On to Colombo
We sailed late that night from Aden and passed around the Horn of Africa. The ship then commenced the long voyage across the Arabian Sea. It was rough and I, along with my fellows was to lose my breakfast and the meal we had had ashore the previous evening. It was probably tainted in some way as this was the only time I was sick.
We were then out into the Bay of Bengal and the vast Indian Ocean to our next port of call, Colombo, in then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Across these oceans the seas were quite calm except for sudden rain showers and thunderstorms. The dawns were magnificent with the sun rising like a ball of fire from the sea as equally striking when it set and quickly sank below the horizon amid brilliantly lit clouds piled high.
There was little to see except more of the sea. It had by now changed to a greenish blue. Occasionally there were banks of kelp or a native sailing craft would be observed in the midst of these waters sailing from India to Arabia or one of the ports on the African coast. They looked hardly fit to go to sea but they have been trading across these oceans for centuries. Here we saw our first flying fish. These to me were disappointing. I had expected something much bigger but they were only about 9” long. We often had porpoises sporting themselves in the bow wave. There were no birds this far from land. We did see some phosphorescence in the bow wave and accompanying seas but again I was disappointed, expecting to see much more.
One day was much like another. Sundays were different with no parades or inspections although the mess decks had to be cleared and cleaned as we did our fatigue in the heads. I attended the church service. It was a welcome break from soldiering, and hearing the words of prayer or a hymn gave the opportunity for reflection, and remembrance of home. I had been a regular attendant at my home Church, and I often thought of that familiar place as we rolled across a far away ocean. Our thoughts were often of home, and what we had left behind, not that any of it was home sickness, we had got over that long ago. But, our thoughts, as do all soldiers thoughts, turn to demobilization. I see I noted that what we were looking forward to was ‘…a decent dinner served to us, eaten off a tablecloth, and chosen by us, a hot bath, clean sheets and pajamas in a soft bed….’
I was looking forward to getting ashore in Colombo but that was not to be. I was not feeling well and on reporting to the MI room it was found I had a temperature of 102. It was a touch of tonsillitis. I then spent 3 days in the ships hospital. This was actually a real treat as once full of various pills I had a bath and slept in a bunk in pajamas and with sheets. Those who came to visit were quite envious.