H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948 - not quite complete
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Daily diary of an eighteen-year-old R.M. Bandsman - sent to his parents.

Tuesday 7th September. Leave Valetta

Slipped our Bighi Bay moorings at 0730 and sailed quietly out of Grand Harbour following 'Newcastle' without any fuss in the way of Guards, Bands, salutes etc. At 0830 we closed up at action stations in the TS for main armament firings at a towed (air) target. Completed and fell out at 1030 in time for stand-easy and a cuppa . Sea is quite rough today but luckily our course is head into it so whilst we are pitching there is not much of a roll. This afternoon we tried to oil from 'Blue Ranger' which was alongside, but even at reduced speed the seas were washing right over her - as low in the water, being fully laden. The theory is that both ships stay exactly the same distance apart so that the pipe is kept clear of the water but that was impossible today and one moment it would be dragging, causing heaps of spray and the next stretched nearly to breaking. Eventually it did burst and a lot of oil spilled before it could be turned off. We must either have got enough or are to try again later as we didn't try to reconnect and went our different ways.

Wednesday 8th September. At Sea

We 'closed up' at 0515 and didn't fall out until 0830. After dinner a destroyer came alongside and transferred despatches which contained some sealed envelopes from the C in C (sailing on Newcastle) giving Euryalus details of various exercises that are coming up shortly. Closed up again at 2030 till 2200 and then I went to bed.

Thursday 9th September. At Sea

No colours bull---- at sea and no action stations until 1230 when we did a short anti-aircraft exercise until about 1500. We practiced dance band before lunch and although I say so myself I'm getting quite good on trombone for the time I've been playing it. Did I say that I am able to play trombone because the usual player (a corporal) is a very good pianist, but not at all keen on the push-me-pull-me! It's always interesting to see the number of matelots that collect to listen to dance music. They never seem to bother much for military or orchestral stuff. (Probably because our repertoire is a bit limited - there has to be a limit to the number of times the BM can say "And Now, by popular request, a selection from 'Oklahoma' or 'Annie Get your Gun' or even 'The Merry Widow'!!!

I went to the film show last night and saw 'Carnival in Costa Rica' with Dick Haymes and Vera Ellen. The usual silly American musical rubbish with no plot. Last week I saw 'Dear Ruth' with William Holden and Joan Caulfield which was very funny. We've got another exercise tonight with starshell, but that doesn't involve my specialised services so I'll be able to get some sleep in.

Friday 10th September. Arrive Naples

Breakfast at 0615 this morning as we are to enter harbour at about 0800. The exercise last night looked jolly good with the 5.25" guns firing star shell every now and then and the light armaments (pom-poms etc., firing tracer. Most impressive.

Entered Naples at 0810 after firing a salute to some Eyetie Admiral or other. We are now moored stern to an outer mole about ¾ mile from the main docks area. We have two destroyers with us, both also moored nearby. The skyline from here looks very interesting. It's fine but cloudy and Vesuvius is clearly visible and has a thin plume of smoke issuing from it. (One of our chaps said that it was probably put up by the local authorities especially to impress us!) As I write this we are fully rigged and standing by for a 'Garden Band' for anyone important enough who might come aboard and I might add, that they are a blessed nuisance.

Saturday 11th September. At Naples

I went ashore last evening and took 100 cigarettes with me as there is a big 'black market' in them here. You can sell them for cash but it is best to exchange them for something. Nothing doing this afternoon so I shall get my head down. This evening we are playing dance band on the q.deck for a cocktail party.

Sunday 12th September. At Naples

Colours to start with and then the biggest grind of the week. By the time it's all finished I've just about had enough. I'll go ashore again this afternoon.

Just back. I took my camera but there wasn't much to photograph as the main part of Naples appears to be around the Via Roma (Road to Rome. Aren't they all?) It seemed to be rather like Oxford or Regent Street, with all the better shops and important-looking office buildings. The places I want to get to for photos are further afield and require the use of buses, which I'm just not happy to chance. The language is also a bit daunting as they seem to speak so quickly. We've found that knowledge of musical terms helps, as most of them are Italian in origin. As everywhere we've been so far, it's never too difficult to find someone who understands English when it's needed and sometimes it pays not to know. About five of us were wandering down the Via Roma minding our own business and window-shopping when a policeman in a pretty uniform started blowing his whistle and waving at us from the other side of the street. So we all waved back, much to his annoyance. It turned out that we were committing the horrible crime of walking down the street on the wrong side! The war has only been over a few years and they had been our enemies until it seemed a good idea to surrender. Anyway we totally ignored him and he decided not to leave the safety of his side of the street. Bloody cheek! After he'd gone we all crossed over and walked the wrong way down the other side!

Monday 13th September. At Naples

After colours we cleaned instruments - at least I cleaned mine for part of the morning and read a book the other part. We have the afternoon free as we're booked for a Captain's Dinner Party later (not as his guests you will understand). I got my head down for a couple of hours. We played orchestral for the dinner from about 1815 to 2100 so there was no point in going ashore afterwards. Tomorrow we are playing at the British Embassy for the 'return bout' so won't be able to go then either.

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