23 October 1916 – Mother may visit James in London; been to Hampton Court; Picks up distress signals from the Liner Aulaunia.

23 October 1916

Sunday

Palace

Dear Mother

I got your letter this morning but your parcel has not yet arrived. I suppose it will arrive tomorrow.  I am glad you are going along alright in Dad’s absence & I hope the change will do him good.  As regards you coming down here to see me you have driven it too late I am afraid.  If you don’t come next weekend it wont be possible.  Let me know at once if you can come next week end so that I can make arrangements accordingly.  I shall go to Cramptons for the week end if you don’t come down, so let me know at once.  The week end following I shall be home on Draft leave and shall be drafted away the following Friday.  Four of us Pulling, Moorhouse, Waygoad & myself went to Hampton Court on Saturday.  It is a fine old palace on the banks of the Thames.  All the ceilings are painted most wonderfully & old tapestries are hung on the wall.  We saw the famous vine and had a walk round the beautiful grounds.  Our final exam takes place next Thursday & I hope I pull through.  Wireless is rather an important position & you can soon make a mess by reading even one letter wrong.  I shall be able to stand the cold weather alright.  Did you see that the Cunard liner Aulaunia (1) had been sunk ?  Her distress signals (S.OS etc) were picked up on the Wireless set here.  I am glad you have got your teeth in & hope you will soon get used to the.

Hoping all are keeping well. Best love to all

James

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(1) RMS Alaunia was an ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line. It was built in 1913 at Greenrock and measured 13,405 tons gross. She was one of the three ships Cunard ordered Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company to build. These three ships were RMS Andania, Alaunia, and RMS Aurania. The Alaunia was the second of these three ships. She and her sisters had only 2nd class and 3rd class.

Alaunia was launched on 9 June 1913, and made her maiden voyage on 27 December 1913. When World War I began, she was requisitioned as a troopship. The HMS Alaunia was the first Cunard ship to transport Canadian troops. She was sent in the Gallipoli campaign by the summer of 1915. Then she worked on carrying troops to Bombay later the same year. She returned to the North Atlantic and carried troops from Canada and America in 1916.

During a voyage from London to New York, she struck a mine on 19 October 1916 in the English Channel off the Royal Sovereign Lightship of Hastings, East Sussex laid earlier that day by SM UC-16 After attempts to beach the ship and tow her to shore with tugs, her captain realized the ship was lost and finally gave the order to abandon ship. Two crew members lost their lives in her sinking. Today, the wreck of the Alaunia lies on its port side in the English Channel in 15 metres (50 feet) of water. Survivors were landed at Falmouth.

Alaunia SS is the biggest wreck on the Sussex coast. Lying on port side, bow points to the east, Extensive break up mid sections but still a very impressive site. Highest point from the scours of 3m is charted at 13.1m. Seabed: gravel.  Lying at 45° on her port side but remarkably intact. First 30m from bow almost perfect, more broken amidships and at stern. Anchor still hanging from chain at bow. Superstructure has slid down decks, wheel house lies 10m to port. Bow is 12m proud.

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