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    This title is currently out of print. It will be re-published shortly.


Sainfoin’s War
By W.J. Mitchell and Colin Buckenham


The Bootnecks Helping Hand

On the mess next to ours there was this `Geordie' stoker. He had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. He was as tough as old boots and was the most pugnacious character I had ever met, but like all Geordies he would give you the shirt off his back. He was good to have around in times when a little muscle was needed. Now, on our mess there was this Royal Marine who we called Horseface on account of his long angular features. Mind you, we didn't ever call him this to his face, being built like a brick toilet. He had a slow fuse which could burn very quick if upset, and for a big man he could move like lightning. Two or three of us had gone for a run ashore on this particular day in Madras and strolling along this road we came upon an interesting little scene. There was Geordie having a set to with an American soldier, and by our reckoning wasn't doing too well, because every time he got up the Yank promptly knocked him down again. I think it was only the beer that was keeping Geordie going. Just then who should steam into view but Horseface and with a slight list on he walked over to Geordie who was getting up for the umpteenth time and said, "What's up Geordie, is he bothering you?" Geordie answered, "Every time I get up the bugger won't stand still long enough for me to hit him." Without more ado Horseface turned to the yank and hit him with a fist as big as a shovel. The poor guy went down as if poleaxed. Horseface then picked Geordie up and the pair of them staggered down the road, Horseface's arm around Geordie's shoulder with never a backward glance at the poor yank who was still sleeping peacefully.

John Eggleton.


Left: Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten
Announcing the Japanese Surrender

Below: Troops "On the Boat Deck", resting.


Mortimer.... Ships Pet Monkey


What can one say about him?
Well he joined us on our second trip to Bombay. Just a little chap who quickly grew to become a healthy male Baboon. Loved, hated, but respected by all of the crew, and always up to mischief of one kind or another. He had an almost human attitude to life. One day, whilst doing his rounds of the galley he sat on a hot plate, burning his stern end and two feet, thus requiring sick bay treatment. For several weeks he used to line up with the sick brigade every day for his treatment. Woe betide anyone who tried to go before him! Sadly, on our journey home he had to be put to sleep. Now fully grown, he became too bad tempered and dangerous. Poor Morty. His ultimate end was to have been to be given to a zoo on our return to the U.K.

Back To Business

Our war now being over, we began to think of home and demob. This was not to be, as now we got caught up with the Indonesian conflict, and began carrying troops to the islands delivering them to Sibolga, Padang (Sumatra), Surabaja (Java), Bali, and Makassar (Celebes).

Sainfoin also had the unpleasant task of "collecting" Sikh troops from Bangkok. These soldiers had defected to the Japanese and fought alongside them during the war. The Gurkha soldiers who we carried to act as guards had to be closely watched or we would have arrived back in Singapore minus a few deserters.

All in all, H.M.S. Sainfoin and her crew covered many thousands of sea miles, and it is a great tribute to the craftsmanship of the United States Shipyard that in all our trials and tribulations she never seriously let us down.