6th June 1916

At Sheerness. The first leave people were paid 10 days money this a.m. and will proceed on leave as soon as the ship is in dock this afternoon.

Wrote a letter to Ma and which will be posted with yours at Plymouth. Received a letter from Ma today.

3-30 p.m. Slipped our buoy and proceed up the river towards Chatham.

5 p.m. Placed in a basin at the Gillingham end of the Dockyard.

5-30 p.m. The first leave left the ship, and are to return on the 13th at 7 a.m.

Near us the following ships are in dock:- Apollo (minelayer), Canopus (battleship), Mars and Prince George (battleships).

6-30 p.m. Whilst I was engaged in doing some washing who should come into the Sick Bay but George Bond and a chum of his. I knew George’s ship the Egmont was nearabouts and I intended finding him, but he has forestalled me. He is looking quite O.K. but does not go much on the Navy andf is glad he only joined up for the war. When I had finished my “dobeying” and had a wash, I shew George and the other fellow around the ship. He said it is the cleanest ship he has been on yet. He has been aboard the Chatham and has seen the damage done to her by the mine she struck. The ram part is blown completely away. George informs me that the Penelope and Conquest (light-cruisers) have both been in for repairs after striking mines.

Whilst George was on board, about 8 p.m. the newspaper arrived and we received the terrible news of the loss of the Hampshire and all hands including Lord Kitchener and his Staff who were on their way to Russia. The Hampshire (sister ship to this vessel) struck a mine or was torpedoed at 8 p.m. last night near the Western Orkneys, a heavy sea running at the time accounting for the great loss of life. I expect she had not long left Scapa Flow and was probably taking the same route as we did to Norway. There seems little hope of anyone having been saved. This is a terrible blow to the Nation, and it has come at a time when the nation is mourning the loss of so many brave men. It seems hard to believe.

George is going to meet me tomorrow evening and is going to show me around Chatham. He is a blessing in disguise for I did want a guide as I am a stranger in these parts. George left at 8-30 p.m.

The Defender (t. b. destroyer) came in this evening and is just ahead of us. A torpedo-coxswain from her came aboard for advice on a stomach complaint. Questioned about his ship – which is based on Queensferry and is one of the boats that escorted us around to Sheerness – he states she was hit by a 12″ shell during the action and has come here for repairs. He says we won well, and says the Germans may as well admit their losses, which are known to our people. He says the Queen Mary blew up with a terrific force and when the smoke cleared away nothing of her remains could be seen. I could not get this P.O. to say much about the affair, and I do not wonder at it, for the sights he and others saw, and the terrible din, must have left them with a numbed conscience.

9 p.m. I hear from men returning from ashore that Lord Kitchener and some of his Staff have been saved, I do hope it is true.

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