Ralph Stobart Robson, signalman, life in the British Royal Navy World War Two, sinking of Prince of Wales and the Repulse, Singapore
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  1. Chatham to Gourock
  2. The Messman Discovered
  3. Life on Board
  4. Crossing the Line
  5. The Sinkings
  6. H.M.S. Sultan
  7. The Signal Office
  8. Left to Our Own Resources
  9. Colombo
  10. Drafted to Mombassa
  11. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
  12. Sharks, Lobsters and Going Dutch
  13. Askari Skirmishes and Tea Making
  14. Tramp Steamer
  15. Molo
  16. Deer Hunting
  17. Ralph the Italian and off to Bombay
  18. Arrival in Bombay
  19. Vultures and Buffalos
  20. Poona
  21. Swimming Motorcycles and Monsoon Storms
  22. The Royal Corps of Signals
  23. 'Trixie' Vaughan Lewis and Drowning Men
  24. On Leave in the Himalayas

    Ralph as a telegram boy before the war

11 - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

One day the notice board at the Naval Base held a new message. It was to a gramophone recital of classical music at a house on the road to Kilindini that light refreshments were to be obtained. At that time classical music had no more attraction for me than a farting horse. The light refreshments were something else. No one else seemed interested so I set off solo.

When I got there I discovered that it was a magnificent two-storied house standing in its own grounds. A Naval Sub Lieut. greeted me in the entrance hall whom I recognised from the Naval Base. He told me to go inside, telling me that he would be in shortly as he thought that most of the guests had arrived. I would be given a drink by his major domo.

When I walked off the patio I could have sunk through the floor! The only people I could see were Naval Officers and a few wrens. It appeared that they were all subbies and seemed to have been locally enlisted.

Included amongst them were a few civilians. However, I was taken by the arm by one of the latter and led to the drinks table. Our host asked for silence and started off the radiogram. This was one of the same type that had been thrown overboard from the USS United States in Singapore. The first piece struck no chords in me but the second was a stunner. It was Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik".

After about two hours music the concert ended. More drinks and eats served by white-coated natives. Mine host came over and asked me what I thought. I told him that most of it was over my head but that Eine Kline had knocked me sideways. He smiled a huge smile and said that most of the others were the same but were not so honest.

After a little while I said goodnight to him and departed. Since then I have enjoyed and expanded my knowledge of certain kinds of classical music.

(ED. My father's love of classical music was born on this day. His favourite composer was Mozart. We said farewell with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik at his funeral)

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