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May 3 1942 On the Atlantic


No. 1 Letter 1. On the Atlantic

Part 1 May 3, 1942

My Darling Wife:

My Congratulations to the most beloved wife from her charming Husband on this our first Anniversary. I do hope, my darling, that the roses were a good color & in full bloom as the match the radiant color of my wife’s cheeks. The only regrets I have upon this momentous occassion is that I can not be with you to celebrate but my heart goes out to you fully.

Well! We pulled out from dock at 08.30 hrs. & immediately put to sea, the navy putting out just before us. Just that night we stood on deck & saw all the lights, on both sides, lighting the harbor & city up for miles around, realizing that this would likely be the last time for many a day & to-day we slipped away from Port & watched the land fade into the distance (Canada).

At 0915 hrs we had a church service on deck which went over very well. We had two drills to-day. One Emergency, where everybody lines up on deck opposite their life-boat, & one Action which calls for everybody to take cover under deck. The meals are really excellent, except that there is no butter at supper time, but one of the boys had the foresight to have his dad bring 6 pound aboard, so we are that far ahead of the rest of the mess. Blackout at 20 50 hrs. No smoking on deck either. Well Sweet, I’m started on a career.

Love to My Beloved One,

Arnold



No 1 Letter On the Atlantic

Part 2 May 4, 1942.

Well Sweetheart; we’re still afloat & the water is still very calm, just a slight motion. On deck by 0900 hrs & after walking about a bit, had a couple of games of deck tennis; a rope ring which must be kept in the air at all times. Heavy fog setting in & other boats have disappeared. Emergency stations automatically at 11 00 hrs from now on & we are inspected. Got quite a scare looking over the side, saw some spray leap up & immediately afterwards a steel rod shot up into the air. Thought it was a submarine for sure until advised that it was just a trailer thrown out by the boat in front to keep our distance & direction. Heard & felt some depth charges go off today. Some of the men below were quite frightened, but just the same it will do them good, kind of wake them up to the fact that we are really in considerable danger at all times.

Blackout at 20 20 hrs tonight. (Using 24 00 system Example: 20 20 hrs means 8:30 evening). After all there are always a few in a crowd to spoil things & this is no exception. Smoking is naturally prohibited on deck during blackout, but last night 6 men were planked in the Brig for same & 3 officers warned. Men got 6 days in brig with 3 days bread & water. Officers got a severe reprimand. The real penalty is death. (That will give you an idea of how serious the charge really was). Result: No one is allowed out on deck after black out. Kind of nipped in the bud all the growing romances around, as they can only walk the corridor or stay in the salon. (Quite a number of nurses aboard.)

Played bridge all evening with two Canadians & one Australian- air force chaps. Good fun. Have to keep out in the air as much as possible as the air inside seems to make your head swell as if it were going to burst. A million to have you with me Darling & I do pray at night that you & Barbara will be happy & make the most of things till I return. Well Sweet! To bed I roam, pleasant dreams to a pretty girl,

Love,

Arnold



No. 1 Letters On the Atlantic

Part 3 May 5, 1942

Hello Sweetheart:

Very depressed this morning, just plain loneliness I guess. We had three different drills to-day just to keep everything ship shape. Very heavy fog holding all day; could see only fog light of carrier directly begind us now & again, rest of ships all obliterated. Cleared long enough for us to see other ships at dusk but set in again immediately. Heard gun fire to port side about noon, together with depth charges, but could see nothing. Had Destroyer appear out of nowhere, but it left directly. All quiet now.

Except for walking on decks at night & playing cards & singing & drinking everything is dead. Got a little high on beer myself tonight & feel rotten right now. Live & learn, but do I ever? Well sweet, another day gone by & we must be getting some place.

Love to the loveliest girl in the world,

Arnold



No 1 Letter On the Atlantic

Part 4 May 6, 1942

Hello Sweet:

Was I ever feeling punk. Routed all the North Nova’s out at 0845 hours & gave them a half hour P.T. on deck with all the rest of the troops, officers & Nurses looking on. They really did enjoy it though & it sure helped me a lot. Had a few games of deck tennis with the boys afterwards & our regular parade of 1100 hrs. Still heavy fog although we can see the boats nearest us most of the time. Slept all afternoon, supper & played cards with the boys in blue until midnight. Had a good game & good cards. Turned our watches ahead 1 hour tonight.

Sweetheart, to have you with me at the present moment would be heaven in itself, just to have you close to me to talk too. Your marvellous presence would be a tonic no doctor could equal in all his years of experience. But this time Darling, time alone stands between us, & that I hope much shorter than we expect.

