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The long voyage of the ship Pasteur

Hal Stoen, July 2001

Entire contents ©Hal Stoen, Stoenworks


revised 15 February, 2014: Input from Pieter Kuiper added, memories of Walter S. Newman added.

Content of this page is available as an eBook: For the Kindle link, click here.

The Pasteur as a troop transport in Indo-China. Painting by Jocelyn Gille. (published by Art et Collection Affiches)

The Pasteur was a ship with a grand history of sailing the world's oceans for forty-one years. Designed as a luxury liner with greyhound speed for the long ocean haul from France to South America (13), she was delayed in serving in her civilian passenger-carrying destiny for twenty years. On her maden voyage the Pasteur helped save the gold reserves of France, just before the Germans invaded her homeland in World War 2, by making a high-speed run across the Atlantic, delivering a little over 213 tons of gold bullion from The Bank of France to Canada for safe keeping.(13, 15)

Captured in Canada by the Allies, the Pasteur was converted to a troopship, and carried thousands of Allied troops to Europe and Africa during World War 2. On her return trips, she became a prisoner of war transport, carrying German and Italian POW's to internment camps in Africa, the United States and Canada. After World War 2 ended, she continued her duties as a troopship, carrying thousands of French troops during the Indo-China War (1946-1956).(13) She was awarderd France's highest honor, The "Croix de guerre", in October 1947, for her service.(13)

The Pasteur was sold to the nation that she formerly carried troops to fight against (Germany), and finally, after twenty years of service as a troopship, became the luxury liner that she was designed to be. For the next twelve years, sailing under her new name "Bremen", she made scheduled North Atlantic crossings, offering her passengers luxury accommodations in those days before the jet-powered airliners took over the passenger business between Europe and North America.

She went on to serve as a cruise ship, almost became a floating hotel, and ended her history as a barracks ship.

During her life at sea she flew the flags of six nations: France, The United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines.

She also sailed under a variety of names: "Pasteur", "Bremen", "Regina Magna", "Saudiphil I", and "Filipinas Saudia I"

Forty-one years after she was launched, after carrying tens of thousands of passengers safely to their destinations, the Pasteur finally sank at sea.

Too proud to go to the breakers.

Do you have any information on the Pasteur? If you do, and wish to share it, please contact me and it will be published, with your permission, on this site. Thank you.

Can you help this lady?

"My name is Reverend Liz Wold and I am trying to find information about my father's service in WWII. His name was Major Gabriel P Seley with the Third General Hospital which traveled from Halaron General Hospital in Staten Island by I believe the SS Pasteur to North Africa.  I am trying to get proof that he was overseas so that I might join the VFW Auxiliary. His DD 214 was destroyed in an archival fire and I do have a certificate of his military service but these folks insist on something that says he was over there. The Third General Hospital went from North Africa into Italy and the southern France-Aix en Province for certain. He would have left the States in 1043 or 1944 I believe and redeployed in September of 1945-he was discharged in December of 1945.
Thank you for any help."


Her email address is: lizdcw@earthlink.net

"Question and Answer Board"

This site is primarily devoted exclusivly to the Pasteur. However, people that have direct experience with the ship, and the era, are leaving us at an alarming rate- such is the cycle of life. While it is not the intent that this site be a "clearing board" for other matters, I feel that it is only fair to be a little broader in base for some issues.

1. My father John "Dixie" Dean served in the 1st Battalion Beds & Herts Regiment. He and 83 others volunteered to serve as gunners on DEMS. On 6 May 1941,  a convoy left Alexandria and reached Malta 3 days later, under escort of half the mediterranean fleet. The men were billetted with the Cheshire Regiment until 23 July when it was considered safe to send the convoy to Gibraltar. The men were then taken to Scotland on "Pasteur" along with civilian families.
 
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who took part, or has any information on this convoy, in particular on the Settler. The other ships were Amerika, Talabot, Thermoylae, Calcutta, Dido and Phoebe. 
 
Kind regards, Brenda Dean

(email address for Miss Brenda: brendadean@zonnet.nl)

2. The French gentleman that is researching the Pasteur's history for an upcoming book on the ship is looking for any and all input that you may have on the Pasteur. If you will please send me whatever you may remember I will make certain that he receives it along with appropriate credit. Of particular interest right now is the time frame "early 1942" when the Pasteur was part of a large convoy sailing from Great Britian during January, 1942. The Pasteur was scheduled to go to Singapore via Freetown and Durban. However, after sailing Singapore fell to the Japanese. The "mystery" is where did this convoy then go? She was loaded with troops and supplies that went somewhere. Do you know? Do you have any dates?

An answer for item 2. See the entry for "Duke" Waddell under the heading "Personal memories of the Pasteur" below.

3. Shirar Wendy writes: "I am the daughter of one of the survivors of the SS West Lashaway that Mr. Sam Beverage mentioned in his excerpt. My mother was one of the young children aboard the Lashaway when it went down and was obviously one of the survivors rescued by the HMS Vimy. "

"My mother who was Carol Shaw, age 7, at the time, has a beautiful picture of a young sailor aboard the HMS Vimy who is carrying her in his arms. His name was Raymond Venables." Does anyone have any more information on this incident? Is Raymond Venables around some place and able to furnish some insight?

