The mist thickened, so much that Drake lost sight of the convoy in the early hours of the morning. By evening, it was keeping position 6 cables (about .6 nautical mile) ahead of Northland. (1) The fog would continue, and the sea grew rougher.
The Cameronia had a real good pitch, wrote Archie Wills. It was a funny deck we put our feet on. First up then down. When you advanced a foot you stubbed your toe, then when you put forward the other there was no deck and a vacuum was created in your mid-section, similar to the sensation experienced in the drop of a fast elevator. Of course too much of this was detrimental to weak stomachs and there was no place like the brink of the deck. (2)
The inevitable consequence ensued: “During the day the boys went down one by one. The greatest tradition of the British Empire was broken many times: ‘What we have we’ll hold.'” (3)
His summary? “Nobody cared whether a German sub caught us or not. Existence is merely an agony.” (4)
Ives’ memoir is more laconic: “Fog horns. Sick.” He adds that while he spent most of his time lying about the decks, those who were not sick went through boat drill and physical training exercises. (5)
These sailors are playing leapfrog, that “standard pass time” of travelling troops.
(1) HMS Drake, Logbook, September 15, 1916
(2) Wills, Archie. Diary. 3: 22. September 15, 1916. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
(3) Wills. Diary. 3: 23
(4) Wills. Diary.3: 24
(5) Ives, Raymond Ellsworth. Memoir (manuscript). Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
The photograph is from Percy’s small album.
Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”