Sunday, May 9, 2010

S. S. Willochra, Thursday, 20/5/15

Dear Father,
We are now in the Gulf of Aden after a three weeks trip from Albany. My platoon along with 'b' Company is on fatigue and as they have not found a job for me I am taking the opportunity to scribble a line. The mail for N.Z. closes at 11.30 am.
It will be three weeks tomorrow since we left Albany and until yesterday we had seen sight of neither land nor ship during that time. Yesterday morning we found land on our port side very indistinct owing to the haze but as far as could be seen bare and mountainous, the N.E. corner of Africa just at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. During the day we passed over a dozen vessels. Passenger boats, what appeared to be marine dhows with one big white sail, and two warships. From one of other of these we got our first war news for three weeks, satisfactory most of it except for the sinking of the Lusitania.
The trip from Australia has been very uneventful, drill every day. We had the usual ceremony when crossing the line when every body from the O.C. down that Neptune could lay hands on paid tribute in the time honored manner.
The only cause for complaint we have had so far has been the meat. It was fairly bad until the doctor stepped in and made them dump a ton or so of it. That however does not affect me so much now as from the first of the month I rank as sergeant and we have a separate mess, put in 2/6 a week and have a good many extras for it. The promotion means another 1/- a day and no more work for it than I have been used to doing.
Flying fish have been plentiful here, little fellows for the most part that fly out of the water and drop back with a splash after fifity yards or so. The length of their flight surprises me, the bigger ones that we have run into during the last two days skim along for a good hundred yards. Whales and the dolphins that jump up after the flying fish we have seen in fair numbers. We only want a few water spouts now and we will think we have seen the whole box of tricks.
It is expected that we will be in Aden at midday but we do not expect to stop longer than to drop off a mail and pick up orders.
The weather as is only natural has been very warm one is in a constant state of perspiration though it has not yet been as hot as we expect to get it.
At Albany we were ashore for a route march on the Thursday morning and in the afternoon we were allowed ashore for couple of hours. It is a very sleepy little town but would not be a bad place to put in a couple of months.
It is now about mail time so I will finish this off and will send a card from Aden if we are ashore at all.
With love to all,

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