HMS Dauntless, Cruiser 1918-1946
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HMS Dauntless. Photos and History of HMS Dauntless, launched 1918. Page includes photos of the ship and crew, as well as crew lists.
HMS Dauntless, 1918.
HMS Dauntless, 1920s.
HMS Dauntless, 1920s.
HMS Dauntless, with HMS Vivacious, May 1937.
HMS Dauntless, 1920s.
HMS Dauntless in the North Sea in 1944. Sent in by Stanley Richardson.
A B Stan Richardson who served as senior radar operator 1943 to 1945 on HMS Dauntless. Sent in by Stanley Richardson.
Crew of HMS Dauntless which brought the bodies of American officers and men from the ill fated A22. ?Tony Davies
The following is extracted from
H.M.S. ?Dauntless? 1930-1932
Personnel Of H.M.S. ?Dauntless?
Arnold, E. J.
Adlam, C. F.
Allen, A. W.
Ager, A. W.
Armstrong, J. W.
Alexander, G. E.
Archman, R. G.
Aymes, A. W.
Alison, A. B.
Brotheridge, T. M.
Bell, H. J.
Barter, H. E. T.
Bowman, J. R.
Brady, J. P.
Burgess, F. H. C.
Bacon, T. J.
Badder, J. C.
Bowditch, W. G.
Barrington, R. F.
Balchin, E. J.
Booth, A. E.
Backhouse, R. J.
Burke, R. L.
Briggs, F. C.
Bowring, A. H. J.
Barlow, F. C.
Barrett, W. C.
Ball, F. E.
Burrows, H. H.
Bradley, W. H.
Bright, T. P.
Brailey, A. R.
Blake, G. V.
Bassam, J. M.
Brymer, R. M.
Bradford, W. J.
Barry, R. J.
Baptist, E. J.
Boyden, J. W.
Breton, L. L.
Bath, L. E.
Bright, A. W. G.
Ball, S. G.
Bedford, J. L. J.
Bailey, P. G. H.
Bottomley, R. J.
Baker, B. F. J.
Bruce, Hon. J. B.
Bond, W. L.
Bagot, R. W.
Caddick, S. S.
Clutton, R. H. J.
Courtney, H. D. H.
Coombs, C. E.
Courtnell, H. J.
Carter, R. E.
Crawford, W. L.
Cannell, H. W.
Catlin, A. F.
Cantellow, L. A. C.
Carter, E. H.
Clarke, J. H. E.
Cotton, F. W.
Charlo, F. W.
Crouch, W. E.
Cook, W. B.
Chandler, A. G.
Clarkson, G. M.
Crothers, J. R.
Cummins, M. J.
Dennis, C. W.
Davies, A. H.
Dennis, R. L.
Dale, F. H.
Daniels, R. C.
Dunk, C. A.
Darton, L. C.
Dryden, H. C.
Dabson, H. F.
Driscoll, W. J.
Day, W. G.
Dumper, E. J.
Dines, J. H.
Davis, C. W. M.
Dacher, W. A.
Dean, A. E.
Davis, W. G.
Doy, F. J.
Ealies, J. T.
Endicott, J. H.
Elvin, W. B.
Edney, A. A.
Ferguson, D. J
Forster, H. W. C.
Fletcher, F. E.
Fair, A. G.
Flattery, J. W.
Fellows, T. W. J.
Froud, R. V.
Foxworthy, R. C.
Gillmore, C. R.
Green, W. J.
Grhaam, G. W.
Gosling, J. A.
Grantham, E. R. D. R.
Gaines, A. G.
Gross, R. G.
Grist, A. W.
Guest, L. E.
Gale, W. C.
Graham, J. H.
Greenwood, W. J.
Gordon, J. A.
Gerrey, H. V.
Grimble, A. W.
Gregg, W. J.
Goodwin, J. A.
Grethed, B. W.
Gumm, A. P.
Harper, E. C.
Harrison, G. W. (O.B.F.)
Huxford, G. H.
Hodges, W. H.
Hatcher, R. G.
Hunt, A. G.
Hutchinson, E. A.
Howatt, G. D.
Hills, J. E.
Hodges, J. H.
Hine, W. J.
Huck, W. J.
Hair, T. W.
Holman, A. J.
Hamblin, W. G.
Hale, G. P.
Harmon, J. J.
Hayes, W. H.
Hanks, H. P. J.
Hansell, H. W.
Hall, W. J.
Hutchinson, R. D. P.
Hodgkinson, R. H.
Hillier, C. W.
Hardman, R. E.
Jenkins, D. T.
Jenner, W. T. G.
Jackson, M. J.
James, T. L.
Jolliffe, C. W.
Jackson, R. A.
Jones, H. H.
Jennings, J. T.
Kemp-Knight, W. C.
Kersley, W. A.
Kinnard, A. E.
Kennedy, S. G.
Kearns, P. M.
Kill, L. G.
Kelleway, J. H. A.
Kent, H. A.
Kimber, E. W.
Kent, W. C.
Lock, F. C. C.
Lishman, W. R.
Lawson, C. E. J.
Long, G. I. R.
Lugg, E. E
Little, R. J.
Lester, A. G.
Lambert, R. J. H.
Leathers, W. E.
Limburn, W. H.
Loveless, W. H. V.
Loach, W. A. F.
Long, H. E.
Lauder, R. W. M.
Lawson, F. J.
Langdon, J. E.
Lush, H. I. W.
Le Serve, A.
May, R. D.
Muzzall, E. F.
Miller, A. S. C.
Morin, W. T.
Mace, H. J.
Monk, A. P.
Murray, D. E.
Miller, R. G.
Mitchell, G. E.
Mickels, F. J.
Moore, F. J.
Milsom, V. H. R.
Morgan, F. H.
Mitchell, G. J.
Moore, H. R. (D.S.O.)
Maybury, S. L .B.
Manton, L. F.
McKay, J. H.
McGuire, T. J.
McLoughlin, W. P.
McIlwain, W. J.
Netherway, G. E.
Neal, F. E.
Neslon, J. E.
Nother, J. R.
Northover, M. T.
Naylor, A. E. S.
Nicholls, L. R.
Nowell, G. H.
O?Neil, T. C.
Owen, E. J.
Osgood, F. H.
Offord, C. H.
Ogston, R. A.
O? Flynn, T. E.
Oakford, A. M.
Oldfield, H. W.
O?Donnell, M. J.
Oxley, J. A.
Onslow, R. F. J. (D.S.C.)
Olster, R. R.
Pneley, P. H.
Piper, H. M.
Padfield, E. G.
Pay, G. L.
Parsons, G. C.
Poynting, J. A.
Plumbley, C. G.
Palmer, A. E. S. F.
Pollard, A. E.
Parkinson, J. W.
Pratley, R. C. H.
Parsons, A. T.
Pope, A. E.
Perks, J. G.
Pike, G. J.
Prowse, G. V.
Pearce, J. C.
Pearson, B. W. V.
Rayment, H. J.
Ross, W. P.
Rivett, A. E.
Reuby, C. L.
Reading, C. A.
Robertson, R. H.
Read, A. F.
Roffey, J. G.
Read, A. H.
Rees, E. G.
Ross, J. W.
Ryan, P. A.
Reeves, J. C.
Ruffles, P. L.
Robertson, I. G.
Steere, W. M.
Senior, T. N.
Sanders, A. T.
Stemp, A. T.
Smith, H. C. G.
Stedman, C. T.
Stone, R. L.
Sleaman, G. L. A.
Stretter, H. S.
Stainson, H. M.
Sparks, F. E. J.
Sherrington, J. K.
Siddle, A. N.
Seymour, F. W.
Sumner, H. C.
Stacey, W. G.
Sellick, S. J. B.
Sherpherd, J. W.
Seago, J. V.
Steer, A. T.
Slade, R. H.
Shaw, W. A.
Sears, H. R.
Smith, F. J. R.
Scott, H. J. G. H.
Smith, E. W.
Sheldon, W. J. S.
Southall, W. H.
Shute, R. J.
Swan, F. J.
Savage, S. W.
Saltwell, H. W.
Saunders, L. J.
Simmonds, P. E.
Stevens, A. R.
Sands, A. B. R.
Sale, J. R.
Steer, L. A.
Stanley, A. E.
Scrivens, J. H.
Skinner, H. C.
Tune, A. C.
Townsend, R. G.
Thompson, W. H. S.
Taylor, R. G.
Terry, C. G.
Turner, P. A.
Tuckjer, F. T.
Turner, R. C.
Turner, T. J.
Taylor, J. C. N.
Uden, F. G.
Vick, E. C.
Vivian, J. G. P.
West, F. G.
Waterman, A. C.
Wyatt, F. A.
Webb, P. C.
Weaver, F. G.
Webb, G. C.
Wadey, R. W.
Withington, C. J.
Wood, J. D.
Webster, J. K.
Ward, W. G.
Wekllington, E. T. J.
Webb, A. V.
Worboys, F. J.
Wentzell, J. A.
Woodger, G. T.
Williams, W. E.
Williams, T. J.
Warren, C. E.
Weaver, E. H.
Watson, R. M.
Webb, H. G.
Walker, H. R.
Weare, L. H.
Whitfield, H. C.
Wooldridge, F. P.
Williams, J. S.
Whapshott, F. J.
Woodhouse, G. W.
Whetstone, L. B.
Young, H. V.
Games & Results
Played 16 Won 10 Lost 4 Drawn 2
Played 13 Won 6 Lost 4 Drawn 3
Football Championship 1st Division
Runners Up ?Dauntless?
Runners Up ?Dragon?
3rd Place ?Dauntless?
The following have represented the ship: - C.P.O. Kemp-Knight, E.R.A. Hills, O.A. Hillier Yeo. Thomson. Ldg/-Sig. Barrington, A.B.?s Cartland, Nash, Robson, and Castleman, Sto?s Blake, Lynch and Hale, Tel. Pay, S. A. Nicholls, Mnes. Power and Worrall, Cook Giblin, A.B. Kelleway, Sto. Peters.
We cannot claim to have an exceptionally brilliant eleven, but what we lack in skill is compensated for by the keenness and cheerfulness of every member of the team. The fact that an inter-part competition was held at Bermuda proves that interest in cricket spreads to all officers and ship?s company.
Games played during our commission will be treated in four different sections-North America, the West Indies, Bermuda, and South America. It must be mentioned here that our first eleven have won nearly twice as many matches as they have lost, an extremely creditable performance/
North America. During our first cruise the team was still in process of formation and our batting was lamentably weak, due chiefly to lack of net practice; nevertheless we gave a good account of ourselves in matches played. The pitches varied from ?bumby? at San Salvador to the ?billard table? at Stanley Park, Vancouver. Our opponents were, without exception, very cheery. We have pleasant memories of Victoria, Cowichan and Santa Barbara. Memories of excellent cricket and excellent picnic lunches. It has been suggested that our cricket deteriorates after lunch but there is no authority for that statement.
West Indies. West Indian cricket is characteristic. The pitches are generally ?bumby? and the opposing sides in variably have one or two alarmingly fast bowlers. The keenness of our opponents always made the games very enjoyable. Spectators and players greeted full pitches with wide grins, followed by cheers when the ball was banged to the boundary. Although eager to see their own side win, the West Indian supporters were impartial with their praise. Howls of derision would greet anyone who missed a catch.
Tortola will always be associated with Mass Dawson?s cricket. The local umpires would never give him out until. He had reached double figures and if, while waiting for the next batsman to come out, without being noticed, why that was his business.
Costa Rica we will remember for the many and seemingly endless speeches and Belize because it was there that ?The Genereral? nearly lost his tot. At Trinidad we probably put up our best performance in bating the Queen?s Park Club.
Bermuda. Here the
team was at its best. Only
one ship beat us. H.M.S. ?Dragon,? but we took ample revenge in
veating them twice subsequently. Apart from inter-ship games we had some
pleasant encounters with Dockyard teams and the Somerset Cricket Club.
Eight Teams featured in our inter-part competition by winning all their matches outright the Stokers proved themselves, beyond dispute the best team Leading Stoker Worrall and stoker Crossley proved a deadly bowling combination. The results of some matches were baffling to students of ?form?. It was generally agreed umpires.
Mrs Vivian kindly gave a Cup for the winners of this inter-part cricket competition an this cup was duly presented by Captain Vivian to the Stokers after the competition had been decided.
South America. Our South American cruise has not included as many cricket matches as we expected. The games at Nictheroy and Hurllington, Buenos Aires, were not most enjoyable, particularly so as the grounds were amongst the best we had experienced.
often ?our tail? has collapsed after a reasonable start, but there are
exceptions, notably Sergeant Gerry?s innings against Victoria mind.
Hodgkinson?s spirit and displayed against Belize, Crossley?s
batting against Somerset and Marshall?s fifty at Buenos Aires.
Generally the batting depended on Commander Onslow, Rosbson, Mids
Mantun and Prowse, Payr. Lieut.-Landon and Pay.
The brunt of the bowling was borne by Onslow, Prowse and Robson and
later Crossley strengthened the attack.
Both had also taken several wickets on his day.
Both there is an epidemic on this field but it isn?t catching.
Bermuda-Here the team was at its best, only one ship beat us, H.M.S. ?Dragon? but we took ample revenge un beating them twice subsequently. Apart from intership games were had come pleasant with Dockyard teams and the Somerset Cricket Club
Eight teams featured in our interpret competition. By winning all their matches outright the Stokers proved themselves beyond dispute the best team. Leading Stoker Worall and Stoker Crossley proved a deadly bowling combination. The results of some matches were baffling to stubborn of ?Form?. It was generally agreed, however, that the Real Marines had the best umpires.
Mrs. Vavian kindly gave a cup for the winners of this inter part cricket competition and this cup was duly represented competition had been decided.
South America. Our South American cruise has not included as many cricket matches as we expected. The games at Nictheory and Hurklluington , Buenos Aires were most enjoyable, particularly so as the grounds were amongst the best we had experienced.
General-Too often ?our tail? has collapsed after a reasonable start. But there are exceptions, notably sergeant Gerry?s innings against Victoria, Crossley?s batting against Somerset and Marshalls, and fifty at Ruenos Aires. Generally the batting depended on Commander On slow, Robson, Mids Manton and Prowse, Payr Lieutenant by on slow, Prowse and Robison, and later crossly strengthened the attack. Booth has also frequently our weak point, which we emphasised by our captain on this field but it it?s catching.
Commander Onslow built up captained, nursed and was the backbone of the team. When he left the ship it was a sore loss. We were lucky enough to have Lieutenant Comdr. Skinner to take over his duties.
We can truly say our umpiring and scoring have been as faultless as possible, thanks to the keenness and interest displayed by M. A. A. Milsom and Chief Petty Officer Writer Southall. May their shadows never grow less?
Our matches have always been played in a most cheery derived as much pleasure out of our games as we have.
The cricket team was selected from the following: -
Commander Onslow, Lieutenant-Commanders Skinner, Bond, Instructor, Lieutenant-Commander Taylor, Lieutenant Nowell, Paymaster-Lieutenant Langdon, Midshipmen Prowse, Manton and Hodgkinson, C.P.O. Kemp-Knight, E.R.A.?s Froud and Hills, Sergeant Gerey, Ldg, Tel. Booth, Tel. Pay. A.B.?s Robson, Marshall and Carter, Sto, Crossley, S.A. Foxworthy.
Played 20 Won 10 Lost 6 Drawn 4
Played 8 Won 4 Lost 4
Played 18 Won 10 Lost 7 Drawn 1
Inter-ship Matches at Bermuda
Played 17 Won 11 Lost 4 Drawn 2
Matches Played At Bermuda
Played 6 Won 5 Lost 1
The first trial game of the commission was held at Comox Camp football ground where rose bushes flourished, long grass flopped around out knees and the goal posts were imaginary. From the 20 odd players who took part, a side was selected to play Courtenay in two enjoyable games. The standard of play was not high as many of their players had not seen a game for some years, but they were keen to put up a good show, which they did in both games. Unfortunately two members of the opposing team sustained broken ribs in the second game. These two games had the effect of stimulating interest in rugger in the ship and a full trial game was played on the Esquimalt Sports Ground, after which we were able to select the best possible side to meet Victoria. A very hard match on a hard ground resulted in a creditable loss 5 points to nil. A month later we met some of the same team at Duncan and won a close match, 8points to 3, in spite of having spent the previous 10 days at Vancouver. The last match of the cruise was held in November at Trinidad. Hot weather and lack of practice provided some excuse for losing to the Imperial College.
On return to Bermuda the ship?s team was more or less fixed and we entered for the Governor?s Cup. We were unlucky to lose to H.M.S. ?Delhi? in the first round, for although they had a considerable reputation we actually had slightly the better of the play, due to excellent work by the forwards who had by now achieved a certain amount of team play under the leadership of Lt. Sands.
During the Spring Cruise we lost to the College at Trinidad owing to their frequent practice and our lack of practice. We also played at Belize and Nassau, the match at Belize being the first played there for ten years. At Belize the native spectators went quite mad with enthusiasm, especially when there was a scrum or when it appeared that one or two players had been hurt.
In August 1931, at Trinidad, we were lucky to get four games in quick succession. North Trinidad side was a little too strong for us but the Caribbean?s gave us two hard fought wins.
Whilst at Rio de Janeiro we played two games against a Nictheroy team; in the second match several of our leading players were unable to turn out due to sickness, ect, so that we were defeated rather heavily. The officers V. ship?s company match at Port Stanley was very keenly contested and was a useful trial game for the match against H.M.S. ?Durban.? This was probably the best game of the commission. Both sides played a hard keen game and the play was very even.
The Rugby XV was chosen from the following: -
Mid. Manton, A.B. Burke, A.B. Penley, A.B. Stone, Lt. Robertson, Lt-Cdr. Skinner, Inst-Cdr. Taylor, O.S. Davis, E.R.A. Hills, Mr. Smyth, Mid. Prowse, Pay Lt. Langdom, Lt. Sands, Lt. Gatey, Mid. Vincent-Jones, Ldg.-Seaman Robertson, A.B. Jenner, E.R.A. Gross, Sig, Wadey, A.B. Hunt, A.B. Flattery, A.B. Shepherd, Mne. Lauder and Mne. Hansell.
Though a great deal of our time has been spent in hot climates, except for occasions at Bermuda and Trinidad, few opportunities were found for playing water polo. It was noticed that men showed a marked disinclination to enter water frequented by sharks and barracudas. This no doubt was due to a belief in the legend of a barracuda?s nasty habits.
The ship?s team played five matches against various teams at the Trinidad Marine club, being beaten in three games, winning one and drawing the other. The members of the Marine Club were most hospitable and these fixtures were much enjoyed.
For information of those who do not play water polo; gin, beer, whisky etc., taste roughly 200% better after gurgling salt water. It is feared that this attractive feature of the game has not been sufficiently advertised during the commission, as the number of recruits to the game has been small.
The ship was unsuccessful in the fleet Water Polo competition, being beaten by Heavier and more powerful and skilled teams from ?Despatch,? ?Delhi? and ?Danae.? ?Dragon? was not present at Bermuda but had been beaten by ?Dauntless? when she visited Trinidad with us.
In order to encourage certain people, who were unlucky enough not to play in the two matches, who we won and who wanted to know what it felt like to win a game of water polo, an inter-part knockout competition was arranged at Bermuda in June 1931. The officers, much to their own and everyone else?s surprise, beat the royal Marines in the first round but were next beaten by the Quarter Deck, all players on both sides spending a large portion of the game under water. It is believed that the referee was on the point of ordering one of the officers out of the water on the occasion. The Fo?x?le beat the communications, the F.L.P. and finally the Quarter Deck, to win the competition.
The only game played in South America was at Rosario, when the ship was beaten by three goals to one. This was a very cold day and only spirited efforts on the part of out hosts succeeded in stopping the team?s teeth from chattering. The chattering of seven men?s teeth after 15 minutes water polo in cold weather has to be heard to be believed.
The Water Polo team has been picked from : -
Payr. Lieut. Langdon, Sto. Blake, Sergt. Gerrey, Mne. O?Donnell, E.R.A. Hills, A.B. Kersley, A.B. Piper, P.O. Dennis, A.B. Flattery, A.B. Townsend.
Our first game of the commission was played at Vacouver, British Columbia, without any previous practice. Under the circumstances we did remarkably well to draw and the game was invaluable in that it showed where the talent laid, a great help for the selection of the future teams.
Soon after our arrival at Jamaica, the two companies of the West York?s Regiment challenged us. We won the first game but it was so closely contested and so keen that several other games were immediately fixed up. Everybody who was keen on hockey was given a chance to play. On the whole, we were two wins to the good. This period of continuous hockey was exactly what we needed before arriving at Bermuda to take part in the Squadron Tournament and we thank the West York?s for the enjoyable, sporting gamed played at Jamaica.
During our stays at Trinidad we played the Agricultural College on three occasions, winning twice and drawing the last match. The ground was ideal and we can only hope that the College enjoyed the hockey as much as we did. A local Trinidad XI beat us by three goals to one. On our return to Bermuda from the Pacific Cruise we settle down to one and sometimes two games a week. Several inter-ship friendly games were played against H.M.S. ?Despatch,? ?Dragon? and ?Heliotrope.? Although we beat the last two ships we could never get the better of the flagship.
In the Naval and Military Tournament the ship came into the final by knocking out the ?staff and Departments? and the West York?s Regiment. H.M.S. ?Despatch? won the Cup, beating us by three goals to nil after a fast and close game. The semi-final against the West York?s will not be easily forgotten. We were three goals down at half time but won 5-3- how? We adopted the tactics of our opponents.
On the South American Cruise we won our match against Rio de Janeiro but lost at Buenos Aires. At the Falklands Islands we played against the Youth and Beauty of Stanley. It was an amusing game as we played left handed, one hand, and only just won.
At Valparaiso a combined team of H.M.S. ?Dauntless? and ?Durban? beat a local side by 7-2. Later, at Lima the two ships beat a Lima side by 3-1. At this period we had the services of Lieutenant Kirkconnel, who played centre forward for England in 1930.
The Hockey XI was chosen from: -
A.B. Lugg, Lt. Comdr. Onslow, A.B. Reed, Lt. Gatey, Mid. Prowse, A.B. Clark, Capt. Bagot R.M. Payr. Lt. Langdon, A.B. Nash, Lt,. Nowell, Lt. Robertson, Lt-Cdr. Whetstone, O. Sea. Catlin, Boy Wtr. Turner, O. Sea. Robson, Lt. Kirkconnel, Instr. Lt-Cdr, Taylor (Capt), and Lt.-Cdr Bond.
The following is extracted from H.M.S. ?Dauntless? 1930-1932.
On the 25th March 1930, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? commissioned at Portsmouth, with a ?Pompey? crew, for service on the America and West Indies Station with the 8th Cruiser Squadron, based at Bermuda. She was to take the place of H.M.S. ?Cardoc? which had recently arrived home and had paid off at Portsmouth. Captain H. R. Moore, D.S.O., of H.M.S. ?Caradoc,? was appointed to command H.M.S. ?Dauntless.?
On the forenoon of the 8th April, the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, walked round the ship and wished the officers and ship?s company a pleasant voyage and a happy commission. At 1115 on the same day the ship slipped from the North West Tidal Basin, bound for Bermuda. The jetty was crowded with friends, relatives and other dear ones who had come to catch a glimpse of us. Fond farewells were exchanged and also promise to remain true. Amidst cheers and hand waving the ship proceeded out of harbour to carry out D/F. calibration off Spithead before shaping course for Bermuda at 1730. Dreams were dreamed that night.
From 8th-13th April we experienced sunshine and a moderately calm sea. On the 13th the ship passed the Azores, but the islands were too far away to be sighted. It was also reported that a shark had been seen.
The 14th April brought cloudy weather; rainsqualls and a heavy Atlantic swell which continued for four days. The ship pitched and rolled uncomfortably. It was noticed that some of the Boy?s Division had lost their girlish complexions and that a few even looked unhappy. Perhaps they had eaten something, which had disagreed with them. Throughout this period the hands were busily engaged cleaning ship.
On the 19th April, at 1030, and in glorious sunshine, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? arrived at Bermuda and secured alongside Clock Tower Jetty. H.M.S. ?Despatch,? flying the flag of the Commander-in-Chief of the Station, Admiral Sir Cyril Fuller, and H.M.S. ?Heliotrope? were in harbour.
At last we had arrived at Bermuda and on our own station. Bermuda, Ye Isles of Rest, what have ye in store for us besides sunshine, lilies, hibiscus and bicycle rides?
Having arrived at the Isles of Rest it was appropriate that the ship should proceed to sea on the 21st and 22nd April to carry out gunnery and torpedo exercises. Throughout the practices we experienced rainsqualls and intermittent sunshine.
During the period 23rd-30th April, trial football and cricket matches held on Moresby Plain. Talent was forthcoming and great credit is due to the selection committees for building up the best elevens possible under the none too propitious circumstances.
According to the original programme the ship was supposed to sail for Bluefields, Nicaragua, on the 26th April. From the date of arrival at Bermuda chipping, painting and cleaning had proceeded furiously. I n spite of all our efforts it was soon obvious that the ship would not be ready to commence the first cruise on the 26th April. The date of departure was postponed for five days.
At 1530 on Thursday 1st May, we sailed from Bermuda for Colon, on a Pacific cruise. Rumour has it that this cruise is easily the best on the station.
Mention must be made of an amusing incident which occurred just before the ship commissioned at Portsmouth. Owing to an electric blow out in one of the passages it was necessary to give the fire alarm to all ships and establishments. However, the care and maintenance party, with the assistance of dockyard men, managed to get the fire under control before outside assistance arrived. But what we want to know is-Who was the zealous rating who plunged boldly into the smoke with a fire bucket in one hand and a lighted candle in the other to find his way to the fire?
The Bermudas were discovered in 1515 by Juan Bermudez, a Spaniard (from whom they took their name), when on a voyage from Spain to Cuba with a cargo of hogs. Owing to a gale arising the Spaniards soon departed, leaving their hogs behind.
Some years later, Fernando Camelo, a Portuguese and a native of the Azores, submitted a scheme for colonising the island to the King of Spain. This scheme was never carried out, although an inscription on the main island containing the figures 1543 has been taken as evidence that Camelo took possession of it at that date.
Many ships of many nations must have passed by these islands, but rock bound, storm racked, beaten and desolate; the Spaniards called them ?The Isles of Devils.? The Spaniards steered north towards them in order to take advantage of the Gulf Stream and avoid the Easterly Tardes; but they were warned to keep clear of the storms and reefs.
In 1591 three trading ships were sent from London to the East, under the command of James Lancaster. On their return, journey they went to the West Indies, arriving 1593. Three Lancaster and Henry May, one of his followers, in a French ship bound for Europe, which companions, remained on the islands for nearly four months, existing on the wild hogs which they found ?so lean that they cannot eat them,? native fruits and vegetables. They finally built a vessel, using Bermuda cedar, and set sail for Newfoundland and thence to England, where May published an account of the islands.
One discoverer, after another, including Sir Walter Raleigh 1595, and Champlain, about 1600, continued to bear ill witness against the Bermudas. With the first colonisation of America begins the colonisation of Bermuda.
The Virginia Company received its pantent from James I in 1606, and in 1607 its first colonists were despatched to America. In 1609 the Company was reorganised and nine ships were sent out under Sir George Somers and others. Somers was the leading spirit. He was a West countryman, borne at or near Lyme Regis, and had been trained in the wars with Spain. A violent storm scattered the vessels, and when one of them, the ?Sea Adventure,? had given hope they sighted the Bermudas where they were wrecked, the ship being wedged between two rocks, and all the company reached land safely. There they stayed for ten months, finding the islands better than their repute and, finally, having built two ships, they act set sail for Virginia to find the colony nearly starved out. The arrival of fresh ships from England prevented the abandonment of the colony, and Somers undertook to fetch food from the Bermudas. He reached the islands safely, but died afterwards. His body was embalmed and taken to England and laid to rest at Whitechurch, but his heart is said to have been buried in Bermuda soil, where the town of St. George now stands, and his memory is perpetuated by that name, with those of Somers Islands and Somerset (Somer?s seat).
Though, during the long struggle between King and Parliament, the authorities had little leisure to interfere with Bermuda, yet the political and religious discord reached them. From the first the Puritan Ministers and their followers seem to have caused constant trouble. In 1620 the Independents formally seceded from the Church and two years later an act of the Long Parliament established freedom of worship in the islands. Later the feeling of the community turned to the Quackers, and eventually the Company made an order, prohibiting their landing in the islands.
At the time of the execution of Charles I, and the establishment of the Commonwealth, Royalists seem to have retreated to the islands, and in 1650 the Long Parliament passed an act prohibiting trade with the islands on account of their refusal to recognize the Commonwealth. Two years later, 1652, the Governor and Coucil of the Bermudas took the oath of allegiance ?to the Commonwealth of England as it is now established without a King or House of Lords.?
The Restoration of Charles II, in 1660, seems to have been welcomed in the colony.
In time, so galling were the oppressive restrictions imposed on trade in the islands and the severity of the discipline enforced by the Company, that many complaints were sent to England. Further, the Company became composed of men who had no direct personal interests in the Bermudas, while the colonists grew in number, strength and independence. A petition, sated 1679, subsequently led to legal proceedings being taken against the Company-their Charter was abolished and the Bermudas passed to the Crown.
Since then the history has been uneventful. During the 18th and early 19th centuries agriculture and handicrafts were neglected and left to slaves, while the settlers built ships from cedar and busied themselves with trade to the West Indies and North America, with wrecking and, in time of war, with privateering.
The Bermudian seaman was constantly hampered in their efforts. Abroad, they were always liable to be captured by one or other of Great Britain?s enemies. At home they were handicapped by the regulation of 1710, stating that all incoming cargoes were to be unloaded at St. George?s.
In the early days of the colony whale fishing was expected to produce a source of income, but it eventually fell through.
During the many wars of the 18th century Bermuda was only indirectly affected, since the smallness and poverty of the islands and their distance from the mainland proved their safety. A close connection always existed between Bermuda and the North American colonies, and since North America was the chief market for the island trade their loyalty was only half hearted during the American War of Independence. In 1775 a store of gunpowder fourd its way from the islands into American hands by the connivance of the inhabitants, and in return certain supplies were sent from America to them, in spite of the fact that privateers, using Bermuda as a base, were doing damage to American shipping. The gunpowder was used to drive the English from Boston in March 1775.
The return of Somers companions drew English public attention to Bermuda. The dark picture drawn by earlier discoverers were disproved and popular tales now painted it in glowing colours.
In 1612 the Virginian Company procured an extension of their charter so as to cover all islands within 300 leagues of the Virginian shore in order to include the Bermudas. A few months later the Company sold the islands to certain members of their own body, who in 1615 were incorporated under Royal Patent as ?The Governor and Company of the City of London for the plantation of Somers Islands.? This company owned the islands until 1684. The letters patent gave them full powers of Government with an absolute monopoly of the import and export trade of the islands.
The first emigrants to the Bermudas, about 50 in number, were not sent out in 1612, before the new Company had been formed. Richard Moore, a ship?s carpenter, was the first Governor and the instructions given to him stated various sources of wealth which might be derived from the colony, including tobacco, pearls, silk, timber, salt, sugar-cane, ambergris and whale oil.
Three men who had remained behind from Somers Company, whose main concern was to hide from the Governor a quantity of ambergris they had discovered, received the newcomers. Moore landed at Smith?s Island, but subsequently removed to St. George?s, where he established his headquarters.
One of the first settlers was Richard Norwood a surveyor, who carried out the first division of the islands according to the terms laid down in the letters patent. These were that about a quarter was to be common land to defray to defray charges on the Company and the rest was to be divided into nine tribes, each tribe containing 50 shares of 250 acres each. The tribes were renamed after some of the leading members of the company, while St. George?s with the small island round it, and part of the mainland, was set apart for the common land. These nine districts constitute the nine parishes into which the Bermudas are divided to this day for ecclesiastical and political purposes.
The Bermudas were the second British colony to receive some form of representative government. The first Assembly was in 1620, one year after a similar institution in Virginia, and the constitution was revised and fully detailed in 1622.
The Bermudas remained under the company during the reign of James I and Charles I, the Commonwealth and Charles II, and the population began to grow until in 1679 it had reached 8,000, including women, children and slaves. It included English planters, tenants of absentee proprietors, Negro slaves (first mentioned about 1617). Indian slaves (shipped off from Massachusetts by a law in 1650) and white bondservants, in great measure Scotch and Irish political prisoners.
As time went on there was a call for a capital other than St. George?s, one in a more central position. Consequently Hamilton was laid out and in 1815 became the seat of Government. In 1794 Admiral Murray, who gave his name to Murray?s anchorage, off the North East of St. George?s Island, recommended the construction of a dockyard. Ireland Island was selected and work began in January 1810. To carry it out convicts were sent from England? and from 1824 to 1863 some 9,000 English criminals were sent to and employed in the islands, the number at one time being over 1,500 after the emancipation of the slaves. The Bermudas, however, were never a convict settlement in the same way as Australia, since convicts were sent here for a definite purpose, to work for the Imperial government. Eventually those who survived the epidemic of yellow fever, which broke out, were re-shipped to England on the expiration of their sentence.
For the last 50 years little or nothing of general interest is continued in the history of the islands. Bermuda is the colony that he owed the longest uninterrupted allegiance to the British Crown.
To supplement the history of the Bermudas we decided it was necessary to write an account of Modern Bermuda, chiefly to convey some idea of what one may expect to find when based here. All or efforts have paled before the following description by a royal Marine. We are deeply indebted to the Editor of The Globe and Laurel for permission to reproduce this article.
(1) Bermuda-as a Bermudian sees it.
There she lies-Bermuda-land of sunshine and rejuvenating air, of blossoms, soft colourings and picturesque glimpses. Let all be assured that these Enchanted Islands will yield full expectations. The Giver of all good has been generous with His gifts to these Islands of the Blest-the nearest approach to Paradise yet known. Song an d story tell us Scotland?s rugged grandeur, of the wondrous beauty of England?s Lakeland, of Swiss scenery sublime, yet the unique and scenic delights of Bermuda surpass them all.
Members of the corps who has served here and who may read this will undoubtedly murmur, but of this beautiful Isle of the Western Sea too little is known. Her climate conditions evoke admiring comment, and above all her pervading ?rest? earns her legions of admirers. The old-world ?quiet? is maintained by the prohibition of motor vehicles, although this is likely to be distributed by a railway, which is in course of erection. At present bicycles and horse transport are the only means of conveyance.
Since the introduction of prohibition in the United Sates, Bermuda knows no limit to its prosperity; a fleet of luxurious liners between New York and these Islands.
The hotels are wonderful, but it must be understood that the tourists visit this Heaven kissed Isle to enjoy its restful beauty. According to cartoons, American mothers with daughters to wed flock here when the British Fleet has returned from cruising.
Hamilton, the capital of the Islands, offers a rendezvous which is typically British-American, probably more American than British. It is situated in the centre of the islands and presents a most novel and attractive panorama. With its buildings of white coral limestone set in the green hills, and a blue-sky overhead, the setting is most effective.
To do justice to the subject demands journalistic ability, therefore I?ll leave impression number one with the invitation to al to ?Come and see the works of God.?
(2) Bermuda-as the Navy see it
Situated miles from everywhere lie the Island of Bermuda. Surely the Maker used his apprentice hand on the making of them. Marooned at one end of the group are the ship?s companies of five cruisers and two sloops, at the other extremity are the Northumberland Fusiliers. Ireland Island, upon which is built the dockyard, offers opportunities galore for fond thoughts of other stations. Surely Malta, with all the cruel things said about it is worthy of being rates as ?neaters? compared to ?this three water.?
Those who have served on this Station and suffered a long spell alongside the wall will be quite ready to sympathise with us. Make your own sport is a necessity, but even then one gets tired of amusing one?s self. Of course we have a canteen run by the N.A.A.F.I, which is a popular as all other Institutes directed by this firm. Moresby Plain offers us two football grounds, which require no alteration to become a drill field. In the old said loft we have pictures or rather talkies while for Sundays we have church.
One occasion the Navy was welcomed to Hamilton, all available hands being required as fire fighters.
At the homeports the Dockyard Matie is our most severe critic, here he is our most ardent friend. Those with daughters are usually the most successful. Still, thank Heaven for small mercies even although one must have some ?dog? in the pocket when going ?up home.?
And The Panama Canal
The passage from Bermuda to Colon was uneventful. On the whole the sea was calm, but there was occasional rainsqualls. The days became perceptibly warmer, and on the 4th May, for the first time during the commission, sun helmets were worn. We arrived at Colon, the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, at 1030 on the 7th May, and berthed alongside the shipping wharf at Christobal Docks.
Christobal, in the Canal Zone, is the twin city of Colon, which is the capital of its province. Colon was originally named Aspinwall, after one of the founders of the Panama Railroad, but the present name commemorates Columbus. The town was formerly a hotbed of yellow fever; medical science has since converted it into a healthy, flourishing port. A certain proportion of its wealth is undoubtedly due to the fact that colon is outside the Canal Zone, and so the liquor restrictions imposed by the Volstead Act do not apply. The numerous and various types of cabarets provide nightlife entertainment, both to the sophisticated and unsophisticated. Bill Gray?s and the Atlantic cabarets collected most of our money and the shows put up were really A.1; by the way, for most of us, out first taste of cabarets.
The majority of the inhabitants are American employees of the Canal. The officers received a hearty welcome at the Strangers Club. During our three days stay both officers and men were guests of the United Sates Navy at the Coco Solo Submarine and Air Force Base. Our hosts extended to us every opportunity for water polo and other sports. The period at Colon was a very pleasant break after seven at sea; nevertheless everyone was anxious to proceed on the voyage to La Libertad, via the Panama Canal. At 0600 on the 10th May we picked up our pilot and at 0630 entered the Gatun Lock.
The axis of the isthmus in the Canal Zone runs southwest to northeast, and as the Canal is cut approximately northwest to southeast the Pacific outlet is accordingly east of the Atlantic end by nearly 27 miles. Many a bet has been won over this fact.
The Canal follows the valley of the Chagres River on the Atlantic side and that of the Rio Grande on the Pacific slope. The Gaillard or Culebra Cut spans the distance between. From deep water to deep water the distance is 44 nautical miles. The depth varies from Lake. The mean level of the Pacific is some eight inches higher than the Atlantic. Constant dredging is necessary in the nine miles Gaillard Cut. The ascent to the Gatun Lake, 85 feet above sea level, is made by a series of three steps at Gatun Lock. The descent to the Pacific level is made by means of the Pedro Miguel Lock, Miraflores Lake and Miraflores Locks. Each lock chamber has 1,000 feet of length, 110 feet width and some 70 feet depth. The lock machinery is electrically operated. Power is deprived from the hydroelectric station, worked by the spillway from Gatun Lake.
