March 12 (Mon) 1945, Alexandria, Egypt

A very full & comprehensive working-up gunnery program has been laid down for the coming week. This morning, all Midshipmen went, per truck & some very rough roads, to HMS Grebe, a small Fleet Air Arm Station south-west of Alex. Owing to unsettled weather & an unfavourable forecast we were unable to go up in any aircraft, as there was very little activity at all. However, we met some of the pilots who have cooperated with the ship in exercises, it being very interesting to hear their views of what went on, and were shown round some of the drome and the planes. Types on display were Martinet, (target-towing) Swordfish, & Seafire [Sea Spitfire].  There were several others such as Hurricanes, Avengers, & Wildcats on the ground in various stages of overhaul but we didn’t get much to delve into those.

March 12 1945 Spitfire

At the drinking session before dinner in the mess, I was very pleased to meet a couple of fellow countrymen [NZers]. After doing some Seafires of a squadron from HMS Attacker, at present refitting in Taranto [Southern Italy], after dinner & inspecting some aerial photos of HMS Newfoundland & [HMS] Nubian, we were returned to 35 Quay, by transport over even rougher roads.


December 13 (Weds) 1944, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Destroyers on way to exercises, on the left is the submarine which acted as target during the anti-submarine exercises, 1940. Image copr. IWM A1585. Source:
Fairey Swordfish, 1941. Image copr. IWM A2274.

At 0814 weighed anchor and in company with [HMS] “Norfolk” proceeded to exercise area & commenced RIX [Range & Inclination Exercise] at 0945. On completion at 1045, sighted S/M [submarine] “Trusty”. Just after 1100 commenced 4″ HA [High Angle] shoot at towed winged target. At 1130 began exercises with “Trusty”, finishing HA shoot at 1150. About half an hour later the port PV [paravane] was reported to have broken adrift. A photographic plane (Swordfish!) turned up & circled the ship several times, presumably giving the ship the once over. It is hoped that if its efforts are successful, copies of views will be available for distribution to individuals. The exercise with S/M Trusty was completed about 1330 and approximately an hour later, a close range shoot began. After half an hour, the target was shot down. “Action Stations” was exercised and 6″ prepared for sub-calibre firings but this was cancelled and after a few dummy attacks by Torpedo & Dive bombers, set course for Scapa Flow and Fleet anchorage. On recovering PVs it was found that the port paravane was correct & the starboard was missing!! This sort of raises a query as to whether all the ship’s company know their right hands from their left. Anchored at A1 Berth at 1730, securing at 8 shackles in 16 fathoms.

During night, the wind increased to force 8 from SSE and just after midnight, veered port anchor to 10 shackles & dropped stb. [starboard] underfoot.