Our cruise on the John W. Brown, one of only two existing Liberty Ships!
The John W Brown is configured as a cargo ship unlike the one I sailed on across the Pacific oh so many years which was configured as a troop ship. Me and probably another 2,000 Marines. That was a very unpleasant sail!
The day started out rainy and we wondered about this whole affair. But, there were places inside where we could escape if the weather was too bad. Well, the rain stopped as we arrived at the dock so we started the boarding process and climbed up the boarding ladder. Once on board we started to tour the ship with the engine room first. This is a steam powered ship and the engine room was hot! Even on a chilly day we could not wait to escape to the outside. We found out that General Omar Bradley and staff were onboard. A pin-up girl on a ship? Sadly this is a tradition lost, today this is not allowed.
Finally our tugboat arrived and we started to the process of leaving the dock with Pat watching everything from a 3-inch gun mount. As we were pulling out of the Patapsco River we looked back at Baltimore. Looks kind of idyllic in that light doesn't it?
There was a good crowd on board, someplace around 400 persons with most on deck as we sailed under the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Out in the Bay, lunch was served in one of the five cargo holds. Then after a little while......
The air attack by the Japanese begins but first a fly-by by an American plane. After the American leaves, the Japanese arrive and make several passes by the ship. Just when we thought the air show was over, there was a tremendous roar from someplace around the rear of the ship. Suddenly a B25 Liberator bomber was overhead. It made several passes all directly overhead and very low and noisy. The wind was blowing someplace around 20 and we were heading into the wind at about 10 knots which made around 30 knots over the deck - windy. Sooo
We went down below into one of the cargo bays to watch the entertainment. First up was Abbott and Costello, they were good but I always liked them. They were followed by the Manhattan Girls, a trio specializing in songs of the 30's and 40's, especially the Andrews Sisters. Remember them? At the end of their performance two sailors joined in. Those of you with sharp eyes may notice that they are German sailors. Well we are now in 1945 and the war is just over.
Finally back at the dock and the all-to-soon end of a fine day!
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