Frank Curry Diary Nov-Dec

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Tuesday--November 25
Up at 0600. Spent the morning removing the Asdic oscillator and taking it ashore. Afternoon saw us putting the dome back on and a new oscillator installed. Rumour has it that we are at last ready for operations, and that we pull out tomorrow. huge stock of stores came on board late this evening (you might know it). And so it is.

Wednesday--November 26
Today saw us start in on operational duties in the North Atlantic. We pulled out at 0500 for Sydney, Cape Breton. Rough--oh so rough--started operating and spewing. Everybody very sick--me included. That is about all I can jot down for today.

Thursday--November 27
Operating continuously 2 on and 4 off. I am so terribly sick. What a life. Finally staggered into Sydney at dark. Half the ship's company allowed ashore. Naturally I was duty watch. After my watch, was ever so ready to hit the mick.

Friday--November 28
We sailed early this morning to escort a convoy--a rather exciting experience for most of us to take our first step in operational duty. Most of the day spent getting our convoy rounded up and into place. We are operating 2 on and 4 off, which is not the most pleasant routine in the world. Christmas ditty bags distributed along with woolen bundles. We are taking this convoy to some point in the Atlantic far to the East of Newfoundland.

Saturday--November 29
Steady operating day and night. Weather fair, sea is actually not too rough, of major importance in my estimation. Please stay that way. I feel pretty good for a change, and am hungry at all hours of the day and night. Must be the fine sea air (coated with frost). Our convoy is slow poking, one of forty-odd ships--we are progressing at the fine rate of five knots per heavy hour.

Sunday--November 30
Sunday at sea--but there is no way of actually knowing it, except that the cooks put gravy on the spuds at dinner. Seas are rough, but I still do not feel too squeamish, for some unknown reason. A bitter wind cutting through our rigging and snowing on and off. We turned our convoy safely over to another escort group far off Cape Race, Newfoundland, as we turned about and plunged towards Sydney, Cape Breton.

Monday--December 1
And I thought it had been rough before. Now I know something of the meaning of rough seas. Mountainous seas are breaking completely over the ship, and it is turning into massive coatings of ice as it hits. We are sheathed in sixteen inches of ice and I do not know what keeps us from going to the bottom of the Atlantic as we pitch, toss, roll and do everything else imaginable. Sure hope the rivets hold under all this pounding. At last we crept into port at midnight, the first of the escort group to make it. What a wonderful, wonderful feeling to get within the protection of land again.

Tuesday--December 2
Everyone on the ship busy hacking pieces of ice off the ship. Gigantic chunks crashing down all over the place as we slug it out with fire axes, bars, and anything else that will loosen the icy grip that has held us for two days. It turned out to be an all-day job. Went ashore in the evening for the first time in Sydney. Found the Y and wrote some letters. Had a huge meal and back on board early to get a solid night's sleep for a welcome change.

Wednesday--December 3
Some day I must find out what sign I was born under for I do not seem to be the luckiest person in the world. Today I lost my wallet with every cent I claim ownership to--$26.00 in all. It was to be my Christmas money, and it sure knocked me for a loop. The boys took up a collection and got me $12.50. Went ashore with Nichols.

Monday--December 22
Just as we were about to head back to Sydney, we received urgent orders to proceed to the rescue of a torpedoed ship in the Gulf. So off we went into the very teeth of terrific seas. Boy, are they ever huge green ones. Going on watch at 10:00 p.m., I stood for a few minutes by the wheelhouse which is all of 20 feet above the water line, and looked straight up at mountainous seas that made our little corvette seem very insignificant indeed--I hung on for dear life as I made my way in pitch dark with the roaring gales tearing at me every foot of the way, up to the bridge. How can anyone know what a night like this is at sea who has never actually experienced it.

Tuesday--December 23
Terrible seas still running as we pounded our way into them. We are bouncing all over creation. Somehow we found the merchant ship at 0200 of the wildest darkest night imaginable, and got a line aboard her. Headed slowly back to Sydney from close to St. Paul's Island. It is rougher than I ever dreamt the ocean could be. Our mess decks are knee-deep in bitterly cold sea water, everything possible is afloat from spilled tins of jam to best uniforms, hats, sea-biscuits, letters and books. No one gives it a second thought--for it seems all-important to think of survival. Arms and legs and joints are screaming for even a moment's relaxation from the jarring and pitching and beating. One has to go back to the old sailing rule of one hand for the ship, one hand for yourself, particularly on the upper deck where one false move means the end.

Wednesday--December 24
We staggered into Sydney harbour this Christmas Eve, feeling pretty good about accomplishing our mission. What a feeling to tie up securely to a jetty where everything is still--the crew in a jubilant mood, and I am no exception. Make and mend in the afternoon and we spent it cleaning our mess decks. Duty watch for me--on Quartermaster from 2000-2400, and I saw Christmas Day come in from the frozen gangway. Celebrated by taking a hot shower and climbing into my hammock at 0100.

Thursday--December 25
Christmas Day--and what a day. My first one aboard a ship, but, from the looks of things, not my last. Up at 0800 (among our rare gifts, and a most welcome change). We hosed down the decks and cleaned ship. Decorated our mess decks and tied a small Christmas tree to the masthead--apparently another old, old tradition of the sea. I got feeling pretty merry on the punch which the Old Man fixed personally in the seaman's messdeck. We had a tremendous dinner--all the officers in a very congenial mood for a change--they were almost human. Went ashore with a gang of the fellows and wandered about Sydney, stopping in at two or three dances, but dancing little.

Friday--December 26
Back to the old grind today - up at 0600 and the morning was spent with a paintbrush securely in a frozen hand. Duty watch for me--most of the crew off ashore having themselves a good time. Ship very quiet and peaceful--one of those rare happenings. Turned in early.

Saturday--December 27
A morning spent cleaning and sculling (mostly sculling) in the Asdic compartment. Cooper and I spent the afternoon overhauling the Asdic recorder. Went ashore in the evening--took in a show (slept most of the way through it) and wandered back on board ship early.

Sunday--December 28
We sailed on an anti-submarine patrol off Sydney. Water smooth as glass--operating 2 on and 2 off. Picked up instructions just at dusk for further work.

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