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  • Author: Jim Smythe
  • Date Posted: Friday, November 30, 1945
  • Category:
  • Address: colombo, india

1 November Thursday

Nothing doing very much today.  I went to a ERS lecture  this morning, it was about housing, I learnt quite a lot I didn’t know before. Wrote Janet three cards tonight. It started to rain very heavy about 1900hrs but by the time we were ready for bed it had stoped There was terrific thunder and lighting with it.

 

2 Nov Friday

Only three days to go we told ourselfs this morning but at 1500hrs word came round that the boat had been put forward 10 days, this will (if it is right) make our date about the 15th of this month. So far we have had the dates as such 26th, or 24th Nov and now this new one

 

3 Nov Saturday

Our boat has been put forward 10 days so the date will be the 18th. Went to the pictures tonight. I haven’t received any mail from Janet for 3 weeks.

 

4 November Sunday

Today as usual was very quiet. Wrote Janet card

 

5 November Mon

Today is Janet’s birthday she is 27 today the same age as myself. I had saved a bottle of beer from my last issue so I drank her health and happiness for the future. At one time I had hopes of being home for her birthday but now we will have to fight hard to be home for christmas

 

6 November Tuesday

Wrote Janet a card. Never went to the pictures tonight as I didn’t think I would like it. Went to the ERS workshop and made the pattern for our glass shelf in the bathroom I also made a good tooth brush rack for two, the bath jobs were made out of perspex

 

7 November Wed

I had my new slacks fixed up today, loops on the top and I had the bottoms widened from 29” to 22 ½ “ They don’t look so bad now. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Where Salome __________” (fair) The weather is cold now and the rain is holding off so far.

 

8 November Thursday

This morning for breakfast we had egg powder making it the third morning running. The food is very scarse and we are just getting enough to eat and that’s all. There has been another cut of 20% this makes 60% cut now of the rations we were getting when we first came down here 5 weeks ago.  800 more men are coming off the draft for NZ they will be going to Egypt now, the date will be Sunday 11th. There are only a few single chaps here left of the NZ roll for this boat, all the married men are going home

 

9 November Fri

We have only a week to go now until we get on the boat. The days are cold now too. Pictures tonight

 

10 November Sat

Another cold day. The chaps who are going to the ME are going on Tuesday now instead of Monday(ME would be Middle East)

 

11 November Sun

It rained for a while this morning but not very heavy. Played bridge after tea. Ray Jarden arrived down here this afternoon he is going home with us he is a 11th but as his wife is very sick so he has got Compos Leave

 

12 November Mon

The chaps who are going to the M.E. packed up today it took them nearly all day to get done. Med Parade, pay parade just as we will be doing them in two days

 

13 November Tuesday

Rex Ball arrived Italy

At 0630hrs this morning it started to rain and at the time the boys left it reached its peak. They got pretty wet before they actually left the camp. The rain continued all day and all night. It was very cold too. Received my list of Bulletins from England. Wrote Tom Stoke(?) and give him the list of what I wanted. Spent most of the day in our tents. In bed at 1730hrs and read a book

 

14 November Wed

Today we changed our money. I put in 6 pound, 4 pounds for myself and 2 pounds for Ray Farden. “Short Arm” inspection. Rex left us today for Florence, he was around with me most of the time he was here. Pictures tonight The Naughty Ninetys “Costello Abbot”

 

15 November Thursday

Our boat has been put on 24hrs so we leave on Saturday instead of Friday as before. We will be very lucky to get home for Christmas now. A fine day today. Had a trial pack this afternoon. I shall have two large bags one down the hold and one with me. Picture “Black Swan”

 

16 November Fri

This is our last day in Italy. We are leaving at 0845hrs tomorrow morning. We have to hand in our blankets and webb etc at 0630hrs in the morning. We shall be going on the boat at 1015hrs in the morning. Our bag for the hold is being taken on board this afternoon. We collect our BMA at 1400hrs this afternoon. I arrived in this country (Italy) 2 years 10 days today. I have been overseas 2 years 6 months now. In the army altogether 3 years, 2 months 5 days today

 

17 November Sat

Left Adv Base at 0905hrs and traveled to TARANTO in trucks. The day is fine and warm.After waiting on the wharf for some five minutes we went aboard lighters and so onto our ship the “MOOLTAN” We left the shores of Italy at 1021hrs and it ws the end of the winter for us, within a week we will be in a much warmer part of the world. There are quite a few men on this boat and just about every “service arm” is represented even if only by half a doz. We embarked on the ship at 1050hrs. At 1400hrs the ship pulled out of the harbour and we were soon on our long way home. We were told that there were three ports of call.  Tufick first then Colombo, on to Freemantle and then home. We would be arriving in NZ somewhere near Dec 21st so we should help to bring some happiness home with us for Christmas. Our quarters are not the best, we are sleeping in hammocks above our mess tables. Last night (today) I tried to sleep in my hammock but  my back ached terrible so my sleep was almost nill I am going to sleep on the table tonight if I can. This ships top speed is 17 knots.

