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ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY
DIARY OF COLIN MURDO NICOLSON
Submitted by Eric Nicolson.

Royal Canadian Navy : Diary Of Colin Murdo Nicolson.

Colin M. Nicolson, V64673, RCNVR, HMCS Sioux, Portsmouth, February 22, 1944.

Title pages of the diary Of Colin Murdo Nicolson.

Feb. 22:- Arrived on board from Niobe. Didn't know the score and how!

Feb. 26:- My first day at sea. Brother! Speed trials too. Few evolutions next week.

Mar. 4:- Left Portsmouth.

Mar. 5:- At sea -- sea-sick.

Mar. 6:- At sea -- spewing.

Mar. 7:- Arrived at Scapa Flow. What an ungodly hole. Must be the end of the world. Barren, deserted; met the Algonquin. Steens [??] of ships. Evolutions, evolutions and more evolutions!

March 28:- Winter gear -- Russian Convoys? Hope not.

March 30:- Left Scapa on "operations" unknown.

March 31:- Arrived Faero Islands. Another "Dogpatch" it seemed. Oiled and proceeded. Few houses, high green mountainous region, really grim.

April 1st:- At sea. Ken's birthday. Captain spoke to us. Said we're on our first operation. Going to Alten fiord in N. Norway to hit at Jerry battle wagon, Von Tirpitz. Felt kinda funny. She was expected to be well hid in fiord.

April 3rd:- Arrived Sun. morning at our destination, 110 miles of the coast of Norway. First wave of planes took off from carriers. Action Stations at 2:30 am. Saw the waves take off in repetition till the last one came back about 8:30. Left her blazing, successful.

April 7:- Back "home" -- if you can call it that -- at Scapa.

April 10:- At sea.

April 11, 12:- At sea till arrived off south of Norway. Carriers sent wave, sunk two freighters beat it home again.

April 19, 20, 21:- Same mission near Tronheim. Planes took off in foggy blizzard. Ran into 60 mph. gale. Whatta storm I says. Blow!

April 28th:- Back home.

May 1st:- Pay Day!

May 3rd:- Off Caps. Captain's report. Adrift.

May 6, 7, 8:- Another trip to hit shipping off Tronheim. No sea sickness this time. Must be gettin' good eh? Fair trip. Back on 10th.

May 12:- After 2 days painting day and nite, Captain says the King will be on to inspect. King on about 1. (See two photos of this) Talked to a few. Told Capt. ship perfect etc.

May 13:- With Black Prince chosen to escort the King on D. of V.[??] to Thurso. Back home at 20.00

May 14:- Gabby Wrens on board to visit. Harbour routine.

May 25:- Left for U.D. [Unknown Destination] direction South (?).

May 26:- At sea.

May 27:- At 3 in "E-Boat Alley" all nite Action stations. Got into Cowes at noon, back to I.O.W. -- Portsmouth. Off beards!

May 28th:- Channel Patrol. All night Action S. again. Tired as hell. Nothing to report.

May 30th:- Channel Patrol again. Star shells burst quite aways off. No activity, back about 6 am.

May 30th:- Swimming off ship -- adrift on carley float with Tom and Mac. Q.D. looked like a summer resort. Sun swell. Everbody washing, bathing, loafing. Alongside Algonquin at nite.

June 2nd:- Channel patrol again up all night. Went a bit further this time, same, back at 6.

June 4th:- Ship under sailing orders the whole harbour blotted everywhere with ships. Every one positive this is it -- why we came south. Something is brewing anyway, what it is --? Wrote Dad and Skip, wondered when the next time? Aw nuts!

June 5th:- Secured for sea in the morning. Everyone had a diffferent buzz, but the general -- the invasion. More ships everywhere you looked and of all descriptions. Slipped at noon and the whole fleet moved at the drowsy speed of about five knots. Went on watch at 8 o'clock and straight to Action Stations at 11 o'clock. Nobody asleep just gazing and talking. Wondered what Dad and Skip would say when they read the headlines tomorrow? Captain spoke, starting "We are now on the eve of the invasion of the continent, probably the greatest military operation in the history of the world". Felt queer inside when he said that. All bunched around the speaker. About 3 or 4 could see bomb flashes and AK AK fire lighting the sky far away on what we reckoned to be the coast of France off the starboard bow. Well it was the 6th now and Skippie's birthday -- whatta present! And brother I ain't no hero, altho' I felt better now -- as if I didn't give a damn altho', well I dunno!