An answer for item "3" above: I was looking through the Pasteur Saga again to see if anything new was added and I came upon my name mentioned in connection with the West Lashaway sinking. Someone by name of Shirar Wendy speaking of her mother Carol Shaw a survivor who lost her parents and a sister.She mentioned a photograph of her mother being carried by British Raymond Venables of the Destroyer HMS Vimy. I wonder if she has the book, written by another survivor, of the SS West Lashaway, Robert W. Bell and assisted by D. Bruce Lockerbie? The name is "In Peril On The Sea", Doubleday & Company, Inc, Garden City, New York 1984. The book mentions Carol's parents and Carol's struggle as an orphan etc. I had some correspondence with him in 1985 at which time he was at Stony Brook, LI, NY, as a School Administrator. I do not know if he is still there or not? Contributed by Sam Beverage

Another answer for item "3" above: On 1/24/2004 Robert Logan contributed the following:

Following up on the above reference to the SS West Lashaway I found the following additional information at web site http://warships.web4u.cz/history/histmain.php?language=E&file=USN_1942_9E September 18, Fri. Atlantic:

"British destroyer HMS Vimy is detached from convoy to investigate raft containing survivors from U.S. freighter West Lashaway (sunk by German submarine U-66 on 30 August 1942).

Jane (Wile) Levy writes "I have been reading the fascinating stories about the ship Pasteur.  Places such as Port Said, Suez Canal, South Africa, & Egypt have all been mentioned by my father as places he was in WW11 while a wireless operator aboard a merchant vessel out of New York.  He passed away in Sept.  Although a Canadian he was on the US merchant vessel Gloria or Old Gloria.  Does anyone you are in contact with possibly have info on this ship?"
 
If you can be of any help, please contact her at clay.jane@ns.sympatico.ca

Vimy, believing the hoisted sail to be part of the disguise of a U-boat, opens fire on the raft. Her gunnery, however, is fortunately bad, and the survivors (who hurriedly strike the sail) are rescued.

"Living history" moment: In March of 2005 I received an email from Mary Bell Whitbeck. " ....you have a picture of our raft  & Carol Shaw on board the Vimy.  My Mother was that missionary lady---and I was one of those four children on that raft---my name was Mary Bell,  now Whitbeck....I know Carol & her daughter Wendy as well as Richard Shaw as we keep in touch these days..."

And in a follow up email from Mrs. Whitbeck: ".....this is what I know of those pictures.  It was a long time before we even knew there was an actual picture of our raft, something we never dreamed of.
 
In about '44 or '45 Mother was in Boston & told our story there.  Apparently there was a notice in the paper about her  & a brief account  because a man went to hear her/see her.  He happened to be a friend of the Vimy photographer  & whenever the Vimy was in port there they would visit as they could.  He had done this & on one visit gave the Boston friend a copy of the raft picture telling him what he knew of the incident.  When the Boston man read about Mother  he thought the two stories were actually the same event so sought her out.  After she was finished speaking he approached her with the picture saying he thought it was of us before rescue.  Mother was stunned--could hardly believe it.  But the man put her in touch with the British photographer & through correspondence it was verified that it was indeed taken on 9/18/42  just before we were picked up.  So it was in direct contact with the photographer through that Boston man we came to have both those pictures from the Vimy.  I don't think I know now the name of the photographer.  But after reading about Robert Logan I wonder if it weren't his father.  That is Mother & I standing at the back corner of the raft---it is still mind boggling to me there were 17 people on that tiny raft.
 
The raft picture was taken about 10 AM  & the one of Carol being carried about 3 PM  when we were conveyed by hand from the Vimy deck to the Dutch ship which took us into Barbados while the convey continued on its way to the Mediterranean.  In those heaving seas,  that spooks me now---a life boat was even smashed in the attempt--but we all got over safely.
 
That man carrying Carol put that picture in a Chicago paper about 12 years afterward wondering if anyone would recognize Carol  and someone did  & he then phoned her transatlantic---which was a big deal in those days---that was all written up in the papers.
 
I consider the Vimy to be a gallant ship.  It took part in two memorable WW II events,  Dunkirk evacuation & DDay invasion.  I count it such a privilege to have been on board those few hours myself.  They were a wonderful crew to us in kindness..."

This group includes among them the woman missionary and four children (see 24 September 1942). "

Mr. Logan adds: "These references reminded me of two photographs, from my fathers time in the Royal Navy, now in my "family album" ... I have no details for these photographs, but I was wondering if it would be possible for this e-mail and the photographs to be forwarded to Shirar Wendy to see if either of them relate to the references above."

4. Helen James, on 3 October, 2008 writes: I am writing this post on behalf of my father Raymond Venables who is not into computers or blogging. My son Tom googled Raymond's name and found this website and I was able to print off the whole lot and send it to him which delighted him. This is what he writes:


On page 2 of 103 paragraph 3 of the Saga of the Ship Pasteur Shirar Wendy writes" My mother who was Carol Shaw age 7 at the time has a beautiful picture of a young sailor aboard HMS Vimy who is carrying her in his arms". Then comes the question "is Raymond Venables around some place?" I am happy to report that he is sitting by a log fire in a small town in South East England by his wife of 65 years sitting opposite. I have not forgotten Carol. Any female in a warship with a war on and no land in sight is sensational. A little girl of 7 off a raft beset by sharks after nearly 3 weeks with tough seamen of different races and nationalities-that is not something you forget. She was so calm. Perhaps she clung to me a little tightly but her first words as I remember them were " I'm glad you picked us up. It's my birthday Sunday". When we talked of this 12 years later on the telephonre she was puzzled. It was not her birthday. But I found on reading " Peril on the Sea" that it was May Bell's birthday. So perhaps Carol or I got a little confused. The only time she nearly cried was when we were transferring her to another ship. " They're not navy boys" she said. I remember Carol's brother Richard. After three weeks on the raft he still intended to join the US navy and I am delighted to learn that he did.


I admired the courage and leadership of the bosun. He asked me( I was the navigating officer) to show him where we were on the chart-not far from Tobago. He had sailed the raft 500 miles and might have reached land even if he had not picked us up. He does not get a good press in Peril on the Sea. The message there is that they were saved by prayer and the bosun was anything but religious. But why wouldn't the Almighty make use of a mildly blaspheming bosun?


