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Troopship #2


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04 April 2005

Well. here we were:on the ship we always wanted to be on. It must have made quite an impression on the girls who never travelled much outside their country.They said the ship was huge: a matter of opinion I guess,but to most of them it must have been impressive.

Never having seen seen different seagoing ships.
I was called by our C.O: a female and an M.D, : " I have something for you."I went to her office and she handed me a cable from Genève -Switzerland.

It was a cable from my mam:"please, come home:all alive".
I was dumbfounded: how did she manage to send a cable via Genève???: connections?
Well, I could not go home:I had signed up for the duration of the war+6 months.
I wonder whether she received the box with all the things I bought for them at Woolworth. I wondered whether the Jesuit Priest who was in the RAF now would be able to tell her that he met me.
I decided to just wait and see. I could not send a cable anyway :I had just 6pence left when I boarded the ship.
And I was sure that Father S. would do his best to contact my mam.

The first days we had meetings: where to go, where the security Officer was: we were told to report to him anything that happened on the ship that appeared unusual!(Spies???)
When there was a lifeboat drill we had to drop what we were doing,get our life-vests and go to our assigned station. Very important as the German U- boats were still prowling the Atlantic. Some might not even know that GERMANY had capitulated.
We sailed in a convoy. In day light we could see different ships ; we had seen Pathé news of convoys and ships still being blown up.
Strict orders were given that not even a cigarette was allowed on the deck at night:strict black out!!.

We were shown where the dining room was.
And let me tell you; we were frequently lost: "Where to find it again?? " but there were always people ready to help us.
And we were spoilt!! :first class dining room, a headwaiter who helped some with the menu's (since they were printed in English some girls did not know what a certain dish meant. I wondered how he got across to them ,also in English, what was in it) but we often helped out!
Lots of food we even did not know still was available:pre war food!!
I think he was kind of tickled to take care of a bunch of girls chattering in a language he did not understand.
We told him we would teach him dutch and we would NOT teach him bad words like a lot of allied taught the girls in the freed countries:girls who did not even know rudimentary English.
We walked the deck for exercise and we needed that!

Our kit bags were stored under the berths. I always had problems finding things: usually settled on the bottom of my bag;the only thing to do was to turn the bag upside down and let everything fall out.That happened quite often and they said:"Josephine you look like JOB on the dung heap: everything all around you on the floor." I did not see the connection with JOB.
But I d DID find what I needed.
I never discovered how they found things in a kit bag : an impossible shape!!in my book.

The sailing was smooth:no rough weather But that changed in the Pacific; and girls getting seasick said that they rather would die than ever be seasick again.
It never bothered me. That is another story.


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Message 1 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Dear Josephine,
Nice story but I too travelled on many troopships and know what happened with that kind of mixed passenger list. Dont hang back lets us have the juicy bits.
Well done and keep on writing as the war was still on where you were heading and the aftermath needs to be told even if it is outside the BBC WW2 format.
Regards Frank.


Message 2 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Hi Josephine

Another cracking instalment for your eager fans! Well done.

A kitbag seems to be a slight improvement on a hessian sack. Soldiers at sea had two: the general issue kitbag which was stored on boarding and not seen again until arrival, and a sea-going smaller kitbag issued shortly before boarding for use during the trip.

On my second journey to the Far East one of our chaps got his sea-going kitbag stained and decided to wash it. After that he tied it to the stern rail by its drawstring to dry. We were travelling at a fair rate of knots, the wind caught it and it billowed out like a wind direction sleeve for a second or two, then there was a loud crack and his kitbag went sailing off into the distance.

We all fell about laughing except the kitbag washer, who seemed to have no sense of humour whatsoever. He then distributed his kit amongst eager volunteers. Unfortunately a few of them got off at Singapore whilst we proceeded to Hong Kong. He disembarked there with a small brown paper parcel.

Peter :-D


Message 3 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by anak-bandung

Hi Josephine
Enjoyed this instalment. Shouldn't you give it a follow-up number though, otherwise all the Troopships will look the same and you won't get a chronological event. Just a suggestion.<smiley>
The kitbag problem is not unlike every woman's handbag. The bigger we buy them the more difficult it is to find your lipstick, keys, etc.<groan>
Like Frank said, we can't wait for the juicy bits!!;-)
love, Rob @->--


Message 4 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

Hello Peter, thanks for your input and the very funny story about te guy who tied the kitbag on the stern rail:pretty dumb!!
I am glad I had only one kitbag to put up with:I never found out to pack the d ...ed thing so I could find right away what I wanted! any body able to give me tips???

