Orion boarding tropps in Sydney.

(In the last issue of the Gazette, we left flight officer Jean Train in a state of high dudgeon, brooding darkly about her dislike of Americans and their ships. In fact, she was doubtless suffering from troopship burn-out and was clearly more than ready to disembark. She is still on Lurline.)

5 September: Sailed from Lae on a perfect morning-bright sunshine and a blue sky. We sailed down the coast fairly near the shore and were able to see the coast now and again. I played volleyball on deck until we lost the ball overboard; then we put on gloves and played with the softball. This was the very first chance I had of taking any exercise since I came on board and it was lovely to have the sun deck to ourselves for an hour. I lay on the deck afterwards and as there was a breeze, I didn't realize how burnt I was getting. The result is a flaming face tonight...The hills didn't rise up quite so steeply from the shore but the trees grew right down to the water's edge...I saw a turtle swimming near the ship, a very large one, also a snake and a peculiar sort of jellyfish which someone said were Portuguese men-of-war...I was on the boat deck to watch the sunset which was rather lovely as all the hills were silhouetted against a pinkish sky. It looked very tropical. I should very much like to go ashore, it is such pretty country, but I don't think I could stand the heat for very long. We were bullied around all day with orders which always omitted that we were there, that really we could have done just as we liked but we didn't; however, the last straw was being told what to do by an enlisted WAC so I told her where she got off and felt better. The sooner I get off this ship the better. "Now Hear This... Now Hear This," the sound of that voice booming out over the tannoy all day...

6 September: Had breakfast a bit later. I woke up with my face all swollen and blistered from the previous day's sunshine. We went up on the boat deck and waved good-bye to our pals as they went off in their DUCKS (Amphibious landing craft-Editor)...Some of the boys managed to get ashore and we were furious that they had gone without us but were just too late. As we made our way below, they announced that no-one who was not disembarking was allowed to go ashore. We were bitterly disappointed and had to watch again from the deck...although we were frightened of getting sunstroke if we stayed out in it for too long...We read for a while then they moved our cabin to B deck to a very nice cabin. So far we have it to ourselves but the only disadvantage is we have no portholes onto the sea, just windows onto the deck

The boys returned to supper and said they had collected nothing from shore but inches of dust all over them and that there was nothing much to see except some Fuzzy-Wuzzies which is just what I want to see. I am determined to get ashore tomorrow provided we don't sail early. We sat on the boat deck in the evening and watched all the lights on shore. It was very pleasant but there was no breeze and it was still very warm. It's a pity Dorothy has gone; she was most amusing and good company and we shall miss her in the cabin.

7 September: Asked Commander Fieber (sic) for permission to go ashore and after shooting a tremendous line about being the first WAAF to ever visit this theatre of operations, he gave his consent. Only two women are ever allowed to be together and there must be two men to every woman and they must be armed. We clambered down a rope ladder at 1000 hours and into an LCM (Landing Craft, Men) and went ashore. We landed on a beach underneath the palm trees and almost immediately got covered in dust which just coated us all, layer after layer, as the day progressed. We went first to the Australian naval officer in command, a Lieutenant Commander McBride who was a Scot from Sunderland and only went to Australia in 1933. He was shaken the core to see three women from Britain but he decided to take us to a river about 7 to 10 miles inland for a swim. But first he took the three of us in his jeep to see where he lived, a drive of about 5 miles over hills on what by ordinary standards would never be considered roads. We bounced all over the place. Sylvia and Louise were nearly hysterical in the back as the clouds of dust completely engulfed them...We gradually got higher and higher above the bay to the naval officer's home which consisted of huts all made by their own sailors...He had a garden of sorts tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers growing...He had Fuzzy-Wuzzies as servants and they were busy in the garden. They are very odd looking and go about naked from the waist up, small in height with masses of hair which they dye with peroxide and, as a result, will do anything for a bottle of peroxide. The men adorn themselves with all sorts of things, feathers in their hair, ear-rings and some even wear bones through their noses....I did not see any females, they are only to be seen in their own villages but they tattoo their faces and wear their skirts one inch longer when they are married...They are fully grown when about 14 and only live as a rule to about 35...

