HMS Walrus’ Visitor’s Book

 

As can be seen from the accompanying images Rod kept his own record. The Walrus Visitor’s Book has entries in it starting 10th December 1945 until 11th February 1947.

 

There are very many pages of comments, drawings rhymes etc. I have chosen a small number that I consider to be representative of the style and type contributed. Some are of longstanding friends, one (the first) from my mother and others from wartime acquaintances.

 

Below Left On page one my mother makes reference to the fact that the ship was dry on her initial visit. The ship was not commissioned until 10/12/45 and as the entry was dated 15/12/1945, presumably the “stores” were incomplete!

   
 

Above Right Rod met Lt David Thomas while he was at Rosyth. He had known him before during the war, David invited Rod aboard his new responsibility, “HMS” Grille. Grille had been Adolf Hitler’s private yacht. Rod visited Grille on 10/2/1946. Note the reference to "Good Pickings"

 

This example Below Left shows that Rod stopped off at Gibraltar on 1st April 1946 on the way to the Far East. Rod’s CO on MGB 118 was Michael Forsyth-Grant. The entry says “Ramsgate Reunion Gibraltar”

 

      

 

 

The picture Above Right records that Rod was at Malta on the 7th April ’46; my birthday! Rod was now the father of twins. The comment by Douglas Gill remembers their days at HMS Beehive and identifies the MTB’s Douglas served on, MTB’s 225 & 390.

 

Rod’s promotion to C.O. of HMS Walrus is commemorated by the insertion Below Right.

 

         

 

A number of drawings featured in the book also, this one looks remarkably like a girl in a photo Rod took of someone diving at Colombo!

 

At the bottom of the page Below Left“Jake Watson” makes reference to the change in type of vessel Rod is serving in. Planning along at 38 knots in an MTB must have seemed very different from 10 knots in a 1000 ton Aircraft Transport Ship! Jake lists the boats he served in during the war, ML’s 533, 531, 527 and 529. MTB’s 716, 754 and 774. He then lists ML’s 873 & 4003.

 

Below left is an image of the middle and bottom of a page in Rod's book; I have added the top of the page in view of entry number 26 in the visitors guest book of the site. Many thanks to Lt Geoff Smale RNVR.

 

 

 

       

 

Above Right  One of Rod’s sisters Marjorie met Rod in Singapore in 1946. This was the first time Rod had seen Marjorie since before the war as Marjorie spent the war in Sydney Australia as the Nurse/Governess to Lord and Lady Wakehurst’s son. Lord Wakehurst was Governor of NSW during the war and Marjorie stayed in Sydney throughout the war. She moved to Singapore with Lord and Lady Killearn in 1946. Her contribution reads “Grand meeting with Little Brother”. I well remember on one occasion Rod recalling an amusing incident when visiting Singapore. His ship was a relatively small one being about 1,000 tons, they were moored next to a Cruiser. Rod was standing by the gangway waiting, and also observing the splendid cruiser. The cruiser being the senior ship in harbour had a small band seated on deck waiting under an awning for any civil officials or  senior port officers to arrive. Suddenly the band struck up playing with all of the fervour expected of naval band waiting for the Governor to appear. The Governor's car with official flag flying did appear and pulled majestically to a halt just past the cruiser. Rod walked slowly down the gangway smiling to himself and walked up to the car, the band stopped playing as Rod got into the back of the car and was driven away. Marjorie had been granted permission for the car to be used collect the Captain of HMS Walrus (a mere wavy navy two ringer) to take him to meet her for tea!

 

Below Left  In the reminisces Rod’s long time friend Terry Mills writes, he recalls the wartime experiences they shared in the 35th MTB Flotilla and promises to visit Rod at his family home in Sandgate at No 21 Chichester Road when time allows.

 

 

Many comments were made and signed using only a first name or nick-name, like “Minnie” Above 2 photos (left) known then but lost in antiquity now. “Puck” and “Brownie”, Below Left anonymous but not forgotten.

 

      

 

The two photos below only have "Puck" written on the back in what appears to be Puck's handwritting.

 

 

 

 

 

                                   

 

It is not known which of the two girls is "Brownie" or who "I" is. According to the inscription on the back (above right) of the photo it was taken at the Diyatalawa "leave bungalow" in August 1946.

 

Rod left Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in February 1947. The last three above entries were made at Christmas and just after in January 1947. One of the last rhymes is perhaps appropriate to draw attention to, it is pictured below.

 

"The time has come" the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things",

"Of shoes and ships & sealing wax",

"Of cabbages and kings",

"Of why the sea is boiling hot",

"And whether pigs have wings".