January 29. 1940
Well, here we are aboard a ship lying in the harbour here. We arrived last night and marched aboard immediately. The last few miles of our train journey were made at a snail’s pace with drawn blinds. We detrained at the sheds and then marched to the pier. At the head of the gang-plank we received our cabin allotment; for a change, left section was leading and as a result got the choice of cabins. We have iron cots in sections of two upper and lower equipped with mattresses and two heavy blankets. Also, a bathroom with toilet and bath. In addition, we have a roomy clothes closet and a full-length mirror. I had a talk with one of the sailors and learned that the boat is the ??????, a pleasure liner only eight years old and formerly plying between New York and Bermuda. We climbed to the top of the dummy funnel and got a good view of the city. Most of the near buildings are freight shed, coal bins or elevators. The harbour itself is quite a sight, being in the shape of a horseshoe with a fairly narrow neck leading out to the sea. There are many ships lying at anchor here, ranging from passenger liners to coal barges. To the north is a destroyer of the convoy and to the east is a large battleship, I suppose the rest of the convoy will lie outside the harbour.
The medical corps is going over on the Empress of Britain and I understand the first contingent of nurses are leaving on the same boat. I mailed a letter and a postcard on the way to the ship, handing it to a civilian who was standing there. I am giving this one to the purser who promises to mail it before we sail. I shouldn’t give you any information as to the name of the ship or time, so don’t be too surprised if you see portions scratched out.
Well, I guess I’ve told you all I am supposed to and probably more and, as we can’t go ashore, I can’t tell you of the city except that it is quite large and busy. Well, I guess I’ll be seasick, so will write from the other side and tell you about it. Don’t worry about the crossing, as from all accounts, there is absolutely no danger. I’ll say goodbye and lots of love to all the kids, mother and dad.