First saw land in the Firth of Clyde – Little Cumbrae & Great Cumbrae on Starboard & Isle of Bute on Port at 06.00 hrs. Drifting fog clung to tops of green hills & rolled in pretty treed valeys. Dropped anchor at 08.45 hrs at Gourock Harbour. Told that R.C.O.C. to proceed to Borden, 10 miles south of Aldershot on 5th after lunch. Struck with number of ships of all sizes and kinds anchored here. Felt most thankful for safe journey & extremely calm sea. Heard that Admiralty officially announced that our escort sunk the two subs mentioned in log for 4th. Saw first balloon barage [sic] when we drew into Gourock. Some troops from Georgic & nurses too disembarked this afternoon. Raining in evening.

September 5th – Gourock & on Train

We left for Gourock dock at 10.30 instead of leaving Scythia after lunch as originally announced. The Tender Geo V docked after taking a load from the Oronsay & Scythia. We waited almost an 11/2 hr at the Oronsay for men to board.

I first put foot on Scottish soil at Gourock at 13.12 hrs Sept 5/40. On train B3 at 15.00 hrs & left at 15.15 hrs. We passed through Glasgow & stopped at Edinburgh at 18.20 hrs. Had lunch provided by army at station platform & left at 18.30 (bun [?] sandwitches [sic] of ham & sausage with large mug of tea & cookies & chocolate bars). Crossed border into England at about 21.00 hrs at Berwick on Tweed. Pulled into Newcastle on Tyne at 10.20 just as air-raid alarm sounded. Train stayed awhile and then slowly moved out. Whole train in complete black out.

September 6th – On Train & at Borden (Friday)

Air-raid lasted until 02.20 hours – duration of 4 hours. Our boys on orderly officer duty saw a German bomber brought down. Sky was bright with search lights & numerous parachute flares, the later [sic] often number six or seven at one place at one time. Passed through York, Leicester, Ipswich, Banbury, Oxford & Aldershot and arrived at Borden at 12.30 hrs. Marched to Quebec barracks & about to have lunch when air raid warning sounded at 13.15 hrs & lasted until 13.45 hrs. We had lunch at 14.00 hrs which was first meal since we had had breakfast on Scythia at 08.00 hrs the day before. Sent (a cable) telegram to Renie at 4.00 pm or 16.00 hrs “whole convoy arrived safely – love – Denney“. Cost 2s 6d. Air Raid alarm at 21.00 hrs. (we received temporary Identification slips).

September 7th – Borden (Sat)

Saw paymaster & received 4[pounds]. Had pictures for identification card taken after lunch at mess for 1/6. Visited Borden village & bought air mail paper. Saw three large bomb craters. Chap[man] & I went to see Les & found he was at Nottingham for a visit but we met a L[ieutenan]t from Regina in same depot (M.T. Noole [?]) . The word “Cromwell” passed round at 22.00 hrs. We were up all night standing by to repel parachute troops or other form of invasion. Received cape A[nti] G[as] & Rem [?] Rifle with ammunition 50 rounds. Air raid warning 01.00 hrs to 05.00 hrs. 3 bombs about 5 miles away.

September 9th – Borden (Mon)

I was orderly officer for the day. Saw M[edical] O[fficer] for presription for military glasses at 09.00. Made appointment to go to Bramshot for eye exam on Friday at 09.00 hrs to leave Borden at 08.00 hrs. Revolver practice in morning but only six rounds – hit target twice. Rifle drill in afternoon. Air raid warning at 5.40 -6.20. Another at 9.00 to 4.00am. Stayed with men until 10.00. Slept in clothes as I must run to barracks with men if Jerry starts laying eggs.

September 10th – Borden (Tue)

Rifle ranges in the morning. Joined defence posts with Major Perry in afternoon. Purchased air-mattress for 2/1 from “Alkit” representative to be delivered in two days from Alsershot. Air raid warning from 4.50pm to 5.35pm. Another from 8.30pm to 4am. Hair cut from Can[adian?] barber in camp for 1s.

