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The Diary Of Gunner Astles
ARCHIVES REFERENCE D1/237
COPYRIGHT – NOT TO BE REPRODUCED OR PUBLISHED WITHOUT PERMISSION
3rd April, 1918
early in the morning there was a slight frost. The sun rose in fine style, and
promised us a great day, which I can now say we have had.
By far one of the best days this year I am able to say a long walk has resulted from the mere fact of so much sunshine. It was lovely!
A glorious sunset was also seen to-night, and now the stars twinkle with a very brilliant effect.
the Blizzard of January two destroyers ran aground some miles away from here.
All hands were lost - bar one. To-day I have been to see the wrecks, and a good
deal of nature I saw.
The wrecks are the scenes enacted one
never hears of, but I should think it one of the greatest accidents in the Navy.
For two destroyers crash on the rocks, hardly 50 yds from the cliff side, and
then all hands to perish from shock and exposure, seems jolly hard lines in a
place like it has happened in.
For obvious reasons I cannot detail it too much, but wreckage - and even a body we saw - is all that remains of the two boats.
went down the cliffs, and I have never been down any so steep before. A
collector of bird eggs at one time I used to make some razor - trained descents
The descent , and the ascent I shall always try to remember I think. When I arrived at the top I expressed that I was rather “done up,” and my three pals said ditto.
The dilemma of the survivors must have been sad, for the cold, blizzard raging, and the fact of the cliffs being covered in snow on a dark night must have been a very trying time before they expired.
these cliffs hundreds of gulls have now taken up their breeding “stations”.
As they wheeled around us we remarked how tame they were. No eggs yet: they must
be tame when they have nests of eggs and young. There were many sea-birds on
these crags, and when at the top and a look down was taken, Cormorants looked
like little tiny men; so characteristic of a human being are these birds.
Ravens; jack-daws; hooded-crows; common-gulls; black backed gulls; wild ducks - many species - razor bills; puffins; guillemots and several commoner birds all had their peaceful - but precarious - homes amongst the rocks and crevices these cliffs are blessed with - To the birds idea I suppose.
Our way we made by the village, and after leaving the scene of disaster and splendid scenery, we came at a brisk pace back to the village. “A bottle of pop and a bun,” helped to bring back much of the energy we had lost over our long journey, and after leaving the Hope we returned to the Battery.
sunset was glorious, and now I conclude the few notes a long afternoon has been
spent on. At a rough estimate we have done something like sixteen or eighteen
miles, for we went over the hills, heather, and a few swamps in the bargain. But
for the melancholy fact of the wreck I have had an enjoyable walk, and my three
pals are of the same opinion.
There are not many rabbits on this side of the island, but the side where we have been is simply swarming. “Conies” my chum called them.......
Kieran Brady, January 2003
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