H.M.S George Washington
Jan 28th 1942
This Is my first attempt to write since Coming aboard ship, as you probably know I come aboard Sunday, and I’m still in Halifax harbour we may pull out to-night but that is probably another rumour.
I am sitting in the Sergeants Lounge which is pretty posh there is an American Sergeant playing at the piano and a lot of other Canadian, Polish, American, and French Sergeants sitting at the table writing letters and drawing, there is an English Sergeant sitting over in one corner telling thrilling stories about air wards and other gruelling things, all the boys are joking and wise cracking about weather we will run into any Subs or planes, according to the English Sergeant who is in charge of Anti-Aircraft defences of the Ship we have to worry about Subs for the first four days and planes for the last four days.
Our ship is the George Washington of 28 thousand tons she was formerly the German passenger line “Vulcon” which was captured in 1917 by the Americans she was launched in 1909 and she is a cool burner our accomoditions arent half bad, although there are over four thousand men and women on board it takes two hundred waiters to feed this horde, and that aint [?] (over)
There are some Sydney Miners on board among them is Lovel Francis, Taffy Walsh’s brother and a Wells guy from Bog Row, and tell Cliff Roy MacPherson from bus d’or is here with the Cape Breton Highlanders of course I may meet more fellows that I know yet.
There are men on board this ship from R.C.A. R.C.E. C.D.C. R.C.M.C. R.C.A.S.C. C.A.C. R.C.O.C. P.P.C.L.I. N.S.R. R.C.P.C. North Nova Scotians Edmonton Regt. Polish tank corps Ontario Scottish Colony Scottish Regt. Queens own Rifles Montreal Regt. (M.G) Regina Rifles Saskatoon Regt. Cape Breton Highlanders. Canadian English Australian and Polish Airforce. Nursing Sisters. Civilian Regiments who are going to work in England, Same Royal navy to me Royal Artillery Gunners who are the ships 99 defenders Auxillery services a few Padris, about twenty Eight men who were taken from England at the first of the was suspected of being fifth columnists but upon investigation proved O.K. and twenty Civilian women who have volunteered as ambulance drivers it seems they had to grantee that they could produce one hundred dollars a month before they would be accepted. Well this seems to cover the majority of the units represented on this boat.
The food is same is better than most of us have been used to Although we have to wait a Helluva long time for it. we have two Sittings for Sergeants two sittings for Officers and three sittings for gunners and Privates I wish you could see the amount of Meat they cook for a meal I bet the cook have a Hell of a time filling on order.
This letter is just a few gatherings to sort of record my impressions of this trip therefore I’d like you to hang on to it so that I can recall all these adventures in fact it would probably be a good idea, if you kept them all in, that way I can probably bring to mind things I would otherwise forget.
There are people on this ship from all countries of the world including Italy Germany and China. Although there arent any Japs.
We all joke about weather the Subs will get us before the Areoplanes or weather this old lub will just naturally fall apart, she has been in New York Harbour since 1928 when She brought all those Gold Star Mothers over to England, and that is the first time she was used since 1917 and she hasn’t been used since. So you can imagine how much faith we have in her. The life boats will hold 16 persons but I reckon they will have to hold a lot More than that, However there are lots of rafts and we all have life belts, but I dont fancy that cold Atlantic water, well mom if I get a chance to mail this Epaille I will, otherwise I’ll mail it from England
I’m feeling fine, and have an appetite like a horse, I sleep in room with six other sergeants, two from British Columbia, one from Saint Johns, one from Halifax, two from England and myself.
This morning I volunteered for duty as an anti aircraft Sergeant in charge of Eight Lewis guns with a crew of sixteen men, maybe I’ll get a chance to use them, a lot of the boys sure hope so, because this life is are getting monotonous, another reason, for volunteering was to have the privilege of going on all the decks. Which is a privilege enjoyed by only a few
By the way I found out to-day that this letter wont be mailed until we reach England. So if it seems a bit rambly you’ll understand that it has been written over a period of days or weeks.
We had a test run to-day and about five of our boilers blew up, so I expect we’ll be tied up here for a Hell of a long time yet. It sure is Hell to be in sight of land and not be able to go ashore I suppose at this time you are worrying like the devil, but that just goes to show you that a person does a lot of unnessary worrying, but I’m the same way, I’ve been worrying as to weather I’d have enough money or not I still have five dollars but I guess I’ll have to buy a bottle of Ink to-night in the Canteen. Well good night folks I am off to bed.
Well mom this is Friday the 30th we are still in Halifax and the out look is very sad our boat cannot be repaired and there is not a boat available for over a week yet. We have boat drill every morning