Friday January 15th 1943

Getting nearer. I was told today that the Commodore's ship who had been holding us up all the way had to drop out yesterday owing to steering gear trouble. Now the other Commodore who took over has ordered 8 knots. So we are going faster now.

When we got on deck this morning it was pitch dark, we could see a fire in the distance. It turned out to be a Swedish ship (neutral) and it's not the first time it has happened this trip. Very ominous, for it will slow a convoy up for miles.

Well I started this morning, or rather during my break. Now it is 11.15pm, a very bright moon light night. We have had some excitement, at 6 o'clock the Cook said get your life jackets quick. I thought he was joking but soon realised the seriousness of it. Funny, I have talked about how free we have been. We are due in New York tomorrow, it is the last day but one until the end of our trip. I have written and told you all is well, BUT, well I shall not alter that.

We all, as usual gathered on deck in full regalia (battle dress). Gunners by the gun, alert, so were we. Tracers and rockets everywhere. The troop ship had been attacked. In the galley we can hear no alarm, as all day long there is an electric motor going to blow the oil through the fires. So we should never know unless someone came to tell us. Eventually all clear. But it had put us behind work. Consequently, I was baking bread at 10 tonight, now I am utterly beat. £150 of meat, 1600 lbs of it went over the side tonight, before replenishing at New York. It was rotten. We have only 5' of water left, roll on New York. During all this trouble, my redeeming feature was, my bum. It's been awful today, since dinner when I had to go. I have been eating arrowroot these last few days, there is tonnes of it on here, in fact, tonight tins of it was "over the wall" with sage, celery, mustard, herbs and thyme, Oh! all sorts. it breaks my heart to see so much wasted. I am wondering if our plates have received any more damage through the depth chargers.

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