At Queensferry. Rumours were current early this morning about the ships going to sea. Confirmation was soon forthcoming and preparations were made before dinner. at 3-30 p.m. Antrim, Roxburgh and three scouts left for sea. I think we must be going out for exercises with the rest of the Grand Fleet, altho’ the early hour of leaving leads me to think that there may be something in the rumour about some German vessels having been seen by one of our torpedo boats.
I have not received my parcel so it will be in a fine state I expect when I do get it. I had similar luck to this last year at this time. I’m glad I answered your letter last night anyhow for I should have been “had” if I had left it until this afternoon.
3-40 p.m. I now learn that there are five ships accompanied by destroyers going to sea, so I rather fancy that there are some minelayers that have been seen in the North Sea. I wish these malcontents would choose better weather for their exploits, for it is not at all the sort of weather one likes to go to sea in, and we are anticipating a rough time. Glad anyhow that Xmas is over.
11 p.m. Rough weather. At 9-40 p.m. a Ships Corporal called me to see a prisoner in the cell who had been taken ill. I went to see and found him wriggling about apparently in great agony. I sent for the M. O. and in the meantime tried to gain some information from the man, but he was in too much pain to tell me much. The sentry states he heard the man groaning and looking through the spy-hole in the door saw him wriggling about on the bench that has to do for a bed. The man was under 14 days cell punishment for deserting his post. He was on watch in the foc’s’le from 12 p.m. to 4 a.m. on a very cold night recently. He left his post for a while and went to the ship’s galley to warm himself, being found there by the Officer-of-the-Watch, who reported him. Of course leaving his post of duty was a serious crime and many a soldier has been shot in wartime for this same thing.
To return to this man’s condition I must say he seemed in a bad way and his convulsions was similar to those found in tetanus. The M. O. arrived soon and examined him. It was decided upon to remove the man from the cells to the Sick Bay. This was done and the man put to bed. The Fleet Surgeon was called to see the man. Morphia was injected (by me for the first time in my career) and hot applications to the stomach followed. Altho’ I was feeling pretty bad when first called to see the man, I forgot my feelings until the man had been relieved, then I suddenly thought how different I was feeling. I have noticed this before and it has always been my hope that if we ever go into action in rough weather, that in the excitementI should forget all about seasickness, for it would be awful trying to work whilst one was feeling so ill.
The man is now easier, but has to be watched during the night, so I’m going to bed now and try to get a little sleep ere my watch comes around.