On May 23, along with 5000 other men, I boarded the Gen. George M. Randall, an army troop ship, at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, bound for unknown
Two days before we landed, we were informed
of our destination......India!
"Land of Mystery and Enchantment."
Better still, make that the land of,
"Misery and Entrancement."
From Virginia down to the Caribbean, through the
Panama Canal, across the Pacific, passing New Zealand and Tasmania, down around the bottom of Australia, right into the harbor of Fremantle, Western Australia. It was during our trip across the Pacific that we learned of the invasion of Europe, D-Day, June 6,1944.
When we docked in Fremantle, we were given permission to go ashore for a couple of days. This gave us time to visit the capital city of Perth. Then it was back aboard, as we continued on our way to India, arriving in Bombay on the 6th of July. We were now in the China, Burma, India theatre of operations, or as it was called, the CBI. This trip from Virginia to India, took a total of 44 days! Our
ship had traveled without an escort, except for the last 5 days.
Most of the time at sea was miserable. Breakfast at 5am, and dinner at 5pm. We slept in bunks that
were 6 high, took salt water showers (the soap left a film of scum on your body), had to remain below deck at night. There was no air conditioning, only ventilation.
certainly not a 5 Star cruise!
However, we all enjoyed the initiation ceremony into the "Ancient Order of the Shellbacks".This is a
ritual that is performed aboard naval and military ships whenever they cross the Equator. All those
who are crossing for the first time are initiated.
(click 3 times)
Me and a Friendly Cobra!