carried a good supply of food and drink which helped the hours
to pass but I was too busy with calculations to notice the time
until about 10am when a break in the cloud revealed the Irish
coast. It was very satisfactory to identify the coast as Achill
Head followed soon by a small town called Ballina; it was an
easy run over Ballymena and the Channel across to Ayr and Prestwick
with a magnificent view of the Firth of Clyde. We landed at Prestwick
after a flight of 11 hours 11 minutes; all crossings that night
were behind flight plan but we were only 29 mins late and this
was the fastest of the night.
It took some time to hand in our logs and make reports, following
which I was ordered to report to Greenock the next morning before
sailing back to Canada. My protests were unavailing so after
vaccination I hurried up to Glasgow by train to contact my Aunts.
I had to make a sad phone call to Moira with the news that leave
would be delayed. After a comfortable night at my Aunt Nell's
house I caught an early train to Princes Pier, Gourock where
I embarked on the SS Monterey.
I was very glad when the Monterey sailed on Saturday evening
and so far she is going well escorted by a battleship, cruiser,
five destroyers and some armed merchantmen. She is an American
ship carrying a large number of American technicians who prepared
for the US Army arrival in N Ireland, some repatriated American
troops and about 200 wives of RAF personnel stationed in Canada.
In addition there is our small group of 10 Ferry Command men
and what a difference in our living conditions from the voyage
on 'Pasteur' last October. John Barras and I share a cabin with
two Canadians - very comfortable but I'll be very glad when we
land at New York.
9 August 1942.
(at Moncton) Things have gone all wrong since coming back from
Scotland and now John Barras and I are worse off than if we had
gone home with our Pensacola colleagues. The voyage in 'Monterey'
dragged on until 27 July when we docked at Staten Island, New
York but I imagine that few ships have entered the harbour there
on such an awful day; there was thick fog which was accompanied
by a thunderstorm and torrential rain.
We left the dockside on Staten Island during the night in a train
crowded with Air Force personnel from ships in the convoy. It
was a very uncomfortable journey especially for a number of wounded
Canadians who were returning home after service in operational
Squadrons. Later we travelled through the beautiful woods and
hills of New Hampshire and Vermont, eventually reaching Montreal
late on Tuesday night.
John and I went straight to Lachine to report at Dorval only
to be given leave until the following Monday - we had no option
so we took a room in town with our old friend Mrs Brown. We were
horrified to learn that Flt Lt Rhodes had been killed in a crash
soon after we left last month. There have been several disasters
in recent weeks and sabotage is strongly suspected. We went to
the Pay Office and drew the magnificent sum of 14 dollars - incidentally
civilians in Ferry Command receive several hundred dollars for
an Atlantic flight.