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Volume 6807
Wartime Journals of Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs :: December 1942-April 1943
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again

Written April 1943 ~ Copyright ERB, Inc.
Shared by Danton Burroughs from his Burroughs Family Archive
Transcribed and Illustrated for ERBzine by Bill Hillman

Noumea: December 13 and 14
. . .  soldiers in a huddle. As I approached them to see who was killed, a sergeant spectator saw me and warned, "Lay off!" The men scrambled for something on the ground and stood up, looking very innocent and self-conscious.

Realizing that while some of them might have been badly hurt although not killed, I said, "Go ahead. I am only a correspondent." So they resumed their crap game. The sergeant said that he saw my brassard and though that I was an M.P. I haven't seen so much money outside of a National Bank. Every man had handfuls of five, ten, and twenty dollar bills. Their bets ranged from $20 to $50 a throw.

After I went to bed and was reading under my mosquito bar, Lt. Col. Claude Skaates and Major John J. Gates came in and invited me to a poker party with Scotch. Rather than offend them, I leaped out of bed and dressed. We went to the quarters of Lt. Col. Paul H. Hayward. Major Roy M. Dart completed the party. We played a 25 cent limit game until about 11:30. It takes 2nd lieutenants and enlisted men to throw the big money around. Had a good time. Also was lucky and won. This game originated the Noumea Chowder and Marching Club.

Just before supper the next day (December 14), Lt. Col. Bill Connaly, GHQ SPA, formerly JAGD, stopped in front of my room and invited me up to his, where he opened a bottle of excellent Scotch. Connaly is an old friend of my friend, Gen'l Tom Green. I don't know where people get the idea that I like Scotch. Which reminds me of how I happened to be invited to the poker party the day before. Col. Stead had been censoring my stories and personal letters. When he went to the hospital, Col. Skaates took over. In reading a letter I had written (to "Duke" Willey, I think), he discovered that I liked both poker and Scotch. This is one of the few instances of record in which a censor appeared to advantage.

This is one of the few instances of record in which a censor appeared to advantage.

After Burden left, I had a whole room to myself for a while; but this night Chas. P. Arnot, United Press, was moved in with me. He left for Honolulu the following morning. My next door neighbors included 1st Lt. Clark Ramsey of Hollywood and 1st Lt. Emmett Bergholz of Van Nuys! Capt. Forham, in the same room with them, gave me a bunch of full page coloured comics from the L.A. Times. The first L.A. Times I had seen since April 1940 and the first coloured supplements since last December.

Douglas Gardner, Sydney Morning Herald, was moved in with me. My room was becoming a regular flop house. War is no business for a recluse. My room, at that time, was on the ground floor at the far south end of the hotel. It had a dinky little lanai where I had a table for my portable. About twenty feet in front was the main artery of travel from the north end of the island and beyond that, the railroad track and the harbour. Jeeps, command cars, trucks -- all the terrific, motorized paraphernalia of a modern armed force - thundered and rattled by all day and all night. The street was never cleaned nor sprinkled. Everything in my room was constantly covered with dust which the Javanese room-girl never distributed. Open drains running under my window gave forth a truly French-Colonial aroma.

My bed was a double one with an ornamental iron head seven or eight feet high, from which was draped a few thousand yards of white mosquito netting. It must have been somebody's idea of the sort of bed that Marie Antionette slept in. I had also what the English call a wash hand stand, with pitcher and bowl, slop jar, and pot. A huge wardrobe reared its massive head to the stratosphere. Its door hung by one hinge. Its drawers stuck. It was typically French-Colonial.

Grand Hotel du Pacifique ~

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.




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