16th August 1915

Off Hebburn. A miserable rainy morning and not at all fit to take a patient to Hospital but he had to go. The Doctor and myself conveyed our “bad case” to the Infirmary at South Shields this morning. He was brighter this morning but his physical condition no better, so it was decided to remove him to the Hospital. He was taken down in an ambulance and altho’ the journey was a none too pleasant one he didn’t seem to mind it at all and altho’ I took brandy and strychnine, neither stimulant was required. He will not be lonely at the Infirmary for we have eight others in the same ward. All these men will be sent to Chatham when they have recovered and not back to the ship again, as their reliefs will be sent to the ship without delay. I am told that they are well attended and cared for there.

At 12-45 p.m. I was walking back towards the station and was in the same street and its part as I was on an occasion following the ten days leave and when I mention as having thought of you. It was rather peculiar that on both occasions I should have thought of you at that particular time and be in the same place. I was still thinking of you and the peculiar occurrence when Hebburn was reached. Eventually arrived on board again at 2-15 p.m.

A parcel has arrived from Mother containing confectionery, fruit and butter. The latter two items were all right, but the confectionery was in a most uneatable condition, being nothing but a mass of crumbs. However the parcel came as a great surprise and I am wondering whether Mother thought I had already gone to Queensferry. A letter has arrived since, but beyond informing me of the despatch of the parcel does not give me any reason to think that Mother ┬ábelieves me to be at Queensferry. I have also received a card from George Bond in answer to the one I wrote him. He says the first days work nearly killed him, but he is now getting over the after-effects. He says “he is enjoying his pipe alright and they think he looks a man with it”. I very much hope for his own health’s sake he will keep to the pipe and forsake cigarettes for good and all. The men on board who have still kept their wives in Hebburn, and those who have made appointments for tonight with ladies and others, are looking very disappointed because no leave is being given tonight, and we are expecting to go out tonight, as all the dockyardsmen have been sent ashore, altho’ the work is not finished. The ship is lying about 20 yards from the shore and a lot of young women, who have friends aboard here – also the wives of men on the ship – have collected on the shore opposite the ship and are making all sorts of signals and calling across to the men on board, who are something akin to caged lions. I know how I should feel if you were there and I have sympathy for the men and women so placed. I am glad for both our sakes that you are not so near at hand, for I should not like you to see the ship go out and you be left behind to go all the way back to Plymouth alone and so unhappily. Necessity is the Mother of invention tis said and judging by what I have witnessed this evening I think that old saying very true. One of the means adopted for sending messages ashore has been by cutting a potato in half, cutting out the centres of the two halves, placing a written message in the cavity so formed, tying the two halves together and then throwing them across to the shore. This is rather an ingenious idea and is causing some good fun.

6 p.m. Leave has been granted until 8-30 p.m. and the potatoes are going ashore very quickly with the information and the people are leaving for the gates of Hebburn Docks to meet their husbands and friends. But the day of parting is not far off and the agony is only being prolonged. Sooner or later that awful time will have to come and I pity all concerned when the time does arrive. Thank goodness ours has been got over.

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