24th December 1915

At Queensferry. Rumours have been persistent during the last few days to the effect that we should go to sea today. Whether these rumours are based on such an happening taking place on this day last year or whether there may be an ulterior cause, such as that suggested by the Chaplain when asked in the Sick Bay last evening whether we should go to sea or not. He said “I shouldn’t be surprised, even if it is only to keep the officers sober”. It is sore temptation if we are in harbour during the Xmas for the officers to make merry. No doubt the men would do likewise, if they had the necessary liquors. Last Xmas Day apart from the fact that we had an air-raid from the sea on Cuxhaven, there seemed to be an idea that the Germans would attempt to fire on one of the East Coast ports again. In view of the stationary position of the German Fleet during the past eleven months I am of the opinion that they will contemplate no attempts this Xmas and unless any operations are to be carried out by sea or air I don’t think we shall put to sea. I hope my opinion will prove correct for I should like to spend this Xmas in harbour. It will be much more enjoyable than being at sea, where I fancy it is pretty rough, judging by the weather in here.

I had a “fit of studying” last night and early this morning for I got so interested in my studies that I lost account of time and was surprised to find when at length I yawned and looked at my watch I found the time was 12-15 a.m. It is not often I go so deeply into my work, so such a rare occurrence is worth whatever detrimental effects it may have on the eye or brain, altho’ in my case the latter organ cannot suffer much, since there isn’t much of it to be damaged. I turned in at 12-30 a.m. but made up for the lateness of the hour by sound sleep and a “lay on” until 7-30 a.m.

The routine of a Saturday is being carried out today, scrubbing decks, washing paint-work, cleaning brasswork, etc. Tomorrow will be observed as a Sunday.

Received a card from Aunt Jennie today.

Thanks to the generosity of certain London schools, who collected together a large sum of money for Xmas Puddings for the Soldiers and Sailors, we have all been served out with “duff” at the rate of half-a-pound per man. It is rather coincidal that these puddings should be made by Harrods Ltd, the same firm that made them last Xmas for the “Daily Chronicle” Fund. The puddings were very nice then.

This evening I went to see the Cinematograph pictures. Owing to lack of space the pictures are shown each evening to different ratings, so that one might see the Captain and Officers see them, then the seaman, next the stokers, and the Petty Officers. Four pictures were shown tonight, viz: “For the Secret Service”, “Panorama of Caira”, “The Magician” (Comic), “Search. The Scientific Detective”. The first named picture was seen by you and I, at the Belgrave I think it was. You will no doubt recall the adventure of Carlton the inventor of an electric wave which blew up gasoline at a distance and how he gave a demonstration in the Secretary of State’s office. By means of a Dictophone a spy-clerk hears the conversation during the demonstration and takes his news to the Bolivian Ambassador. In the Secretary of State’s office a lady detective – such a little woman she is too – is engaged to find the thief of important plans. She gets on the track of the spy. In the meantime the spy with two assistants gets into Carlton’s house and after “knocking him out” and leaving him laying on the floor of his laboratory, steals the most important part of Carlton’s invention – a disc. The disc without the machine however is useless, so the spy and his assistants go to the Secretary of State’s office, break open the safe and steals the machine, which had been left by Carlton in the Secretary of State’s custody, pending negotiations for purchase by the Government.

The spy takes the box and disc to the Bolivian Ambassador but they are unable to get any result. It is decided to get Carlton by force and bring him to tell the secret under penalty of death. Carlton is captured whilst leaving his home and is taken in a motor-car to a house in the country.

The lady detective however has been a witness of the “kidnapping” of Carlton and she follows in a motor car. She reaches the place where Carlton has been taken and whilst working her way through the grounds to the house, is caught by one of the Bolivian Ambassador’s assistants. During this time Carlton at the revolver point is told to show the way to work his invention. He refuses.

It is then that the lady detective is dragged into the room. He is told in her presence to show how the machine works, but he again refuses. The lady detective is taken into an upstairs room, gagged and bound. The spy threatens to kill her if Carlton won’t speak. The chauffeur – the lady detective’s assistant – gets suspicious over the length of time his mistress has been and he gets out to find what has happened to her. He reaches the house and climbs up the verandah supports to where the lady detective is imprisoned. He breaks the glass and gets into the room, loosens the gag and binding and follows her through the window into the grounds below and to the motor. The escape however is seen by two of the spy’s assistants in the grounds. They rush into the house and informs the spy and Ambassador, who with assistants leave the house and give chase. Carlton is left in the charge of an accomplice who keeps a revolver levelled at his prisoner.

In the disc of his machine he sees the chase of the lady detective’s car by the Bolivian Ambassador. Shots are being exchanged. The lady detective’s car begins to slow down and is being caught up by the pursuing one. Now Carlton’s invention comes in handy for the ray sent out by his machine reaches the petrol in the tank of the pursuing motor-car and the car is “blown up”.

The lady detective with police returns to the house where Carlton is and rescues him. The end comes with an affectionate handshake between Carlton and the lady detective.

I may say this picture served to awaken old memories. The other pictures were alright and so a happy hour was passed in this manner. The Commander is taking great interest in the Cinematograph, in fact there isn’t much he doesn’t, when it is for the benefit of the men under him. He is a bachelor, wealthy and well-travelled. He has a Mother living of whom I’m told he is very fond. He has left a certain sum of money in his will for the benefit of the wife of his marine servant. So you can judge for yourself what sort of man he is. He is arranging for a change of pictures weekly and promises some Charlie Chaplin’s.

As preparations for sea have not been made, it does not seem likely that we shall go out tonight.

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