August 14 1939
Prodromos (Cyprus), BERENGARIA HOTEL
CABLES: BERENGARIA, PRODROMOS.
TELEPHONE: PRODROMOS 4
If you will look at your atlas of Cyprus, you will see Limassol, a port on the southeastern tip of the island. We arrived here on Friday morning with three battleships and about twenty destroyers.
Owens, a marine, and myself went ashore on Friday night and met some very nice people - the Wiliamsons, at the club. They run a huge citrus fruit farm - lemons, oranges, grapes, etc. Grapes are excellent and cheap.
I was able to get overnight leave with a few others, so we motored up to Troodos behind Limassol. The mountain is about 6,400 feet and one climbs the whole height in 32 miles of switchbacks and marvellous scenery like Banff. The heat at sea level is impossible to stand. We only wear shorts and shirts, but they are soaked right through just sitting still. It has to be experienced to be believed. The whole atmosphere is wet and therefore it is impossible to get dry. Up here on the very top of the mountain it is wonderful. The island is quite a big one, 150m x 160m, and it is noted for its wines. We have done quite a lot of flying since leaving Alexandria - starting by a dawn attack on Alex from 100 miles at sea. 802 was to attempt to machine gun flying boats at anchor in harbour. We did - caught them napping just as they were trying to start engines.
Lord knows what the Alexandrians thought at 6 a.m. while our whole squadron roared across the harbour at less than 50 feet. Anyway, it was good fun for us and a fleet exercise to the admiralty.
Before anchoring at Limassol, our squadron took off and we took a good gander at the island from 15,000 feet just before the fleet sailed in.
We actually saw a monoplane bomber watching things too - he beetled off to Dodecanses Islands, judging by direction we flew near him. (It.)
We sail tonight at 9:30 p.m. for Alexandria or something else. Thank goodness the Cypriot drivers are good. Gippy ones would be lying by the hundred along both sides of that mountain road.
This letter is going to cost a fortune. Five and-a-half piastres or nearly thirty cents.
Anyway, hello and goodbye till next time.