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New Caledonia: January 10 and 11
. . . a couple of hundred miles farther, which wouldn't get it much of anywhere. And if I had to walk for eight and a half months! I'm all worn out just thinking about it.
We landed at Tontouta at 4:00 P.M., and got a ride to Noumea in an Army truck -- seats along either side, facing each other, the seats being wooden planks. No top on the truck. It was an hour of damned hard riding, during which it rained intermittently.
My friends at the Grand Hotel du Pacifique seemed glad to see me, and I was glad to see them. Hal Thompson was still there. Odd, but it seemed like coming home. That is not so strange, either; as the Grand Hotel du Pacifique is as near to a home as I have, anyway.
Last November, the Navy ordered me out of my office in Honolulu -- just like that! It is the lovely way the Navy has of making friends and influencing people. They said that if I refused to move, they would put me out. As I recall it, they gave me about a week to vacate. Notwithstanding the fact that my rent was paid up to the first of the following month. To say that I was sore as hell, doesn't half express it. Anyhow, I am still occupying the office.
The foregoing is merely by way of leading up to what happened immediately after supper that evening just as another proof of how small the world is. Some one introduced me to half a dozen Navy officers. They were all drunk as lords, including the commander among them. When they got my name, they fell on my neck as though I were a long lost brother. It seems that they were among the bunch for whom I had been ordered to give up my office. They congratulated me for not giving it up.
Eddie, the Mess Steward, put a cot in Room 12 on the second floor for me. There were two beds in the room in addition to my cot. Capt. Raymond Flovor, 164th Inf., of Fargo, No. Dak., was one of my roommates. The other, whose name I cannot recall, was a major in the Medical Corps, and had formerly practiced dentistry in Hollywood with an office at the corner of Vine Street and Hollywood Boulevard. Sorry I can't recall his name, as we became very well acquainted and when I was leaving he gave me a suit o pajamas. Hulbert had rationed me to one suit, and I couldn't buy any in Noumea.
The next day (January 11) I went to Base Motor Pool immediately after breakfast, and thanks to Major Harold Brown QMC of Everett, Mass., and Capt. G.A. Fallington of New Port Richey, Fla., I was issued another jeep; but I had to wait while they rebuilt it. It had a crooked windshield and not rear sigh mirror; and, of course, none of the instruments worked. But I was very fortunate to get any transportation. There were a lot of colonels who couldn't get jeeps. This will make Hulbert furious, but I wasn't mad.
After dinner I drove out to Dumbea Valley to a Pack artillery outfit and introduced myself to Lt. Thomas P. Montgomery of Opelika, Ala., who took me to meet Major James Taylor, Jr., of La Junta, Colo., who commanded the outfit , the 97th F.A.Bn. I talked with a number of his men, and he invited me to come out again on Wednesday and go out with one of his batteries. He wanted me to come in time for breakfast.
After supper, the Noumea Chowder and Marching Club held a meeting in Col. Hayward's quarters. There were six of us. They are a nice bunch, but they play silly poker -- Base Ball, Spit in the Ocean, wild cards, and a lot of strange forms of poker the names of which I can't recall. We had a pleasant evening but not a particularly prosperous one for me I came out about even.
Rare Edgar Rice Burroughs WWII Photos
Col. David Taylor shares eight photos of ERB as a WWII correspondent
from the National Archives in Washington, DC.
OFF SITE REFERENCES
Just 1,500 km off the Eastern coast of Australia lies the 3rd largest island in the Pacific Ocean
after Papua New Guinea and New Zealand: New Caledonia.
In World War II, New Caledonia became an Allied Base, welcoming over 50,000 American troops fighting in the Pacific.
During the tactical offensive of the U.S. forces throughout 1943, New Caledonia
emained a steppingstone in the supply line to the forces fighting up the Solomon-New Guinea ladder.
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