The Missing Pages!

Tonight, while sorting through Memaw Bane's newspaper clippings, photos, and documents, I found the missing pages in Papaw Bane's Autobiography! Yahooooo!

They go in Chapter 5, which is now updated with the new text. Here is what we were missing:

When I found one of our people, I gave him a copy and told him to get busy.

By nightfall, we had them all rounded up. We started rounding up our gear to sail for ports unknown, the rumor was that it would be somewhere in the South Pacific.

Before daylight on January 12, 1942, we all fell out and took our shots. We all with the exception of the CO (he didn't pass the physical) boarded a tug boat that took us across the bay. We came within a short distance from Alcatraz Prison on our way over.

As soon as we landed, a truck picked us up and took us to the docks. It was a cold and damp morning, and I thought I would freeze. It took us until noon to board ship. We stood in line, moving up a little at a time until four thousand men was aboard the SS President Coolidge.

On January the 12th, 1042, we sailed in convoy with the President Taft, Mariposa Catoomba and the US Navy Destroyer PH. We went under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to sea. It was almost dark before we could no longer rest our eyes on the good ole USA.

The President Coolidge was known as the Queen of the Pacific before she was converted into a troop ship. In fact, the war paint was hardly dry when we left San Francisco. Her life as a troopship was very limited. Soon after delivering us safely to Australia (her maiden voyage as a troop carrier), she hit a mine off one of the Pacific Islands, and the Capt. intently grounded her with approximately 4000 men aboard. One man was lost, and he died of a heart attack.

I know know what route we took, but it was not a direct sea lane to Melbourne, Aust. The first land we sighted was the coral reefs off the coast of New Zealand. About six am on January 12th, all hell broke loose. Every body grabbed their life preservers and hit the deck. About a mile ahead of us was a flotilla of destroyers and battleships. We had a powerful 3 inch gun mounted in the bow, and no doubt a brave gun crew. After they figured out which end of the shield went first, they loaded up, and with nerves of iron, they focused their steely eyes on the approaching enemy fleet and prepared to give battle. The ships turned out to be the Australian Navy sent out to welcome us and escort us into the harbor.

We touched bottom on our way in. We had several tugs that has us in tow, and without any farther incidents, we tied up at our berth about dark. The Salvation Army and Lord knows how many people turned out to give us a rousing welcome with plenty of coffee and doughnuts for us underfed GIs.

The next morning we went a little way outside of downtown Melbourne, to an area that was used by the Australian Army at various times. We were issued passes into town, and I fell in love with the Australian people, as well as the country. If we went in a pub, in just a few minutes there would be enough drinks in front of us to make WC Fields drunk.

Melbourne is a beautiful city. I enjoyed sight seeing and the shops. The restaurants served good food, and boy, the waitresses were something else. It didn't take us long to learn not to ask one for a napkin, though. Instead, you ask for a sanitary cloth, otherwise you might get your face slapped. A napkin over there is a personal female item.

I was sent back to the ship, along with others, to check our equipment as it was being unloaded from the holds of the ship, to be reloaded on another boat.