September 11th – Borden (Wed)

Visited M[otor] T[ransport] depot in morning. Air raid warning 10.50 to 11.20. Went to Southampton in afternoon but air raid prevented us from seeing the General Motors plant. Went to Portsmouth after having tea in S[outhampton]. Ran into an air raid on way & another in P[ortsmouth]. Saw a balloon in flames. McArthur & Moore went on 5 days leave. Brown & I to go on 16th.

September 12th – Borden (Thur)

P.A.D. [?] lecture in morning. Gen[eral] McNaughton lecture in afternoon. No air raid alarms. Have to carry A[nti] G[as] cape from now on. Received air mattress – which seems fine.

September 13th – Purley (Fri)

Went to Bramshot in morning for eye exam. Given 5 days leave starting at 12.00 hrs today. Left for Aldershot for glasses. Found man in charge of glasses dep[artmen]t out. Took bus to Guildford & changed from there to London Transport bus which landed me north end of Purley Road. Phoned Uncle Alan who picked me up at Lex garage & informed that bus should have taken me to West-Croydon. Arrived at Aunty Thirza’s at 8.00pm. Met Raymond. Had cold supper & retired at 12.30. Heavy gun fire from A[nti] A[ircraft] guns. Many planes overhead. Slept very well. 5 air raid alarms.

September 14th – Purley (Sat)

Visited Uncle Syd & Aunt Elsie, then Girlie & Paddy Webster, her husband. Their child Colin, very fine boy of 3 years. Girlie very nervous-stays in shelter or house whole time. Went to Croydon in afternoon & bough [sic] underwear (15s[hillings]) & a shirt (11/6). Visited Gran & Grandpa and Auntie Winnie at 8 Woodstock Road, Carshalton at 4.00. All very well. Gran very bright but Grandpa rather struck on his ailments but ate well & seemed in good health. Winnie just getting over ‘flu. Uncle Cecil did not get back from London before I left for Lucas’s. Six alarms during day.Very heavy gun fire in night but slept well.

September 15th – Purley (Sun)

Went to church at Wallington[?] at 11.00. Air raid cut service short. Syd & Elsie there. Walked about beautiful Purley model village & dance [?] with Aunty Thirza in afternoon. Went to Church in Croydon with Alan & Raymond at 6.00pm. Arrived back at 27 Furze Lane [Croydon] just as 2nd alarm of day sounded. Retired at 12.00. Extremely heavy gun fire & bombing during night. 185 German planes brought down. Ton aerial torpedo (unexploded) removed from side of St. Pauls. When exploded in Hackney Marshes made 100 f[oo]t crater.

4 alarms.

September 16th – Purley (Mon)

Visited London. Due to raids could only buy railway ticket to Balham. From there Raymond, Lucas & I walked to an underground & finding flood gates closed could only buy ticket to south end of London Bridge where we alighted & walked over to North side. The whole journey of about 15 miles took us 21/4 hrs 11.00am to 1.15. Walked around & saw considerable bomb damage right at north end of London bridge. Saw St. Paul’s & hole where engineers had removed one ton aerial time torpedo had been removed [sic] before it exploded. Had tea for 5/6. Walked to Buckingham Palace & Westminster area & saw damage which was worse at South side of Westminster Bridge where St Thomas’ Hospital was practically demolished. Decided to start home at 4.30 & had to walk to London Bridge as all buses & taxis were crowded. Stood in line over mile long waiting to get into Underground for 1 hour. Saw many people with blankets etc. on platform staying the night in tubes to escape air-raids. Stood up in Underground all way to Balham. Waited long time for train to Purley. Finally got one when 35 people were crowded inour compartment. landed at Purley with raid in progress & heavy gun fire. Flattened on ground when we heard bombs whistling to earth – fell far away. Got back to Auntie Thirza’s at 9.15 after taking 43/4 hours. 185 planes shot down in 5 raids.

September 17th – Purley (Tue)

Golfed with Uncle Alan in morning. Very beautiful course. Visited Winnie & old folks in afternoon. Then went to Reggie’s at about 7.00pm. Met his wife, Peta (Mabel) & her mother, Mrs Evans. Discovered that they are related to the Chris Holmes’ family. Air raid on so waited but finally started out to walk to Purley using sketch map made by Peta. Gun fire & bombing heavy. Forgot tin hat which I much needed as shell splinters fell round quite heavily. Took 55 minutes to walk to Purley. Peta’s map very good. Arrived at Lucas’s at 12.15pm. 4 alarms to-day.

