Entered harbour after an AA [anti-aircraft] shoot yesterday forenoon. All ships were flying the “Stars & Stripes” in honour of the US Independence Day. On arrival, commenced to embark stores & fuel. This continued all today ammunition & water being taken on board in addition. Two of our senior midshipmen left the ship on transfer to sloops. There were also several changes amongst the wardroom officers. Two RNR [Royal Naval Reserve] midshipmen joined us. It looks as if we will soon be leaving harbour for quite a long period, rumour says, over 6 weeks.
Last Sunday at sea, no exercises were carried out. [HMS] Euryalus developed boiler trouble and returned straight to Manus, at 27 knots!
Monday, the fleet carried out main armament throw off shoots at each other. Our victim was [HMCS] Uganda. All went well. A Damage Control exercise took up the afternoon and a night encounter the evening. We did not put up such a good show in this latter, but [HMS] Black Prince’s starshell were very good indeed. On Tuesday we carried out a throw off shoot at a Seafire simulating kamikaze attacks, with indifferent results. This no doubt will be improved on. We hope so anyway.
During the past few days we have embarked ammunition, stores & fresh water. Mid(s) Becker, RN. left on Monday, bound for S/Lts [Sub Lieutenant] courses in the UK.
On Tuesday, HMS Swiftsure secured to our port side and the staff of the 4th C S [Cruiser Squadron] began transferring to us. Rear Admiral Brind came over at 1400 & was introduced to all the officers on the quarterdeck. Soon after, [HMS] Swiftsure returned to her anchorage.
The following day, the Admiral and about a dozen of his staff left for Sydney by Air.
This forenoon, an unusual looking Carrier dropped anchor near [HMS] Implacable. It appeared to have very little armament & radar and an odd superstructure aft, to say nothing of a large crane forward. The name is [HMS] Pioneer and it is evidently an aircraft repair ship. HMS Swiftsure has gone to Sydney for a short refit. It is anticipated that CS4 will be returning from there in [HMNZS] Gambia with the rest of the British Pacific Fleet.
Last Friday week, with the aid of a couple of tugs the ship was moved to the training wharf opposite HMNZS Philomel. Early Saturday morning it wharfed itself into the Calliope dock.
On Saturday, a party of about 400 officers & ratings were taken to Rotorua by train for the day. This outing was apparently well organized & enjoyed by all.
Last Friday we embarked supplies of 6″ & 4″ ammunition & completed storing ship. On the Wednesday the ship was returned to berth at the cruiser wharf, bows east.
The weather has not been particularly encouraging except for the last couple of days which have been very nice. We were all set to leave last Saturday, but Friday night sailing was postponed & an opportunity was given to many to attend the Races at Ellerslie on Saturday Afternoon.
This morning we slipped from the jetty at 0930, passing the gate at 0940. Close range shoots were carried out in the Hauraki Gulf during the forenoon at a sleeve target towed by an Avenger Aircraft. 3 targets were shot down. Course was set for Manus, cruising turbines being engaged & two boilers only steaming. Passed Cape Brett at dusk and set course to leave New Caledonia almost 50 miles to Starboard.
Our small force, under the command of Commodore Farncombe, HMAS Hobart, withdrew & proceeded to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, to await further developments. Arrived off the harbour soon after 0600 & anchored in berth N5 at 0700. Ratings on passage were disembarked and hands prepared for ammunitioning.
During the afternoon, shifted berth to alongside US Oiler Leopard. Refuelling took 2 1/2 hours. At 1800 shipped and 20 mins later secured again in N5. 4 hours notice for steam.
Next day, Wednesday, carried out 4 bombardments, all being shore observed with control divided between shore & ship. These were not considered quite as good as Tuesday’s efforts. Night Exercises were carried out with [HMS] Arethusa and [HMS] Orion during passage to Alexandria, Hands being closed up at action stations for the best part of an hour about midnight. Entered harbour & secured to buoys F2 & F2A by 0800, Thursday today. Hands have been employed ammunitioning ship from lighters alongside. As far as 6” is concerned, most work has been done disembarking CPBC [Common Pointed Ballistic Cap] shell & replacing with HEDA [High Explosive Delayed Action]. HMAC [Aircraft Carrier] Colossus entered harbour this afternoon. The floating crane has been alongside working on P2 4” mounting.
Commenced embarking ammunition of various types ie 6″, 4″, 40mm. 20mm. from two lighters soon after 0800. This was completed before 1600. I personally was rather disappointed at the large quantity of 6″ practice shells that came aboard. I suppose that bombardment exercises will dispose of a lot though, anyway.
Cordite for “A” & “B” turrets was hoisted by lighter’s derrick and initially all struck down into “B” Turret. 6″ Shell [see sketch] was hoisted in by ship’s derrick & struck into “A” turret, H.E. first being fused at position just aft of the breakwater.
“4” fixed” was hoisted in by lighter’s derrick on to boat deck & struck down into 4″ magazine. “Close Range” was hoisted in by ship’s crane. Ammunition from the after lighter was brought aboard by lighter’s derrick.
The weather was not very good & grew worse until about noon it was too rough to continue with operations & work was suspended for the day.
The Wolverhampton party postponed their visit until tomorrow.
During the week, midshipmen have practiced “shooting the sun” and lectures have been given by the Gunnery, Torpedo, & FDO [Flight Deck Officer] officers and the Paymaster Commander, or rather Commander(s).
It is anticipated that the ship will be leaving dock for the stream next Monday, & after ammunitioning for a couple of days, will proceed to Glasgow for a Tilt Test.
This afternoon most of the Gunroom participated in a run round Helensburgh & surrounding hills. 3 of the hounds missed the boat back but owing to the foresight of one of their number who took some money with him, they did not fare as badly as they might have.
“Queen Mary” and HMS “Mauritius” are amongst ships lying in the stream off Greenock.