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- 25 February 2004
This was an eight day cruise organised by the Bibby Line which included train travel from Liverpool. At Tilbury we boarded the liner where we had afternoon tea and were then taken to our cabin. Our bedroom steward was very helpful. He unpacked our cases and put clothes on hangers. We were expected to wear evening suits for dinner. It was a pleasant balmy evening as the ship sailed northward. The following morning we were already sailing down the River Elbe. Lots of young werre enjoying themselves in water-borne activities. We duly docked opposite Blumn and Voss shipyards. On every vantage point hung swastikas and these had a chiling effect on us. Policemen and others greted each other with Heil Hitler.
My employer's agent in Hamburg arranged for his secretary to show me around the city (claimed to be the Paris of the North). She had dinner with us on board the liner, then a tour of the night life! My fellow passengers bought her a huge box of chocolates.During the night the ship sailed for a Belgian port to unload some cargo, then out into the North Sea. Early one morning we were called on deck. Approaching from the West was a large silver ship. I believe it was the Graf Spee. As the two ships passed each other they sounded their sirens. Later that day we headed southwards and sailed into violent stormy weather. Stabilisers were unknown then and the ship's propellers raced wildly as the stern rose many feet into the air. It was pretty rough on board for the passengers as they sruggled to move about. Liverpool was a welcome site and to be stood on terra firma!
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