Ferdinand de Lesseps arrived at Panama in 1881 to develop the already conceived idea of a canal to unite the Atlantic with the Pacific. A company was formed which crashed in 1891, after 19 miles had been constructed. The chiefs of the French Canal Company, convinced of their inability to complete the work, commenced negotiations with the unites States and Colombian Governments. Eventually, by a treaty, Colombia authorised the sale of all rights and properties to the American Government.
This treaty was strongly opposed and its ultimate rejection led to Panama proclaiming her independence in 1903 and signing the Canal Treaty in November of the same year. For construction rights the United States paid ten million dollars to Panama; the French company receiving forty million for its rights and properties. The total cost of completion was $375,000,000. On August 15th 1914, the Canal was opened to commercial traffic.
Yellow fever and malaria, which had been responsible for the French failure, were stamped out and considerably diminished respectively. The work of the late Colonel Gorgas in this connection is commemorated by the erection of an Institute for the study of tropical diseases.
The following is an account, by one of the ship?s company, of our voyage through the Panama Canal: -
After three days of oppressive heat at Colon the eagerly awaited day of passage through the Canal arrived. The dawn of May 10th 1930, espied all the amateur photographers of the ship ready with newly charged cameras, and all the ship?s company anxious to see the wonders of this marvellous waterway. Dame Fortune was indeed kind in granting us this passage so early in the commission. Many of the ship?s company had not travelled before in this part of the world.
On the morning of the 10th May, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? was the first ship to enter the Canal. At 0600 she proceeded from Colon, along the buoyed channel, and entered Gatun Lock at 0630. From Colon to the locks the distance is approximately six and a half miles and the channel 1,000 feet wide. While still some way from Gatun the first thrill was provided. A crocodile was observed on the starboard hand, about 200 yards from the ship. The length of the breast was difficult to estimate while it swam, but it was a large one? at least 20 feet long. (The Editor suggests this is a fishing story). Soon the following notice was displayed in the ship: -?Men are warned against leaning on the guard rails as the Panama Canal is infested with crocodiles.?
Attention was quickly diverted from the large crocodile to the bright green of a banana plantation, which stood out against the darker green of other tropical vegetation.
As the ship approached Gatun Locks an arrow indicated to the pilot whom set of locks was going to be used.
In a series of three lifts the ship was to be taken to the level of Gatun Lake. As we entered the lowest lock hawsers were connected to electric locomotives, known as ?mules?; the ship ceased to move under her own power and the mules conducted all the manoeuvring into position. Three of these locomotives were stationed on each side of the vessel; one on each bow, one on each side amidships and one on each quarter. The hawsers were connected to a small type of capstan situated on top of the square shaped body of the mule and, by the operation of levers in the control cabinet, it was possible to heave in or veer speedily as required to bring the ship into position. The mules on the quarters stop the vessel when the lock gates can be closed. In case of accidents, chains, weighing 12 tons, are placed across each end of each lock and, paying out with a certain amount of resistance, they will arrest the progress of a ship before it reaches the lock gates. Only 15 minutes were necessary to raise the ship to the level of the second lock. The procedure was twice repeated before we entered Gatun Lake under our power.
Gatun Lake, formed by a dam across the Charges River, is said to be the largest artificial lake in existence, covering an area of 164 square miles; while Gatun Dam, seen on the right, immediately after leaving the locks, is 8,400 feet long and has a base width of half a mile.
A buoyed channel across Gatun Lake was followed. On either side could be seen just the tops of trees which once flourished on dry land admist dense green vegetation. Again we saw crocodiles basking in the sun and in the distance the peaks of a mountain range. Suddenly the lake narrowed into what we was known as Camboa Reach, which became narrower still and led into the Culebra Cut, where we received the ?all clear? from a signal station. Being quite close to the banks we were able to observe much bird life, while can iguana basked on a small rock, blissfully ignorant of the attention he claimed and the battery of cameras he faced. The ships passed between Gold Hill and Contractor?s Hill, which were very impressive, and all hands rushed to see the memorial tablet erected to the men who lost their lives through disease while the operations were being directed by French engineers.
The Culebra Cut is easily the most interesting part of the cabal. Ships meeting here have to be careful, as there is only just room for two boats to pass.
The Pedro Miguel lock lowered us 31 feet to the level of miraflores Lake. Mules once again were used. Miraflores is another artificial lake about a mile in length, and receives its water from the Rio Grande and smaller streams. Amongst other interesting scenery a cocoanut grove was prominent. Eventually the Miraflores Locks lowered us to the Pacific level. Ancon Hill, at the foot of which lies the town of Balboa, the Pacific Outlet, was now in view. Several American warships were observed in port, one flying the flag of a Rear admiral; a salute of 13 guns was fired; U.S.S. ?Galveston? replying.
At about 1300, in a thunderstorm, the ship entered the Pacific Ocean. It had taken us approximately seven hours to traverse the Panama Canal, one of the worlds greatest travel thrills.
Canal To La Libertad, San Salvador
Sunday 11th May saw us on passage from Balboa to La Libertad; in marvellous sunshine, calm weather and within sight of land all day. An impromptu concert was held in the evening to discover what talent was possessed. There was certainly no lack of good comedians, musicians and ?straight singers.?
On Monday the 12th land, Nicaragua, was still in sight. A small shark and several turtles were seen. The latter attracted a good deal of attention and interest as they floated past in pairs and in schools. The Royal Marine detachment seemed particularly curious. Towards evening more and more turtles were seen. Someone was heard to whisper ?You lucky turtle,? but no one could fathom what elicited the remark. Tropical rig was the rig of the day.
At 0830 on Tuesday, 13th May H.M.S. ?Dauntless? arrived at La Libertad and anchored off the Pier. A salute of twenty-one guns were fired and returned. Then the situation was appreciated. The open harbour and anchorage would be liable to constant, heavy swells fro the Pacific; the town of La Libertad looked uncivilized and uninteresting and the days were swelteringly hot. With one accord reckoned with our British and Salvadorean hosts who had made arrangements for both officers and men to visit San Salvador, the capital of the Republic and the chief commercial centre, situated 2,000 feet above sea level and 25 miles from La Libertad. The men went up in two batches of 50; each batch spending a day and a night at San Salvador.
On Wednesday morning, 14th May, Captain Moore and four officers paid an official call on the President of the Republic of El Salavador. They were afterwards entertained at a luncheon party.
Six officers at a time were the guests of British residents at the capital. On The 15th May Captain Moore and all available officers held an official ball at the Country Club, which was attended. Gold and tennis matches were staged, and during the heat of the afternoon a dip in a private swimming bath, which was kindly put at out disposal, was very welcome.
El Salvador, the smallest but most densely populated of the Central American Republics, owes its prosperity to the comparative freedom from political disturbances. Perdro de Alvarado conquered Salvador, originally called Cuscatlan, after a long and obstinate contest in 1526. In 1821 it threw off the Spanish yoke and from 1823 to 1839 it belonged to the Central American Confederacy. Since 1853 it has been an independent republic. The bulk of the population is composed of Indians, of the Aztec race, and mixed races. Except for a rich narrow seaboard of alluvial plains Salvador consists of level plateau, some 2,000 feet above the sea, furrowed by river valleys and broken by numerous volcanic cones. Many volcanoes are extinct, some erupt intermittently, but Izalco has been in constant eruption for more than a century. Earthquakes are a frequent occurrence.
Of H.M.S. ?Dauntless? To San Salvador
Arrangements For Entertaining The Sailors
Transport- On the morning of the 14th May (Wednesday), motorbuses will be at La Libertad to convey fifty sailors to San Salvador. The visitors will be accommodated at the Pension Salvador, 6a Avenida Norte, and No. 23.
Meals- Lunch will be served at 1 p.m., Dinner at 7 p.m. and Breakfast on Thursday morning at 6.45 a.m.
Refreshments. Beer and minerals will be provided free at all beer parlours in exchange for counters or voucher, which will be distributed at lunch, or immediately on arrival.
A barrel of beer will be on tap at the football match and oranges will be supplied to the team.
Football Match- There will be a football match played at the ?Campo de Marte,? between the team of the ?Dauntless? and a picked Salvador team, for a silver cup, time 4.30 p.m. Wednesday.
Cinema- Arrangements have been made for the sailors of the ?Dauntless? to visit the Theatre ?Principal? on either evening. The film or talkie presented will be in the English language.
Currency- The ?Colon? or ?peso? is the local currency and is equivalent to 50 cents U.S.A. currency, or about 2/- British currency. Unites States currency is also accepted. Arrangements will be made with the Anglo-South American Vank Ltd, to change English currency to United States currency.
Lay out of the City. For the purpose of direction ?Avenidas? or Avenues run north and south-?Calles,? or streets east and west, odd numbers left hand side.
Prices-Motor buses charge 10 cents silver (Salvadorian) per trip, from one end of the city to the other that is from the Hospital ?Rosales? to the ?Ferrocarril? or Railway Station.
Cigarettes are 122 cents Salvadorian currency per packet.
All prices in stores or shops are in Salvadorian currency-an article marked 50 cents would therefore be 25 cents United States currency. Cars cost 6 colons per hour or the equivalent of ?3.00.
Information-English is spoken at the Anglo-south American Bank, Ltd, and in most stores and offices.
Second Party-Accommodation will be provided for 50 sailors aboard the motorbuses returning with the first party on Thursday morning. The second party should be landed by 8.00 a.m. in readiness to leave immediately. Arrangements will be same as for the first party, but there will not be a second football match.
Dress-Dress for both parties ?Whites.?
Of The ships Company Visit San Salvador
During our stay at La Libertad an invitation to visit San Salvador, the capital of the Republic, was extended to the ship?s company by the ,unicipal authorities and the British colony. One hundred ratings, in two batches of fifty, did the trip, spending a day and a night at the capital.
At 0800 on Wednesday 14th May, the first detachment of fifty left the ?Dauntless? to visit San Salvador. Owing to a heavy swell we were hoisted out of the boat, one by one, in a chair, operated by a crane on the jetty. Two Englishmen met the party and allocated us to the four buses, which were our conveyances to the capital, 25 miles away and 2,000 feet above sea level. The journey, if frightening at times, was very pleasant, as we passed through beautiful surroundings; through flowery dells where butterflies flew, up mountain sides with the fertile alluvian plain visible in the distance, and through villages of mud huts with children, dogs, pigs and fowls playing and foraging for food before the door. The interiors of the huts could not have been very clean, as on some occasions we noticed that they were meeting places for the family, animals and poultry. We held our breaths and clung to our seats as the buses negotiated the ruts and bends along the narrow roads on top of cliffs, and down the steep mountainside to the valley below. On the whole, however, the roads were good.
The journey lasted for approximately two hours when we arrived in great style before our allotted hotel; full of the joy of spring and elated to be away for 24 hours from our steel sided abode. The rest of the morning was spent in sight seeing and demolishing beer straight off the ice. Pretty flowers bloomed in all the gardens. Vultures hovered above.
Suring lunch, which consisted of soup, egg omelette and rice, salad, beefsteak and pineapple and bananas and beer (excuse the details but I still yearn for another such lunch under similar conditions); the ship?s brass band played selections. After lunch we drove to the football ground to see out match against the local team, which was chiefly composed of British. At half time the ships marched round the ground, followed by scorers of local spectators and admist rousing cheers. Our team lost by three goals to nil and a cup was presented to the winners. After the game the ship?s band marched back to the hotel. Hundreds of natives followed the band, dancing and cheering. Traffic was blocked. On occasion the band marked time while the crowd in front was cleared. On arrival at the hotel extra police were summoned to keep the crowd from rushing the hotel doors and entrances.
Dinner was at 1900 and then some spent the evening walking round the town; others went to the cinema to see and English talkie. No entrance charge whatever was made. All drinks and refreshments at the hotel were also free. The Salvadorians were an orderly, quiet people; there seemed to be no cabarets or nightlife, in fact the streets were practically empty by 2300.
During their visit Sergeants Saunders and Gerrey were asked if they would care to visit the barracks of the Garde Nationale. On their arrival the guard presented arms. The Brigade Major introduced them to all officers and hand shaking ensued. A complete tour of the barracks was made and every side of the routine witnessed. The soldiers, group by group, thoroughly examined the Sergeants uniforms and medals. At the conclusion of the tour were more handshaking and a final salute from the guard. Who said a Sergeant?s uniform was not impressive?
At 0800 on Thursday morning we commenced our return journey, arriving onboard at 0930. The second detachment of fifty went up to San Salvador to take our place. A cricket match was played, resulting in an easy win for the ship.
I do not much think that our hosts at San Salvador realised how much we enjoyed our stay at the capital and how much we appreciated their kindness. Twenty-four hours in such friendly, hospitable surroundings is a ?god send? to any sailor. We do not thank them from the bottom of our hearts, nor will we forget Mr. Mrs and Miss Parkes, visitors from Mexico, who did everything possible for us.
At La Libertad many Salvadorians came onboard when the ship was open to visitors. Captain Moore and his officer gave an ?At Home? on Friday, the 16th May, and the ship sailed an hour later for Santa Monica, California. We were only too pleased to be able to return some of the hospitality we had received.
Saturday 17th May-Saturday 24th May. On passage from La Libertad to Sant Monica; a whole week in which to recover and train for further festivities. Nothing of particular interest occurred. The days and nights became distinctly cooler, a pleasant relief from the sticky heat of the Canal and San Salvador. On Thursday, the 22nd, we shifted into ?Blues.?
California was sighted the previous day, verily a land of sunshine. Throughout the week we practiced evolutions. A calm Sea, sunshine, the gambols of shoals of dolphins, and watching an albatross keep pace with the ship with no apparent effort, helped to pass a p[pleasant voyage.
H.M.S. ?Dauntless? arrived at Santa Monica on Saturday 24th May, empire Day, and anchored about a mile off the landing jetty. From the ship we could observe long stretches of sandy beach, the playground of Hollywood stars and millionaires, sumptuous hotels and houses, avenues winding through palm trees and a spacious amusement park. What a welcome sight into eyes tire by expanses of sea! What welcome relief could be found from the confinement f a ship! Ever since we sailed from Portsmouth we had looked forward to our sojourn at Sant Monica, which, apart from its own beauty and hospitality, afforded us an opportunity to visit the world famous Hollywood, 15 miles inland.
In the forenoon official shells were made and visitors and reception committees received onboard. Speedboats circled the ship. At first they were objects of interest and curiosity, but later they became a decided nuisance, as from dawn to sunset one could hear nothing but the noise of outboard motors.
At last we were free to go ashore. What luck did we have? Read on, but remember that our style is cramped by the fact that this publication is somewhat official.
From The Los Angeles ?Evening Express?
Of Saturday 24th May 1930
?New British Dreadnought Docks Today?
?H.M.S. Dauntless With 700 In Crew, To Anchor
Off Santa Monica?
?Mayor Porter Will Extend Greetings?
?With her huge muzzles covered with peacetime canvas caps and her crew of 700 men lined up smartly about the rail, the new British battleship, H.M.S. ?Dauntless?, newest of England?s super-dreadnoughts, ill drop anchor in Santa Monica Harbour today for a visit of several days.
?And while the great ships is approaching the harbour scores of former residents of Great Britain, as well as many city and country officials, were preparing to make the visit of the officers, and men one never to be forgotten.
?Hundreds of interested spectators will watch the big battleship drop her anchors, after tugs, which will carefully guide her as near inshore as is safe, cast off their hawsers.?
To Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios
Hollywood-the capital of Filmdom-is to the large majority of film fans a place of enchantment and mystery. Although its intimate secrets are always being probed into, very few facts leak out to the average person.
Vivid stories of scandal and hectic nightlife frequently appear in the daily and weekly press; stories woven around some famous star or stars of the screen. Wise folk can differentiate between facts and publicity stunts, others get a thrill when they ready anything, fictitious or not, concerning their favourite actor or actress. A personal visit to Hollywood, a visit entailing a studio tour and acquaintance with the mummers, is the only method of forming a sane, unbiased opinion of Hollywood.
Film studios are closely guarded citadels into which admission is obtained only by invitation. Imagine how hastily and gladly I accepted an offer from one of the Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer staff to look over their studios.
On the appointed day I travelled from Santa Monica to Culver City by rail, and then continued my journey on foot; it was only a short distance from the station, but nevertheless exceedingly pleasant, for one has to pass along magnificent wide boulevard, at the further end of which stand the massive portals of the studio gates, surmounted by the firm?s famous trade mark-a huge lion?s head. The boulevard is no common thoroughfare, but more like the approach to some stately palace; it is lined on each side with tall flowering trees, which give it a very bright appearance. Small modern bungalows of many original designs string out its full length. They are surrounded on three sides by gaily-coloured flowerbeds and have refreshing velvet smooth lawns in front. Beauty seems the keynote here and even the houses are carefully painted so that their colours fir perfectly into the picture. The scene is more like a little piece of Fairyland, and it is hard to realise it is actually the hub of such a flourishing industry.
The smart, uniformed gatekeeper gave me a hard stare that seemed to say ?No admission,? but the mention of my friend?s name cleared the air and I was admitted into the luxuriously furnished waiting room. Shortly after I saw being conducted round what appeared to me one vast maze.
We first entered a huge building, approximately 100 yards long, 50 yards wide and 15 yards high; composition walls, two feet thick, screening out external sounds. An elaborate warning system is installed at the doorway; a red light burning when scenes are being taken and no one is allowed to enter until it is extinguished. In one corner of the building, in the glare of powerful lights, Leila Hyams and William Haines were rehearsing in front of a small grocer?s shop, part of the shopping centre of a small town.
Everything seemed realistic, and it was only on approaching the scene that I found nothing but wood was used. Articles in the hop were so cleverly painted that I had to handle them before being convinced the tins of beans and pots of jam were not real. Other sets were scattered over the floor, and one that was particularly interesting was a scene in Alaska. Ordinary flaked rice takes the place of snow and is swirled round by a large fan to give the impression of a snowstorm.
Shyness overcame me on being introduced to such a world famous personality as William Haines, but he immediately put me at ease with his free. Humorous talk, and we had a short but very interesting conversation. I took the opportunity to ask how he liked his work, and to my great surprise he stated that he would be pleased when he saw through with it all. He admitted the pay was good, but his contracts held so many stipulations that these counterbalanced his fat pay roll. When a big film is in the making it is usual routine for him to work on it from fourteen to sixteen hours a day, and normally he is at the studios for eight hours a day. He cannot always call the evenings his own, for he frequently has to be present at parties, arranged by the film companies as publicity ?stunts?-such affairs, he assured me, are very boring and not so exciting for the stars as the newspapers would have us believe.
Leila Hyams seemed shy of a British sailor and, as she did not come forward to be introduced, I had to be content with a look at her beauty and perfect figure, so often portrayed on the screen. Having thoroughly devoured the interesting points of this vast stage we went out once again into the open air.
We next attempted to enter a stage where Grace Moore was at work, but with no success. We were told this new star to the screen was exceptionally temperamental and could not concentrate on her acting in the presence of visitors.
With great reluctance we turned away, only to run into Lawrence Tibbett, who had been recently recruited to Hollywood from the operatic stage and had scored a big hit in his first talkie. ?The Rogue Song.? During a short conversation with him I discovered film work was not to his particular liking wither, and it was only a colossal weekly cheque that kept him at it. He had to have special food to prevent any possible injury to his voice. He had just breakfasted on one scone and a glass of grape fruit juice.
Bidding him farewell we wandered along to the next stage, where a company of German stars were rehearsing in their own language. My guide informed me that a large number of films were made in German and Spanish and few in French.
The intricate models in the miniature department came next. Here such things as films of car and train smashes are made using small but exact replicas. At the time ?Madame Satan? was being made and a model airship, six feet long, was being used. It was suspended from wires and was manoeuvred from above. The airship was supposed to be cruising in heavy weather and burning sulpher made very realistic clouds and letting the volumes of smoke produced float up around the model. Some time later I actually saw the film, and it seemed so true to life that a friend with me refused to believe it was not an actual airship before us.
The musical accompaniment to films is added after they have been otherwise completed, and our next stopping place revealed the secret of how it is done. We entered what appeared to be a small cinema, except that a band took the place of an audience. The film is thrown on the screen and the conductor watches it as he leads the band. A microphone, installed overhead, picks up the music, which is eventually imprinted in the film opposite the picture concerned.
A scene depicting a small lake in the Canadian backwoods was next viewed. Tall pines, clusters of shrubs and rugged drcks, all of which were artificial, surrounded the lake. I was told that, without much trouble, this set could quickly be convicted to represent canal in Naples, the River Seine or a part of the Hudson Bay. This conversation idea is also applied in the Masin street scenes for the atmosphere of a street, and buildings can quickly be changed to represent Russia, China, England or France.
There is so much to be seen in the studios that it is impossible to absorb al the interesting features during a few hours visit. The little saw made me realize the large amount of work that has to be done before a film can be produced, and I came to the conclusion that film people were just or diary hard working human beings.
Film promoters realise the value of advertising their stars, and a story with just a bit of spice or gossip is worth its weight in gold, weather it is true or not. Nevertheless, Los Angeles is well named. The surroundings and the film actresses are s beautiful and exotic that no man can be blamed if he wanders from the straight and narrow path. After a hard day?s work at the studio I should think the majority of tars prefer tranquillity and sleep to hectic parties.
Sailors Visit Film Studios
(Extract from a Los Angeles paper)
?And they get ?pyde? for this.?
?Said -----, royal Marines, casting a gleeful eye at his shipmates: - ?I think I?ll chuck away me belt and cap and stay right here.? That was just after Raquel Torres had kissed him right here.? That was just after Raquel Torres had kissed him, and from the fringe of the blue clad crowd raised an anguished voice. ?Ow,? it said, ?Ow and to think they get pyde for this.??
Sailors and Royal Marines from H.M.S. ?Dauntless? went ashore yesterday as guests of the Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios.
The saw motion pictures made; more than that they helped make them. Edmund Goulding (Director) put Raquel Torress, Fay Webb, Blanche Claire and Eddie Nugent through a scene for the benefit of the visitors. Then he asked Jack Fowler to pick out four or five British sailors to work in an impromptu scene. Four or five! The whole bunch enthusiastically volunteered. Goulding had to make it a mob scene in self-defence. Raquel Torres, Blanche and Fay disappeared in a whirling maelstrom of blue. Out of the melee rose Raquel?s plaintive voice-?Oh he say what I do not understand.? The accent of Old England was too much for Raquel?s Mexican ears.
was served and the afternoon devoted to amusements and seeing the
(A Visit To The R.K.O. Studio)
I had an uncle once, but he came to an untimely end through being run over by a horse tram in the streets of London. His remains were taken to a hospital in an ambulance-a vehicle with a loud bell which, when set in motion, cleared the street. He and I are the only two members of my family who have been conveyed through the streets of a city with such clamorous pomp.
On the morning of the 28th May 1930, Captain Moore and eleven officers were driven from Santa Monica to the R.K.O. Studio in Hollywood in three cars. One ?speed cop? rode a motorcycle ahead and one abeam of the processions. Our speed was 40 m.p.h.-not fast but it never varied. The ?speed cops? blew their sirens and the traffic pulled into the side of the road to give us a clear run. ?Stop?-?Go? signs meant nothing to us. I think we all felt rather like Royalty. On arrival at the R.K.O. Studio we were promptly led to a large place like a gymnasium, which, in fact, it was. It was full of beautiful young damsels in very brief clothing. These were the Pearl Keaton girls. They danced for our edification and also assumed incredible poses to indicate the supple nature of their anatomies. During this performance our impression of being Royal persons was increased to an impression that we were Eastern Potentates. I found myself staring rather rudely so unglued my eyes and observed my colleagues. I have never seen so many eyes so closely resembling the proverbial hatpeg.
The next item on the programme was lunch, which was taken in the studio dining room-a very interesting place. Parties of sweet young things, straight from their ?sets? swept, inform time to time and had a hurried meal, either sitting at a long counter or at small tables. We found ourselves among a distinguished gathering, which included Bebe Daniels, Betty Compson, George Grossmith (Teeth and all) and famous composers and ?prodoocers.? The lucky ones sat next to the ?stars,? I was neighbour to a million dollar producer, while my other messmates sat back; some coyly, some obviously intrigued and basked in the atmosphere of screen fame. One of the actresses had on her ?war paint,? a yellow face and dark red lips. She was due on the set immediately after lunch. Conversations were not lacking. But for a party the night before I would have done more justice to the meal. He would be an abnormal man who would, when surrounded by the beauty and wealth of Hollywood and when due for a relapse from the night before, concentrate on food for the body. The luncheon was excellent, as this menu will witness: -
In Honour Of The Officers Of
28th May 1930
Crab flake Cocktail Neptune
Heart of Celery
Poulet Grillee Au Lard
Heart of Lettuce
(Thousand Island Dressing)
Cantaloupe Lillian Russell
After lunch the party proceeded to see Bebe Daniels act in her set. Actually one set was rehearsed and then, at the producer?s request, Captain Moore and two Midshipmen were photographed with Miss Daniels. The Midshipmen still treasure copies of the photographs as evidence of their acquaintance with Hollywood and a famous film actress. Fortunately blushes are not portrayed.
We next saw Richard Dix and company rehearse a scene three times then a bell was rung for silence, indicating that the time had arrived for making the talkie? the whole scene was filmed, but not apparently to the producer?s approval, as he had a few words to say to one of the actors. Once again the procedure was carried out and once more the producer was dissatisfied with the same actor. Words and opinions of abilities were mutually vocabulary of the people concerned. A most embarrassing situation arose when one of our parties developed hiccups while the scene was being shot. Luckily he managed to hic softly into a handkerchief. Some time before our visit the film ?Dixiana? had been produced, but the Negro chorus who sang the theme song was still at the R.K.O. studios, under contract for another picture. For our entertainment the chorus sang ?dixiana? and ?Mr and Mrs. Sippi,? the conductor being the composer of the two songs, a well known artist who had also written the music for Rio Rita. Once could visualize slaves working in a cotton field and the beauty of the Rose of Sixie, Dixiana. Those Negroes certainly could sing and then some.
While still humming the tune of Dixiana we entered another gymnasium, where about twenty sylph-like figures, in scanty clothing, were being drilled in certain dance steps. These were the Tiller Girls. Their high kicks and rhythm sent us unto a standing swoon. All the members of the troupe were English girls. Some of them made tender enquiries of London and England in general. Alas! We had been away from home almost as long as they had.
At 1630 the visit ended. Some returned onboard, others kept dates, and cad?s party of four toured the town to sample the various types of ?porcelain solvent.? It is our considered opinion that when the Hollywood in habitants have had a few more years brewing experience the death rate will decrease.
We were indebted to Major Fairbanks-Smith and the Directors for our exceedingly instructive and interesting visit to the R.K.O. Studio. Words cannot express our appreciation of their kindness.
If Genius is a capacity for taking pains the Genius reigns at the R.K.O. Studio.
Concert By The Sons Of St. George And A Visit To
The Al Roach Studios
While H.M.S. ?Dauntless? was at Santa Monica the Sons of St. George and the Caledonian Society entertained the ship?s company to a concert at which several famous actors-Al roach, Clive Brook, Reginald Denny, Harry Richmond, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were present. After the concert Laurel and Hardy extended a general invitation to the ship to visit the Al Roach Studios, an invitation that was gladly accepted by many.
At the studios the visitors saw their hosts acting in a scene from a murder mystery. The picture was recorded in English, German, French, and American. Why American? Because jokes which ?take? in the United States do not go down in England and vice versa. The foreign words were phonetically spelt on a blackboard, and language experts corrected any mispronunciation during rehearsals. Naturally there was much hard work to be done before the scenes were ?shot?.
In storm scene rows of pipes pierced at intervals provided the rain, while an aeroplane propeller was utilised to produce the wind. Thunder was obtained by shaking sheets of corrugated iron.
Laurel and Hardy personally explained a few technicalities to their guests and kindly distributed autographed photos of them. Laurel, incidentally, is an Englishman.
The Manager of the Douglas Airplane Works, a British, personally conducted a tour of the airplane works. Every stage of the construction of a plane was witnessed. On the flying ground at the factory is situated the last air beacon of the chain, which runs from New York westwards.
The efficiency of the organisation at the works and the cleansing and gear stowage facilities afforded to the employees were particularly impressive. A large number of workers were British and they were eager to learn the conditions at home and of the progress of their favourite football teams.
A closely contested football match against the Douglas Works resulted in a win for the ship.
At Santa Monica
On Thursday 28th May, the officers gave a dance organised by Captain Bagot, R.M. and Lieutenant Whetstone, onboard. The youth and beauty of Hollywood were well represented. Rumour has it that the food provided was good.
The dance band was excellent, but not much dancing was done, as the hospitality in the Ward Room seemed more popular. The financial aspect of the dance provided much food for thought the next day.
We congratulate Captain Bagot and Lieutenant Whestone for their marvellous organisation. The ship had been in commission but two months, so naturally the officers were not very well acquainted with the abilities and susceptibilities of their messmates. We learnt a great deal. The organisation for future dances has already been arranged. Bagot his volunteered to persuade somebody to take him out in a car, flower gathering, and Whestone has promised to build a rock garden on No. 5 Gun Deck if somebody else would catch the fish to put in it.
Our sympathies are extended to the officers who were debited with three bottles of champagne and a thousand cigarettes. Incidentally a word of advice-Never allows a female journalistic gatecrasher to inflict her presence at a dance. Her gross prevarications may call for diverse explanations.
While at Santa Monica many of the ship?s company had the good fortune to be driven around in cars by their hosts. The road to Hollywood is magnificent, conducive to speed. Past Hollywood, inland one can climb to 2,000 feet and observe the film town nestling in its valley, a peaceful panorama compared with the hustle and bustle that takes place within the town itself.
The traffic control through the main thoroughfares is affected by a system of lights, red and green. No policemen are to be seen across roads. Instead there is an organisation of ?speed cops? who patrol the roads on motorcycles to deal with furious and dangerous drivers. Despite the enormous traffic (almost every family owns a car) the only noise is heard is that of wheels skimming over roads, as hooters are seldom blown. This fact is most impressive when one recalls the nuisance of incessant hooting and tooting of horns in most cities.
The valley of San Fernando is the agricultural district. On either side of the roads, in the outskirts of the large towns, are orchards of peaches, apricots, oranges and lemons. The largest walnut grove in the world, about eight miles by three, is situated near San Fernando. On occasions, it is said, the market price does not warrant the expense of picking the fruit and transport, and so the fruit falls to the ground and what the pigs do not continue is left to rot.
Every family outside the city boasts a wooden bungalow. The designs are varied and original, the combined aspect providing a pleasant spectacle of peace and comfort.
The return journey via Beverley Hills is a distinct contrast to the bungalows of San Fernando. The sumptuous houses, one may even say palaces, of the film stars are located in this district. No money has been spared to remind the visitor that he is gazing upon the abode of those on whom the God of Screen Fortune has smiled. Swimming baths, tennis courts, statuettes, hot houses and flowerbeds are spread over the grounds. All the necessary and unnecessary comforts that wealth can bring are there.
The oil fields are landmarks and an additional source of wealth to the inhabitants of California, a country that has been favoured by fortune with natural resources and a glorious climate. The artificial film world really pales before the beauty of the country and the flowers.
Alas! All good things come to an end. On Thursday, 29th May, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? sailed from Santa Monica for Esquimalt. We treasure memories of California hospitality and beauty. There was much heartache as the city faded from view.
Thursday 29th May-arrived at San Pedro, approximately 30 miles from Santa Monica, oiled, and proceeded for Esquimalt about 1530. Salutes were exchanged with U.S.S. ?Idaho? in harbour.
30th May-1st June. On passage. Ordinary ship?s routine. On Sunday we experienced strong winds and the temperature fell sufficiently to necessitate the wearing of overcoats.
Outside Esquimalt harbour, on the morning of June 2nd, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? met H.M.C.S. ?Vancouver? and ?Armentieres,? who carried out a torpedo attack on us. At 1115 the ship secured alongside the jetty, for many of the officers and ship?s company this was the first visit to the Dominion of Canada, and since leaving Bermuda, this was the first occasion on which we were entirely amongst our own folk.
Sad news came to us on Tuesday 3rd June. According to the press news one of the large launches at Santa Monica, used for transporting rod-fishing enthusiasts to hulks, which lay a mile off the coast, capsized. The cause of the disaster was evidently overloading and a heavy Pacific swell. Of the 54 passengers only a few were saved. During our sojourn at Santa Monica the same launch had been put at our disposal for transport ashore.
The tradegy, which had befallen the town, we had just left been indeed sad. The following message of sympathy was wireless to the British Consul at Los Angeles: -
convey to Major Michel of Santa Monica the sincere sympathy of all onboard
?Dauntless? for the disaster to the motor launch in the bay.?
Esquimalt dockyard is pleasantly situated. Pines and fire are clustered around the vicinity. Members of the famous Canadian North West Mounted Police were on duty on the jetty. The dockyard buildings boasted a stretch of green lawn and flowerbeds. The air was distinctly healthy and-well we were with our own people.
The month of June brought much rejoicing. Just prior to leaving England the ship?s company received six weeks pay in advance, so that the 1st June was the next occasion on which the much needed ?pelf? would be distributed. Thank heavens our impecunious period had been spent in a dry country. We were now in a happy position-Canada, a pocket full of money, and opportunities to receive and return hospitality.
Massa Tom, we won?t come back,
Our station?s changed- we?ve got the sack.
But still we?ll drink you many a health,
And happy days-they is more than wealth.
This book would be incomplete without recalling memories of the Esquimalt Hotel, owned by that jovial proprietor. Tom Brunsdon. Tom had a winning personality, a fund of good humour and a kind word for everybody. One soon felt at home in the parlour of the Esquimalt Hotel.
Do you remember? Ah well, we?re off now. Tom issued free passes, which were on all railroads provided that the bearer walked, carried his own luggage, swam all rivers and stopped for all drinks at his hotel.
Notices indicated that a man was engaged in the yard to do all the cursing and blinding that was required in the establishment. A dog was kept to do all the barking. The professional ?chucker out? had won 90 prizes and was an excellent shot with a revolver. An undertaker called every morning for orders.
These were Tom?s commandments: -
1. When thirsty thou shalt come to my house and drink, but not to excess; that thou mayest live long in the land and enjoy thyself for ever.
2. Thou shalt not take anything from more and me that are of value, for I need all I have.
3. Thou shalt not expect too large glasses, nor filled too full, for we must pay our rent.
4. Thou shalt not sing nor dance except when thy spirit moveth thee to do thy best.
5. Thou shalt honour me and mine that thou mayest live long and see me again.
6. Thou shalt not destroy or break anything on the premises, else thou shalt pay double the value; thou shalt not try to pay me in bad money, nor even say ?Chalk? or ?Slate.?
7. Thou shalt call at my place daily; if unable to come I shall feel it an insult, unless thou send a substitute or an apology
8. Thou shalt not abuse thy fellow drinkers, nor cast base insinuations upon their character by hinting that they can?t drink too much
9. Thou shalt not take the name of my gods in vain by calling my beer ?hope? for I always keep Silver Spring Ales, and I am always at home to my friends.
10. Thou shalt not so far forget thine honourable position and high standing in the community as to ask the lanlord to treat.
Many of us still yearn for another convivial evening at the Esquimalt Hotel, but-our station has bee changed.
2nd-9th June: -At Esquimalt, which is purely a Naval Base for Western Canada. The Naval Barracks are situated near the dockyard. During the week most of the diversions were found at Victoria, the Capital of British Columbia, about twenty minutes by tram from Esquimalt.
Rudyard Kipling eulogises the city in these words: -
?To realise Victoria you must take all that the eye admires most in Bournemouth, Torquay, the Isle of Wight, the Happy Valley at Hong Kong, the Doon, Sorrento and Camp?s Bay; add reminiscences of the Thousand Islands, and arrange the whole around the Bay of Naples, with some Himalayas for the background.?
From personal experience we have something further to add-?To realise the British Columbian girl you must take all the eye admires most in the damsels of Brighton, Nottingham, Edinburgh, London and the Lake District; add the independence of the American girl and the natural ?joie de vivre2 of a frolicking lamb; add a spice of the exotic, the demureness of a bride, and arrange the whole in an atmosphere of the Rockies and the Sook River.? At this point we were discouraged by the Editorial Office Boy Muttering-?Oh Yeah!!!?
During the round the world voyage in 1924 H.M.S. ?Hood? and H.M.S. ?Repulse? were able to berth at the same time at Victoria.
The Parliament Buildings, the Connaught Library, the Natural History Museum, the Mineral Exhibits, Archives and Old Drill Hall are well worth a visit. The all glass Crystal Garden, housing a 150 foot sea water swimming tank, peacock promenades, concert auditoriums, gymnasiums, palm gardens and Badminton courts, is unique. The telescope in the Observatory is the second largest in the world. Gardens and flowers of all hues are plenteous. Mr. Butchart?s Sunken Gardens at Brentwood feature 16 acres of fairyland, besides the sunken area with its blossom-covered walls, 100 feet high. Through the courtesy of Mr. And Mrs. Butchart they are open every day.
Victoria is a slice of England with more favourable climate conditions. Practically every form of sport is available at reasonable prices. In fact any retired Service man who seeks a haven of inexpensive living, rest and sport, even to catching gold fish in the fountain of a leading hotel, need look no further than Victoria.
On Friday 6th June, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? gave a concert at the Chamber of Commerce, the proceeds of which were devoted to charity. The ship was open to visitors on the two following days, and many inhabitants availed themselves of the opportunity of seeing a British cruiser.
While at Esquimalt a football match was played against a selected Victoria and District team, the result being a draw, although we finished with only nine men on the field. The performance was very creditable, as our opponents were in training to meet a Glasgow Rangers team. After the match the Mayor and councillors of Victoria and our opponents entertained the team, the toast of the evening being ?The girls we left behind us.?
