April 2nd 1944 – Aden

We reach Aden yesterday despite plots of four submarines near the mouth of the Gulf, one German. We have “Dilwara”, “Stratheden” and “Lancashire” in convoy, with five corvettes ahead. Aden is full of shipping but not much to see. We take on oil fuel and water and tomorrow will be “dhobie day”, as there has not been sufficient water so far. (JDW: washing day)

The Italians cause trouble smoking on deck the first night at sea, and are then told that the guards will shoot at lights, so it soon stops. I find all my luggage in “Wanted on Voyage” hold and hope I shall not lose it all if we have to trans-ship in the Middle East, as is sometimes the case. I do some sunbathing, P.T. and deck hockey and have had a drink most days too, though this is a “dry” ship. I think it has all run out now.

Quite a few women on board – mostly bags, but some of them look a little better as the voyage progresses. Three generals also. Wingate has been killed in an air crash. His force has gone in – the Japs are attacking Kohima and are around Tiddim and Imphal. I meet one McKinley, Black Watch, at my table who knows Bernard Fergusson very well, and has himself had a most interesting war so far. I have my army webbing all ready for abandoning ship, and am O.C. RAF boat stations. We hope to sit on rafts until help comes.

Much noise of children screaming all over the decks and the lounge.


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