I hope Shirar Wendy will give my love to her mother.

5. Melissa Johnson writes:

"I am doing a genealogy on my great grandfather that was in the army or marines back then around 1945 in Marseille France where he fell overboard and was never found........ I was actually
wondering if (anyone) may have any knowledge of what ship that might have been or any information in France at the time period. His name was Robert Lee Gooding born in 1893 in Richmond VA. If you could help in any way i would greatly appreciate it." Thanks,Melissa Johnson (Miss Johnson's email address is: mjohnson@modelelectronics.com)

6. Al Armenti writes:

I am a WW II vet who served in the ETO from June 44-46 as a medical technician. I was a replacement at Camp Shanks, Orangeburg, NY and sailed to Liverpool on or about June 19, 1944. The troopship table on the internet (http://ww2troopships.com/crossings/1944.htm) lists the Pasteur as the troop ship I might have been on. I am trying to write my memoirs and would like to get confirmation. My army records were destroyed in the army archive repository.

Here is what I know for certain.

1. We left from NY city.
2. The ship's crew was English.
3. We soldiers were packed like sardines in stacked bunks below decks.
4. We were surrounded by destroyer and patrol boats in every direction as far as we could see.
5. One of the entertainers was Buddy Baer - brother of Max Baer. Baer and other' put on a exhibition sparring bout for the troops. I believe he was an enlisted man like the rest of us and not on board to entertain. Other members of the troop entertained as well.

You email Mr. Armenti at: al.armenti@verizon.net

French Foreign Legionaries jump ship (Contributed by William McAlister)

In 1955 I was a deck apprentice on Ellerman Hall Line's 'City of Madras' sailing between India and the U.S. We were anchored in the Bitter Lakes whilst transitting the Suez Canal northbound.  The Pasteur appeared  apparently carrying Foreign Legionnaires from the Indo China conflict bound for Algeria to fight the FLN. The Pasteur did not anchor, I was informed, because of possible troop desertion. As she drew abeam of us two figures were seen to jump overboard from the boat deck of the Pasteur. Our Captain ordered our vessel's Suez Canal mooring boat to be launched and we duly picked up what turned out to be two of the troops. They were brought aboard and given a hot drink and food in the Quartermaster's mess. The Chief Officer told me to keep and eye on them should they emerge from the accomodation. One of our QM's appeared and said 'I wouldn't keep too close an eye if I were you, these two soldiers have just spent two years at war and are now heading for another in Algeria . They have just poleaxed two of  their military police to make good their escape'. Sure enough when we got to Ismailia the two soldiers
appeared and produced two condoms into which they put their money and watches before diving overboard. I was then 19 years old and prudently watched as they  did so.  I have attached a photograph of one of them as he left our ship. You can just see the disturbance in the water at the top of the picture which is his accomplice. One was Spanish, he is the one in view, the other was Italian. At the time the Egyptians gave any such deserters a good meal and a passage home. We caught up with the Pasteur in Port Said and the French military authorities questioned our ship's Captain as to why we had not apprehended them. Thankfully no one asked me.


(On the subject of Legionnaires "jumping ship" also see the entry for Roger Seynav under the "Personal Memories" section.)

An additional observation on Legionnaires jumping ship by Robert T. Bush

I have never sailed on the Pasteur but you may be interested in this exert from my soon to be published auto biography "A Sailor on Horseback."
 
"Sailing from Rangoon to Singapore we were overtaken by the French passengership Pasteur while approaching the Malacca Straits.  It was a Sunday morning and we had a fire in the galley, luckily we had a large extinguisher by the galley skylight and we were able to put it out but we lost our lunch that day.
 
Approaching One Fathom Bank Light House we saw the Pasteur stopped and blowing the Man Overboard signal, so we swung out a boat ready to help.  As we came close we saw a dozen or so men in the water wearing life jackets swimming to shore.  The Pasteur's boats were trying to take them back onboard.  They were Foreign Legionnaires bound for Indo China."
 
This would have been in 1958.    Robert T. Bush

How this page is arranged

- Background

- Dedication

- Introduction

- Specifics of the Pasteur (length, width, tonnage etc.)

- History of the ship, from launch to her final voyage

- Bibliography of sources

- Personal memories of the Pasteur. (From veterans that sailed on her during The War.)

- Personal memories of the Bremen. (With some photographs of personal memorabilia.)

- Photographs of the ship (Including her ultimate demise as she sank in the Indian Ocean.)

Background

I started researching the Pasteur because my next-door neighbor, E. Glen Strom, veteran of the 12th. Bombardment Group, 81st. Bombardment Squadron- "The Earthquakers", crossed the Atlantic on her enroute to North Africa in World War Two. I posted his information on the internet site "World War II Troop Ship Crossings" (1). Since then several people have contacted me seeking information on the "Pasteur". I found that while information was available, it was scattered about here and there at a multitude of sources. This site is an attempt to consolidate that information.

And lastly, I have since been contacted by several veterans that sailed on her as the Pasteur, and a civilian that crossed on her when she was the Bremen. Those memories are included.

Their memories of the ship are what adds the real substance to this site.

Dedication

Sadly, in 2001 Glen Strom joined the thousand of veterans of that era that we are losing every day. Young men that showed extraordinary bravery in incredible circumstances.

This site is dedicated in their memory.

Troopship research

If you are doing research on troopship crossings, here is an excellent link to start with: http://troopships.pier90.org/ The page has some excellent resource links. (A "Thank you" to Jim Baker for providing the new link to this site.)

Sadly, it would appear that finding documentation on passenger lists may be difficult if not impossible. This is a quote from the page:

"The records of ships used to carry troops to their theaters of operations were destroyed intentionally in 1951. 'According to our [U. S. National Archives] records, in 1951 the Department of the Army destroyed all passenger lists, manifests, logs of vessels, and troop movement files of United States Army Transports for World War II.' (Sorry, but there was no word on why the records were destroyed.) Thus there is no longer an official record of who sailed on what ship, though there are still valuable sources that can be found...."