 

18 November Sun

We had to get up this morning at 0615hrs, breakfast is at 0645hrs so getting up is necessary. Today is a bit rougher and we are all feeling a wee bit off colour. I hope I am alright because I have been a good sailor up to now. We have been playing “bridge” most of the time so far. Was in bed by 2100hrs

 

19 November Mon

Today is our last one in the “Med” We will reach Port Said during the night. A very quiet day aboard ship

 

20 November Tuesday

When we got up this morning we were outside Port Said. After letting some South A’s off also some Poles we were all ready to get on our way again. Only vegetables had to be loaded on. I sent Janet a “special” air card. They were printed on the ship by the crew and they were very nice costing us threepence. We got under way again at 1220hrs and once again I was going through the Suez Canal. We were stoped about 1530hrs and we waited for two aircraft carriers to come through. These were the only aircraft carriers I have ever seen and they were there in all their glory. By tea time we were on our way again but I never seen anymore of the canal in daylight

 

21 November Wed

We were in Tufick this morning erly about 0500 hrs We are still here and the time is now 1245hrs. A very busy morning indeed, water and oil has been pouring into our tanks all morning. There are 1000 more men on board now, they are the 8ths that was left in Egypt. Reclassified 15ths and married 9ths. I don’t think we will be here very much longer as soon as the oil etc is on we will be on our way. I don’t think we will be here in the morning anyhow. I bought an Egyptian handbag from the “Wogs” that came alongside it cost me a pound but it is not so very good therefore I don’t think Janet will be wanting. I shall give it to young Norma I think (that’s if Janet doesn’t like it of course). There are one or two things to come on yet so I just heard, only time will tell I suppose. After loading some 1100 men on board we left Tufick at 1715hrs and headed into the Red Sea. It is getting warmer every day now, soon we shall be getting about only wearing shorts.

 

22 November Thursday

This morning found us well into the Red Sea. The sun is becoming very hot now. Living conditions are not so good now the heat combined with the salt sea-air makes our bodies feel very sticky at times but every day is a day nearer home and to Janet my dear wife.

 

23 November Fri

 

Our kits that we left in Egypt when we came over to Italy are now on the boat and we are allowed to get them for 24 hours. This will allow me to put a lot of things in mine when I get it, within a few days. The meals are still very good and they seem —— to continue to be the same for the rest of the voyage. They have stopped the sale of tobbaco for a few days. We were asked today for men to volunteer to work in the RNZAF   WO1 Mess, we! Were asked , we of the army! I don’t think they shall get one. Our group “5” goes on ships fatigue on Sunday it lasts a week. I hope to get a good job and it will help to pass the time away for a week. Another week should see us in Colombo

 

24 November Sat

Today is our last in the Red Sea. During the day we were passing small islands and darkness came before we reached Aden. This time we passed ADEN at 2300hrs. Played bridge after tea

 

25 November Sun

This is our first day on fatigues and our group is on for a week. I was given a job for this morning but I couldn’t find the part of the boat I had to go to. We have now been on the boat for 8 days. We are due at Colombo either on the 29th or 30th of this month. Today was washing day for the troops and the top deck was covered with clothes just like thousands of flags. Bruce Coburn was down to see me today and I asked him if he would look after my battle dress for me until I needed it to get off when we reach New Zealand. Since we left Egypt the food has not been so good as it was the first three days at sea but I may say the meals are still very good and they will have to drop a long way until they come down to the army level that was set in Italy at ADV.BASE

 

26 November Mon

This morning we seen the last of Africa the most Eastern point . About an hour after we sighted two islands and then we were on the way to Colombo which is going to be the next land we will see for four days or more. The “Cap” said he hopes to get into Colombo by Saturday 1st Dec, now about 20 minutes to 2am. If this is right we should leave again for Freemantle at noon or later. Doing the speed we are now doing we should get there :Freemantel about the 9th or 10th and 9 or 10 days more will bring us about home arriving there about the 19th or 20th Dec. Life on ship is very dull now we have to do the same things every day. Had a talk with young Frank Allan. Played bridge after tea

 

27 November Tuesday

Best distance on trip so far. 383 Miles. We have been aboard ship 10 days today the time, although hard to pass, seems to be slipping by alright. We have just a little over three weeks to spend on the boat yet before we reach home. The sun is hot now and I have been getting a bit browner than I was when I came on the boat

 

28 November Wed

We received another NAT PAT issue today. 1 pkt biscuits, 1 tube tooth paste, and 1 cake of chochlate per man. I hope to get my “base kit” tomorrow morning at 1100hrs. In the 24 hours ending at 1200hrs today we had travelled 372 mls. Today for some unknown reason was not as hot as it should have been. We are now 2 ½ days off Colombo. I will have to write Frances a card tomorrow so it can be posted at Colombo on Sat the mail closes at 1000hrs on Friday. Although we are only a short distance from India we havn’t yet seen any sharks and I havn’t heard of anybody seeing one either

 

29 November Thursday

390 mls

Today we came upon some islands, there was plenty of growth on them too. All afternoon it was showery and this was the first time I had ever seen rain at sea, there has been rain of course but I never had the chance to see any of it. To me it seemed funny to see rain pelting down on the deck with sea everywhere. We are due at Colombo about 1900hrs tomorrow. So far we have seen very little sea life

 

30 November Fri

Arrived in Colombo at 2000hrs. It was too dark to see very much only the lights of the harbour was all we could see. As usual in these ports, boats come fussing around here too but we were in bed by 2130hrs. It was very hot down in the ship tonight