(Quaintly, Jean Train identifies Melanesians as Sudanese "Fuzzy-Wuzzies." She re-embarks aboard Lurline and four days later, catches her first glimpse of Brisbane and the Australian mainland, from where she flew south to Sydney and undertook the wartime assignments for which she had journeyed halfway around the globe.

In February 1946, Train was to return home aboard P&O's Orion.)

25 February: Transport collected us and we went down to the Orion at Number 6 berth Woolamaloo. Louise came on board, we seem to be ahead of everyone and we were taken straight up to our cabins. Sylvia and I were delighted to find that we were in a four-berth and it looked very comfortable. So when Group/Commander Fry arrived with all the RAF, he fixed shore leave for us all until midday next day and we went off again. Louise went to lunch with Neil and Sylvia and I gave ourselves an excellent lunch at a restaurant in King's Cross where we could eat sitting outside. When Louise got back we three went by ferry to Manly Beach. It was 35 minutes down the harbour and a very pretty trip...

26 February: Tuesday. The steward woke us with tea and the morning paper; it was wonderful. I had slept like a log in a very comfortable berth. We went ashore again and up to the women officers' club..and went back to the ship at midday. The ship was very busy, masses of people being embarked and the WRENS had arrived on board. We had lunch and then unpacked until 3:30 when we started to look for Neil and Louise...There was only one gangway and no-one was being allowed on board so we just hopped off and talked to Neil and Louise on the quay. At 4:30, we had to say goodbye to Louise and go aboard. I hated doing it, I shall miss her a lot.

Everyone threw streamers and when the ship sailed at 5:00 o'clock, it was terrific. There was a piper playing on the quay...We were pulled slowly out and it was a lovely time of day to go down the harbour and it took nearly an hour to reach the Heads where the pilot was taken off and we sailed out to sea. I am sad to leave Australia, I have made many good friends and it is a good country, especially for anyone who likes the outdoor life. I was most upset as someone stole my camera; I put it down for just a few minutes behind me, while I waved to Louise, and when I turned 'round again, it had gone. We had a very good dinner and went to bed early.

27 February: Wednesday. Slept most of the day. It was pretty chilly and although we met the cyclone in the night on its way from Melbourne to Sydney, it was pretty calm during the day. Pat Saunders took us for drinks to a naval officer's cabin. We took a certain amount of exercise battling our way round the decks against the wind and went to bed early.

28 February: Thursday. Had a party before lunch with some of the RAF plus a few Canadian Navy. It was a pretty good session and Sylvia and I slept after lunch until rudely awakened by the gang again after tea. We finally got rid of them and spent a peaceful evening.What a difference being in a British troopship instead of an American one; it really is nice. There was a riot over the food on the mess decks and eventually Captain Frai (O.C.R.N. Draft) after investigating it, plus the Marine officers, asked the ship to supply another meal which they did. The RAF apparently did not complain.

1 March: Friday. Captain Frai was up at 0930 running around the Sports Deck, followed by a large number of Royal Naval personnel.I thought it was a pretty stout effort. He also congratulated the RAF over the tidiness of their quarters...RAF stocks are running high at the moment. Had some exercise during the morning and wrote letters most of the afternoon. I seem to be coming to life and can do other things than sleep, I am glad to say.

2 March: Saturday. The sun came out and it was very pleasant and quite warm on deck. In the evening, we had The Brains Trust (A postwar BBS quiz program) in the "A" Lounge and Captain Frai was the question-master. It was really rather interesting and amusing, except that sitting at the back of the lounge, we couldn't hear everything that was being said.