Introduction

The Pasteur led a long life, lasting forty one years. During that period, she flew the flags of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. She also operated under several names: "Pasteur", "Bremen", "Regina Magna", "Saudiphil I", and "Filipinas Saudia I".

Right from the start there appears to be a minor controversy over the ship's name. Most of the links that I found in my research refer to the ship as simply the "Pasteur". However, the WW2 veterans that took passage on her usually refer to the ship as the "Louis Pasteur". In fact, her actual name was simply "Pasteur."

This information is correct as far as I know at this date. However, I am not a researcher, nor a maritime or military historian. My intention is to give the veterans of that era a single source on the internet where they may find information on this ship.

A bibliography of sources and internet links is provided at the end.

Specifics

Length: 209.4 m (9), 212.4 m (10)
Beam: 26.4 m (9), 26.8 (11)
697 feet x 87.9 feet (11) or, 696.9 feet x 90.2 feet (12)
GRT: 29,253 (10, 11)
Speed: 23 kn (9, 11)
Max. speed: 25.5 knots (11)
Propulsion: Parson's geared turbines, 60,000 shaft horsepower (10)
Propellers: quadruple screws (10, 11)
Passengers: 1,122 (9) 287 (10, 11) or 275 (12) in 1st. class, 126 in 2nd. class, 338 in 3rd. class (10, 11)
Crew: 540 (10, 11)
Launched: 15 February, 1938 (10, 11, 12)
Interestingly, she was christened by Madame Pasteur Vallery-Radot, the wife of the grandson of Louis Pasteur (12).
Completed: August, 1939 (10, 11)

History

The Pasteur was built by Penhoët of St. Nazaire, France (6) in yard number R8 (10, 11) and completed in 1939. Her weight was 32,000 ton, with a length of 697 feet (7). Her original owners were Cie.Sudatlantique. She was designed for Atlantic passenger crossings between France and South America (13). Although sometimes referred to as an "S.S." (Steam Ship), she really was a "T.S.S." (Turbine Steam Ship) (10, 11).

Due to the start of WW2 she did not enter service immediately (2). Her original maiden voyage was delayed by the outbreak of fire while she was being fitted out (12). Her maiden voyage, re-scheduled for 10 September 1939, from Bordeaux to Buenos Aires (11), was canceled due to the outbreak of World War II (6, 11, 12).

She was a fast ship, regarded as the third fastest of her day.

In what was to be her maiden voyage, the Pasteur was commissioned to carry part of the French gold reserves (213 tons, 600 pounds worth (12, 13), to the safety of Canada (6,20). She sailed from Brest to Halifax, Nova Scotia on this mission June 2nd, 1940 (10, 11). (This was done in concert with several other ships, civilian and military, during the period late 1939 to June of 1940.) (13) For an additional slant on this period of the ship's history see the entry for Robert M. Johnston under the "Personal Memories" section.

After the fall of France, she was taken over (in Canada) by the Allies as a "prize of war", and converted into a troopship.

On 16 October, 2008 Mr. Lee Rabin writes:  " Shortly after Canada declared war on Germany ( September  3rd 1939)  the Bremen was docked in Montreal and quickly made ready to depart her berth. The ships purser was trying to desperatly to get her clearance papers signed by the Port Authority who was unavailable (on purpose) until the following day September 4th when the Bremen was seized by articles of war. The Honourable Arthur Laing was the port master at that time and made a valuable contribution to the war effort." (There is also an entry for Mr. Rabin under the "Personal Memories" section.)

The Pasteur entered service as a troop carrier in August, 1940 (6, 11). As a troopship she flew the British flag and was operated by Cunard-White Star Line (2). Some sources refer to her as a "H.M.T.S." (His Majesty's Troop Ship). "She was one of the few fast transports that could cross the Atlantic in small, unescorted, fast convoys" (12).

Due to her speed, the Pasteur generally made her troopship crossings alone, without a warship escort, and not as a member of a convoy.

"In October, 1941 she made a voyage from Glasgow to Halifax with a varied complement, including officers arranging the transport of 20,000 British troops across Canada and the Pacific to Singapore." (12)

The Pasteur apparently returned loaded with German prisoners destined for prison camps located in North America. I have been contacted by at least one individual who stated that his father was on such a crossing. Also another individual stated that there were Italian prisoners on a previous East-West crossing.

In addition, she hauled prisoners from Suez, Egypt to South Africa, carrying as many as 2,000 German POW's (3).

It would appear that there was an attempted mutiny by German POW's in late 1941 or early 1942.(14) For more information on this, see the "Personal Memories of the Pasteur" section, under the entry by Bryan Samuels.

One thing that the remarks of American soldiers that sailed on the Pasteur have in common is the quality of the food. In a word, it was described as "terrible." No one has ever come forth to suggest that the food served to the GI's was the same as that served to the POW's on the East to West crossings, but it certainly appears to be a possibility.

"In 1943 she visited Freetown, Capetown, Durban, Aden and Port Tewfik, and then back to the Clyde and Halifax". (12)

"Before the battle of Alamein she had carried 10,000 men of the British 8th. Army, and 5,000 men of the US 1st. Army Corps." (12)

It is possible that the ship also operated in the Pacific Ocean. There is a reference to a "SS Louis Pasteur" in the war diary of an American Destroyer Escort, the USS Wintle, DE-25 (4). However, there was also a Liberty Ship named the "Louis Pasteur" (5), and it is most likely that the remarks were referencing it.