June 6/44 - 6:45 a.m. -- "Open Fire!" -- France. Searchlights showed us planes shot down, steady blasts like lightning. This kept up till dawn. Troops landed on beaches and barrages and blasts everywhere. We were the second ship in following the Kempenfelt, captain Destroyer, sweepers spread out to the coast. The coast was lousy and drenched in an endless cloud of smoke, yellowish in colour. Opened fire after Kemp. a little after 6 Lullabelle[??] fired eleven salvos. Cooks brought our food to the guns. At the gun all afternoon shifting birth. At eleven o'clock I saw a sight that damn near turned my stomach. Took on two wounded marines from landing barges. One had half his leg with the ankle hanging on in bloodied shreds; necessitated immediate amputation. God, what a sight! That evening waves of RAF Bombers and Paratroops came over, saw them land in the forest. Steadily coming and going from the coast. Four Messerschmidts droped bombs in attack against a freighter about 1000 yds. away, scared off. Another sight -- a huge Stirling returning from the coast shot into flames. I believe the pilot could have bailed out but his plane would have hit a ship undoubtedly. He steered it, coming lower and lower till he hit the sea like a brick, spinned and blew up into a huge wall of flame. That guy deserved the V.C. if anyone did. The flight of planes kept up till dark. A few German aircraft were over, but not too bad. Thus ended D Day.

June 7:- Off the coast all day again. Still in cruising watches never so tired before. At nite went on anti-submarine patrol up the coast, back at 7 next morning. AS all nite.

June 8:- Dropped the hook off the coast, still on watches. Smoke still rising off land. Wrote first letters since D Day to Dad and Skip. Jerry over tonite. AK AK off our Port side and it looked like fire cracker day all over. Dropped eggs astern, no damage.

June 9:- In off coast all day, out on patrol again at nite. Wonder what sleep means? Back at 7 next a.m.

June 10:- Off coast all day again and stayed in at nite. Jerry over again. This time we knew it. ME overhead and we opened fire. Shot away aerial of flag deck. I was on watch at the time too. Quiet [quite?] active when we were relieved -- dropped star shells and bombs again. Smoke screened.

June 11:- Still in all day. Night Patrol -- back again 7 am.

June 12:- Whatcha know -- still on watches. At noon left for day patrol to Le Havre and about three o'clock, we were all startled as shell burst way[?] amidships off the side about 100 yards, shrapnel hit the fiddly deck. Just gathering our wits from horrific suprise when another whine and burst came off the stern. Boy did we high-tail it in a hurry. Whipped around in semi circle setting up smoke screen long and high. Got report was Jerry pill boxes and emplacements firing at us and they had our range and how! Battle wagons open fire. Action Stations ab 3:30 but they were already knocked out, thank God. Sure was suprised. Returned to St. Aubistine at 5:30. Jerry over at nite, no activity: Smoke again.

June 13:- In all day. Night patrol star shells activity.

June 14:- Well, well mad dash back to England, and sleep? -- no. Mail too important for that. Good to be back.

-til 20th:- Few yellow warnings -- no planes -- harbour routine.

June 20:- Left 1700 for U.D. Arrived midnight off France again. Jerry still over while we were away!

June 21:- Moved to Le Havre in early evening, patrolling lightly. Dropped bombs a bit astern beat it out -- on anchor patrol. Defence stations till about 6. Ho hum (yawn!)

June 22:- At the gun almost all the time, except to eat from 0800-2000, bombarding steady off the coast, no reply. Fired over 100 rounds. Sweeping back to St. Aubistine.

June 23:- Bombarded again a bit, but not as extensive as yesterday. Usual harbour doings. Night raid.

June 24:- The most exciting day of the invasion. At 7:45 I was waiting for the watch to relieve us on Oerlikon Gun Deck. Had just lain down when terrific deafening roar shook the ship. Were just coming into St. A. to anchor. Thought we were hit for sure! Ran over to stb'd. What a surprise. The Swift was hit, covered with rising, curling, yellow smoke; spinning around like a dog was hit, started smoking thick. In V shape, the midship section gave way and the bows and stern upright. (See photos of Swift sinking.) Men jumping off wherever possible. Captain yelled from bridge to Jimmy to cut loose carley floats, away whaler and cutter crew to pick up survivors. Ship was sinking slow. I ran for M.O. after Capt. orders to us below. Brought on fourteen survivors. Fed them hot tea etc. and clothes for those who needed them. At Gun again at noon. About 2 o'clock shore batteries answered with two surprise salvos. Nearly jumped out of our wits. Al and I were at gun talking when we heard the first one whistle overhead and land ahead of us off foxle. Few minutes later second one landed astern shooting up the water. Time to scram! Took shelter by the after torpedo tubes, boy was I ever in a haze. If they'd had the right range. Captain slipped ship and we tore ahead of the Algy, think the batteries were still firing, but we were too close for comfort anyhow. Whew! All went well, wagons were still bombarding. Evacuated lower decks after seven. Al and I on quarterdeck again, there was Flak everywhere it seems and Jerries were dropping flares everywhere lighting up the harbour. The worst raid yet I thought. Bridge sent down Alarm Port. Saw barges off Port bow open fire on diving Heinkel. She started to roar. She was still in a dive when our Bofors and Oerlikons opened fire. She was hit, maybe not by us but she hit the sea with a thud and sunk. The gunner bailed out but was killed by the fins probably. Al and I, helmets on, were flat on the deck, huggin' for life. Relief after search lights all around and attention both sides from bridge -- about 2 a.m. Gradually died away. Secured to sea watches at 4. Whattta nite! June 24th. Dad's birthday.

