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The Deployment Story of Walter David Adlam (United States Army veteran, Second World War)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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Date of Arrival: 
August 5 1945
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I arrived at Y Depot, Halifax, on 6 September 1943, on an overseas posting. On the 29th, I was part of a group posted to US Army Camp Myles Standish at Taunton, Massachusetts (near Boston) and on 12 October we travelled by train to New York where we boarded the Queen Elizabeth at 16h00. She was docked at Manhattan on the Hudson River. Five weeks had elapsed since I had arrived in Halifax. On board the Queen Elizabeth was an entire Division of the US Army, comprising I understand about 14,000 personnel, and this might have explained our sailing from New York rather than Halifax. We never knew. There was a lifeboat drill at 03h00 the following morning, and we sailed at 06h00. Two hours later we had cleared the harbour approaches and sailed on a course of approximately 170 degrees all day in clear, warm weather escorted at various times by Kingfisher, Grumman Goose, Martin Mariner aircraft, and USN blimps. On the 14th we continued on a similar course, without escort, proceeding on a zig-zag fashion with a minor course variation every four or five (?) minutes to avoid U-Boat attack.

The US Gis were assigned three to a hammock, which each man could occupy for eight hours a day. A noticeable consequence was 24-hour poker and dice sessions in which considerable amounts of money changed hands. I was an Officer and shared a cabin with nine others, sleeping in the traditional army double bunk beds.

By the 15th we were through the Gulf Stream and cooler temperatures prevailed. There was an anti-aircraft practice at 10h30 using the 4.5 inch guns, which fired at smoke pots. At 17h30 we sighted a B24 Liberator. The sea was getting rougher, and this condition prevailed into the next day when we sighted three Avengers from a nearby USN carrier. On the 17th, the sea was calmer and we sighted a PBY Catalina. On the 18th we sighted Ireland and were escorted by a variety of aircraft and naval craft. My buddy was from Limerick and he was on the starboard deck as long as his homeland was in sight. We dropped anchor in the River Clyde at Gourock about 19h00. Debarkation began the following morning and our turn came about 14h00. Our train left for Bournemoth soon after, passing through London about tea-time.

Return Voyage

I arrived in Glasgow about 09h00 on 28 July 1945 in an advance party and boarded the Ile de France at Gourock about noon. Embarkation proceeded all day on the 29th our own main draft and large numbers of Army personnel, CWACS, WRENS, and nurses. This continued on the 30th and at approximately 14h00 General Crerar and his party came aboard. We sailed at 16h58. On the 31st the weather was very foggy in the morning, and in the afternoon we sighted a cruiser and two merchantmen. The next three days were uneventful, with variable weather and sea conditions. On August 4 we were on a course of about 315 degrees all day, and on the 5th were treated to a wake-up call at 05h00 and escorted into Halifax by HMCS Algonquin. As we came alongside Pier 21, which was draped with flags and bunting, an orchestra was playing Sentimental Journey and we were given a rousing reception. Our train was on a siding adjacent to the Pier 21 and we left at 15h00 receptions followed in Truro and Moncton. At breakfast we were passing through Maine, followed by an hour stopover in Megantic for lunch, and arrived in Lachine about 20h00. On the 8th I missed the special troop train, having been delayed with farewells in Montreal, and caught the 15h00 train for Toronto at Windsor Station.