While many of the dates we’re looking at in this year’s December blog series mark big, noteworthy events which impacted either on the life of a notable individual, or on contemporary society – thus potentially changing the course of history – every day is also marked by countless personal experiences. For today’s ‘December date’ it is one of these, more personal, experiences which I would like to focus on.
My great-grandfather, Arthur John Pidgeon, was a Petty Officer (1st class) in the merchant navy. During 1914 he was stationed on HMS Talbot, and one of their main duties was patrolling the Channel. My family are fortunate enough to still have Arthur’s W/T Signal Log in which he recorded the events of just over a year (1st August 1914 to 22nd August 1915).
The Log is beautifully written in ink, with an entry for each day, and stands as a very personal record of one person, and one ship’s, experience of the first year of World War One. And while there are references to greater events going on beyond the HMS Talbot, there are also snippets of everyday life at sea. Today, and later in this series, I will be sharing some specific entries of Arthur’s diary with the blog.
Thursday 3rd December 1914
The weather was still rough in the morning but clear overhead. We had a few showers during the forenoon. 9.30. Prayers & then General Quarters but could not do much with the ship rolling. The old black cat we had with us used to come around regular for his condensed milk & I never saw him sea sick once. He used to keep is sea legs very well & would go from mess to mess for his usual bit here & there. Nothing of importance occurred during the remainder f the day & everyone was glad when time came to turn in once more.
Not a long entry then for 3rd December, but some interesting comments regarding the roughness of the winter’s sea and the ability of the ship’s cat to carry on regardless. Look out for two more entries from Arthur’s Signal Log later in the series.
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