Bowler war diary, 21 May-July 1917 / William (Bill) Gordon Bowler - Page 37

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[Page 37]

About like a dog let off the chain. One minute they will be doing 5 knots, and the next 25, or if they are in a hurry 46 knots. At 5 p,m, we passed a floating body dressed in dungaree shorts and flannel shirt. A short time later we passed the body of a Nurse on a raft. And at intervals three other men, all with life belts, but either drowned or dead from exposure. We heard from one of our Signallers that the Hospital Ship "Karoola" had been sank about 20 hours previously. Some say the submarine the Destroyer sank earlier in the day, was most likely the one that did the trick. If so, we hope they are now grilling on a red hot fire. Most of the men began to realise that there was really a war on, although it did no seem to worry them much. Some of them wanted to exchange their lifebelts for a box of matches, as they said, that after what they had seen, the former were only a nuisance, while they had been short of matches since leaving Sierra Leone. Any way I am sure if any of the "Shropshire" boys get near Fritz, here will be a new face in Hades almost immediately. In the evening we had a concert, as we expected to arrive in port the next say, (U.Boats and other circumstances permitting). Our O.C. (Major Clay) No 2 Sea Transport Section, paid us a visit, and presented prizes for chess, draughts, dominoes, euchre, and Relay races. We had held the competitions during the voyage, and the finals had taken place the day before. He said (after he had presented the prizes to the winners) "I wish to congratulate you on the work you have done on the voyage." "In my report to the O.C. at Parkhouse Camp, I have said, that every man has worked exceptionally

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