15 January 2009

Tonight Mark Brown was Drunk

More from Sergeant Hanson, continuing today in 1943 his seemingly endless journey to the Middle East aboard the Queen Mary (it's hard to fathom that after all this tedium and suffering in the heat, Sgt. Hanson and his fellow officers would have to jump into Spitfires and commence fighting a World War. Life was lived large then. Very large). 

Here is an excerpt from a somewhat less than typically monotonous day: 

We are nearing the end of our journey by sea, Aden today after only 20 days actual traveling [!], surely a remarkable trip right round Africa. 8.0am I went below & washed shirt, vest, pants, towel & pyjamas before breakfast. 8.30am land sighted, ahead to starboard. Breakfast -- sausages, terrible things & only half cooked so after one bite I gave up. Up on boat deck again to see what's happening. 9.30am anchor in Aden harbour. We are a long way from the beach proper but not far from the volcanic mountains. At 7.30am it was as hot as any English summers day although the sun had only been shining for 20 mins, but there was a breeze. Now come below where it seems cooler. From the porthole I watch the native hawkers selling their wares--lighters & money belts to the chaps aloft. Contact is made by throwing up a weighted cord & when caught hauled up & part way along the cord is a basket in which the purchaser has to put his money then the basket is pulled done [sic] by the salesman & if satisfied with the money he puts the goods in the basket & you haul up again -- money first is the stipulation...Dinner--again stew. Afternoon I spend on Boat Deck with Bob, we're both feeling the worse for the heat & lounge & read until 5.15pm when we listen to an RAF lecture on the "prevention of waste in the M.E." Blackout is at 6.15pm, the sun disappeared over the horizon at 6pm. It's a beautiful evening on Boat Deck &  Bob & I chat & stroll the whole evening except for once when we went below to have a drop of beer, American muck, & the first I've had on the ship. Tonight Mark Brown was drunk, he'd been mixing beers & whisky. It was funny for a spell but when we reached the "sickness" stage it was not so good. Incidentally having lost his RAF pullover during the course of the evening, he lost his false teeth down the pan whilst being sick. Martin slept on the floor & before we finally got off to sleep he was a sadder & wiser man. The ship moved out of Aden at about 10pm.

I'm sure Mr. Brown didn't miss his RAF pullover in all the heat. However, I do wonder how he managed to eat his half-cooked sausage the next morning at breakfast. Though he probably wasn't really in the mood for breakfast, I suppose...


Haywood Magee

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