June 25:- Roaming again. Not many Jerries over, one or two. Peaceful.

June 26:- Same as yesterday. Only in afternoon saw a Spitfire crash after returning from inland.

June 27:- Out on patrol again. Anchor patrol. Quiet.

June 28:- Night Patrol again. Supposedly after Jerry cruiser, no luck, returned to port 6 a.m. Out again.

June 29:- Our last glimpse of France. Tore back to Portsmouth till July 1. Saw Jerry pilotless aircraft overhead. Other ships opened fire. Some say she was shot (?).

July 1:- Clear lower decks at 0330. At sea.

July 2:- At sea.

July 3:- At sea.

July 4:- Arrived back in ole Scappa. The hole hasn't changed a bit. What a grim sight to see. Rang Bell in fog till we could go in, in morning. Mail. Yahoo, to hell with sleeping. Mail good. Expect leave. Harbour routine.

July 13:- Slipped at 2300 on operations.

July 15:- At sea -- my birthday!

July 16:- Arrived destination Midnite -- Land of the Midnite Sun alright -- Planes took off hit target. Started back. Arrived Scapa on 19th.

July 20:- Slipped 0530 arrived Rosyth for dickey at 1700. Starboard watch on leave till 24th. Port till 28th. [List:] Kirkaldy, Dunfermline, Dysart, Edinburgh, Coldingham. Back "home" on 29th!! Grr!

Aug. 2:- At sea -- Aircraft opp. Nor.

Aug. 5:- Back home. Mail.

Aug. 7:- Slipped at 2300 -- operation. In and out 24 hrs.

Aug. 18th:- Slipped at 1300 for operations to Norway again. Rough. At sea -- regular fleet.

Aug. 21st:- Captain spoke. After the Tirpitz -- a long trip -- repeat attacks.

Aug. 22:- Droped 21 Depth Charges with a possible two subs to our credit. Believed a wolf pack following. Oiled up off Nabob.

Aug. 23:- D.E. oiled up off Nabob, was fished. Nabob fished, but just crippled. (See photo of damaged Nabob) All survivors on D.E. (saved).

Aug. 24th:- Attacked Tirpitz Radar and other installations. Rugged coastline visible.

Aug. 25th:- Back to Faroes and oiling up, supplies back out. D.C.'s also on board.

Aug. 29th:- Another wave over Tirpitz and other doings.

Aug. 30th:- 12th day. Ugh! Rough! Bets on about how many bags of mail!

Sept. 1:- Calm. Successful raid.

Sept. 3rd:- Back home 0700. Mail galore! Skip's birthday parcel.

Sept. 6:- Overnight Evolutions with carriers. Back at 0800. Pay Day!

Sept. 7:- AA shoot which resulted in a tragedy. Plane towing glider overhead on stb'd side, Jonesy shot off wing. Swung back to "attack" on Port side. Bamby[?] made direct hit, but the glider went into a dive when blasted loose and headed straight into Flag Deck. Gunner's mate had gash on forehead, Sig. Green twisted shoulder & knee and Whitey had very serious chest injuries which required Pull Motor. Captain streamed full speed ahead back to harbour. Arrived back 1530. All three put aboard hospital ship. Whitey in serious condition. Green was well battered. Helped Van take G.M. to Sick Bay.

Sept. 8:- Mac left on draft to Canada. Kept his photo with me. Screened K.G.V. Left 0800 out all day. Came off watch at 6 and Dave said a signal came in that Whitey had died a few hrs. after entering hospital. Other two improving.

Sept. 9:- Boiler cleaning alongside Greenwich.

Sept. 12:- Went ashore on drill for funeral party for tomorrow.

Sept. 13th:- We buried Whitey. Red Watch were mourners. Impressive sight at the cemetery, buried in a simple locality. On firing party, gave salute of three volleys. (See Canadian Virtual War Memorial for Signalman Robert White) Will never forget little Whitey, he was a gentleman, quiet and sociable, and we were to be off soon without him. Too bad we had to bury him here in Scapa. God rest his soul; he will not be forgotten by this matelot. No mail again.

Sept. 14th:- In -- duty watch till 10:30. Slipped at midnite. Mail, 6 letters, 2 parcels.

Sept. 15th:- Arrived 0730 at Loch Ewe(?) in North West Scotland to line up for convoy. Expect to be out about a month, possibly to Murmansk. Slipped at 1500. Proceeding to sea at snail's pace.

