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Corpun file 24266 at www.corpun.com
The Press, Canterbury, New Zealand, 3 May 1897, p.3
Life on board a training ship.
Letter from a Canterbury boy.
The following letter, dated February 24th, received from a New
Zealand boy who has joined the Royal Navy, will be read with
On Monday morning we have sail drill all the morning in summer
time. In the afternoon one part of the boys go to school and the
other to gun drill. On other mornings, some boys wash down decks
and the others go away in the boats for a pull. At 9 o'clock
instruction begins, seamanship or gunnery, till 12 o'clock; then
dinner, sea-pie perhaps, till 1 o'clock then instruction again
till 3 o'clock, and we pack up for the day. From 3 to 5 we mend
or wash clothes from 5 to 8 below doing nothing particular. The
schoolroom is open and well lighted and there are books and
papers of all kinds for all to read. Thursday, inspection of bags
in the morning in the afternoon the boys are allowed to go on
shore. The same day they receive their weekly sum of 6d to spend
in three hours.
There is caning done on board, one or two every week, and a birching now and again, but not very often. When there is a caning going on all the boys in the ship are there to see it. The boy is strapped down across his hammock and caned by the corporal of the ship.
Boys get leave twice a year and are able to visit distant friends
at no expense, as they get their fare paid and ten shillings to
spend. At Christmas the boys get four weeks and at Midsummer
three weeks. Boys that live within sixty miles of the ship are
allowed to go home for three days in every three weeks.
Instruction goes on all the year, the same winter and summer. In
summer the boys turn in at 9 o'clock, turn out at 5 in the
morning; in winter at 8 and turn out at 6 in the morning. The
boys are divided up into two watches, starboard and port watch.
Saturday mornings are different from all the other days we turn
out at 5 in the morning, one watch holystone the deck before
breakfast and the other go through the bath, then breakfast, wash
down the lower deck, clean your mess up. There is a captain to
each mess and two cooks. At half-past 8 fire station, where every
boy has to go; clean your mess up again for dinner. After dinner,
prepare for Sunday. Sunday, turn out at six, have our breakfast,
and then Wesleyan and Roman Catholic boys get ready to go on
shore to church, the others have church on board. In the
afternoon the boys are allowed to go on shore. Sunday is the best
day in the week.
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