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Victor Hutley’s diary of the 1925 Royal Tour of Africa and South America. Part 1: Departure

Posted by Rob Finch, on September 23rd, 2018


On 26th March 1925 the departure of the Prince of Wales in the battlecruiser HMS Repulse for a tour of West Africa, South Africa and South America was surrounded by much pomp, hullabaloo and ceremony. It was witnessed by the 22-year-old sick-bay attendant Victor ‘‘Dick’’ Hutley, from a vantage point on the ships superstructure just above the picket boat. Having vowed to keep a diary on this deployment, his first time at sea away from home, Dick describes the ship sailing from Portsmouth, the routine onboard and his first acquaintance with sea-sickness. As the days passed he comments on the calm sea and the magnificent sight of the Atlantic Fleet on its way home after their spring cruise, with upwards of forty warship steaming in line astern past the Repulse and her destroyer escorts. Hutley also writes about the weather, the entertainment provided by the ships jazz band and the activities of the crew during time off-watch. This includes deck sports and relaxing on the ships forecastle during the traditional sailor’s afternoon off, the make-and-mend. Eventually on 1st April they are off the Canary Islands, and he describes the scene of the sun setting behind the Peak of Tenerife.

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