Sept. 16th:- Foggy 'till noon, sunny on watch. Expect to meet task force behind from Scapa, tomorrow or next day.

Sept. 19th:- Rougher . . . rain storms . . . behind convoy on patrol.

Sept. 20th:- Heavy sea. Dishes, etc. "flying" in mess.

Sept. 22th:- Calm at last. Russia tomorrow.

Sept. 23rd:- Sailed into Kola Bay, delivering convoy safe to Russia at 1900 -- anchored guns all over barren Scapa like hills.

Sept. 24:- Shifted ship to oil up and received mail from Captain D. Went ashore in USSR in village of Vauga[?], money useless, bartered with chocolates, cigarettes & gum for trinkets. Russian people extremely friendly . . . Cute kids who have known war in full sense . . . United from the cradle to the grave . . . Country is more like Canada, well fortified . . . Got big kick out of making signs to talk with our boys.

Sept. 28:- 0715 after preparations sailed out of Kola Bay from Russia. Escorting convoy home now. Took shorter route between Bear Island and N. Norway.

Sept. 29:- Contacted Subs following us. Dropped 3 charges. Bearing of sub picked up by HFDF.

Sept. 30:- Clear Day and a busy one. With a stern sea had several submarine contacts, dropping charge at 1600. Went to Action Stations at 17:30. Strong contact with subs now. Reduced speed and dropped 10 charge pattern of depth charges right over sub . . . lost his contact -- probably sunk. At 21:30 made contact again, dropping 28 charges, making grand total of 39 for today.

Oct. 1:- Sub fired fish at convoy. Still danger. 20:00.

Oct. 4:- Arrived back in Scapa 0700. 47 bags of mail.

Oct. 5:- At sea again. Screened KG V. Buzz -- one sub (prob.) to our credit. 2200.

Oct. 9:- At sea -- screened carriers. 2100.

Oct. 11:- At sea -- shoot.

Oct. 13th Friday:- Slipped at 10:15. Captain spoke telling us it was Norway again.

Oct. 14:- 10:10 Action stations till noon. Defence till 1:30. Raid on coast installations.

Oct. 15:- Same routine; another raid. Turned back, rough weather.

Oct. 16:- At sea -- calm.

Oct. 17:- Back "home" -- mail.

Oct. 19:- At sea -- evolutions. In at 0330.

Oct. 20:- At sea -- trials. In 1600.

Oct. 23:- Slipped 0815 to sea back in, screening KGV at 2100. No mail dammit.

Oct. 24:- Slipped for operations at 10:15. At 18:25 sighted German recconnaisance planes.

Oct. 25:- Still at sea. Rough winter weather now.

Oct. 26:- Planes took off to hit S. Norway. Sunk two ships, shore installations raked.

Oct. 27:- First attack 0900. Second attack 1400. UBoat grounded, installations bombed.

Oct. 28:- Action & Defence stations attacked at 0900.

Oct. 29:- Captain told us of damage: ROF installations hit. 5,000 ton ship sunk, tanker damaged, 2 minesw. sunk, UBoat grounded, installations destroyed . . . Tanks blown up, oiler sunk.

Oct. 30:- Arrived Scapa 0900 after that hectic trip. Was sure a success. Paid at 16:30. Capt. told us sailing for Rosyth and -- leave.

LEAVE White's in Dysart, Aunt Mary in Edinburgh.

Nov. 15:- Set back for Scapa in terrific storm. Everybody sick -- probably leave.

Nov. 16:- Back in Scapa. Mail!!!

Nov. 21:- Despite a gale warnng: we slipped at 1500 into the worst storm this ship has known.

Nov. 22:- Weather down a bit. Fleet moving north.

Nov. 23:- Talk about wild weather. Wind howling at terrific rate, cold damp. Sea wild. Ripped Skimmer off its stands at 0300(A.M.) when we were on. Tried to save it but it was too wild out and it was washed over board. No traffic allowed on upper deck. Storm getting worse.

Nov. 24:- Storm stilll going. Only watch allowed up for'd. Nobody allowed out of mess decks. Gradually calmed down in evening.

Nov. 25:- Smooth sailing today. Sea like glass now. Very cold. Target tomorrrow.

Nov. 26th:- Patrol on calm sea, waiting for attack. Moon shining on sea.

Nov. 27th:- Planes took off at 15:00 and returned before supper, had hit target OK. At seven was on watch when Jerry plane was picked up at 6 miles. She came between us and Didam and latter opened with salvos to save carriers. We went to Action Stations immediately. Only reconnaissance. Secure Defence Stations at 0400.

