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PAGE FIFTEENHam got the use of an Army car and we started out about 2 o'clock. The driver was a very pretty, uniformed Australian girl. We first drove to a hospital to see Lt. Bob Ferguson, 67th Fighter Squadron. He is from Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. Ferguson was out; but Ham found another friend, Capt. Peter Childress of Los Angeles, also of the 67th. Childress was under observation -- a cot with a mosquito bar. That was t prevent others from contracting the disease should h be bitten by a mosquito.
Australia: December 29 and 30
Childress had been shot down during a storm and had had to bail out. That was over Timor. After three days, a Lockheed chanced to locate him, and took him off. The next day the Japs came. Two weeks later, on Guadalcanal, a Jap bomb struck about five feet from a dugout in which he and seven other men had taken refuge. They were all blown out, but no one was injured.
Ham and I drove around the city until about four, and then went back to the hotel for "tea". That was when Ham discovered the good-looking American nurses: 1st Lt. Mary F. Parker of Parkersburg, W. Va., 2nd Lt. Rose Koma of Indianapolis, and 1st Lt. Mildred Chapman. J.S.R. Young, Manager of Usher's joined us and sent for his wife and daughter an d niece. Then Capt. A.W.Jeff Beeman, QMC , of Seattle joined the party. It was now quite a party.
The girls decided that it would be nice to go to Beeman's apartment and cook steaks -- if we could get the steaks. Young could. He sent to the kitchen for six or eight filets, and we drove to Beeman's apartment -- just we six Americans -- and the girls, with our help, cooked dinner. Salad, steaks, French fried potatoes. Afterward, I washed the dishes and Ham dried them. Then we drove the girls back to their hospital. All three of them were lovely girls. Beeman's apartment was on the edge of a cliff overlooking the harbour -- a beautiful view.
The next morning, (December 30) Barry Young came to interview me for The Sydney Daily Mirror. He brought a photographer. He was followed by John Quinn and photographer of the Sydney Sun. Then came Stanley Murdoch of Cinesound Review, a weekly newsreel service. He drove me to their studio where they shot Murdoch interviewing me -- with sound -- for their news reel release, Ken Hall directing. It was interesting, but I am glad that I did not have to see the result.
Took Ham to War Correspondent's table at Romano's for lunch. There were seven of us. After lunch, as we played the match game to see who would pay for the seven lunches. It is the daily custom. I out guessed them on the first round. Sydney Albright, NBC, Sydney, lost. Among those present were Edward C. Widdis, Associated Press, Los Angeles; Robert C. Russell, 1st Lt., QMC; and Hugh Dash, Sydney Daily Telegraph. Russell is from Champaign, Ills. I mention towns, because I found it interesting to note the nationwide coverage of my growing acquaintanceship. Wherever I roam in the future, I should be able to borrow money or bum a handout.
About 4:30 that afternoon a photographer from another paper came up to my room and shot me. I think it was the Herald. It had been a publicity hound's field day. It is remarkable how much publicity a man can get if he doesn't go after it. Knowing with what horror Hulbert looks upon all forms of personal publicity, I feel like apologizing for getting any. But, still having something to sell, I take all that is handed to me. I have never deliberately gone after any.
Went up to Ham's room to meet Lt. Bob Ferguson, a very handsome kid. On our way to cocktail lounge, Bill Moor of the Sydney Daily Telegram waylaid me for an interview; so I took him along with us. He remained for . . .
67th Fighter Squadron
The Fighting Cocks
113 Australian General Hospital 1942
2000 bed Yaralla Australian Army Hospital
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