We last left Ernest Boyer and the crew of the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean heading to Europe. After two weeks at sea, land is finally spotted – the countryside of England. Read Ernie’s next five entries as he describes entering the English Channel and continuing on through the North Sea before reaching his ultimate destination, Poland:
Sunday, June 23, 1946 –
Today was the day! We had entered the English Channel about midnight last night. Although it was foggy earlier it lifted about 9:45 A.M. and we got the first sight of land. It was a point on the English coast called Lizards Point. It was very pretty and we could see farms and pasture land. Had our Sunday Services on deck after dinner. We were also given a short talk on what to do and what not to do in a foreign part. Almost rammed another boat this evening. Wrote home and to Kay because we were to stop for a pilot at Dover who would take us through the channel.
Monday, June 24, 1946 –
Cool cloudy today. It rained this afternoon. We saw the coast of England again today and around ten o’clock we saw the white cliffs of Dover. It was almost hard to believe I was viewing a spot I had heard so much about. They were very impressive as seen through the mist and fog of morning. About 10:30 we dropped anchor at Dover. At this point our pilot got off and took our letters ashore. Since we were anchored we had a good view of land. We entered the North Sea late this afternoon. Some of the fellows are getting sick again. The percer says it is probably due to the change of climate. I have been getting along O.K. though.
Tuesday, June 25, 1946 –
Two cows died today. It will probably not prove of interest later on but it is important news on ship. We took on a German Pilot to guide us through North Sea since this area is heavily mined. We saw many sunken ships which was proof of the fact. Around seven o’clock we could see the German coast and around nine o’clock we entered the Elbe River. After going down the Elbe for about three hours we came to the entrance of the Kiel Kanal. There we were so near land we could almost touch it. Men flocked around the boat trying to trade all sorts of things for cigarettes. I stayed up until about one but finally retired knowing I had to get up at six.
Wednesday, June 26, 1946 –
It is a clear warm day. This proved one of the most interesting days of the trip. We spent nearly all morning going through the Kiel. We past the very beautiful part of German countryside. Children ran down to the waters edge and we threw them oranges and apples. Leaving the Kanal we entered the Kiel Bay at the City of Kiel Germany. We entered the Baltic Sea this afternoon. Mr. Templeton, one of our foreman has become very ill. Our destination is not far off.
Thursday, June 27, 1946 –
Cloudy this morning. It rained about dinnertime. We saw land about suppertime and at 8:00 P.M. we entered the Harbor of Newport, Poland. A tug took us in and docked. Polish officers entered the boat with Tommy-guns strapped to their backs. It seemed like about every officer or soldier carried a rifle or something. They had a hard time finding the stowaway. We stayed up late mainly because our bunkroom was filled with Poles trying to trade off cameras, binoculars etc. for cigarettes. We finally got to bed.
Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).