H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948
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Saturday 24th July.


The great day at last. No colours, as the first race started at 0800 and Euryalus won it (is that a good omen????) It counted 10 points plus a cup. We didn't do so well afterwards for a bit so it obviously wasn't that good. Perhaps we should have worked our way up to it!?

I was glad when our race was over and much to my disappointment we didn't win it. We came in fifth but we were the first Band whaler in. As we always say, the R.M's proper are all brawn and no brain! Liverpool won the 'Cock' and we ended up 4th out of five! We consoled ourselves by telling each other that as the smallest 'big ship' we don't have the complement that the other and larger ships have to pick their crews from!

The final race was an 'all comers'. Euryalus rigged out one of our whalers with 30 crew each wielding a paddle. Unfortunately our 30 paddle-power whaler came in 3rd last out of about 20 boats, but it was all good (wet) fun and a good time was had by all. We heard later that the fleet canteen very nearly ran 'dry' and there were even more under arrest than before. Very fortunately we were not duty band!!!

Sunday 25th July

Colours, Divisions and then Church followed by Wardroom Cocktails (but not for us!) Unfortunately it IS our turn to play at the canteen tonight. It's a hot airless day.

It didn't take long for the locals to realise that we were a captive market and as soon as Divisions were over their 'bum boats' were everywhere around the ships trading fruit for any old clothes etc.. If you were looking over the side of the ship you would see a pair of old shoes drop out of a porthole and a melon, some grapes and tomatoes go in! Eventually the duty officer had the hoses turned onto them which kept them at a respectable distance, but it was interesting to notice how quickly they worked out a strategy between themselves, just like a sea battle in the days of the 'wooden walls'. Firstly one of the boats would approach looking as though determined to brave the hoses regardless - but stopping and retreating just out of range. While this had been going on as a diversion, another boat on the other side would nip in, do some trade and nip off again. Needless to say, all our crew were on the side of the boatmen and cheered each time they won a victory.

We landed at 1610 for canteen duty in the still stifling heat and played on and off until 1930. Not nearly so many sailors using it this time. When we had finished and packed up there was no boat to collect us until 2130. We were furious!

Monday 26th July

Colours again. The canteen ashore is being dismantled today so we were the only unlucky lot who copped the 'entertainment' duty twice. Much activity aboard today preparing for sailing, boats being hoisted in and secured, replacing the rubber bands in the engine etc., Ha ha.

At 2000 we had to go to action stations for about half-an-hour to test communications (more exercises coming up!) and during the night the fleet was under orders to be ready to sail at 1 hr's notice.

Tuesday 27th July

We did sail at 0530 and immediately went to action stations. (It's all a load of rubbish but I suppose the C in C has to do something to justify his existence!) The Triumph must have slipped out earlier as there are aircraft zooming around everywhere and we are now going to mess around at action stations all day I suppose. I've got the forenoon watch - 0800 to 1200 down the TS. We were stood down at 1130 shortly before I finished my watch anyway. I had plenty of work to do this p.m. sorting out all the band parts after last night, I was too tired to even think about it then. Then at 2000 the ship was closed up for night action stations until 0000 - just to rob me of my beauty sleep again - and as you know, I need every bit of that I can get!

Wednesday 28th July

No colours, thank goodness. Orchestral practise this a.m. . I lost my balance when the ship rolled, and fell against a stanchion with my cello, damaging it a bit but not seriously. Nothing some glue won't fix.

We've just been told that tonight we are going to invade Malta or some such rubbish. It means that the ship will be closed up at actions stations all night and that I am on watch from 2200 to 0000 then again from 0400 to 0800, by which time Malta will presumably have been well and truly captured as we are due to enter harbour at 1115. We've just been stood down, it's 0000 and we can clearly see the lights of Valetta. (You would think that they would be blacked out in view of the war we are in, but perhaps no one has told them about it yet!) We still have to mess about out here until 1115 tomorrow, well today now.

Thursday 29th July

No colours of course, but we paraded for entering harbour and moved back to our moorings in Bighi Bay, to exactly the same buoys from which we left on June 17th. Can't say I'm sorry to be back although like the well known curate's egg, it was good in places. We didn't spend enough time in Istanbul and spent much too much in the other less interesting spots. I'll have to have a word with the Captain before the next cruise. Also, due to all the extra work the band has had to do we haven't done very well for leave - so here's to good old Malta!

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