Soon after our arrival the ship was invited to participate in the Royal Canadian Naval Sports. Imagine our training condition after a Soujourn in California and no facilities for violent exercise, particularly in the running line. Nevertheless we put up a good performance. The Royal Marines and boys teams won their tug-of-war competitions. The ship was second in the open relay race, due to the splendid effort of A.B. Clark, who passed two opponents in the last lap of his half-mile. Incidentally, Clark also took second place in the open mile. P.O. Rayment was third in the 100 yards, Boy Writer Turner third in the Young Seamen?s 220 yards, Stoker Blake second in the high Jump and C.P.O. Kemp-Knight first in the 100 yards veterans. One of our officers might have got a place in the officer?s handicap race, if he hadn?t mistaken the refreshment tent for the finishing tape.
We sailed for Comox, Vancouver Island, at 0600 on Monday 9th June. Both officers and men have spent a most enjoyable week. We were sore at parting from so many friends; sorry to depart from the jots of picnics, motor drives, dances and parties, but we had the satisfaction of knowing that we would return in July.
After H.M.C.S. ?Vancouver? had carried out a torpedo attack on the ship H.M.S. ?Dauntless? proceeded to Comox, arriving about 1715. Fir and pine forests and lumber camps were visible in the distance during the passage. Comox itself is a very small village but the presence of a rifle range, the salubrious climate and the facilities for camp life, render it an ideal place at which to carry out annual rifle practices; at the same time giving the ship?s company a spell under canvas, a welcome change from the monotony of ship routine.
The following day 10th June, the first party proceeded to camp. The routine was as follows: -
0600 Call the hands
0730 Fall in by division
0740 Proceed to rifle range for practices
1230 Return to camp to dinner
P.M. Make and mend.
The evenings were devoted to sport. And interplatoon football competition was held. Headquarters were the winners of the first party, and No. 2 platoon, the ?Pookites,? defeated No. 1 platoon, the ?Caddickites,? to become victors of the second party. Most of the games were of a humorous nature, as the ground was overgrown with brambles and long grass, and when it was difficult to locate the ball the man was taken.
When the camp was being pitched a baseball bat was found, and from this discovery the idea was conceived of introducing baseball, locally modified, into our sports. One platoon, styled the ?Chicago Whitesox,? swept the board, but when the Ward Room heard of their undefeated record, Lieutenant Whetstone raised a team of officers, the ?Gin Flips,? and literally ran the Whitesox off their feet.
Occasionally games of cricket were played. Towards dusk gramophones blared from almost every tent. Many of the ship?s company amused themselves beach exploring and raft riding, a la Huckleberry Finn. After dark bonfires were lit all around the cam and singsongs were the order of the day until it was time to turn in. No wonder the Campsite looked healthy and happy.
The following incident revealed the secret of the schoolgirl complexions suddenly developed amongst the officer ashore.
Officers Mess Tent At Comox
A. Have a drink, old man
B. Thanks, but really it?s my turn. You stood me one this morning
A. Rot. what does that matter? Same as usual?
B. Sure, but I insist on standing you this one.
A. Have it your own way. I?m damn thirsty.
B. Have a double then?
A. Good idea, but if I do I am going to pay my whack.
B. Don?t be wet. We?ll make it two doubles.
A. Please let me do some of it.
B. Certainly not-Steward
A.O.K. then, I?ll do the next one.
A. You really want a large one do you?
B. Of course I do. Steward-two large glasses of Milk please.
On occasions the officers onboard had the pleasure of visits from their shore messmates. There was no doubt as to the object of the visit.
The second party relieved the first prty in camp on Wednesday 18th June. The routine was much the same. Captain Moore inspected the Camp on Sunday 22nd June, after which Divine Service was held. On the 26th June the second detail returned to the ship after a most enjoyable week under canvas.
The range practice results were very encouraging. The men looked fir and happy, and the common wish was ?Roll on next year and another Comox Camp.?
Raid On Ship
The idea of carrying out a reprisal raid on the ship was conceived at about 2100, and details were soon arranged. The four individuals concerned gave instructions to the Corporal of the Guard, Middle Watch, to call them at 0130.
The raiding party manned the skiff and paddled noiselessly past the logs in the vicinity, heading for a point near Courtenay Lumber Dump. As rowlocks were not being used, and as care had to be exercised not to make and break lumber camp and shore lights with the skiff and our bodies, this took a considerable time. After reaching appoint about four cables directly ahead of the ship the skiff was turned round and allowed to drift onto the ship?s ram.
On arriving here two raiders swarmed up the cable, pausing a minute at the hawse pipe for observation purposes. Conditions were favourable, so Raider No. 1 advanced along the port side of the fo?cs?le and into the recreation space. Here he found the hatch to the sick bay flat closed, so he returned and went down the port ladder. Hearing footsteps he hid himself in the Parting Room and, through a keyhole, observed the Quartermaster and Corporal of the Gangway going the rounds. When all was clear this raider emerged and proceeded down a hatchway, past the Canteen and through the port passage to the Switchboard Room, where he commenced breaking the switches, with the object of plunging the whole ship in darkness. However after he had dealt with several switches, a Stoker rating, who demanded a reason for the lights being extinguished, disturbed him. The raider replied that he was searching for an earth, but the Stoker was dissatisfied with the explanation and said he would report the matter to the duty Engineer Officer as it was causing great inconvenience. Raider No 1 had time to decrease the voltage and seize the switchboard log. Meanwhile, the switchboard watch keeper awoke and proceeded to the Switchboard Room to investigate the light extinguishing. This gave the wrecker the opportunity to clear out of the space and grope his way forward, past hammocks and sleeping forms in the bath flat. On arrival at the P.O.?s flat he heard movements and, while standing stock still, heard the Quartermaster challenge, ?Are you the L.T.O.?? To this raider No. 2, who also happened to be there at the time, replied, ?Yes, I am trying to discover the reason for lights failing.?
When the Quartermaster had departed, No. 1 proceeded via the starboard ladder to rendezvous with his companion in the fo?cs?le.
Now for No. 2 movements. He at once ran aft, intending to capture the tongue of the bell, but to his disappointment, this had been removed. There was nothing worth taking on the quarterdeck, so he visited the captain?s lobby flat. Here the ship?s trophies were exhibited in a case, but for fear of causing damage, he left them alone. He then wended his way to the P.O.?s flat, where the challenging incident occurred.
Soon after he rendezvoused with his companion at No. 1 Gun.
During the foregoing operations Raiders No. 3 and 4, in the skiff, glided down the starb?d side of the ship and secured on the outside of the motor boat lying at the boom.
No .3 jumped into the motorboat and endeavoured to remove the steering wheel, but found this impossible. Meanwhile No. 5 annesex the Pyrene and Klaxon horn. At this point the Quartermaster appeared in the Starboard Battery, hauled the skiff and ordered her to come alongside. He also shouted to the Brigade to switch on the searchlights, but the signalman reported that the fuses had gone. The skiff raiders hurriedly cast off. The searchlights were now working.
They had great difficulty I keeping out of its rays, but managed to arrive at the rendezvous to pick up nos. 1 and 2, who had meanwhile clambered down the cable and were, hanging on for dear life. Several ratings had heard the commotion and had mustered on the fo?cs?le. Once was heard to remark, ?Ere, there are two men on the cable.? The motorboat was called away but the raiders managed to get clear in time, taking care to avoid recognition by keeping their heads down.
Rowlocks were used on the return journey. The whole raid, up to the time the skiff was hauled up the beach, occupied about two and quarter hours.
First ?Dauntless? Dance Band
Quite a great deal can be said of the talent in the ship as regards sports, social activities, etc, but a few remarks must be made about the first ?Dauntless? Dance Band, since defunct. On commissioning it was discovered that four of the cook?s staff of six were instrumentalists, namely; Piano, saxophone, banjo, and in their spare moments they would get together and play a few tunes. Upon settling down to the routine of the ship, several impromptu concerts were held on the upper deck, at which they appeared under the heading of ?The Culinary Four.? Ina short space of time progress was made whereby a dance band formed, with the addition of a concert, euphonium and drums. At the same time the band became members of a famous dance orchestra journal and received monthly the latest dance numbers. Impromptu dances were held on the upper deck, one a week, at which they played. It was at Comox , Vancouver Island. That they had their first tryout, but it was not a great success, due to the fact that the local band, who also played at intervals, was an entirely different tempo, but it certainly was an experience. Undaunted by this, however they went further ahead and played for dances at Wrangel and went further ahead and played for dances at Wrangel and Sitka in Alaska.
By the time the experience obtained gave them greater confidence. They next played at the Elk Hall in Astoria. Oregon, and during the evening were approached by the local wireless authorities, to broadcast a programme from the studio at the Astor Hotel. The necessary permission having been obtained, this was duly carried out, and from all accounts it was an unqualified success; at the same time being a wonderful experience of the members of the band. They were honoured to ply in conjunction with the dance band of the ?Despatch? at the dance given onboard by the Commander-in-Chief at San Francisco. The next and last time they played was at Santa Barbara, California where they attended two dances. On our return to Bermuda circumstances arose which rendered. It impracticable to carry on, and so after many enjoyable musical nights together, the original ?Dauntless? Dance Band ceased to function and passed into the ?Might have beens.?
To Logging Camp Near Comox, Vancouver Island
On the 19th June, about 1110, a party of 100 ratings landed at Elk Pier and were conveyed in private cars top a Logging Camp, about 15 miles away, in the heart of the Comox Valley.
Once we got clear of the main rods the countryside was a sorry sight, due to the fact that it was just a waste of charred trees and stumps, a mute reminder of the devastation caused by a forest fire some eight years ago. There are now strict orders re smoking and lighting fires.
On arrival at the Camp we were regaled with a sumptuous lunch, cooked and served by Chinese, for whom we afterwards had a ?whip round.? For once all hands were unanimous in their praise of the ?eats.? After lunch the party boarded a truck train, which puffed and jolted through the timber until we arrived at the same scene of operations.
Our first stop was at a place where tree trunks were being loaded into a wagon train. This is done as follows; a suitable tall tree, alongside the rail track, is used as a ?Spar Tree? or derrick, and from this tree wires run into the forest in all directions. Whips, with grabs, run along the length of the wires and, with power supplied by a steam engine, the felled trees are dragged from their resting places, hundreds of yards away. The timber comes crashing through the undergrowth, over other logs, through pools of water, all of which are pushed aside or successfully negotiated, and is finally dumped alongside the rail track. An arm from the ?Spar Tree,? fitted with grabs, then lifts the logs into the wagons with a minimum waste of time.
From here we proceeded another mile and then halted at an embryo ?Sparr Tree.? Before a tree can used for a derrick, the top twenty feet, of small diameter, has to be lopped or ?topped,? otherwise, when the whips the top part would sway, probably sufficiently to cause a fracture in the tree are dragging in logs. Even if the break does not occur below the rigging, the falling top might cause fatal injuries among the workmen.
Awaiting us was a lumberman, called a ?High Rigger,? who buckled on a pair of spikes to his boots. With an axe dangling from his waist, a rope encircling his body and the tree trunk, he commenced to climb, lopping off branches as he proceeded aloft. After ascending about 150 feet he dug in his climbing irons firmly and commenced to chop off the remaining 20 feet of the tree, which soon fell with a crash, exactly where he had predicted. As the top fell the tree swayed as though struck by a full gale but before it had steadied the ?High Rigger? had commenced to descend in leaps of several feet. As the girth of the tree increased, so he increased the diameter of the encircling rope.
?High Riggers? have been known to sit on top of the swaying tree after the topping operation had been completed; in fact we were told that a Russian once stood on his head there for a wager. The total time taken from when the man left the ground to his return was only 17 ? minutes, a wonderful performance. Although perspiring freely, he was quite unperturbed. His job is highly paid, and we came to the conclusion the money was well earned.
We then witnesses three trees being felled. They were already axed at the bottom to determine where they should fall. It took two men ten minutes of sawing before each tree fell with a thunderous crash, carrying away branches of the surrounding trees en route.
After inspecting the camp and a few odd bits of machinery, we thanked our hosts heartily for their hospitality and for a most interesting and instructive visit. The same cars whisked us back to Comox. We returned onboard tired, but well pleased with a most enjoyable outing.
River Timber Company
By kind permission of the Manager of the Elk River Timber Company, Mr. Cobb, twelve officers spent twenty-four hours at the Elk River Timber Coy Camp. Captain, Mrs and Miss Moore, who were guests of Mr. And Mrs. Cobb, were with the expedition. In addition to witnessing the lumber operations already described, the following items of interest were gathered.
The lumbermen were a most cosmopolitan crowd; the majority were Swedes or Norwegians, but there were many Canadians, British and Russians, and a few Czech Slovakians, Americans and Germans. In the camp they were a peaceful, hard working collection, their interests in life, after a day?s work, extending to food and sleep only. A few indulged in a game with metal quoits. Apparently the majority lead this type of life until they have saved enough money for a colossal ?jag? in the nearest town.
Lumbermen consume incredible quantities of food. No talking is allowed in the dining room, presumably because conversation interferes with the amount of food eaten and the digestion.
No liquor of any description is allowed in the Camp. Doubtless this is the reason for such few accidents. Also a man has to be in perfect condition to perform his arduous task.
The beds provided in the huts are none too comfortable. The huts themselves are draughty and the length of the blanket supplied is such that the average man has to choose between having his neck or his feet frozen.
One Englishman in the Camp was receiving ?600 a year from his people for his people to keep away from home. He seemed perfectly happy. While spending his allowance he did no work, and when his money had gone he returned to employment in the Lumber Camp.
The work in a Camp is strenuous but the life is healthy. The lumberman is a splendid specimen of manhood physically. He possesses the asset of not being loquacious.
The unanimous decision was that we would not care to change jobs with a lumberman.
The Elk hotel, the hospitality of ?Dusty? D?Esterre and his picture and portrait gallery in his studio, most of which were Naval links, will always bring interesting and pleasant recollections to the officers of H.M.S. ?Dauntless.?
Whilst at Comox, five officers took the opportunity to visit Campbell River (a paradise for salmon fishers), twenty miles away. Dr, and Mrs. Richardson kindly put a tent at their disposal. As luck would have it we were too early for the Tyee salmon, which run to 100 lbs; but good sport was had with the spring salmon, one kill weighing 10 lbs. The trout would not rise to a fly.
While trolling, Mate Maybury hooked a fish which, when it broke surface, looked like a 20 lb salmon. The fish jumped, Maybury jumped; the fish dived; Maybury looked bewildered. The fish jumped again; Maybury lost his balance, the rod nearly left his hand and alas!! The salmon shook out the hook. For one week we heard all about the fish, which was nearly as big as him. Bad luck, little man! Anytime you have half an hour to spare, you known to whom to go for instructions.
When fish are being cleaned by the riverside, enormous dogfish swarm around to collect the refuse. One was gaffed and the interesting fact discovered that the species do not lay eggs.
About 1330 on Friday 27th June, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? and H.M.C.S. ?Vancouver? secured alongside the C.P.R. Jetty at Vancouver, both ships having been detailed to convey units of the Canadian Militia to Maple Bay to take part in the combined Operations Scheme.
Early the following morning we heard the skirl of bagpipes and soon after appeared the first regiment bound for the battle; the Seaforth Highlanders, with kilts swaying to the music of the Canadian Scottish pipers. They were closely followed by the Irish Inniskillings and then came fifes and drums leading detachments from the Vancouver Regiment, the Artillery, the Sappers and the West Vancouver?s. The entire force was under the command of Brigadier General Sutherland Browne. An enormous crowd witnessed the embarkation, the organisation of which went smoothly thanks to guides who ran hither and thither, and to direction signs on blackboards. By 0830 the ship had embarked approximately 400 officers and men and soon after, accompanied by the ?Vancouver,? she sailed, amidst cheers from the crowd and lively tunes from our band.
Fortunately the sea was calm. Aircraft detailed to attend on the Naval Forces escorted us and soon they reported sighting H.M.C.S. ?Armentieres,? which was conveying a detachment from Esquimalt to the scene of action.
At 1630 approximately, the ships arrived at Maple Bay and the first Naval exercise commenced-landing an attacking force with all speed within a certain sector of the beach. This was carried out speedily and in a seamanlike manner and there were no casualties. The military landing parties moved inland and pitched camp, whilst the Signalmen chose strategically positions along the coast.
Sunday 29th June. After Divine Service everyone enjoyed a day of rest; the lull before the storm, as the Battle of Maple Bay was to be contested on the morrow
Exercise With Canadian Militia At Maple Bay (Official Version)
30th June 1930
An imaginary large army was being landed in Maple Bay for the conquest of Vancouver Island. A covering force had already been landed and had taken up a position to protect the main army from attack while landing. The opposing force desired to penetrate this covering force and prevent the landing of the main army.
A ?Dauntless? company of two seamen platoons and one Royal Marine platoon was given a position on the left flank covering force, its area stretching from the top of Tzuhalem mountain, some 1600 feet high, to the main Maple Bay-Duncan Road. We arrived on our position a good half hour before the exercise was due to start, only to find that out opponents were already firmly planted there, although they were fully a mile ahead of the line on which they should have been at that time. Argument was useless, but a friendly umpire turned up, and the enemy were told to ?beat it,? leaving us to take up our pre-arranged positions, and that was very nearly the last we saw of the enemy, as they concentrated on our centre and right flank. A defending Lewis gun section did some pretty execution on a platoon, which tried to march down the Maple Bay-Duncan Road, and half the platoon was adjudged to be killed. The remainder of us spent a peaceful forenoon in the sun, watching the reconnaissance aircraft overhead.
The enemy?s attack on our tight flank was highly successful and when the exercise was stopped, about noon, it was only a matter of a few minutes before they would have captured our Brigade Headquarters. In fact, although we did all that was required of us on our flank, there is no question that our opponents won the morning?s battle.
For the purpose of the afternoon?s battle it was considered that our opponents had failed in their object, that our main army had landed and were ready to advance; we therefore became the attacking force and our opponents the defenders. As we had not had much to do in the morning, the Brigadier of our side very generously rearranged his forces so as to put us in the centre of the line, where most resistance was expected.
As soon as the morning exercise was over, we marched to Bassett?s Barn, which was to be our ?jumping off place? for the afternoon, and there we had an hour?s Stand Easy and dinner.
The afternoon exercise started unfortunately. Our Royal Marines platoon had to advance over rather open country, and they were getting on very well, making good use of what little cover they had; but when they got half way to their first objective, an umpire informed them that they had been under heavy machine gun fire for the last ten minutes, and there was little chance of any of them being left alive. This was very bad luck, as they had no idea that they were being fired on, but these misfortunes are inevitable under the unreal conditions of peace exercises.
No. 2 Seamen?s Platoon had a pretty tough job. Their advance was through a fairly thick wood, which was strongly defended. A stretch of 100 yards of very open ground was first successfully crossed under cover of a smoke screen, and the cover of the wood gained. From there on progress was slow, until finally the defence became so strong that further advance was impossible. No. 1 platoon was therefore sent to advance through the woods further to the left and delivered a flank attack on the enemy?s position. This platoon made very good progress, but therefore their object be achieved, the exercise was stopped by the Chief Umpire.
Although no decisive result was obtained, outside has made good progress and there is every reason to suppose that had the exercise continued longer we should have penetrated the defence.
Version And Sidelights Of The Battle
At 0600on the 30th, operations commenced with the landing of the Naval and Royal Marine contingents and soon the necessary arrangements were made to rout the enemy from a wood he was occupying.
Operations were directed from Naval Headquarters, situated on top of a small hill. From all around came the crack of rifle and harsh staccato of machine guns. An amusing diversion occurred when two men, sighting enemy scout, stalked the quarry and were just about going to shout ?Hands up,? when one tripped over a lump of wood and loosed off a blank round. The scout looked round and said, ?What?s up Jack?? The next minute his hands were.
For an hour or so the action lasted without either side giving ground; sniping and counter sniping played an important part in the stationary stage, but towards noon just as the Naval Forces were gaining ground the ?Cease Fire? call was sounded and the troops retired for dinner, whilst the judges worked out the result-a draw.
Nature was indeed kind to us, as wild raspberries grew in profusion around our position and they provided a delicious diet and counter attraction from the great battle being waged.
At 1330 the second exercise was commenced, the battleground being carefully chosen by both sides. The Scottish Regiments had taken possession of a large wood, the Territorial had occupied a farmhouse, and the Army Headquarters were at ?Bassets Barn? while the Naval Headquarters were situated on a nearby hill. The Naval Forces were spread around these points and a very exciting time followed. Our men were attempting to take the wood by storm but were repulsed by heavy rifle fire. Many counter attacks were made, and when these were observed to fail the Scots were given a taste of tear gas, which had the desired effect. The Scots then tried to take our Headquarters, and almost succeeded, but the Royal Marines and part of the Machine Gun Section were rushed up and the attack failed. It was a near thing, and the Staff, after visions of capture by the enemy, heaved a sigh of relief. The Territorial was driven from the Farmhouse and our men took possession. By 1600 the enemy had lost all his strategic points and we were in full possession. A few small attacks followed but were of no great importance. The exercise was concluded at 1730.
During the forenoon operations the enemy took two of our men prisoners and removed their lanyards and collars, but later in the day we captured a Scotsman and confiscated his kilt in retaliation. Fortunately it was a warm day and there were none of the gentler sex about.
Have you ever heard a sailor, who, while crawling on hands and knees, barges into a bed of stinging nettles? If you lack a vocabulary attend the next combined operations.
Any soldier appearing in our vicinity was surrounded instantly, but to our dismay, we discovered that we couldn?t take the majority prisoners, as they were judges. After lunch, just as we were preparing to advance, a rifle shot was fired close behind us. Our platoon commander thought we had been attacked in the rear and his hair stood in end, but it was only somebody in No. 2 Platoon looking for excitement.
On one occasion we worked our way behind the enemy lines and ambushed a section of kilties. Disbanding a hail of bullets they fixed bayonets and charged. Who had won? We swore we had wiped them out with rifle fire; they swore we hadn?t. An umpire declared the encounter a draw. Anyway the Cockney and Canadian Scottish slang were grand to hear.
At the conclusion of the exercises, the Sailors and Royal Marines were guests of the Canadian Militia, who put up a marvellous tea, during which the pipes and Brass Bands played. Later it was announced that a prize of barrel of beer would be given to the unit that produced the best bonfire after dark. What was the prize? A barrel of beer? The sailors got busy, even uprooting trees whole. There was no doubt that our fire was easily the best and there was still less doubt about the sailors enjoying the beer.
The soldiers were re-embarked on Tuesday 1st July and disembarked at Vancouver at 1730 the same day. From the fact that most of the troops slept during the passage we wondered if there were a few fat heads knocking about.
As the regiments marched away, ?Clear Lower Deck? was piped, three cheers were given as the soldiers filed past the ship and our band played ?Auld Lang Syne.? The cheers were returned with much gusto by each regiment in turn. Many friendships were formed during the combined operations and even to this day, letters are exchanged between members of the Canadian Militia and the ship?s company.
Maple Bay And Esquimalt
We sailed from Vancouver at 0900 on the 2nd July arrived at Nanaimo at 1230 the same day, remaining there until the 7th July.
The town itself is very small, coal being the chief industry. Apart from walks and car rides through pretty country there was nothing much to do; some lucky ones had friends up from Vancouver.
The ship?s company spent an enjoyable evening at a smoking Concert given by the Canadian Legion, and two days later, our own Concert Party performed in the St. John Hall, under the auspices of Baston Chapter, I.O.D.E.
The audience was very appreciate and Mrs. A. Foster, Regent, tendered the thanks of the members to Captain Moore. The event was brought to a close by an informal dance and a substantial sum was raised for the Chapter?s general work.
A searchlight display, which caused much excitement in the town, was given on the 5th July; also several inhabitants visited the ship.
We arrived at Maple ay at 1800 on the 7th, and remained there until the 9th. Apart from a little fishing and some interesting walks, this was a period of complete rest from official activities. The officers enjoyed several parties at Commander (E) Greathed?s brother?s bungalow and also enjoyed pulling the skiff back to the ship to the strains of the Volga Boating Song.
On the 9th July, we arrived at Esquimalt for our second stay and wasted no time in making contact with old friends, particularly with the Canadian Mounted Police who extended considerable hospitality to us. Picnics cricket matches, tennis, dances and dinner parties ashore, helped to pass a pleasant nine days. On the 13th there was a terrific storm but luckily we were not at sea.
On Tuesday 15th July, Captain Moore and the officers held an official dance. The decorations were bunting, flowers, ferns, lanthorns, coloured lights balloons and a rock garden with fountain built on No. 5 Gun Deck. Lieutenant whetstone spent most of his time paddling in the fountain. Captain Bagot helped with sterling work in the ?Yellow Peril.? Two marquees were erected on the jetty and were used as refreshment tents and for sitting out. A local band was hired for the occasion.
The guests included His Honour The Lieutenant Governor and Miss MacKenzie, Brigadier General and Mrs. Sutherland Browne, His worship The Mayor and Mrs, Anscombe, The Chief Justice, Mrs. And Miss MacDonald, The Officers, R.C.N. Barracks, Garrison Officers Mess, H.M.C.S. ?Vancouver,? H.M.C.S. ?Armentieres? and Canadian Militia. In all approximately 200 attended the dance.
The ship?s company held their dance the following day, using the same decorations and facilities arranged by the officers. Fortunately the weather remained fine for both occasions. This dance subsequently proved to be the most successful one held onboard during the commission.
On Friday 18th July, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? sailed for Wrangell, Alaska. Crowds were on the jetty to wave us good-bye and there was much weeping and wailing and many sore hearts. Farewell, Esquimalt, we will never forget our sojourn in your hospitable land.
The passage from Esquimalt to Wrangell was full of interest as we took the inner channels. It was necessary to anchor each night, as it is not safe to navigate these waters in the dark. At times we found ourselves in channels only a few hundred yards wide and flanked by mountains 3000ft high, while at other times the channels opened out into inland sea. Our first anchorage was in Tribune Bay.
The second day we passed between dense forests of pine and other fir trees with occasional clearings in which are situated settlements of wooden houses and tents. That night we anchored at Beaver Harbour and the cold was distinctly noticeable!
The next day, snow capped mountains were seen in the distance and we were considerably delayed by fog banks which shut down intermittently all day. We arrived safely at Carter Bay that evening, just before dark, and a party went away in the skiff to fish; no luck attended their efforts, probably due to a shoal of black fish which cruised round the boat, blowing like whales, and giving the occupants many anxious moments.
A shooting party went ashore and, having carried out a regular battle practice, returned with one pigeon a costly bird!
On the next day 22nd July, we passed several picturesque waterfalls, and some grizzly bear slides were seen, but no bears. After passing Prince Rupert Island, we anchored for the night at Port Simpson.
The next night we anchored at Dewey Anchorage after passing a salmon-canning town, called Ketchikan. At 1400 on 23rd July, we arrived at Wrangell, a town of some 500 inhabitants, situated in delightful surroundings at the foot of Mt. Wrangell. During the day we saw some fine glaciers and passed a few small icebergs.
The population includes Americans, Indians, Russians and Eskimos. The houses are chiefly constructed of wood and the main industries are salmon fishing and canning. In addition there is a sawmill, cutting large quantities of Sitka spruce, used in aeroplane construction. Trapping and hunting are extensively carried on in the interior, and annually, a quarter of a million dollars worth of furs pass through the town.
Wrangell has more totems than any other town in Alaska, usually visited by tourists. Both officers and ship?s company spent many hours visiting the curio shops and totem poles. It would be appropriate here to discuss totem poles and the Indian or native of South Eastern Alaska, who calls himself Thlingit (people). According to the Father Veniaminoff: -
?The Thlingits are divided into two main tribes-the Raven or Yethl tribe, and the other, the Wolf or Kootch tribe. Under the name of raven it is understood that this being is not a bird, but have the human race, and the wolf is not an animal, but a Kannook or some sort of a man.
These tribes are sub-divided into clans, using for their names, the names of animals, birds, fish and other creatures.
Those belonging to the Wolf phratry have six principal clans; Wolf, Bear, Eagle, Whale-killer, and Shark and black Oystercatcher. Those belonging to the Raven phratry are named for Raven, Frog, Goose, Seal, Owl, and Salmon etc. The several clans of both phratries are sub-divided into families or lesser clans, carrying the names of houses or villages.
Each clan has its own crest or coat-of-arms, which on state occasions or celebrations is exhibited either in front of the house or in the interior, on the front walls or the fore most corners. The Chief of the clan adorns himself with special bearings insignia belonging to his tribe.
These crests or Coat-of-arms represent the particular animals which the clans adopted. They are made from wood or from the skin of the animal when they represent.?
?The majority of the Thlingits recognize as their Supreme Bring, some person under the name of Yethl. This Yethl, according to the Thlingit belief, is all-powerful. He created everything in the world; earth, animals, man venetation. He procured the sun, moon, and stars. He loves the people, but often in his anger sends epidemics and misfortunes upon them. Yethl was in the beginning, he never ages and never will die.?
It is difficult to obtain a definite and correct version on Totems from Indians, chiefly because many thoughtless people have ridiculed what was, to the nature, an object of veneration; also because interpreters cannot be found to render equivalent translations of the symbols on the poles. Ill informed missionaries have taught that the object of ancestral veneration is nothing but an idol.
Any clan can have its own family totem, yet it respects either the Raven or the Wolf. Father Veniaminov, a broad-minded missionary of a hundred years ago, says: -
?There are three kinds of totems in use amongst the Thlingits of South Eastern Alaska, besides the house posts used for interior decoration and the grave posts. On the poles genealogy of the family is illustrated, some hero tale of important incident in the early family history, or the wanderings of the raven is depicted. The interior house posts have the greave posts (the latter are of recent adoption) show the family crest of Pointo some incident in the history of the clan or family.
The animal figures represent the tribe of the clan. Quite often small figure incorporated in between the larger figure will have a lengthy story.
In the genealogical poles, the predominating animal will illustrate the husband?s family and the various other figures will illustrate the wife?s clan. Sometimes figures are incorporated and carved in fir decorative purposes, and only the artist knows the reason for them. When questioned as to the meaning of certain poles, the Indians will invariably say that the story is too long and no single man can tell all of it. What they mean is that the various figures have their separate legends and that each clan knows its story better than he does.
The larger portion of Thlingits believes in the supreme power of the raven, in this case not a bird, but a man, according to their belief, Yethl is all powerful. He created all that is found upon earth. He made land and vegetarian man and all animal creatures. He procured the light and is called Nah-sha-ki-yethl, or the Raven who comes from the river Nass, far in the interior.?
? The stories of the wanderings and acts of the Raven are so numerous amongst the Thlingit people that only one principal one is offered here: -
There was a time when the universe was in darkness. At that time a certain man lived in the world that had a wife and a sister. He loved his wife so well that she was not permitted to do any work. All day she sat in the house or outside by the entrance. Small birds, called koon, guarded her and on the slightest and the most innocent attention from any male, these birds would leave her. The husband was so jealous of her that on leaving the house for work he would lock her up in a large box while the birds sat around the prison, always on the watch. His sister was known as Kit-whi-geen-see (the daughter of a killer whale). She had a number of sons born to her, but when the boys reached a certain age, the uncle would kill them. The various tribes give the method of destroying his nephews differently. Some say the uncle as soon as the nephew became old enough would take him out in the canoe and drown him. Others like the Stikine River Indians say that he would lock them in a partly excavated log, intended for a canoe, where they would smother. The mother of the boys not only mourned for her offspring?s, but had no way of stopping her brother from destroying them. One time, as she sat by the seashore mourning, a school of killer whales passed close to the shore. One of the killer whales approached close to where the woman sat and began to talk to her. Finding the source of the great grief, the killer whale told her to wade into the water, pick up a small pebble from the bottom and swallow it, and drink a little of the sea water. Again this part of the story varies amongst the different tribes. In time, a child was born an ordinary child, but this was the Raven. Just before the boy was born, she left her brother?s house and had gone away to a distant country, where she reared this child with great care.
When the child grew old enough, she taught him the use of the bow and arrow. The boy became very skilled in the use of this. When he became of age, he built himself a hunting lodge, where he devoted his time entirely to hunting. One morning, while sitting by the door of his lodge, he saw a great bird alight almost at his door. This bird had a very long beak, with a metallic glitter to it. The Thingit people call this bird kootz-gah-too-ly (the bird of the sky). The young man immediately killed it and then carefully skinned it. He put the skin across his shoulders and immediately felt the power to fly. He flew towards the sky and continued his flight until his strong beak stuck into a cloud and he had some difficulty in pulling it out. He alighted at his lodge and hid the skin. When the young man was old enough his mother told him about his uncle and about the death of his brothers. The young man at once started for the place where his uncle lived. The uncle was away when he reached there. He found his aunt locked in the big box; he opened it and let her out. The little birds, of course, flew away. When the uncle returned home he at once saw what had happened. He became very angry. The Raven sat very much unconcerned and made no attempt to explain his presence. His uncle at once told the Raven to go with him; he took him in his canoe and paddled out to sea, a long distance from shore, to a place where many terrible creatures lived. He threw the raven overboard to drown him. The Raven sank to the bottom. On reaching the bottom he walked under the water towards the shore and came out at the place where his uncle lived. When his uncle arrived home he was greatly surprised to see his nephew sitting calmly by the fire. He became so angry that he said, let there be a flood. The waters began to rise, covering all the country and even the high mountains were covered with water. The Raven put on his bird skin and flew towards the sky. He again struck his beak into a cloud and hung there until the waters subsided. Then he flew down with the lightness of a feather.
From this period, there are so many stories of the activities of the Raven as told by the various tribes of the Thlingit people, that it is impossible to enumerate them; his wanderings upon earth, creating trees, procuring water ad light, fire and any other useful things, including the animals and birds. The light was in possession of some rich and powerful chief, who kept it locked up in three boxes, which he guarded with the greatest care. The Raven while wandering round the world, heard of the light of the great chief and he wanted to get the light for the world. This great chief also had a daughter, who was carefully guarded by slaves. They accompanied her wherever she went. It was their duty to examine not only the food she ate, but even the dishes from which the food was eaten. The Raven realised that the only way he could obtain the light was to become the grandson of the chief. Putting on his bird skin, he flew to the country where the old man lived. He watched for an opportunity to carry out his plan. This was an easy matter to the Raven as he could change himself into whatever he wished; into fish, animal, grass or any other thing that suited his purpose. One day the girl went to the creek to get some water; the Raven saw his opportunity. He changed himself into the minutest piece of a spruce needle and became attached to the side of her drinking cup. When the girl was drinking she drank the particle. She realised at once that she had swallowed something foreign. In spite of all endeavours she could not get rid of the piece she had swallowed. In time a child was born to her. No one suspected that the child was the Raven. The grandfather became greatly attached to the child. He loved him even more than he did his daughter. In time, the child began to walk and always pointed to the boxes in which the planets of the earth were kept. At first, the grandfather did not know that the child wanted to play with his treasures. But when the child began to cry for them and would not be comforted, the grandfather allowed him to play with the least of his possessions. The child immediately became quiet. He played with the box containing the stars. When the opportunity presented itself, he opened the box and the stars escaped and lodged in the sky. He was able to do the same with the box containing the moon. When the child wanted to play with his greatest treasure, the box containing the sun, the grandfather would permit him only to touch it. The child cried without stopping, and would not be comforted. He stopped taking food; he became ill. There was great fear that he would die. At last the grandfather in desperation permitted the child to take the box with the sun. No sooner had he the box in his hands, than he became quiet; almost immediately he changed his form into a Raven and flew away with the sun. In his wanderings he came to a place where he heard voices. Seeing no one, but knowing that there were people in this place fishing, he asked them for something to eat. He was refused. The Raven threatened to make it light. These people laughed at him. They said the only one who could make light was the Raven. Then the Raven opened the box, whereat such wonderful sunshine appeared that the people became so frightened that they dispersed in all directions. Some ran into the woods and became animals, some jumped into the sea and became fishes ad marine animals, and some ran into the mountains and also became animals.?
24th July. The officers attended a dance ashore after a preliminary ?working up? party in the Ward Room. Dessert bills were very expensive that night and a melon was literally wasted, but we learnt that the officer could throw fruit with both hands. The ?little man? had a marvellous party with an Eskimo partner. After the dance, while waiting for the boat, we watched the ?Northern Lights,? a pretty sight indeed.
The ship was open to visitors during our stay. On the 27th an ?At Home? was given onboard, and on the 28th, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? sailed for Juneau.
29th July. Anchored in Hallock Harbour the preceding night and sailed again at 0800. Several glaciers were seen. Taku Glacier takes its source in an immense glacier field. Taku Glacier takes its source in an immense glacier field, from which several other glaciers originate. At the mouth it is 14 miles in width and 200 feet high, and extends back 15 miles. This is a live glacier, which sometimes obliges and thrills by casting another berg into the sea, with a great splash, when the siren is blown.
Several icebergs passed the ship, causing great excitement. The newly fractured bergs had a green or blue colour. The estimated dimensions of one seen were 50 feet by 30 by 20 feet high. When it is remembered that the volume of the submerged part is about nine times that of the projecting part, one can imagine the disastrous results of a collision with a large iceberg. Once against snow capped mountains and dense forests of pine and fir trees were visible.
The ship secured alongside the jetty at 1700. Juneau is a comparatively large town, situated at the foot of a mountain, in pleasant surroundings. Gold mining, fishing and furs are the chief industries. The Alaska Juneau gold mine, located within the city, immediately attracts the eye. There are several mining properties; some defunct, some still producing fortunes, and some yet in the prospecting stage.
The Mendenhall Glacier, about fourteen miles from the city, is on a spur of the Glacier Highway. It is unique in that it is easily accessible, and that visitors are able to go right on to it, in fact travel over it as far as they wish.
A visit was paid to a fur farm in the vicinity of the city, where silver foxes, blue foxes, cross foxes, and minks and martens are raised. Further north of Juneau, at Skagway (The Home of the North Wind). ?The Trail of 98? begins. From this town thousands followed the lure of gold through the mountain passes to the interior of Alaska and the Yukon.
The inhabitants of Juneau had never witnessed a cricket match in their lives, so for their edification, two representative sides from the ship featured. The stroked that were appreciated were the skiers for six. No intimation had been received as yet that cricket has been taken up seriously at Juneau.
By kind permission of the Manager, the majority of the ship?s company, in parties of 25 and proceeding hourly, made a tour of inspection of the Alaska-Juneau gold mine. One Scotsman still retains a specimen of ore. Some say he means to extract the gold there from, others suggest he is going to plant a plot of ground on some unsuspecting English prospector in Wigan.
