- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Ray Sinclair
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- 30 March 2005
I don't know if what I am going to write about now is applicable to this site,but these are the little things that stick in my memory
For instance since that time on the troopship when I seemed to live on canned fruit, when ever I have "Del Monte" pears at home for dessert I am often reminded of that miserable voyage.
Also since that time I refuse to travel anywhere by ship or go on a cruise, (Much to my wife's annoyance) In my army career I think I had my share of being ill on troopships, my last one was returning home from the Far East on the Empress of Australia (Her last voyage incidentally) and having a very rough time going through the Bay of Bengal in a Monsoon.
I know that the modern vessels have stabilizers to control their rolling and other motions, but I will not travel on a ship!
Another memory: Saltwater Soap! Using it in the ship showers, does anyone remember that? Trying to get a lather from it was very hard,in fact I don't think anyone did,and it was like washing with pumice stone.
One of the duties on board we had to do was down in the bowels of the ship,where I and my pal were given orders that in the event of an attack on the ship we were to; on hearing the "Tannoy" instructions, close the watertight bulkhead doors and not to open them again until we were ordered to.
Not a very re-assuring postion to be in we both thought, closing our only exit to safety!
What gave us a scare down there was the time we heard loud clangings and felt vibrations in the ship, we found later when we were relieved they were explosions, though no order was given for us to close the door,apparently there was a U Boat around and our destoyers were dropping depth charges.
We finally made port and our draft ended up as reinforcements for the 8th Army We were posted to an Infantry Reinforcement Training Depot (IRTD) While there I caught some infection which cause very bad vomiting and a high fever among other things which put me in hospital The MO wasn't able
or couldn't indentify what was wrong but thought it was from some kind of insect bite
anyway it left weak and unfit for duty for some time time so I missed the first draft that went.
By the time I had recovered the Sicilian campaign was over and I was sent to a Corp Reinforcing (CRU) Unit in Italy where I was posted the the 6th Battn. Royal West Kent regt. "S" company 3" Mortar Platoon. 36th Brigade. 78th (Battle Axe) Division
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