February 15 (Thurs) 1945, HDML 1307 at sea [Part 1]

Yesterday, Midshipman Knocker & I returned from the island of Symi [Greece]. Last Saturday morning at 0930 we left [HMS] “Mosquito”[base] in [HMS] HDML [Harbour Defence Motor Launch] 1307 bound for Kastellorizo [Greece]. The course was compass north, being about 007°  and the sea was moderate. There were clouds in the sky, & there you have all that I can remember of the first day. I was horribly seasick less than an hour after we left harbour and not much good for anything till the next day, when I did part of the morning watch. The craft is 72ft in length, 50 tons displacement & carries a crew of 11 & two officers. The armament is Bofor forward, Oerlikon aft, twin Vickers each side of bridge and rifle, lanchesters and revolvers. It had just completed a month’s refit & was returning to base at Khios.

feb-15-1945-hdml

The next day was fine but the sea was still moderate. I felt considerably better, though, having spent most of the night lying on the deck, I was still a little tired. About midday we spotted the Turkish coast, & a grim-looking place it was, too, with dark rugged hills backed by snow-covered mountains. We made a good landfall and by about 1630 were secured alongside a FNFL [Free French Naval Force] Patrol vessel in Kastellorizo harbour. It was quite a pleasant little harbour & I imagine would be very nice indeed in the summer. The place was taken over as a Coastal Forces base about 15 months ago. The locals had been removed when the Germans were in occupation. Before “Jerry” left ‘he’ threw a few bricks at the town & jetty but most damage was done by a fire which swept the place about 6 months ago. The town is now a shambles and inhabited only by a few army types and a naval routing officer, who does little except drink. There is nothing else for him to do, admittedly, as the only craft to call there do so only to avoid 2 nights at sea. This means HDMLs Fairmiles go straight from Alexandria to Symi.

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