was allowed to sleep late on Saturday and after breakfast I had
a long chat with Mrs Watt who is Mrs Fraser's mother; she is
a charming old lady who remembers my Grandfather Goodall with
great affection. In the afternoon Mrs Fraser, Mrs Watt and Ronnie
took me to Broadway where we saw the new Bette Davis film 'In
This our Life' and Cab Calloway's band on stage.
On Sunday morning Mr Fraser took me round the Shell offices from
which there is a superb view of Manhattan Island. From there
we went to the Canadian Club in the Waldorf-Astoria and after
lunch to the Yankee Stadium to see a baseball game between the
Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. I still prefer cricket - incidentally
and contrary to some beliefs, baseball is not all nonstop action.
I caught an evening train from Grand Central after a hurried
goodbye to the Fraser family. I had to change at Albany and then
slept well until about 5am when we were passing through the most
beautiful countryside I had seen in the USA, alongside Lake Champlain.
I reported at Dorval on Monday morning in time for a lecture
by the MO on the use of oxygen at high altitudes. This was followed
by a demonstration in the compression chamber at McGill University
where we were subjected to reduced pressure which was equivalent
to air at 20000 feet. Soon we were close to passing out and the
MO donned our masks after which we quickly recovered; this enabled
us to be taken up to 37000 feet with no ill effects. The exercise
showed us the danger of lack of oxygen at high altitudes and
gave us confidence in the use of the oxygen mask.
Since then we have done little except some practice with the
sextant and a lecture on emergency procedure for abandoning an
aircraft on the sea. Today the four of us moved from our digs
in Sherbrooke Street into a big house for ex-Pensacola personnel;
this means we shall not receive any subsistence as all our meals
will now be provided and we shall have to exist on our meagre
I wish there was some prospect of getting home.
25 June 1942.
Still in Montreal with no prospect of getting away for several
weeks so that the outlook is depressing. We report every morning
and do some trifling flight plan or listen to a dull lecture
until the twelve o'clock bus takes us back to town.
There are about 100 Observers waiting to cross the Atlantic before
our turn arrives and I half expect any day to receive orders
for a return to Moncton prior to a voyage home by sea. Our situation
at Dorval is not encouraging when we realise how little we know
of the practical aspects of navigation compared with our colleagues
here, most of whom have about 200 hours in their log books; our
30 hours is somewhat embarrassing.
The billet here in Pine Avenue is far from satisfactory but it
is preferable to a move to Lachine, a big camp near the airport,
where we would be in a difficult position as LACs amongst sergeants
exclusively; in addition it is 10 miles out of town.
The only bright spot of the past week was when I exchanged my
very shabby old tunic for a new one which actually fits me; I
also got a new forage cap to replace my old museum piece.