Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: October 7th 1944

aboard the "Ile de France", on the Atlantic Ocean.

October 7, 1944

Dear Mom,

I'm soaking, wringing wet! I had a cold but the salt spray seems to have washed it all away.

There was a swell in the water and I was enjoying it, right out on the bow of the ship, as she nosed into the waves and sent them crashing over her. The only trouble was that I didn't duck at once, and whoosh, I got wet! I was enjoying the lift and roll of the ship, and decided to look down the hole where the anchor chain comes up, and suddenly, like a gigantic water hose nozzle, I was sprayed with salt water from head to toe.

Then I went up to the Promenade Deck, and watched the bow as it pitched into the sea. The water is a deep blue, flecked with snowy white foam. To walk along the deck is a great thrill. First it comes up to meet you and then away it goes, giving you the queerest sensation. The best feeling comes when you walk up and down the stairs. First it feels as though you weigh a ton, and then you feel as light as a feather.

Down below, you can hear the hum of the turbines, and the swish of the waves as they lash the sides of the ship. The rolling motion isn't as noticable here as is the pitching from stem to stern. At night it rocks you to sleep.

Yesterday was sunny in spots, but today the sun is behind clouds, which fleck the sky with beautiful patterns. It was lovely to stand to one side of the fore-mast and look up through the rigging and the mast and see the sky as we rolled from side to side.

This is a very large ship (I can't give her name), and it's really crowded, but considering everything it's not uncomfortable, except for a few guys, who today have a bit of "mal-de-mer".

Almost every day we have had a plane circling over us, keeping an eye open for denizens of the deep. You can get some good views of them as they fly overhead.

I was on deck when the tugs pushed her into Halifax Harbour. It was quite a sight to see Canada fading into the distance. Our first meal aboard was a learning experience. We only have one cup, and two metal trays, into which the cooks "throw" the food! The food is piled on top of itself, and you have to switch trays quickly if you don't want your dessert piled on top of your main course.

We get only two meals a day. One is at 6:30 a.m. (reville is at 5:30), and the other is at 3:30 p.m., but we are given meat slices for sandwiches to eat between the regular meals.

Love to all, Lewis.