However, I was soon kept busy writing up the "Fair" copy of the pay ledger with details of the new crew members who seemed to arrive daily. Crew names did not take long to match to the appropriate faces as pay parades were soon knocked into shape under the ever watchful eye of the M. A. A.
My first experience of sailing in a big ship was very "smooth and comfortable" all the way to Sheerness!! With fuel and ammunition loaded and engine trials complete our voyage began.
We left Sheerness on 9th September and but for a brief visit to Portsmouth to board troops for Malta and pick up HMS Kent's ceremonial awning, our voyage proper to the Far East commenced on the 11th.
The trip through the Bay of Biscay was memorable for two reasons:-
2. The ships company were reminded of the dangers of overexposure to the sun.
The 4 inch gun deck was the favoured place for sun worshippers and I spent many happy hours there on my camp bed acquiring an "all over" tan.
We stayed only two days at Gibraltar where I said hello to the Barbery Apes and visited the caverns then it was off to Malta. Whilst on route I "enjoyed" the unusual experience of swimming in the Mediterranean and not being able to touch the bottom many fathoms below.
Memories of Valetta:
1. The picturesque harbour.
2. The warm climate.
3. Working up exercises
4. Visiting that famous or should I say infamous street!
Grand Harbour Valetta September 1947.
The shoe sellers of Malta.