The Atlantic Voyage

John Vassiliou, Staff Writer

You are now following James through, quite possibly, the most hazardous leg of his journey. In the icy waters of the atlantic, it will not be the waves or weather that is a constant threat, but rather the prowl of the Nazi wolf-packs (submarine groups), screening the water for easy targets. Throughout his journey, James kept to his journal, jotting down his daily routines, and not missing a beat throughout this long, stomach churning voyage.

Feb. 14, ’44 9:30 p.m. – Heavy seas encountered – 600 in one hold – no air – no ventilation.

Feb. 15th – 2:30 p.m. Out on deck, convoy together going slowly – 2:45 p.m. started to rain. 

Feb. 16th – Guard duty on port side of ship – waves lashing up against the rail. 

Feb. 17th Warm [and] clear – smooth sailing – gulf current – better living in hold – blower in operation – “air conditioning” harrah! 

Feb. 18th Cloudy training.

Feb. 19th Cloudy training – sunshine -fire drill.

Feb. 20th All kinds of weather – heavy swell.

Feb. 21st Rain in morning – sun came out later. At night the wake was full of effervescent light. 

Feb. 22nd High winds, heavy seas – decks were awash – spent most of time below “no blower” – very stuffy hard to breathe. Motion of ship monotonous – swaying & rocking greatly. 

Feb. 23rd – Clock ahead another hour – seas still very heavy. Confined to hold of ship – grabbed bunks to keep from falling out! Floor wet for several days due to leaking of water from deck – deck almost completely under! Feeling sluggish – oozy – stomach upset. 

Feb. 24th – Seas still angry! Water awash on deck – night guard duty on starboard side of ship – held on tightly to rail to keep my equilibrium – ship like a leaf tossed in a tempest! 

Feb. 25th – Calm + clear beautiful day- ate a little more heartily.

Feb. 26th – Somewhat cloudy [and] windy – not pleasant on deck – sailing not too rough.

Feb. 27th – Raining – later cleared – chilly out on deck – clock went ahead another hour. 

Feb. 28th – Clear day 

Feb. 29th – Clear day – sea calmed down – watch ahead another hour. 

Mar. 1st – Beautiful day – everybody spent the day out on deck – convoy gathered into a new formation approaching the straits. 

Mar. 2nd – Went out on deck at 7:30 A.M. watched the straits of Gibraltar – sunny day – spent day on deck – sea calm. 

Mar. 3rd – Cloudy – chilly off Oran, Africa anchored at harbor 1:45 P.M.. Atmosphere around wharf very sultry in appearance, boarded trucks to staging area – tents all around very cloudy cold night. Ate “C” rations out of cans – water worse than Galveston.

The Atlantic journey was finished and James finally reached his first stop, however, he would soon be shipped out once again to his next destination, and his eventual base of operation.

Stay tuned for the next edition!