Bears abound in Alaska. The brown bear is reputed to be harmless and the black ferocious. Many authentic and other stories were digested. Any smooth piece of cliff was alluded to as a Grizzly Bear Slide, and when out of curiosity, we enquired what an unarmed MAN SHOULD DO IF HE MET A BEAR, WE WERE TOLD THAT THE BEST THING HE COULD DO WAS TO LIE DOWN AND PRETEND TO BE DEAD. The average sailor would be more versatile than that. He would throw down his cap, make a noise like a honeycomb and run like??like a stag.
Visit To The Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine
In the early eighties two prospectors, Dick Harris and Joe Juneau, were attracted to this section of the country by reports that Indians had found gold in what is now known as Gold Creek. They located several claims and made many valuable discoveries. Later a number of quartz ledges were discovered, and a camp established at the present site of the city of Juneau. This camp was first called Harrisburg, but later the name was changed to Juneau, and the mining district was known as the Harris Mining District.
The Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine, at present operating is one of the greatest low-grade gold mines in the world. It is located within the city and daily produces over twelve thousand tons of ore. The ingenious part of the operations is the extent, to which ?gravity? is employed, considerably reducing the cost of production.
The approach to the mine is reached through a narrow cleft in the mountains. A rapid stream, in spate, known as ?Gold Creek,? wends its torture passage to the sea, passing near the entrance to the mine, which at first sight appears a very uninteresting huddle of tin buildings on a hillside.
The drive, in small electric trams, to the mine face, was an epic experience. The tram proceeding through numerous tunnels in the mountain well lit in places and semi-dark in others. Drops of water fell from the roofs to find a resting place on somebody?s neck; the walls exuded moisture. Occasionally we passed miners in overalls, working on railway, with carbide lamps attached by a band round their foreheads. The tunnels were well ventilated.
Blasting operations were being carried out in the heart of the mountain in large funnel shaped chambers. Pieces of rock found their way down chutes cut below the funnels to trucks and were carried through long tunnels, in the bowels of the mountain, to the crushing mills. As the trucks were overturned, the contents were carried by chutes to the mills, which broke the rocks into smaller pieces, which emerged on endless belt conveyors. Chosen men picked out the gold containing quartz (white) and dropped them into a bin near by. The remainder passed onto slag heaps.
From the bin, the selected rocks passed down chutes and then through rollers for further crushing and selection. The surviving quartz was ground to a powder and passed into large troughs of running water, down another chute so on to numerous large trays which were kept vibrating the whole time, to separate the minerals present. Gold, iron, copper, zinc and silver were noticed. The gold particles were passed through two tables, containing mercury, which formed an amalgam with the gold. The amalgam was heated to drive off the excess mercury, which was sued again. The other minerals obtained were by products, and helped to defray expenses.
From information received, a ton of rock contains 80 cents worth of gold. Of this, 60 cents worth is recovered. Working expenses are approx. 30 cents per ton, leaving a net profit of 30 cents per ton. There are about 600 men employed in the mine, which works night and day all the year round, Sundays included. All the machinery is renewed and repaired by the Company itself. Blasters are paid 7 dollars a day, crushers and washers 6 dollars, trolley drivers 6 ? dollars and other 5 ? dollars.
Specimens of quartz were given to the visitors; in fact rumour has it that, due to these specimens, the ship?s draught increased by ? inch.
We heartily thank the Manager of the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine for giving us the opportunity to witness such interesting operations.
Fishing Weekend At Turner Lake, Juneau
Whilst at Juneau, there was an opportunity for four of the Ward Room to go on a fishing weekend. The party was organised by ?Sim? Mackinnan, a retired Lieut. U.S.N.-and consisted of LShore Party) S. Mackinnan, J. Mills Johnstone, Mr and Mrs Cole and their small boy. (Ship Party) Captain Bagot, Inst, Lieut-comdr Taylor, Comdr (E) Greathead and the latter?s brother, who was staying onboard.
The sea going transport consisted of the motor yacht ?Jazz? belonging to Cole. She was quite a remarkable craft, as on a length of 48 feet she could sleep eleven (and a half). Her 75 h.p. Engine gave her 9 knots, and she had a paraffin fired galley and central heating boiler. She had been built in Seattle, had done the trip up through the Channels, and was said to be a very good sea boat.
Leaving the ship at 1430 we had an uneventful voyage to Tahu Inlet and up its south shore to a point nearly opposite the end of the Taku Glacier, where we anchored about 1615.
After an enormous egg tea everyone, except the Cole family, embarked in a fast foot outboard motor boat belonging to Mills-which had been towing astern. A run of a mile took us to the mouth of turner Creek, where we beached the boat and landed. From this point, a well-marked trail led over a low hill to Turner Lake. Although the trail was easy and under a mile long, it was quite a job getting over it, burdened as we were with a small outboard motor, a supply of gasoline and all the fishing tackle. Arrived at the foot of the Lake we found two small skiffs hauled up on the bank-these were quickly launched, the motor fitted to one, the party and gear embarked, and we were afloat by 1745.
The lake is almost straight for eight miles and then turns abruptly to the right for another two, but is only about ? of a mile wide; the sides are precipitous-in some places overhanging-and the water bitterly cold (being glacier fed), so to be wrecked at the head of the lake would be somewhat serious. The hills being almost unclimable and points where one can leave the water even for a rest, being at least half a mile apart, probably the only thing to do in such a case would to be start a forest fire and hope that someone would see the smoke and fly over to investigate.
We went about three miles u the lake, and anchored the boats at a point where a small waterfall came into the lake on the east bank. Fishing with spoons and salmon meat, sport was good, and we got thirty or forty trout-mostly under a lb, but a couple were about 2 lbs. We fished steadily in the same place till it was nearly dark (about 2100), except that the skiff with the motor made a short trip to another fall on the other side of the lake.
Bt the time we?d got back to the foot of the lake it was quite dark; of course everyone had thought of bringing a torch, but no one actually had brought one-son the trip back down the trail was much more difficult and exciting than the trip up had been.
On top of everything we got back to the mouth of the creek at dead low water, so there was some little difficulty in getting the speed boat afloat and finding the channel of the creek. However we got back aboard the ?Jazz? by 2330 and a quarter of an hour later were sitting down to a wonderful supper of fried trout and potatoes with apple pie and cake to follow-I fact was so much supper that we came to the conclusion that Mrs. Cole must have been cooking all the time we?d been away. Finally, everyone turned in about 0030.
Cole called the hands at 0400, and breakfast was on the table by 0415-we found out afterwards that the Cole family had been up since 0315 cooking it. We left the yacht once more in the speedboat about 0455 and we were on the lake by ten minutes to six. Visited on the previous day, and started fishing soon after 0630. Sport was better than ever before.
Whilst at this spot, four fish of over 4 lbs. a piece were landed, two of them were hooked simultaneously by schoolie and the Soldier, who were both in the smaller boat; the resulting scene of confusion was a good as a play-especially when schoolie?s reel came off his rod-and it was a great pity that no one had a movie camera to record it.
Various places where small falls came in were tried all with more or less success, till 1300 when he landed her lunch at the mouth of the stream at the head of the lake.
The first thing we saw on stepping ashore was a tree about ten inches across, which had been recently felled by a beaver-through unless he?d done it for practice there didn?t seem much point in it, as a more unsuitable place for a dam it soul be hard to find.
After lunch some of the party tried fishing from the shallows at the mouth of this creek, with fairly good results. Sport was interrupted by the arrival of a black bear: he first appeared on the west bank of the creek at the spot where we?d lunched-to the alarm of the people on that bank, and the amusement of those across the stream.
The bear then retreated inland a short way, crossed the river and came out on the lake shore not twenty yards from the party in the eastern shallows-who promptly decided it was time for the pipe ?Joke over?: however, the bear was heading steadily east, so we only saw his south elevation, and were left in peace to go on fishing.
Actually the black bear is practically never savage unless wounded; but the first sight of a wild animal (who looked about as big as a Shetland pony, but this may have been slight exaggeration) outside a Zoo, with only 20 yards of shallow water between you and him, and no weapon handy except a light trout rod is somewhat disturbing.
Embarking again, we tried several more likely spots around the lake again with success. There didn?t seem to be much bird life about, but we saw several specimens of ?ground hogs.? At last about 1500 we reluctantly decided that it was time to start for home. Cleaning most of the fish, and hauling the boats up and securing them took some little time, but the trail was much easier in daylight and we were back aboard the ?Jazz? by 1645.
Almost as soon as we were aboard, tea was announced. An enormous meal of chicken, potatoes and fruit salad all on one plate at the same time! The Cole?s explained that they?d had nothing to do all day except cook and sleep-but from the amount of food that was produced (and eaten) we concluded that they must have been working hard.
About 1800 we summoned up enough energy to weigh anchor and had a most enjoyable and peaceful trip back to Juneau, getting alongside about 1930. As one member remarked, and everyone agreed, ?Altogether, a most perfect party.? More than 120 trout were killed, including six four pounders, length approximately 24 inches.
We sailed from Juneau at noon on August 6th, and arrived at Sitka at 0850 the following day.
Alexander Baranoff, a noted Russian Governor, founded Sitka, the former capital of Alaska, and it is located on one of the Western islands. It boasts the most beautiful harbour in Alaska. Small islands are studded about which, from an elevated position, resemble jewels set in a harmonious profusion. Thickly wooded and snow capped mountains surround the harbour, the water of which is as clear as tropical seas.
The chief industry of the town is salmon fishing and canning. The return of the fishing fleet, which had been away for months, coincided with our visit, and so we had the opportunity to witness all stages of the canning industry.
The salmon were discharged from the trawlers onto slots on an endless belt, which conveyed them to washing tanks. Thence they proceeded by a similar conveyance to the ?Guillotine,? a machine that beheaded the fish, slit up and cleaned the salmon. The Indian girls completed them up in sizes to fit the cans. The packing of the cans was also done mechanically, and then the tops were fixed, after a preliminary steaming. The final stage was cooking for 1-? hours in a steamer, followed by cooling in the open air. Girls attached labels.
The factory turned out 3,000 cases per day, during the season, each case containing 50 tins of salmon. No fish was handled without special gloves.
All salmon not needed for immediate caning were placed in cold storage. A walk through the refrigerators was interesting. Two large N.H. machines pumped brine through rows of pipes, which lined the storerooms. Icicles hung and twinkled from the roof and pipes. Frost covered the floor and walls, while neat stacks of fish previously gutted, lay in solid blocks.
Some of the most interesting and historical monuments remaining from the Russian times in Alaska are the Old Russian churches, with their wonderful paintings, vestments, and sacred vessels. The St. Michael?s Cathedral at Sitka is by far the most interesting as an historical relic. The Church was finished and dedicated in honour of St. Michael on the 20th of November 1848.
The edifice is built in the shape of a cross, one arm of which is occupied by the entrance. It has three sanctuaries and as many alters. The sanctuaries are separated from the main church by screens, which are called the iconostas. The screen of the main church is adorned with twelve icons costly silver casings.
The silver used upon these icons would weight about 50 lbs, in solid metal. The Sitka Madonna in the chapel of the ?Lady of Kazan? is the pearl of the Russian ecclesiastical art, which cannot but impress every lover of art. It was a true artist?s brush that produced this heavenly face of an ineffable mildness. The charm and the novelty of this ecclesiastical type lie in its entire harmony with the reverential purity of true religions inspiration.
In the belfry there is an octave of chimes, the bells of which range in weight from seventy to fifteen hundred pounds.
A delightful walk can be taken thro ?Lovers Lane,? a short distance from the town. The entrance is guarded by two gaily-coloured totem poles. Other totem poles line the path, which winds through the woods to a bridge crossing a mountain stream. A replica of an old Russian blockhouse stands near the shore, telling of the old pioneers fights against Indians. In a clearing in the woods are several old totems erected to the moon goddess; tall, ugly, semi human figures, with white-rimmed eyes.
Near the main street of the town is a big community grind stone, used by the Russian settlers in 1830. A little further on is a Blarney stone, which is supposed to grant the wish of anyone who is brave enough t walk around it three times and then kiss it. But some of the ship?s company found more interesting things to kiss down ?lovers Lane.?
We took the opportunity to illuminate ship one night, much to the delight of the people onshore, who thought it was for their special benefit.
The Indians at Sitka asked the ship to turn out a ?Tug of War? team against them. This was done but the locals desired to pull in their own style, i.e. sitting on the ground with barriers for their feet. After much debate it was decided to adopt our style. Heavy betting took place, the Indians being favourites. The ship won the first pull. As soon as out opponents began to lose ground in the second pull they sat down to it. Even then they were being pulled over but their wives and families clapped on to the rope in aid. Our coach spent all his time trying to keep non-combatants clear. Eventually we won the second effort.
From Sitka, Alaska, the ship proceeded south to Cypress Bay, arriving on the 14th August. Here we spent four days painting and cleaning.
On the 19th August we left Cyprus Bay, and met the flagship, H.M.S. ?Despatch,? and H.M.C.S. ?Vancouver.? Inclination and other exercises were carried out in the forenoon and sub-calibre shoots in the afternoon, after which we made our way to Vancouver, arriving about 1630. ?Despatch? and ?Vancouver? berthed alongside and ?Dauntless? anchored in the stream. Soon after our arrival, a huge mail was received, the first for 26 days.
A very warm welcome was awaiting the ships, as the following official programme will show: -
Tuesday August 19th: -Arrival of H.M.S. ?Despatch? and ?Dauntless? 8 p.m. Dance and Social at Seamen?s Institute.
Wednesday August 20th. 10 p.m. All day cricket match, Quadra Club vs Navy. 8.30 p.m. Dance and Social at Winter Gardens, English Bay.
Thursday August 21st. All day7 cricket match, Vancouver vs Navy. ( p.m. Social evening and Dance with Lightkeepers at Seamen?s Institute.
Friday August 22nd. 6 p.m. Rugby Match, Vancouver vs ?Despatch.? 9 p.m. Dance at Alma Academy.
Saterday August 23rd. West Vancouver Day. 3p.m. placing wreath on Cenotaph. 3.15 p.m. Fancy Aquatic Sports and Boat Races. 6 p.m. Supper, Orange Hall. 8.30 p.m. Dance at Orange Hall. 8.30 p.m. Smoker at Legion Hall. Hollyburn Picture Theatre open free to all sailors in uniform, afternoon and evening in West Vancouver. Free Transportation on all Municipal Buses for sailors in uniform.
Sunday August 24th. Outing to Cloverdale Canadian Legion ?At home.? Aquatic Sports.
Monday August 25th. All day Cricket Match, Vancouver vs ?Dauntless?. 6 p.m. Naval Carnival and Festa at the residence of Mr and Mrs Buckley.
Tuesday August 26th. Rugby Match, Vancouver vs ?Dauntless?. 8p.m. Concert at Seaman?s Institute or continues Naval Carnival.
Wednesday August 27th. Grand Farewell Dance at seaman?s Institute.
The Rev. T. H. Elkington, with his able assistant, Mr. Ben Drew, and an attractive band of young lady helpers, worked night and day at the Seaman?s Institute on behalf of our sailors. Could more pains have been taken? Could more hospitality have been extended during our stay? Unanimously we say ?NO.?
Innumerable pairs of dancing shoes were worn out. We received a vote of thanks from the Cobbler?s Union for the extra work we provided for them. Both young and old seamen cocked a chest and talked jauntily of marvellous ?dates.? More chests were cocked and more spit and polish used when the following paragraph appeared as a Dance advertisement: -?This is the chance of a lifetime for the ladies of Vancouver to meet the heroes of Jutland.? One or two odd remarks flew around during working hours such as: - ?Ere Bill, how old were you when Jutland was fought?? In many cases the answer was ready ?Why bring that up??
We retain pleasant memories of private parties, dances, car drives and enjoyable evenings spent in the atmosphere of Canadian homes, a reminder of what we had left behind us, in England.
Thousands of visitors boarded the ship. We were only too pleased to be able to return some of the hospitality we had received. Official intimation has not yet come to hand of the number of sailors who plighted their troth at Vancouver.
At the Aquatic Sports many noted swimmers completed, including a Canadian Olympic representative. For the ship, Piper took 3rd place in the 110 yards free style and flattery was 3rd in the 220 yards. Wadey was second in the 50 yards back stroke and the ship also secured 2nd and 3rd places in the diving competition. H.M.S. ?Despatch? won the water polo cup.
Several officers and men were given the opportunity to visit the C.P.R.?s new liner, ?Empress of Japan,? which arrived in port on the 22nd. She is a magnificent ship, veritably a floating palace.
On August 27th, a gloom was cast over the whole ship owing to a most unfortunate accident. Nine of our liberty men were returning from shore leave, after dark, in H.C.M.S. ?Vancouver?s? skiff, which was fitted with an outboard motor, when a collision occurred. Presumably the skiff struck a floating log and capsized. Two of our shipmates, able seaman Johnson and Stoker Greenwood, could not be accounted for and it is feared they were drowned. A court enquiry was held the following afternoon.
Torpedo exercises were carried out on the 28th August, after which we proceeded to Cowichan Bay. Three quiet days, very much needed, were spent there. An officers fishing party went away one evening. The bay was literally thick with salmon, some ranging to 25 lbs at least, but the fish could not be tempted to feed on any manner of bait. Even local Indians were unable to kill them. During our stay here one officer developed a cold and slept ashore. He must have thrown a marvellous recovery, as he was observed fishing at day break with a most interesting companion.
Rumour has it that the line over the side of the boat was only a ?blind? as it boasted neither hook nor spinner.
After an uneventful voyage, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? secured alongside the jetty at Astoria, Oregon, on the 1st September. Once more we entered the Dry Domain.
Astoria is located at the mouth of the Columbia River, ten miles from the Pacific Ocean. The John Astor expeditionary parties found it in 1811. During the war of 1812 Fort Astor was taken by the British and named Fort George, but was again reclaimed by the United States under the treaty of Ghent, fixing the boundary lines between Canada and USA. It is the oldest American city west of the Rocky Mountains.
The monolithic Astoria Column, a landmark, perpetuates the history of Astoria. Etched thereon is a comprehensive pictorial record of the discovery of the Columbia, of later explorations of the region and of the heroic deeds enacted. The column is 125 feet high and must have cost a small fortune. It encloses a stairway leading to the top from where a glorious panorama of the city and its environs is disclosed. Doubtless every officer and man visited the column. It must have been coincidence, when two separate motorcar parties found they had chosen, without collusion, the seclusion of the precincts of the column on a dark night. Maybe they thought the beautiful etchings would inspire the artistic sense.
The principal industries are salmon packing, timber and pulp- wood. Private enterprise has introduced the manufacture of ?Bath Tub Gin.? We met this ingenious drink in many other USA ports, but Astoria had reduced the manufacture to a fine art. The essentials are a large bathtub and as much pure alcohol as can be obtained. Gangsters add dynamite and a few detonators to give a kick. Without the explosives we found the alcoholic beverage quite palatable, and so far, none of us has yet been invalided out of the Service. Dentists are particularly susceptible to the fumes of ?Bath Tub Gin.? One fell 20 feet from a window on to a hard road at a dance at which some of us were guests. His only injury was a thorn in one hand but a local practitioner extracted this, after a few minutes digging and exploration with a jack knife.
The golf course provided much diversion and several interesting matches were played. Even if one performed badly, there was the alternative of chasing snakes with a nib lick. It is said that there were more games played on the first fairway on the night of the dance at the Golf Club than during the rest of our visit.
Other amusements were, interesting walks, car rides and ?The Pictures.? Most of the films shown were modern and excellent. The ship was open to visitors on two occasions, and many inhabitants took the opportunity to look over a British warship.
A novelty band, known as the High School Seaside Band, composed entirely of schoolgirls between the ages of 9 and 17, rendered excellent alongside the ship. They were given a great ovation and were afterwards entertained to tea onboard.
The officers received stupendous hospitality ashore and many friendships were formed. According to a scrapbook received from Astoria, if H.M.S. ?Dauntless? ever returns to the city a few husbands will be in waiting with shotguns.
The ship sailed on the 6th September for San Francisco.
From Astoria Newspaper
Says He Hates To Leave City
Take On Air.
Citizens Say Parting Words To Warship?s Men
?Great Britain?s men of the sea and H.M.S. ?Dauntless?, who have been Astoria?s guests for the past five days, will sail tomorrow morning at 7 o?clock for San Francisco.
?Tonight Captain H. R. Moore, D.S.O., will bid the citizens farewell over radio station KFJI.
?In an interview this morning, Captain Moore expressed appreciation of the officers and crew of the ship for the courtesies that has been extended them by the people of Astoria, during their visit.
?The disappointing feature of our visit in your city,? Captain Moore said, ?is the fact that our time with you with your hospitable people and the necessary formalities have worn off.
?Now that we have reached that stage of real friendship, it is too bad that we are forced to depart.?
Prominent citizens expressed their regrets that the stay of the vessel must terminate so soon, but were loud in their praise of the officers and crew of the cruiser.
E. B. Hughes, president of the Chamber of Commerce: -
?It is truly wonderful to live again in an age when the military organisations of the two great English speaking nations of the world can fraternize in the spirit of love and friendship. Captain Moore and the staff of H.M.S. ?Dauntless? have created a bond of attachment that brings feelings of regret in their depature. We sincerely trust they will again return, so that we might renew this enjoyable acquaintance.?
Major J. C. Ten Brook: -
?It has been a distinct pleasure to entertain H.M.S. ?Dauntless? and I wish to extend to Captain Moore and through him to his command, the compliments of the city of Astoria, to assure him that we are proud to have had the honour of entertaining them as our guests. It has been a most delightful experience and marks a milestone in the social life of our city. We regret that you cannot stay with us longer. We hope at some future time you always be welcome. I am honoured to have the privilege on behalf of the city of Astoria, to bid you Godspeed, with best wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity.?
Chief of Police John Acton: -
?The visit of the ?Dauntless? and its crew has been a splendid example of orderliness, and it has been a decided pleasure on the part of the police department to see such a fine example set by such a large body of men. Please extend my best wishes to the officers and crew of the ship, and we hope that we will be able to welcome them back to our city.?
C. J. Ferguson and E. M. Cherry, Committee of Entertainment: -
?Come again sailors, and bring your admirals and your captains and your commanders. We will get together and we?ll start a string of friendship and understanding around the world. We?ll bluff each other into friendship instead of fire, into brotherhood instead of bullets and we?ll bring about a better understanding among the nations of the world. Come again Admiral Haggard and Captain Moore and ?Despatch? and ?Dauntless,? we?ll sing and dine together again.?
?Tonight at the Elks temple a final dance will be held for all men aboard the cruiser, and the general public is invited.?
On the 7th September, D? Esterre, Captain Moore?s guest, developed acute intestinal obstruction, so acute that the Surgeon Commander decided that only an immediate operation could save his life. Medical assistance was obtained from H.M.S. ?Despatch? and a successful operation was performed at sea.
Early the next morning both ships passed through the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco harbour and secured alongside P.S.N.C. wharves.
San Francisco is indeed a magnificent city. Here we saw typical American skyscrapers, traffic almost as thick as in Piccadilly, the hustle and bustle of an ultramodern American city, drug stores, the splendour of the wealthy district, the slums, spacious parks, museums, beautiful green country, cinemas and theatres.
Like Rome, San Francisco is built on seven hills. From the docks and piers the main road, Market Street, leads westwards, through the city, towards the Twin Peaks on the famous ?Figure 8 Drive.? The smaller streets branch off from Market Street in ?herring bone? fashion, those on the right leading to the commercial section and those on the left to the residential quarter and older part of the city. The dwellings and gardens of the Latin Quarter literally hang from the sides of Telegraph Hill. From here, in earlier days, semaphore announced to the town below the approach of ships through the Golden Gate. Artisits reside in the neighbourhood of Russian Hill. Nob Hill was the site of the houses of the ?Nobs? or ?Nobobs,? California?s early millionaires. Lone Mountain and Mount Dandson are each surmounted by a cross.
The artificial Golden Gate Park extends over 1,000 acres. In 1870 it was but a vast waste of sand dunes. Now it boasts lakes, forest streams, waterfalls, gardens, sports grounds, including a 30-acre stadium, a herd of buffaloes, a menagerie, several museums and many statues and movements.
The Prayer Book Cross commemorates the first religious service on the Pacific coast in the English language, held by Sir Francis Drake?s chaplain in 1579.
Amundsen?s boat, the first to negotiate the North West passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in 1906, is also exhibited.
China Town attracted many of the ship?s company. Almost on the fringe of Frisco?s shopping district one can see the pagoda gables overhanging the street and pointing the way to the largest Chinese colony outside China. The quarter is best seen at night, and visitors may wander about securely at will. Guides are available, but it is more interesting to wander about the bazaars, joss houses, and side streets with a messmate.
Two striking features of San Francisco were the enormous number of coloured electrical advertisements and the many Tom Thumb or miniature golf courses.
The latter craze swept America in 1930. Every available space in the city was constructed into a course, brilliantly lit. At all hours of the night and morning people strove to put balls, through pipes, over bridges and other devilish contraptions, into a hole.
We witnessed a few endurance tests in progress during our visit. A pianist had played for 180 consecutive hours. In a marathon dance seven couples had occupied the ballroom for nearly three months, resting for only ten minutes in each hour. A man was seated on a platform suspended from the flag mast on top of the Golden Gate theatre. We heard he had been there for two days and that his wife was taking the opportunity to have a good ?jag.? Serves him right.
In 1849 gold was discovered in the vicinity of San Francisco. Hordes of adventurers were attracted by the prospect of sudden riches, and the city soon became as wild and dangerous as any mining camp. In 1856 the ?Vigilante? enforced order with ruthless severity. In 1906 came the great order with ruthless severity. In 1906 came the great earthquake, followed by a three-day fire. Brick and concrete structures soon replaced the old buildings.
Fox?s theatre, at San Francisco, is reputed to be the largest building of its kind in the world. We were told it cost five million dollars to build, and that it has seating accommodation for 5,000 people. In the vestibule are two tall vases, 7ft 3ins in height; supposed to have once been the property of a Czar of Russia. The theatre contains an organ, which is concealed in the elaborate decorations of the interior. Cafes and restaurants are attached, and all fittings are of silver. Only the best films are shown at Fox?s theatre.
Tuesday 9th September was a general holiday in San Francisco. The ship was open to visitors, and it was estimated that over 5,000 people came onboard. It was almost impossible to move on the upper decks. No doubt there were several journalists amongst the visitors. The following is one of many extracts, which appeared in the local papers after the ship had been thrown open to inspection: -
Popular With British Jack Tars.?
?Who said ?pipe down? meant to stop the noise? Pull it on any of the 800 jack tars from the British cruisers ?Dauntless? and ?Despatch,? now in San Francisco bay, and they?ll tap the burning embers from their ?baccy stoves which is a British nautical term for pipes, and carefully stow and said pipes in the breast pockets.
?Everybody on board a British man o?war smokes a pipe-Admiral?s included-and pipes have a regular place in the daily ritual of the English jack tar, according to Pacific coast News Service. Right after ?cocoa and wash? early in the morning-cocoa being the British substitute for coffee as the morning eye opener-three is a period for pipe smoking. And it comes at regular intervals all through the day; after meals, after ?grog? even after 4 o?clock tea. And there are numerous bugle calls during the day for ?pipes out.? Then at 10.30 at night, there is ?pipes down? call-the ending of the last smoke of the day.
The ship?s company formed many friendships and enjoyed numerous car rides, dances and private parties. Much amusement was had at the Fun Fairs. The general opinion was that San Francisco was certainly ?some city.? An unofficial account of our visit there would require reams and reams of paper, but it would offer very interesting reading.
On the 11th September we received information that the body of one of the two ratings missing after the skiff accident at Vancouver had been recovered.
H.M.S. ?Dauntless? slipped from No. 22 wharf on the 14th September and anchored in mid-stream, sailing on the following day in company with H.M.S. ?Despatch.?
En route to Santa Barbara various exercises and a full power trial were carried out. The ship anchored off the town on the forenoon of the 16th September.
Santa Barbara is a charming Californian seaside resort, much patronized by cinema stars from Hollywood. The town is situated at the fort of the Cascade Mountains. The houses are mainly of Spanish design. Tropical flowers of all colours grow in profusion. The sandy beaches are always crowded with sunbathers, displaying all the different stages of suntan. Gaudy bathing costumes, and still gaudier beach pyjamas, outrival even the Lido fashions. The whole town exudes the holiday atmosphere and beauty.
Several of our friends from Santa Monica and Hollywood drove up to Santa Barbara to renew acquaintanceship. Most of our time was spent sea and sun bathing. A few ?Speakeasies? were located. The alternative is to discover a bootlegger, but your stuff, drive out into the country, turn your car lights out and consume the liquor before speed cops nose you out.
While at Santa Barbara, Sub Lt. Robertson won a sailing cup, presented by the yacht Club to the first boat home. Private yachts, Star class, were lent to us for the occasion.
The country between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles is very pretty. One signpost on the Pacific Highway reminded motorists that the speed limit was 99 ? miles per hour. Another signpost, outside a small town had inscribed on it: -
?Drive slowly ad view our beautiful city, drive fast and visit out local jail.?
While at Santa Barbara we learnt that during our cruise in northern Waters oil had been discovered in the town of Santa Monica, in such large quantities that over 132 wells had been sunk. Private house and landowners had sold out at fabulous prices. Where necessary, houses had been demolished. In one case a building had been cut in half; over the site of the cut away part drilling was in progress and the workmen were housed in the other half. Santa Monica will soon be renowned more for its oil than as a holiday resort. Some of the ship?s company took the opportunity to visit the Del Rey oil fields in Santa Monica and witnessed pumping and construction work.
We sailed from Santa Barbara on the 22nd September, oiled at San Pedro the same day, and proceeded on our long voyage to Jamaica, via the Panama Canal.
Tropical routine commenced on the 26th. Salt-water canvas baths were rigged on the upper deck and were well patronized for a ?cooler? in the dogwatches. Lido Clubs were formed. Any evening, members of the clubs could be seen sunning themselves on the upper deck, clad in all manner of bathing costumes. Then followed different types of violent exercise and, finally, a plunge in the canvas bath, where one ducked and was ducked in turn.
We encountered two severe thunderstorms en route, which helped to cool the atmosphere.
On the 28th we entered the 2turtle zone? once again. All day turtles p[assed the ship, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in schools. A boat was lowered in the evening in an endeavour to capture a few. As the boat approached a couple of turtles our mouths watered at the thought of some really good soup and steaks. The Gunnery Officer shot one with a revolver, but alas!! -It sank. The other had a laugh and dived. Once more we had tomato soup for dinner. Several large sharks were seen and shoal of dolphins.
On the morning of the 3rd October we picked up a pilot and proceeded into Balboa to oil. As soon as we had finished oiling, we entered the Canal, but this time we were not able to appreciate the passage properly, as it thundered and poured with rain the whole day.
The ship anchored off Colon for the night. It was a real treat to be able to go ashore after being at sea for eleven days. The Cabarets collected some more of our money. But what a relief!! -One was able to get a drink without having to ferret out bootleggers and speakeasies.
At Colon, sharks, ugly great brutes, swarmed round the gangways and refuse chutes. We sailed for Jamaica the next morning, arriving there on 6th October, and secured alongside the R.M.S.P. jetty.
Jamaica is noted for its rum, sugar, cocoanuts and fruit. The island is thick with tropical vegetation, cocoanut groves, and banana and sugar cane plantations. Kingston itself is rather flat, but there is a range of hills in the distance.
The Jamaica ?nigger? considers himself a cut above other ?niggers.? No matter how rich or poor he may be, he will always greet you with a smiling face and flashing teeth. The girls are crazy over white men.
During our stay at Kingston the ship?s stay at Kingston the ship?s company and the detachment of West York?s stationed there became great friends. Our men were always welcome at their messes, and many soldiers visited the ship. Ask the Petty Officers about the great reception they had at the Sergeants Mess. Several closely contested games of football, hockey, and cricket were played. We look forward to another reunion with these two companies of the West Yorkshire Regiment.
On October 8th we received special orders to ?stand by? for an emergency, and guessed it had something to do with the revolution in Brazil. On the 9th October H.M.S. ?Dragon? arrived. We completed with oil fuel, coal and stores, taking all spare stores from the ?Dragon,? and anchored in mid-stream, awaiting a call to protect British residents and interests in Brazil. The next day we heard that H.M.S. ?Delhi? had been ordered to Pernambuco and that the ?Dragon? was to proceed to Bermuda, complete with stores, etc, and await further orders. The ?Dragon? sailed on the 11th. We were told to leave Jamaica as necessary to arrive in Trinidad not later than the 20th. Actually we sailed on the 15th and secured alongside the jetty at Point-a-Pierre on the 19th, oiled and anchored at Port of Spain at 6 p.m. the same evening.
Our stay at Trinidad was nothing but a waiting period, waiting for orders to return to Bermuda, or to proceed to the seat of revolution, Brazil. Leave although naturally restricted, was granted on every possible occasion.
On the 20th October R.F.A. ?Serbol? arrived from Bermuda, bringing Captain Vivian to relieve Captain Moore in command of H.M.S. ?Dauntless.? We also received mails and stores. Captain Moore left the ship the same evening. We cleared lower deck and gave him a rousing send off: three cheers and a ?Tiger.? The band played ?For he?s a jolly good fellow? and ?Auld Lang Syne.? All officers and ship?s company were genuinely sorry to lose Captain Moore, and we can but hope for another opportunity to serve under him. As the ?Lady Drake? sailed for Bermuda on the night of the 22nd, we gave some more rousing cheers and burnt searchlights I his honour.
Captain Vivian explained the situation to the ship?s company on the 21st. We were now ready for all emergencies and simply had to wait. The Brazilian situation improved as the days dragged on, and at last, on the 4th November, we received orders to be in Bermuda by the 14th.
While we were at Trinidad we received the sad news that Ldg. Stoker Woods had died in hospital at Esquimalt, following an operation for appendicitis.
The ship sailed on the 9th, and rendezvoused the following day with the ?Danae,? who was on her way south. We carried out gunnery exercises and dropped depth charges, but ?Danae? found no fish.
On November 11th, Armistice Day, a service was held on the quarterdeck. The ship was stopped at 1100 and the two minutes silence observed. H.M.S. ?Dauntless? arrived at Bermuda on the 14th November and secured alongside the South Wall. We had been cruising since the 1st May.
November 1930-12th January 1931)
After the heat and trying climate of Trinidad we welcomed a spell at Bermuda. H.M.S. ?Despatch,? ?Dragon? and ?Heliotrope? were in harbour, and H.M.S. ?Delhi? arrived on the 15th.
All hands immediately settled down to combining work with all the pleasure available. The squadron and Inter-part football league games commenced soon after our arrival. The evenings were spent at the canteen or at the ?talkies? in the sail loft, where a change of programme three times weekly was greatly appreciated. The cinema in the dockyard is indeed a blessing. It must be remembered that at Bermuda a ship?s company has to find practically all its sport and amusement in Ireland Island.
Lieutenant whetstone was promoted on the 15th December. He must have been highly flattered to join the distinguished fraternity of ?two and a halves? in the ship-Yes, this was written by a two ?two and a half.?
Deammunitioning was carried out on the 17th, and on the 18th the ship entered the floating dock. Towards the latter part of our last cruise an ominous rudder knock was hear, and an examination in dock revealed that this was due to too much clearance between the pintle and gudgeon. Repairs and refit proceeded apace. Throughout the day, from the depth of the dock, came the noises of scrapers and chipping hammers mingled with lusty voices telling the world about the ?Stein Song? and ?spring time in the Rockies.?
During the first week Bermuda lived up to its reputation as a land of sunshine. Then came boisterous winds and torrential rain. Day after day we had nothing but wind, and no matter in which direction one cycled it seemed it was always against the wind. The married officers lived a strenuous life cycling between the ship and home. On several occasions sports had to be abandoned, owing to the ground being unfit to play.
H.M.S. ?Scarborough,? direct from England, joined the squadron on the 21st December, and on the 5th the ?Dragon? returned from Jamaica.
A ship?s concert was held in the Canteen theatre, in aid of the dependents of the two ratings that were drowned at Vancouver. Nasty weather on the night of the second performance was responsible for a comparatively small audience.
At this period of the commission the ship developed a ?second complex.? We were second in the Squadron road Race, second in the Commissioned Officers Sailing Race, runners up in the Squadron Boxing Tournament, knocked out in the final for the Garrison Hockey Cup, and second in the Volunteer Brass Bands competition. Later we were also second in the First Division Football League. These were certainly consistent and ?all round? performance. Nevertheless, a first in a competition or a Cup will be very welcome.
We came out of dry dock on the 20th December and berthed in the south Basin. The 24th December found all hands preparing for Xmas Day. Evergreens were brought onboard in large quantities. The Yuletide spirit invaded all parts of the ship except, perhaps, the galley, where the coking staffs was working at high pressure preparing the feast for the morrow.
The sun shone on Christmas morning for the first time for many days. All the messes were gaily decorated with evergreens, flags, paper chains, etc. The tables groaned under the weight of ?good eats.? Christmas cards and the photographs of wives and sweethearts were arranged on the tables as only a sailor can fix them.
After Divine Service the fun started. Promptly at 1100 an unearthly din of bugle called and other impromptu instruments heralded the arrival of Captain Vivian on the mess deck. Commander and Mrs Bruce, commander (E) and Mrs Greathed, Lieut-Commander and Mrs Onslow, Lieutenant (E) and Mrs turner and all the other ship?s officers accompanied him. Every mess was visited and everywhere the procession received a warm welcome. Commander Bruce was temporarily relieved of his appointment by Able Seaman Hunt who, donning the Commander?s uniforms, at once preceded to see Lieutenant Nowell was the offender. Their punishment was not consistent with K.R. & A.I., and many volunteered to be dealt with similarly, but there was only enough ?punishment? for two. Whetstone made a very good Leading Seaman. His hornpipe at the foot of the gangway as ?Despatch?s? ?cheerio? party marched past was a masterpiece. Some day a photograph taken on the occasion may blackmail him. After an extremely humorous and enjoyable forenoon, the ship?s company settled down to their Christmas dinner and then-well, some walked it off, others slept if off.
In the afternoon a hockey match was played at Somerset; Officers vs Ladies.
During our stay at Bermuda the Ireland Island Dramatic Society produced ?The Middle Watch.? The acting was magnificent and the houses were well packed. Lieutenant Bond played the part of Captain Randell, R.M. (Bobo).
An unfortunate accident occurred on the 29th December. Petty Officer Rayment received severe internal injuries while playing in a football match. He was rushed to hospital and his serious condition cast a gloom over the whole ship. He will be a great loss to the Concert Party as, apart from his talent, his organising abilities were invaluable.
