Bowler war diary, 21 May-July 1917 / William (Bill) Gordon Bowler - Page 5

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[Page 5]

We steamed down Port Phillip and dropped anchor off Sorrento Point just inside the Heads. Just ahead of us we saw the Transports "Boorawa" and "Clan McGilvery". The wind at this time was blowing a gale and promised a lively time outside. We remained at anchor all night, and next day the transport "Benalla" arrived, and after going up the Bay, returned. About 4.30 p.m., a Destroyer steamed between Transports signalling orders, and '' one of our Signal Corps read the following Morse message --- "Convoy proceed to sea, line ahead, "Benalla" leading "Shropshire" "Ascanius " "Clan -McIlvery" "Boonara" following. As the destroyer passed close on our port side, the troops aboard gave her a tremendous cheer. She then put on full speed, turned sharply astern of us, and raced ahead to take up her station at the head of the line. Judging by the speed she put on, her crew certainly lead a very fast life at times. The wind by this time was blowing a gale, and even in the port the waves were going clean over the Destroyer's bows as she sped through them. As our ship was a bit slow weighing anchor, the destroyer winked back and wanted to know what the devil we were wasting time over. The Search-lights at the Heads looked very fine playing on the waves as they rolled in over the reef where the R.M.S. "Australia" came to grief some years ago. We had written our final letters and the Mail after being censored was to be sent ashore by the Pilot. We steamed well outside under the lee of the shore, and the Convoy stopped to drop

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