H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948
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Monday 5th July

Lovely weather once more although still a bit rough. No colours but at 0930 we rehearsed on the Q. Deck for a remembrance service to be held when we pass the Gallipoli peninsula. It seemed a simple thing to me but we went through it about ten times before someone said we could knock off. We are now passing islands all the time, the Dodecanese? I know that we are now well into the Aegean Sea. I'm on damage control watch from 2200-2400 worse luck, as I'll be tired tomorrow. We parted company with Triumph yesterday as she is going to Izmir, having been to Istanbul last year, so we've only got our attendant sloop with us now. We stopped at 1630 for swimming over the side and our whaler's crew also had a practice. We're to stop again at 0630 tomorrow for another practice.

Tuesday 6th July

Didn't get our turn to row until 0715 by which time it was very hot. We are now cruising towards the entrance of the Dardanelles and are due to pass the War Memorial about 1400 hours. Duly stopped for our service where we played various suitably melancholy tunes, followed by Last Post and Reveille and the RM guard fired three volleys. An earlier Euryalus had transported units of the Lancashire Fusiliers to their deaths so we dropped a wreath to honour their memory (or in apology?) The waters thereabouts are still littered with wrecks. Afterwards we entered the channel which is about 1-1/2 miles wide for most of the way.

About mid-afternoon we were caught completely unawares by a large US fleet of ships going the other way. We had been told that they wouldn't be leaving until tomorrow and would pass them just outside the city, but they must have left early. All the band and the RM's were doing whatever they wanted to do when a most urgent order was made for us to paraded on the Q.D. IMMEDIATELY! Fortunately, I was in my cabin and as I like to prepare in advance (well, I was a scout, wasn't I?) I had the necessary band parts ready. Everyone arrived on the Q.D. from different directions hastily doing up bits of uniform etc., but we were just in position to render 'passing honours'. I've never felt so insignificant before in my life! Our tiny light cruiser was dwarfed by an enormous heavy cruiser the size of a battleship and she was followed by at least half-a-dozen only slightly smaller vessels. The big ship was the flagship so we saluted them first by playing their anthem as loudly as we could. The shame came when the answering 'God Save the King' blared out at us from a band of what looked like a hundred or more, complete with a number of glittering Sousaphones. I wouldn't be surprised if it had also been amplified, for I swear that Euryalus was moved sideways in the water! Cor! How are the mighty fallen!?

Wednesday 7th July

Euryalus dawdled once in the Sea of Marmora until a Turkish MTB (probably about a third of their navy?) came alongside with a pilot and naval liaison officer and we slowly steamed to mooring buoys right adjacent to the new part of the city. As soon as we were moored we paraded and the ship fired a gun salute. The watch not on duty then had shore leave, but not us. The 'Garden Band' were on the Q.D. all afternoon waiting to play for the visiting dignitaries, Admirals, Generals etc., They all arrived in some pre-arranged order of seniority, were greeted by the Captain, taken below (and doubtless plied with some more of that duty-free stuff) before re-appearing and being ushered off into a boat. We were eventually stood down about 1700 and given leave. There were super buses (singledeckers and much smarter than any I had seen before) laid on to take us to the city - and free!!! No charges for any trams, buses, trains etc., although the taxis were not. A friend and I went for a quick exploration of new city. It was very interesting. Very foreign, if you know what I mean. All the sights, sounds and smells were exotic. Went back aboard at 2100 and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Thursday 8th July

This morning one half of the ship's company went on a tour of Istanbul organised and paid for by the British Nationals living there. A second tour took most of the other half in the afternoon. Unfortunately we couldn't go on either much to my disappointment, as we were on stand-by for 'guarding and banding' all morning and then had to get ready to go to the British Embassy in the late afternoon. The ship was open to visitors p.m. and crowds arrived on every boat. They all seemed to want to buy English cigarettes but were also curious and interested in everything. Those aboard had been asked to be helpful and hospitable so we stood around here and there. A particularly popular position was at the foot of the steel steps on each deck. The steps are metal and quite steep. We quickly got used to them even when carrying heaps, but they are a bit of a handful for civvies. That position also had the advantage of enabling Jolly Jack (and some bandsmen) of getting a good look up the girl's skirts as they were carefully helped up or down! Needless to say, I didn't do any of that sort of thing!!! Couldn't get near for one thing! I got talking to a very pleasant pair of fluently English-speaking university students - a boy and his sister. They invited us to visit them at the university on Saturday morning - the only day we had been guaranteed to have free - as we are leaving on Sunday! It seems that nearly all the educated Turks speak reasonably good English, or French or Greek, apart from their own language. I wish that I had learned French at school.

