May 16, 1945

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May 16, 1945

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1945-05-16

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May 16, 1945

6:30 PM



Diary of trip from Avonmouth - New York City on HMS Atlantis.



Dearest Gerrie,



Here I am on my way. We left the hospital early this morning and came by hospital train here to the boat. It's a limey hospital ship, however, despite this it's quite nice. Yanks don't like British ships because the food isn't as good as we're used to. I'd be satisfied with an outboard motor boat. To get back on the subject, this is a fair sized passenger ship. I'm in a ward on B deck. Everything is neat & clean with a few bouquets of flowers here and there. There are three rows of single beds running the length of the ward. This is some different from our accommodations coming over when the beds were just canvas stretched on a steel frame and these were stacked five high. There's plenty of light and air in here so I think I'll be able to combat sea-sickness. I hope.



7 P.M.

17th

We left about noon to-day. It's cloudy but clear. Struck open sea around five o'clock - already beginning to pitch a bit. The fellow in the bed next to me is feeling slightly bad already. I'm OK so far. Food passable. Most of the guys are hungry. Getting foggy.



18th

To-day is fair. Last nite you could almost cut the fog with an axe. Travelled at reduced speed with siren sounding continuously. Smooth sailing.



19th

Cloudy. We're bucking a heavy swell to-day and the ship is creaking all over. Wish they'd put wings on this tub and land us in New York to-nite. Announced over speaker system to tie everything down as it's going to be a very rough night. The sister is already administering balm for sorely troubled stomachs. Hope I won't need any.



Sun

20th

We really had a rough night Gerrie. The ship did about everything but stand on end. Yours truly is a little dizzy - otherwise alright. Very thankful I'm not in the navy. Looks like we'll have another rough night. Can't say more.



21st

It's very calm to-day and warm. I have an idea we're in the Gulf Stream. Spent most of the day playing cards with another guy on my bed. Read a little.



22nd

Beautiful day. This afternoon went on deck in a wheelchair. Sat at very stern of ship - sea calm as a mill pond. Very warm as we're on very southern route.



23rd

Still clear, sunny, sea calm. Went via wheelchair and elevator to movie in the lounge. Frank Sinatra in Higher & Higher. Didn't think much of picture, admired Michel Morgan's shape. To-night there is a warm breeze coming through the ports. Moon almost full - throws a silver path over the almost placid sea. Quite romantic! Dark here shortly after eight o'clock. Remember in the U.K. it was light until ten-thirty when we left.



24th

Another beautiful day. Spent part of afternoon on deck again. Was dark before eight o'clock to-night. Clear moon shining in cloudless sky, same silver path across the dark waters, same romantic setting but no romance. A shame I calls it!



25th

Ditto on the day. Lay around reading mostly. Thought ocean was calm before but to-day beat all - it was like a film of oil. Slight breeze to-night, very warm. We're near Bermuda. They're taking a long southern route thinking the cruise in warm weather will do us good - so the sister tells us. Those who can walk are acquiring a nice tan up on deck. Must be close to 100° right now. Dark at 7:30 P.M.



26th

Uneventful, same as above applies. About two hundred miles from Bermuda now. Will pass below southern tip in morning, then follow coast north. Too warm for comfort.



Sun

27th

Spent morning reading on deck. Slight chop on sea. Saw movie 'Lost in a Harem' with Abbott & Costello this afternoon. Wonderful weather - blue sky and sunny. Will here acknowledge that this trip - so unlike our voyage over - has changed my mind about your trip to England. I'm enjoying this trip even though I can only get around in wheelchair. Sure you would get the thrill of your life going over on a regular passenger ship and now I'm away from the U.K. will confess it was very picturesque country with many extremely interesting things to see. Seeing other lands and the way the people live, broadens your outlook on life, not to mention the thrill you get from seeing all these strange places you've seen before in pictures and the movies. So, I heartily endorse your plan as the best possible thing you could do. Long live the king - amen!



28th

Blue skies again. Spent morning reading on deck in chair - fact read all day. No moon to-night - plenty of stars. Invigorating breeze coming through ports. Very nice after sultry heat of the last few days. Light until 8:15 P.M. now.



29th

Rain this morning clearing before noon. Afternoon, blue skies and sunshine. Very cool breeze now. We anchor outside harbor of New York around nine o'clock to-night, proceeding in to unload in the morning. Time 5 P.M. More later We're in! 9 P.M. Can't describe the feeling, can't attempt to but it's the most wonderful one imaginable.



30th

Disembarked at nine this morning but not before a boatload of Wacs & just plain curvesome cuties came aboard to welcome us with cigs, candy, magazines, papers and a big - well I guess I can leave that part out. Now at Hallorhan Gen. Hosp. on Staten Island for a stay of not more than five days. We're being treated more or less like kings.



Well that's that, I'm home again - for awhile anyhow - and very thankful indeed. Hard to believe I'm really here. Only one thing keeps everything from being the completion of a dream or is a fly in the ointment or whatever you want to call it - that is something the Major told me just before I left Eng and it will affect both of us I'm afraid. I won't go into detail now because I want to find out first what the MD at the new hosp. I'm going to will have to say. Perhaps Maj. Strong was wrong I hope. Don't mention this to anyone Gerrie, as you're the only one who knows and I don't want it to get around. Wouldn't tell you only I figure you have a right to know.



I hope you've been looking after yourself while I've been on my way. I thought about you often on the trip over - did your nose itch? Take care of yourself.



All my love,

Johnny



P.S. Arrived here to-day. Couldn't mail letter before for lack of a stamp. O.K. to write to this address. More later.

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