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Don Bennett's War

Chapter 37 - Hospital Ship


Life around the hospital ship was really nice. The bunks were much more roomy and there was no overcrowding as in the troop ships. We had books to read, handcrafts to do, and deck chairs to sit in the days and evenings. The food was good and what pleased me most from this angle was that the mess officer was always around to help us guys with only one usable arm with our meet cutting.

We left Marseille and went by the island of Corsica and down the shore of Spain, and by the Rock of Gibraltar.
Ed Note: This would be impossible since Corsica is not visible from the shipping lanes to Marseilles. It probably was the Island of Mallorca of the Balearic Islands. (Spain)
When they said we were getting close to Gibraltar, I went up to the bow of the ship and watched for it through the clouds. I finally got a glimpse of it, and slowly more of it came into view, and within a couple hours we were close to the east side of it. The rock really looked impregnable from this side. By mid-afternoon, we had moved just past it, and could see the west side of it and the dock and fort. We saw a submarine heading out toward Italy and a few English planes out on patrol. By evening Gibraltar was slowly disappearing behind Spain's coastal hills and as we moved out in the Atlantic Ocean, we could see a Spanish town sparkling in the sun on our right, and on our left, the coast of Morocco with a few houses visible on the brushy hilly coastline. As he sun was setting, a U.S. PBY came, made a few low passes near our ship, waggled its wings to tell us goodbye, and went back toward the coast.

While in the Mediterranean and while out on the ocean a few days, enjoyed going to the bow of the ship and watching the porpoises playing near the prow of the ship.

Since there were so many seriously wounded aboard, we took the southern route across the ocean, so we would miss the storms and get plenty of sunshine. We came close to Bermuda but not close enough to see it. I enjoyed the sunny days sitting in a deck chair, reading a book, and when evening came, would never get tired of watching how fast the sun would disappear into the ocean and looking at the pretty colors in the sky afterwards. The nights were cool and beautiful with the stars very close and a big moon and the phosphorous in the ocean very bright.

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