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The Strathallan- Part 29: My Voyage on the Strathallan Part Two

by ateamwar

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Archive List > Royal Navy

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People in story: 
John Garfoot No. 25 Field Bakery RASC
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Contributed on: 
09 August 2005

The following story appears courtesy of and with thanks to Les Jones and Robert Kennedy

The 23,722 tons liner: the SS Strathallan was built at Barrow-in-Furness and owned by the Peninsular & Orient Steam Navigation Company Ltd and requisitioned by the War Office as a troopship during the war. Its last Captain was J.H.Biggs CBE.

Mar 22 One of the lads said "It won't be so bad if the grub keeps as good as it is and the
ship doesn't get any further." I never had such a ravenous appetite in spite of the liberal food.
I have a nice comfortable bunk, top tier, plenty of room....Ship's wireless usually only on for
news. There are awful queues for things in the canteen - not surprising with cigarettes at 50
for 1s.8d. Two Chappell pianos available - I always .think I'm back at home when I play
them. Hot sea-water showers but fresh water turned off most of the while.
Sun Mar 23 Two chaplains on board - attended parade services. Moved off at 14.45.
Wonderful sight. Two of the liners in the convoy glided past us. Hurricanes. Balloon
barrage. Narrow shipping channel. Headed West. We thought we could see land at
nightfall. We dropped anchor for 24 hours in a bay.
TUES Mar 25. Moved off again, faster this time. North. P.T. on deck each day. Overheard:
"I've had 6 meals today, 3 up and 3 down," and "If I can't have the beer, at least I can have
the sensation." Yes, we've all got a good dose of mal-de-mer.
Weds Mar 26 We seemed to go right out into the Atlantic where the water was a deep blue
colour. Choppy and very heavy swell. Picked up the rest of our convoy and then further out
found our main body-guard, which would certainly give a good account of itself against all
Among the ships I noted as being in the convoy were a number of famous liners:
Viceroy of India
Empress of Canada
Empress of Australia
Duchess of York
The warships included:
The battleships: Nelson, Resolve and Ramilles and the cruiser Birmingham.

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