British merchant seaman served aboard aboard SS Empire Castle, RMS Avon, SS Saxon, HMS Sapphire, HMS Thespice, SS Polgarth and hospital ship Grantully Castle in Atlantic, Mediterranean and GB coastal waters, 1914-1919
REEL 1: Background in Southampton, 1896-1912: family; education; employment; story of joining Union Castle line, 1911; question of age and eyesight test. Aspects of period as deck boy and ordinary seaman aboard SS Empire Castle, 1911-1912: daily routine and duties as deck boy aboard Empire Castle; description of ship and route to South Africa; reaction of parents; rates of pay; kit and uniform; discipline; sleeping arrangements; question of training; duty on watch; depth finding at sea; promotion to ordinary seaman and nature of duties. Aspects of period aboard RMS Avon, 1912-1914: daily routine and duties; description of voyages to South America; memory of outbreak of war, 4/Aug/1914; transferred to SS Saxon, 26/Aug/1914. Aspects of period aboard SS Saxon, 1914-1915: promotion to able seaman and quartermaster and nature of duties; description of Saxon; transferred to admiralty yacht Sapphire, 6/Feb/1915. Aspects of period aboard HMS Sapphire and HMS Thespice, 1915-1917: description of Sapphire and crew; question of enlisting in Navy; transferred to HMS Thespice, 15/Oct/1917; description of voyages to Canada; opinion of food.
REEL 2 Continues: question of civilian status and serving with Navy; role of Sapphire as patrol boat in Mediterranean; story of submarine; gunnery practice and role as breech loader; opinion of captain of Sapphire; recreational activities and shore leave; story of brother's service aboard hospital ship Britannic; question of awareness of events on Western Front; comparison of rates of pay and war bonus; description of role in supply convoys; story of damage to Thespice.
REEL 3 Continues: Aspects of period aboard hospital ship Grantully Castle, 4/1918-6/1919: memory of Armistice, 11/11/1918; description of duties aboard hospital ship; comparison of duties of able seaman and quartermaster; question of escort for hospital ship; story of watch duty; anti-torpedo precautions; medical facilities; method of steering ship; further memory of Armistice celebrations.