The reminiscences of Stores Assistant, P/MX736065 Jim Davey.
Jim was drafted to RNAS Middle Wallop to join MONAB IX and
recalls the passage out to Australia and on to Singapore.
I was assigned to MONAB IX which commissioned as HMS Nabrock on
August 1st 1945.
We sailed from Liverpool early August, in fact I believe it was
on 1 August but cannot swear to that now. Our ship was MV Dominion
Monarch launched I believe in 1939 and pressed into war service
immediately. We lost way in the Indian Ocean due to an engine
breakdown. Drifted for about 24 hours before regaining power. Sailed
through the Australian Bight to Wellington, North Island, New
Zealand. Given shore leave for the one day then sailed to
Christchurch, South Island. No shore leave at this port. From
Christchurch to Sydney. We experienced some heavy weather as we
progressed around NZ, believe we hit the tail end of a typhoon.
After a brief stay in Sydney we were transferred to the Troop
ship Largs Bay. This can only be described as a vermin infested tub.
My understanding was it was launched in 1913 and it showed every day
of its age. Having been used to transport former POWs from
Singapore, it was in a ruinous condition. The authorities determined
that fumigation was unnecessary. About 600 personnel boarded the
ship and within a few hours over 300 requests to see the captain and
state a complaint had been filed.
Australian Medical Officers came aboard and examined the
specimens we had collected and determined there were no dangers
organisms and we sailed on schedule. A few days later, delousing
procedures were necessary.
We proceeded within the Great Barrier Reef to Port Darwin. Given
a day ashore we found ourselves surprised by the tides which rose
about 20 feet between the time we went ashore and the time we
returned to ship. The town had been evacuated because of Japanese
bombing and the only civilians I saw were 3 aborigines. From Port
Darwin we sailed to Singapore Island. We were apparently the last
group to arrive at Sembawang airfield. I found men I had trained
with there ahead of me.
On December 15th 1945 we recommissioned as HMS Simbang.
I believe I am the guilty party in the fourth
row down and the 16th person from your left in the ships company