3 March: Sunday. Awoke to a very rough and cloudy day. Sylvia and I went up on deck and walked around and sat out the rest of the morning on the deck, but there was a terrific gale blowing and we could hardly hear ourselves speak, the Bight living up to its reputation for the first time. I was simply delighted that I did not feel at all ill; it fixed a good many people on board. Spent most of the afternoon on my bunk studying my books and I retired to bed early after dinner. We altered clock at eight and proceeded north up to Fremantle.

4 March: Monday. Berthed at Fremantle.

(Jean Train went ashore to Perth and spent the day revisiting old friends. Her entry ends:) So Goodbye, Australia, I hope one day to visit your shores again. I certainly have enjoyed my eighteen months here and the hospitality of your very fine countrymen.

5 March: Tuesday. Much hotter. Spent a quite enjoyable day not doing anything very much. Won the first round of the mixed deck tennis but my partner strained himself and we have had to scratch. Usual sessions before meal in various cabins, mainly the Canadian Navy.

6 March: Wednesday. Learned how to play deck hockey. Most exhausting. I am playing in the WREN first team, there were enough to form four teams for the tournament. Spent a very pleasant evening with John Crossley...We discussed all sorts of world affairs. Sylvia had a late evening with the Canadians.

7 March: Thursday. Getting much hotter. Had drinks in the Staff-Commander's very nice cabin before lunch.Played first round in the deck hockey, we were beaten by the Marines but we gave them a good runaround and I was too hot and exhausted for words by the time we had finished. Due in Colombo a day earlier as we have a tail wind. Good news, we should be home by April 2d.

8 March: Friday.Very hot and sticky. Bad news, O.C. troops announced that we had received a signal requesting we pick up masses of senior officers and women and children at Colombo and Bombay. So that all junior officers have to sleep on the troop decks to allow cabin space for them. It seems a bit hard for the officers who have been on active service to give up their cabins to women and children and staff officers who have probably had a good time at Kandy for the last couple of years. There were a lot of remarks passed and questions asked when it was announced; in fact, it became rather unpleasant.

9 March: Saturday. Light rain, humidity, of course, very high and heat in the cabin almost unbearable. Not at all pleasant, too wet on deck and not much room in the lounge.

10/11 March: Sunday, Monday. All day spent on the decks taking exercise or lying reading.Nothing of importance occurred.

12 March: Tuesday. Arrived in Colombo harbour about midday. All morning we could see the coast of Ceylon and it was fun to have something to look at. With the aid of a telescope, I was able to pick out the Galle Face Hotel and RAF #222 Group Headquarters. It was pretty warm when we dropped anchor after various little boats had fussed around getting us moored up. It's quite a fair-sized harbour but not a natural one. After lunch, all officers were assembled and told by Captain Frie that the shore authorities had said there was to be no shore leave on account of smallpox and a great shortage of food; but none of us believed this to be the reason as had there been smallpox, they would not have risked embarking 2,000 people from the island; those who went ashore on duty found no shortage of food.

13 March: Wednesday. There was quite a cool breeze which helps a lot and I was most surprised as I know how sticky and hot it was ashore at the same time last year. Amused ourselves all day in the usual way.

14 March: Thursday. The 2,000 were embarked. Much consternation caused by a Marine whose wife came aboard and was put in a cabin with some WRENS who refused to have her as she was a half-caste. So she had to go ashore again and he was allowed to go with her. Why were none of the troops allowed to bring their wives from Australia? Masses of women and children came aboard and someone who, it was stated in the papers, was going to England with his wife a 6-months leave. I think the whole thing is a disgrace. Everyone disembarked at Colombo got none of their heavy luggage as the ship was informed that everyone was traveling to the UK and all the luggage was poured into the hold and, apparently, half of it wasn't labelled in any case. We sailed at 4 o'clock, much to our delight, the sooner we get off the better. Sylvia and I managed to get a table to ourselves in the dining room. The London sailed early in the morning, it really looked lovely going out of the harbour. Due in Plymouth on 2d of April. I wish we were on her.

