The day was grey and plain, without rain, but the fifteenth century ruins of
Having docked, the crew of HMS Inconstant set about oiling and watering the ship down. This took time, but was a well practised routine and meant little to the men and it only gained brief mentions in the diaries and letters of those who liked to write. Private Ligertwood was one of those, jotting down short notes whenever he could find a spare moment. He also liked to draw and sketch and having some free time he learned how to draw a pig with his eyes shut, and proved his success by pencilling one into his pocket diary.
By the following morning the weather was even more unsettled, and very cold. The wind was causing problems, and the sporadic showers left everyone irritable and short tempered. The lack of orders was not helping either and although the harbour was busy, crowded with vessels and shouting, their was a general feeling of boredom amongst the men. On deck some went through rigorous fitness exercises, while down below others played cards, chess, chequers, or wrote letters, poems, diaries, anything to keep their minds occupied.
Fred Ligertwood liked his writing, and particularly liked words. He enjoyed spelling them out, and putting them together and it was always a disappointment he didn’t have time to write more; another curse of the war. He was a young man, typical of those in the forces. He’d joined up in 1914, illegally, as he’d only been 14 at the time (instead of the required 15). Like many others, he had lied his way into the Royal Marines. Four years on he was still there, and no less happy or thrilled by the boyish feeling of being part of the War.
He’d played his part, quite literally, when he’d blown the Bugle to begin the first attack in the Battle of Jutland, possibly the biggest Naval battle of the war to date. It had lasted almost two days from May 31st to June 1st, 1916, off the coast of
At the entrance to the harbour HMS Champion, who had also been at
In the end he never discovered if this rumour was true because the weather was beyond rough. So much so that at 11.50pm all ships were ordered to return to base. This alone took over 5 hours and they eventually entered the harbour under the early morning light. Private Ligertwood felt a little the worse for wear and submitted himself to the sick list. A quick injection later and he returned to update his diary. “Blinking sore.”