Andy Anderson - En route to the war

Running time
2 min 37 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I was there for about six months and then eventually was sent over to the UK. The trip over was perfection. I mean, we were given a cabin and all sorts of lovely service. The American troops were coming over and the troop ships going back across the Pacific weren't full. So we had a first class cabin, and people to look after us, and music on the upper deck and wonderful [war meetings 00:06:46]. It was really, across the Pacific, it was great. And then in the United States we were treated like royalty. I think because the Americans must have written home and said what a wonderful country Australia was that the Americans wanted to reciprocate in some way. And there were so few of us that you couldn't walk into a bar and put your hand in your pocket. There was just no way. They were so hospitable. It was very good.

So we spent a considerable time in the United States because some of our draft got scarlet fever and that quarantined the whole assembly. The whole unit was quarantined. And of course we were trapped in this American camp until finally the CO decided it'd be a good idea if people were tested to see if they had it and if they didn't then they should be shifted somewhere else. And that's what happened. So that meant that we spent a lot of time being entertained by Bostonians. It was really fantastic.

Then we were shipped off down to New York where we put on a troopship. The Mauritania. And we went across the Atlantic as a loan ship. Those large ships like the Queen Mary, and Mauritania, and Aquitania sailed alone because they were fast and they could usually outdistance U-boats. And they were single, whereas in a convoy the speed was only about eight or 9 knots and there were much bigger and better targets for the U-boats.

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