Nov. 29th:- At 1300 on our way in to Scapa, after bucking the sea the whole trip we met a terrific swell off the cliffs, the ship dipped heavily to port and No. 6 carley float was torn away. More damage to R.U. locker and we arrived Scapa half hour later minus our Skimmer, carley float, the Bofor ladder smashed in, R.U. locker crippled, gunwale on whaler broken beyond repair, spring[?] reels ripped off -- a badly shaken lot, but the Sioux came thru that storm, thank Christ that's over with. 53 bags of Xmas mail! Alongside Greenwich for repairs. Algonquin alongside us.

Dec. 6th:- Slipped and proceeded to sea at 22:30, no mail for last few days, felt funny. Dest. -- Norway.

Dec. 7th:- Three yrs today - Pearl harbour and we arrived off Norway at 1300. Planes took off . . . Till 1600 and we headed south.

Dec. 8:- Another attack 1400 and we headed for home.

Dec. 9:- At 0230 when we first sighted and sailed into Scapa we had an unusual suprised echo on a submarine just outside Scapa, close to home that baby! The Stord (see photo of Stord) and us circled the area dropped charges and after patrol was over, rejoined the fleet to sail into harbour. Never expected that one!

Dec. 12:- In and out! Slipped at 09:30 on operations -- Norway again. Tom in Sick Bay sore throat.

Dec. 13:- Dropping charges to counteract acoustic torpedoes. Stern sea.

Dec. 14:- Rough. Finished supper, sitting around, chewing fat off watch and -- action stations . . . Enemy aircraft in vicinity! Ju-88 dived at us and its huge form swept over Q.D. must have only been 20 ft. overhead -- opened fire as he approached, no luck. He headed for centre of fleet, meeting a barrage from cruisers and Algonquin. Another was reported dead ahead and astern and Captain gave orders to fire on sight. Action Stations -- Defence. What the hell is sleep? 1 out of 4 Jerrys. good for a black nite. Stayed out of range.

Dec. 16th:- Rougher -- sub contacts.

Dec. 17th:- Anchored in Flow -- 31 bgs. mail, only few Xmas cards tho' Dammit.

Dec. 20th:- Five days before Xmas, slipped for sea at 1400 on operations >S. convoy off Norway. Two Cruisers, four destroyers, Captain spoke, telling us the plan of attack.

Dec. 21:- At sea, patrolling coast till zero hour.

Dec. 22:- Weather off set . . . Defence stations 1800. Just sat down to supper and started to eat when Action Stations went. Left dishes etc. everything what a rush. Swept in along mine lines at 25 knot clip . . . six miles from shore, mine field separated us and the convoy. We opened fire with star shells, full ahead, lighting target. At ten o'clock, back to Defence Stations till midnight leaving carriers for the kill. Boy, am I tired . . . headed for home -- and mail from Skip & Dad at 25 knots.

Dec. 23rd:- Arrive Scapa 1600.

Dec. 25:- Christmas Day and spirit all over. Tied up alongside HMCS Uganda, met boys from home on her. (See photo of HMCS Uganda).

Dec. 30th:- Our second fatal tragedy, on eve of a trip to sea, big Willie fell off the drifter into the cold waters of Scapa. The shock was too much and a group of us worked on him for three hours with no sign of life. He died at 10:30. See Canadian Virtual War Memorial for L/S James Joseph Williams. We were leaving at noon tomorrow and couldn't even bury him properly.

Dec. 31st:- Last day of the old year and we slipped at 12:15. Destination -- Russia again. New Years Eve -- came off watch at 10 minutes to 12 and shook hands etc. We talked of home, what they'd be doing there now! and at 12:20 I was in my mick fast asleep. Happy New Year! what a laugh: water water everywhere! Got two letters away in time yesterday tho!

January 1st 1945:- Smooth sea, rendezvous with the convoy at 10:30 a.m. Forward sweep tonite.

Jan. 2nd.:- Stern sweep of convoy tonite, moving slow, steady sea.

Jan. 3rd:- No daylight as we head north slowly. Two aircraft picked up, no reports. Echos off sub at 30 miles.

January 4th:- Smooth sailing, very nippy weather. Expect to pass Bear Island tonite. Holding our breath.

Jan. 5th:- Subs and Aircraft echos reported and Scowege off our Port dropped a pattern of charges. Past Bear Is. now.

Jan. 6th:- Still good weather, very cold winds. Ping from sub, Scowege dropped charges again. Arriving Russia tomorrow aft.

Jan. 7th:- Arrived in [??] Bay at 16:00. Real bleak weather like home, snow and ice everywhere on the ship, the town, Polyarnoe [Polyarny] is covered with snow, bit below zero. This weather is more like home!

Jan. 8th:- Went alongside jetty in Polyarnoe. Cold! Reports of icicles in messdecks.

Jan. 9th:- Went ashore at 14:00. Nicer place then the one we were at in Sept. They had a Red Navy Club here, for concerts etc. Talked (or rather tried to) to the people, swapped souveniers. They have a swimming pool, skating rink and an art gallery here. All the kids can skate and ski like experts. Doc went into one of their homes with a Russian boy and when he came back to us, had quite a few souveniers. People here extremely friendly.

