|Title||Munro Letters: Apr. 12th - 21st 1917: Melville Munro to Jessie Munro|
|Abstract||Melville writes to his mother while sailing for England. He is on the "Carpathia" (the boat that saved passengers from the Titanic). Melville shares details of the ship, and describes life onboard.|
|Collection||Private Gordon Munro Letters WW1 1915-1918|
April 12th 1917
The last letter I wrote was on the train just after we got into Halifax. We did nothing all day but look around the docks. There were three or four British Cruisers and a French Battleship in the harbour. The "Grilse" was there too but is at present out of commission and has been ever since she was in the big storm. At night they let us go up town
so I went and got a good big dinner had a good wash, the first since leaving Hamilton, and after that went to a show. I got back at about ten and hadn't been in for more than five minutes when orders came to move down to the boat. It was raining very hard but we got our packs on and went down to the dock where our boat was waiting, and got on board. She is an old boat of about 13000 tons and a speed of 13 knots. There are about 2600 troops
on board, the 227th Bn., 210th Bn. from Moose Jaw, the 164th and drafts of the army service corps., C.M.R., and heavy artillery. There is about 250 of a crew.
We left Halifax at about 5:45 last night. The British Cruise "Antrim" went out ahead of us as an escort. She keeps within a mile of us all the time. The "Canada" is with us also filled with troops.
There is a good swell on to-day and last night. A lot of the fellows are seasick but I have been all right so far. The quarters we are in are very crowded and the wouldn't be
much chance for a lot of us if we were hit by a torpedo.
Last night we ran into a big fishing snack but all the crew of 19 was saved. The crew was taken aboard and their boat set on fire.
6:30 p.m., Friday, April 13th
It was fairly rough when I wakened up this morning and a lot more of the boys are sick. The cruiser and the "Canada" are with us yet and the old "Canada" shoves her nose right under the waves at times. The
Cruiser is pitching and swelling quite a bit too. I have not been sick yet but feel a little squeamish at times. I am all right when I am in my bunk or up on the top deck. I never want to cross the ocean again under these conditions. The "Carpathia" was never meant to carry troops. She was only built to carry first and second class passengers and all the good part of the boat is only for officers and Sergeants. It makes me sore to see some of the Sergeants who never
had a decent meal before in their lives sworking along the promenade deck while the poor privates have to stay down below in the place they used to carry the mules and horses.
We are the first troops that have been on this boat so the bunks are not "crumby" (lousy) but the place has a sickly smell about it. I will be glad when the trip is over.
1:30 p.m., April 15th
Today is Sunday and we had a church service this morning. There is going to be a bible class
this afternoon and a song service to-night. Yesterday it was nice and warm with scarcely and wind and the fellows were mostly lying on deck asleep. To-day it is nice and warm too but there is a strong wind blowing from the south which sends the spray all over our deck so if you go up above you are taking a chance on getting wet. Yesterday morning we passed a Belgian steamer and this morning we passed a big freighter. The "Canada" and "Antrim" are still with us & the "Antrim" always ahead and to our
right and the "Canada" always south of us. She doesn't seem to be as good a boat as the "Carpathia". The smell around here is just as bad as ever and I guess it will be all the way across. We expect to reach England next Saturday. It doesn't seem a week since we left Truro.
9 a.m. Tuesday, April. 17th
Yesterday, Monday, was the best day we have had yet. There was a warm wind from the south and the sun was shining
all day. I was up on deck all morning and afternoon reading and sleeping alternately. Our quarters down below are not so bad now that we can open the portholes in the daytime. We couldn't open them before because it was too rough and the water would come in. To-day I am orderly Corporal and will be for the next week. I won't have anything to do but make out the sick reports in the morning at ten o'clock, and that only takes about ten minutes. It is getting on for that time now and I had better go and do it.
9:30 a.m., Thursday April.19th
On Tuesday everything was nice and as I am orderly Corporal I can go all over the boat. I was up on the first class deck all day, stretched out on a deck chair. It was nice and warm all day and I enjoyed it. Yesterday was a fine day too and I am beginning to like the trip more and more all the time. There are rafts and lifeboats all over the deck and yesterday we were all told off to our boats.
Yesterday afternoon there was a concert. Am sending program. Last night I saw the best
sunset that I have ever seen.
We are in the danger zone now and steering a zig-zag course. This morning it is even calmer than it has been since we started. There is hardly a ripple on the water.
6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 21st
It was very calm all day Thursday and fellows that have been over the ocean five or six times say that they have never seen it so calm before and I haven't seen any that have had a better passage. Yesterday morning the cruiser had disappeared and the "Canada" was just visible on the
horizon. We had a small torpedo boat for an escort. It is about the size of a big gasoline launch and is about the neatest boat I ever saw. Last night we slept on deck and I nearly froze. At 5 o'clock this morning we could see the south coast of Ireland and expect to be at Liverpool about 4 this afternoon.
2:30 p.m. Monday, April 23rd
We didn't reach Liverpool until about 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon. We disembarked at about six o'clock and
left for the south of England at 7:30. The trains surprised me more than anything. The engines and coaches are very small but they travel fast enough. We went through Crewe Rugby and part of London and got off the train at 4:30 this morning. After a walk of about 2 miles we reached Otterpool Segregation Camp, which is about eight miles from Folkstone. We will be kept here in quarantine for about two weeks or so, and then go on pass. When we get back off pass we will go to one of the big camps.
They say that no one under 19 is taken to the front.
The trip from Liverpool to here was all in the dark except for the first hour or so. I wish it had been in the daytime because it is very pretty trip. The country I did see surprised me. Every square foot of land was under cultivation and all the ground along the tracks was well looked after. The stations are all nice and neat and there are no level crossings.
The roads all cross the track by the neatest bridge imaginable. We will only be in this camp about two weeks and after that I don't know where we will be but letters addressed to the Army P.O. will get me.
Your Loving Son,
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Crewe Rugby, England
Otterpool Segregation Camp, England
|Creator||Arthur Melville Munro|