April 27, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“One more ship joined us today. Life boat drill.
Am not sick. I wonder what Elinore is doing tonight.
Meals are very poor.”
From War in Words by Daniel W. Phillips:
For the first few days out we were escorted by American destroyers and battle ships. Then we were left alone with but one large cruiser ahead of us to clear our path. We were not helpless by any means, for every steamship of our group was equipped with anti-submarine cannon. These guns were manned by trained marines. Two cannons were usually located at the ship’s stern and could be rotated in any direction. In the event we should suddenly encounter a German submarine, all of these ships together could concentrate at least twenty-eight cannon to give a sub a most hostile reception. Fortunately, no subs bothered us while we were depending on our own defense.
The first few days passed rather quickly. The weather being fair and the water not very rough, very few showed any signs of sea sickness. During daytime as many men as possible crowded the decks. When night came, all had to go below. No smoking was allowed on deck after dark. All port holes were sealed at night for fear a sub would spot us by our light. If you were to peek out at us in the night all you would have seen was fourteen shadowy colored steamships, gliding along, ghostlike, over the waves.
Every day we had boat drill. This was to teach us what to do and which life boats to use in the event our steamship should be torpedoed or strike a floating mine. At all times we were ordered to have or wear our cork life preservers. This belt was made of blocks of cork, two by four by eight inches, which were covered with canvas to form a belt extending all around the body, from the hips up to the arm pits. When we were below deck we took these belts off and threw them into our bunks for head rests. I always covered my life belt with a coat or blanket to make it more comfortable for my head and shoulders. Those hard pillows and box bunks with light pads for ticks were not so bad after all.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.