2nd November 1916 – 10.30am
The start of a frustrating journey for Arthur, having left Southampton in the early evening of the 1st, they sailed as far as Portsmouth but were turned back to port. Arthur is writing his first letter of the new day from a shed on the dockside. Thank goodness for Dollie’s sandwiches!
Arthur to Dollie
Southampton – on the, Docks 10.30am
… I don’t suppose you are expecting a letter from here to-day. Let me explain. We arrived here all right last night & were on board by 7pm. The boat sailed about 7.15. Two others had already gone on. I manage to get something to eat – cold meat & salad, bread & butter & marmalade. Then I turned in down below. In addition to the little saloon where we had our meal, there was a place below decks & there we all settled down on the floor on lifebelts. We steamed down until about a quarter past 9 when we stopped and anchored – we were then off Portsmouth.
We weren’t there long however dear before we turned about & came back to within about a 1000 yards of the quay. We all hoped to land – but were disappointed for we anchored again in the stream. There we lay until just after 8 this morning when we came in to the berth. No–one was allowed off until about 9.20 & once off we were all put into one of the sheds on the quay next to the dock where we are still. No-one is allowed off the docks yet. It’s such a shame for its a most awful waste of time. However here we are & here we have to stay while the Navy makes up its mind.
There is no accommodation & I am writing this on my knee – hence the awful writing. You’ll excuse it won’t you, dear. Worst of all, there is no chance of getting in touch with you, my darling. I gave a letter to a man on the quay last night – but he said he wasn’t allowed to post it. However he promised to get it off; so I hope you will receive it all right. Meanwhile the sandwiches have proved a great boon. I managed to get a cup of tea on board this morning…