22 August 2010

A Colorful Group

From The Virgin Islands Daily News on this day in 1945:

It Says Here


By Bob Hope

We met the commander of our ship, the Queen Mary, this morning-- Commodore Sir James Bisset. The commodore's 63 years old but for the past five years he's been constantly on duty getting troops and equipment safely past subs, mines and dive bombers without a single mishap. But frankly I was a little disappointed when I met Sir James. He didn't look anything like Charles Laughton. Everything on this ship from Sir James down is very British. When they want to stop they don't drop an anchor--the [sic] just release a loaded tea bag. And they don't call those round windows portholes. They refer to them as starboard and port monocles.

What a colorful group of passengers we have this trip. Besides our little group of tourists, they include several hundred American officers, a couple of battalions of Japanese-American GIs on their way to Europe as replacements, some Polish and Russian officers, a bunch of RAF cadets who have been trainning [sic] in Texas and Arizona, a detachment of WACs (our secret weapons), some English WRENs (same thing with "right oh's") some German prisoners of war being taken back to help pile up the rubble, some English citizens repatriated from Manila prison camps and a handful of America [sic] civilians on government business.

The ship is sort of a League of Nations with a purser. But they are really crowded aboard on these trips back. Men sleep and eat in shifts of 2,250. Seven shifts a day. They only serve two meals a day to the soldiers but the food is really marvelous. They have butter and some delicious stuff that's really tasty and chewy. They call it "meat". It's really a shame they can't leave some of that nutrition when they pause in England. Meat's as strange to an Englishman as it is to Sinatra and I understand they've cut the ration over there again which will make it plenty rough. Those English have been living and fighting for over five years on rations.

It won't be long before we sight land. The Queen is about the fastest liner afloat now and they don't take any chances on her slowing down. They have huge steam turbines in the hold, auxiliary engines in the stern and two ensigns standing by up front with canoe paddles.

(Copyright 1945, King Features Syndicate, Inc.)

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