At Hebburn. Had to take a patient for operation down to the Ingham Infirmary, South Shields, this morning. It was a fine morning and so I enjoyed the trip, since I had been aboard since Sunday. Was on way back to South Shields at 12-45 p.m. when I suddenly thought of you just about leaving work to go home for dinner. I wished I was with you dear. I arrived back to the ship at 1-30 p.m. to findthe dock flooded and other preparations made for the ship going out of dock. The first thing I asked on going into the Sick Bay was “Is there a letter for me?” I was disappointed when a negative answer was given for I had hoped for a letter from you this morning in answer to the one I wrote to you on Saturday last.
We moved out of dock at 4 p.m. and it struck me that nearly seven weeks have passed since we came in there on a Sunday afternoon with a huge hole in our bow. Much of interest has been crowded into those weeks. I suppose we shall now have to make up for those good times and there is plenty for us to do. It is good to know that we have spent nearly seven weeks so happily and it is seven weeks towards the war’s end.
Just before we left the dock our mails came on board and your letter was handed to me about 4-20 p.m. A thrill of joy went through me when I recognised the dear old handwriting. You have written five pages of news and it is all so interesting and cheering. You give me a clear idea of what your feelings were last Friday and as I thought, you were very sorely tried this time poor old girlie. It is a very fine letter and has done me such a lot of good dear.
We have moored to the same buoys off Hebburn as we did on that memorable Sunday when we arrived here for repairs. Tomorrow we are taking in 1100 tons of coal and preparations are being made to start early in the morning. The collier is coming alongside tonight. Owing to the early start to be made in the morning no leave has been granted tonight except for Chief and 1st Class P.O’s. Many men below that rating have their wives staying ashore at the present time and it is very hard on the men and the wives as well, since the men are unable to go ashore. Pomroy (Senior 2nd S. B. S.) has his wife staying at Hebburn, but he is unable to go ashore tonight, and in consequence is walking around like a caged lion and saying all sorts of nasty things about the powers-to-be. I agree it is jolly hard lines though, and I know how I should feel were I in the same position. I have been disappointed too for I have been making up my mind since Monday to go to the Empire, Newcastle, this day and naturally there is no leave. I hope I shall be able to go to a music hall once more ere we leave for other climes.
The Zeps. are about again and we have had to darken the ship. I hate this darken ship business, for with all the ventilation cut off it gets so stuffy and smelly in the Sick Bay and leaves one with such a feeling of dullness when they awake in the morning. But I suppose the precaution is a necessary measure, unless we are to be bombed.
A certain number of Dockyardsmen are at work night and day to try and make the watertight compartments w. t. by Saturday night. I don’t know why they want to rush so much over this old “hooker”. I have written a long letter to you tonight despite interruptions from patients and “dockyardees”. One of the latter gents came in as bold as you like at 11 p.m. for a dressing on a cut finger – the cut by the way being nearly discernable. I felt like saying something nasty, but I curbed my anger and said nothing except “You are lucky to find anyone up this time of the night”. I was the only one awake, the other three having turned in early to “drown their sorrows” owing to there being no leave.
I’m glad I’ve written a long letter to you tonight, so that I can get it posted tomorrow. I hope it will not be the last long letter you will receive for a while, but I’m afraid such will be the case and I have told you so in the letter.
I suppose George Bond is at home now. Hope he will not miss his cousin Judy and that he will soon get over his holiday aftermath. I don’t think he will have such a bad time as we have and I hope not.
Well dear it is midnight so I think I will go to bed and I’m feeling that way inclined, but I’ve the knowledge that I’ve done a good job in writing to you, and shall sleep well in consequence.
I have thought of our last walk on Thursday last. Rain did not prevent us having a nice walk and such a nice time. Mother and Dad took George with them and jolly good of them too – both for Judy and Joe and you and I.