15th August 1915

Off Hebburn. Went on watch from 1 a.m. until 4 a.m. The patient regained consciousness during the watch previous – about midnight. He was asleep when I went on watch and only awoke on two occasions during the time I was watching him. I gave him a little brandy on these two occasions to stimulate his heart. He breathed very quickly and heavily whilst asleep and to all appearance he was like a man in a drunken stupor. I think the cause of this appearance was the ether he had injected into him last night. Ether as you may know is one of the chief anaesthetics in use at the present time for rendering people unconscious during an operation. The man’s appearance was very much like a person under the influence of ether. He didn’t trouble me much during my watch and was pretty quiet all the morning and forenoon. The thing we have to watch for now is pneumonia symptoms, and I’m afraid he will turn to a pneumonia case, for besides being in a low condition constitutionally from so many years of intemperate habits, he has also been for some time suffering from a cold. He has a wretched cough and still breathes quickly and complains of a pain in his chest. His temperature, pulse and respiration all point to pneumonia.

We were busy this morning and to make matters worse the Captain must choose to have a “Muster by Open List”. By this is meant a muster of every man in the ship according to the ledger.The Captain is supposed to hold such a muster once a Quarter and whenever an Admiral makes an inspection this muster takes place. When I was serving in the Prince George, Admiral Prince Louis of Battenburg inspected the ship and we had to muster before him – man by man. I felt just a little bit nervous I remember, for he was surrounded by officers of all ranks and I (like the rest) had to stand up into a chalk-marked circle and tell him what my number on the Ship’s Books was and my rating. I have been through the same performance many a time since, before different Admirals and captains. Today’s muster was really a rehearsal for the muster when Admiral Browning – in charge of our Squadron – comes to inspect the ship soon. The writer calls out your name and you step up to a line or into a circle, remove your cap and tell the Captain your number, rating and number of good conduct badges, medals or qualifications (if you have any). I had to say No 1. Sir; Second Sick Berth Steward; One good conduct badge. The Captain spoke to several about their hair, boots, clothes etc. and was very cute I’m sure. He looked at your boots first and then gradually worked up to your hair and he didn’t miss much en route.

Our patient has been awake and quiet all the afternoon and I have found time to write a long letter to you. I’m afraid this will be the last letter of any length I shall be able to write for a while, for rumours are numerous as to the date of our departure for the Forth, and I expect we shall be there in a few days hence. Now that I know we shall have to go back to the old life again I am hoping we shall soon return and get settled down again. I remember this afternoon that it is two months ago since we were torpedoed. It hardly seems creditable that so much time has passed. So many pleasurable times and incidencies have been crammed in during that time that I suppose that accounts for the quick way in which the time has passed. I wonder if the ensuing months will pass as quickly – anyhow I hope the winter ones will.

Owing to the special watch required on that case and the amount of other work to be done, two of us will be required to remain on board tonight. I so much wanted to go to Church tonight – as I thought it would probably be the last chance for some time – but owing to Pomroy wanting to go and it is his turn, I shall have to remain. I can hardly write how disappointed I am for I do so much look for the Sunday evening Service. I shall not be able to think of you in Church tonight and I am glad you will not be able to see what a disappointed person I am, otherwise you would be influenced I’m afraid by my unhappy expression. I shall think of you dear and long for the time to come when we can go together again to Ebenezer.

The dockyardsmen have been working night and day during the past days and today they have been working on the new 7.5″ gun. They have finished placing it in position. The watertight compartments have not stood their test very well and the men are working on them night and day to try and render them “tight”.

10 p.m. The “drowning case” is pretty bad again and special watch will be necessary during the night. I am to watch him until 12 p.m.

I thought of you during Churchtime and I suppose you did of me. I am spending my spare moments until twelve in writing up these notes.

Patient is dozing, but rather restless.

11 p.m. Just finished dressing a stoker’s eyebrow. He has been ashore and quarrelled with another man, with the result that blows were exchanged and this man got a nasty knock alongside the nose and over the eye. I have dressed him and sent him away to turn in. All is quiet now and I am the only one awake in the Sick Bay at present. I have been thinking of you, probably asleep in that upstair room, not awake thinking of me I hope, but well into dreamland. I’m feeling sleepy myself and shall not be sorry when 12 p.m. comes and my relief.

11-50 p.m. Have just been attending to my patient and he is quiet again. He seems a typical pneumonia case and I hope he will be sent to Hospital tomorrow, for a ship is no place for such a case, especially under war conditions. Well I must now wkae up my relief and get to bed myself.

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