She was not full, most passengers being National Servicemen going home on release, and a motley lot of regular soldiers from Korea, including Belgians and French. Altogether a more relaxed atmosphere prevailed and surprisingly a great deal of apathy.
When I first read this remark in a letter I was surprised. One would have anticipated a certain joy. However the more I consider it, it seems appropriate. We had of course been looking forward to release ever since we joined, and now faced with it we had nothing to do but wait out several weeks for it to occur. It is also evident in the lack of photographs taken on the journey back.
The only dis-agreeable feature aboard (to me, at any rate) was the amount of beer that was readily available and many were often drunk and sometimes difficult. (I cannot recall beer being available on the Devonshire.) With this my antipathy toward drunks increased. I had witnessed many a drunken episode previously that I could do nothing about except to humor and tolerate them and this dislike of obnoxious drunks and boorish behavior became more pronounced. (For the record I am not TT and do now enjoy a glass of Scotch or a G+T prior to my evening meal.).
Life on the Devonshire
As we proceeded eastward at our ports of call at Singapore, Colombo, Aden, and Port Said we picked up more homeward bound squaddies and others who were provided better accommodation and facilities than us. This time I bore it with more equanimity.
There was little to do on ship. I cannot recall fatigues and the like. Most of the time we stood at the rail and watched the sea go by or worked on improving our tan so as to impress those we met on our return. Virtually for the whole voyage and until we reached the Atlantic and the English Channel one day after another the sea was as calm as the proverbial mill pond. Again this was so different to the storms and the typhoon we had met with on the way out. And at night through the tropics we watched the ever spectacular blazing sunsets and the sky above full of bright stars under which we slept. Having always had an affinity with the sea and ships I enjoyed all this.