31st May 1916

At the “Swim”. Several torpedo boat destroyers are out here now, and the ships are still ready for sea. Our Admiral went on board the Britannia (flagship 3rd B. S.) this morning.

Received a letter from you this a.m.

“Hands make and mend clothes” was piped after dinner, also “Optional bathing”.

Chaplain came to Sick Bay whilst I was writing to Aunt Nina this afternoon. Replying to my question as to what we were out here for he said “Expecting a raid”. Also informed me that Antrim was coming out of dock on Sunday, and that we were refitting at Chatham. There have been rumours of Hebburn, but he says there is no truth in this yarn. He hopes to hold Holy Communion 7 a.m. tomorrow as it is Ascension Day. He is wondering if, and where, he can hold the celebration as his usual place is being used as sleeping quarters by the Admiral’s staff.

6 p.m Fleet Surgeon sent for me and asked if the anti-gas apparati were in working order. I reported they were. My suspicions were aroused by this question and I was wondering if we were to go out on some business or other.

7 p.m. All ships got under way and proceeded down the Thames. Seaplanes were flying over us and in front for some distance – looking for subs. I expect. One of the “reapers” also accompanied us. Special arrangements have been made in the decoding room, only officers being allowed to do the work. There is a general air of mystery and tons of rumours. Tomorrow is the “glorious first”, wonder if our people are going to make a “splash”.

8 p.m. passed two patrol boats towing another such vessel, her foremast was missing. Passed numerous steamers flying British, Norwegian and Danish flags. Also passed two peculiar built vessles flying no flags and having no cargo – decoy boats I fancy.

8-40 p.m. Dropped anchor “somewhere off the mouth of the Thames”. Apparently we are awaiting orders at short notice. Surgeon Brown and the Chaplain came up this evening and started talking about the possibility of an action tomorrow. This is a funny game and I wish we could get some idea of what’s doing. Expect to get under way again during the night.

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