At Kingston. The Carnarvon arrived most unexpectedly at 7 a.m. and in due course went alongside the coaling jetty. Soon rumours began to fly around – “she had come to relieve us”, “we were going to Bermuda”, also to England with troops that are due to leave here in the Magdalene this month. Then came the rumour that we were going to sea tonight and that no leave would be granted, in consequence. Later events confirmed this and preparations for leaving for sea were made. Men who have been working at Port Royal, also on shore at Kingston, were called back to the ship.
In view of this we “boys” decided to write a hasty letter of thanks and good wishes, to Auntie and Ginger. As time pinched I wrote a letter on behalf of the “boys” and gave it to a marine orderly who was going on shore and knows our friends. As a token of my gratitude I also sent a painting of the Prince George which I bought off our painter. Some of the “boys” gave “Auntie” one of the Roxburgh a while ago, so I thought this would go to make a nice pair, and it was the best I could do under the circumstances.
About 3 p.m. just after I had heard we were sailing at 5 p.m, leave was piped from 3-45 p.m. as per usual. This came as a most pleasant surprise to us all. We were really going to sea though, but the Captain asked for an extension of time owing to accommodation having to be made on board for 8 middies belonging to the Canadian Navy and from the Carnarvon, who are coming for training purposes.
The mail closed at 3-30 p.m. I sent letters to you and Jude (also a birthday card), and feel much happier in consequence. Went ashore with some of the “boys” at 4 p.m. and after I had bought some photographic gear, went out to Miss B’s house.
When Auntie and Ginger heard we were going to sea and that we should not see them again, they made up some souvenirs – letters for us – and brought them down to meet the four o’clock boat. On the arrival of the boat however she was agreeably surprised to see two of the “boys” come ashore. They returned home and when we arrived there it was to find them singing with all their might. The ladies were so delighted to be able to entertain us once more, ere we parted and went our different ways.
Tonight being the last opportunity we should have of meeting this side we lay ourselves to make the best of it – and we did. During the evening two of the best turns at the Concert were brought up by the “boys” and you can bet they had to give a “show”. Our party consisted of 8 of us from the ship, “Auntie”, “Ginger”, Granddad and his son. I can assure you we had a fine time. One of the “boys” rigged up in some of “Ginger’s” clothes and went out for a walk with another of the “boys”. They had quite an adventurous time in the Park and mainstreet.
We had some nice ices at 8-30 p.m. At 9 p.m. wine was served (I had an iced drink) and toasts were given. A short speech was made by Grand-dad’s son, in which he spoke of the splendid evenings we had had together, and hoped others would follow in the near future. We had to leave at 9-15 p.m. and after singing “Old acquaintance” and wishing our friends goodbye, etc, we took our departure. The ladies handed us picture souvenirs and also a letter – which I am retaining as proof of their sincerity. The ladies were rather sad when it came to leaving them, and we fellows were not too happy in consequence, but to buck things up we left the house singing “Are we downhearted, No!” and kept up this and other songs all the way to the Pier.
Although of course very sorry to have to leave such good friends I am very thankful that an opportunity was granted for us to wish them a proper “goodbye” and thank them for their kind action in entertaining us. They are the best people I have met outside my home circle.
Dr. Blanford went to Hospital today.