Oakley Graphic (Oakley, Kansas)
17 August 1945
Tells of Trip Home on “Queen Mary”
Brooklyn, New York
August 5, 1945
Dearest Mother, Daddy and All:
First, Mother I want to tell you how wonderful it was to hear your voice last night. It was so wonderful and natural — so sweet I’d known it anywhere. That I had looked forward to so much — to hear your voice again.
Now for less important details. We sailed from Greenock, Scotland on Saturday 28th. Had left Stone on Friday — boarded the Queen Mary about 5:30. From then until about 4:30 Saturday (when we started sailing) we were busy getting the troops settled, meals, beds and other details outlined for them. I was in charge of the four nurses who were at Stone with me, and the 38 enlisted WAC’s. We had lots of fun together. The girls were all grand. The trip was exceptionally quiet. They reported only five cases of sickness and that was remarkable for 15,000 passengers. We had about 450 women on board (nurses and Red Cross also).
Our meal schedule was two meals a day. We girls were on “B” setting — breakfast at 0800 — dinner at 1800. Both meals were wonderful, short of nothing. We had plenty and it was always deliciously prepared.
At first they put the 4 nurses in one room and me in another — both rooms crowded. After sailing we found an empty room separating the last room occupied by girls. The Sgt. in the HQ’s office was a good friend of mine by then so I asked him about letting the 4 nurses and myself moving in. He obeyed it. We had a luxuriously quartered trip. Only five in a room normally for nine. Every one was wonderful to us. Seemed they couldn’t do enough for the girls. They had three rooms. They messed in small rooms even with G.I.’s. Opened up the room called the Nursery for their lounge where they could read, write, play cards, listen to music (phonograph furnished by special services). Every day at 1100 we’d have boat drill. First every one was alerted to the quarters. Fastened life belts on securely and then in formation, everyone moved to their boat stations (proper place upon deck — in case boat had to be evacuated, they’d load life boats from these stations). But really it was used for two reasons. While they were below they clean the upper decks and then while above they clean lower deck. The Queen is a beautiful boat. We were main deck — about 55 feet above water. Sun deck on top, promenade deck, then main, then A,B,C,D,E, and F decks — so we were nicely located about in the middle on Starboard side (right side, Port side is left). I was extremely busy all the way across getting all the official blanks filled out and the additional little jobs that cam up occasionally. I enjoyed it tremendously. Had never been in chart of girls before so was fun. We were to get in at 5:30 — had revielle at 3:30 Thursday morning. girls had breakfast at 4:25. WAC’s were alerted to debark at 6:05 at first but later at 6:45 (when we did get off). Laureen woke up at 2:45 — woke the rest of us up as she saw the shore lights — was such a thrill. We dressed and were up on deck at 3:15. We stayed there until 4:15 when we sailed past the Statue of Liberty, what a sight. When we got in dock we all looked out our port holes — we were on the docking side (thank goodness). They had bands and all kinds of noises about. We were waiting to get off when a few W.A.C.’s came down to our cabin from shore — and who would be among them but Capt. Mona Voinche (one of the girls I lived with in Daytona). I’d written Ethel Sentilles to write Mona, Johnnie’s address — she had called him, been able to help him know when I’d be in as she’s in transportation. Was glad to see her. She said she’d call Johnny when she got back to work as he had to go to work. When already to debark I led the girls down the gangplank — first of all the passenger off the Queen.
Love for now,
Dorothy Swart Tatum
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
2 Aug 1945
‘There Goes Brookly!’ Is 1st Cry as 24,956 Vets Dock on 10 Ships
Boro WAC Is No. 1 Ashore — Queen Mary Leads Returning Fleet
The giant British liner Queen Mary slipped into the New York Harbor just before dawn today in the vanguard of ten ships carrying 24,956 soldiers home from Europe.
Fog and mist shrouded the Statue of Liberty and even the familiar New York skyline was barely visible. But to the liner’s jubilant cargo — 14,698 soldiers and WACs adn 1,723 sailors — it didn’t matter much.
From 3:30 a.m., when the Mary was still in the Lower Bay, they clustered three or four to a porthole, lined decks and railings for the first glimpse of New York. And when the ship accompanied by two army “Welcome Home” boats, nosed into the North River pier, an ear-splitting crescendo greeted the WACs, Red Cross workers and reporters.
‘There Goes Brooklyn!’
WACs came first in the debarkation process and the first one descended the gangplank to the cries of “There goes Brooklyn!”
She was Sgt. Georgeanna Snyder of 3154 Avenue W and soldier though she was, she confessed to ‘tears in her eyes and a lump in her throat.’
Wife of a sailor, Chief Boatswain’s Mate John Snyder, the sergeant has been in the army almost three years and in England for 18 months. She’s going to make her way to California as fast as possible to join John, who’s just been stationed there after one year in the Aleutians and two years in the Southwest Pacific.
Had Calm Voyage
The Queen Mary, making her third trip to America since VE-Day with returning troops, had the “calmest of voyages,” according to Capt. Dallas D. Dennis, the troops transport commander.
“In fact,” he said, “it was all so nice and peaceful that we didn’t have even one fight aboard ship.”
He told reporters that the sailing was made in four days adn 17 hours. Aboard the liner were unites of the 8th AIr Force, the 9th Air Force, a hospital group, 38 WACs and 36 Red Cross workers.
On either side of the vessel were strung 20-foot banners, proclaiming to all observers that the “Fighting 50th” Group, including the 10th 81st and 313th squadrons, were back.
Other Ships Arriving
Other ships arriving today are the E. B Alexander, with 4,404 troops including 2,425 patients for Halloran General Hospital; the Hermitage, with 5,728 troops, the William Bradford, 15, the Mack B. Ryan, 13; the California Express, 7; the Henry Lomb, 12; the Hydra, 15; the Marine Arrow, 34, and the Sarah Bache, 30.
Troops on the Hydra go to Camp Shanks, N.Y. Those on the Lomb to Fort Hamilton and the remainder to Camp Kilmer, N. J.