Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Blog #36 - Leaving on a Convoy - 1944

Finally word came that we were to board the train for Halifax, and this was a special train of two hundred wives and kids. We got to Halifax about noon next day and were taken to the Sailors Center for our lunch. This was a queue-up-and-serve-yourself center. You should have heard the wolf whistles and calls as al of us girls lined up for lunch. The police stationed in the dining room told the men to settle down, and they did.

All I had to eat was toast, tea and an orange, as I had been told not to eat fatty food to go on board. Some of the girls ate bacon and eggs and pie etc., and some of them were very sick a day later. The Atlantic in October can be very rough. I have never been seasick, but I was a bit dizzy all the way over, and so sleepy.

After our lunch, an launch was at the pier; there was lots of security, all ships a grey color, and twenty of us at a time were taken to different ships. There was a huge ship anchored near, and I thought "That ought to be a good one to sail in." But we passed by, and stopped by a small ship, climbed a metal ladder up the side and went on board. I was so scared and wondered how such a small ship could cross that big ocean. There we were on the "Manchester Shipper" which was one year old, very fast and modern. She had room for seventy passengers, but only took forty-six because she was short two lifeboats. About 5 pm we were moving , and next morning we were out to sea. Seventy two ships in a convoy, the second largest to leave Canada, and we were the flag ship. (Letty told me that the convoy could only travel at six knots because that was the best speed of a banana boat in the convoy.) Later, we learned that she was a merchant ship and carried aeroplane engines, and spam. Tomorrow, Mindy, I'll tell you of life on board, and the trip across.
1940s Canadian War Brides in their ship. (Not Letty's ship.)