20th March 1916

At Queensferry. Letter from and to you.

The Commander has been placed under my care today suffering from sciatica. I have to attend to him at least four times per diem, and each time I have to give his pet monkey some chocolate to keep him quiet, for he delights in getting hold of my cap or trouser-legs with his teeth and is rather vicious if I attempt to dodge or interfere with his game. If I give him the chocolate I can go in and out alright, but there is nothing doing otherwise and I have to manoeuvre out of his reach. The Commander is a nice man and enjoys the fun. Old Monks is as good a guardian as any house dog and will not let one approach the Commander, or if one happens to get in the cabin alright on turning to go out you will find Mr. Monkey waiting for you. I would like to be chummy with him for he is an interesting little fellow – almost human in fact.

5 p.m. An A. B. named Lynch fell overboard fully dressed with sea-boots on. Was overcome by the cold and shock of the sudden immersion and despite the heroic attempt of Able Seaman Ready who dived in fully dressed and even caught his hair as he was disappearing, the poor fellow was drowned. Ready was only picked up by our cutter in the nick of time for he was nearly overcome by the cold water, weight of clothes, and very fast current. It all happened so quickly that I hardly think most of the men realised that a man had been drowned. The drowned man made little or no effort to keep afloat and was apparently unconscious before sinking. Ready says he had hold of him but could not retain his hold owing to the cold numbing his hands. Ready was put to bed in the Sick Bay as soon as he was fetched on board. Everything was done to get him warm and prevent collapse. He revived alright and was quite well by 9 p.m. Naturally he is a hero, and considering the circumstances I think his action most plucky and deserving of recommendation.

The drowned man has only a sister alive I am told. He has recently been attending the Sick Bay and I find it hard to believe that he has met his end so suddenly. The event has cast a certain amount of gloom throughout the ship, and out of respect for him the Officers had no band performance or cinema tonight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *