Well it was back to square one again for me, waiting as before in HMS Victory for a draft to another ship. I was given a weeks leave, very enjoyable with Doris in the comfort of the new home we had made together but where we had spent so little time. Shortly after I returned to Portsmouth I received my draft chit, it was to join HMS Battleaxe.
RMS Queen Mary
The Navy had a large number of ships despite the tonnage being sunk, our ally the USA was building welded ships very quickly, but it took longer to train radar mechanics, so I soon got my ship. The Signal said transport would leave the barracks en route to join the Battleaxe.
After many enquiries as to what and where the ship was, I gathered it was a Naval base in Scotland, but this was far from being true. About 300 of us left Portsmouth by train and yes we all had Arctic and Tropical kit to fool the Nazis and Japs! Funny really because none of us knew where we were bound for. The train first stopped at Church St., London, and from there up North to Preston, we all had a good sleep on the way. We had a smashing 'fry up' on Preston Station, provided by the Salvation Army who were so good during the war. Then off again and the next stop was Motherwell in Scotland, so the Scottish Naval base looked a good bet. But no, on again to Greenock on the River Clyde just above Glasgow. All our kit was dumped on a jetty and we watched it loaded on to a fishing boat, a drifter that we all boarded. Lo and behold we were taken out to the middle of this vast River Clyde to one of the finest ships ever built in the world, the liner RMS Queen Mary. Not too resplendent in her dark grey camouflage, but for sheer size very impressive to us. You could see why she was nicknamed 'The Old Grey Mare' during the war. She was doing a marvellous job ferrying thousands of American troops in five days from New York to Liverpool or Glasgow for the European Theatre of War, together with her sister ship RMS Queen Elizabeth.
RMS Queen Mary newspaper