"During the War she had carried 220,000 troops, and 30,000 wounded, and steamed 370,669 miles." (12)

"After the War, she repatriated US and Canadian troops." (12) In October 1945, the Pasteur returned to the French flag (13), and in early 1946 management was returned to Cie. Sudatlantique. Her service, though, remained military in nature. After her World War II trooping duties ended, Pasteur was used to transport French troops to and from Indo-china (6).

She earned her nation's highest honor, the French "Croix de guerre" for her service (11, 13), but never made a commercial voyage for her owner (6).

The Pasteur made made a "one time voyage" to bring dutch people to the Netherlands. The Pasteur sailed in 1950 from Tandjong Priok to Amsterdam arriving there January 24th.,1950.
She docked at 13.45h at the Javakade, there were about 4,000 soldiers and their families on board. The Netherlands army has a passengerslist of this voyage.(16)

The Pasteur was laid up in July, 1956 at Toulon (13) and January, 1957 at Brest (13).

Activated again in September of 1956, the Pasteur, along with other civilian and military ships, transported troops during the Suez Canal "affair". (13) The HQ General of the French troops was on board the Pasteur while she was moored in Port Said harbor, December of 1956. She was one of the last Allied ships to leave Port Said, Egypt at the end of the "affair". (13)

In September, 1957, the Pasteur was sold to a German company, Norddeutscher Loyd, and was rebuilt by Bremer Vulkan. At this time her stack was replaced with a more "modern" looking affair (2,6). New boilers were added in 1959 (10).

Renamed "Bremen", she entered NDL service in July 1959, on the Bremerhaven-New York route as a passenger liner. "She commenced Bremen-Southampron-Cherbourg-New York voyages on the 9th. of July, 1959 and continued this service, with some cruising voyages, until 1971." (12)

The ship was refitted in 1965/66 at the repair yard of North German Lloyd. The bulbous bow was added at this time. GRT changed to 32,360 (10).

Also used for cruising, she became part of Hapag-Lloyd when the two leading German shipping organizations merged in 1970.

Her final Bremen-New York roundtrip for Hapag-Lloyd came in September 1971 (6).

In October of 1971 The Bremen was sold to a Greek shipping company, Chandris Lines (2). Delivery to Chandris was accomplished on January, 1972 (10, 11). After refitting she entered service under the Greek flag and was renamed the "Regina Magna", GRT now at 23,801 tons (11). As the Regina Magna she did cruises worldwide until 1974, at which time she was once again laid up, this time in Piraeus, Greece. This was for two reasons, rising fuel costs and the loss of emigration charters to Austrailia (11).

In 1977 the ship was sold to Saudia Arabia's "Philippine Singapore Ports Corporation" for use as an accommodation ship for Philippine workers (10, 11). She arrived at Jeddah on Nov. 1, 1977 (11). Her name was once again changed, this time to the "Saudiphil I" (6, 9, 11).

On June 9th., 1980, sold (apparently) to Philsimport International, Hong Kong, and name changed to "Filipinas Saudia I" (2, 6, 11), or by the name "Filipinas Saudias I" (9)- note minor spelling difference- she was being towed to the breakers for scrapping in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (9, 11). "She left Jeddah in tow of the Panamanian tug "Sumatra". (12) Problems developed during the tow "apparently through various insecure fastenings" (11). The ship rolled over on her port side and sank, stern-first into the Indian Ocean (2,6,9,10), at a position of 07 35 N, 60 12 E (11).

This ended the 41 year saga of the TSS Pasteur.

A stamp for the Pasteur

(With appreciation to David Rheault for bringing this information to light.)

Fitting for her days of future glory, the French Government commisioned a stamp for Her latest ship.

The following is translated from the original French. The url for this information is http://www.coppoweb.com/momes/fr.noe_03.php3 .

In 1933, after the burning of the steamer "Atlantic", the South-Atlantic Company orders the construction of a new steamer from the Penhoët shipyards. This steamer displaces 30,447 tons and measures 212, 40 meters. It is launched on 15 February 1938 and is christiened "Pasteur" by Louis Pasteur's godmother Mrs Pasteur Valléry-Radot.

The president of the South-Atlantic Company requests the commission of a commemorative stamp for the inaugural cruising scheduled for September, 1939. Four million of the stamps are printed in mid-August 1939. But the inaugural sailing of the Pasteur was cancelled because of the Declaration of the Second World War on September 2,1939. During this period the steamer was berthed in Landévennec, in roads of Brest.

The Pasteur embarks on June 2, 1940 with more than 200 tons of gold destined for Halifax in Canada. The English seize the boat on July 4, 1940.

The sheets of stamps were stored nearly two years and, in 1941, they made their reappearance overmarked "1F + 1F". The surtax of "1F" required by the Admiral François Darlan, Secretary of State to the Navy, will be versed with the Central Service of Works of Navy (SCOM). The exposure of the SCOM, inaugurated by the Pétain Marshal in the shows of the hotel France and Pasteur in Vichy is the occasion of the handing-over in circulation of this stamp. Some specimens however have escaped with this overload and are very required by the collectors. Attention, however, one can with chemicals remove the red overload, rather easily. It is necessary to consult an expert before any purchase of this stamp.

(From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

The Pasteur steamer was returned to France on April13, 1946. It was used during the war of Indo-China for the transport of French troops and sank on June 9, 1980 in the Indian Ocean as it was on the way for a demolition site in Formosa.

A book for the Pasteur

Published in November of 2005 this is probably the definitive book on the Pasteur. Written by Mr. Jean-Yves Brouard of France. It is a large book (approximately 9" x 12"), 264 pages in length, and profusely illustrated with over 350 pictures and drawings of the Pasteur- many in color. The book is published in French, and there is little likelihood that it will be translated to English. Having said that, it is worth purchasing for its shear beauty alone- the cover and the numerous illustrations are beautifully done. An order link (in French) is available at http://www.jybaventures.com/bon-commande-pasteur.pdf (Shipments outside of Europe will require an additional 10 Euros for postage.)

