29 January 1917 – looking “a bit like Red-Riding Hood” and inspected by Royalty

29 January 1917

J Simpson

Q18 GPO London

Dear Mother & Father

I sent off some of my gear yesterday in my little white kit bag. It contained 3 suits of ducks & an extra pair duck trousers, 2 body belts, 1 pair blue trousers & 1 jersey.  I hope you will receive it in due course.  One or two of the ducks require washing and I want you to take about 2 or 3 inches off the trousers to shorten them.  If you could put a small double seat in them like Auntie did the others & also another pocket, it would improve them.  When you have done them send them back but keep all the other gear until such time as I shall need them.

We are still in the docks having our final polish up but we expect to go out any time now. I will write as often as circumstances permit & shall expect to hear from you as often as you have time to write.  I have been ashore with Davies Saturday & Sunday.  We went to hear the Royal Marine Artillery band on Southend pier Sunday afternoon and it was a real treat.  In the evening we went to service at the Baptist Chapel not being able to find a Wesleyan Chapel near.

We have had no pay yet and it is now nearly 5 weeks since we had any. We expect being paid on Thursday the 1st of February and I shall be alright for cash until then.  If we don’t get it then I shall wat about 10/- but when we once get everything settled, pay will come regularly.  It is rather expensive here ashore & I’d like to get a square meal  when we are ashore.  There is nothing much to do except go to the Pictures etc and this passes the evening very nicely..

We have been “buying in” a few extra stores for ourselves jam & fruit etc just to break the monotony of the usual diet.

We might as well make the most of our time while we have the chance for I don’t think we shall get many opportunities after we leave here. I don’t expect much shore leave.

I don’t care much for our Skipper. He is too hurry, hurry & always seems in a sweat.  The rest of the officers are pretty decent especially the Paymaster who was a W/T operator on a whaler before getting his commission. I am at present on duty at a telephone hut on the docks and it is a dry job.  We get about 2 messages per day.  It is very cold especially to the feet.  I am quite warm but I have to keep my feet moving to keep them warm.  I have a big heavy llama (LLAMA) wool coat in addition to my own coat.  They use these at sea and they are almost ½” thick & they have a cowl to put over your head.  They keep you nice & warm and you look a bit like Red-Riding Hood.  When we were out on our gun trials last Thursday nearly half the crew were feeling the jacksharps but I had the laugh of them this time.   I got a letter from the Station Master at Swansea (LMVM) Saturday & he said my purse had not been found so I think it must have gone west.

Look out for the gear.

Hoping all are well.

Best love to all





19170129-319170129-4DIARY: Ship inspected by C&C, accompanied by Prince Albert, King’s 2nd son.  Inspected my cabin and asked me my job and home address.

img004-copy-copy-copyPrince Albert: The 2nd son of George V, who would become the King (George VI) after the abdication of his older brother, Edward VIII, in 1936.




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