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PAGE NINETEENTook a cab to another part of town and bought what I wanted without any priority release. Then I walked a couple of miles back to the hotel. It is usually much quicker to walk than wait for a cab to pay attention to your frantic signaling.
January 6 and 7
Bob Ferguson and some fourteen other pilots wanted me to come to their party at Ciro's, but I begged off and went to bed early.
The next morning, I went to the bank and drew a lot of paper money. Then to the office of Lt. Col. Julian A. S. Meyer of Richmond, Va., where I purchased $3475.00 worth of US War Bonds for ERB Inc. Meyer was a Tarzan fan and very cordial. He promised to bring me a bottle of Canadian Club, and I promised to send him an autographed Tarzan book for a young relative of his. Both promises have been kept.
After lunching with Ham, I went to Col. Duprez office to see about getting transportation to Brisbane on my way to New Guinea. He directed me to a Mr. Wright. From him I learned that I couldn't carry more than 44 lbs of luggage on an Australian plane. Then I went to the Navy. No help there. I was mad and discouraged when I saw Ham and he said that he was flying back to Tontouta the following morning with Lt. W.J. Schramm of Winner, So. Dak.; so I decided to try to go back with him. Schramm, who was stopping at the Australia, was out when I want to see him; so I left a note, asking if he would take me.
Ham, Terry, and I went to Kodak to look at some motion pictures of Rickenbacker -- all hush-hush stuff at that time (for God only knows what reason). Kodak had no projection room. The projector sat on a counter in Broad daylight and shot up at a tiny screen near the ceiling. We had to stand all the time. We could certainly show the Australians a lot of improved ways of doing many things. Saw Hulbert's friend, Shelton, in some of the scenes with Rickenbacker.
When I got back to the hotel I found a note from Schramm saying he would take me and that his plane left at 6:30 the following morning. In the lobby, I met a lot of fellows, and we went up to the lounge and joined Ham and Terry. Ham asked me to Romano's for dinner with him and Terry, but I declined, and ate alone at Usher's. While I was at dinner, Col. Meyer came with a bottle of Canadian Club. After dinner I ran into Harold Guard, UP, Lt. Edgar V. Markley (B-26), and Barry Young of the Sydney Daily Mirror. They told me they knew a B-17 pilot leaving for Brisbane the following morning who would take me and all my gear. I felt that it was now too late to change my plans. I also felt that, as they were all rather high, I couldn't put any too much faith in what they said.
Capt. John B. MacQuiddy, AGD, of Bakersfield, California, asked me to come up to his room. I did so, and he gave me a bottle of Johnny Walker for no good reason except that he had loved the Tarzan stories as a boy. I now had two bottles of Johnny Walker and one of Canadian Club, which was amusing in the light of what Ham and I had planned to do. I had promised The Noumea Chowder and Marching Club that I would bring back plenty. Ham and I were each going to buy at least a case. I was lucky in being able to buy even a bottle, and luckier still to have had two given me. There was plenty available by the drink, but it couldn't be bought by the bottle anywhere except at the Officers' Club -- one quart every ten days, I think. On the 15th I could have bought another. In Noumea there was none. A hell of a war!
I paid my hotel bill, packed, and left a call for 4:30!!!
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