Another book for the Pasteur

"The Ship That Won World War II"
by Captain Jim Hudson

This book, available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, chronicles the "race to Cairo, Egypt" betwen German aad Allied forces and how the Pasteur was instrumental in the Allied victory.

Some thoughts on the design of the Pasteur/Bremen

Jim Douglas

"I guess you know that the 'designer' of the Normandie, Vladimir Yourkevitch (1885-1965) was Connected with the Pasteur. He has been mistakenly called the designer of both ships, but in fact was not resonsible for the exterior shape of either. Only the hull form below the water line, and to be more specific,only the bulbous forward edge. I met his widow for a nice afternoon in 1966 at her Manhattan apartment, and she told me endless details of the man, but never informed me as to exactly what Yourkevitch did do, and she most likely wasn't aware of such things. The Pasteur looked unusual with her way forward stack, and I liked her even better as the German Bremen.


Does anyone really know who is responsible for the unique appearance of the great Normandie's exterior shape? Most point to Albert Sebille, the French Line's resident illustrator as the one, and early impressions of her coming out in the early 1930's are often from his pen. Growing up in the late 50's and early 60's, I accepted the common info it was Yourkevitch. And now know better. But his friends called it "his" ship. Most likely the Normandie was Sebille's concept with input from the French Line execs and advisers. Now the Pasteur I know much less about, and I expect Yourkevitch's contribution was now more than that for the Normandie-----being his then revolutionary bulbous bow.
 
Only when I come across a photo of her do I give this ship much thought. But there was a time, from about 1959 thru 1970, she was much evident in my ship daydreams. It was of course her link with the more famous Normandie that started it, and the appearance of a new German flagship in '59 that caught my eye. The Bremen was a fine ship. Not as ornate as the Italian liners(a good thing, I'd say), nor as glamorous as the old French ladies, and certainly a notch above the British. Clean and almost austere, but not "cold".
 
Did you know the ex-Pasteur was fitted with a somewhat pronounced bulbous bow in the mid-1960s? Extending forward to the extent that some of it peeked above the waters' surface just as it sloped to the cutting edge of the  vertical line of the original bow.
 
If you're interested, New Yorks' famous tug boat company, Moran, used to publish an inhouse magazine called "Towline"----I'm not sure if it was monthly, bi-monthly, or what-----but the Bremen appeared on the cover. An excellent painting by the Frenchman Albert Brenet, who was a busy man in those years-----his style somewhat impres-
sionist yet admirably realistic-----showed the Bremen from the pier side three-quarter front view. And the new underwater bow is clearly evident. I had that issue for years, but it's gone now. Perhaps you could contact them, or the Steamship Historical Society for more info. And how about "L'Illustration"? , the French picture magazine of
many decades. I know a 1939 issue, maybe more than one issue, devoted a generous article on the about-to-be-premiered Pasteur. Plenty of pictures of her attractive interior, and a large painting, spread across a double page, I think by Albert Sebille, but I just can't be sure of that-------it's been over thirty years sisnce I've seen it.
 
Finally, a little oddball trivia. There's an early 1940s Columbia picture, one of the Ellerly Queen or Boston Blackie series with Chester Morris and Margaret Lindsay, and immediately after the opening credits fade out, in fades a liner(at sea) followed by a cut to its' interior----merely a studio set. That liner is the Pasteur! Of course it's STRANGE, for it's maybe 1941 now, and the stock footage of the liner used here is one that never actually entered commercial service.
 
One tends to think somewhere in French film vaults there repose reels of what must have been publicity footage of the Pasteur and just a clip was used for this Columbia programmer. And what about the newsreels of the day?"

The Pasteur returns troops to Ottawa, Canada- 12 August, 1945

(Contributed by Marilyn Fraser)

The Ottawa Journal, 5 O'Clock Edition, Monday August 13, 1945. (Page 12)

5,200 Return On Pasteur And Letitia

Quebec, Aug. 12 -- (CP) -- While large crowds cheered from atop Dufferin Terrace and the Plains of Abraham, the 23,000-ton troopship docked at Wolfe's Cove here last night, and the roar of a 20-gun salute mingled with the shouts of the some 4,500-returning army and R.C.A.F. personnel aboard the ship.

Among the repatriated servicemen were 2,500 volunteers for the Pacific and a general reaction yesterday, after they had had a night's sleep on the news of Japan's bid for peace, was one of "well, it looks like it's all over. I don't suppose we'll be able to get our crack at them now." On the dock to greet the returning vets were Defence Minister McNaughton, Air Minister Gibson, Brig. Edmond Blaise, officer commanding M.D. 5 (Quebec), Mayor Lucien Borne and Victoria Cross-winner Lt. Col. Paul Triquet of Royal 22nd Regiment.

The first special trains carrying the men to all parts of Canada left Wolfe's Cove at 10.30 p.m. last night, while the majority entrained for home today after spending the night aboard ship. Of the 4,421 repatriated many were from Western Canada and the total included 2,476 army men and 1,945 members of the R.C.A.F. Gen. McNaughton in an address of welcome, recalled the six years Canada was at war during which "we lived from day to day under the menace of impending calamity", and added: "Now that tthe menace, so far as Europe is concerned, has been dispersed and there is certainty that within a scant few short hours we shall see the end of our remaining enemy in the Pacific, and so we ... can turn from war to peace, to live again our lives as individuals and not constrained to use our every effort in the grim struggle for survival."

See a related story in the "Personal Memories" section by Angus Henley.

