19 November 1916 – First voyage. Horrendous; couldn’t eat for 30 hours.

19 November 1916

HMT Nodzu

Milford Haven

Saturday

Dear Mother & Father

I have just made my first trip & some trip it has been for me. The weather has been the roughest known for a long time.

The sea has been running high and the wind blowing a gale & it has been a very good commencement for me. The Nodzu rolls pretty badly just like most trawlers & ships tons of water when in  a rough sea.  We prepared for sea on Wednesday evening last at 11 o’clock PM. I turned into my bunk & slept a bit but the rolling & tossing kept me awake most of the night.  I managed alright during the night & crept aft for breakfast on Thursday morning.  I got a bit of fish & bread down but then the fun started but not for James.  My stomach refused to obey its usual function and commenced a series of capers I did not see any need for.  It kept this business up pretty well all Thursday & after it had done its worst it quietened down & has been orderly ever since.  I had nothing to eat for 30 hours but I can now relish toast and tea alright.  We made for the Irish Sea in search of a Belgian training ship we were to escort to Queenstown but not finding her we returned to Holyhead.  I was too ill to go on deck which was awash all the trip.  Our Wireless transmitting gear bust up & we shall have to go into harbour for repairs.  From Holyhead we made for Fishguard & we are anchored there now.  I shant forget this trip in a hurry & I hope my turn of seasickness is finished for good.  It will be alright when I get used to it.  It is a hard life but I prefer it to the Palace.  Don’t send me any cash until I let you know as I shall draw more money now. Just put it away as it might come in handy later on.  The best things to send here are oxo cubes rather than Horlicks and some cakes will be handy enough as it is often too rough to go aft for meals.  I have done no Wireless as yet but have just been getting my sea legs.  Address my letters direct to the ship that will be the better method.  Certainly most sailors do seem a loose crowd in generally but anyone who knows the rough & tumble life he has to lead can allow him a little grace.  Take them all round they are the best hearted of men and all of us have our bad & good points.  Most of them like their beer but of our crew only one or two ever go over the line.  They are at sea for six days and then only ashore for 1 day.  There is no necessity for anyone to do anything he does not want to.  Don’t worry about me. I can take care of myself.  I have got a very fine mate.  As I said in my last letter he is an Irish lad.  He is a Roman Catholic but is no worse for that.  We shall get on well together as he has been very good to me so far.  Joe is Irish.  Our Signaller is Scottish and I am English so we are all represented.  I did some washing the other day & put it in the engine room to dry.  We could not fetch it back & now it is all covered with black oil.  Your work is all spoiled.  Let Olive have a try, she will be able to get it out better than I can.  There is every prospect of me being home for Christmas.  We may go in to refit about that time & I shall get a leave if that is the case.  Don’t build up any hopes at present but I will let you know later about it.  I hope it comes off, it will be just alright. I don’t know where we are off next trip, at present we are lying off Fishguard.

Hoping all are well.

Love to all

James

Sunday morning.

We have now arrived back in Milford Haven. I have now drawn my winter clothing consisting of new jersey, 2 pairs blue socks, comforter and cloth cap so I am alright.  Please send me a battery or two for my flash lamp as it is the handiest thing I possess here.

Love to all

James

img003img004img003img003img004DIARY: Passed into Milford (Haven) 7 am & into docks

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