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[Page 10]

was a fire discovered in one of the cabins just after we left Freemantle, but it was soon extinguished. There were about 500 men poisoned through eating tinned fish on January 4th (ptomaine poisoning) the doctor put it down to that. Some of the men were very bad with it, I was eating a good lot of stuff at the time but I missed it someway, I was lucky. It is very hot over this way now as we are near the Equator, I believe Durham is very hot, even worse than Queensland. We have to shave every morning so I have a fairly heavy growth on me now. Our unit has a rexaphone on board, it is going from morning till night. It rains some days out here. There are a couple of albatross following us ever since we left Sydney, they look just like an aeroplanes gliding over the water, they sleep on the water of a night time.

We are still steaming west, and she does about 12 ½ knots an hour too slow, it is twilight up till 9 p.m. over here, we are at present in the Indian Ocean, I think by the time I finish this last letter it will be pretty long, but I am telling you the outline of the whole voyage. I am camped under the bridge with my unit, the boat has only one upper deck, and that is the boat deck where we drill. She has nearly 30 life-boats on board besides rafts, and 54 men are allotted to each boat, and 20 men to each raft. We have to wear white- sand-shoes and dungarees, and only uniform when ordered to do so. I wear no socks as it is too hot to have them on_, we can get hot water (salt) baths at night but fancy having a hot bath when the sweat is rolling off me writing letters. They say the signallers and buglers have

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