H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948
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Monday 19th July

It was really quite rough today ' a proper drop of the rough' as it is called - and definitely the worst since we came out here. We are now having 'sub' exercises. Triumph and ourselves are a convoy and we now have a screen of destroyers and frigates. In the afternoon there was more of the same. It's a good job we're not at war because we knocked off for dinner! The second go was at full speed or near to it as though under wartime conditions and we were sticking our nose right into the seas which were sweeping the fo'csle. The RM messdeck is right below the forward gun turret and when it's rough the water comes in quite a lot then sloshes around with every pitch and roll. It got very unpleasant. I was glad of my peaceful cabin. By the way, I can't remember if I explained about 'my cabin' in a letter. I know I told you that it is really only a small cubicle housing the ship's library. To look in it you wouldn't think it possible to sleep in it and in a hammock it wouldn't be as they have to have hooks which must be much further apart than the length of the hammock itself. The 'door' to the cubicle opens from the port side Bofors gun deck, which is a 'half deck' above the main deck level. This means that my cabin has a good sea view!!! But only when the door is open, as they forgot to put a window/porthole in the heavy steel door. Inside the floor space is smaller than the toilet in a railway carriage, as there are lots of shelves for the books and a counter to put a selection out on when we are 'open for business'. I sleep on a Houndsfield stretcher bed, just like our camping beds at home. I found myself two pieces of wooden plank about 3 feet long and I use those to bridge the gap between the counter and a shelf, resting the bed on that. Just a nice space for comfortable sleeping - and not nearly as noisy as on the messdeck where I could never sleep soundly as there are always lights on. So you can see that I am quite enjoying my luxury cruise! Ha, ha, joking of course!

At 2100 we went to 'night action stations until 0000hrs and fired about six star shells. Nothing much happened except that I got tireder and tireder with nothing much to do and the resulting tedium.

Tuesday 20th July

I felt that I had hardly gone to sleep when much to my disgust we went to 'dawn action stations at 0530 I think nothing annoys me more than to be forcibly awakened earlier than usual. (I wouldn't have liked conditions at war as all although I gather that everyone got used to it. Case of having to! Ask John!)

We met Liverpool at 0700 and the submarine depot ship Forth, which looks like a merchant ship with a few guns dropped onto it. Then we all proceeded together to Argostoli, arriving about 0900 with every ship having Garden Bands and much ceremonial saluting of the various ships according to the seniority of the various admirals and captains. It is all very formal. The assembled Med fleet looks quite impressive all anchored together. Liverpool, Newcastle, Triumph, Forth and last and definitely least, Euryalus. Then there are 14 destroyers and frigates and 6 submarines, one of which is one which I went over when it was visiting the Isle of Man.

Nothing much doing in the afternoon. A party of chaps have gone ashore to set up the fleet canteen. We are miles from the small town of Argostoli so a canteen is provided for the crews. I know that we have to take a turn at playing 'musical entertainment' each evening for the customers! A Tank Landing

Craft brought everything needed for the canteen including some very large tents, plus tables, chairs etc., and definitely

not forgetting thousands of bottles of beer and glasses. Our band did the first gig starting at 1800 and it was not a pleasant job. It was still very hot and dusty. The canteen had been rigged up on a football pitch - sand and gravel. We were set up in the open air at one side of the tables and chairs and played through our repertoire of music,

we went through it again. By the second time round most of the sailors (and marines) wouldn't have known the difference between Roses of the South and God Save the King. What is it that compels seamen (I mean anyone who goes to sea) to get themselves drunk as quickly and as thoroughly as soon as the means are available? Half-way through the performance I was happily playing the music when a large glass of beer was emptied into the bell of my euphonium. Not very amusing, but the sailors thought it great fun. I immediately emptied out but it stank of beer for the rest of the evening. We got back aboard at 2130. By the time we packed up there were a whole heap of sailors (yes, and marines) under arrest for extreme drunkenness (see comment above).

Wednesday 21st July

Colours this morning again having only missed two on our way here from Volos. It seemed strangely as though we had an echo, as the various ship's bands played and bugles sounded etc.

For the regatta the ships are basically arranged in two groups with the 'big ships' together in two lines so that the regatta course is between them and a similar arrangement over the other side of the bay for the destroyers etc., That's all right when there is a wind blowing and we all face the same way at anchor, but for much of the day there is no breeze so all the ships look like a most untidy jumble.

Thursday 22nd July

Colours again this a.m. and later orchestral practise, punctuated by our going away for a practise row in the whaler. (I think we stand a good chance of winning. I shall put a small amount of money on us!)

The 'small ships' are having their regatta today but we can only see a lot of small dots in the distance, with occasional bangs for starts and finishes. It's much too hot to do any photography today. I attempted to earlier develop a film. The water was cold when I got it but the emulsion just dropped off the film. They also tend to stipple.

Friday 23rd July

Colours and then more orchestral practise before again boat-pulling, although we were really trying out the oars. Tomorrow is THE BIG DAY! I got my big head down after dinner so that I would be stuffed full of energy for tomorrow. Newcastle are so confident that they will be 'Cock of the Fleet' that they have brought a live one with them. I don't mind if we don't win it so long as they don't, to take them down a peg or two.

The Liverpool is in a shaky state. They went aground in Alexandria and battered the ship's bottom a bit. At the moment they can only manage to do 8 knots so they will have to dry dock in Malta when they eventually crawl back there. It would have been our turn for a 6-monthly refit when we get a week of local leave at a rest camp. We will now have to wait until October when it would have been Liverpool's turn. Curse them.

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