To the accompaniment of a pungent whiff of hot oil, a miniature cascade of coal dust and frozen snow, and the rasping sound of the derrick chain, the last of the cargo for No. 3 hold of the S.S. Donibristle bumped heavily upon the mountain of crates that almost filled the dark confined space. “Guess that’s the lot, boss,” observed the foreman stevedore. “Thanks be!” ejaculated Alwyn Burgoyne, third officer of the 6200-ton tramp, making a cryptic notation in the ‘hold-book.’ “Right-o; all shipshape there? All hands on deck and get those hatches secured. Look lively lads!” Burgoyne waited until the last of the working party had left the hold, then, clambering over a triple tier of closely-stowed packing-cases, he grasped the coaming of the hatch and with a spring gained the deck. “What a change from Andrew!” he soliloquized grimly, as he surveyed the grimy, rusty iron deck and the welter of coal-dust and snow trampled into a black slime. “All in a day’s work, I suppose, and thank goodness I’m afloat.”
Author Percy Westerman was known for his accurate portrayals of sea-life and war. Many of his adventure tales were set in World War I. During his lifetime, he wrote an impressive catalogue of 178 books.