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IT was Thursday afternoon—Make and Mend Clothes Day as it is known in the Royal Navy. H.M.S. "Royal Oak," a Super-Dreadnought now relegated to the second class, lay at moorings off Singapore. Two cables' length ahead of her swung her sister ship the "Repulse," flying the flag of Admiral Maynebrace commanding the Special Squadron, now on a cruise round the world in order to display the White Ensign in foreign waters as a gentle reminder to petty potentates that the British Lion's tail could not be twisted with impunity.
The heat was terrific. The sun's scorching rays beat down with relentless violence upon the white awnings that shrouded the warships from bow to stern. The glare, reflected from the oily sea, seemed to penetrate everywhere on board in spite of electric fans and the latest type of ventilators. Officers and men, used though they were to the heat of the Tropics, were reduced to a state of perspiring listlessness.
Percy F. Westerman