Battalion News – November 5, 1916
The S.S. Lapland was expected to land in Liverpool around November 5, 1916. When it did not show up, there were rumours that it had been sunk. This rumour was passed onto Private Earl Johns by a soldier, Pte. Horney from Exeter, who’d been in England for 8 months. He told Johns that the boat was 9 days overdue. (Pte. Earl Johns letter-Nov14,1916)
During the trip over, the S.S. Lapland took precautions when it entered the war zone by swinging the life boats out and steering zig-zag for 24 hours. Machine guns were readied and manned for use and a special guard of 100 soldiers were given guns and 10 rounds of cartridges to use in case of attack.
After rounding the northern tip of Ireland, a storm struck, that kept the men below deck due to waves washing over the the boat’s bow. In his letter of November 14, 1916, Private Earl Jones described it, “The front of the boat would go up about 40 or 50 ft. It was a great time at meal time. I’ve seen two benches and a table go over and smash a dozen plates.”