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War Around the World

At Sea / England



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War Around 
the World
At sea / England
Progress Report dated 
December 28, 1943


Dec 14 - 0900 To office, waiting to see Commander Vining, who of course is very busy getting off and out of the office a great deal. Superintended typing of report which girl finished. 1500. Good talk with Comdr. Vining he is taking me to Admiralty as soon as it can be arranged for transportation. Our office from Comdr. Vining down, so cordial and most helpful.

Dec 15 - 0900 To office working all day on office business, and mailed long carefully censored letter to my wife for filing. She is taking care of all Navy correspondence and all details of book. Secured 1730. Through Lt. Comdr. McKee, Lt. John Mason Brown and Lt. Dwight Shepler. I am lunching and dining with different officers and gaining much knowledge of our office, London and my future duties.

Dec 16 - 0900 With Lt. Shepler to the old City to see Norman church, Temple, St. Pauls etc., walked for hours. 1630 Moved to Goring Hotel, fourth move in six days. Unpacked for first time since Dec. 2nd, the day I left New York. This fight for a place to stay in gray old London with the long blackouts takes a lot of time.

Dec 17 - 0900 To warehouse trying to get word about foot locker and suitcase that have not arrived from Scotland yet. 1030 To see Cmdr. Vining. At office until 1700 telephoning, business etc. making engagements and getting squared away for transportation.

Dec. 18 - 0900 To office telephoning trying to find foot locker and suitcase. 1000 Cmdr. Vining making appointments for us. Charming letter from you Capt., in and your fine Christmas card arrived. 1145 With Comdr. Vining to meet Admiral Wilson and pay my respects. 1430 With Lt Brown to Admiral Kirck to pay respects. Brown had given him my "North Atlantic Patrol" and "The Navy at War" to read and he was most pleasant about both. 1500 With Comdr. Vining to Lt. Comdr. Hartesentein, Personnel, to get my orders for East Asia started. 1530 To Army art section at request of Army Colonel to see their work.. Olin Dowes and few others working. 1630 With Cmdr. Vining to British Admiralty. At lunch and dinner going different places and relearning London. 

Dec 19 - Sunday. Walk around London. 1400 Long censored latter to my wire for filing. 2315 posted report. 0200 awakened by air raid siren, slept, all clear rewoke me. 0400 Air raid siren again. Heavy gun fire. Plane caught in searchlight arching tracers. Starlight. Closed blackout curtains lit light and made rough sketch. Sleep. All clear woke me up.

Dec 20 - To office and put in long distance to Scotland about foot locker and suitcase from ships hold they promised to send. No clean cloths left. Wrote and dictated a letter of thanks and appreciation to you for your wonderful Christmas cars and charming letter. Mailed. Lunched Oxford and Cambridge Club with British Flight Lieutenant. 1500 hair cut appointment. Dined General Crane and Colonel Bradley. They will try to help me fly in spite of all my gear if Admiralty takes too long to transport me by sea. I am most anxious to lay plans to start moving as Dwight Shepler is covering here and my work really starts in Egypt.

Dec 21 - To office and then to Personnel and elsewhere about my orders being clear and completed. To warehouse trying to find gear. Lots of telephoning wrong numbers and time wasted. Presented two letters of introduction and got two valuable letters for East Asia from English Officers. Dined with C. J. Orde, official assistant for R.A.F. 1845 Air raid, gunfire and shrapnel bursting. None of these raids penetrate into London proper, but this is the fourth in 36 hours.

Dec 22 - 0900 To Lt. Comdr. Vanderpoel. He had finished my two books and "The Navy at War". He sends his respects to you sir, and requests that all those books be sent to London for his reference library. Perhaps if you so wish Lt. Parsons could attend to this. He also thinks all three should be distributed throughout the fleet. He asked me to say this. Word passed from Comdr. Coke, RN, to stand by for transportation Monday for Egypt. Calling and trying to find gear that I was forced to leave in Scotland. At least got R.T.O. on phone. Searching all Grosvenor Square offices. After two hours found foot locker but no suitcase in a back street warehouse. More telephoning, took locker in taxi to hotel. Drove to Buston station. Searched miles of platform and piles of gear and found it. This took all afternoon but I won the battle.

Dec 23 - 0900 To office. Copy by my wife of Lt. Parson's letter of Dec. 7 about shipping large drawings of Hvalfjordur to the House Naval Affairs Committee room at the Capitol and other Navy business she has attended to. 1030 Station wagon took Dwight Shepler and me to the Thames Embankment for trip. Met by Comdr. R.D. Binney, C.B.E, R.N., at river dock and proceeded down the Thames in an Admirals barge; he pointing out all the sights to us. The river was veiled in mystery by the fog, the gaunt warehouses softened by the mist over the foreshores of the ancient London river. Past islands of Thames barges to the coastal shipping below the Tower Bridge and finally the Royal Naval College to starboard. There we were met by Comdr. F.M. Archdale, R.N. and other officers and taken for needed drinks after the penetrating cold of the river. Lunch in the painted hall was an event we'll never forget. Then we inspected the college and were taken to the Queens House where I had a long talk with Sir Geoffrey Callender with whom, as a member of the Society of National Research I have been in touch with for years. To the Observatory and then driven back to London in a station wagon. 

Dec 24 - 0900- 1145 Making notes on the Greenwich trip. To office and learned that I had lost my room on the British ship for standby Monday. Next convoy not until middle if January so shall use my initiative with our Allies the Army and see if I can fly with all my gear about Monday the 3rd, as I am most anxious to start painting in Egypt. Got orders all worked out and ready for signing.

Dec 25 - Christmas Day. Lt. Williamson gave charming dinner in evening to officers of O.P.R.

Dec 26 - Sunday. Presenting letters of introduction. In the evening Lt. Cdr. McKee took room in Dorchester and our office gave a dinner for admiral Kirk. Lt. Comdr. McKee is doing a splendid job here as temporary #1 Officer and his competence as executive is a pleasure to see.

Dec 27 - 0900 To office. Orders signed. Working on air transportation. Wrote Comdr. Binney, R.N. and Comdr. Archdale thanking them for trip to Greenwich. Letters to Commanding Generals of European and China-Burma-India theater from Major General A.D. Surles. These Comdr. E. John Long got me and they were forwarded in my wife's letter. Dined with General Crane U.S.A. and Col. Bradley U.S.A. who will help me fly to Egypt.

Tomorrow I hope to get my flying arranged for Monday Jan 3, which would mean I would be in Egypt in two or three days instead of five weeks if I waited for sea transportation. I have consulted Lt. Cdr. McKee and payed my respects to the British Admiralty and thanked them. Every officer in this office is a shipmate. 

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