H.M.S. ?Despatch? was the first to sail on a Spring Cruise, followed a few days later by the ?Dragon.? H.M.C.S. ?Champlain? arrived on the 9th from Halifax. She encountered heavy seas en route and had lost her topmast. Boats had been smashed and deck fittings washed away, while several of her crew received minor injuries.
Looking ?spick and span? with a new coat of paint, H.M.S. ?Dauntless? commenced her Spring Cruise on the 12th January. The period at Bermuda had passed pleasantly enough, but a charge of scenery, new places and new faces, are always appreciated.
We were pleased to hear before leaving Bermuda that P.O. Rayment?s condition was rapidly improving. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Road Race, Bermuda 1930
Due to the fact that we were detained on emergency duties for about a month, there was not much opportunity t train for the Squadron Road Race at Bermuda. As a preliminary an inter-part race was held and was won by the quarterdeck team, A.B. Clark being the first man home. Thirty men were then chosen to go into training and from these we picked two teams of 12.
On the day of the race the roads were very slippery, the result of heavy rains, but luckily the rain held off during the actual competition. Cheering partied took up positions of vantage along the course, which ran from the Dockyard along the top road, then Boaz Bridge, hospital Road, past the R.N. Canteen and back to the dockyard, the finishing tape being abreast of our ship. H.M.S. ?Dragon? had the first man home. A. B. Clark was fourth, and soon it was a matter of conjecture as to whether we had beaten the flagship or not. Actually we hadn?t, but we were a good second. H.M.S. ?Despatch? won the team medal and squadron shield.
Races, Bermuda 1930
On the forenoon of the 30th December the boats were sailed by Commissioned Warrant and Warrant Officers. We were not placed. In the afternoon race for Commissioned Officers, Lieutenant Nowell was second in a whaler. The race was so close that over a course of nine miles only twelve seconds separated the first two boats. The flagship had the first three boats home in the competition for ratings. We were fourth.
H.M.S. ?Dauntless,? H.M.S. ?Delhi? and H.M.S. ?Dragon? competed with their volunteer bands. Each band had to play on the march and then two selections. The judges had a very difficult task in deciding the winners of the Trophy. After much deliberation they awarded it to H.M.S. ?Dragon.? We were two points behind and beat ?Delhi? by 6 points.
Our first visit was to Tortola Island in the British Virgin Islands. This group of thirty islands had a total population of 5,000, 500 of whom live in Road Town, the capital, on Tortola Island.
The town is built along the foreshore of the bay with the hinterland rising precipitously behind it. There is one road, which runs through the town, hence the name of the capital. To explore the island one has to ride on ponies up a water course to the top of the hill; going up in interesting and pleasant, but the gradient makes the absolutely sure footed provided the rider doesn?t try to take a hand in the matter. Many of us had great fun riding Tortolan ponies during our stay.
The colony is probably one of the most primitive and, possibly on this account, one of the happiest in the Empire. Its only industry is agriculture. Each native has a plot of ground, on which is his hut, generally complete with wife and family; on the plot he grows some maize, some sweet potatoes and sufficient fodder for a goat; a few pigs are generally part of the household. What more can man desire? Why work any harder than is necessary to produce sufficient milk, corn and meat for self and family? And so the Tortolan is content, marvellously lazy and happy. He sometimes takes the trouble to catch some of the fish with which the Bay swarms.
There is one policeman, who finds considerable difficulty in providing the one convict necessary to keep the prison garden in order.
Tortola has little communication with the outside world. Once a month a steamer from the United States Islands of St. Thomas calls-otherwise local fishing craft must be used. There is no wireless station; no one even has a receiving set. The annual visit of a cruiser is, therefore, an event of some important to the eleven white people who live there. None of us will forget the Commissioner, the padre, the doctor, the planter and their respective wife?s or the matron of the hospital. The Wesleyan Minister was away and the man in charge of the ?Tropical Agricultural Experimental Station,? a long title for ten acres and a hut, was sick.
The Planter, Mr. Roy, is a Scotsman and he needs to be to make a living out of tortola; however, he appears to succeed by growing tobacco, limes and orange; if you want something really strong to smoke, try a tortolan cigar. Periodically a hurricane comes along and blows his crops and bits of his house over the hill, but he just smiles and starts in again. We hope he will be spared another hurricane for many years to come.
We spent five days here, during which we had a Church Parade, the Concert Party gave a show, the band played and the cricket team lost a match on the most astonishing ?ground? in the middle of the jungle; it was fortunate that nearly all the inhabitants attended this match, for they were frequently needed to retrieve the ball from the dark forest.
The officers have memories of a wonderful evening at government House, and doubt if their friends in tortola will forget the Blackbirds and other songs which nearly lifted off the roof; we wish them all good fortune in their lotus eating lives, far from them mad whirl of so called civilization.
On the 20th and 21st January, H.M.S. ?Despatch,? ?Dauntless? and ?Dragon? carried out exercises with a Atlantic Fleet Squadron. ?Dragon? reported sighting the enemy on the second day, and later ?Despatch? came into contact, but before we could enter the picture the exercise was negative and all ships were ordered to proceed independently. ?Dauntless? and ?Dragon? anchored in Port of Spain on the 22nd, and the next day H.M.S. ?Rodney.? ?Hawkins? and ?York? arrived.
The following is an extract from a Trinidad paper on the occasion of this visit: -
?Our Welcome Visitors?
?Trinidad?s welcome to the British Navy vessels now in the Port of Spain harbour is both enthusiastic and sincere. ?It is a long time since we had Vritish battleships in the Gulf of Paria. But although this makes us gladder to welcome them, Trinidad has always been happy and proud to receive visits from the Navy, which has such an intimate connection with the storied Caribbean.
?Has not the Guld resounded with the shouts of men and the creak and rattle of ships gear as the British fleet sailed through the Bocas just in time to witness the self-destruction of the unwary Apodocca?s ships? Surely we cannot forget that it was Nelson himself who helped to make the waters that lap these very shores famous. And was it not here that those experiments were carried out on the first dreadnought, which helped to revolutionise naval construction?
?These things and more besides have made the romance of the Navy, whose colonial cradle was the Carribean Sea. Glorious ships, glorious men, glorious deeds have given a glamour, which the traditions of a service magnificently fulfilled, have justified and heightened. The might of the British fleet when the Great War came was a bulwark of inestimable value to Trinidad and other Colonies in these alters, and the senses of security, which it gave, will ever be gratefully remembered.
?Our affection for the Navy, whose beginnings are part of the illuminated history of the Caribbean, thus has increased with the passage of the years, until today there so no other sentiment quite like it. Not an inhabitant of Trinidad but looks with peculiar pride on these stately ships which have anchored in our harbour, and we welcome them with the heartiness reserved for old tried friends who have nothing second rate in their character.
?Some of us have a habit of doing little to show how deeply we appreciate the Navy. Let us throw off this old restraint and make these visitors so happy here that they will be sorry when they must go to keep their rendezvous at the Panama Canal Zone next month.?
On Sunday 25th January, Captain Vivian and the Officers of the ?Dauntless? were ?At Home? to the ships of the Atlantic Fleet and H.M.S. ?Dragon.? We sailed for Man of War Bay on the 29th, receiving several farewell messages from other ships resent in harbour. The ship literally steamed through a sea of jellyfish.
After five days at Man of War Bay, where incidentally we struck one of the finest bathing beaches this commission and all hands took full advantage of the ideal conditions, the ship proceeded to Kingston, St. Vincent Island, for a week. There we played football and cricket matches and bathed. A certain amount of amusement was obtained from watching the native?s dive and scrap for coppers thrown to them from the ship.
Lieutenant Nowell left the ship at St. Vincent to take passage home in H.M.S. ?Nelson.? The Ward Room will have to search for a new ?stylist? in the next Regatta.
Friday 13th February saw us once again at Trinidad. We are beginning to regard Port of Spain as our home from home. Acquaintanceships were renewed immediately. Apart from private parties, the outstanding event of interest was a visit to Chaguanas Sugar Plantation, by kind permission of the management.
On the 14th February a party of about 80 were conveyed by the Trinidad Railway Company, in special reserved carriages, to the Chaguanas Sugar Plantation. The journey was approximately 20 miles, and at the other end the personally conducted the tour over the plantation and factory, which, we were told, belonged to a private firm but was subsidised by the local government. In the factory itself about 500 men and women are employed, working in two shifts, day and night, from January until May. The rest of the year they are busy on the plantations, ploughing and planting the canes for the next season. The output, we were told, was 12,000 tons annually.
The whole process of manufacture, from the cutting of the sugar cane and loading into carts drawn by oxen, to the packaging of the actual sugar into sacks already for export, was seen. They followed dinner, and two cricket matches against teams from the estate, both of which we lost.
The party had time for a small tour round the village before catching the return train. Bundles of sugar cane were distributed to them. As we steamed out of Chaguana justy cheers were given our hosts, whose hospitality we appreciated and whose vitality we admired, and so to the ship after an exceedingly pleasant day.
After three days at sea we arrived at Santa Marta, Columbia. In Drake?s time this part of the world, known as the Spanish Main, must have been more interesting.
While at Santa Marta several officers and about 100 ratings visited the banana plantations, owned by the United Fruit Company. The officials of the company kindly arranged free transportation in a special train of four coaches, which conveyed the party over 60 miles inland to the chief plantations; through country covered with withered grass and thousands of cactus plants, through cocoanut groves and occasional banana plantations and through dry, desolate plains where one, at intervals glimpsed bones of animals, picked clean by vultures which hovered overhead.
As the train approached our destination we observed miles and miles of banana trees, absolutely covered with fruit; a veritable banana jungle-a monkey?s paradise. Workers demonstrated how the trees were planted, the irrigation scheme and how the stems were cut and packed on the trains for transport to Santa Marta. Particular care has to be taken to prevent the bananas being bruised, as the buyers accept no damaged fruit. Experts at least four times before shipping inspect the stems. We were told that the average number of bananas on each stem was 180.
On this occasion the united Fruit Company was under contract to ship 96,000 stems of bananas at 36 hours notice. To do this they were cutting 123,000 stems, not from the chief plantation alone, but also from their various plantations along the railroad. Obviously a performance of this nature calls for marvellous organisation, expert knowledge and hard working.
Sailors and Royal Marines in a banana plantation may seem as out of place as an elephant at a monkey?s wedding, but we were genuinely interested when walking round the estate, witnessing the different operations and mingling with the Columbian workmen and carts conveying the fruit to the wagons.
After a grand lunch, plus bottle of iced beer, the return journey was commenced. The party arrived onboard at 1830, tired but happy, after the interesting and instructive day provided by the officials of the United Fruit Company.
Our visit to Colombia, in 1931, occurred during the centenary year of the death of Simon Bolivar, the great Liberator of the South American Republicans.
In order to celebrate this century in a worthy manner, the Columbian Government decided to form a national memorial to the Liberator at the farmhouse, where he died in 1831.
This farmhouse, a very attractive building with a charming garden, is situated some three miles from Santa Marta. A first class motor road has been built for the distance, and on either side the various republics, which are indebted to Simon Bolovar for their freedom have bought plots of ground on which have been erected memorials of a variety of kinds, ranging fro a cenotaph to a beautifully laid out garden. The memorials them to a beautifully laid out garden, the memorials themselves have been provided by the cities, universities and all kinds of organised bodies in the different republics. On the ship?s arrival at Santa Marta we were informed by the British Vice consul that all the necessary arrangements had been made for Captain Vivian to lay a wreath on the statue of Simon Bolivar on the following day. At 1000 Captain Vivian accompanied by eight officers, landed and were met by the Governor of the Province and the Colonel Commanding The District, one Tomayo, a charming personage with whom we struck up a warm friendship although we had no common language.
A procession of motorcars was formed, the Governor, Colonel Tomayo, the vice consul, Captain Vivian, and the largest wreath we had ever seen in the leading motor. The day was excessively hot and the road terribly dusty. En route we had explained to us the terrain and were told that all the society ladies of Santa Marta would be there to watch the function.
On arrival at our destination we struggled from the motorcars and emerged somewhat dishevelled, for it is not easy to evacuate a motorcar with dignity when wearing a service helmet and a sword and, in the case of the Captain, carrying a colossal wreath. Before we had got really disentangled we found ourselves solemnly walking up a somewhat narrow path, closely followed by the rest of the procession, while on each side was seated a guard of honour of Columbian infantry. As we passed each soldier sprang from his chair, presented arms and resumed his seat. The drill was smart, the guard well turned out, and how wise not to keep a guard standing in the blazing sun in a tropical climate! When half way along the path, we espied in front of us a blaze of many colours, which resolved itself into the frocks and hats of the youths and beauty of Santa Marta, collected at the spot where we knew captain Vivian had to turn to the right to find Simon Bolivar?s statue facing him. All went well (we hoped we greeted the ladies with suitable smiles) and then the Captain turned to the right, and some twenty yards ahead of him was the statue surrounded by railing, with particularly through which to pass, but on arrival it was found to be padlocked; whispered questions elicited the terrifying news that the key was lost. We knew that the Captain was appreciating the situation.
What should he do? The railings were some five feet high. Could he scale them and still keep his clothes intact? The presence of the ladies would make the attempt somewhat risky-Yes, there were photographers, too. We wondered. Anyhow, the wreath couldn?t possibly be laid outside the railings; it was too far away and it would never do to throw it over. We thought he?d better risk the climb, but remove his sword first. Ah! Is that the key? Yes thank goodness, they?ve found it just in time.
After the ceremony we were shown all over the farmhouse. The relics in the room where the great man passed away included the table on which the operation was performed, the instruments and even the towels, which were used.
One of the most interesting exhibits we thought was a very old orange tree in the middle of the courtyard, in full bearing. The tree?s trunk is quite hollow, and it appears as if the lower 6 feet or so is bark only.
On Sunday 22nd February, a guard and band landed and marched to the Santa Marta Barracks, where Captain Vivian, Vommander Bruce and Commander (E) Greathed were presented with the order of Simon Bolivar, a memorial were presented with the order of Simon Bolivar, a memorial medal to commemorate the centenary of the death of the Great Liberator. In addition to the detachment from the ship, there was present a Guard and Band if a Volunteer Regiment. Captain Vivian and Colonel Tomayo inspected the guards, who then marched past. The Colonel congratulated the Captain on the smartness of his men and also presented Lieutenant Bond, who was in charge of the ship?s detachment, with the Order.
Several visitors came onboard during our stay at Santa Marta, though; unfortunately we were handicapped by not being able to speak Spanish. A searchlight display was given one night, and on the morning of the 25th we sailed for Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
While Santa Marta, such mutual esteem and regard had sprung up between H.M.S. ?Dauntless? and the Colombian officials, especially Colonel Tomayo, that the Colonel particularly requested that the ship should fire a salute to the country of Colombia as she proceeded out of harbour. Anxious as the Captain was to comply with his friendly request, he was in a somewhat difficult position, as he knew that Santa Marta boasted no guns with which the salute could be returned; it must be explained that if a salute to a national flag is not returned gun for gun, all sorts of international complications are likely to ensue.
However, thinking that Colonel Tomayo might produce a field battery from elsewhere for the occasion, he extracted a very willing promise from the Colonel that, if fired, the salute would be returned.
As soon as the anchor was aweigh, therefore, a 21-gun salute was fired with the Colombian flag at the masthead. Then came a moment of anxious suspense; would the salute be returned? Crash!!! All eyes were turned towards a stretch of desolate beach where appeared a large cloud of white smoke, close to the ground. Lo and behold, we saw a man throwing bombs on the sand with one hand and timing the explosions from a watch in the other hand; Twenty-one bombs were fired, and what is more, it was about the best salute we had ever heard; the timing was perfect and the explosions terrific. Colonel Tomayo certainly surprised us with the novelty and efficiency of his return salute.
Limon, Costa Rica
At Puerto Limon the United Fruit Company arranged a railway expedition to their coffee plantation and factory. A party of 21 officers and 140 men landed and entrained in five coaches specially provided for the occasion.
Soon after starting, as we rounded a curve, the train struck and killed a cow. The line was cleared and we preceded on our journey, passing through large cocoa, banana and cocoanut plantations. The scenery was tropical; many pretty birds, flowers and butterflies were seen, occasionally the train steamed past small towns and villages where all the inhabitants in sight stopped working or idling to give us a cheer; even dogs and hens rushing out to great us. Before arriving at our destination we climbed for what seemed hours, and were told we were over 4,000 feet above sea level. Mountains could be seen on either side, and waterfalls and fast running streams; then came coffee, cotton and inevitable banana plantations. At 1 p.m. we arrived at the United Fruit Company?s coffee factory.
The factory is fitted with up-to-date machinery from England. We saw coffee berries washed, the husks and inner thin skin removed, the drying process, the grading, and the final packing into bags for shipment. Then we wandered over the plantations in trolleys drawn up by mules. The coffee berries, which are about the size of a marble, shoot out on little stems from the branches and each berry contains two beans. In addition, we saw castor oil trees.
A good dinner followed, and then the return trip through the same delightful scenery. Oranges and cold beer were provided in the train. This was the second occasion on which we were deeply indebted to the United Fruit Company for a pleasant railway journey and an interesting and instructive tour. We thank them sincerely and wish them the best of luck and prosperity for the future.
We entertained 150 Boy Scouts onboard and several other visitors, played football and in general, passed a pleasant time during our stay; sailing for Belize, British, Honduras, on the 5th March.
History. It is probable that Columbia discovered the coast about 1502, when on his way to Cuba.
Englishmen knew the colony about 1638, probably through a shipwrecked crew. It is also likely that people from Jamaica visited the colony, and finding logwood abundant, established themselves. They must have come in contact with the Spaniards and Indians of the neighbouring parts of Mexico and Guatemala, as their records of many fights between them. The Spaniards made frequent attempts to expel Englishmen who came with slaves from Jamaica, and in 1667 the governor of Massachusetts sent H.M.S. ?King George? to help the settlers against their enemies.
In 1717 the board of Trade asserted the absolute right of Great Britain to cut logwood. In the next year the Spaniards tried to conquer the settlement and got as far as Spanish Lookout on the Belize River, which they fortified. Another attempt was defeated in 1754. A battle at St. George?s Caye in 1798 was the last of these disturbances with Spain. British Honduras became a Crown colony independent of Jamaica in 1884.
Mahogany was one of the chief exports of British Honduras, but it is not a flourishing industry just now. Chicle gum, obtained from the Sapodilla tree, is shipped from Belize; also copra. The citric fruit industry is comparatively modern in Belize and promised to be a source of much wealth. Lemons, oranges, and lies thrive and thousands of pounds have been spent in the cultivation of grape fruit.
Fishermen inhabit numerous islands or ?cayes? off the mainland, and on others cocoanuts are grown, but many are uninhabited swamps. During our stay 100 ratings were taken by boat for a 12-mile cruise to a small island for a picnic and a swim, which were much appreciated and enjoyed.
The ship?s concert party gave an entertainment for charity, and rugger, football and cricket matches were played. Many friendships were formed.
The inhabitants of Belize believed they were out of the hurricane zone, but on the 10th September 1931, soon after H.M.S. ?Danae? had relieved us of Hurricane duties in the West Indies, word came through that a hurricane had devastated the town. H.M.S. ?Danae? was immediately ordered to the scene of the disaster. We wirelesses the following message to the Governor of Belize: -
?Captain, Officers and Ship?s Company of H.M.S. ?Dauntless,? who hold many pleasant memories of their visit to Belize, desire to convey to you and to the people of Belize their deepest sympathy in your present misfortunes.?
The following letter received by one of the ship?s company will give some idea of the misfortunes. Would that we could have been present to render aid to our friends and others in the stricken town.
Although you have read several accounts of the terrible disaster, which has befallen our city, perhaps you will be interested in a direct narrative from us.
On the morning of Thursday, the 10th instant, we were warned by radio that a tropical depression was approaching Belize from a southeasterly direction and that a hurricane could be expected to strike the city at about 1 p.m.
During the whole of the morning there were strong gusts of wind and sleet from every direction, visibility was extremely poor, and, generally speaking, weather conditions were such that the inhabitants had never seen before.
Between 1 and 2 o?clock the wind greatly increased in intensity and blew with increasing force from the north-northeast. The zinc from the houses began to tear off and some of the more flimsy buildings tottered and fell. The streets were utterly unsafe for pedestrians, and the rain came down with such torrential vigour, notwithstanding the high wind, that it was impossible to see more than a few yards, and everything inside and outside buildings became soaked.
In the meantime the waters of the sea were receding.
After about an hour and a half the storm subsided suddenly, one might say instantaneously. The sky cleared, rain ceased, and the sun came out, but the atmosphere was heavy and almost unbearable. Notwithstanding the general warning that the hurricane would return as soon as the centre had passed thousands of people left their homes and wandered about to see the damage. By this time, although some hundreds of houses had very badly damaged roofs and the streets were full of debris, probably not more than 20 or 30 hours were down, and out of 50 or 60 vessels in the harbour we do not think that more than two or three were wrecked.
Within five minutes of the calm, however, the receding waters turned and a tidal wave, estimated by old and responsible seafaring men to be at least 30 feet high outside the reef descended upon the defenceless town. The water rose with extreme rapidity, breaking over the sea defences at the height of 10 or 12 feet, and at varying heights over other parts of the coast north, east and south of the town. Some hundreds of people were struggling through the swirling waters to get back to their homes. By the time the water had reached a height of 4 to 5 feet, the centre passed, down with a roar only comparable to the so-called Crack of Doom, the real hurricane was upon us.
The recording instruments broke down after recording a velocity of 95 miles per hour. The wind was, of course, in exactly the opposite direction to the first blow, and the ensuing havoc is beyond our power to describe adequately. The corrugated iron roofs and huge beams and rafters were flying through the air with the apparent speed of bullets.
The whole town collapsed like a pack of cards, and dozens upon dozens of vessels were dashed against the shore, carried over the coastline and deposited amidst the wrecked houses.
The water began to go down after an hour of the second blow, but very slowly. The water had, of course, undermined the foundations of the posts on which nearly all our houses stand and this combined with the terrific force of the hurricane, made it impossible for the buildings to stand the ravage. Hundreds of houses (or what was left of them) were moved from their lot, and as the water settled down they too came to rest.
The full force was spent some time after 4 o?clock, but the wind continued with the force of a gale, with intermittent stronger gusts, for nearly two hours afterwards. The water was then waist high, but this did not prevent people going about to see what had happened. You have, no doubt seen the photographs that were subsequently taken, but with due regard to the faithful recording eye of the camera, the scene, as it appeared to the eyes of those who had gone through it, could never be adequately reproduced.
Not one single building exists that it not damaged to a large extent. It is no exaggeration to say that only 15 percent of the buildings are repairable. On the western side of the town the hurricane swept with the force of the tornado. The suburbs of Yarborough and Mespotamia were cleaned as with one gigantic scythe.
The rain fell incessantly the whole of the night, leaving not a single dry spot in the town, and the dawn came as a wonderful relief to a night of unmitigated horror. With the dawn the rain also ceased and the water had entirely gone. The population poured out into the streets everywhere, but as yet with no realisation that anything had happened save a vast amount of material damage.
The volunteers were called out, extra volunteers were called out, extra volunteers enrolled, hundreds of special police sworn in, and the police and fire brigade mustered, and an attempt was made to clear some of the most important streets to allow the passage of working parties. These parties began to find, under the wreckage, bodies, which were brought to a central point for identification and immediately rushed to the cemetery for interment in a huge trench, which had been dug by convict labour for the purpose. During Friday, and part of Saturday, these bodies were brought with increasing rapidity, and although it was at first estimated that 100 had been killed, the bringing of bodies and identification soon had to be stopped, because it was realised that in the devastated area there were not dozens, but hundreds of bodies, and drastic steps had to be taken immediately to cope with the danger.
Accordingly, every available fatigue party was put into work, and after making sure that there were no living persons in the wreckage a holocaust was made of the devastated area in Mespotamia, and hundreds of bodies burnt where they lay, without any attempt at identification or registration.
Hundreds of people took refuge in the churches, which, with one exception, all collapsed, causing the immediate death of goodness knows how many people. By Tuesday it was estimated that the death roll was 1,500 souls, and although it will be many months before an accurate check-up of the missing can be made, it is universally believed that not less than 2,500 persons have perished.
By 8 o? clock on Friday morning radio communication had been established with the outside world. Aeroplanes came in that day with supplies and doctors from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, a most welcome relief to our four medical practitioners who had been working incessantly at very high pressure; dressing stations were established all over the town and the injured attended to. The injured however, are only a small portion compared to the dead.
The huge death roll is, have accounted for by the tidal wave, drowning being the most probable cause of 90 percent of the fatalities.
Two United States gunboats, the U.S.S. ?Swan? and the U.S.S. ?Sacramento,? were rushed to the scene, where they arrived on Saturday. Landing parties appeared and in view of the enormity of the disaster comparative calm prevailed.
It must not be forgotten that thousands of cases of liquor were strewn about the streets from the Bonded Warehouses, but the ensuing orgies were not as bad as they might have been.
H.M.S. ?Danae,? then at Barbados, rushed to us under forced draft, but did not get here till late Tuesday or early Wednesday. This ship immediately took charge, and the Americans went away, leaving an American Red Cross Party behind.
Whilst dozens of bodies are being found daily, it is believed that the danger of epidemic has passed, and the whole town is busily engaged in clearing away the foot of oozy slime deposited by the tidal wave and making temporary shelter for the thousands of homeless.
If your will realise that the total population of the town is only 16,000, the catastrophe can be assessed at its true value.
We are in no danger of starvation, food supplies having reached us promptly. The medical facilities appear adequate, and although the Government have had to enact measures so conscript labour, the cleaning up is proceeding with as much despatch as could be expected under the circumstances.
The whole town being utterly and completely demolished, there is, if course, no attempt at normal functioning. There are no courts of law, and naturally all payments of every nature have ceased. One cannot collect rents from tenants whose houses are gone. The loss on mortgage investments is absolute. What will happen in the future cannot now be prophesied, except that undoubtedly at least half of the town will have to be rebuilt. The devastated areas at Yarborough and Mespotamia are nothing but funeral pyres and unsafe for rehabilitation.
What arrangements will be made for financing we cannot tell? No spontaneous fires occurred, but by the irony of fate, the two or three people who carried hurricane insurance have suffered the least damage.
It is surmised that an Atlantic upheaval has shifted the course of the Gulf Stream 75 miles westwards, and that this fact has brought us into the hurricane zone from which we have hitherto been considered immune. It is reasonable to suppose, therefore, that every few years we shall have the unwelcome visitor, although probably with nothing like the force of the one, which has just spewed death and destruction so lavishly. We understand that Washington is satisfied that the wind blew 150 miles an hour. We have spoken with dozens of old timers who have experienced hurricanes and their devastating effects in all parts of the West Indies, and who state that this calamity is far far worse than anything they have ever seen previously. The United States Marine Guard, which was at Managua during the earthquake there, frankly stated that Managua was a picnic compared to our situation.
Everybody in the town is undoubtedly ruined. The more one had to lose, the more one lost. In spite of this, a spirit of optimism prevails, based on the hope that the outside world will exhibit that spirit of generosity which it always done in cases of serious disaster, and come to our help in no niggardly fashion.
?Dauntless? Dance Band
Rumour has it that Jack Hylton first collected his ?boys? together in a disused garage, but Mate Maybury went one better doing the same thing in the classroom of the Jesuit School in Belize, British Honduras, on 5th March 1931. Great achievements often have humble beginnings. In addition to the leader (Mate Maybury), there were gathered together O. A. Brown and A. B. Clarke, of concert party fame, and Midshipman Vincent-Jones, of the gunroom, with a gramophone in their midst. One of the blessings of the band was their ignorance of written music. The tunes were played on a gramophone and were then reproduced as faithfully as possible by the orchestra. This was only possible by the musical ear of O. A. Brown.
The first appearance in public took place at the Belize Golf Club, and so shaken were the foundations of the Club that some months later, during a hurricane, it collapsed.
Several members of the orchestra had the luck to pay a visit to Mexico City, and one memorable forenoon was spent in the establishment of Messrs. Wagner, Ltd. (purveyors of musical instruments). Our heroes were not satisfied until they had tested every instrument in the shop, and there must have been several hundred. They had entered with a sack containing about one hundred weights of pesos and left with a fine tenor banjo and a set of jazz drums.
At mobile, our next port of call, the band was joined by Midshipman Hodgkinson, a player of the food by nature, who played (in addition to the food) an assorted collection of jazz novelties. We spent several pleasant evenings in Tampa, Florida, and on one special occasion we played at four different buildings during the course of a night, including a short appearance at our ship?s company dance in the Army Hall, using borrowed instruments.
Shortly after arriving at Bermuda, we had the good fortune to obtain the services of A.B. Kellaway and his ?hot? trumpet, from the ?Dragon.? Kellaway is now one of the mainstays of the band.
During the reminder of the commission the band functioned on diverse occasions, including ?At Homes? onboard and at dances ashore, when no local orchestra was available. It is no secret that a dance band experiences the most difficult time at the commencement of a party, when both musicians and dancers are at the bottom of their curves of zest and are but appreciating the situation. Hilarity, abandon and success follow in due course.
Cruz And Mexico City
On the morning of the 12th March we picked up a pilot and duly anchored in the harbour of Vera Cruz, one of the chief ports of the Republic of Mexico. The town of Vera Cruz is very uninteresting, but several officers and ratings paid a four days visit to Mexico City as guests of different members of the British Community, and the Mexican Light and Power Company respectively. The party travelled overnight from Vera Cruz to Mexico City in sumptuous carriages, specially provided for the occasion. The sleeping bunks were spacious and more than comfortable. At 7 a.m. we were met at the station by our hosts and driven to our quarters.
What was our first impression? Vera Cruz was warm and moist. As we stepped out on the platform at the capital we left as though we were once more in England on a cold, wintry morning, so cold that we wasted no time in putting on our overcoats. Mexico City is 7,400 feet above sea level, hence the change of temperature. Some of us also noticed the air was rarefied and experienced a little difficulty in breathing. Later one of two suffered from nose bleeding. We were warned against running up stairs or taking too violent exercise, which invariably made a new comer pant. Our football team who in the second half of the game, seemed fresher than their opponents put up an amazing performance.
Our hosts drove us in cars to see the sights of the capital. We visited the site of an old Aztec village, saw relics of Aztec art and civilisation in the museum, entered the famous cathedral, viewed the Palace and drove out to the Pyramids and the floating gardens of Xoxhimilco where we sat in frail boats and were paddled past numerous floating flower gardens and boats coming down stream., laden with flowers of every description and colour. Most of us were present at a bullfight one afternoon, a description of which follows later. At night the cabarets provided good entertainment.
Captain Vivan and three officers, accompanied by H.B.M. Minister, paid an official call on the President. Senor Rubio, and the Minister of War. They received a cordial reception and were very much impressed by the smartness and courtesy of all the Mexican officials and officers.
The British Society, British Club and Ex-Service Association went to much trouble and expense to entertain their guests. We cannot thank them sufficiently for our wonderful visit.
The British Club and H.B.M. Minister at the Legation gave dances for the officers where three officers were guests during the whole of the visit. They will never forget the hospitality and kindness of His Excellency E. St. J. D. Monson.
The return trip to Vera Cruz was made in daylight. Once more the Railway provided us with free and comfortable transport. We sat back and appreciated the glorious scenery. At times we could see the railway winding down into the plains, miles and miles away. According to a story told us by Captain Vivian?s brother, the Mexican dogs are very intelligent. The train arrives at one station and is greeted by a bevy of dogs, begging for food. The train proceeds for half ?an-hour, negotiating numerous curves and gradients and arrives at the next station, miles away, only to find the same dogs sitting up and begging.
How had they got there? Oh just by taking a short cut, sliding down precipices and zigzagging up steep gradients. We saw very few dogs, but as they were all the same colour we could not verify the story. The journey passed pleasantly enough. We seemed to remember somebody stepping over a sunbeam and a song about 999 chickens laying eggs.
At Mexico City the impressiveness of the red sash and gold braid of a Sergeant of Marines uniform was once more in evidence. The guard on arrival at the Palace saluted one sergeant; he was later photographed and given the rank of Captain, and on another occasion traffic was held up while his car went the wrong way up a one-way street.
If our hosts could imagine how much a sailor appreciates four days out of the ship in a place like Mexico City, they would understand why we rank this hospitable visit as one of the events of the commission.
Lieutenant-Commander whetstone left the ship at Vera Cruz on the 14th March. Officers, ship?s company and band gave him a rousing send off. We wish him the best of luck and thank him for all his efforts on behalf of the ship.
At Mexico City-Translation From Press Report
The British sailors are football experts. Playing against the best Necaxa team they lost by 5 goals against 3, but the British technique was superior to that of the local team.
The Mexican public gave a cordial welcome to the ?sea wolves? of the cruiser ?Dauntless.? The proceeds of the game were distributed amongst benevolent societies.
For a second time the Mexican football fans on Saturday last, witnessed the beautiful characteristics of the ?pur sang? British football game through an exhibition between the ship?s company of H.M.S. ?Dauntless? and the Necaxa team of this city.
The first time this series, Necaxa. British Navy, took place was when the cruiser ?Durban? visited us about a year ago. At that time, like now, the victory, if one may call it thus, was for the Necaxa team, but the British, of a characteristically firm temperament, do not give any importance of these defeats. They wait the time when one of their large warships, the ?Nelson? for example, will visit Mexico, and then they will take revenge.
This exhibition, as well as the previous one, was due to the kindness of the General Manager of the Mexican Light and Power Company, Mr. H. W. Fraser, who in both cases conveyed to the Capital a group of sailors who, as Englishmen, are considered true exponents of Saxon football. This is so respected that the Necaxa placed the best of their first division against them, as if they had to play against the ?Aresnal,? ?Aston Villa,? ?Newcastle,? or any other of the teams which are the vanguard of those of first class English football, famous the world over.
The British players, due to their daily occupation, are naturally not in condition for an equitable contest with our city teams. They go from 20 to 30 days without landing at any port, whereas our teams are continuously in practice. The climate, public, general, environment, etc., were in our favour. For the British it was all the contrary; they had to play against a totally unknown adversary, at 2,000 metres above sea level, before an equally strange public, and without the necessary preparations required in these cases, such as being acclimatised, having necessary prior training etc. However, in spite of having all these factors against them, the sailors arrived at the playgrounds when a large crowd was already there, and gallantly saluted in all directions. The public received them with marked cordiality.
One heard applause from all sides, shouts of enthusiasm, hurrahs and everything else. In the box of honour were the representatives of the British Diplomats, duly attended by a commission designated by the Necaxa Club. The Uruguay players of the Bella Vista were also present.
Old amateurs who contributed to the promotion of football in our country, such as Messrs, Butlin, Clifford, Blakemore, Butt, Sharp and others were there.
The Necaxa team, eleven red and white ?stars,? marched on the field, one behind the other, and when they reached the centre they saluted their admirers.
The game begins directed by Mr. Luis Cerrills of the America team, popularly known as ?The Bear.?
?The Bear? is one of the many and good umpires the Central Federation has. He is not a collegiate, but he knows how to apply the rules of the game methodically, without altering the results to suit his convenience. In a few words he is a judge with good intentions.
The teams take respective places as follows: -
?Dauntless?: Blake, Barrington, Worrall, Thompson, Cartland, Nash, Hills, Pay, Giblin, Castleman and Hillier.
Necaxa: Pauler, Riquer, Rivera, Ortega, Mardones, Lopez, Equiarte, Ruiz, Vergara, Lores, and Perez.
It was evident right from the first that the Englishmen knew the game, and their combination was good. It was only in some points that certain defiance was noticed, but this was counterbalanced by their good will. Their right wing is at once appreciated to be something really wonderful, worthy of forming part of the best teams, which have ever visited Mexico. The sailors, despite the sangfroid generally attributed to the British, appeared happy, smiling and even a bit spectacular. Their goalkeeper is extremely gay. He wears a red sweater and white shorts. He is a perfect clown with the humour of an Adalusian on a holiday. He pays all manner of attention to each ball that reaches him, and even to send it off, employs special art, something quite new. Two to one is the result of the first part of the game, which can be considered as evidence of the power of the Necaxa, as compared with that of the British. This in no way implies that the city players had the ?sea wolves? corralled. Pauler, on more than one occasion, had to fight to stop the attacks of the sharks. The second part of the game was more interesting. Contrary to what was expected, considering how the first part of the game was played, our players were the ones that became exhausted, and the English were therefore able to play boldly.
Necaxa was not defeated, due to the good work of the goalkeeper, Pauler, who certainly had a hard time defending his goal from the attacks of the right wing of the ?Dauntless,? who is indeed a wonderful player, and was certainly admired by the entire public.
In the second half the ?Dauntless? obtained the moral victory as they scored three perfect goals, in exchange for three others by the Necaxa, one of which, the last, was considered by the majority of those present as rather ?off side.?
The sailors certainly controlled 80% of the second half; they practically had our team corralled. They even had the occasion to equal the score, and if it had not been for Pauler, who was once more the guardian angel of the rattled Necaxa boys, they would have lost the game.
Five to three in favour of the Electricians was the final result. The statistics of the game were as follows: -1 foul by Necaxa to 3 by the ?Dauntless?; 10 offside by Necaxa to 1 of the ?Dauntless?; and three corners to each team.
Of the English team, Hill, their right wing, is the best of their men; truly wonderful. There two inside men are also very good. The rest displayed very well and did their best to please the public. The English played fair; it was a clean game and this naturally won the public, who did not cease to applaud them throughout the afternoon.
Judging them as a team of sailors, their work was worthy of praise. They did a lot, playing against a team, which had everything in its favour. Furthermore, as the proceeds of the game were for charity, the public, which was a large one, certainly appreciated this proof of altruism on the part of H.B.M. Navy.
They were cordially saluted when leaving the playgrounds, and this certainly must have been their greatest satisfaction.
Bull Fight In Mexico City
Combats between men and bulls took place in ancient Greece and Rome, but in later years, were prohibited by the Emperors and the Popes. They are, however, still a favourite spectacle in Spain, Portugal and Mexico. (That bit came out of an encyclopaedia).
I propose to describe a bullfight in Mexico City. If I do not seem to treat the matter very seriously, it is because I find myself unable to regard a bull fight seriously, except for the maiming of the horses, which is deplorably beastly.