15 March: Friday. Lay on the deck in the sun after we had finished with boat drill. Had a dance on A Deck in the evening for all A and B class passengers, quite fun.

16 March: Saturday. Plenty of deck tennis and sun. The day passed quite quickly; in the evening we had horse racing on A deck and the Pay Bobs ran a tote.

17 March: Sunday. Arrived before I ever woke up within sight of Bombay, where we anchored until 11:30, then slowly proceeded nearer the shore and through Alexandra Lock, really amazing how a big ship can go through. Masses of native children ran along either side of the dock hoping to be tossed coins; and little tugs chuffed noisily while they dragged us 'round and pulled us into position alongside the quay. They were aptly named Cheerful, Hardy and Willing. The usual wog smell greeted us as we tied up; how I hate that smell and all the filth and squalor. I know I could never live in the East. I would hate the climate and the native element.

At 3 o'clock, we were allowed ashore. John, Sylvia, Desmond and I all went off, we got a garry to drive us up to the Red Gate at the entrance to the Dock and from there we started to walk, besieged by men and small boys trying to sell us things at fantastic prices. Despite the fact that it was Sunday, all but the European shops were open and we had a lot of fun wandering around and bargaining. For a day it was fun to bargain, but it would drive me mad if every day that I went shopping, I had to argue about the prices in order not to be cheated every time. By about 5 o'clock, we were pretty tired and hot and the Taj Mahal being the only place we knew, we got a taxi there and drove past the Gate to India to the big hotel which is only a few yards away from the gate and looks right out over the harbor.

We went into the cocktail bar and ordered a round of drinks from John Collins, the equivalent of six shillings each (4 chips or rupees) that shook the boys and we couldn't afford to stay there very long. We drove back to the ship in time for dinner and a change. Then John and I went back to the Taj and attended the cocktail dance which was in progress until 9 o'clock, when everyone went off to dinner. But we had had ours so we went to Green's Hotel a hundred yards away and had a drink and danced at their dinner dance. Those who didn't want to dine sat on a sort of verandah and had drinks.

We had to return to the ship by 2300 hours so we had to leave again and catch a garry once more back to the ship. It is very unwise to wander around Bombay alone at any time, more especially at night. A couple of sailors off the ship got set upon when they walked up some side street during the afternoon. They bought themselves sticks and intended returning down the same street. There was no sign of any rioting-that seems to be over...As we drove back to the ship in the garry, we saw masses of Indians sleeping the night on the pavement.They throw themselves down in the most extraordinary and uncomfortable places and are asleep before you can bat your eye...

18 March: Monday. John and I pushed off early and did some shopping before going out to the Willingdon Club, a beautiful sporting club six miles out of the city. We discovered when we got there that, being a bank holiday, they were not allowing non-members to go in. So we drove back into town and went to the All-India Cricket Club. A very nice place with a cricket pitch with a huge stand for the audience...a swimming pool, tennis courts, squash courts etc. John and I discovered we were not allowed to play tennis until 4 o'clock...So we had lunch and swam and sunned at the pool, the water quite hot but cooler than the air and I enjoyed it thoroughly. At 4 o'clock, we played three sets of tennis on an asphalt court and I have never been so hot, soaked through in no time at all. We had two little boys to act as ball boys which made a lot of difference... After tennis, we changed and thankfully collapsed into the swimming pool once more...We went to the Taj where we met Sylvia and Desmond. We spent the evening at the Bristol Grill where there was a dinner dance....We were quite exhausted by the time we went back to the ship in convoy in two garries. We were late but got away with it as the duty officer had left the gangway temporarily.

