On arrival in Malta Euryalus officially joined the 1st Cruiser Squadron. The Flag Officer was a Rear Admiral, which is the lowest flag rank - and his name was Mountbatten! Only a few months earlier he had been the highest of the high as the last Viceroy of India and, very briefly, its first and last Governor-General, with the acting rank of a full Admiral. Before that he had been 'El Supremo' or Commander-in-Chief of South-East Asia Command and before that Chief of Combined Operations. Now he had come down to earth with a bump. He had started the war as a Captain in command of a flotilla of destroyers and progressed ever upwards from there. But he now had to resume his interrupted career in the navy, revert to his substantive rank and start working his way up again, somewhat more slowly. Now he commanded just four, not very large, pre-war cruisers. Two were the City Class cruisers, 'Liverpool' and 'Newcastle' and two, Dido class light-cruisers 'Phoebe' and now ourselves in 'Euryalus'.
The Mediterranean is a sea that borders very many different countries
(then I think, fourteen, but it may be more now since a number of the
former colonies of various countries have gained (or taken) their independence).
In a frantic endeavour to pretend that Britain was still a sea-power to
be reckoned with, each of the four cruisers was regularly sent off separately
on what were officially known as 'showing the flag' cruises. In quite
a short period, Euryalus went to many of the fourteen countries. (See
below - typical scheduling of that period).
One of the first tasks Euryalus had to carry out earned us a (very small) place in history and whilst the event itself is often referred to, the part Euryalus played is not. The sorry chapter in the Palestine story - which resulted in Britain giving up its mandate and leaving the area that became the state of Israel - was coming to an end. Euryalus was sent to Haifa to collect the last British High Commissioner, General Sir Alan Cunningham (brother of the Admiral). We arrived in the port area having been warned not to go out on the upper deck, as there were snipers around. And there certainly were. Every now and again we would hear a 'clunk' as another bullet hit steel plating. No one was hurt.
This was on May 14th 1948. and the mandate expired at midnight. There
was a great deal of secrecy as to the route that the H.C. was taking from
Jerusalem, but everyone knew that he was going to Haifa port and would
board Euryalus there. He was delayed, so we waited and waited for him
to arrive and it was long after dark
Prior to arriving in Haifa, Euryalus had (I'm sure deliberately) sailed along a large part of the Palestine Coastline. When we were off Jaffa (now known as Tel Aviv) a motor boat was lowered and the Canteen Manager was sent ashore to buy Jaffa Oranges. He returned with a number of sacks full and shortly afterwards they were on sale from the NAAFI canteen at about a penny each. They were enormous, full of juice and delicious. I initially bought three, but after tasting the first, rushed back and bought a bucketful, before gorging on them until they were all gone. (In fairness to my self-declared greed, I should point out that oranges hadn't been available during most of my formative war-time years.)