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Cliff's Military Service

Cliff

I was sent from Southampton to Hong Kong by boat, I was in the Signals Corp as a wireless operator and one of our Engineer Officers stayed there after the war and ran a steam ship passenger organisation going back and forth to Macow. We went over once on this little boat tossing and turning on the waves. I ordered a full breakfast big mistake I was so sick. I should have thought about it being a small boat and that it would pitch but I had never had seasickness before. I learned Morse code and managed to send messages at a rate of 32 words a minute, which was naval standard apparently but I didn't find it easy to learn and it took me longer than most but in the end I came top of the class.

While I was in Hong Kong I was once sent to the New Territories on fatigues for something I had done wrong and while I was there peeling potatoes the Officer in Charge came and told me I had a visitor and it was my brother. His ship had docked in Hong Kong and he had come to find me - it was marvellous and the Officer let me off as I had this special visitor. My brother then invited me to go down and see his ship and said he would show me round. So my friend and I went down one weekend and would you believe it my brother was on fatigues chipping rust off the derrick on the boat when we found him! Because we were special visitors his officer let him off fatigues. What a coincidence.

During my time in the war we stopped at Malta and Gibraltar, went down the Suez Canal, which was most interesting because it is so narrow. We blew a boiler in Port Said and went ashore for three days and we slept in hammocks on the ship. When we went through the Suez Canal, Aden was still a British Protectorate and boys selling rugs met us and I bought one for 10 shillings and I still have it in perfect condition today. We called at Singapore for 2-3 days.