A bullfight takes place in a bull ring-a round place with hard sand for ground and with tiers of stone seats all round. For a small sum one can hire a cushion from a brigand. The cheapest seats are those facing the sun. I sat facing these.
Having arrived at the bull ring and secured a seat and a cushion, one waits for about half an hour after the show is advertised to commence. This is owing to the notorious Latin unpunctuality, but one stays one?s boredom with the thought that the unfortunate bulls have waited for the last twenty-four hours in a dark place and without food or water. This is to make them bad tempered. Supposing that one?s temper permits one to wait for half an hour, a fanfare of trumpet?s is heard, and is followed by a gaudy procession. Matadors, Picadors, Toreadors, and all the other dores prance in and march around the arena, bowing to the spectators and looking exceedingly brave and magnificent.
The procession is tailed by a couple of teams of mules, with their harness for removing defunct bulls.
Being duly impressed by the procession, one observes a few gentlemen with red cloaks entering the ring by way of a number of funk holes in the barrier. Suddenly a door opens and out rushes a bull in a bad temper. No wonder the beast is irritable. When they opened the door of his darkened house he probably stood and blinked at the daylight, until some furtive lout stuck a small dart into the back of his neck. The bull promptly charges one of the red cloaks, but is soon distracted by another, and yet another red cloak, thus becoming seriously rattled. Lucky spectators sometimes see the bull concentrating on just one of the red cloaks for long enough to make the wielder of it beat it for one of the funk holes. This is a delicious moment. After about five minutes of this sort of thing, the Matador (hereinafter called the Queen Bee), baits the bull with a red cloak. His display is to be admired. He takes many more risks than the previous performers and his agility is remarkable. As far as he is concerned, the funk holes don?t exist. When the Queen Bee gets bored a bandillero (I think) enters the ring armed with a couple of long darts, the business end being barbed and the other end being decorated with coloured ribbons. This gentleman?s function is to plunge the darts into the bull?s neck. If he does this when the bull is stationary, the crowd whistles, which is the Mexican parallel to booing, hissing, or throwing eggs. I would sooner go to sea than be a bandillero. His method of performing his task is to stand in the middle of the ring, and, holding his darts above his head by the ribbon end, make insulting remarks to his enemy. He has no red cloak, but his remarks and his uniform seem to have desired effect (no wonder), and the bull, having pawed the ground with his foremost hoofs to show how annoyed he is, advances at the double. Assuming that all goes well, the bandillero advances too, plunges in his darts and steps neatly aside. He is then applauded and succeeded by another bandillero.
I have just said, ?If all goes well.? Success depends on the bull having his head down to gore, the gaudiness of the gentleman?s uniform, the bitterness of his insults, the accuracy of his aim and, of course, his agility and courage. Lack of agility necessitates the prompt attention of the doctor and a priest. Lack of courage would mean lynching.
When the bandilleros have finished their work and the poor bull is decorated like a maypole, the horses appear, ridden by picadors, armed with 12 lancers. The horses are all old and worn out beats. They are blindfolded and near the side is padded. In theory, the horse is taken to within about 10 yards of the weary bull, who, on recovering his breath, charges and takes it out of the padding of the horse, being repelled by the lance of the picador against the side or back of his neck. The object is to tire the neck muscle of the bull so that his head will be lowered to facilitate his final despatch. The Lance of the picador is designed so tat it will not penetrate, but make an unpleasant skin wound. The bull then retires to the middle of the ring to recover his breath, and to argue with himself as to further methods of defeating these pests. That is the theory. In practice it is more usual for the bull to get under the padding of the horse, and for the horse to be capsized by the tremendous thud athwartships. In the latter case, the picador may be hurt. He is a brave man, but is difficult to feel sorry for him. The bull continues to worry the horse till strangely merciful people distract his attention by waving red cloaks in the wings. If the wounded horse can manage to walk, he is led out and another one takes his place. If the horse is unable to walk, a mule team appears.
It is very difficult for a decent person to endure this part of the performance. At this point, I will make a few remarks on my fellow spectators, and on how they appeared to react to the horrid spectacle. Opposite were the ?Yahoos,? who made most of the noise. From them came most of the whistling when they were displeased, and the yells of acclamation when they were pleased. It is to their credit that they whistled on one occasion, when s wine of a picador tried to persuade his horribly damaged horse to allow it to be gored again-and the poor beast was led out. On my right and left were two rather baldly dressed persons from the ?Dauntless,? who looked about as sick as I felt. In the front row of seats just below me was a party of children-the little dears-how they screamed with delight when the bull and a horse held a party in the ring just below them. The most impressive person close to where I was sitting was an exceedingly beautiful and slightly plump young woman. During the foulest part of the spectacle she ate a banana, and grew face wore about as much expression as the face of a sheep.
The bull stands in the middle of the ring, the horses have disappeared, and we all fell well. By this time the bull appears to be rather fed up, and instead of registering fury, looks as if he rather felt his ridiculous position, with all those ribboned darts striking in his neck. Thus it is necessary to get him moving again. The men with the red cloaks, who repeat their performance in Act 1, until the bull is really worked up once more, achieve this object. The Queen Bee, who enters with a sword and the reddest of cloaks, follows them. The sword is about four feet long, and slightly curved towards the point. ?Q.B.? advances on the bull, holding the sword under the cloak, to his left. The bull charges the cloak and ?Q. B. ? moves aside sufficiently to miss the beast?s horns by-I won?t say how much-half an inch perhaps. The bull, poor soul, charges the cloak instead of the man. I expect it was the strange discovery, which started the art of bull fighting. Kipling has written a vastly entertaining story of a bull that insisted on charging the man instead of the cloak. Having repeatedly gored the cloak with great violence, the bull must be as exasperated as a man trying to open an oyster with a bus ticket. After a really fine exhibition of skill and nerve, the matador finishes off the bull by plunging his sword to the hilt in the back of his neck as his head is lowered to gore the cloak. The sword penetrates the best?s heart, the mule team enters, the bull is dragged out, the ground tided up and fresh sand put down where necessary.
During an afternoon about eight bulls are usually killed. The feelings of most people at their first bullfight are mixed. The killing of the first bull rather nauscates one but after two or three one gets used to it, and is able to admire the undoubted skill of the bull fighters, more especially the matador. Myself, I was very sorry for the bull at first, but, after all, he is dying fighting, and is able to put a good scrap for it. He probably thinks that he has as sporting chance the whole time, not realising for an instant that he hasn?t an earthly. But the horses-I won?t dwell on the subject.
I have been told that in Portugal the bull fighting is a game with entirely different rules. There, the horses are very special beasts, and a man who allows the skin of his horse to be punctured in the slightest is hissed, or whistled out of the ring. I should like to see that type of fight-but never again one in Mexico.
Three days at sea brought us to the outer bar of the Mobile River, where we picked up two pilots and proceeded about 30 miles up river to the town of Mobile, securing alongside a jetty, which was adjacent to a main road and a railway station. A large crowd witnessed our arrival.
Mobile is an old city, its historical background dating back to the first explorations of the New World after Columbia. The modern city which grew from the stockade, named in honour of the Grand Monarque, Louis XIV, has not lost its historical background in the march of progress nor has it clung to the past, except to preserve those priceless landmarks which recall the struggles and successes of its early inhabitants.
The greeting we received as the ship came alongside was nothing compared with what we received when we went ashore. The people of Mobile could not do enough for us. They met us as we came ashore, drove parties of us all round the sights of the city, entertained us at their houses, gave dances for us and, in many cases, even allowed sailors in uniform free entrance to the cinemas. Verily, ye people of Mobile, you took us to your hearts; you showed us what the word hospitality means, and we were strangers in your land. Would that we had more facilities at our disposal to return your kindness.
Almost every man onboard was driven around the Azalea Trail in Mobile. Every season, literally ten thousand Azaleas burst into bloom, the flowers hiding the leaves. Great masses of scarlet, crimson, pink and white flare up against their natural settings of dark green live oaks and magbolias. The effect is dazzling and arresting. Guideposts are placed throughout the city and suburbs, along a route, known as the Azalea Trail, to help visitors to find the prettiest bushes. Wisteria also grows in profusion.
Two exhibition football matches were given during our stay. A goal was described locally as sending the pigskin sailing into the mesh. Heading the ball was interpreted as butting the leather. The spectators were both interested and amused.
We landed a Church Party on the 22nd, and marched through the streets to Christ Church. The roads were lined with thousands of spectators, who cheered until they were hoarse. The Drum Major, ?Chucking his bamboo,? was the great attraction. Thousands of visitors came onboard to see the ship and talk to a British Tar.
As we slipped from the jetty on the 26th, a thunderstorm broke. This did not disturb the enthusiasm of the crowd that was there to bid us farewell. They cheered and waved handkerchiefs and the band played Auld Lang Syne. Our one wish is that in the near future we may return to Mobile. In the meantime, we wish the town health, wealth and prosperity.
From Mobile Newspaper
Given Soccer By Captain Vivian.
Slips From Popularity Before Advance
Captain J. G. P. Vivian, Commanding Officer of H.M.S. ?Dauntless,? whose soccer teams have furnished several thousand Mobilians numerous thrilling moments during the past week, is one of the British naval men responsible for the present popularity of ?association? football, as the British game is properly called, in Spain and Latin America.
Some years ago, 1901 to 1906, let us say, the Spanish ports Arosa and Vigo were harbours much frequented by the ships of the British fleet. Crews and officers, in leisure hours ashore, devoted considerable time to the playing of soccer.
A field large and smooth enough, Captain Vivian relates, was selected, improvised boundaries laid down, and goal posts of whatever suitable material might be laying about, erected to meet the occasion. Ensued a lively exhibition of the game which, ranking next to cricket, in Britain?s most popular sport.
At times there were as many as 123 vessels of various shapes and tonnages in the two harbours, so it might be gleaned Vigo and Arosa were virtually booming with soccer matches. It follows the Spaniards were attracted to the numerous games, and naturally, in time, some of the onlookers became sufficiently interested in the sport to attempt to play it.
Not even an optimistic American, however, whose missionary nature sharply contracts with the self contained British, could have anticipated the clarity with which the sport spread. The Spaniards avidly seized upon the game, and soon adopted it as an almost national pastime.
It is indeed astonishing, since, until recent years, Latins were most non-athletic. And even more astonishing, the Spaniards doubtlessly espoused the game voluntarily, for a Britain takes his soccer, like his ablutions, naively and methodically, a part of the day?s routine.
Nevertheless, soccer swept Spain, and, no less contagiously, invaded South and Central America. Today its easily leads all Latin sports activity.
?Bullfighting,? the tall-bronzed commander of His Majesty?s cruiser, says, is no longer the popular Spanish pastime it was in years past. The vanity, indolence and pseudo-sportsmanship attached to witnessing a bullfight, has been regenerated into active individual participation in athletics.
?Even France,? he says, ?has largely shoved aside the coquettish boulevardier for the square shouldered, sinewy athlete. Rugby football, American football?s pattern, a favourite collegiate game in England, is a rough and gruelling sport.
Captain Vivian witnessed a baseball game for the first time last Sunday, when he saw the Mobile Bears play the Washington Senators. ?Idid not begin to appreciate the fine points of the game until the sixth or seventh inning,? the naval officer confessed, lifting the corners of his mouth in a smile, pronouncing decided approval of the sport. ?Then I found myself deeply concerned about who won, an did began to join the crowd in cheering for Mobile.?
He was surprised to learn that football has eclipsed or, at least is rapidly crowding out baseball as America?s most popular sporting event. ?We hear much more of baseball in England,? he said. The Englishmen, ruddy and clear-eyed, sportsmanship incarnate, are eager to see a game of American Football. They have never witnessed our hurling, dashing, plunging gridders in action.
?Beswides baseball, what other typically American sports have you seen, Captain?? The reporter asked ?None? he smiled,? unless dancing- if you call that a sport.? The commander of the 472-foot warship drawled out ?dance? with his native broad ?a? and acknowledged an amused bewilderment at our ?unique? custom of ?breaking.?
Between Mobile and Tampa we ran into two heave thunderstorms. We picked up a pilot on the 28th March, and secured alongside Municipal Wharf the same afternoon, where a large crowd had gathered to witness our arrival.
The following is an extract from the Tampa Sunday Tribune: -
?His Majesty?s Ship ?Dauntless? steamed into Tampa yesterday afternoon, for a five day good will visit and tied up at municipal terminal, every inch of the cruiser?s 472 feet a man o? war with bristling guns and towering conning tower.
Mayor McKay welcomed Captain J. G. P. Vivian, R.N., and the other senior officers, at the city hall. An invitation was extended to the public to board the big craft this afternoon between 1 and 6 o?clock.
The ?Dauntless? is manned by 408 men, including 28 officers, all of whom will be guests of the city during their stay. Every theatre has thrown open its doors to members of the crew in uniform, and continuous entertainment has been arranged for the officers through the office of Peter Taylor, British vice consul at Tampa.
Visitors inspecting the ?Dauntless? today will be impressed with the powerful appearance of the craft, with its two huge funnels and lookout towers piled up one above the other, equipped with shining range finding apparatus, searchlights, and armour-protected posts for long distance vision at sea. Under full steam the ship will plough ahead at 30 knots propelled by twin screws, with power from 40,000 horse power boilers and steam turbines.?
Once again our hosts could not do too much for us. Their hospitality and kindness were well up to what we had met at Mobile. Genuine friendship, esteem and good will existed between the inhabitants of Tampa and the ship. Apart from official and private entertainment, motorcars were put at our disposal. The people of Alabama and Florida have endeared themselves to us.
Again an enthusiastic crowd witnessed our Church Party Parade. The same afternoon it was estimated that over 5,000 visitors came onboard. One evening, Pipers and drummers of the Scottish colony entertained the ship?s company to a good programme in the ship. Later approximately 2,000 school children were shown over the cruiser.
All cinemas were free to men in uniform, and the films shown were first class.
We sailed for Nassau on the morning of the 2nd April. The jetty was crowded with people whi gave us a rousing send off. As our band played Auld Lang Syne many of our shore friends were actually in tears. A few cars followed the ship for about 20 miles down channel. Our visit passed too quickly, but we hope to pay another call during this commission.
If anyone disagrees that the girls of the Southern States, particularly Alabama and Florida, are amongst the prettiest and most interesting in the world, it is suggested that he has no taste.
H.M.S. ?Delhi? was in harbour when we anchored on the forenoon of the 4th April. This was the first time we had been in company with her since we commissioned just over a year ago.
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas Islands, is situated in the centre of an archipelago of some three thousand islands, and for two and a half centuries has been the seat of government of the ancient British colony of the Bahamas. Its harbour has been the scene of countless stirring adventures, recalling the days of the Buccaneers, the treasure seekers, Spanish invaders and slaves, privateers and blockade runners, who each in turn, have played their part in the fascinating history of the islands. Nowadays, the town is very popular with American tourists who have tired of the Dry Laws.
Most of the ship?s company spent their time bathing. There are numerous sandy beaches.
Dirty Dick?s Bar will always be remembered. It is a replica of Dirty Dick?s in Liverpool Street, London. A marvellous variety of cocktails were available, including a corpse Reviver, which did good trade with the tourists.
Soon after midnight, on one occasion, we experienced a heavy thunderstorm, with rain and wind squalls, which necessitated the hoisting of boats and raising steam. Squalls are always a snag at Nassau.
On the 8th April, the anniversary of our departure from Portsmouth, H.M.S. ?Delhi? and H. M. S. ?Dauntless? proceeded to sea for exercises, returning to harbour the following morning.
Nothing of interest happened during the rest of our stay. The two ships weighed by hand on the 11th, carried out exercises en route to Bermuda, and after sub-calibre day and night firing, just off Bermuda, we entered harbour and secured in the South Basin. The ?Dragon,? ?Scarborough? and ?Champlain? were present, and the following day the ?Despatch? arrived. We had been cruising for approximately three months.
Our third period at Bermuda lasted from the 16th April to the 7th July, during which time we competed in the Commander-in-chief?s Gunnery and Torpedo competitions, the Regatta and the Annual Rifle Meeting. The ship was second-another second in the Torpedo competition and third in the Gunnery. One of the best full calibre concentration shoots ever seen was carried out with H.M.S. ?Delhi.? What luck we had in the regatta and the rifle Meeting will be seen later on.
Cricket occupied most of our spare time, and we certainly were in a wining vein at Bermuda. Swimming in the dogwatches was a favourite pastime, and at night the Dockyard Cinema was well patronised.
The Commander-in-Chief inspected H.M.S. ?Dauntless? on the 22nd and 23rd April, and expressed his general satisfaction on the cleanliness and efficency of the ship and her compliment; afterwards decorating Able Seaman Harrison with the O.B.E. fir bravery in H.M.S. ?Hood.?
We were in dry dock refitting from the 23rd May until the 10th June. During this time we learnt that the next cruise was to be round South America. Rumour had it that we were going to repeat our first Pacific Cruise. Some were disappointed; nevertheless, they were consoled by the novelty of the countries we were to visit.
Captain Bagot, R.M. left us early in May, and we gave him a hearty send off. The Ward Room was very sorry to lose a cheery versatile messmate.
Lieut. -Comdr. Leeds, Captain Gumm, R.M., and Lieut. - Alison joined the ship at Bermuda. With the half-yearly promotions came the news that Lieut. -Comdr. Onslow was promoted. We were delighted. A brass hat lent colour to his medals and distinguished air. (Sorry Jimmy).
On the 23rd June, the King?s Birthday a Naval Review was held on Moresby Plain. His Excellency The Governor and Admiral Haggard were present. The display reflected great credit on all the ship?s companies, which participated. We offer our sincere congratulations to the Commander-in-chief on being made a K.C.B.
H.M.S. ?Despatch? proceeded to England on the 25th May to pay off. She was given a marvellous send off by the rest of the squadron. All ships cleared lower deck and cheered her as she steamed slowly out playing ?Rolling Home.? The flagship had set a high standard of effiency in work and sport to the remainder of the Squadron.
Our detachment of Royal Marines left the ship for a fortnight under canvas at Warwick Camp in company with the other detachments of the squadron. Small Arms training were carried out. A field practice with ball ammunition, demonstrating a company in attack, was staged by the Royal Marines of H.M.S. ?Dauntless? and H.M.S. ?Danae? and was witnessed by a large gathering of Naval Officers, who were greatly impressed. Such demonstrations are invaluable to Naval Officers.
The ship?s company of H.M.S. ?Dauntless? held a very successful dance in R.N. Canteen, soon after our arrival. Our great excitement during this period of the commission happened when the M.V. ?Bermuda? caught fire.
During this period at Bermuda, Mr, Steer Commissioned Gunner, Pr. Pitt, Commissioned Engineer and Mr. Smyth, Schoolmaster, left the ship and Mr. Scrivens, Mr. Doy and Mr. Cummins joined as their respective reliefs. In addition, Mr Lush, Commissioned Shipwright, joined us.
At the Annual Squadron Boxing Tournament in Bermuda, we managed to muster eight competitors, which did not constitute a full team. Nevertheless, we came out second to ?Delhi.?
In the Novices Light Heavies, we provided the two finalists, A. B.?s Jenner and Miller, the latter eventually winning. Stoker Scott won the Open Middle Weight contest by a knock out in the final. In the Novices Middles Signalman Wadey was runner up and signal Boy North over took the best loser?s prize. A.B. Penley was a finalist in the Welter Weights and Boy Davis was awarded the best loser?s prize.
The Commander-in-Chief, after presenting the prizes, congratulated all the competitors on their keen and clean fighting.
During our cruises we sent representatives ashore at different ports to box against local colour, with varying luck. It must be remembered that in a ship, particularly on the station, it is a most difficult proposition to keep fit enough for such a strenuous pastime as boxing.
The Open Cutter and Open Gig Races were rowed on the 9th May, two days previous to the actual Regatta. In both events we were good seconds; actually we lost the former race by two strokes after another boat had steered into us and fouled our oars. The flagship beat us in the re-pull by 10 strokes. Two seconds in two races boded well for the other events. What happened? We didn?t win a single race and were amongst the cruisers. During practices, we displayed good style and were regarded as likely winners of the Cock. But performances in practice and in the actual racing are two entirely different things, and good style alone does not win a race. Every worthy critic in the ship will give a different reason for our unfortunate results, but there is one and only one actual reason and that is-We was up against better crews. However, at the next Regatta we hope to retrieve some of the money we lost by backing ourselves in the Totalisator. The Regatta most certainly did one thing for us-it shattered our ?second? complex with a vengeance.
We congratulate H.M.S. ?Despatch? on winning the Cock and H.M.S. ?Danae,? the runners up. The latter ship put up a remarkable performance, as she arrived at Bermuda late, and had only about two weeks in which to train. The results of the Regatta were: -
H.M.S. ?Despatch? - 156 points. Winner of Cock
H.M.S. ?Danae? - 150 points
?Dragon? - 138 points
?Delhi? - 124 points
?Dauntless? - 98 points
?Sacrborough? - 20 points. Sloops Cup
?Heliotrope? - 12 points
The Editorial Office Boy at this stage, desired to contribute his views on the Regatta. He says, ?Elbow is all you want. All style and no ----- work is no good. Any crew that can pull 51 to the minute and pull the stroke through is bound to win. And if you happen to be last-well-take it laughing.?
Fire In The M.V. ?Bermuda?
At about 0320 on the 17th June 1931, a telephone message was received from the Police stating that a serious fire had broken out on board the M.V. ?Bermuda? (20,000 tons), which was lyi9ng alongside the wharf, and that the fire, which for the time being was confirming itself to the upper works amidships, would very possibly spread top the oil tanks, and blow up the ship; an eventually which would seriously threaten the destruction by fire of the town of Hamilton.
The Dockyard fire engines were rushed to Hamilton in 33 minutes, a marvellous time. Each ship sent the first of which arrived about 0415. The first party found the ship blazing fiercely amidships, and the task appeared hopeless,. The Furness Withy tug, ?Castle Harbour? had by this time raised steam and was alongside the ?Bermuda? with all her available hoses playi9ng water on the flames. Fire engines from the shore were also supplying water.
When the fire was a given, some of the crew of the liner packed up their goods and chattels and vamoosed. The remainder the particularly the Engineers and their personnel, worked the Trojans at extinguished the flames. The Engine Room Staff remained below throughout. Soon after the outbreak they drained the dangerous fuel into the bilges.
The arrival of the Naval party brought organisation. It was a sad sight to see walnut panelling, their carpets and expensive furniture being destroyed by the flames. Wilful destruction was also necessary to prevent the fire spreading.
By 0630the fire was being got under control. At 0700 an additional contingent of 200 naval ratings arrived from the Dockyard in the tug ?Sand Boy.? The detachments onboard were doing magnificent work. Unfortunately, some of them were overcome by the heat and fumes and had to be removed to hospital.
At 1100 the fire was completely under control except for occasional outbreaks in cabins. The main party was withdrawn five hours later, but about 100 men were left onboard, as No. 3 hold aft was still a source of danger. Eventually it was found necessary to flood compartments until the ship rested on the bottom. As she grounded, she developed a heel of about 25 degrees and leant against the jetty. Twenty ratings were left onboard that night to keep watch.
Undoubtedly, but for the assistance of the Navy the ?Bermuda? would have been a total loss and maybe part of Hamilton would have been destroyed. As it was, only A, B, and C Decks and the Bridge were burnt out.
During the court of enquiry that followed, the Chief Justice remarked that the general view in Bermuda seemed to be that.
?God is in his heaven, so all must be right in Bermuda.? But that it would be advantageous if the people remembered ?Heaven helps those that help themselves.? The enquiry failed to discover the cause of the fire. Ord. Sea Robson and Boy Catlin, of the ?Dauntless? were commended by their Lordships for their good work at the fire.
The M.V. ?Bermuda? under her own steam, returned to a Belfast shipyard for repairs. During our South American Cruise we received the news that once more she had caught fire and had been almost completely destroyed n a shipyard at Belfast.
Rifle Meeting, Warwick Camp 1931
Previous to the Annual Rifle Meeting at Warwick Camp, the results obtained by our detachment on royal Marines when firing their courses, promised many successes in the competitions. Of the 30 men who fired we had 14 marksmen, 8 first class shots and 8-second class shots. Among the Lewis Gunners we had 4 marksmen and 4 first class shots.
At one period of the commission, we had the second complex very badly, and then came the disappointment of the Regatta, but one fine morning, Cup after Cup was brought onboard. We started and wondered what the Cups were for. The explanation followed. At the 38th Annual Naval and Military Rifle Meeting out of 8 competitions, ?Dauntless? secured 4 firsts and 2 seconds. The R. M. detachment formed the nucleus of all the teams. The following are the particulars:
1) The Individual Open Services Championship and Hamilton Cup. Winner: -Captain A. P. Gumm, R.M., H.M.S. ?Dauntless.?
2) Bermuda Team Championship. Winners: - H.M.S. ?Dauntless?.
3) Bluck Cup. H.M.S. ?Dauntless?
4) Canada Cup. Winners: - H.M.S. ?Dauntless?
5) Services Cup. Second: - H.M.S. ?Dauntless?
6) Crisson Cup. Light Automatics. Second: - H.M.S. ?Dauntless?
The ships company heartily congratulate Captain Gumm, who had recently taken over the detachment, on being the first Royal Marine to win the Hamilton Cup and Individual Championship of the Naval and Military Rifle Meeting on the A and W. I. Station.
Now that we have developed a first complex let us hope that we will continue our winning vein. Bravo the shooting team! You have shown us the way. Apart from successes in the Rifle Meeting the ship did exceedingly well in all its matches against local teams during the various cruises.
In s speech to the officers and men of the ship before leaving Bermuda the Commander-in-Chief said that owing to the ever increasing British trade interests in South America, the Admiralty had decided to form a South American Division from the America and West Indies Station. For this purpose H.M.S. ?Durban? and ?Dauntless? had been selected and a Commodore flying his broad pennant in the former ship, would command the Division. Actually we should not meet the ?Durban? until about the middle of December, when both ships would be at the Falkland Islands.
Admiral Haggard wished us all success and a pleasant cruise, which although lasting for approximately 9 months would be our last before paying off in July 1932.
On the 7th July, we steamed out of Bermuda Dockyard.
The first part of the 1931-1932 Southern Cruise was among the Lesser Antilles, the Southern of the two groups of islands, which constitute the West Indies. Most of the islands are Mountainous and many show signs of volcanic activity, past or present. The Pitch Lake and Mud Springs of Trinidad are forms of volcanic activity. The islands lie in the track of the North East Trade Winds; consequently, in almost every case there is constant heavy surf on the East Coast. Historically, the islands are very interesting. Most of them were discovered by Columbus on his four voyages between 1492 and 1503, and by him were given the names of various Saints-St. Christopher (St. Kitts), St. Lucia, etc. Trinidad is named after the Holy Trinity. Columbus called the original inhabitants Caribs (or cannibals), but they do not appear to have been particularly savage. They were of Red Indian descent and are not to be continued with the present Negro population, which is largely derived from African immigrants and from liberated slaves, originally imported from Africa.
The West Islands owed their great importance to the fact that Europe was practically dependent on them for sugar, and during the sailing ship era they were known colloquially as the ?Sugar Islands,? and a such were a source of great wealth to the countries owning them. Beet sugar and the sugar from the Dutch East Indies have now very largely discounted their value in the respect.
During the war of American Independence, many engagements were fought amongst the islands against the French, who had joined the Colonists in the hope of plunder. Some of the islands changed hands more than once. The British Base was at St. Luciz. The Saints the scene of Rodney?s great victory are a group of islands north of Domincia.
Nelson in 18052 chased the French and Spanish fleets from Europe to Martinique and back again, and had it not been for the incorrect information supplied by an official at St. Lucia, Trafalgar might have been a second Battle of the Saints, fought among the islands.
?The West Indies,? wrote Nelson, ?is the station of honour.?
Our first port of call was Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts, where we embarked Sir Sydney Armitage-Smith, Who had been sent out from England on a financial mission to the Leeward Islands and St. Lucia. We conveyed Sir Sydney to Tortola and Bermuda. This was our second visit to the former place, and we found the enthusiasm for cricket just as keen. The water was too warm for pleasant bathing and one had to keep an eye open for coral and sea eggs; the later cannot be hatched out by sitting on them it has been tried.
We arrived at Antigua on 14th July, the only item of interest during the passage being a most instructive talk on Reparations by Sir Sydney. At Antigua a trip to the Dockyard was arranged and the following account was written by one of the ship?s company.
It is Seldom that officers and men of H.M. Navy get more than one opportunity of visiting such an interesting and historical place as Antigua Dockyard. Antigua, Barbuda, Monserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Domincia and the Virgin Islands comprise what are known as the Leeward Islands. Needless to say, they came under the squadron?s jurisdiction ?Hurricane duties.? Nelson refitted his ships in 1805 at Antigua Dockyard. Columbus first discovered the island itself, in 1494 on his second voyage of discovery. It was not colonised by England until 1632. Antigua has been visited by hurricanes of great severity on several occasions, notably in 1681, 1740, 1752, 1849 and 1899.
Obviously the trip to the Dockyard would appeal to the majority of us, therefore, when the opportunity offered itself, although the numbers permitted were restricted owing to the exigencies of the Service, etc., there were more than enough volunteers. Private cars and char-a-bancs were placed at the disposal of the party by H. E. the Governor. We arrived at Antigua early, but things had to be rushed, as we were due to get under way again p.m. the same day, and also the distance from St. John?s Harbour to English Harbour, wherein is situated the Dockyard is approximately eight miles.
The journey was made in glorious weather, through fact that after leaving the more modern St. Johns, the whole country seemed primitive. The majority of dwelling places, one could not call them houses, consisted of mud shacks, i.e. houses built of mud, dried off by the sun, one roomed affairs, thatched after the style of old English thatching. The natives appear to be the most primitive that could be found in all our West Indies. In the last mile before reaching English Harbour, we passed the ruins of little stone and brick houses, dotted here and there, the former quarters of the Naval and Military forces once stationed in the vicinity. About a ? of a mile before we reached the entrance gates of the dockyard, there was, on the right, a large cemented water catchments; the low surrounding wall of which is carved with hundreds of names of 17th and 18th century sailors, often with the names of their ships, home towns and the dates. Included amongst these names are those of seamen of Nelson?s ship, the Boreas 1784-87. Before proceeding into the Dockyard itself, these few details may be of interest to the reader. The first part of the Dockyard, that known as St. Helens, was built in 1726. Later, in 1746, wharves and buildings were erected. Captain Nelson?s ship was H.M.S. ?Boreas?-617 tons; 28 guns; beam 33 ? feet.
The names of the ships carved on the walls of the water catchments are: -
H.M.S. ?Roebuck? 1739
H.M.S. ?Anglesea? 1740
H.M.S. ?Hind? 1746
H.M.S. ?Tavistock? 1751
H.M.S. ?Dragon? 1760
H.M.S. ?Boireas? 1786
On entering the Dockyard gates, on the right is the Guard House. In the immediate vicinity are the following buildings; Painters Shop, Mast House and joiners Loft, Engineers Workshop, Blacksmiths Shop, and Master Shipwrights House. Immediately beyond these is the most interesting building, namely, the Admiral?s House Pyramids of old cannon ball guard the portals, while above the entrance is a very old painted wooden bust of Nelson. Facing Admiral?s House is the Mast House, also Cordage, Canvas and Clothing Store. In this latter store are to be seen lying on their sides, some of the original immense wooden capstans which were used in hauling down the ships for careening purposes, two centuries ago. A few paces northeast is the old pay office of enormous proportions, viz. 8 feet by 4 feet, obviously not built to be occupied by corpulent persons. At the head of English Harbour is situated the old Powder Magazine, Hospital, and conveniently near the latter, the Naval cemetery. F few tombstones to Naval ratings are still decipherable here.
Ships now very rarely visit English Harbour, and the Dockyard with its group of yellow, two storied barracks and red roofed stores, is deserted. The Admiralty transferred the yard with its lands and out buildings, tanks and cemetery, to the Colonial Government in 1906, the Navy having ceased to use it as far back as 1889. His Majesty, King George V, in 1883, when Prince George, visited Antigua in H.M.S. ?Canada? and painted an inscription on the walls of the barracks. It consisted of a greeting: -?A merry Christmas and a happy new year 2 you all,? and remains there till this day. Needless to say we regretted having to rush our investigations owing to pressure of time, but it was with feelings of pride for our predecessors, that we left behind us what was once a busy hive of Naval activity and also that which is a milestone in the history of our Empire. We returned onboard after a very pleasant and interesting forenoon.
Barbuda, our next port of call, is a dependency of Antigua, and our object in going to the island, was to convey the governor, Colonial Sir T. St. Johnstone, there. During the short time we spent there, a swarm of flying ants, perfect pests, invaded the ship. The island was once the property of the Codrington family, who used it as a breeding place for slaves and dear-the slaves for profit, the deer for sport. The name Barbuda is Portuguese and means ?Island of bearded men.?
The ship stayed at Monserrat for 24 hours, during which period the officers were entertained at the local club, and then preceded to Domincia, where we disembarked Sir Sydney Armitage-Smith. On the way to St. Lucia, we passed the French island of Martinique, and observed that the volcano, Mount Petec, was slightly active.
The island of St. Lucia is the chief one of the Windward Group of islands and was discovered by Columbus in 1502. During our stay the atmosphere was very humid and heavy rainstorms were frequent. The success of our cricket team against the locals was a notable achievement, as a ship?s team had not defeated them for a number of years. Bathing picnics were a popular feature of our stay, and particularly the native population always gave the ship?s band. When we landed for church Parade, crowds ran dancing in front of the band and shout3d with delight at the evolutions of the Drum Major.
The Acting Governor of the Windward Islands and Mrs. Doorly gave a reception for the officers at Government House. The officers were made honorary members of the Golf Club and succeeded in beating a local team in a match over nine holes.
From St. Lucia, we proceeded to Bequia, which is the largest island in the Grenadines Group, known as the ?spice Islands of the West.? The natives have a reputation for being indolent. Nature provides them with most of the necessities of life with a minimum of effort on their part. There is a buccaneer strain amongst them and this probably accounts for the fact that we found four men building a 130 tons schooner entirely from native cedar.
The chief diversions at Bequia were sailing, bathing and fishing-but there were no fish caught. A cricket match was played on a pitch, which resembled the skin of a rhinoceros with knobs on. This game was more dangerous than a game of ?hurly? between two teams of Irishmen.
A most interesting personality at Bequia was Father Frederick, who apparently, has spent a lifetime in the West Indies. His hobby in life seems to be giving away everything he possesses and living from hand to mouth. We certainly appreciated a cake he presented to the officers.
St. Georges, Grenda, was our next port of call. It is an attractive little town, with well-kept streets and a land locked harbour. On august Bank holiday we attended the local races, in which horses from Grenada and Trinidad competed. Captain Vivian drew the favourite in one race sweep, but the horse was left at the post. We were compensated to a certain extent for our financial losses by the beautiful drive through the mountains to the racecourse. What the native chauffeur lacks in finesse he makes up for in vigour. An interesting fact at Grenda is that the coloured population is on an equal footing with the white population.
We arrived once again at Point-a-Pierre, oiled and proceeded to Port of Spain, Trinidad. No time was wasted in seeking out old friends.
Despite the damp heat and tropical rainstorms several games of football, rugby and cricket were played. We saw less o our friend the jellyfish, who so persistently choked our condenser inlets on previous visits.
On Tuesday 11th August Commander Onslow, who had been promoted in June, sailed for England in s.s. ?Coronada.? We gave him a hearty send off and wished him the best of luck in the future. Lieutenant-Commander Skinner relieved Commander Onslow, both as First Lieutenant and as Captain of the cricket team.
Several of the ship?s company took the opportunity to visit the Maracas Waterfall, 312 feet high, and the famous Pitch Lake, which is situated near Brea, on the southwest coast. The following is an account of a visit to the lake. The Negro spiritual ?My Lord! Didn?t it rain? must I thought, have originated in Trinidad. It most certainly rained on the morning of our outing to the Pitch Lake at La Brea; so much so that when we entrained at Port of Spain, at 0726, we were very damp eternally and had to take a wee spot internally to balance things up.
The journey through wonderful tropical scenery soon took our minds off our distress-at times it even took our minds off the restaurant car. 40 miles by train brought us to San Fernando, whence we continued the journey by motor bus-16 miles over asphalt roads to the source of the asphalt.
The actual lake is almost circular and nearly three miles in circumference. In spite of the amount of pitch removed, the level hardly alters from year to year. The pitch is hard enough in moist paces to carry carts and even a light railway, yet the holes from which the pitch is dug fill up in the course of a few days. All over the lake are little channels of water which never fill up with pitch, though on one occasion when there was a fire at the works thousands of tons of molten pitch was run into them. In the water are many little fish, which do good work by eating up the larvae of the malarial mosquito.
In the centre of the lake is a small area where the pitch is soft and spongy, so that one sinks knee deep in a few seconds. This area is known as the ?Mother of the Lake.? Sulphurous fumes rise from the pitch, as the heat is intense. The lake has the reputation of being the hottest spot in the world; its atmosphere suggests a more remote spot! The estimated depth is about 50 feet in the average, with about 150 ft maximum. During boring operations one of the test drills broke and fragments of it were found months later in totally different parts of the lake. The origin of the pitch is a matter of conjecture, one theory being that it is formed by the action of sulphur on the petroleum deposits of the locality.
The plant adjacement to the lake comprises pumping machinery and packing plant. The pitch is brought up from the lake in trucks, heated sufficiently to make it flow, then run into tubs for export. Oil for operating the plant is obtained from wells near the lake.
The lake is government property, but at present an American Company operates the plant. Though it has been exploited for 40 years there is no sign of any diminution of the supply.
After our tour of inspection we visited the village and played a game of cricket against the natives. We returned to San Fernando in time t catch the 5 o?clock train and reached Port of Spain about 6.30 p.m.
Before leaving Trinidad we re-embarked Sir Sydney Armitage-Smith and also the son of the Governor of Trinidad and Tobago. Shortly after we were clear of the ?Dragon?s Mouth? we dropped two depth charges with deep settings. The explosion was not spectacular, owing to the depth of the water, but results were most amazing. The charges must have dropped right in the midst of a shoal of fish, which were stunned by the shock and appeared in thousands, floating on their backs. Both whalers were lowered and fish were also captured by a variety of means. From the ship?s side gaffs, lines, armed with sharp hooks waste paper baskets which had to be weighted to make them sink, and buckets were all brought into play. Most of the fish were of the mackerel specie, while the largest was a 20-pound snapper. Some 1,500 fish were to be returned to the sea for want of stowage room. When we left the vicinity, the sea still glistened with thousands of floating fish.
