So I was off to Seaschool at Grave’s End in London, right on the River Thames. While I was there I had an attack of appendicitis. The appendix was gangrenous so I remained in the hospital for a couple of weeks. I was well taken care of particularly by one of the young nurses, Nurse Fenton. I returned to Seaschool and finished my training, then returned to Liverpool where I would be assigned to a ship.
My seaman’s log indicates I first set sail on the St Tudno, on March 4, 1946, as Stwd. Boy, Training, with “Very Good” rating for ability and for conduct.
In August, ’48 I requested discharge because of my mother’s health issues. The log notes “Cessation of Sea Service “at own request” August in ’48.
However, upon being home a few weeks, I was called up by the Army and had a physical. They sent me my railroad ticket, subsistence for a meal, and the assignment to the military camp to which I was to report – Oswestry, North Wales. In the meantime my buddies advised me to go back to sea to avoid the big boots, marching, and a rifle. So I decided to see if I could go back in the Merchant Navy.
After a lot of diplomacy and tact, I managed to persuade them to let me go back to sea. I had had all “Very Good” ratings on my former assignments so that probably helped. I only had a few weeks before I was supposed to leave for Oswestry. After being denied a ship for many days, I finally persuaded them to put me on whatever ship was available. It was the worse ship I ever sailed on! An old coal burning cargo vessel bound for So. Africa. I sailed on that ship within a few days. My brother, Tommy, sent my papers back saying I had already gone to sea! I heard no more about it. Goodie, Goodie! 😀
That was November, 1948. I continued at sea until March, 1951. It was a Godsend that I returned to sea since the pay was excellent (many times more than the army would have paid me). I was sending an allotment to my mom and siblings since my dad had emigrated to the United States. While I was still at sea my mother and young siblings joined my dad in America. Since they no longer lived in Liverpool, I spent my leave time with Aunt Ann.
I made application for a Visa to USA. On leave I took some tests, with x-rays, blood tests and proof that I had no disease. It cost me quite a bit. I had to have a sponsor who would be responsible for me, so I would not be a burden to USA. It took about a year from making application to finally being accepted.
After spending my money on a passenger ship ticket, I had about a five pounds (approx fifteen dollars). I was finally on my way to join the rest of my family in the good old United States. I had had several voyages to the United States while in the Merchant Navy so I knew it was a place I wanted to become my home!
My sister, May, was the first to become a US citizen because she married an American GI. The rest of the family, including me, had to have five years residency before being able to become a citizen, which we all did quite happily!