[Comment in margin] H.M.T. Port Lyttleton, D30.
by one succession of blunders. Notwithstanding the prospect of being home soon everyone is grumbling and many wish they had taken the English leave to get away from the fooling about. The food on the boat promises to be plentiful & good.
Wed. 30th Oct.
We sailed at 4 p.m. on the 24th and are now six days out from Plymouth bound for Aust. via South Africa. So far we have done 1500 of the 11 or 12000 miles and I expect to be home a week before Christmas. The weather which was quite cold when we left is rapidly becoming milder and to-day is quite hot & sunny tempered by a cool breeze. We sailed out of Plymouth Sound as a convoy of nine ships with an escort of 5 destroyers – so real is the submarine peril. Every man has to wear a lifebelt from when he gets up in the morning until turning in at night. All have been allotted to a boat or raft in case of a sudden call. No lights are permitted on deck & no smoking after dusk. During the second night out our destroyers left us & also 4 of the convoy evidently bound for America. We are now 5 boats, the flagship being a fast auxiliary cruiser which steams ahead and carries at least 8 guns. The other ships all have a single gun mounted in the stern and a gun crew of naval men. The night before last we ran into a storm & had a pretty rough passage. To-day there is nothing but a big swell. No land has been sighted since we left England and no ships other than one distant convoy faintly visible on the horizon.
Sat. 2nd Nov.
On Wednesday a ship was torpedoed & sunk 60 miles from us. We are now all on our own, the aux. cruiser & other ships leaving us yesterday & steaming evidently for Sierra Leone. The weather for the past 3 or 4 days has been quite warm & is getting hotter every day. The chaps are beginning to shed their clothes. Very slow on board. Nothing to do but read. A lot of money changing hands at all sorts of gambling games. We had a death this afternoon & at 6 p.m. I saw for the first time a funeral at sea. It was one of the sailors who had contracted pneumonia.