1 August 1954 - Just heard it, I’m not flying. Sailing 19th August, “Empire Orwell” for Liverpool.
16 August 1954 - Leave here on 18th at noon per “Empire Orwell”, due Southampton noon on the 15th.
Howell, with the biggest demob-happy smile imaginable. One of my final days at shamshuipo.
We were trucked down to the quayside at Kowloon to join the “Empire Orwell” and as soon as we had found our bunks, sorted out our kit, we were allowed up on deck for the departure. A bunch of us from 79 Company saw one of “our” GSLs heading towards us and stop its engine when it was almost alongside us. We could see our pals gazing up, trying to spot us in amongst the hundreds of bodies draped over the rail. Luckily i had purloined from the camp quartermaster one of our blue ensigns as a souvenir. I hung it over the side and the crew spotted it and the waving began.
The trip home was unrecorded, more’s the shame, but when we arrived in Southampton we were, all of us, hanging over the rail trying to spot family or friends. My parents had managed to get right down to the very front of the quayside, don’t ask me how. I spotted them and yelled from way up high on the main deck. The thing that amazes me, even now after so many years, is that everyone on the deck heard me yell and they all, to a man, fell quiet to give me, and my parents, a chance. A fabulous memory to hold on to.
The “Empire Orwell” approaching Southampton quayside.
All of which brings this narrative to an end. We were sent back to Bordon and our demobilisation took place from there I began the overseas posting at Bordon and ended my National Service there.
Copyright Howell Green 2010.