March 5, 1939
This is Sunday, and we are still at the "Rock". Beautiful morning with the Levanter blowing slightly. This is an east wind and puts a little tuft of cloud on the tip of the "Rock."
We have just finished "Divisions" which is Church - a parade on flight deck in brilliant sunshine. Marine band, etc. Uniform of the day was frock coats and swords for officers. Spain is very mountainous all along this coast here. A rough map will show you the position of things. La Livea is a Spanish town slapped up against Gibraltar on the north side. Algeciras is Spanish about two miles straight west of Gibraltar - is very picturesque with its white houses, etc. La Linea has a bull ring. Centa is a rock bigger than Gibraltar armed by Franco with large 18' guns and is twenty miles south of Gib - all beautifully clear in this visibility. Of course all this part of Spain is under Franco and permission to travel in Spain is only given to officers who can get special permits, but one can only go along main roads here and then only a few miles past Algeciras along the road to Malaga. I can get permission, but don't know whether I'll bother as one has to be back in Gib before 11:20 p.m.
We sale tomorrow for second part of combined manoeuvres. We fight against Home Fleet and it is a wonderful experience for me. We will carry press reporters and cameramen this trip, so you should see pictures of us in action through Movietone, etc. Perhaps even see Willy, so keep a good eye out.
I climbed the rock again and inspected all the guns, etc. with F/O Smith yesterday afternoon. We got special permits from Captain Lister, DSO of Glorious. The Mediterranean is beautiful here - as calm as a lake, and that deep blue you dream about. I bought wizard silk pyjamas in Gib for 3/6 each or about 80 cents. Duty-free port here and cheap native labour. Also a beautifully coloured bed spread all worked in flowers and birds, etc.
Gibraltar is, of course, terrifically fascinating as it still contains all the very old forts and guns by the dozen. All the coast line - i.e. along the high Moroccan Coast to the south one can see old Moorish towers on top of every peak.
When we return in a week's time we have ten days in Gibraltar before sailing for Malta. I might visit Tangier but don't know as yet.
Very glad that Jean is such a good skater - I think she should ski also, as it is a very important asset - one thing I wish I had done. I feel out of things here in the fleet - as they don't play baseball or basketball. All old pukka English games like cricket, grass hockey, squash, golf, things I have never mastered. Malta is too rough for rugger - all stony and many broken bones result, so yours truly steers clear of this game here.
I get most of my exercise in swimming and water polo - a game. I find myself a strong swimmer and do not tire as easily as I used to.
The unlimited variety in the Fleet Air Arm appeals strongly to me -especially the opportunity of visiting strange places in a leisurely manner - not as the Americans do it - Ha. Ha.
Will write again in a week's time. How about a pictures of Ronny and yourself?