Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Troopship S.S.Frankonia

In April 1943 both Tom Canning and myself were (completely un-beknown to each other) on the same boat bound for Algiers.

The internet being what it is, it should have been no surprise to me that there were plenty of photographs available, but I was still surprised to see this lovely ship serving its original purpose as a pre-war cruise liner.

Both Tom and I have written about the voyage out from Greenock, , it was not the most pleasant of trips and I don't remember dining at the Captain's table.


Blogger Tomcann said...

Ron -
I did not dine at the Captain's table either but owing to the motion of the ship - the other 65 Tank men were incapable of eating and so - I limited myself to three men's rations for the voyage toward New York - and even when we turned left at the lights to head south - it waa again three man's rations - then we turned left once more and headed toward Gibralter - the ship was still trying to jump out of the water - then we entered the very flat Mediterranian - and I was sick as a proverbial dog for the two days into Algiers - the sight of that City looked great in the sunshine - but the smell - made me sick once more - then at Cap Matifou - they gave us Bully beef stew - in 90 degree weather ! What a welcome to foreign climes !

Wednesday, 26 April, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

What a strange but shared destiny for the two of you! And then to think that after so many years the road of life would intersect yet again thanks to the "People's War".

A few times when I've talked to Veterans who served on the Transport Ships they've said, in a light-hearted manner, that a lot of the 'landlubber soldiers' were seasick at the slightest sway. On the other hand, they were glad to get rid of all the explosives and gwt back on the return sea journey. Perhaps it depended on what you were used to!

Wednesday, 26 April, 2006  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Ritson -
That was only one point of imtersection as we both - at different times - had our initial Infantry training at Gibralter barracks Bury St Edmonds - spent time at Barnard Castle - at Algiers - Tunis - I missed Sicily - Cassino - Rome - Rieti - Gothic Line and finally Austria.
And finally met for Lunch in London in 2004.
The "seasickness" really hit our group hard as we were 66 of us crammed into a small space way below the water line and when we finally left port - it became very obvious that we had a very thin sheet of steel between us and the three propellors, which invariably tried to leave their shafts when at the top of a wave in Mid Atlantic - sleep at times was a miracle, food as I said - was not a problem for me until we hit the calm of the Med.

The other "funny" thing was that we as Tank men - walked the 10 miles to Cap Matifou whereas the Black Watch Infantry contingent were trucked to their camp just six miles east of Algiers - that didn't help.

Wednesday, 26 April, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

All these shared experiences for the two of you... and of course Peter had time in Italy during the war as well.

Having been brought up in a coastal town, I have found 'sailing the Seven Seas' is something you either take to naturally or you don't, as the case may be. I know a lot who have spent many hours on boats from a young age and nothing seems to bother them.

Possibly, everybody crammed in together, and the excitement of everything happening at the time would not help any of you. It could have been worse: you might have sailed for the Far East, which was an even longer journey.

They were some experiences all you fellows have had, even before fighting a war!

Sunday, 30 April, 2006  

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