September 18th – Borden (Wed)

Left Lucas’ in Uncle’s car at 8.15am. Arrived in London at 9.00. Caught coach bus to Farnham at 9.15. Changed to Borden bus there. Met a school master on bus, Mr Halls who promised to get me some information re Education at London University. Arrived in Borden at 11.40 – 1hr 55 minutes which was much better than going up. One raid on while I left London & only one more in Borden during day.

September 19th – Borden (Thu)

New Stand-to order from 6am to 7.3o which means arisinag at about 5.30. Only one alarm during day. Our laundry not back on time as time bombs are supposed to be lying near it. Anglo-American LAundry in London. Gave lecture on Supply and Demand in War to 5 new recruits from 4.30 to 5.00. Copied letter which I wrote to Renie on board Scythia each day using airmail paper and leaving out any names etc.Rained a little during day and very heavily in the late hours of the evening.

 

September 20th – Borden (Fri)

I was Company orderly officer. Lieut[enant] Grandjean 2nd i[n]/c[harge] of General Company to be away for about 2 weeks. Major Perry O[fficer] C[ommanding] general Company asked me to take over for g[randjean] for period of latters absence. Brown returned from leave & attached to M[otor] T[ransport] Depot where Chapman is already attached. No air raid alarms today.

September 21st – Borden (Sat)

McKinnon left for 7 days leave to Scotland. Weather raining. Only one short alarm in evening. Party at Officers Mess – nurses & civilian women present. One alarm 7.30pm to 1.30 in morning.

September 22nd – Borden (Sun)

Not in bed until 2am after party. Missed breakfast. 24 officers arrived – 5 for R.C.O.C. Four short raid & one long one still in progress.

September 23rd – Borden (Mon)

Worked in orderly room. 5 new R.C.O.C. officers, L[ieutenan]ts Hubbs, Slater, Way, Cannon, Forbery taken on strength Gen[eral] Co[mpany]. Quartered these gentlemen in Portman Cottage No. 2 – front room. 4 alarms during night.

September 24th – Borden (Tue)

Worked in Gen[eral] Co[mpany] – orderly room. Campbell, B.A. to check stock & accounting with Grandjean in all Q[uarter] M[aster] Stores in camp – will take several weeks. 3 alarms during night.

September 25th – Borden (Wed)

Officially made acting adjutant General Company of the No.1 G[eneral] H[olding] U[nit]. Went to Aldershot re glasses-had prescription filled for 2 pairs issue glasses & paid 9 s[hillings] extra to have curved lenses in one pair. Long night alarm 8.30 to 5.30am next morning. R[oyal] A[ir] F[orce] bombed Berlin for 5 hrs (11.00 to 04.00). Heat on in orderly room.

September 26th – Borden (Thu)

Gen[eral] Co[mpany] stood to from 6-7am. Had first frost-hoar frost on ground in morning. Weather pleasant for rest of day. The hot water system made the orderly room very comfortable. Yesterday I found that Major (Harry) Murray is in Lille camp at Aldershot. Four alarms (one all night). Second Frost in morning.

September 27th – Borden (Fri)

Three alarms. Letter from Uncle Stan in Wales (Pembroke). Weather fine. MacKinnon returned from leave.

September 28th – Borden (Sat)

Weather fine. Four alarms (one all night). Last group of O.O’s [Ordnance Officers?] to arrive posted to-day. Went [to] Garrison Theatre & saw vaudeville. Had to show identification pass for 1st time on entering our gate. 1st flotilla of the 50 American destroyers from U[nited] S[tates] to Britain arrived.

September 29th – Borden (Sun)

O.M.Es warned for transfer to No 2 Army Field Workshop. Saw peculiar light on gas works – told M[a]j[or] Frost who saw nothing serious in the affair. 2 alarms. Heavy bombing in east at night but no alarm when this was on.

September 30th – Borden (Mon)

O.M.E’s left for Army Field Workshop No. 2 (Dave Campbell, Hastings, McArthur, Moore, Sentence[?], Quance, Smith). Posted 4th air mail letter to Renie but still no mail from Canada. 2 alarms & night bombing with no alarm.

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