It was just two days since I had been in Southampton. When I had learned that a telephone call from the office of the American High Command had prepared the way for my arrival, I began to feel that I was part of a highly fluid, well-organized army which could adapt itself to unusual circumstances. This bubble of confidence burst when I learned that the ship on which I was supposed to make the channel crossing had already sailed. The transportation officer was out, but he had left word with his corporal to take me around and allow me to pick out any one of the Liberty ships then in port. Hoping I had made a good choice, I boarded one loaded with French troops from the Italian and African campaigns who had been sent to England for complete equipping with American supplies. I had an idea that I would like to land on French soil with French troops. (J. Rorimer, 3)
Not to worry! Although my grandfather missed the boat to France, I did not… At least not yet, since my ship sails tonight. I am taking an overnight ferry, and my accommodations include a “reclining chair” and a “sleep pack (i.e., pillow and blanket).” I am in for a 12-hour adventure, and I hope that the crossing will be smooth. If it isn’t smooth, however, I certainly won’t be able to complain, since I am traveling in peace time, I am on vacation, and I purposely chose to cross the English Channel by boat. Even the roughest ride cannot compare to the voyage undertaken by the troops bound for Normandy in summer 1944. Knowing this, I am certain that I will be just fine, as long as I make it to the dock on time!
Stay tuned… if I get WiFi on the ferry, I’ll post a picture. I’m wearing my “Monuments Men” movie T-shirt today!!!