Fueling the Pasteur in the "Straights of Singapore" (Contributed by Brian Lloyd)

In January 1955 I was an apprentice officer with the Shell Tanker Company serving on board the MV Goldmouth in the straits off Singapore. The Goldmouth was an old tanker which was used as a bunker ship, supplying fuel to vessels. One of the vessels that we supplied fuel to was the Louis Pasteur. She was on her way from Vietnam to France repatriating French troop after the fall of Saigon. I remember that we were aware of her arrival and were looking out for her. The first thing that we saw was her funnel. It appeared over the horizon well before we saw her hull. The size of her funnel was one of the most memorable things about her. She anchored and we went alongside to start fuelling her. We got into conversation with some of the troops aboard. They were legionnaires. They told us that the Louis Pasteur would be stopping in Algeria on her way home to drop them off to continue the fighting that was going on in that country at that time before the ship took the regular French troops home. As a young 18 year old I was very impressed with meeting real Foreign Legionnaires. I was also very impressed with the Louis Pasteur.

A "book entry" regards the Pasteur

Kenneth Pantling of Norfolk, England writes:

I saw this dedication on the flyleaf of the book "Mine Were of Trouble" by Peter Kemp. (published in 1957 so the date of the dedication probably refers to that.) .... it seems as though they had a pretty good time on the Pasteur. I wonder who Mr. Hallet was?

Two links to Dutch sites about the repatriating of dutch troops to the Netherlands in the beginning of 1950.

On 18 January, 2014  Pieter Kuiper writes: "In an earlier mail I stated that this voyage was somewhere in the end of the 40's, but this trip was from Tandjong Priok (Batavia, Djakarta) 7-2-1950 to Amsterdam, 24-2-1950."

Mr. Kuiper notes that information about this is available at the following web sites, and that they are in Dutch.

http://www.boordgeld.nl/index.php/ss-pasteur
 
http://www.palmboom-divisie.nl/?s=pasteur
 

Bibliography

1. http://members.aol.com/troopship/shipform.html
2. http://www.shippostcards.co.uk/ChandrisRMagna.html
3. http://www.watersideweb.co.uk/Barham/samuels.htm
4. http://www.wintle.com/de25/diary.htm
5. http://www.uh.edu/~pthompso/liberty/liberty_listL.html
6. http://www.greatships.net/bremen5.htm
7. (translation from the original German)
8. http://stores.yahoo.com/singularselections/bremoclinpap.html
9. http://server2036.virtualave.net/morri/Germany/Bremen5.html
10. "Remembrances of the 1060th. Sig. Co.- 50 years- July, 1992 newsletter". Furnished by Sam Beverage.
11. Don Hazeldine, in a email post to Alice Forster, 3/22/2001
12. Ted Finch, in a email post to Alice Forster, 10/18/2000

13. Jean-Yves Brouard, on-going correspondence

14 Brian Samuels, in his book "Never Make A Sailor", http://www.watersideweb.co.uk/Barham/samuels.htm

15. http://www.coppoweb.com/momes/fr.noe_03.php3

16. Herman van Oosten, 6 December, 2002 in an email.

If you have any additions or corrections to make to this narrative, please contact me and I will make the changes for future editions.

The history of this proud ship, and those that safely sailed on her, should not pass in vain.

July, 2001

Hal Stoen
514 Rock Springs Drive
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
(662) 236-4440
Hal@stoenworks.com

PERSONAL MEMORIES OF THE PASTEUR

Chris Aitken (submitted by her Niece, Gayle Aitken)

One of nine nursing sisters who returned to Canada in 1945 on the Pasteur. They arrived in Quebec city. I do not have pictures of the boat but do have pictures and names of all nine. They served in the South African Military Nursing sisters. Some served in Italy. My aunt served in North Africa and seems to have been the designated photographer at a time when photographic film was rare.

Albert Allam (Submitted by his son, Pete Allam.)

"... My father Albert Allam ... joined the RAF in June 1941 and sailed on the Pasteur from Gourock on 8th September 1941, arriving in Halifax Nova Scotia on 15th September in preparation for pilot training in the USA.

Bruce C. Allen

"...I sailed on the Louis Pasteur as a Sargeant in the Royal Canadian Airforce R136240 from Halifax to Liverpool on May 26 1943."

Duncan Allen (WW2 veteran, Royal Canadian Navy, ret.)

"..... I sailed on the Louis Pasteur in May(?), 1940- just after France capitulated- from Halifax to Liverpool. We had about 500 or more troops, advanced party of Canada's First Division.

George Alphin

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Peter Andrew

My Mother and sister came to Canada on the Louis Pasteur in early Jan 1944. She was one of the first war brides to come over.  My sister was nine months old.
She said that the voyage had been in rough seas and the ship had travelled in a zig-zag formation.
This is a quote from a Toronto newspaper at the time..
 
War Brides and Babies Weather Stormy Seas
 
The ship which brought Canadian soldiers and old country brides to Canada not long ago must have carried the most remarkable cargo of the war.
In addition to the 106 soldiers and 200 brides, there were more that 150 babies, and all rolled into Toronto yesterday morning after a stormy crossing.
The brides and babies are those of Canadian boys, some of whom are in Italy, others in Britain and others back in Canada themselves. 

 
Brides Like Canada
 
The soldiers were back for a variety of reasons, most of them relating to category.  Some are on compassionate leave.  The brides unanimously declared they liked Canada, its lights, its food and its Maritime snow.  The babies didn't seem to mind one way or the other.   Mrs. Peter Andrew and daughter, Gloria, were among the twenty odd girls who will live in Toronto.  Her husband is in Italy now and she joined his parents on Woodbine Avenue.  The crossing was rough she said, but "we got here safely, and that was the important thing.  There were eleven Mothers and nine babies in our stateroom".  
 
This article was published in the Toronto newspaper and retained in a scrap book which was passed down to me by my parents.
 
Please note, (the war was still ongoing so the ships name isn't mentioned in the article, also that the wounded servicemen are only mentioned as having a category change).

