We were free for the time in between and most days we joined the amiable quartermaster in his luxurious cabin for a wee dram and to listen to some of his seagoing experiences! For a brief time you forgot that you were in the army on your way to war.
Our first port of call was at Port Said. This was the time when Neguib and Nasser overthrew King Farouk and relations with Britain were not friendly. No shore leave was allowed and Egyptian Police boarded to see that no photographs were taken. However, the ubiquitous bum boats came alongside! After bunkering and taking on water we proceeded down the Suez Canal, which I found to be a memorable experience with the desert, complete with camels on both sides of the ship. I was on deck during an evening film show when the ship shuddered to a halt. Presumably the Egyptian pilot was having a bad day. All passengers were asked to move quickly from port to starboard, and to keep doing it until the ship slid off the submerged sandbank!
Our ports of call were Aden, Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kure in Southern Japan, where we disembarked on 10th August 1952 and were transported to Brittania the local base depot.