Jan. 10th:- In port all day alongside jetty, our last day in Russia. Colder than ole hell.

Jan. 11th:- Slipped at 0830, back to Scapa.

Jan. 12th:- Smooth sea, making good headway. At 17:15 just as we'd finished supper, ready to go on watch, a terrific explosion rocked the mess deck, breaking light bulbs, which crashed on table. Then there were three more in a row and I thought sure as hell we were hit but we were dropping the charges. Evacuated lower decks. Lost contact on the sub (another credit?) It sure was scary tho', and the charge thrower is right over our mess table. Carried on to cruising statons. Weather rougher but still ok.

January 13th:- Calm sea, making good headway.

Jan. 14th:- Ice forming on rails, cold and choppy sea. No traffic on upper deck.

Jan. 15th:- Smooth sailing today. Two unidentifed aircraft at 8 miles at noon. Huff duff on sub at 20:30 astern. Second ping at 21:05.

Jan. 16th:- What started out as smooth sailing day certainly turned out to be a different story. A stern wind gradually grew to 62 km. and we knew we were in for another Arctic storm. The gun rails in Q.D. were ripped off and the steady blast kept up all night, howling and rocking the ship. Bailed out supply stores all thru the night.

Jan. 17:- Still stormy as hell, no one allowed on upper. Guard rails smashed aft.

Jan. 18:- Calmed down in early morning. Convoying stragglers. Anchored in Faroe Islands at 0100. Oil up next day.

Jan. 20:- Left Faroes with the Algonquin and Myngs to pick up survivors of merchant ship twenty miles out. At 0930 sighted tanker. Patrolled around, let our oil loose to calm the sea while Myngs picked up the survivors, aided by Savage. At noon with all men off the ship safely, we sailed for Scapa.

Jan. 21:- Back "home" -- 72 bags of mail. Yahoo!! Those wishing 36 hrs. leave in Kirkwall, may have it.

Jan. 27th:- Slipped from alongside Vindicative and after oiling up, proceeded to sea at 18:15 -- Destination -- Norway, nite attack. Beautiful moonlight sea, just like glass.

Jan. 28th:- Defence Stations at 20:00 planes took off, we escorted carriers in, covering around. Cold, but a smooth sea.

Jan. 29th:- Successful raid, nipped for home at full speed. Arrived Scapa 21:00. Tom in whaler poor kid! (hum[?]).

Jan. 31st:- Slipped for sea at 12:30 pm. with Algonquin as escort to Greenock to pick up carrier at 0700, the Puncher.

Feb. 1st:- Arrived back in Scapa 14:15. No mail.

Feb. 2nd:- At sea from 10:15 to 14:45 on evolutions. One letter!

Feb. 3rd:- Slipped at 18:00, proceeded to sea. Buzz is, we'll have operations off Norway first then for the third time pick up a convoy to Russia. Rough sea and no mail Goddam the luck. Won't be back till March, looks like it. Fallescore[?] with us.

Feb. 4:- After a slight storm we ran into calm weather and submarines. First ping came at 14:45 and dropped two (?) patterns. Helped with jammed can on rails. Blew out lights in mess decks. Then again at 16:30 another instant contact with sub was picked up, and together with the Zodiac we went in for the kill. Action Stations and dropped charge after charge over that sub, God help him. An hour or so later we saw what appeared to be dirt etc. on the surface. Secured Action S. at 18:15. Arrived Faroes 0800 on 5th.

Feb. 5th:- Slipped at 2200 proceeded south of Faroe Islands.

Feb. 6th:- 0530 picked up the convoy and took up our positions. 16:30 -- enemy aircraft sighted, shot down by plane off one of the carrier. Good weather.

Feb. 7th:- Went to Action Stations at 0800 just before breakfast, six Jerries reported by Radar. Two more groups picked up and one hour later -- defence stations.

Feb. 8:- A few more Jerry patrol planes picked up, shadowing. Signal from CSI to be prepared for sub or aircraft attacks tomorrow!

Feb. 9th:- Smooth sailing, quiet day, making good headway.

Feb. 10th:- Just as we had expected, it was coming -- this was the day. At 10:10 a Ju88 dove out of the clouds directly at us on the starboard side of the convoy. He dropped a torpedo at us when we opened fire, and the Captain swung hard over to port and full speed ahead; so the torpedo missed us and exploded about 100 yds off. The bomber was hit and tailed smoke into the horizon. We sighed a terrific sigh of relief! But about ten minutes later a wave of Jerries came towards us off the starboard bow and came out of nowhere -- dead ahead -- that was it -- Action Stations. They appeared all around us and all ships opened fire with a terrific barrage. Captain ordered all guns to fire and in unison all guns fired from all sides. Bofors put up a good show. With only intervals of five minutes or so, we engaged the enemy until 11:40. They were persistant. At 11:40 went to Defence Stations for six hours. The score for today: Shot down: 4, Possible: 4, Damaged: 3, Hit: 2. Glad it's all over, and how! A day to remember . . .