Love to My Wife,

Arnold



No. 1 Letter On the Atlantic

Part 5 May 7, 1942

My Dearest Sweetheart:

This morning I felt much more refreshed & very much more in love with my sweet darling of a wife. I lay in bed & thought of all the pleasant memories I really have when I think of you; (to say nothing of Barbara), of all the little things I had become quite accustomed to know & expect from you; your beautiful & glorifying smile each night when I returned home from camp, & the beautiful reward I received from your tender lips as they were held close to mine. Funny; but the last few days although very precious to me, heavenly & certainly never to be forgotten, yet, not these things are always on my mind but the days from the very start of our married life. When I think of the long time it took each of us to really learn what love & understanding of each other really meant, it makes me wonder whether it was May 3, 1941 or December 21st 1941 that we were really united as one. Certainly that night we seemed to come to common understanding & we certainly made up for lost time on the head of it. I only hope Darling that during your trying period you thought that I did a few things to make things as easy as possible, I only wish I could do it over again & wait on you hand & foot. Not the model husband Darling, but I do sincerely love you Sweet & every day I still marvel at what my little wife sees in me, that God ever created such a beautiful creature as you are, to look after & care for me, to make you so understanding of all my own faults.

Nothing to report except that the waters still here & that although the clouds are still low the fog has cleared. The ban on deck walking at night was lifted today, but few were on deck as it is quite windy & inky black. Could see my hand a foot in front of my face, actually.

Love to the Sweetest Girl in the World,

Arnold


Letter 2 On the Atlantic

Part 6 May 8, 1942

Dear Annilea:

Changed our watches last night again, that is, the rest did, the result being that I’m sure that I lost an hour somewhere. More deck tennis this morning, & a cocktail with Margaret MacLean at noon, one of the nurses. Had a meeting of all Canadian officers at 1400 hrs & afterwards received 50 cigarettes, compliments of Canadian Government, for each man & officer. Gas drill for half an hour. Played bridge this evening with the ships adjunct, Mr. Baker & Sady Green & Rita Cameron. Took a short stroll on deck before turning in. Girls must be in the cabin by 2400 hrs. No change of time tonight.

Darling! I’ll be so darn glad when we reach dry land again. A week to recuperate in & then to really settle down to work. It’s going to be awfully lonely not having you to come home to at nights, but my God Darling I’m awfully glad you’re home & safe with baby. Lonely, but thinking of your safety.

Your Lonely Husband,

Arnold



Letter 2 On the Atlantic

Part 7 May 9, 1942

Dear Sweetheart:

My heart is definitely out to you to-day, but definitely. Today I really felt homesick but then, I can expect that every other day with my thoughts of you. Had P.T. & Gas drill & regular inspection, dinner, & wrote a letter to one of the boys mothers, who, is in the unfortunate circumstance of not being able to write for himself. Quite a handicap & I do hope his mother gets as much joy out of reading it as I did in writing it to her.

You know Darling, we really haven’t seen or heard anything, outside a school of porpoises & a few depth bombs, so its hard to realize that there is really any danger lurking in the briny deep, but just the same we all feel much more secure with our escort around. Actually saw some seagulls flying about today, wonder what they live on way out here. You would think that on board ship time would go so slowly, but actually, although it seems ages since we left, the time has moved very quickly.

Sweet Dreams to a fair lady, the fairest in the land,

Love,

Arnold



Letter 2 On the Atlantic

Part 8 May 10, 1942

Dear Annilea:

Sunday dawned cool & windy but clear & there seems to be an air of expectation all over the ship. The thought that land might be sighted at any time doesn’t take long to spread & brings the morale to a very high pitch, if that is really needed, for everybody, from the OC of Troops down have seemed to enjoy the trip immensely. Church service on deck at 0950 hrs & the great majority were there. We had one conference; gas drill & then to bed for the remainder of the afternoon. Played bridge again this evening & then to bed early.

Up until now we have not seen land but expect too by morning. Oh Yes! Late this evening we had a flying boat over head but it left at dark. Well Sweetheart, its to dreams & thoughts of the most beautiful & charming girl, together with her little baby daughter, that I go to rest, with the full knowledge that she is thinking of me always, & that each night a full share of her prayers are devoted this way…

Undying & Unquenchable Love Sweet,

Arnold


Letter 2 On the Atlantic

Part 9 May 11, 1942


Dearest Sweetheart:

This morning I woke up to feast my eyes on the marvelous sight of Land A-ho. Really, it gave us a real thrill to be that close to our destination even though most of the day we spent just in sight of land & no more, but that evening about 1800 hrs we started to close on to out destination. Another thrill I got was that the first tall clock I saw was to the second with my own watch.

By 2100 hrs, after being pushed about by numerous tugs, we docked, & numerous customs officers boarded us to inspect. Among them was the High Commissioner’s wife of Union of South Africa, who greeted the nurses & gave them there instructions. She was really very charming & as we docked one of the boys threw a package of Cigarettes at her feet which she very gracefully retrieved & after waving, she treated her escorts, then took one herself & they all got quite a cheer.

We have to be up very early so everybody’s turning in with expectations high as to what to-morrow brings,

So its Love & Kisses Sweet,

Arnold


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