I have a problem, Peter, and I wonder whether you could finally solve it: I am getting pretty mad:each time I have to sign in as if I am an unknown ;. They-whoever they are- should know by now who I am,wouldn't you think so???
I tried to answer Frank's input: could NOT !!I had to sign in first!! x3.
I am getting pretty upset! You, I am sure, can solve this problem??:this is not a rhetorical question!!


Message 5 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

Hi Rob, thanks for your answer.I forgot to put #2under the story . I think
I tried to answer Frank but I had to sign in 3x :They still don't know who I am:burns me up:waste of time!
Is that what you mean?I'll correct it! yes, don't we all
fight large handbags??Hang in there:juicy bits are coming!!Mabe the "blue pencil" will x them out???
I asked Peter for HELP as he knows all the :"INS and OUTS " in WW2


Message 6 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

Hello Frank! Thanks for giving me your input. I tried 3x to answer you and 3x I had to sign in: I'm still an un known person after all I wrote! makes me pretty mad! I asked Peter to do something about it as he knows the "INS and OUTS" of WW2 like you do. But since you are just back ftom vacation I should not saddle you with this problem.
I have to go to Rob's page and try to get in on a round about way.
You will get the juicy bits:I wonder whether I ever told you one or two???It sounds like you do.
Or is it a shot in the dark??
I am really enjoying this and I definetly will write about what happened after the war was so called:OVER.
People in general have no idea about the terrible things that happened.
you were in the middle of that.


Message 7 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Hi Odyssey

You run a Mac so I'll try to get this in Mac speak.

1. Log in.
2. Go to your Personal Page.
3. On your Personal Page scroll right down to 'My WW2 Forums'.
4. At the end of the 'My WW2 Forums', click on 'See all Discussions'.
5. Put the page you get to, in your case titled "Forum Messages for Odyssey", into your Bookmarks.
6. Leave by closing the window, do NOT log out.
7. Change the Bookmark name to 'BBC WW2'.

From then on access the site by clicking on the Bookmark you have just created, never log out.

Let me know how you get on.



Message 8 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Yes Josephine,
Strange and exciting times, too exciting in some cases.
I do know what went on in troopships and it certainly was not hardship. Warm moonlit nights the magic of standing watching the ocean with the warm spicy smells of Africa wafting past your nose when you came up for air from a long lingering kiss. No it was not the ships cook. Some nubile young woman who kissed me goodby at Port Said walked down the gang plank and kissed her husband hello. As I said a bit too exciting.
The next Troopship to Cyprus in a sea that was suposedly never angry I left every meal I had ever eaten for the fishes. Thoughts of moonlight and kisses were far from my mind. That after going through a real bad storm in the bay of Biscay which forced us out into the Atlantic, I never turned a hair nor since in many crossing of the North Sea to Hamburg or Bremen in bad storms.
I do remember the breakfast as we stood off Famagusta waiting for the lighters. Porridge Kippers Bread and tea, I ate everything in the mess kettle as those who had not been ill on the voyage ran for the rail, we were rolling very badly and me tearing into pair after pair of kippers did not help them hold it in.
Memories Josephine and something our children know nothing of so we shouild write it all down for them.
Regards Frank.


Message 9 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

Dear Peter, 3d try to get a note off to you:Your suggestions for help did not work: as Mac uses a different language for the same problem.And you are familiar with that when you tried to solve another problem for me.
BUT.....I found a bookmark under Robert FROST's one that let me straight to my Personal page. I wonder whether you had anything to do with that??since we talked about him??and possibly about :How to get to my Personal Page without signing in?Since this is an old problem.
I am sending this off before it disapears again.
Thanks again:I am going to try the newfound Bookmark and hope it keeps on working!!



Message 10 - Troopship

Posted on: 04 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

Peter, guess what? I tried it 3x: The book mark under R.FROST:and it works!! one ulcer less for me!


Message 11 - Troopship

Posted on: 16 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

Life on board started to get it's own routine not much military stuff as long as we went to all the boatdrills without fail.
No chores:everything was done for us-apart from making our bunk and keeping the bath room in good order-.
We had to press our own uniforms:finally l learned how((I used to put the pants and skirts under the mattress and sleep on it for a night or two):unless one was a very restless sleeper the clothes turned out more or less presentable.

