Sunday February 14th 1943

This is another attempt. I am so confused, mixed up backward with my diary that I must just put everything down as I can remember it. I have just finished a load of washing and have made myself two crab sandwiches and an orange and cup of tea. Now this and I hope to finish it before I go to bed.

We arrived here at Beaumont at 10.30 Saturday morning. It's about 30 miles up river from Port Arthur. We passed some very interesting country and under some very magnificent bridges. It was all very interesting, they could not load us up once as there was something wrong again. We have nothing but trouble since we have been back in Texas. The ship went in for repairs but is just as bad. Scores of times we have been without water, oil and air for the fuel and there has been much grumbling about it all.

The Second Mate has his wallet stolen. Another chap had his watch pinched. Mine as well, even that little rosette made for me. It is all so worrying to me. I feel afraid to leave anything now, there is someone doing some very systematic thieving and we cannot do anything about it, til that person is found.

Well, the Captain subbed us $5 here. So after tea the Cook and I went out and had a couple of drinks. Then I lost him somehow but joined up with a couple of our Engineers I met. We got pally with a chap with a car and he drove us with two American sailors out of town to a club where we had whisky and beer. Then this chap told us he was a proud German and there were other Germans there. So, of course, you can imagine what happened. American sailors and these Germans. Anyway we got all mixed up in a fight. I'm glad my bum was ok for I gave a good account of myself. Now me and these two American sailors are friends for life. I've got the photo of one with his wife and baby. Real fine chaps they were. Anyway this bloody German drove off and we were left stranded there. We had another car drive us back and then went to have something to eat where I got this salt pot and sauce bottle. I got the whisky glasses at the club with a note from the proprietor. They all pounced on these Germans. OH BOY! These two sailors posted my letter for me. I bought one dollars worth of these nut sweets. I did not get back to the ship until 3.30 in the morning. When I got up I felt awful, went to the galley all dirty and cold and something else went wrong. We could not start the air motor for the fuel. An hour we were there, five of us. Still it did not go. So I went back to my cabin and said!! Sod it!! and lay down. And here I stayed until 6 tonight but no one said a word. The Cook eventually go t the motor going.

The Steward went off with the third sparks yesterday and they are both still missing. They are adrift and we are sailing in the morning. They will be logged as sure as eggs. We have still got the dog he is everyone's pet. In fact tonight he has picked my cabin and is asleep under my bed. But the Captain said he is to be put ashore, but we shall all probably forget to do it.

 

As we left Galveston for here we saw another tanker which has been completely burned out. She had two torpedo holes in her, one forward, one out. She was in a state too. We do not know any details.

My word, we had a job with the stores this trip. And after every piece, package or carcass that I carried I had to sit down. My bum played merry havoc with me. Of course it was the straining of lifting my legs over all the oil pipes with a weight. 

We had tonnes of fruit, bananas and everything. I'm sure most of it will go bad before it can be used. We had 7000lbs of meat of every kind. Tonnes of tinned stuff, just everything.

Oh! I must tell you, the chaps had a grand time at the Send Off dance. I certainly missed something there but never mind. You know when I come to work out how much I have spent I am sure I have lost some dollars somewhere. If I have, then the 10 that I won did not do me any good. I forget whether I have mentioned it but I am too tired to read back. Anyway they have put four more new guns on us and had to strengthen those four parts of the ship. My cabin was one part. Oh! it was in a helluva mess. We were turned right out. I slept in the linen locker an slept well too. It was just before this that my watch was missing. We have , of course, moved back now and glad of it too, and got all our things back. For we had to take everything our in case it got burned by the burners and welders. Noise was terrific.

During our stay at Galveston I sent my clothes to the laundry. The ship paid so that is ok and saved me an extra job. Of all the time we were in dock I hardly had 5 minutes to myself. So I was glad to lose even a bit of washing chores.

They had on view there one of those two men submarines there that was captured at Pearl Harbour, Japanese. They were manned by suicide men firing two torpedos, then finding another target getting up close to it, and then blowing themselves and the target to smithereens. it was very interesting, I saw and examined it.

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