Cal, Stokes, Springs and I went to supper and a show to-night. Dismal failure. This has been our first day of real work. I believe the course will be easy as we’ve had it all once except the Vickers machine gun and rotary motors. Both of these are used extensively by the Royal Flying Corps.
I hear that the Germans have the goods in airplanes and A. A. guns. I guess it’s the North and South over again. Of course, no one doubts our winning out in the end but it will be a long hard fight and few of us will be left to enjoy the fruits of our victory. I surely am lucky not to be in the trenches. Some, in fact, most of the cadets have been out and they say it’s hell. “Only we young chaps can stand it,” they say. Most of these English cadets are kids and the instructors themselves wouldn’t average over twenty-two. Our machine gun instructor has a bullet hole thru the flap of his ear. He says he’s going to get one in the other ear so he can wear earrings.
Something queer went on this evening. The Painted Lady, as we call the camouflaged cruiser that is escorting us, turned around and circled behind us and fired a few shots. We don’t know what she was firing at. She sure is a queer-looking boat. She’s painted all different colours in lines and squares and you can’t tell which way she is going or what she is until you get close to her. Another boat in our convoy is painted the colour of the ocean and then has a smaller ship painted over it going the other way. From any distance it is very deceptive. Another ship has the same arrangement except the deception is in the angle of her course.
We went below, Cal and I, to hear the Steerage Quartet, as they call themselves. Enlisted men they are and natural born entertainers. One boy sang “I ain’t got nobody” wonderfully well. Spalding played one of his own compositions for us. One day at Mineola, Springs was looking about as usual for some kitchen police. He put the first six men to work peeling potatoes. While they were manicuring the spuds he checked up their service records. One … Read the rest
Aboard R. M. S. Carmania in the harbour of Halifax.
Well, here I am aboard ship and three days out of New York, waiting for a convoy at Halifax. This seems to be a fitting place to start a diary. I am leaving my continent as well as my country and am going forth in search of adventure, which I hope to find in Italy, for that is where we are headed. We are a hundred and fifty aviators in embryo commanded by Major MacDill, who is an officer and a gentleman in fact as well as by Act of Congress. We are travelling first class, thanks to him, tho we are really only privates, and every infantry officer on board hates our guts because we have the same privileges they do. Capt. Swan, an old Philippine soldier, is supply officer.
This morning when we steamed into harbour, which is a wonderful place, we found five or six transports already here. The soldiers on them, all that could, got into the boats and came over to see us. They rowed around and around our boat and cheered and sang. They were from New Zealand and a fine … Read the rest