Dear Mom, Dad & Jean,
Well here I am at last, I expect you have all been wondering what I have been doing with myself since I left Singapore. Well to start from the beginning, we left Singapore on June 23rd, with the “Theseus”, “Contest” and “Cockade” in perfect weather all looking forward to our “Aussie” cruise. On Tuesday we “crossed the line” and of course had to have the traditional crossing the line ceremony. The day before they erected a large canvas water tank on the flight deck with a tip up seat just jutting over the water. Then at roughly nine in the morning King Neptune and his “court” assembled on the flight deck and after the initial “proclamations” and “warrants” were read out the fun commenced. The “wild bears” were then let loose and all jumped into the water tank. Then the courts “barbers” and “policemen” prepared to carry out their “Majestic” orders. The first “arrest” was the skipper who was “decorated” for distinguished service during wartime and also for bringing so many “novices” down to Neptune’s court for passing out. He was given the “high order of the airborne sea-dog”. The next was the commander who was charged with driving the seamen to such an extent by making them “turn to”, “turn out”, “turn about” etc. that they were so mixed that they couldn’t tell their left from their right. For this “scandalous conduct” he was ordered to be “shaved” by the “barber” and thrown to the “bears”. The shaving soap was a big bucket and he was slapped all over with a big paint brush till he looked like an advertisement for Rinso. Then he was shaved by a huge cut throat razor about four feet high and finally thrown to the bears who gave him a good ducking. Of course the antics of the court and the “bears” had everyone roaring their heads off. Actually the ceremony lasted about two hours and all the “novices” were thrown to the bears. I was excused as I had crossed the line before but all the same I took no chances and kept well out of the way while the quest for victims was on.
The following day we hit rough weather and it kept on all the way down to the bottom corner of Australia. We were all dreading crossing the Australian Bight which is their equivalent of the Bay of Biscay, but much to our surprise it was “like a millpond” and it was so calm that we had flying all the way across. Well so much for our trip down, now for our reception in Adelaide.
We arrived in Adelaide on Friday about ten, just previous to entering the harbour we flew off ten “Firefly”s and ten “Seafires” who gave an exhibition of formation flying and ‘aerobatics’ over the city. When we tied up on the jetty there were quite a large number of people waiting there. The ship was soon swarming with press photographers and news reporters. The weather was very cold but quite bright. I went ashore at dinner time and we spent most of the afternoon looking around the city. It is a fair sized city about the size of Coventry I should say, but not as closely populated. It is fairly quiet and there is not really much entertainment except for dancing or pictures. The nickname for the city by the way is the “city of churces”. At night it soon got bitterly cold so we decided the best thing we could do was to take a trip to the pictures. The pictures we saw were “King of the Lumberjacks” and “Captains of the Clouds” with James Cagney. They weren’t particularly good pictures but it was at least warm. After the pictures we all got beds at the Y.M.C.A. and turned in early. On the Saturday I was duty watch and was detailed a guide to the visitors that came on board so I had a busy time explaining as much about the ship and its equipment as I was allowed to. Sunday Ken R. and myself went on an outing arranged by the Royal Naval Friendly Society, and went to the National Park for a picnic and games. At night we were entertained to a social and a supper. Monday we had an invitation to a private home where we had an evening by the fireside talking about England etc. They came from Bristol many years ago. Today I played for the “Glory” 1st IX hockey versus Adelaide University as goalkeeper. It was strange to us playing on a damp pitch but we soon settled down to a ding dong struggle. At half time we were losing by one goal to nil. Soon after half time we equalised but University soon gained their lead with a break away goal. We pressed back and again equalised from a short corner. After that it was University but we managed to hold out until five minutes from time when the right half accidentally turned the ball past me and the final game finished at that score, 3-2.
We are leaving here tomorrow for Melbourne with “Contest” as our escort destroyer. We are due to arrive on Friday morning with the rest of the fleet – “Theseus” and “Cockade”.
I expect you have received my letter or rather envelope with the newspaper cuttings in. Every day there is something in the papers about the activities of the “Glory” or the ships company so you can guess we are getting quite a fair amount of publicity on this cruise. On the trip down to Melbourne we are taking seven news reporters, photographers and wireless agents which are broadcasting two or three times daily programmes entitled “Life on the Glory” etc, so it looks as though we shall be even more in the news at Melbourne.
Well Mom, I am afraid I shall have to sign off now as it is nearly suppertime so until next time,
All my love as always,
Be seeing you soon.