H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948
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Sunday 11th July

Colours at 0800 and then we sailed at 0900 so no divisions, although we were playing on the Q.D. until we were well away from the city. Everyone genuinely regretted leaving Istanbul. We had a good time and those who had been able to get ashore more agreed that the way they were looked after was terrific. Hope we get back there sometime.

After a trip back through the Dardenelles (didn't meet any naval ships from any nation this time) we got back into the Aegean at about 1600 and are now on our way to Volos in Greece.

Monday 12th July

No colours at sea. We sailed a twisting and turning course and into a large bay. It was slightly misty at first and there were quite high mountains all around. Anchored at 0900 and were at immediate stand by for any VIP visitors. At 1400 the Greek Naval Officer commanding the naval base here, plus a few army chaps, came aboard for their tot of rum (or whatever they get given by the Captain). It's terribly hot here, very little wind manages to get over the surrounding mountains. It's stifling.

Tuesday 13th July

Colours this morning with the Greek anthem to play (it's a rather nice tune) and then another 'Garden Band' at 1100 for the Navy C in C and his ADC's (they must have enjoyed what they had yesterday and come back for more!) When he left again we fired an official gun salute. The Fleet oiler 'Blue Ranger' was anchored and waiting for us yesterday and after oiling the sloop that is accompanying us it came alongside. The sloop then upped anchor and has gone into the harbour and moored stern to the jetty (lucky thing!). We were required to play for the usual Captain's dinner party so we didn't get ashore. However, there is a trip organised right up into the mountains for 1000 tomorrow so I shall go on that unless anything unforeseen turns up.

Wednesday 14th July

Colours again as usual. They don't take long, but are a nuisance and a bore! Being at sea has its advantages!

We practised orchestral this am and at 1300 went ashore for the trip. We went in three naval lorries 3 ton US Dodges and oh my, the roads around here seem to be mostly potholes about 6 or 8" deep joined by occasional bits of road! The drivers (Greek sailors) just plough ahead ignoring everything and by the time we stopped my bum was numb from the hard wooden benches. I forget the unpronounceable name of the mountain but it took our lorry nearly two hours to reach the summit. (They carried lots of water in cans and had to top up the boiling radiators at frequent intervals). The second lorry didn't arrive until about 45 mins later and the third didn't make it at all. Evidently it only got half-way and had to turn back. Poor chaps in that one didn't see very much. For fresh air the canvas sides of the lorry cover were tied up. I wished that they had been tied down as we got we near the top of the mountain where the edges of the road were cut into a precipice and the driver didn't slow down at all, roaring around the bends at about 40 mph. Perhaps he had a death wish or didn't like English people? We felt sure that had anyone been able to ask the driver why he didn't use his brakes occasionally he would have replied "Brakes? What are they?" or "I wondered what that pedal was for."

It was nice at the top. It was considerably cooler than in Volos and we were in a small village square where there was plenty of crystal clear drinking water. The air was clear and we could see for miles in nearly every direction. There were some heavily armed Greek troops in motley uniforms stationed there to protect the nearby villages from the communist guerrillas. They had a skirmish that morning only about 4 miles away. There didn't look to be any older than 20 and one of them, even younger, let me 'play' with one of their Bren guns. (see photograph).This 'lad' claimed to have killed three of them but it might have been boasting.

Thursday 15th July

Colours and later rehearsal for tomorrow night's ceremonial sunset. At about 1600 about 100 Greek orphans came aboard for a party and some of the blokes dressed up as pirates to serve them food and soft drinks. We were playing music for them as they ate. It was surprising to us just how many English songs they knew the tunes to. Later some of them would hum a tune for us and we'd pick them up and play along. Then they started singing traditional Greek songs in harmony and they were very good, beautiful to listen to.

After the kids had gone we had leave so I went shore and bought peaches, apricots and a melon and they were all delicious. I came back aboard at 2300.

Friday 16th July

Colours and then no 'work'. The band whaler crew had a race with two others (we only have three whalers on Euryalus). We were all practising for the regatta next week. We didn't win again I'm afraid, coming second, but only by half a length. However, to be fair to us our boat is considered to be at least half a hundredweight heavier than the others in build so we didn't do too badly. I wore a patch raw on my backside and can hardly sit down now.

At 2000 we did our usual B t R and Sunset on the Q.D. then played military band music for about 150 guests, eventually packing up about 2300, very tired. There are always one or two 'drunks' at this sort of 'do' who don't know when to go home. The Captain has to either persuade them to go, or wait until they collapse and then have put them in a boat!

Saturday 17th July

Colours and I was still so tired from last night that I went to sleep all morning until dinner when the band had special shore leave - for just two hours. I went for a swim and then did a bit of shopping. I bought some more peaches. Yum yum!

We sailed at 1700 and are now sailing through the Aegean again. And have now met up with Triumph again. Volos was not bad, but after Istanbul was a poor substitute.

Sunday 18th July

No colours, thank goodness. It's quite a relief. I overslept again as no-one ever 'gives me a shakes' in my cabin and when my sub-conscious knows I'm not on early call it lets me sleep on, otherwise I wake almost exactly at 0600. Triumph was doing flying exercises while we were at divisions and church service, so we slowed down and let them wander off, as they have to be steaming full speed into the wind for both take-offs and landings.

When we were at divisions there was a thick pall of smoke close to Triumph and the rumour mill said that a plane must have crashed but by then we were too far away and it could have been a smoke bomb or something.

We took mail aboard from a frigate that has just joined us. It had stayed behind in Volos until a Walrus amphib arrived and handed it over to them. The Walrus planes (dear old things) like a bit of a lop on the water for take-offs but prefer millponds to land on! It can get a bit too rough for them in the open sea. Anyway, the frigate then they caught up with us and transferred our mail ship to ship by a line and tackle. It required very exact 'station-keeping' while it is going on as both ships are moving reasonably fast and a collision very easy. The incoming mail came over o.k. but the outgoing got dunked for a few moments. I hope it was well waterproofed.

It was a plane that had crashed this morning - a Firefly - and whilst the pilot survived his observer was recovered, but was dead. They stopped and buried him at sea this evening.

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