At Scapa. Captain told us this morning that we would probably be glad to hear that during this week the Antrim and this ship would go to a home port and give leave, before leaving for a foreign station. He would not tell us where we were going, but we should not require any woollen gear. This news came as a great surprise to us all I can assure you, and although we do not know where we are going most of us are glad for a change, for the life here is monotonous.
Rumours of Suez Canal, East Indies, China, “Straits”, West Indies are going around. One of the first things I thought about when I heard the news was your prophesy or “feeling” expressed ever since I came away last time, that you expected me home again soon – probably not under these circumstances of course. However I must say you are correct once again – to your good dear.
Our Fleet Surgeon seems a decent old chap, rather bruff but cheery, and as long as the work is carried on O.K. I think he will be a good Chief.
Went to Church this a.m. and Holy Communion afterwards.
Just before dinner a signal from Jellicoe to all the ships in harbour was put up on the board. It stated that as the light cruisers, battle-cruisers and torpedo craft were paying their first visit to this base since the battle of Jutland, he thought it would be only right to give them a warm welcome. The C-in-C would be glad if officers and men would assemble in the prominent parts of their ships and give cheers as the ships came to anchor.
The ships – light cruisers leading – came in at 1 p.m. and needless to say were given a good reception from the ships – the Commanders of which led the cheering. It struck me as being most inspiring and a very good idea of the C-in-C’s. I may add that separate cheers were called for Beatty.
Later this afternoon a signal was made by Beatty to the ships, thanking them on behalf of his ships for the honour paid them, which deeply touched him and his comrades, and he thought no greater honour could have been paid them.
I have been massaging the Chaplain’s heel – hurt it whilst skipping – and whilst attending to him this afternoon I tried to find out if he knew where we were off to. He knows, and told me I was near the mark when I said West Indies. He is delighted to think we are going away from Scapa, for the monotony and rough weather was nearly causing him to resign. He said “Sundays always make me homesick”, to which I promptly replied “It is the same with me, Sir”.
I wrote to Mother this afternoon.
It has been quite an exciting day and so happy, because we were expecting to be off patrolling again soon, and recollections of our past trip did not make us feel too cheerful. Hence the exuberance.