We anchored in rocky Bay, off Scarborough, the capital of Tobago. The heavy swell made boat running rather difficult. Tobago is 21 miles northeast of Trinidad, of which it is a dependency. It was discovered by Columbus in 1498, and has in turn been Dutch, French and British (1814). The population is mainly Negro. During our stay, games of football and cricket were organised, as well as picnics and bathing parties. The last named pastime was somewhat hampered by the presence of jellyfish, some of which sting unpleasantly. After four days stay we returned to Trinidad to prepare for our long Southern Cruise. Here we met our old friend, the R.F.A. ?Serbol,? which brought us some much needed stores, among which was a pattern VI target, which we stowed on the upper deck. To the time of writing that target has served only one useful purpose, namely, to provide convenient seating accommodation for the ship?s company all the way to the Falkland Islands. Here it was solemnly and with much labour put together, and even towed a very little way to sea, to be fired at. Unfortunately, the Southern Ocean seldom allows such comparatively flimsily things as pattern VI targets to be towed on its bosom with impunity, so our friend had to be towed back into harbour, still unfired at. With more labour we took it al to pieces, and it is now on its way to Punta del Este, Uruguay, where we hope the next commission will shoot it into lost of little pieces. Good luck to you, oh much-travelled target!!!
Arrival Of The Dornier X At Trinidad, 19th August 1913.
?Flyin? machines? Yes, my boy, I?ve seed flying machines as big as yonder pier and bristling with ?ingins like a sea egg with spikes.? ?When I was in the ?Dauntless? down the ?Islands? I seed the Dorner X come into Port o? Spain. Don?t I remember the day too. ?Serbol? come alongside fore ?twas hardly light, wi? oil an stores a brand new pattern VI target. Cap?n of the top says to me, ?Bill, you?d better give these chaps a hand, or we shan?t be ready for sea tomorrer.? ?Well, Cap,? says I, ?I had got a little job a paintin? (me being submerged flat sweeper in them days) but, seeing as you puts it that way, I don?t mind lending a hand.? I won?t tell how me and Wiggy Bennett got in that Pattern VI target fore ever the ?Serbols? noticed it was gone-that is part of another yarn; but I may tell you all them stores was in before middle day and ?Ands to make and mend clothes? was the pipe.
?Well, I was busy makin and a mendin and takin no notice o?nobody when about 2 o?clock I gets a sort of buzzin in my ears like when somebody is thinking about yer. Just then along comes Wiggy with a bucket o? soap suds (him having eleven kids at home and runnin a?dhobying firm). Fore you could say ?knife? he trips over my cotton and shoots the soapsuds all over me, and the brand new suit I was just pressing. I was just going to tell him a bit of his family history and ask him whi he couldn?t look where he was going instead of gawping at the sky when somebody shouts out ?There she goes.? Me thinking it might be my party from the; Merican Bar jumps up and looks round, and right over the hills I see the D. O. X., just like a great albatross with all twelve ingins a roarin like Dandy?s infernal. Circling round the hills she goes again looking for a spot to land, then head to wind glides down on the water just abreast the Pang Merican Airways slips. There were crowds waiting to see her and soon out goes boats to her, just like tenders to a liner. Now every story?s got a moral my boy, and the morals o ?this story is as how if I had got me head down, as the saying goes, instead of making them doin me clothes on a Wednesday afternoon I might never have seen this great flying ship takin the water at Trinidad.?
To Port Natal
We left Trinidad at 6 a.m. on 20th August for Port Natal in Northern Brazil. How nice to think that at last we were actually starting our South American Cruise, having completed those monotonous hurricane duties, which we commenced on the 7th of July.
At last a day at sea and no land in sight, for we kept well clear of the coast to avoid the Equatorial currents. During the seven days trip we exercised and carried our general drills and evolutions to maintain our standard of efficiency.
We were now nearing the Equator, and all arrangements were being made for the time old ceremony of Crossing the Line. The ?Old Shellbacks? were busy making all kinds of weird costumes; it is really remarkable what can be produced from the very small amount of material available in a ship; whiskers, etc, were produced from old rope, fish scales from empty tobacco tins, and even Amphitrite?s crown had its jewels! For this purpose a certain well-known brand of clear gums was obtained from the canteen and the effect was remarkable. Still more remarkable is the fact at the end of the day, when the show was all over; the jewels were still there.
The ceremony, of which a full account follows, was considered a huge success, and everyone enjoyed himself immensely. No doubt when the ?Novices? cross the line again in another ship, they will think of the enjoyable time they had when being initiated in H.M.S. ?Dautless.?
Approaching The Equator
25th August 1931
Edited by Davy Jones. Registered in the depths as a paper.
Circulation, Millions. Copy number 999999999999999999
Head Office, ?Down Under.? Tel. 4865 You Eard.
Today is the day we welcome the visit of ?His Watery Majesty,? King Neptune, and his court. We hope that he will have a most enjoyable time whilst in our midst, and that everyone will do his utmost to make the visit a most enjoyable and memorable one. Let our welcome be befitting such an Auspicious Personage. Remember the Novices of today will be the ?Old Sea Dogs? next time they meet ?King Neptune.?
If you have any remarkable ills,
Be sure they?ll be cured by remarkable pills.
If you have any hair on your face,
Look at the Barber and watch his grimace.
Advice to Novices. Don?t swallow all the Old Salts tell you, or give you. Wear your best suit it will improve it. Don?t have any breakfast; it is inadvisable to bathe on a full stomach. Mortgage your Tot, or have a double whisky-people going to the Scaffold always have a stimulant. Don?t swear at the Bears, they may not like it. Be docile, it pays.
Stop press News. It is regretted that Sir Harry Grippo will not be present. He is recovering from the severe strangling he received at Mobile and Tampa, but it is hoped he will be amongst us again at Port Natal, Pernambuco and all South America.
Things we would like to know. Who was the person who said: -?The Police will have to fetch me, because every time I?ve had a summons before they?ve had to fetch me??
Who were the boat?s crew detailed to fetch the Herald? Who detailed them? And who swallowed it? Remember the date, it is a day in your lifetime. They have harps in Heaven, and Shovels in H-.
On the day before we reached the Equator, the following signals were exhibited on the ship?s notice boards: -
A mermaid has come down to say
That ?Dauntless? now is on her way
To visit my domain:
Welcome to these sunny climes
Where we have met so many times,
It?s nice to meet again.
And when I told my darling Queen
That she might meet a Royal Marine,
She was quite elated.
The Barber laughed, the Doctor smiled,
The Bears all growled, the pills are piled
For the uninitiated.
FROM ?Dauntless? To-Neptune
Your message of welcome has come to me,
I thank you, King Neptune, for your kind words,
Which you send to me by fishes and birds.
But she I should really like to know
Is the mermaid, who took the news below,
For is she was spying this Northern Sea,
A kiss is the toll she should pay to me.
My novices? knees all shake with fear
At thought of the Doctor, the Barber, the Bear,
But good King Neptune they long to see
All hands were now looking forward to Crossing the Line, and at 2040 lower deck was cleared and all hands mustered on the fo?cs?le to watch King Neptune?s emissaries come aboard.
2040. Pipe: -?Clear Lower Deck. Hands to cross Equator.?
2045. Foretop lookout: -?Southern hemisphere ahead Sir.?
Ship is stopped. Herald appears from Paintshop with six bears. Hoses rigged playing upwards through hawse pipes. Very?s light, fanfare, etc. Green beams from searchlights on herald.
Herald (from before breakwater)-?Ship Ahoy! What ship is this??
Captain (from Bridge)-?His Britannic Majesty?s Ship ?Dauntless.? And who are you?
Herald (from fxle)-?I am the Herald of His Watery Majesty King Neptune, Emperor of all the Seas.?
Captain-?Welcome Herald. Pray advance.? (Herald goes up to No.2 Gun Deck).
Captain-?I have sighted the dominion of your Royal Master and have stopped my ship until I receive permission to proceed.?
Herald-?My royal Master down below has been expecting you, sir, and sends his Royal greetings to you and to your crew, sir. He instructs me to instruct you that he gives you his permission. To proceed until tomorrow on your Southward expedition.?
Captain-?Our very humble greetings to His Majesty, your Master, we know we cannot enter his domain without disaster until we pay him homage; so we beg to be allowed to receive him in the morning-and his Court. We?ll have a crowd. To receive initiation in the very solemn rite of crossing the Equator on this happy Monday night.?
Herald-?I have a parcel from my liege, which now I give to you, containing Neptune?s summonses for many of your crew. Our police and bears are large and fierce; I thought I?d give you a warning. I?ll take your message down below; farewell until the morning.?
Captain-?Farewell until the morning.?
Neptune, Amphitrite and court proceed aft along port battery. Guard of Royal Marines fallen in on port side of Quarter Deck. Neptune and Amphitrite met by Captain at port foremost end of the Quarterdeck.
Captain-?I have much pleasure, honoured Sire, to welcome you onboard, together with your royal spouse and all your humid horde. And now I pray your Majesty inspect your Guard of Honour, do bring the Queen, for they would like to cast their eyes upon her.?
Neptune, Amphitrite and Captain inspect Royal Marines.
During inspection: -
Neptune (to Amphitrite)-?Come here.?
(To Captain)-?Please forgive the domestic scenes, But the Queen is so fond of the Royal Marines.?
(To Amphitrite)-?come along now-no loitering.?
At end of inspection: -
Neptune (to Captain R.M.)-?I?m always impressed by this elegant pose assumed when in doubt by His Majesty?s Joes. Congrats. Captain Gumm-a splendid collection, their motto, o know, is ?per mare perfection.? I?m specially impressed by the splendid parque of this elderly, dignified Royal Jerook.? (A tall R.M. here with a wig of some sort).
After inspection of Guard, Captain, Neptune and Amphitirite take up position on stage on quarter Deck.
Neptune-?Of all the ships upon the sea it gives me greatest pleasure to welcome here the Royal Navee. I always greatly treasure my indestructible friendship with George R.I., your King, who under me, is King of the Sea, an extremely natural thing. Captain, we seem to have met before, I think it was during the course of the War.?
Captain-?I have been to fair New Zealand;
I have visited Cathay;
I have seen the rollers breaking
On the shores of Table Bay;
I have met you, Father Neptune,
More times than I can tell;
Once more you kindly welcome me,
I pray that you keep well.
To some of those whom I command,
Your words already law,
But many there be who sail with me
Who?ve never been South before.
I pray you to take them as sacrifice
In accordance with ancient tradition, and allow us to enter your Southerly sea
With a blessing on this commission.?
Neptune-?I must than you indeed for the courteous way in which I have been received, the joy of our Court, when they saw you approach, should be seen to be really believed, should be seen to be really believed. I have brought all my doctors and barbers and bears to apply the traditional rites, and I?m sure that we?ll have an enjoyable day with some really remarkable sights, and I hope that the Novices feel, as they should, it?s a most satisfactory thing, to be given the chance, which many have not. To be subject to Neptune, the King. And now Captain V (#I think you?ll agree, it?s a thing for which many are frantic) I appoint you today in the time honoured way as the Duke of the Southern Atlantic.?
?Commander Bruce, Commander Bruce, I?m glad to see you again, after twenty one years of hail and snow and sunshine and tropical rain. (It?s terrible thing how the years go by and my figure grows wider and wider), allow me to give you the order now of the ?Scottish Amphibious Spider.??
?Captain Gumm, Captain Gumm, with your ?stand at ease? and your thunderous ?Shun,? I?m sorry you?ve taken so long to come to visit me South of the line. But now you are here it is perfectly clear that the Doctor and Barber and Bears will be ever so keen to turn on the steam and force you to sample their wares. But in view of the fact that, with infinite tact, you command such a comic platoon, with the greatest of glee o confer this degree of the ?Maritime Mounted Dragoon.??
Captain-?By the words of your mouth I am Duke of the South, but subject always to you, so please make use of my ship as you wish and instruct your watery crew, to supply with pills to cure their ills my Novices so they may conduct themselves, as your subjects should, in a decently sea manly way. I earnestly hope that the razor and soap of the Barber will raise many hairs, so policemen go to it and see they go through it-then heave them into the bears.?
Neptune-?Old Shellbacks and Scribe-and the rest of my tribe, are you ready to act as you ought? Is everything ready?? (Chorus) ?Ready, Aye, Ready.? ?The open King Neptune?s Court.?
The following are the charges made against some of the officers: -
In that he, the said Sub-Lieutenant Hardman-Jones, did on many occasions say ?I say, how perfectly splendid? when it was nothing of the sort; he is hereby sentenced to have two pills, one before and after entering the bath.
In that he, the said Midshipman Manton, did wear his hair longer than is customary in H.M. Service; he is hereby sentenced to be shaved, not only on his face but also on his head, and with white shaving soap.
In that he, the said Midshipman Hodgkinson, did talk like a babbling brook; he is hereby sentenced to have the shaving brush shoved in his mouth.
In that he, the said Midshipman Prowse, did wish to emulate Chandim he is hereby sentenced to be ducked four separate times, two times with his North end up and two times with his South end up.
In that he, the said Midshipman Crothers, did sleep on every possible occasion; he is hereby sentenced to be ducked many times, but softly and in a horizontal position for fear that he should wake up.
In that he, the said Midshipman Vincent-Jones, was on every possible occasion intolerably clumsy; he is hereby sentenced to be shaved very carefully and with black soap and, should he spill any water out of the bath, to be ducked again and again.
Surgeon Commander Woodhouse
In that he, the said Surgeon Commander Woodhouse, did give pills to diverse people; he is hereby sentenced to be dosed with three pills.
Instructor Lieutenant Commander Taylor
In that he, the said Lieutenant Commander Taylor, did run a bookstall to the benefit of his own purse and to the retirement of space in the recreation space; he is hereby sentenced to be shaved all over, and with soap of two colours.
Captain Gumm, R.N.
In that he, the said Captain Gumm, did go to sea for many years without visiting King Neptune; he is hereby sentenced to be thrown on the mercy, or otherwise of the bears.
In that he, the said Mr. Pike, did grow very round at the expense of the Service; he is hereby sentenced to have two pills and, should he float in the bath, to be sunk.
Commander (E) Greathed
In that he, the said Commander Greathed, did on all occasions make black smoke; he is hereby sentenced to be shaved good and hearty and with black soap.
Time did not permit for charges to be made against all the Novices, but some of the ship?s company were picked out for extra duckings, or otherwise. Names have been omitted in most cases for obvious reasons.
?Hello? here?s old Brum come to pay his first call,
Pleased to meet you and you so well.
First time in tropics-h?m that?s rather tall,
My head bear?s called Harry Dipwell.
?R.P.O. Whiteside-you?re next to go through,
And when they have finished, you?ll feel pretty blue.
It?s reported to me that instead of mails
You?ve always preferred a hammer and nails;
And the Shipwrights and others that sleep in their mess.
Look forward a lot to a morning caress,
When you bang the hammer and say ?Get up, please,?
I?m told they retaliate by shooting grey peas.
A serious crime, and what?s more, not the first,
Doctor, Barber, Bears, come on do your worst.
?Here we have a Royal Marine,
The finest corps that ever was seen.
Now then Royal, just listen to me,
I?m the recognised King of the Sea.
?Per mare per terram? may be your motto,
Mine?s Per thousands of fathoms down to my grotto.?
Down in my locker I record all the fights
I remember Gibraltar where the Royals stormed the heights.
The courage of the Royals has never been bested
But now I can say it?s going to be tested.
My bears, whom you see there, want to begin
(After the Barber has taken the hair from your chin)
So if they should duck you and duck you the limit,
Behave as a Royal should, there?s a scrap-and you?re in it.
?I say Queen Amphitrite, here?s a nice young O.D.
In this first ship, he?s come to see me.
Doctor, Barber, Bears, all treat him well,
We?ll meet again-you never can tell.
It?s always a very great pleasure to me
To meet once again a son of the sea.
?Hello my hearties, who have we now?
Someone who?s fond of music I vow
I hear that you are in charge of the Band
I?ve often heard you and thought it was grand;
I?ve a charge against you; and I must say it?s big,
One evening they found you ?Out of the rig,?
You were playing Tombola and sauced the Chief Writer
Cos he happened to call you a lucky old blighter.
The sentence for that, if down in the deep,
Would be play for ever ?Sing me to sleep.?
But bears treat him lightly and maybe next year
The Band Trophy will be once again aboard here.
?Ho, Ho, Queen Amphitrite, just look who?s here,
It?s reported to me that he never drinks beer,
Somebody?s darling; did I hear you say?
Neptune have mercy on a poor E.R.A.
You?ve been a long time calling on me,
Maybe because I only drink tea,
I?ve told my Court of all your bad ways
And they all agree, that you don?t deserve praise.
My Doctor and Barber will do their job proper,
If troubled by you I shall call then a Copper.
Just look at my bears-Oh won?t they play
When they get in the water with a poor E.R.A.
(go on my hearties, do your worst).
?I?m informed that one day at Bermuda
You once borrowed a bike and said you?d
Return it alright the very next day,
But a horse and cart got in the way.
Unlucky for you had that skid,
But the bike was yours next day for five quid.
So the bike became yours, yes, your very own
And you looked after it well so its said
For one night you walked to the ship all alone
For you?d left your bike in a bed.
Now you I reckon are a jolly sport.
Bears, let his stay in the water be short.
Now then here?s a Royal Marine
Who?s trying to dodge my bears.
He surely must think we?re all green
For he absolutely swears
That he crossed the line some time ago,
In nineteen nought eight to be precise
And would his homage to me forego
Which, no doubt, would be very nice.
In looking at my freedom roll
Which I know is up to date
You must be completely up the pole
To say you crossed in 19-oh-8.
Now that is quite a long time back
And then you were not a Marine
So Bears give him a double whack
For I find he didn?t join till thirteen.
?Ah, here is one of the Stoker P.O.?s
Come to pay his homage I see.
If I remember aright there?s not many of these
Who have previously been before me.
I?ve received a letter from one J.L.
Who says he at times calls you Bunny
But states that you?ve always looked after him well
When his head came a bit over funny.
Which proves that you are a jolly good sort
And I hear you can swim like a spaniel, Bears let his stay in the water be short
Toodle oo-same to you-dear old flannel.
?Hello Brad, Brad, young fellow my lad
Had a pretty good time in Trinidad?
I?ve heard that you have plenty of mirth
Now that?s one of the finest possessions on earth.
When down below we heard your laughter
The bears said ?This is the lad we?re after.?
What they intended to do I cannot think
They?re all feeling well and in the pink
So whether you will be alive or dead
I couldn?t say; but they?re sure to see ?red.?
Here?s a man without a doubt
Who I can see is a Rover Scout.
Here is a message for your section
?In drill I hope they will reach perfection?
And may they continue fond of the sea
And perhaps one day they?ll come to see me.
?Now one of the pleasures in life should be
That as a First Class Boy you came before me;
When you?re an Able Seaman then you can swank
That as a Boy first class you passed through the tank.
I?m told that one day when all looked serene
The R.P.O. found the brightwork not clean.
Now in the R.N. this is a serious crime,
Brass should be polished-you ought to see mine.
You as a novice will have to go through it
And somehow I don?t think you ever will rue it.
Perhaps a Doctor, a Barber or Bear you may be
When I meet you again in the Royal Navee.
?Here we have the Canteen first Hand
who up to now has been mostly on land.
I?ve been told by all my Mermaids and Whales
They think you muck about with the scales.
My Barber and Bears deal with him as you wish
He said he had ?liver? when he only had ?fish??
?The court is ended; our work is done,
We hope you?ve all enjoyed the fun.
We?re leaving now for the watery deep
Where the Mermaids, Whales and Fishes sleep.
Old subjects all and new ones too
We wish good luck to all of you
A pleasant sojourn in the South
A quick return to old Portsmouth.
When you get back to Pompey Yard
And meet your loved ones near the Hard
Remember Neptune?s wish is this
?A life of long, unending bliss.??
The Line-The Impressions Of A Novice
I am a young O.D. on the ?New? still, and have, what I consider, quite a prepossessing appearance, when compared with some of the older men with whom I work; this in no way detracts from my net value as a ?Good hand,? although, I must confess this is my first ship, as I was drafted direct from the Boys Training Establishment at Pompey, H.M.S. ?St. Vincent.?
Now that I have sufficiently introduced myself, it will be simple for you to understand how very bucked I felt when an old three badge leading hand came along to me and pleaded-yes it?s quite true-actually pleaded and I?m not quite sure that he didn?t have tears in his eyes with me, to record in writing my impressions of the initiation ceremony as carried out on the occasion of our ?Crossing the Line? last year on our way to Port Natal. Had the sauce to call me a ?Greenhorn,? but as he said, the younger members of the Navy are far better educated than the older ones, hence his earnest appeal to me for help and my reply to it.
As soon as we left Bermuda, in July, for our cruise in South American waters, dark mutterings were heard between the older members of the ship?s company, which were abruptly discontinued when any of us junior ratings (I think this sounds much better than the term O.D., don?t you?) approached within hearing, or else we were greeted with ?Hello townie? or ?Here?s Queenie,? or still worse in my opinion, ribald remarks as to what toilet articles are used to preserve the ?Schoolgirl complexion.?
However, to continue, one often came across these secret societies and in time it was borne upon me that it had something to do with a ceremony of which only the very oldest and saltiest members of the R.N. could possibly know anything about, namely-the inevitable visit of King Neptune to the ship when she arrived at the Equator. One heard such remarks as ?I bet he didn?t, she was in England from 1906 till 0910? and again in a voice full of meaning, ?where?s his certificate then,? and other confusing snatches of conversation.
Well, although young, I was determined to show these ancients an example of what a modern Navy really could do, by getting to the bottom of thee mysterious mutterings.
Have determined thus, the first thing to do was to gain the confidence of one of those Old Salts who appeared to be, after being closely watched for a while, one of the Leaders of the Movement. This proved fairly easy to one, who as I have mentioned before, is of pleasing appearance. Actually, one or two appeals to Stripey?s? vast store of knowledge, as to details of such an incident which that threatened to upset all my carefully arranged plans, to say nothing of my personal feelings. However, after a little dallying on this manner, Stripey after extracting from me a most solemn vow of secrecy, told me that on the arrival of any ship at the Equator, or ?Line,? as he termed it, a certain time honoured traditional ceremony was carried out I which only those who had crossed the line on some previous occasion were allowed to participate.
Everyone else in the ship, from the Captain downwards, provided they had not arrived in Neptune?s waters before, had to be initiated into these rites, which ordeal was calculated to test the stoutest of hearts, involving as it did, much dosing with unpleasant medicines, shaving with the most obnoxious mixtures and severe ducking. In fact, so was the ordeal, according to Stripey, that one had to be examined by a doctor, specially detailed, before being allowed to undergo it.
Well, the secret was out at last; my scheming had succeeded too well for my peace of mind. I remembered during my uneasy musings that one of my Instructors in the Training Establishment had impressed upon me when he bid us goodbye, not to believe all the Old Sailor?s yarns, and I can assure you I derived no little comfort from that, while awaiting the fateful day of my initiation.
During the afternoon of the 24th August, there appeared on the notice board, quite suddenly and mysteriously, a signal purporting to have come from King Neptune himself, challenging our progress further south, without his permnission being asked, and informing us that a visit would be paid to the ship at a later hour in the day for the purpose of granting this permission. Need I say that I read the message with feelings difficult to describe. What was to happen under the cover of darkness? D..n the mutterings! What were these bears one heard so much about? Would it hurt? These, and a million other thoughts, echoed through my mind from then on as the appointed hour drew near.
After supper, whilst I was talking to my friend Stripey in his caboosh, a shrill whistle was heard, followed by the Bosun?s Mate calling-?Hands muster on the fo?cs?le to cross the Equator. It had come; we were actually on the Equator. Now what? Old Stripey, doubtless aware of my feelings at the time, said ?You eard, we?de better get up there,? and taking me sympathetically by the arm, he led me to the fo,cs,le where all the ship?s company, except those on watch, had assembled and looked expectantly towards the bows of the ship. We had hardly gained a decent viewpoint, before we were startled by an awful sounding voice hailing us from bows and telling us to stop the ship and asking who we were. The Captain replied from the bridge to the effect that the ship was H.M.S. ?Dauntless,? and permission was requested from King Neptune to enter the Southern Hemisphere. A weird looking creature came forward emitting a kind of green halo, amid spouting of water, and declared itself to be a Herald of King Neptune, who had sent a message to say that we were to prepare for a visit from His Watery Majesty on the morrow at 0930, when all Novices would have to be presented to him.
My relief at hearing that the dread ceremony was not to take place until the next day can be imagined, especially as we could discern in the dim light huge forms covered with hair, making terrifying noises and wandering restlessly about in the fore part of the ship. With a gesture of farewell and a promise to take our message down below, the herald, after delivering a package, which we learned contained our summonses to Court, walked or crawled for?d exuding a frightful smell, found to be caused by bad eggs thrown at him by some of the ship?s company as a token of friendship. However, with a final flourish of trumpets, the fo?cs?le became deserted and the only thing to do was to wait until the next morning.
Than night I received my summons to attend the Court of King Neptune on the morrow at 0930, failing which, I was to answer at my peril and to the delight of Neptune?s Trusty Bodyguard.
Early next morning I found a copy of the Equatorial Times on the breakfast table, and read, marked, learned and inwardly digested the paragraph headed ?Advice to Novices.?
Needless to say the Captain arranged the routine in accordance with the orders of King Neptune, and at the appointed time on 25th August all was in readiness to receive the Royal visitor and his retinue.
Stripey had advised me to get aft early, to get a good view, so I chose No. 5 Gun Deck, which I considered an ideal place to view proceedings in ?safety.?
I discovered to my amazement and amusement that our Marine Detachment had all donned some really ferocious looking sets of whiskers, and were decorated with medals of every description, while the Captain of royal Marines looked too funny for words with his Captain Kettle beard, which I noticed he had some difficulty in keeping fixed.
Oh come, Captain Gumm,
Was the oakum ticklesome?
Or maybe what?s more rummy
Perhaps it wasn?t Gummy?
Then came King Neptune. What a Salty, venerable stately and well-proportioned figure to be sure, and on his arm, Queen Amphitrite. An insertion, Venus personalised I thought her.
What of the others? There were some with terrible looking knives and things, one with a tall hat and an overall like a doctor uses. Stripey had been right, here was a Doctor.
Another with something-Oh save us!-it?s a large razor. What a gathering! However, after inspection of the Guard and lots of speeches, the whole Court took seats around a huge tank and the ceremony began. One of the Court, wearing the sort of hat that one sees college kids wearing, raised his voice and demanded the presence of the first of the novices, who happened to be the Commander (E.) After a charge had been made against him for making black smoke, King Neptune sentenced him to blathered with black soap and shaved all over.
Being well out of the way, I laughed very much at this, but d..n near cried when I saw the ugly bears deal with him in the bath. Ny turn was to come! In due course I appeared before the Court, but by now, at the expense of others, I had overcome a great deal of my nervousness and so managed to put on an air of unconcern on being seated in the Barber?s chair. The Doctor chap pushed the neck of a bottle half way down my throat and I swallowed some most shocking stuff-salt water. Then the Barber filled my mouth with lather-what a concoction on his brush; I had hardly recovered my breath, when they tipped up the seat and backwards into the bath I went and was terribly mauled by the bears, those grimy hordes of King Neptune.
Well, it?s over. Good fun watching others goes through it after I?d been through it myself. It was really good fun Stripey, you old devil! I have in my possession, dear reader, a certificate of this important event of my life, and now rank with Old Salts and Stripeys and am truly a Son of the Sea. Believe me, my next Station if possible, will have the Equator as part of it, so that I may take advantage of the right to participate in the ceremony, and I think, with my fair skin I try my hand at the role of Queen Amphitrite, ?You ?eard.?
On the 27th August the Brazilian coast was sighted, and we soon dropped anchor outside the breakwater at Port Natal, and awaited a favourable tide to enter. In the afternoon we embarked a pilot who took us over the bar at the mouth of the river Grande del Norte at 12 knots. Quite a crowd witnessed our arrival alongside.
The town is situated at the mouth of the river. The buildings are well constructed and quite modern, but the streets, with the exception of the High Street, which is constructed of cobbles, are very bad. The principal industry and export is cotton; there is also a trade in lizard and snakeskins for the manufacture of ladies shoes.
The number of British people at Port Natal is small. The natives maintain a very low standard of civilisation; they can live, in what they consider comfort, on 10d. a day.
One satisfying feature to many of us was the fairly cheap and plentiful lager beer (10d. per litre bottle). Something of a charge after paying anything from a shilling to two shillings per pint in the West Indies. Life in general was very quiet; no cabarets, and most people in bed by 10.30 p.m.
Large crowds on the jetty daily were greatly interested in our routine habits. On Sunday 30th, 5,500 inhabitants paid us a visit during the course of the afternoon. How very awkward trying to point out the items if interest to them by gestures only. Our band?s performance on the upper deck in the evening drew large crowds of listeners alongside, who enthusiastically applauded every selection.
A dance in honour of our visit was given at the Aero Club, the principal meeting place of Natal society.
Portuguese is the language spoken throughout Brazil, whereas Spanish is spoken in all other South American countries. We left on the 2nd of September, when the pilot carefully took us over the bar, and after dropping him, we carried on for the next port in Brazil.
At Bomfim, some 25 miles N.W. of Natal, is a group of lakes where bathing in fresh water amid picturesque surroundings may be indulged in. When a couple of friends from the Natal Power Station suggested a picnic in such an alluring spot, volunteers to provide ballast for cars were not lacking. A store of sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs was laid in, and a call at the local wine store supplied the (very necessary) liquid refreshment in the form of sundry bottles of beer neatly packed in ice and sawdust. The sharp edges of the box were a little hard to the shins, but nobody minded that. The streets of Natal were soon left behind and we swept in fine style up the hill, past the cemetery, and on the main road for Bomfim. Now main roads in the Province of Rio Grande del Norte do not at all resemble the Kingston bye-pass. The ?Carriage way? is deep sand and the wheel tracks are so deep, that it is almost impossible to leave them. When two vehicles have to pass, one has to edge into the thick bush, which bounds the road on both sides, while the other squeezes past in low gear. Originally the tracks may have been straight, but sooner or later one car skids and all others have to follow the skid, which in consequence gets exaggerated until sections of the road would break a snake?s back should he try to follow it.
Talking of snakes, our host pointed out the spot where on a previous journey they came across an 18ft python, asleep in the middle of the road. Disturbed from his siesta, he made off into the bush, but was pursued and killed with sticks.
About six miles from Natal we passed the French airmail station, where mails from all over South America are collected for shipment of Dakar, on the West African coast, in special fast mail boats.
After an hour?s ride we made a halt for lunch, and at the same time investigated a nest of termites or white amts. These terrible pests have a passion for wood, and starting at the bottom of a tree or any wooden article they fancy, they eat their way to the interior, until nothing is left except a hollow shell. Their nest is a wonderful piece of architecture with storehouse, royal chamber, nurseries, and even an attic at the top for ventilation. The queen is an enormous creature with a body of distended with eggs that she cannot move from her apartments or even feed herself. The soldiers are distinguished by the colossal heads, which are armed with formidable jaws. We soon wished that we had left the nest alone, for in a short time there were termites everywhere. We left them to repair their nest and continued our journey. Just before reaching our destination we entered the little town of San Juan and had a look round the square, with the church on one side and the prison on the other.
Some prisoners were looking through a grating across the deserted square.
The last half-mile to the lake selected for our bathe was covered on foot, through a thick growth of wild pineapples, down to a sandy shore with its fringe of cocoanut palms. The lake was almost circular, and two miles in diameter. The temperature of the water was about 70 degrees, and it was so clear that the sandy white bottom was perfectly visible. One member of the party caused some surprise by diving to the bottom and re-appearing wearing a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles, dropped by some previous bather. A rest on the warm sand a spell of rugby practice with a cocoanut for a ball, another dip, then thoughts turned towards the last surviving bottle of beer. Alas there is many a slip-the ice had now melted, and the bottle was thick with damp sawdust. There was a bang and the delectable golden beverage was quenching the thirsty ground. ?Just wiping the muck off and the neck came off in me and, explained the culprit. The coon might have known that a bottle of beer that has been well shaken on a Brazilian road, on a hot day, is as sensitive as a No. 9 detonator.
The return journey soon took our minds off the painful incident. Our host explained that he would like to lower the record for the trip, which then stood at one hour and ten minutes. He succeeded! We got back in three minutes under the hour. The speed does not sound much, but that hour provided enough thrills to last the most hardened road hog a twelve months. The frame of the car whipped so much that the doors would not stay shut, and the open exhaust kept up a defining roar. We were given a demonstration of how the car would keep to the ruts, skids and all, without a hand on the wheel. The bridges made of loose planks-rattled horribly. We were not a little relieved when we arrived back safe and sound after a most enjoyable picnic and a very thrilling experience of motoring in Brazil.
One sees few British cars in Brazil. Not many British makers test their models under conditions such as exist there; consequently, the ground clearance is very small, the turning circle too large for many of the bends, and the gear ratios too high. An efficient service of spare parts is also very necessary, for breakages and wear take a very heavy toll.
We anchored off Pernambusco on the evening of the day of our departure from Port Natal. When about eight miles from our anchorage, we came across two very primitive sailing rafts, consisting of a few logs lashed together, with a mast and triangular sail. The occupants sit on boxes and spend the day fishing. These rafts spend about six hours a day going right out to sea, usually out of sight of land, but they always find their way back. Europeans have attempted fishing out on these rafts, but they have always returned suffering agony due to the action of the salt and blazing sun on the exposed portion of their bodies. The usual result is two months in hospital.
The R.M.S.P. Pilot who took us into harbour next morning was an interesting character; for he had taken ships in and out of the harbour for 40 years and had a son who is being educated at Harrow in England.
Pernambuco harbour consists of modern well built quays and breakwaters, bridges and warehouses; all of which are fitted with the latest models of cranes, light railways, etc., largely of British manufacture. The protection against the Atlantic rollers is formed by a long reef, which has been surmounted by a concrete wall. The space between this reef, and Recife, as it is called, has been dredged and the wharves constructed. This port is the first Brazilian harbour to be touched by south bound traffic from Europe, and there always seemed to be some type of vessel entering or leaving the harbour. The S.S. ?Arlanza,? flying the flag of British Ambassador to Brazil, who resides in Janeiro, followed us into harbour.
Sao Antonio contains the Cathedral and the Municipal Buildings; the latter section being separated from Boa Vista by a further stretch of water. Boa Vista is the residential quarter of the upper classes and foreign population. The English colony had its headquarters at the English Country Club.
It was fortunate that Brazilian Independence Day (17th Sept), fell during our visit, and we were able to join in the celebrations. We dressed ship in honour of the occasion and Captain Vivian inspected the School of Cadets. In the afternoon we joined in the Annual Sports of the English colony, held at the beautiful country Club. Our athletes could hardly be expected to compete on equal terms in events, for which their opponents had trained for months, but they gave a very good account of themselves in the ?all comers? events and the tug-o-war resolved itself into a demonstration by two ships teams.
To Grap Zeppelin
For a couple of days, per orders, our ?Human Harkers? had been listening patiently for the Graf Zeppelin, which was crossing the Atlantic to Pernambuco-our next port of call. She was heard talking to a merchant ship, and her base at Friedrichshaven, and we hoped to be at Pernambuco before her to witness her arrival, but she made such good progress that she beat us by a few hours. Our disappointment was short lived, for during the afternoon of our arrival on 3rd September, we received an invitation from Dr. Eckner to visit his great airship.
Tramcars conveyed a large party of officers and men from the ship for a distance of about 4 miles through the three parts of the City, viz, Recife, San Antonio and Boa Vista, over several bridges, out into the suburbs, to the field where the ?Graf? was secured to a short mooring mast, with her foremost observation and control car, almost touching the ground.
We were impressed by the huge size of her cigar shaped envelope and marvelled at the smallness of the five gondolas, two on each quarter and one under the tail; these five contain the engines and propellers to drive her through the air at a cruising speed of about 80 m.p.h.
Under her fore part was a fairly large car, containing the control cabins, dining and observation compartments for the passengers and crew. We had a good look round her from the outside; several were fortunate enough to go through the inside and had yarns with most of her officers and crew. One of the W/T operators-there was three that spoke perfect English. The under side of the envelope was covered with English names and addresses; in fact the ?Zeps? visit to England seems to have been most popular. Perhaps the personality of her Captain, Dr. Eckner, was partly responsible.
She had a complement of 45m and 10 passengers were booked for her return trip to Germany at about ?400 per head. She was due to leave at 8 p.m. and was filled with Hydrogen and Blue gas, carried by pipe, up the mooring mast and through a connection on her nose.
Owing to unforeseen delay, she did not leave until 2 a.m., and we had a good view of her in moonlight as she hovered over the city and ?Dauntless,? before shaping her course across the Atlantic to Germany. She took a mail for us and it would be undoubtedly safe to say here, that this is the first British Warship?s mail carried across the Atlantic by air, for even the commercial airway routes include fast steamers on part of their journey, e.g. Natal of Dakur (Africa). To Dr. Eckner, we wirelesses the following 0305 on 4th September: -?From ?Dauntless? to Dr. Eckner, Graf Zeppelin. Captain, Officers, and Ship?s Company of ?Dauntless? wish to thank you and your staff for the great courtesy you extended to them today. They wish you Bon Voyage, fine weather, and many more successful trips.?
At Pernambuco-Tuesday, 8th September
Don?t you believe it folks, its all bunkum. What I mean to say is, when you open your Radio Review or Broadcasting Weekly and read personal pars eulogising those mysterious individuals whose voices come to you over the either uttering such profundities as ?Fat stock prices today, Lean cattle 63/-, or 400 cigarette coupons,? don?t start thinking they are mystic beings, medicine men or anything like that-they?re not. Except for occasionally pronouncing quite-?quate? and emphasising the ?P? in sausages, they are as human as we are; be assured on that point.
What d?ye say? How do I know?
Well-you see, five of us members of the Ship?s Concert Party met the broadcasting people and were initiated into all the mysteries of the procedure, when we broadcasted from the studio of the Radio Co. de Pernambuco during the visit of the ?Dauntless? to the city.
This is how it all came about.