At 1800 we went by bus to the British Embassy where a mixture of cocktail and garden party and reception was to be held, using our visit as an excuse. By now I'd got used to the dry, burnt and sandy landscape everywhere and especially in Malta, so it came as a pleasant relief to find that the main back lawn at the embassy was beautifully green and lush. We were soon set up under a shady tree and, whilst the officials and guests circulated, drinks in hand, we ran through our repertoire of selections from musicals, marches etc. (Our copies of "Oaklahoma' and 'Annie Get Your Gun' are now held together with brown stick-on tape!) The Ambassador and his wife were very kind and thoughtful people and trays of cold beer kept arriving at regular intervals. They also had a pleasant 12-year-old daughter whose name was Daphne and she stayed alongside the band and acted as our liaison, by reminding her father or someone every time our glasses were nearly empty. Amongst the guests was a tall U.S. Marine Colonel, probably their naval attaché. By sheer coincidence we just happened to have the music for 'Anchors Aweigh' with us so we gave a special rendition for him. As soon as we began it, he parted from his companions, came over and listened, before thanking us. Then he went away and shortly afterwards yet another tray of drinks arrived - this time of iced whisky! (unfortunately or fortunately, we didn't have the music for the US Marines' ceremonial march or we would probably have drowned in whisky!) For some quite unaccountable reason (?) our playing became less and less inhibited as our faces grew more and more flushed and instructions to stop playing and to 'pack up' came only just in time! Mr and Mrs. Ambassador were exceptionally nice people, and when they thanked us for playing, gave the band an exclusive invitation to visit their country residence right on the shores of the Black Sea for afternoon tea the following Saturday.

Friday 9th July

Colours this morning and then nothing to do until 1600 when we have to play on the Q.Deck for a Captains Cocktail Party when he invites all those people who have been entertaining him! After that, we ' Beat the Retreat' also on the Q.D. As it is only postage stamp size when unoccupied we had to do all our marching and counter-marching up and down a narrow path that had been cleared of 'guests'. This ceremony always greatly impresses the 'natives' and any expatriate Britishers present become very emotional. The wives openly sob and even their strong husbands have to wipe away a tear or two. The ceremony and its music really does tug at the heartstrings.

Saturday 10th July

Our 'day off' turned out to be a beautiful day although the sunshine was very hot. Another musician who with me had also been invited by the university students and we went ashore to meet and go swimming with them in the Sea of Marmora which, being relatively shallow has nice warm water and sandy beaches. We had an enjoyable morning with our new friends, but had to leave early to be back in time for the bus that was taking the band to the ambassador's home. Needless to say, we missed it by about ten minutes! Then the liaison office came up trumps. Someone scribbled some magic symbols on a piece of paper and then put us onto a regular Turkish bus hopefully going in the direction we wanted to go. We produced this paper at regular intervals, receiving smiles all around. A one point we changed buses (no money accepted for fares). Eventually we were put down in a sandy town square and a taxi was pointed out to us. Out came that magic paper and address, again with similar magical results. A five minute journey and there we were. Mr and Mrs. Ambassador seemed to be as amazed and impressed with our managing to find their residence as we had been! When we joined the rest of the band they were drying themselves off after swimming. The again immaculate 'green' lawn ended right at the edge of the Black Sea (which was misleadingly very blue.) Having put on our still damp swimming trunks, the two of us dived happily into the water - and nearly died! It must have been at least 15 to 20 degrees colder than the Sea of Marmora. As was later explained to us, the Black Sea is filled by rivers fed from Romanian and Russian snow-covered mountains. The remainder of the band having already experienced it, could have warned us but didn't and were of course, highly sympathetic! Of course, we did catch the provided bus back to the ship. It was a most enjoyable day.

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