January 19 (Fri) 1945, Alexandria, Egypt

jan-20-tow-forward-smlOn Thursday, began the exercises with 6″ sub calibre & 4″ barrage firing at a sleeve target. Results were not outstanding. Further RIX [Range & Inclination Exercise] and Dive Bomber Attacks helped fill in time till we were ready to be taken in tow by [HMCS] Uganda. Gear, with the exception of the coir [rope] was laid out as in sketch. [HMCS] Uganda was to pass from astern, trailing a grass [rope] with buoy attached and stop with its stern just off our stern. Hands were ready with a grapnel [grappling hook] to catch & haul the grass inboard & secure it to our manila [rope]. However, it did not stop soon enough, & the coston line [shot from a coston gun], which had fallen across its quarterdeck and been attached to the manila via a heaving line our end, parted. The grass passed too far away from our forecastle to be of any use. [HMCS] Uganda stopped with its stern about a cable distant on the port bow & our starboard whaler took a line across. To our end of this was secured a coir & so on as in the diagram. All went well as [HMCS] Uganda hauled in, with men mucking up & down her quarterdeck in fine style, until they started pulling the eye of the wire hawser through the fair lead. The stopping securing it to the manilla had parted & they had a bit of trouble getting it inboard. When they had, our shackle was found to be too small, & operations were held up for a while till they had found another which fitted. When at last everything had been organised and secured, we let go a shackle of cable and were towed at a speed of 5 knots [9km/hr: 6m/hr] for a short while. Then it was time to pack up & commence to stow the gear away. We were able to haul aboard a considerable quantity of wire hawser before [HMCS] Uganda slipped.

Official comment on the exercise was that it “might have been much worse”. [HMCS] Uganda could have dropped the end of our hawser in the drink in trying to shackle it on, I suppose! Our side of the show was not too bad, I thought. The whaler did rather well.

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