Two of us were in the dressing room of the English Country Club, discarding the clowns rig, in which we had been entertaining the children of the members, during their annual sports in the club grounds, when our companion in crime, a club member garbed as a policeman Keystone type-returned from answering a telephone call and threw himself despondently into a chair. The gentleman who acted so, normally a gay individual, was a Mr. Seely, an energetic worker on the British Community?s Entertainment Committee, and as it transpired, the established announcer for all British items broadcast in the town.
?What?s the matter?? We asked.
?I?m done in the eye,? was the reply.
?Well, I had hoped to get you ship?s Band to broadcast tonight, but they can?t manage it. I wanted them for the British Hour.?
During this hour, which is from 8 till 9 every Tuesday evening, an all-British programme is broadcasted for the benefit of the English-speaking subscribers in the area.
Not being very clever in the sympathetic line, we maintained a discreet silence, but our ?civvy? chum did not retain his despondent mood long.
?I say,? he exclaimed suddenly, ?what about you chaps doing a turn??
?Eh! What! Who! - Us Broadcast??
?Yes! Why not? Do the stuff you did at the Concert here last night. We?ll get some more of the Concert Party to assist. There?s nothing in it.?
He ended on a wave of enthusiasm.
Nothing in it! Visions beset us of standing before an unresponsive microphone, talking amd singing to an invisible audience, possibly numbering thousands, with no opportunity, so to speak, of feeling their pulse, will I ask you?
Still, it?s a short life and a gay one, and they can?t throw bad eggs or hit one with the soft side of a hard brick through the microphone. We can try anything once.
?All right,? we said, ?we?ll chance it.?
?Good! That?s the spirit. Now we?ll get some of the others on the phone.?
In response to our telephonic messages and explanations three more of the Concert Party started from the ship and, coming by taxi, soon joined us at the Club.
We required our Captain?s permission to broadcast and were fortunate not only in the readiness with which permission was granted, but also in the expediency with which it was obtained; the Captain being then present at the Club. On hearing that this would be our first essay at blinding the ?mike? with science, he kindly gave us some hints, culled from his own experience, which we found very helpful in practice.
The six of us taxied to the studio, arriving there at five minutes to eight. The management cordially received us and also by a number of Brazilian actors and actresses, who were on the premises; then we sat listening to a pianoforte duct, which was in progress, watching the players through the observation windows of the cabinet. We were reminded of the necessity for absolute silence in the cabinet, when not actually performing; then: -
Eight o?clock! Zero hour. Like so many conspiring members of the Black Hand Gang, we tiptoed into the cabinet to do or die. The door closed behind us and lo we were in a region of silence as of the tomb.
Have you ever been inside a broadcasting studio? This is what the one at Pernambuco is like.
The room was about 20 feet long and 12 feet across. The walls were 18 inches thick and made of sound proof fibre and mill boarding, with three observation windows let in. Suspended at intervals were framed and autographed photographs of Brazilian theatrical celebrities. At one end of the room, 2 feet from the wall and five feet from the floor, the microphone was suspended and in one corner nearby was a table containing the signal lights and switch panels. High up on the wall, within easy sight of the artists, was an electrical signal box. It was similar to the electrically illuminated indicators one sees on the platforms of the stations of the London Underground. You know what I mean, those, which light at intervals and indicate, ?The next train goes to Wimbledon? or ?Crystal Palace? or ?Scotland Yard? or any station except the one to which you particularly want to go. The box in the studio was divided into panels, and in each section was a word or phrase in Portuguese (of course), for the guidance of the artists.
English they would probably read ?Too loud?-?Too soft?-?Harsh
Mr Seely started the ball rolling by announcing us. Then we had a go. Not being conversant with the language of the country, we were a bit at sea at first over the positioning and enunciation signals but by dint of much pushing and frantic use of the deaf and dumb language, they soon got us where they wanted us, and we did our stuff. Our programme consisted of piano and dulcimer solos, patter, cross talk and songs. Things went swimmingly. Our time was up and we were singing our final chorus, as it seemed, before we had got properly started.
Again the red light flickered, the switch was broken and the ordeal was over. The announcer and two or three of the Brazilian professionals, who spoke English, congratulated us.
Had we really put up a good show? Or were they just being nice and polite? From the spontaneity of their praise we deemed the former to be the case, and so emerged from the cabinet with firm tread and uplifted heads to receive further congratulations, over the phone this time, from the British Consul and others.
Broadcasting! Huh! It?s a gift.
We were told of a letter from a chap in Tooting, London, S.E., who some weeks previously had ?got? Pernambuco during the British hour. I wonder if anybody in the British Isles was listening into Pernambuco on the night of our efforts.
We were also told of numerous letters from British and U.S. Merchant Ships crews, who had enjoyed the hour?s programme at various times. We left the premises swathed in a mantle of complacency-a cloak which seldom rests comfortably upon the shoulders of ?we shy sailors? in these precocious days of jazz and wireless-and so to bed.
We are now changing over to the next page, where you will find much better reading matter.
As Seen At The Children?s Sports At
Some people are born clowns, some achieve clownship, but those of whom we now write, had clownship thrust upon them. On the evening of our concert at the Country Club, one of our hosts, an active social worker, suggested that on the morrow we should play the clown at the kiddies sports. I looked anxiously to my partner, but he had fainted at the shock and almost spilled his beer. A timely application of smelling salts revived him somewhat, and, as our host would take no refusal, and himself undertook the role of policeman, clowns we were doomed to be.
On the afternoon of the 8th August 1931, we repaired to the club to ?do our stuff.? The Clerk of the Weather had been in rather aggressive mood, but the thought of the kiddies must have softened his heart. It was a gay scene, which met our gaze. The excellent and well-kept grounds at the club were bedecked with flags, but gayer still were the laughter and chatter of the young guests. All were intent on doing full justice to the varied programme of events, and old King Sol had now come out of his temporary retirement to beam brightly on the animated scene.
Our turn was to be a complete surprise, so to avoid interfering with the scheduled programme; we waited until the afternoon was well advanced. Having donned our costumes and disguised ourselves with grease paint, we sallied forth to our great adventure. Our appearance was the signal for a combined attack from the youngsters, and my word what a time they gave us! One would have thought that they would be tired out with all the running and jumping they had indulged in during the afternoon, but no, they simply charged us all over the place. On one occasion, the clowns were making an attack on the policeman, but were themselves attacked by the children in such force, that soon there was a gigantic scrum, with clowns and policemen at the bottom. When the ground cleared a bit, there appeared the clowns receiving a good dressing down from a wee maid of about six for assaulting the police, while the somewhat bedraggled ?Robert? was consoled with sweets by other young sympathisers.
The prize giving came as a welcome relief, especially as special prizes had been provided for the clowns and policeman. This consisted of three bottles of beer, gaily with al three, but with the aid of the children, was soon recaptured. We should have been clowns indeed had we let him get away.
Our visit to Pernambuco seems to have been popular. The Church Parade with the band aroused great enthusiasm and many favourable comments on the marching of the ship?s company were heard.
At the time of our visit the political situation in Brazil was somewhat uncertain, to put it mildly, there having been a first class revolution 6 months before and the Army appeared to dislike the political regime we found in force. I doubt whether the Captain very much relished his experience of Independence Day when the Governor of the Province had asked him to attend a march past of the troops in the morning. On arrival at the palace, the captain found the Governor and his entourage in a large drawing room, outside the window of which was a balcony overlooking the main square. Just before the march past started, the Governor told the Captain That he had been rather doubtful about holding this ceremony, as he thought someone might take the opportunity to have a shot at him, and then invited the Captain to stand beside him on the balcony. ?Eh?? said the Captain, ?oh yes, certainly, certainly.?
Luckily no shots were fired, but it was not an envious position to be in.
We had a wonderful send off as we slipped away from the jetty, ringing cheers from a vast crowd of British and Brazilians came floating across the water. Soon we were rolling down to Rio but many will remember Pernambuco as the ?Matelot?s Paradise.?
A heavy morning mist still hung over the rugged mountainous coast as we approached Rio on the 14th September. This may have robbed the world-renowned view of some of its distinctness, but it also emphasised the mysteriousness of the weird mountains, which surround the Brazilian capital. Soon we distinguished the shape of the famous ?Sugar Loaf? and knew that we were at the entrance of one of the world?s finest harbours.
The entrance is but three-quarters of a mile but the bay stretches northwards for about 15 miles and varies in width between two and seven miles. It is dotted with islands and flanked on all sides by mountains. Behind the city rises the Tijuca range, spurs of which juts out towards the bay and divides the city into sections. The entrance is fortified and we noticed the Fort Santa Cruz which, when we were standing by at Trinidad during the Brazilian Revolution of 1930, caused a mild sensation by firing on a German liner.
On the way to our berth alongside the R.M.S.P. jetty, at the foot of the ?Anoite? building, we fired salutes to the Republic, to the President and to the Senior Brazilian Naval flag. The island fort at Villegagnon replied these to. Rio is the principal Brazilian naval port and we were interested in the ships. We noted the battleship ?Minas Geraes,? built by Armstrongs in 1908. She is a powerful ship and twelve 12-inch guns and a speed of 21 knots, but she looked her age. Another interesting ship was the ?Ceara,? with her brood of submarines; as well as acting as parent ship she has facilities for the salvage and docking of submarines.
Petropolis is the ?Simla of Rio? and is a favourite weekend resort in summer. It is 2,600 ft above sea level and some35 miles from the Capital. The Leopoldina Railway-owned by a British Company serves the town, whose guests we were on the day of our visit.
The first part of the journey was fairly level. We noticed that many of the locomotives used wood for fuel and had large wire baskets in the funnels to prevent hot cinders from escaping. To our right lay the harbour, with its countless islands, to our right and ahead the curious shapes of the Organ Mountains. One peak was quite regular in shape, except for a couple of excrescences like of God,? was pointed out to us. It is 1,500 feet high and as slender in proportion as a finger. When we arrived at the fort of the mountains, ?Raiz da Serra,? the train was split into three sections and three rack locomotives, burning special compound fuel imported from Cardiff, panted up the gradient of 1 to 4 with two coaches each. The mountain scenery is most beautiful and the air grows progressively more stimulating. Our hosts must have been well aware of the Latter fact, for though it was but 11 a.m. when we arrived at Petropolis they immediately set before us a first class luncheon, to which we did full justice.
Thus fortified we set out to view the town, which combines manufacturing industry with floral beauty and majestic mountain scenery. From Independencia, a little way out of the town, one can look back on Rio, over 30 miles away. We were favoured with a clear day, and with the aid of glasses could pick out the familiar landmarks of the city.
An interesting half hour was spent looking over one of the up-to-date cotton mills. After this we were entertained to tea-the air of Petropolis is good for the appetite! We saw some interesting examples of Brazilian furniture Brazil is famous for its fine timbers, and the craftsmanship is worthy of the material.
The return journey was made on the new concrete motor-road. The first part of this winds down the mountain slopes like a giant snake. The gradient has been carefully worked out so that the average car need not change down to make the ascent. In places the road is cut out of the Cliffside, and in others it is built out on supports and actually overhangs a sheer precipice.
We brought back with us some of the flowers we had so much admired, and also some very pleasant memories. Amongst the latter we shall never forget one of our hosts who had travelled to most parts of this little globe! He told us anecdotes of practically all the places mentioned in this book, and a great many more besides. When asked if there were any places he had not visited, he considered a moment, and then said, ?Yes, South Africa,? then half to him, ?I must remedy that!?
De Janeiro-The Corcovado Monument
The colossal ?Christus? on the summit of Corcovado, the ?hunchback? mountain which towers 2,600 feet above Rio De Janeiro and its bay, is now world famous. During our stay at Rio, in September 1931, preparations were being made for the dedication of the statue a few weeks later.
Two parties from the ship?s company visited the monument on different days. The second party was fortunate in having a clear day and had a wonderful view of the city and harbour from this unique standpoint.
On our arrival at the tramway depot in the Avenida Rio Branco (one of the world?s finest streets) we were met by guides and ushered into a special tram, placed at our disposal to take us to the foot of the mountain.
Cheers and hearty greetings met us everywhere. An hour?s ride through Rio artistic avenidas and along the sea front brought us to the mountain railway. The ascent was made on the electric rack railway, 2 ? miles in length, with two intermediate stations. The cars each carry 60 passengers. All the way there is a profusion of tropical flowers and vegetation, while the air teems with the gorgeously coloured butterflies and birds for which Rio is famous. There is a curious sense of unreality about the scene. Rio looks like a toy town with a toy harbour and toy ships. The fantastic shapes of the surrounding mountains remind one of some picture in a fairy tale book.
The statue is after a model by the sculptor Landowsky stands 98ft. high and was carried out in reinforced concrete by the Brazilian architect, H. da Silva Costa. The summit of Corcovado forms a platform about 30ft broad, 2,600ft above the bay. Here a small chapel has been built from which the statue rears itself. The modelling of the figure follows the original minutely and is covered with a mosaic of grey stone, which gives it the appearance of having been cut from rock. The monument took five years to complete, weighs 1,700 tons and cost ?180,000. The heard alone measures some 12ft in height, and the outstretched hands are 98ft apart. Powerful lights, one on the head and one in each palm, will make the monument a conspicuous landmark by night as well as by day. The text, ?Lead, Kindly Light,? is inscribed on the base of the, monument. At the time of our visit most of the scaffolding had been taken down in preparation for the dedication.
In spite of persistent rain the dedication ceremonies or, 12th October assumed impressive poroportions. In the forenoon an open air Mass was celebrated at the Fluminense Stadium, after which a procession, which included the President, Dom Getulio Vargas, and members of the Provisional Government, ascended to the top, where the Papal Nuncio said another Mass before the monument. The statue was solemnly dedicated in the presence of 50 bishops, assembled from all parts of America. Further official ceremonies took place at Botafogo in the afternoon. At 6.15 p.m. (9.15 p.m. English time), 15 minutes before the normal lighting of Rio?s wonderful lights, the flood lightning of the statue marked a link with Europe, for the relays operating the switches of the floodlights were energised from Rome when the Marchese Marconi transmitted a wireless signal which bridged the gulf between the two continents.
Those of us who visited the monument can never forget our experience. The saw-inspiring beauty of natural surroundings, the bold application of modern materials and engineering science to a great work of art and the mute invitation to the weary to enter the lovely have it commands, make the Corcovado monument impressive beyond description.
The following is from a tourist luring amphlet entitled ?Rio the Beautiful.?
The gigantic shaft of rock that guards the entrance of the harbour, rising out of the sea to a height of 13,000 feet and called ?Sugar Loaf,? is to ?Rio? what the Statue of Liberty is to New York. To come to Rio de Janeiro and not ascend this famous ?Pao de Assucar? would be as great a piece of stupidity as visiting Agra and missing the Taj Mahal. Brazilian engineers finally conquered this, for years, unscaleable peak, and now an aerial line in two sections brings one safely and rapidly to the top.
The first stop is Urea, the summit of Urea cliff, where one can lunch or dine very well at an Italian restaurant, and stroll about through miniature paths and gardens that some enterprising citizen has laid out, resembling a tiny village. The second section of this aerial railway brings one in five minutes time on the top of Sugar Loaf, and plans should be made to make the trip about five in the afternoon, when the gorgeous sunset can be enjoyed, and to await the time when the lights of the city are turned on, a sight that will always be remembered; simply magnificent.
The above really tells you all you want to know about the Sugar Loaf at Rio, but it lacks the personal touch. To begin with it is essential that persons ascending this rocks should be courageous. To swing in a quaint railway carriage, with the wheels on top instead of underneath, about 1,000 feet above the ground, its apt to bring on an attack at vertigo which can only be combated by a lively conversation on this and that with one?s fellow passengers.
The first stage of the journey, when one can see the Military Barracks and other buildings so far below, gives the impression of being in a flying machine. Urea, the half way house, is all that the pamphlet says.
The second half of the journey is over trees. On reaching the top excitement runs high, owing to the railway carriage stopping with a click and then running back along its wire for a few yards.
This gives the impression that the ?Catch retaining vehicle to Sugar Loaf? has failed, and that one is about to return to earth ?Au pas gymnastique.? Having made certain that the vehicle is actually made fast, one alights.
What a View! One enthuses. The only snag is that one has to dodge passing clouds in order to see anything.
Assuming that the party has arrived at the top of the Sugar Loaf at the right time of day, a grand spectacle is presented. A description of the view of the harbour is quite beyond me. It is very magnificent and very beautiful. Having gazed at it for a while, and having made suitable remarks, such as ?Look at that ship coming in,? and ?Look at that aeroplane down there,? one plays games. The best game to play is to try and get people tired of watching and waiting for the lights of the city to be turned on; they then go into a small house and occupy themselves with the buying of postcards and photographs of the local scenery, others but beer. At convenient intervals one says, ?Coo---er, look at that,? whereupon the buyers of postcards and beer come rushing out in fear that they have missed something, only to met by a particularly dense bunch of clouds. It?s a poor game but one must do something.
If the party is lucky the electricity will fail. When I say ?lucky? I mean that there is a pretty good thrill to be got out of being plunged into darkness with the prospect of spending the night on this lofty oubliette. Again, when the electricity has ceased to fail, there is also a kick to be got out of embarking in the railway carriage for the return journey. While slithering down the wire there is the delightful thought that the power, having failed once, may fail again, in which case it may be assumed that the return to Urea would be precipitated.
Of course these fears are absurd, as I except there is an efficient safety and interlocking gear fitted; but the power actually did fail for a short time while a party from the ?Dauntless? was at the top, and it is difficult not to allow one?s imagination to be a little bit active.
We were not slow to avail ourselves of the offer of the proprietors of the Anoite newspaper to view the city from the top of their new skyscraper. This building cannot claim to rank high among the beauties of Rio-a city of beautiful buildings-but is wonderfully fitted out, and from its flat top one can see almost the whole of Rio.
Across the bay is Nictheroy, where many British and American families reside. There is a Country Club, with an excellent field adaptable for most games. We played rugby and cricket matches on succeeding days. Rio in September is not unbearably hot after one has been acclimatised by a voyage in the West Indies.
The church Hall proved a popular resort and there was dancing every night-as a local paper remarked, ?The nice girls love a sailor.? The ship had ample opportunity to display its talent for musical and other entertainment.
To those who enjoy ?a quiet pint,? the German Bar proved a veritable haven, and of all the nationalities that people South America the German seemed most akin to us.
The Brazilian Minister of Marine arranged for a fleet of twelve cars, each containing two or three Brazilian naval officers, to be alongside the ship on 25th September to pick up officers from ?Dauntless? and take them for a sight seeing trip through Rio and its surroundings. My company was two submarine officers-lieutenants-one, a middle-aged man, could speak English perfectly. He had spent six months with the Channel Fleet in the ?Hindustan? before the War. The Prince of Wales, who was serving in that ship at the time, recognised his old shipmate when visiting Rio last March, and decorated him with the O.B.E.
The drive took us down the Rio Branco, along the spacious front, and then through Copacabana and along the marine drive to Gavea. At Gavea is situated the English Country Club, which boasts a really first class golf course, polo grounds, swimming pool and tennis courts while near by is a world famous surf bathing beach. Beyond Gavea and above the beach we stopped for cocktails at about 1030. We then followed a road, which took us further inland, passing through wonderful semi-tropical scenery, stopping at times to admire waterfall or exceptional view. Once we attained a height of about 2,000 feet, and it seemed doubtful whether the car would take the gradients, not only because of their steepness, but also because of the hairpin bends. At one place we stopped at about 1,500 feet and over the parapet, saw the whole of Rio de Janeiro spread out below us like a map, and also the whole harbour with area of approximately 100 square miles. The view was terminated by the higher mountains in the hinterland rising to a height of 6,000 feet. At noon we arrived at a hotel, which is nearly 300 feet below the summit of corcovado. We all entered the car of the mountain railway, which takes passengers to the top of corcovado from the valley, 2,200 feet below. The railway works on the cog and ratchet principle and moves little faster than walking pace.
The party then descended to the hotel again and enjoyed an excellent dinner, with dancing, which had been made possible by inviting members of the fairer sex to journey up from the city.
During our stay at Rio our dance club gave a dance, which was held at the Leme Club, a club used chiefly by the English people from the outskirts of the city. The dance, which was quite a success, gave the people some idea of how jovial sailors can be. It was during this dance that we introduced to the Brazilians the Boston Two Step. After the first try it was asked for three times, and everyone quite enjoyed it. At 1 a.m. we all wended our way back to the ship, feeling tired but happy to think we had helped to cheer someone up as well as to make quite a lot of friends. It was in Rio that our favourite saying ?You ?eard? became known all over the British Community.
Our first night was spent at the Church Hall, where dancing was held, and after that we had similar entertainment every night at the same place, excepting the one at the Leme club. On our last night in Rio the Concert Party gave a show at the Church Hall, which was much appreciated and then we danced until 1 a.m. Amid much cheering we left Rio de Janeiro for Maldonado on the evening of the 16th September.
(Punta Del Este)
After twelve glorious days at Rio the heavy swell met outside on the evening of Saturday, 26th September, was rather unwelcome. A couple of hours after sailing from Rio we left the Tropics behind, for the Brazilian Capital is very little north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
Our trip to Punta del Este was uneventful, except that on the 28th we easily maintained our designed h.p. during a steam trial. ?Ginger,? the ship?s cat was lost overboard. It is believed that he was trying to stalk an albatross. Numbers of these birds followed the ship and their graceful effortless flight was marvellous to watch.
Uruguay is the smallest of the South American republics. Its name is apparently of Indian origin and several derivations have been suggested. The best received is that which ascribes it to three Tupi words: -?Ura? (bird), ?Haf? (Hollow), ?Y? (River); briefly-river of the birds. The Republic actually took its name from the river.
Punta del Este is a fashionable Atlantic watering place about 100 miles from Montevideo, which is reached in five hours by rail. Steamers ply to and from the capital in summer.
The principal industry of the district is seal farming on the Lobos and Castelles Islands. The industry is under government control. For two years previous to our visit the seals had been left unmolested, as the numbers were rapidly diminishing. Shortly after our arrival, a dark object was observed bobbing about, which soon resolved itself into the head of a fair sized seal. He gave us a display of aquatic tricks, which earned him much applause and caused him to be dubbed ?Charlie?-after the famous film star. Finding an appreciative audience, he tried to come onboard via the jumping ladder and the lower boom. He met with little success, so attempted to swim away. Some ?witty old salt? suggested whistling him back, a suggestion which was met with derision but which, when tried, proved a complete success-much to the surprise of the assembled company and the gratification of the W.O.S.
A visit was made to Lobos Island (Lobos is Spanish for fur seal). The seals congregate in great herds on the rocks, and when a kill is to be made they are herded into a pen and the selected animals are clubbed. Only the female skins are used for fur; the male skins are used for making army boots. The curing process entails great care and takes five months. A steam process to extract the oil, which is used for lubricating clocks and delicate machinery, treats the flesh. The smaller tusks are used for making cigarette holders. In normal times 3,000 seals are killed annually, all in one week. During the day the seals spend much time asleep on the rocks and can then be approached quite closely. When disturbed they make for the water with amazing speed, negotiating the rocks with great agility.
We stayed here for a week and thoroughly appreciated a complete rest from all social activities. After a few days at Buenos Airies, our next port of call, we fully realised how necessary that rest had been.
The following is a short history of the Argentine: - It was evident that Juan Diaz de Solis sailed up the estuary of La Plata-the Mar Dulce-in 1508, and that in 1516, having returned with certain fixed resolves, was treacherously murdered by the Indians. Sebastian Cabot and Diego Garcia also made colonising and exploring efforts with some measure of success, the former building the fort of the Sancti on the spot where Rosario now stands. Silver ornaments were worn by the Indians, hence the name given to the river.
In 1535 Don Pedro de Mendoza, one of the Spanish King Charles officers, set sail for the country with 14 vessels and 2,000 men. His private wealth enabled him to make this display, but in return he exacted the condition that he should be governor of all lands within 200 leagues of the sea. To him has been given the honour of founding Buenos Aires, while his able lieutenant, Ayolas, navigated the waters of the river Paraguay and founded the town of Asuncion (now capital of Paraguay) in 1536. Then, for a space of about 20 years, Mendoza and Ayolas being dead, no one of prominence appears.
Crossing the Andes, in the teeth of all opposition from the Indians, the victorious Spaniards, who had thriven in Chile, founded such towns as Santiago del Estero, Mendoza, Tucuman, Cordoba, Salta and Tujuy. This all happened in the years 1552-1592.
Glancing eastward it is noticeable that Juan de Garay built Sante Fe on the river Parana in 1573, and on the 11th July the same soldier christened and reoccupied Buenos Aires, styling it Cuidad de La Trinidad Y Puerto de Santa Maria de Buenos Aires, which, interrupted, reads-the city of the Trinity and the haven of the Holy Mary of the Fair Winds.
By the middle of the 18th century the leading Argentine towns of today had been established. Spain must also be given the kudos for founding Montevideo, now capital of Uruguay in 1726.
In 1776 Argentine was freed from the vexatious thraldom to Peru, Buenos Aires being created the capital of the Vice-royalty of La Plata. The month of May will always be remembered with great satisfaction by the people of Argentine, for on the 25th of that month, in 1810, independent country. During the next 17 years there was war with Peru, which ended in the Argentine troops being expelled from the country.
To the westwards General San Martin had crossed the Andes and captured Lima in 1814-21. During the ship?s stay at San Nicolas our Ward Room was presented with a medal commemorating the victory of San Martin. Wars and civil wars were waged with varying success, but the total sum of the actual and astounding things won and accomplished was ?The Great Argentine Republic? of today, in extent representing 1,112,743 square miles, or equivalent to 29% of the area of Europe, containing such great rivers as the Parana, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Argentine today has the eyes of all the great industrial centres of England and other countries upon her as the Republic is a rapidly developing market for exploitation. The inauguration of the railways in the latter half of the 18th century did much to open up the interior of the country, and it is interesting to note that, whereas in 1860 there were only six miles of railroads in existence, there are now railroads from Argentine to all parts of South America, covering a distance of some 24,000 miles (1931) on which run luxuriously appointed trains of the most modern type. The greater part of the railroads, rolling stock, etc., is owned by British Companies and to those companies is due the credit of making Argentine the best served country in South America for railroads. We arrived at Buenos Aires on 9th October in no little state of curiosity.
De La Plata Or River Plate
Our quiet life at Maldonado came to an end on 8th October, when we left for Buenos Aires. Once outside Maldonado we entered the renowned Rio de La Plata, or river Plate, which so astounded that intrepid Spanish navigator, De Solis, in 1508, by its vastness-the mouth is 56 miles wised and the width of the inner end 23 miles. In length it provides a passage for shipping for about a 100 miles and forms a huge basin in which the rivers and Uruguay empty themselves. Passing ship after ship in the river Plate, we eventually arrived at Buenos Aires.
Our arrival was described in a Buenos Aires newspaper as follows: - ?Looking her part as a sweeper of the seas painted light grey-H.M.S. ?Dauntless? arrived yesterday punctual to the minute at 1.30 p.m., at which time she touched the quayside at Newport, where members of the British colony awaited her.?
In the meantime the British s.s. ?Bilbury? was on her way outward bound from the dock. Rather than take any risks, with three blasts of her steam whistle she signalled that she would stop and give way to the visiting cruiser. Then it was that British seamanship and efficiency became apparent; the ?dauntless? swung gracefully to starboard and found a passage between the outgoing tramp steamer and the breakwater. Swinging to port in her own length and ?spinning like a top,? as an onlooker expressed it, the first real glimpse of her slender and trim lines was obtained and, as she entered the dock, one could not help but compare her with the two new Argentine cruisers, ?Almirante Brown? and ?25 de Mayo,? the contrast in both colour and lines being very startling. The latter two ships were painted a dark grey, in fact, almost black, which made the British vessel look white and frail but, nevertheless, businesslike.
Most of the crews of the two Argentine ships, who were off duty, lined the sides and watched proceedings with interest and no little admiration at the smart way in which the visiting ship was handled. She never moved an inch out of her course and came alongside the quay exactly in position to a matter of inches. Throughout this operation the ship?s band had been playing a selection of airs which was music-in both senses of the word-to the ears of the British listeners onshore; such old favourites as ?Rule Britannia,? ?Life on the Ocean Wave,? ?The Bay of Biscay,? ?Home Sweet Home,? etc. As soon as a gangway was lowered, Captain Vivian and his officers received onboard officers of the Argentine cruisers and a number of prominent British residents and officials.
Buenos Aires, the capital, 6,121 miles from Southampton, is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, and, when viewed from its seaward side, offers very little in the way of scenery beyond a huge line of docks and wharves, alongside which may be seen ships of every sea trading nation, all busily engaged loading and unloading.
We were very fortunate in being berthed just ahead of the above-mentioned cruisers and alongside a wharf, which was used solely for embarkation. Having no warehouses the centre of the jetty was tastefully laid out in gardens and lawns plentifully sprinkled with garden seats and shady trees. A short walk brought one to the main thoroughfare. Our stay was one of 12 days duration, and most of the time was devoted to ?seeing the sights,? which were many and varied, so much so, in fact, that one left with a feeling that one had time to see half of them. The most unappreciative of persons cannot visit the city without noticing the fine taste of the Argentine nation, which is shown in the way the town is laid out, and although laid down in the 16th century, has been almost rebuilt since 1900.
On every hand one comes across shady plazas, the most important being that in the Avenida de Mayo, where the Government House or ?La Casa Rosado,? so called because of the pink coloured stone used in its construction, occupies the place of honour. This is the official residence of the president. Other fine buildings in this plaza are the Cathedral, the Archbishop?s residence, which is built on the site of the first church in Buenos Aires, dating back to 1600, Congress Halls, the Mint and various Museums. Running at right angles to the Avenida down to the wharves are the wide busy thoroughfares, where most of the principal European firms and banks have their branches.
Visits were paid to several of the Picture Theatres, of which there are about 140, and many of which show English or American ?Talkies? of the latest type.
An invitation was extended to us by the Anglo Frigorifico Company to visit its factory, where every phase of the work of a modern ?meat? factory was seen. It is the largest of 178 factories in the Argentine, of which 13 are on the river Plate and at Bahia Blanca and five in Patagonia.
Anglo Frigorirfico At Buenos Aires
Through the mediations of Mr. Burton of the Missions to Seamen, and the courtesy of the Anglo Frigorifico, a party of 100 ratings from the ship was entertained at the factory on 18th October. Transport in the form of two chars-a-bancs was provided by the company and the drive, by way of the beautiful Marine Parade, was an outing in itself.
On arrival, the party was split up and taken on a tour of the entire establishment by different routes. Let us attach us to one of these parties and follow the route, which the cattle take from corral to chilling room.
We note the fine quality and good condition of the animals-Herefords, Shorthorns and Angus-offsprings of some of the finest English pedigree stocks. When all the beef exported from Argentina was ?canned,? the quality was not so important, but in these days of ?chilling? the beef may be on the table at home three weeks after entering the Frigorfico. It must therefore compete with the home killed product.
The animals are first thoroughly washed, passing through a bath about 20 yards long, then remaining for at least five minutes under a shower. The killing floor is at the very top of the building, and to reach it the animals walk up a slipway, 200 yards long. If necessary, they are urged forward with a touch of the ?electric stick,? which supplies the necessary stimulus without marking the hide or flesh.
The killing pens are in two sections-three animals in each. Each animal in turn is despatched by perforating the skull with a single blow from a long handled hammer. The method is quite humane in the hands of an expert. The hind legs to an overhead railway and passes on to the various workers and inspectors immediately sling the carcase.
After bleeding, the hide is removed-not by one man, but by several operating in turn. Those who skin the flanks have the most difficult job and are the best paid; heads come next and so on. The whole process is wonderfully rapid and efficient.
The standard of cleanliness is most comfortable. Government inspectors take certain glands, etc., for inspection, and any carcase condemned as unfit for human consumption is immediately destroyed by fire. Those that are passed are stamped accordingly.
The carcase is ?split? by means of an electric saw an operation, which takes but a few minutes but was a long and laborious task with the old fashioned cleaver.
The quarters of beef pass on to the chilling room, where they are thoroughly cooled. They do not again come to the open atmosphere till they reach Europe. The temperature is carefully controlled both here and on the voyage, so that the meat is not frozen, yet is kept cool enough to prevent deterioration.
A great factory like the ?Anglo? naturally has many side shows-there is a whole department for the manufacture of tins, packing cases barrels by the most up-to-date methods. Hides receive preliminary treatment before export. The power station and refrigerating plant are marvels of engineering efficiency. Adequately to describe all these departments would take more space than the editor can allow.
When the tour of inspection was ended, all the parties assembled in the large dining hall, where tea was laid. The refreshments were all products of the company, and their excellence can be vouched for.
The manager, Mr. Stella, expressed the pleasure of the company at being able to entertain British Naval visitors, and gave a brief outline of the history of the company. The ?Anglo? is controlled by Lord Vestey and is (justly) accounted a monument to British enterprise in Argentina.
The party carried a vote of thanks to the Company, Management and Guides with acclamation, and an impromptu singsong, followed by the drive home, by a different route, concluded one of the best outings of the commission.
Some of our readers may have a fondness for statistics. Here are a few from the Anglo Frigorifico: -
5,000 cattle killed per day
10,000 sheep killed per day
2,000 pigs killed per day (at certain seasons)
1,500 turkeys killed per day (for three months)
300,000 eggs graded and packed per week
10,000 tons of water used per day
These figures may be little bewildering; let us try to get a mental picture of what they mean. If all the tails were placed end to end they would reach from here to -------- (deleted). If the hides were placed side-by-side and carefully sewn together with sail maker?s twine, they would make a hearth rug for the place at the other end of that trail of trails. If all the ?moos,? ?bass,? grunts and ?gobbles? could be gathered together in one place and made into one big Moobaagruntgobble, the ?Dauntless? radio gramophone would sound like the end of the unfinished symphony by comparison.
The smash must have been heard all over Buenos Aires. It was when trying to steer a course across the slippery surface of the dancing part of the Humdrum Cabaret floor, fortunately unoccupied at the moment, that disaster overtook me and I involuntarily performed a spectacular somersault which ended in the crashing of a recently vacated table, the folding up for inspection of a number of glasses and ?putting the wind up? a waiter in the act of garnering in empties.
It was quite early-about midnight-in that city of laughter and tears, when, on Ginger and I entering the cabaret, this happened, and the place-a particularly bright spot, situated admist the high lights, in a quarter where night is very effectively turned into day-was comparatively full.
As my feet left the floor and described an arc in space, a kaleidoscopic view of the Cabaret?s pillared interior flashed before me. The orchestra platform at one end of the ball-the lines of small tables placed between the pillars and the smooth hand painted walls (decorated by an artist with a penchant for the nude), the polished dancing space in the centre-all the lot passed in turn before my line of vision.
As I painfully pulled myself into a sitting position, on the completion of the evolution, I found Ginger bending over me, whispering sweet words of love. ?Lumme,? he was saying, ?Some mothers do have ?em, you?re a handy built blighter, and you are. Can I take you anywhere?? and so on, but I am afraid that the ensuing lecture from Ginger on ?How not to kick a table over? was wasted, for it was at this moment that I spotted the vision coming towards me.
She (capital Ess for She) was a cabaret girl, a slim creature of twenty summers, of that pattern which is retained to minister to the recreation of tired business men when they are ?Detained at the Office.? She was the sort of fairy who is beautiful at midnight, and at 2 a.m. as you carry on imbibing, she becomes Wonderful, an Angel at 4, and at 8 a.m., when you are absent over leave. She never ought to be on this earth at all-the part of it where you are stationed anyway.
She gracefully assisted me to my feet, and as we wended our way to a table I saw ginger dolefully paying out pesos for the damage done. When we were seated I noticed the girls eyes were like those of a dying gazelle, languorous in their gaze, and she could use them with disastrous effect. She gave me one emotional glance and I?d ?been.? I was easy and bought sundry one peso drink at a cost of two pesos each. She was worth it.
It was when I momentarily disentangled myself from the absorbing interest of her charms that I noticed Ginger had not joined us and a stranger was standing at my side, studying me intently.
He was a swarthy individual of doubtful nationality; from the moment of seeing him I disliked the cut of his jib. ?My friend,? said the girl-her voice was as silvery as a bell-as she waved her hand in introduction.
His handclasp was, like his appearance, flabby and uninspiring. When greeting the newcomer I saw Ginger some tables away, in earnest conversation with a gentleman, obviously English, who frequently indicated the stranger at my side.
Ginger came back to our table as the newcomer drew his chair in.
?I spikit Ingles ver good,? said the latter, ?haf a drink?; he called the waiter and waved his hand magnificently towards the depleted glasses. The replenished glasses came back and the girl stood up. ?Excuse. Una momento. I come back,? and she was gone.
Light of my life. Curse the intruder. I?d like to blow the froth off his beer right in his eye. But he wasn?t worried over the girls departure, he was all for conversation. He could see I was still moony-eyed, so he addressed himself to Ginger. ?You have the fall of money, very bad-eh?? (He was evidently referring to the recent reduction in pay).
?The reduction in pay, you mean. Oh, that wasn?t bad. We are quite happy about it,? said Ginger.
?But you not have plenties now??
?Oh, tons-lots,? lied Ginger, with ease that made me stare at him to see if he was drunk.
?But you like mores-lot mores,? insisted the stranger.
?You bet you, we would. Nobody has too much money.? Ginger reads a lot of books with clever things like that in them.
?Well, listen,? the flabby individual grew quite confidential. ?I am beeg beezness man. What you call F-fan-fancier.?
?Dog fancier,? I said, trying to assist.
?Financier,? suggested Ginger.
?Si! Si! Yes. I make lost of money. I like you boys. I like ze British. I gif you plenty pesos.?
?Hand ?em over,? said Ginger, nonchalantly.
?Eh?-No. No. Listen, I have ze scheme? (I knew there was a catch in it). ?I make the moneys for you. You haf the English pounds? Here,? he shrugged distainfully as he indicated the Cabaret manager, ?they gif you fifteen pesos for one pound. Me you bring plenty of pounds, I give you 40 pesos for every pound, I make the deal in the city-beezness.? He leaned back, trying to look benevolent.
?Forty to the quid!? Said Ginger, ?how do you get like that??
?Very easy. You bring me moneys one day, next day I what you call invest and make plenty pesos to gif you. It is good I tell you. I prove. You being me small sum say diez-ten pounds first. When you get pesos for that and see it is-what you call-square, then next time you bring plenties-hundreds of pounds.?