19 March: Tuesday. John and I shopped and then returned to the ship to dump our purchases. We visited the Army & Navy Stores where they had some lovely stuff but very expensive. There were lots of things I would like to have taken home but I had a limited supply of money...We went to a large open-air salt water swimming pool only about a mile from the club. ...They also have an indoor pool. We lay on the grass at the side and bobbed in and out of the water as we felt like it. We found it too hot to eat but were much amused at other fellow passengers from the Orion who were sitting out in the midday sun drinking rum punches and gin, absolutely mad...

20 March: Wednesday. Shore leave granted again despite the fact that embarking of troops was taking place. (Jean and John spent another day ashore, practicing diving at the pool with the help of an RAF instructor.) We were too exhausted to spend an evening in Bombay again so we dropped off Sylvia and Desmond at the Taj and drove back to the ship for dinner. We found the ship full of military who had been embarked that day and John and I could hardly find room in either the lounge or on deck after dinner. Masses of army on board, I am afraid it will be very crowded from now on but thank goodness, we leave at 12:30 tomorrow. It has been a wonderful break for just long enough and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself; but now for home as quickly as possible. So good-bye to Bombay...

21-23 March: Thursday/Friday/Saturday Back to the old routine once more; it was pretty hot and John and I sun-bathed and played deck tennis; but I didn't feel very energetic-probably too much exercise for the tropics while in Bombay. Had a dance on A deck on Friday evening and dog racing on Saturday. Really horse racing-it was quite fun but I didn't stay until the end.

24 March: Sunday. Sun-bathed for an hour with John; then Sylvia and I went to church. It was a very nice service indeed, taken by a Padre who had come aboard in Bombay.What he said was excellent and just enough; I was very glad I went. I sun-bathed again afterwards. The water was so calm, it was amazing, the calmest I have ever seen in my life. It looked just like a film, the ship must have looked very attractive cutting through the flat surface. In the evening, Sylvia and I went to "Herman the German's" cabin (Deputy Purser ) and played Pontoon (Twenty-one, a cockney contraction of vingt-et-un. Ed.) with him and Paff and two other ship's officers.We won all the money and when we had to stop at 11:30 (as we have to be in our cabins by that time), Sylvia and I were well up and exchanged five shillings each for a crown piece, which Herman seemed to have a collection of. I got a George III one which I am quite sure is worth more than five shillings!

25 March: Monday. Passed Aden. It could just be seen in the distance and outlines of the Arabian coast with rocky hills every now and again. So we turned north into the Red Sea. Saw lots of sharks, whales and porpoises; there are apparently masses of them in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea. Played deck hockey and sun-bathed. Met a Colonel in the British Army who is an Australian and knows everyone in Melbourne, his home town, which he has not visited in over two years, especially well and happy as he is a very good tennis player and hopes to play at Wimbledon this year...The southern cross could be seen for the last time tonight but I didn't see it as it didn't appear until 2:00 a.m...So farewell to the Southern Hemisphere. I really feel I am getting near home at last.

26 March: Tuesday. Played hockey and tennis and sun-bathed and the day passed very quickly. It got quite cool in the evening.

27 March: Wednesday. Still steaming up the Red Sea; we passed a lot of ships and one aircraft carrier, Victorious, on her way to Australia. I strained my back so had to take things easy for a while. There was a really beautiful sunset, one of the best I have ever seen. It got cold after the sun had gone down. We were told that we would disembark at Southampton. Whoopee! Also told that we had a case of smallpox on board.

28 March: Thursday. Arrived in the narrow strip of the Red Sea and awoke to see land on either side and very near on the port side. We passed Mount Sinai during breakfast on the starboard side. All morning there was nothing but rocky desert very close on the port side and, just at lunch-time, we passed an oil station. We arrived at Suez at dinner time and anchored. I got 13 letters from home.