Feb. 11th:- Smooth sailing, be in Tuesday.

Feb. 12th:- Still good weather, expect to be in very early tomorrow morning.

Feb. 13th:- Entering the harbour gates at 0100 when corvette was hit by mine(?) Contacts with subs and went into harbour very slow. Dropped anchor at 0400 in Vanga.

Feb. 14th:- Valentines Day. Awful cold -- too tired to go ashore. Hoped to get a few nites rest here in Russia before we start back -- but at 2300 we slipped with three other destroyers at a speed of 30 knots.

Feb. 15th:- Keeping up the clip of 30 kts. Smooth sea and we are really sailing along. We are going to a North Norwegian fiord to pick up evacuees there and return to Russia with them. They are supposed to be cut off by advancing German troops. We sighted Norway at noon and proceeded into the barren fiords. Went to Defence Stations then Action Stations at 2 o'clock. We were to keep a watch for a Jerry minesweeper which bombarded this town frequently. The mountains on either side made a lovely picture by the blue water. We dropped anchor and lowered the boats and brought 150 women & children on to the Zellas. After an hour had passed and the people were on board we rejoined with Zambesi and Zest who were evacuating on the other side of the peninsula. At 18:30 we sailed out of the fiord speeded up to 30 knots again. About 600 evacuees on the ships all told but those kids were getting a thrill. Lovely cool nite and full ahead back to Vanga.

Feb. 16:- Arrived back in Vanga at 11:30. Afternoon off (sleep) be leaving tomorrow to head back.

Feb. 17th:- Slipped at 0930, Sat. morning and left Russia at a slow speed while the convoy organized itself. At 1100 a signal came that one ship ahead was torpedoed while entering the gates. Just as we came off watch at noon another ship was hit. Yikes! Are we running into a wolf pack? Slow speed now. All thru dinner heard explosions, few underwater. Two more merchant ships were hit again and one with the women and children. Getting pretty bad now. Jerry was too close for comfort. Everyone was on edge and ready for anything. At about 4 the convoy lined up and we speed up to about 10 much to the relief of all. Contact with sub about 2000 dropped a ten charge pattern of depth charges. Didn't wait around, rejoined and proceeded.

Feb. 18th:- Choppy sea out today. Slow going.

Feb. 19th:- Slight storm today rougher and awkward for traffic on upper deck. Both boats smashed. Storm rising.

Feb. 20:- What a hell of a day this turned out to be. Storm blew over and a bit of a swell only. Aircraft reported all morning in vicinity and at 10:00 we went to Action Stations and a wave of Ju88 Torpedo Bombers came over again. We fired our guns like never before (31 rounds from Lulubelle) and I was certainly tired after they left. One bomber off our beam dropped a torpedo at a merchant ship while we pounded away at him. The fish missed the ship. Action kept up till 11:15. Twenty Jerry planes in raid. Went to Defence Stations till 15:45 and again Action Stations. Goddam the Jerries. Just on the scan this -- back to Defence St. Sleep -- ugh! Back to Cruising St. 1800.

Feb 21st:- Smooth sea, no Jerries over as expected to be. Today is the ship's birthday -- one year old. Time has sure flown since this time last year, guess we never figured all this would have happened. In one year she's gone 55,600 miles, 236 days at sea, 19-2/3 days per month and the longest stretch in one day 715 miles. At 10:30 went to Defence St. again. Unidentified aircraft at 30 miles.

Feb. 22nd:- Calm, odd swell in the sea all day till 1800 when a storm started up and a terrific wind to back it up. Enemy aircraft reported 0700. Only 1630 Action Stations.

Feb. 23:- Grim day. Went to Action Stations right before dinner. A straggler behind the convoy was attacked by torpedo bombers, and fished. Sunk in a few minutes. 19 women and kids saved; seems that Jerry picks the right ship. Planes took off our carriers and an escort left convoy to pick up survivors. Survivors picked up on rafts etc. Got rougher out tonite and wilder towards morning.

Feb. 24th:- Rough weather not making much headway.

Feb. 25th:- Anniversary waltz. Rougher today. Convoy almost at a standstill. Rockiing, angry sea.

Feb. 26th:- Calm weather. Be at Scapa tomorrow with carrier. Left the convoy at 20:00 on a calm sea, speeded up. Brisk, cool moonlit nite tonite.

Feb. 27:- Arrived back in Scapa at 10:00. 40 bags of mail Yahoo! Talked to Yankee survivors of the merchant packet alongside on Zambesi, by whom they were picked up. Moved to Scapa dry dock for repairs on bottom and dome.

