Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: October 11th 1918

11 Oct. 1918

Mac appeared early in the morning and advised me to take in the trip offered by the YMCA to visit the ship building yards. A stately old gent led twenty of us on board the car and through a maze of streets. We were taken near that part of Glasgow visited yesterday when I called on McFarlane’s. We were admitted through the offices into a building where huge hammers were crashing down upon great blocks of red hot iron and huge cranes moved by means of some electric power swung gigantic pieces of metal about. Here was a pile of thin pieces of wood covered with markings which were the patterns for various parts and great punches moved up and down with a mighty tooth punching holes through half-inch steel plate with as much lazy composure as cows chew their cuds in the evening. There was a framework of a ship in the drydocks and the plating was being riveted into place. Further out the ‘largest crane in the world’ reached its arm over a torpedo boat destroyer under repair and below with some electric mechanism a crowd of men were riveting or fusing some plating about a submarine making a deafening din and blinding display of sparks. In another room moulds were being made in one great hole in the floor lined with bricks and clay. A soldier remarked ‘’tis a dug-out.’  Pieces of red hot iron and brass lay about the floor as innocently as crumbs in the dining room after dinner. Another building contained machines for shaping these blocks into the required form. There was a propeller as large in diameter as a windmill. There seemed no lack of men and the grater numbers of them took life easy. It seemed as if they were on a picnic rather than building in the greatest docks in the world. Some of them were working strenuously. Women were not doing anything requiring more physical strength than a boy of thirteen and there were not very many, scarcely a tenth of the workers.


Fell in with a Canadian from Ottawa coming back. Had dinner with Andy in the YMCA after which he parted for home for we decided that although the day was quite fine we had not sufficient time to see the... [?]


Went about on my own until five when I took trains for Berwick-on-Tweed. The train was crammed and I got only a tiny bit of a seat among a minister with his glittering family who were sure they were grand folk. They weren’t bad sports though for after I had surrendered my position on the seat to a tiny old lady and retreated to the passage the minister’s wife flung me her paper with a smile. Fell in with an old Johnnie of a sea captain. Rather a crusty old soul but he told me about the Russians and his experiences with the Bolsheviks on the Archangel coast. Described the wretched condition of money in Russia and showed me some bills in present use which he was sure had no relation to gold or silver and had been printed in Germany as pretty labels are made for cans of tinned tomatoes. At Edinburgh had a wait of three quarters of an hour. The station looked familiar from last year. Here I found a seat with an Australian and we had a pleasant chat on all manner of things. At Berwick I dropped off into the darkness. There wasn’t the light that a firefly could make anywhere but a boy on business bent lead me to a free lunch counter and later to some philanthropic one who told us to put up in the Woods Hotel. Had found another Australian and he went with me. The town seemed small and rural, a few noisy soldiers and a stray girl of uncertain ways and a few boys were the only persons on the dark streets. At Woods we got a fine bed each for 2 shillings each and breakfast at the same price.