29 March: Friday. Took the pilot on board before breakfast. It was very cold when we went up on deck We steamed into the canal at about 9 o'clock. It was really fascinating to be so near land on either side. There was very little room to spare in many places. We passed one or two wrecks of rusted metal heaved up on the side which had been ships damaged in raids during war and pulled up out of the way. We passed various camps and Arabs waved at us. There were camels wandering about the sandy wastes. It was strange to have an oasis on one side where all was green and fertile over a small area and on the other side, barren desert. We stooged on all day through the Little Bitter and Great Bitter Lakes and I took a photo of the ANZAC memorial which is about half way. We saw some fellucas, funny little sailing boats with huge masts. Toward evening, a railway line and a main road appeared running parallel with the canal; it was most amusing to have cars and jeeps and trains all passing us as we were doing only about 8 knots. The trains blew their whistles persistently as they puffed past. It was rather a fine sunset as they usually are over the desert. We all changed into blue uniform in the evening and it really felt very cold indeed although we heard on the radio that the temperature had been 64 at home, the hottest day of the year and we had a temperature several degrees higher than that.

At about 9, we reached Port Said and passed a Royal Navy cruiser and a Union Castle liner, both waiting to go through the canal the other way. There was terrific shouting and cheering from all our troops who screamed out "You're going the wrong way!"and whistling and booing from the other ships. All we could see of Port Said was a mass of lights and without stopping, we put off the pilot into a little boat and steamed into the Mediterranean; I really feel we are making progress now.

30 March: Saturday. Very cold and the day passed very slowly as it was too cold to sit around on deck and the lounge was crowded. In the evening, we had three of the boys down to the cabin and played gramophone records but the whole thing was frowned upon as visiting cabins is apparently forbidden. It really is ridiculous as there is nowhere to sit.

31 March: Sunday.The sun came out and it is a lovely day with a fresh breeze. The Mediterranean looked as blue as I always imagined it and the sun was quite hot at midday but it soon cooled down in the evening. I have a cold salt water bath every morning to try and accustom myself to the cold water so that I shall be able to swim when I get home. We all went to church and it was once more crowded out; the Padre was excellent and it was a very nice service for the last one on board. Played hockey in the afternoon. In the evening before dinner, Sylvia and I had drinks with the Johnstons; the purser was also there. They had the fourth and final The Brains Trust in the evening; it was most amusing, they were really very good.

1 April: Monday. Final boat drill, thank goodness, but it helped to pass the morning more quickly. We passed Malta about seven o'clock in the morning and Pantelleria at lunch time. We were only about ten miles away from the latter and could see it quite well whereas Malta and the North African coast were very distant. During the afternoon, we passed Cape Bon which could be seen quite clearly and also various islands for some time after that. As we approached Cape Bon, a description was given by four officers who had been there in that disastrous battle early in the war. They were all members of the 8th Army. Sylvia and I were very much told off by the officer commanding RAF draft about having male visitors in the cabin, which much amused everyone.

In the evening, we had drinks with the officer commanding troops in his cabin; he was very nice indeed. I had not realized before that he had been a POW in Italy. Captain R.J.M. Dupont is an official war artist... There was a display of his most recent Burma work which is going home to be on exhibition; it was very good. It is amazing to me what varied work these fellows do and what technical knowledge it involves; he was doing work for all three services including portraits of the more important brass hats.

2 April: Tuesday. Still quite warm and very pleasant. We did not see land all day but passed near Algiers and a description of the landing was given by two Royal Naval officers, one who had been a prisoner there and another who had gone in with the landing force. We received a signal instructing us to go to Liverpool and not Southampton which was rather disappointing.

However, we were told that we would arrive there on Sunday morning so I sent a cable off home for both Sylvia and I. In the evening, we had a concert for A class passengers given by various passengers on board and it was really excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the community singing to a piano accordion played by Nella Wingfield, a journalist. It is a long time since I have been to such a concert; it took me back to the service days at home.

