28th December 1915

At Queensferry. Admiral came on board this morning to see where a “decoding station” could be built. By “decoding” is meant transforming the signals (wireless) which are all made in secret code, into the proper message dispatched. Code books are zealously guarded at these times and only the men actually employed at decoding are allowed access to them. The decoding Staff do 4 hour watches day and night at sea and in harbour a day each. The Staff consists of two Medical Officers (also censors), Paymaster and Asst. Paymaster, Clerk, two Ship Steward’s Assistants and the Chief Writer. It is suggested now that a station for decoding should be near the wireless room so that as little time as possible shall be lost from the time the signal is taken in, to the decodation of it.

The wireless room and suggested “decoding station” are adjoined to the 14″ space (so called because the spare 14″ torpedoes are kept there) which is the Fore Dressing Station in action. I suppose the alterations necessary for this new station will be made when we go for our next refit at Newcastle, whenever that is. Already rumours are current, January being the suggested month.

I have received a letter from Mother today, written on Xmas Day. She informs me that you have been down to the new house with the letter I sent on the 23rd to Clifton St. I am thankful to you for seeing the letter safely delivered and in good time. Mother also puts in a good word about the assistance you and Charles gave her during the “removal”, and for which I thank you. I wish I could have been home to do my bit, but I can hardly “do my bits” in two places. Fred arrived in time to give a hand to square off the rooms in the new residence – leaving off work and carrying timber for him, but I don’t suppose he minded, since he was, after a couple of months separation, with his dear wife and son again.

Mother asks if I have received a box she sent me on the 20th. No, emphatically, No. But I live in hopes of seeing the box, even if the contents are uneatable or missing. Mother mentions about her presents which curious enough were all silver, and she wonders if folks fancy it is her Silver Wedding. She is proud to think so many love her.

A curious incident occurred at dinnertime on Xmas Day. One of the girls had been looking for something just before dinner and left one of my photos on the table. Mother says it seemed to suggest that I ought to be there. Anyhow they all wished me a Happy Xmas and hopes for my being home next Xmas. Mother’s letter is concluded by the signatures of Mother, Dad, Judy, Nina and Fred, and I’m going to keep this interesting autograph letter.

I have written to Ma by return.

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