Another week of letters transcribed! So far I have transcribed 41 letters from 3 different authors. This week I’ve learned about my grandfather’s efforts to get into the flight course for doctors and his attempts to get leave to return to Indiana. Unbeknownst to him at this point, he will be home in just over a week. During the last week, he has been busy giving more inoculations and examining new recruits. Many of his peers have moved on to new assignments and new doctors are expected soon. I enjoy reliving his dry sense of humor. I laughed when I read about the mix-up with the letters to Dr. Matthews and his comments about possibly getting a phone call from other women. I wonder what went on between Dorothy Krull and my grandmother. What did Dorothy say that got my grandmother so steamed? My grandfather’s advice was pretty good.
It has only been a month since the Battle of Midway. By July 5th, the Japanese had firmed up their control of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. An allied reconnaissance mission sometime during this month revealed that the Japanese were building an airfield on the island. Since this was major threat to Australia, the United States felt they urgently had to launch an assault to reclaim the island. The first landing of US Marines occurred on August 7th, 1942, in just over a month from today’s letter. Things are about to change for my grandfather, and not necessarily for the better.
Sun 10:30 AM
Just got off Duty. There wasn’t much doing last night – even though it was Sat and July 4th. Got to go on two merchant vessels at the piers. Men were sick and wanted medical attention. The USS Ulua¹ and the Lady Elsa² (a British trawler). The Captain of the Lady Elsa had the stomach ache. Those two trips were interesting and possibly a little different than one would expect. The stairways or interiors of the navy the ladder ways were very narrow and very steep. I couldn’t help from thinking of the difference in that and in our Stairway which had to rise in so many feet etc. The British Captain offered us a Scotch + Soda but we were on duty and had to refuse. That is one difference between U.S. + British they can have their drinks on board.
We were telephoned from the signal tower that the Lady Elsa was coming in in about 2 hours so we went down in time to see her Dock, wasn’t much to see because all was dark except a small search light on the ship and a flash light on the pier. Besides the Captain there was another sailor who had had trouble with “is ‘eart”
(page 2) That was almost a dud. Finally we understood it was his heart. The captain’s room was about the size of our bath room but it was well planned and there were numerous things present. One port hole on each side. One davenport a tiny fireplace with electric coils for heat. One steam radiator a close closet and numerous drawers and shelves. Other than a slight rocking from side to side one wouldn’t know that but what it was a small pushed together hotel room.
The USS Ulua was a larger ship but it wasn’t the captain who was ill so we didn’t get such a good look around. There were both cargo boats, but were both armed.
Since I had the duty last night, I had to inspect the chow Sat noon and then eat at the demonstration mess. It being the 4th we had a regular holiday meal. Turkey and all its trimmings. I even ate 3 helpings of turkey and two of just plain navy beans. Supper last night wasn’t so extensive. Had ham and fried potatoes for breakfast, besides cereal toast and a coffee cake. Don’t think I’ll eat until late this Eve.
We are expecting a number of new men in this week and I’m going to try the leave again hope it works. I’m beginning to feel that maybe the
(page 3) flight application will go thru now since it has been several days since it was sent in and no orders to upset the plans. Maybe I’d better hold my breath for a few days yet.
Lentz is gone for the week end (weak end) I don’t know where. He left Sat P.M. and expects to be back sometime tomorrow. I don’t have any idea. He can’t go all the way back to Pa. in that length of time. Smith is home for a few days. Mr. Ferneau was out last night and I had the duty so Mrs. E. was all alone and I guess plenty lonesome too. She isn’t used to such quietness for so long a period of time.
Since I’m writing more than usual today I’ll not write the boys. I’ll get them at some later date. That ic last picture you sent was better than the other but I think you didn’t take[look?] good in either. Maybe it was your shape or somethingᶟ.
Jim called before I got home and said he couldn’t come out after Church because he had to be back on duty. So guess I’ll be all alone all day long except for – - – -get it.
(page 4) Got a letter from Dr. Matthews yesterday seems as if he is busy especially since many of the Drs. are away on vacations.
If I get leave I’ll call you either from here or some place in route depending upon the schedule. I’m going to the Captain tomorrow I only talked to the Commander the other time but it’s not best to gone go over the commander only I’m going to because I know what he will say “I’ve been here 3 yrs. without a vacation.” So what his wife and sister-in-law are here with him.
I have to write to Boonie, The folks and Ruth M. Yet today sometime. I sorta reserved today to do this and it’s a pretty good days work Id for it takes more time for me to think and compose their letters. Their not interested in the same thinks that I might write to you.
I’ve written 3 others now so so long
1. I have not been able to find a USS Ulua. A submarine of that name was built later in the war, but was never completed.
2. The HMS Lady Elsa was a British trawler under the command of Sidney George Phillips. For more information on the Lady Elsa, visit this link http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/6383.html
3. I am impressed that my grandfather would be able to get away with saying my grandmother didn’t look good in either picture and it had something to do with her shape!