August 1 1943

Indomitable service:

July 1943       

                5th        Sailed from Algiers with HM Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, NELSON and RODNEY, FORMIDABLE, HM cruisers AURORA AND PENELOPE and screen of five destroyers to cover military convoys to Central Mediterranean.

                10th      Part of Force H deployed in Ionian Sea to prevent interference by Italian Navy during landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).

                16th      Torpedoed by aircraft which had been wrongly identified during air attacks as a naval SWORDFISH returning to carrier.

“The port boiler room and nearby wing compartments flooded rapidly causing a list of 12 degrees to port within 1 minute. Counter flooding reduced this list to 1 degree within 20 minutes…. The ship was able to proceed to harbor under her own steam …”

                             Repair arranged in USA.

August 1943

                20th      Took passage to USA via Bermuda escorted by HM destroyers OBDURATE, OBEDIENT and OPPORTUNE.

                31st      Arrived at Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia.

Same son 

Same address 

Aug 1, 1943

Dear Mother, 

I have just received the airletter that you wrote on my birthday*, so it is not surprising I haven’t yet received the parcel you mention. The news was certainly welcome the first I have received for sometime.

I was surprised to hear Les was getting married so soon, but he told me in his last letter he had become engaged to Joyce again, but he didn’t hint at an early wedding.

I’ve been having a rare time since I last wrote, thoroughly enjoying a sunny Mediterranean cruise. We had a ringside seat to the Sicily invasion. Quite a party isn’t it. I imagine the Canadians taking part are glad to get away from 3 years inactivity. It’s amazing to me that they have any spirits left at all. About the most interesting part was to see Malta. I was able to spend one afternoon traveling around the island visiting some of the towns and beaches. The swimming is grand in the Med, clear, moderate water, bright sun. And salty – wow – you gargle as you swim. Very economical, don’t you think?

Some things appeared very strange, particularly vegetation – what there is. There are a few semitropical trees, most of which seem to have been planted. Wood is almost a rarity, the houses, so-called, are of sandstone blocks and even the telephone poles are a tall thin steel & cement lattice work. They look so strange after the pine poles at home.

The country and huts is very much like some old Biblical painting, even to seeing a small mule tied under a shelter against a stone fence. I went swimming in St. Paul’s Bay, where he landed on his way to Rome. I bought a little Maltese lace which caught my fancy. I don’t know yet just how I will dispose of it.

Glad to hear the hatchery is doing well in spite of the new hands you have to get every year. I hope you haven’t worked too hard at it, Mum. But I know you & Dad both have. Give Lena my congratulations, I got her announcement. I wish I could have attended. 

Bye for now

Love

Cecil

*Cec’s birthday was June 16.

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