Tuesday 18 February 2014

14th & 15th April, 1948 - Ron is enjoying the cruise but no luck on the Tote.

Wednesday, 14th April, 1948
We sailed from Malta at about 10pm after setting off and taking on hundreds of troops.  I should imagine the discipline is very strict on land for the naval launches & other crafts were all spick & span.

I think I must have slung my hammock on the wrong side of the ship last night for I woke during the night feeling a cold wind blowing.  This morning we pressed close by the North coast of Pantelleria Island.  I got out my binoculars and this showed me the details of this face of the island.  Extinct volcanoes domineered the picture, the sides sloping steeply down to the cliff faces.  These slopes are deeply terraced between the old volcanics lava courses.  Houses are scattered thickly on the lower slope but not by the sea.  A lighthouse on the cliffs and a castle on the summit of a hill stand out from the other simple houses.
We shall see quite a deal of land as we pursue our course just off the north coast of AfricaCape Bon was sighted at midday.  All the coastline seems to have been volcanic at some time and as a result is very barren looking.
This evening we assembled on deck for an open air cinema show.
The weather has been beautiful with no sign of rain but as soon as the show started so did the rain.

Thursday, 15th April, 1948
There was no land in view this morning but at midday it could be faintly seen through the misty low lying clouds.
There is a totalisation held on deck every morning to see who can judge the mileage covered in the last 24 hours.  I bought a shilling ticket this morning but was unlucky.  Judging from the map of our route and our average speed I should think we should arrive at Gibraltar tomorrow night.
This afternoon I spent reading with the usual break for tea and a bun at 3.30pm.  Yesterday we each received a bulk ration for 11/-.  This consisted of 300 cigarettes, a bar of chocolate, two rolls of sweets & six chocolate biscuits.  This was very cheap but I did not need so many cigarettes but had to have them to get the other articles.

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