Feb. 28th, Mar 1st, Mar 2nd:- In drydock, painted ship, on 3rd arrived at Rosyth dockyards for 3 days leave at 0730.

Mar. 3,4,5,6:- Leave.

Overnite 7,8,9th:- Leave, Dysart & Edinburgh.

Mar. 9th:- Leave over -- Slipped at 18:15 for Scapa. Smooth sailing. Arrived back 0800 on 10th.

Mar. 11th:- Emergency destroyer tonite. Slipped at 10:30 for anti-submarine patrol outside gates. -- Supposed sub contact.

Mar. 12th:- Back into harbour 1400 sweep completed.

Mar. 13th:- Sleeping peacefully in hammocks till at 0400 (A.M.) Clear lower decks, hoisted cutter and proceeded to sea. Destination -- Russia again.

Mar. 14th:- Arrived Faeroe Is. 14:30, oiled up and proceeded at 16:30. Smooth sailing.

Mar. 15th:- Joined convoy. Smooth sea.

Mar. 16th:- Weather really on our side this trip, hoping it keeps up.

Mar. 17th:- Top o' the morning! Weather -- same. Sub contacts. No charges dropped.

Mar. 18th:- Picked up surface echo, surfaced sub 30 mi. Us and Zambesi proceeded to investigate on port side of convoy at 30 knots. Rejoined convoy at 15:00, passing a small ice covered island. Passing Bear Island tonite. Dropped a few depth charges in afternoon.

Mar. 19th:- Lovely weather, but getting a bit nippy on the ears. Heard about our evacuating Norwegians on last trip, over the news today. Russia tomorrow.

Mar. 20th:- Sighted land at 0900 and entered fiord. This preceeded the longest three hours we ever knew. Proceeded slowly dropping anti-nat depth charges one after the other. Evacuated lower decks . . . submarine stations. Was sorta nerve-racking and very trying. At 1100, No. 11 on our starboard beam was torpedoed. With Zambesi we circled the merchant ship, took off survivors and swept the area. Rejoined convoy and still dropped charges. Turned around to escort cruiser & carrier in. Nipped thru the sub field again dropping pattern of charges. Arrived Vanga at 0400 and everyone breathed a sign of relief!! No charges dropped today.

Mar. 21:- Moved to Polyarnoe. First day of spring, here in Russia, it's snowing, slippery and blowing like winter at home.

March 23rd:- Slipped at 22:30. Four destroyers at 25 knots, went to action stations, and we're heading thru this German wolf-pack again . . . dropping charges frequently again. Fired star-shell to distract subs and at 0300 picked up cruiser and carriers, safely and proceeded to join convoy. Out of there safely, fooled the Jerries by strategy and never lost a ship. Rejoined convoy at 0800. Could use some sleep and how.

Mar. 24th:- Smooth sailing, rougher towards dark.

Mar. 25th:- Terribly cold out and getting worse all the time. Strong wind blowing makes it worse. Sheets of ice all along rails and big drifts clod on guns and bulkheads. Real nippy. Huge swell on sea about midnite, getting colder, snowing.

Mar. 26th:- Cooler today, just a bit choppy. Unidentified aircraft picked up at 1100 faded at noon. Aircraft up off carriers. Getting rougher. Passed Bear Is. 0200.

Mar. 27th:- Calm sea. Progress well.

Mar. 28th:- Same.

Mar. 29th:- At 1400 Ju88 in area -- Action Stations, secured 1450 and back to Action Stations at 20:30 for false alarm.

Mar. 30th:- Arrived Scapa with 50 bags of mail waiting at 1900.

Mar. 31:- Captain told us we were going home(!) in about a week's time. Yahoo!

April 3rd:- Out for the day on manouvers.

April 6th:- Slipped at 0700 took a cruiser to Aberdeen, brought another up to Scapa and turned around heading South West. Goodbye Scapa!

April 7th:- Arrived Greenoch 0730. Mail.

April 10th:- After meeting Tom Wilson for two days said "Bye" to U.K. and slipped for home sweet home at 0230!

April 11th:- Off Isle of Man, smooth sailing, met Yank convoy.

April 12th:- Bit choppy, foggy out, slight swell in sea.

April 13:- Rougher -- making slow headway damn it!

April 14th:- Same as yesterday.

April 15th:- At 2200 broke from convoy, headed South W. for Azore Isles at 20 knots.

April 16th:- arrived Azores at 0700, beautiful island and "bum boats" with natives selling goods came alongside. They sold their wares till we shoved off at noon. Obtained a few trinkets and souveniers. Palm trees and huge gardens made up background. Left Isles at 20 knots to rejoin convoy after fueling at 0300 on 17th.

April 17th:- [ END OF DIARY ]

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