The Atlantic had times of rough weather:some of the girls became green around the gills and did not enjoy the excellent food. I pitied them:they did not know what they were missing and they did not care..
No problem for me.
My parents told me on a trip to Holland on a freighter with passenger accomodation(wonderfull way to travel!!!) I only would eat sitting on the desk in the captains cabin and he liked trying to make me eat food I never wanted but I did eat what he fed me.
Apparently my parents despaired I would ever eat like normal kids. The pictures of me showed a very healthy specimen though.Maybe we knew instinctively what- and what not to eat.Later it turned out that I was allergic to the food I refused. But the word"allergy" was not in existence then .
I was sent to a hospital hoping the nuns would knock some sense in me:It did not work,coming home I saw the cake the cook had made and I started to bawl.
But I liked the captain: I ate whatever he gave me.
The ship had to go through a terrible storm in the Gulf of Biscayne,even most of the crew fed the fish,but I kept eating-so goes the story-.

If the girls thought this was bad...... they had something coming in the Pacific.
I always wondered whether this so called rough weather
addled the brain of a dutchman.
I was sitting on the deck,my feet on the railing enjoying the spray that the wind blew over me and the change in the colour of the water depending on the racing clouds and a few sun rays.

I did not know him ,never saw him before. He had a uniform with the Dutch Lion on a sleeve of his uniform so I knew where he belonged.
He introduced himself and said he was going to the Dutch East Indies as a HIGH GVT. official to put the country back on his feet.( Was I supposed to be impressed??)
He had never been in the colonies,did not speak the language either he told me!!
He asked where I was going and in what capacity.
He scrutinized the"officer's stripes" on my uniform.
More small talk I did not care about.
All of sudden he said:"I want you to marry me,the captain can perform marriages."
I was dumbfounded and said:"NO WAY!!I don't know you let alone LOVE you!!"
He raved and ranted and said if I didn't want to marry him he would commit suicde by jumpng over board.
I got up looked over the railing and said:"Go ahead the sharks are waiting for you.( and they were circling at I the poop of the ship.He looked at me with a strange look in his eyes and :"thank God ", disappeared .
I never saw him again. Never heard the call:"man over board"so he must have reconsidered his options -in the colonies they would have said:"M ATA GELAP??"(raving) of GILA:(crazy)??I wondered what would happen if a tropical sun was going to beat down on "TOTOKS" or newcomers.


Message 12 - Troopship

Posted on: 17 April 2005 by anak-bandung

Josephine!!! I found your Troopship nr 3, it is above this message. What you could do is to highlight it and save it and then go to your submit page. Good luck.

What a weird way to get a proposal. The heavy seas must have got to him. Now, where are the juicy bits? This one was just mildly interesting.

As I hate ironing, I must try that 'under the mattrass' approach. Seems a good idea.
Bye for now. Love, Rob @->--


Message 13 - Troopship

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by Audrey Lewis - WW2 Site Helper

Hello Josephine,
I see Rob found your story. Have you managed to rescue it? This happened to me some time ago. I had not saved it first. I had to go through the process again.
Please tell me if you still can't find it.
Audrey Lewis


Message 14 - Troopship

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by ODYSSEY

DEAR Audrey, Frank told me that #3 TROOPSHIP GOT LOST and to re-write it. I just copied it but I don't want to write it yet in the "TROOPSHIP" story.
Yesterday I wrote #4 and got a screaming ERROR message.
I think I had done some thing wrong when I, wrote it by did not put it in the right FORM????
Could you clue me in??They never tell you HOW to correct it. So I better wait till they tell me how and where to publish my #3 and#4 stories,don't you thinK???
Thanks very much for any HELP.


Message 15 - Troopship

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by ODYSSEY

Hello PETER. I just found TROOPSHIP #3under Rob's Heading ( look lower on this message page) Frank told me to re- write it as it got lost.
I copied it: sheer luck that I sent it to ROB.
Last nite I wrote #4 but I got a screaming ERROR message.
Don't have the foggiest Idea what i did wrong:something in the FORM???
No solution is ever offered,bugs me!!
Maybe you would like to read #4-if you can find it?-
Hope it was not destroyed?????
thanks, Josephine


Message 16 - Troopship

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Your stories are on the site but not catagorized yet find them here,

Troopship 4 A4026098

The Troopship A3857259

you should have pressed the hot iron against his so called manhood that would have cut him down to size.

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