H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948
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Tuesday 28th September. Villefranche.

Colours, then boat pulling practise - for the Fleet Regatta. Very tiring and it tires me out very thoroughly before I even get started on the day! This morning it consists of individual practise, in my case on my hooter, codffee-pot euph. I didn't think that there was anything planned for us today but it seems that we now have, at 1300hrs for a Captains lunch party. Why I don't know.

I nearly got into serious trouble just as we were setting up under the quarterdeck awning. We were much too early of course so after putting all our instruments, stands and music out we just wandered around nearby waiting. The central section of the ship houses the Captain's quarters and just out of idle curiosity as I was passing I stuck my head through an open porthole to see what was the other side, then wished I hadn't. It appeared to be a smallish cabin of sorts and then I looked downwards and there was the Captain himself, in his bath, stark naked! Our eyes met and I instantly withdrew my head and fortunately decided to turn away from the quarterdeck and run around the entire cabin structure and Y gun turret to slide quietly onto my seat. As I ran off I could hear the Captain screaming out something and soon afterwards, by which time I was innocently looking over my music, an agitated Quartermaster and Duty Officer came bustling around and peered at everyone, band and odd sailors alike. Fortunately all that the Captain could have seen of me was my head so he didn't know who or which. Soon after that we began playing and nothing more happened. Phew! That will teach me not to be nosy.

We then missed pay parade and had to wait to be paid later. We played for 2-1/2 hours, then I went ashore with a couple of others to visit Nice again. As we wandered round we passed a bar named 'The Better 'Ole' or 'Charlies Bar' and there was such an appetising smell coming from it that we went in had steaks, with chips of course and it was good and not all that expensive for Nice. We discovered that the 'better 'ole' name came from the famous WWI cartoon by Bruce Fairnsfeather and of which a large copy was framed at the back of the bar. I expect you will know it. It shows two soldiers in a wet and muddy shell hole and obviously one has said that he didn't think much of it, whereupon the other said "Well, if you know of a better 'ole, go to it"! It was a good bar, the owner being English - once, so we had a few beers before we left. Whilst we were still eating I became aware that two girls at the next table were conversing in English so we got talking. One was English and on holiday in Nice. She lives and works in Brussels for the Americans. The other, to my surprise was French but spoke perfect English with just an attractive French accent. In fact she was lovely altogether but was unfortunately engaged to an American sailor and intending to go to the US of A with him in a year or so. No amount of persuasion from us could get her to change her mind. She lived in Nice and worked for an American attorney. It was great talking to strangers in English.

Wednesday 29th September. Villfranche.

No colours for me as I was again out in the whaler, this time actually racing another whaler from the St.Austell Bay frigate, which had accompanied us here, and we won by about 1 length. After we got back I had to rush to get changed and go ashore for the excursion by 0830. I only just made it but was very glad I had later. It was a lovely trip, inland from the coast and always going upwards through some beautiful countryside and mountain passes. We had taken basic provisions with us for a picnic lunch. Two very big catering tins of Corned Beef, plenty of newly-baked bread, plus butter and soft drinks, with apples for afterwards. We had stopped by a rushing mountain stream under a tall railway viaduct that had been demolished by the Huns when they withdrew. In no time there were ten or fifteen grubby little kids begging for cigarettes and 'candy' would you believe? Proves the Yanks had been there before us! When we had finished we left them about three-quarters of one of the big tins of 'Bully' and two or three loaves. Their eyes nearly popped out of their heads. Then we went on up and up until we reached Grasse. The views down to the sea were wonderful and it was a hot and sunny day. I'll tell you about what happened at the perfumery in a letter but suffice to say that we came out afterwards with our uniforms stinking of perfume. On the way back the coach stank like, as one old salt put it, a Turkish Brothel. A number of us got off the coach at Nice and went to 'Charlie's Bar' again. As we sat down on the bar stools it was a good laugh to see the French men further along sniff the air to see where it was coming from. Couldn't be us, so they were looking everywhere. We really niffed of about 25 different fragrances. Strangely enough, we met those two girls again, well actually we had said we'd be there. So we had some more chatting about this and that and they came with us to see us off on the bus back to Villefranche. I got the address of the French girl but she still seemed keen on her Yank sailor. Huh.

Thursday 30th September. Villefranche. Depart.

We left at 0645 although I didn't get up to blow kisses. We were free until 1000 when we went back to action stations again until 1230. It seems that we will be doing lots of exercises until we get to Sardinia. We closed up again at 1930 for a night shoot and I had the middle watch (Midnight to 4 a.m.) so I feel a bit sleepy today. I've got the 'first' and then 'morning' watches tonight and tomorrow morning (8p.m. to midnight and from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. so I will definitely be sleeping this afternoon.

Friday 1st. October. At sea, then Arranci Bay. Sardinia.

I have run out of notebook here and anyway there was nothing to see, nowhere to go and we did nothing at all.

Arrived back in Malta on Sunday 11th November.

(Found that we were 'duty band' this coming week and already had two funerals lined up for us! )

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