By Gordon W. Stead
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Additional info for A Leaf upon the Sea: A Small Ship in the Mediterranean, 1941-1943
In time the patrols became dull from sheer repetition, but there were compensations. Behind me was the novel experience of bringing a small vessel through an ocean passage with its testing challenges in rough weather. I had settled into the routine of a competent flotilla and enjoyed the satisfaction of at last doing a useful job with an ML, for the very existence of the patrols discouraged attempts by hostile craft to pass the straits even when there was no action. I became at one with my little ship and developed confidence that I could handle her with grace and precision in any circumstances, and as this symbiosis grew, I was freed to feel the joy of simply being at sea in a fascinating place in generally comfortable weather.
A voice called out, "Where is Ark RoyalT HMS Ark Royal was the Force H aircraft carrier. It had been claimed as sunk many times on the Berlin Radio by the British turncoat nicknamed "Lord Haw-Haw" and Rankin had no idea where the ship was nor what the question had to do with the madhouse he was in. So he gave an answer that was in character and seemed in keeping with the situation. " The voice from the destroyer's bridge was that of Vice-Admiral Sir James Somerville, who was not amused. " Ark Royal had been torpedoed by a U-boat that had made it through the straits as Force H was returning from a convoy run.
If we made it, the next pair of MLs would follow immediately in the same dark phase of the moon. If they, too, succeeded, the last four would come a lunar month later.
A Leaf upon the Sea: A Small Ship in the Mediterranean, 1941-1943 by Gordon W. Stead