31st December 1915

Arrived Queensferry 11 a.m. Early this morning I heard that in all probability we should “go in to coal”, but I didn’t credit the rumour. About 8 a.m. however we found ourselves off May Island so gave more credence to the rumour. Soon after we were sure that we were harbour bound and I can assure you  we were not sorry for it was still rough.

Soon after our arrival in harbour I heard that a wireless message had arrived stating that three minelayers had been captured – one by the cruisers from Scapa Flow and two by ships off the Essex coast. I hope this is true for it will be some consolation for the terrible calamaity which occurred this morning presumably at Scapa Flow, I refer to the blowing up of the Natal – a cruiser belonging to the Second Cruiser Squadron. The cause is given as an “internal explosion” and thus we lose the third ship during the war through this cause. I think the “internal explosion” can be attributed to the work of German agents or traitorous Englishmen. The Natal has lately been in dockyard hands at Birkenhead and one is led to think in view of past happenings that the doom of the Natal was sealed there.

I like not those private yards and heard quite a lot against them at Hebburn and other places on the Tyne – where the agents of our enemies are ever at work. The Antrim was nearly blown up while at Hebburn in October, an electric wire being found leading from the searchlight to the magazine, so that the first time the searchlights were switched on the magazine would have been exploded and the Antrim would have been blown to atoms. This is only one case, but suffices to show how active enemy agents are.

The loss of the Natal is great, for this class of cruiser is our best for fighting purposes, and we can ill afford to lose such fine ships.

Received letters from you and Net today.

Served out with a Cardigan jacket – a nice warm article too. Attached to the jacket was a small tally and noticing some writing on it I looked into it closely. Imagine my surprise when I read on one side “Remember me to Kaiser Bill” and on the other side “Miss Meg Day, Old Town, Kirkfieldbank, By Lanark, Scotland”. This is the third occasion on which I have found such notes in gifts. I don’t suppose I shall wear the jacket, but it will come in handy to Father.

The prisoner is much better this morning, but had a restless night.

Thus endeth my notes for 1915. Good luck and best wishes for the New Year, to you.

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