3 April: Wednesday. Another case of smallpox on board, strict isolation for the troop deck involved. We passed Gibraltar at about 1500 but could only see the lower half of the rock rising up out of the sea; the rest was shrouded in mist. It started to rain and got much colder. Sun appeared to let us have a look at the southern coast of Spain as we passed through the rather narrow straits, only about 6 miles wide so that we could see land on either side. Then we rounded the corner later in the evening and started north on the very last lap for home. I feel the last landmark has been passed. The only awful thought now is we should be kept in quarantine on board the ship and not allowed to disembark on account of the latest case of smallpox; 10 days is really supposed to elapse after the last case before we are all clear.

There was horse racing on A deck but John and I managed to find a seat in the lounge where we read all evening. Went to sleep happy that my cable must have reached home.

4 April: Thursday. Beautiful sunshine and a clear blue sky, really hot in the sun but a very cold breeze when we got out of the sheltered spots. Spent all morning on the deck and afternoon playing tennis and hockey and relaxing in the sun, doing nothing but allowing myself the anticipation of getting home; it really sort of fully dawned on me this morning. I suppose the weather felt fresh and spring-like which probably accounted for my very high spirits and excitement. "Oh to be in England, now that April's here..." The author of that had a few clues, good old Keats. Sylvia and I talk of nothing else but feel we daren't say definitely to each other "only three more days," in case we are tempting providence.

5 April: Friday. Showers very cold and the gale is increased. All day we were pushing our way straight into the wind and the heavy seas and the ship pitched more and more as the day progressed. The Bay of Biscay living up to its reputation. Spent all afternoon in the cabin as it was too cold to do anything on deck except walk around and get exercise. Listened to the Grand National but my horse that I drew in the ship's sweepstake, Elsich, came down at the third jump. Lovely Cottage ran a marvelous race and was ridden by an amateur jockey, Captain Peters, which was a very good show. The ship's sweepstake of seventy-five pounds was won by a private for which I was very glad.

In the evening, we went to a show given by various people on board. It was really very good but the ship was pitching badly and the members of the cast had difficulty remaining upright; likewise the audience, who were sitting on wooden forms (benches). Whenever we hit a wave smack in the middle with the bows, the whole ship vibrated from stem to stern. As a result, the place was very deserted, most people must have been seasick. When we came out of the show, it was really a glorious starry night with a turbulent angry sea pounding the side of the ship. We were nearly blown over but it really was lovely. Got a cable from Daddy to say he would be at the Landing Stage to meet me. I was really thrilled, my excitement knows no bounds now.

6 April: Saturday. A glorious day, bright sunshine but a very cold wind and a sharpness in the air; there must have been a frost early. I had forgotten what such a morning could be like and now well I could feel under such conditions. I had my cold sea water bath, ate an enormous breakfast and played deck hockey with great gusto later in the morning. At midday, the coast of Ireland appeared over our port bow, the first sight of the U.K. and what a day to welcome us. My spirits were somehow higher than I have ever known them to be. I don't think that today could drag-however long, it could not be too long to enjoy being in home waters, feel the spring air and revel in the anticipation of arriving home for good.

(Not surprisingly, the diary entries end here but from Jean Train's later memoir, we can share her long voyage's final moments.)

So on a cold, grey morning, we steamed into the estuary of the Mersey and headed slowly upriver to our berth in the Liverpool docks. Among the crowds on the quayside, I was able to pick out my parents and my sister. No words could ever describe how happy I was to be home. I was firmly convinced that the best place to live was (and still is) right here in Great Britain. But I had certainly been lucky to have had such a unique experience in an extraordinary era. (Though the war was over, the monotony, confinement and ennui of life aboard an overcrowded passenger vessel continued. In 1953, Jean Train would marry an old family friend Iain Lumsden. After he left the Royal Navy, he joined the family stockbroking firm Lumsden's. Once again, editorial thanks to Jean Train Lumsden for sharing with us this incomparable glimpse of life aboard several wartime troopers. Curious the number of similarities with present-day cruising.

Flight Officer Jean Train


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