the whole group of 37 left Pensacola on Saturday, May 30
(my birthday). I think there was sadness at leaving a part of
the country where we had been so well received and which we had
come to love - I know that was my feeling. About 11pm we arrived
at Birmingham where the Gervins were waiting for me and we spent
a pleasant half hour chatting but soon it was au revoir and on
our way North. After a comfortable night we reached Cincinnati,
Ohio about 3 on Sunday afternoon with nine hours to wait for
a connection. None of us had any money so Dennis, Leslie, Norman
and I contacted the USO who promised to look after us and indeed
they did. Four charming young art students came along to show
us the city and we spent a highly entertaining evening with them,
ending in an imitation English pub.
Our journey continued with stops in Detroit and Toronto before
we pulled into Montreal at midnight on Monday, June 1. The four
of us who were staying on started to look for rooms and we were
lucky to find excellent accommodation near the city centre with
a Mrs Brown 1022 Sherbrooke Street; our room is only 15 dollars
a week between four with a double bed and two singles which we
have in rotation. We have all our meals out.
On Tuesday morning we caught the 8.15 RAF bus to Ferry Command
HQ at Dorval which is the former city airport about 40 mins out
of town. There was the usual routine of reporting to a new station
but this time we got an advance of 15 dollars each until pay
day on Friday and this was very necessary as I had precisely
12 cents in the World.
Later that day we met the remainder of our class and had a drink
with them before they boarded the evening train for Moncton.
We had all been a very happy group and I was very sorry to say
goodbye especially as my own particular pals - Alec, Dennis and
Leslie - were among those departing.
We reported to Flt Lt Rhodes at Dorval this morning and he told
us that there was nothing for us to do - we shall be here for
at least a month and we do not have to report again until Monday
next. When I got back to Montreal I realised that this was a
last opportunity to visit the Frasers in New York and after phoning
them received a warm invitation to go there for the weekend.
I set the wheels in motion to get a leave pass and a visa for
the USA hoping fervently that no snags arise.
It's been a busy day so I'll turn in early - my turn for the
11 June 1942.
I went to Dorval to request a leave pass from the CO and after
a long wait he gave me this together with a letter to the American
Immigration Office. I was only in the office for a few minutes
before receiving a permit to cross the border and then I went
to the Bank for a currency permit. The next stop was Windsor
station for my ticket to New York; the round trip fare was $10.68
most of which I had to borrow from Dave Evans.
I caught the 8pm Delaware-Hudson train and had to change into
a New York Central train at Troy. We ran into Grand Central,
where Mr and Mrs Fraser met me and we strolled to their splendid
apartment on Park Avenue opposite the Waldorf-Astoria.
During the morning I met my second cousins Sheila and Ronnie
after which I was taken to lunch at the Whaler on Madison Avenue,
an original restaurant styled after the interior of old whaling
ships. In the evening Mr Fraser got stall seats at the Biltmore
Theatre for Sheila and I to see a play 'My sister Eileen' which
I enjoyed greatly.