I have just remembered that the troop ship that my father's regiment embarked on was also the Pasteur, June 25th 1941 from Halifax. It arrived and they disembarked on (Dominion Day) July 1st,1941 at Greenock. The following two attachment are pages 62 and 63 from the book, "The History Of The Ontario Regiment" which describes what the ship looked like at the time also who was on board. It also mentions the names of the destroyer escort and where they switched escorts at.

George Richard Andrews (DOB: 2/4/1922) (Recorded by Alice Forster, 8/31/2001)

Dad returned from 2 years service in Canada in May 1943. He was an Air Frame Fitter with the RAF ­ their unofficial motto being "You bend 'em, we mend 'em".

The Pasteur was quite a modern ship compared to the ship on which he had travelled to Canada in 1941. This was the SS Ruahine (out of New Zealand). The same ship had taken my Grandfather to Australia in 1909! (In 1909 the Ruahine was nearly sunk in the Canaries and my grandfathers voyage was delayed for 6 months while the ship was repaired).

Dad's first interest on sighting the ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was the single funnel. His memory was that this was much more conspicuous than the photos suggest.

One or two nights into the voyage home, everyone on board woke up because the whole ship was 'thrumming', literally juddering under speed. Dad had had experience of fast motor boats and reckoned she was travelling at a 'tremendous' speed, well in excess of her 26 knots maximum quoted speed.

In 5 days they travelled from near the Arctic, down to the tropics, back up to the Arctic and then down the Irish Sea to Liverpool. It was a lovely calm day coming down the North Channel of the Irish sea and she was 'thrumming' again. "The Liverpool Lasses have got her in tow".

When under way and moving fast, she squatted very low at the stern.


There was a small 'docking' deck towards the stern for taking in lines. When dad noticed this in dock in Nova Scotia it was approx 3 feet above the waterline. When under way, she sat so low at the back that it was below the waterline.

Dad is at a loss to understand why the Pasteur was so obviously over-powered. The quoted speed of 26 knots was very fast for a ship built before the War. The old Mauritania managed about 27 knots and the 'Queens' (especially Queen Mary) were pretty fast. The United States was a fast ship but has been laid up almost since she was built ­ she could work up to 36 knots. Vast amounts of power are needed to attain these speeds.


The Pasteur was supposedly built for the France-South America route, for which a weekly crossing seems unlikely to have ever been commercially viable. After the war, it seems no-one could afford to use the Pasteur on a commercial basis. A Chief Engineer has to account for every pound of fuel that is used and it is very important to keep fuel consumption down. On an Air Force High Speed Launch, hours were spent and all manner of tricks were tried to use less fuel.

Atlantic Crossings by Civil Aircraft have made fast ship crossings obselete.

Robert Angell

Early in 1942, I was a 20 year old officer in the Royal Artillery of the British Army. I was posted to the RA headquarters in Woolwich on the outskirts of London to join a group of several hundred fellow officers awaiting posting 'overseas' to where we had no idea. Eventually, we marched off to the railway station and boarded a train which trundled through blacked out Britain to arrive at Gourock, the port of Glasgow in Scotland. From there we boarded the troopship Louis Pasteur. We were allocated what were designed as single cabins but were now equipped with two rows of bunks, each four tiers high but this was luxury compared to conditions for 'other ranks', many of whom were below decks in hammocks.


After our long train journey, we fell sound asleep and I do not remember the ship leaving. We woke next morning to see from the porthole that we were part of an enormous convoy (said by some to be the largest of WW11), escorted by two cruisers and countless destroyers. Life on board for a draft of officers without any troops to worry about was comparatively easy and the meals in what was the first class dining saloon, virtually as originally designed were positively luxurious with Cunard staff in white mess jackets with even a reasonable supply of wine! Of course, there was boat drill and,hopefully , an adequate supply of life rafts for the several thousand on board. A regular entertainment was Bingo called in the Services, Housey, Housey at sixpence a go but with many hundred players, quite substantial prizes for the first one to shout 'House'. All the traditional cries for the numbers were unfamiliar to me butquickly learnt: 'Kelly's eye' number 1; 'Doctors orders', number 9 (after
the Army laxative), seven and six 76 ,Bed and Breakfast or 'Was she worth it?!.


As the weather became increasingly warm, we woke one morning in a humid sweat to find we were anchored in a tropical estuary which we learnt was Freetown in West Africa. No disembarkation however and in a few hours we were off again, still in convoy but with our destination still unknown. Rumours said that our course took us almost to South America and then back to Durban which proved to to be where we said goodbye to that magnificent pride of the French Line, adopted by Cunard White Star, the HMT Louis Pasteur.

Postscript.
After two very hospitable weeks in Durban, I set off again in the Troopship 'Dunera' for Bombay and spent the next 3 1/2 years in India finishing up as a Captain in the Royal Indian Artillery. My trip home to England in November 1945 was by DC3 Dakota from Karachi and took seven days!

John Andrew Armitage (Submitted by his son, John Armitage)

My dad, John Andrew Armitage, was in both the Royal and Merchant Navy. He was a passenger on the Pastuer in early '45. He was going from Liverpool to Canada to join a new minesweeper HMS Mamaluke. The Mamaluke was in minesweeping duties in the western approaches of Liverpool and the minefields of Narvik, Norway. Dad moved to Kyneton, Australia 1/3/56 (and is still there).

Mike Armstrong (submitted by his son, Jay Armstrong)

(From a war journal that Mr. Armstrong kept during the War.)

March 29, 1943 (Monday)

Yesterday we (38 of us) came by train down here (West Kirby near Liverpool - an RCAF embarkation point) to the boat. This afternoon at five-to-four the tugs pushed us out into the harbour and now we are on our way. The Pasteur is a French boat, 28,000 tons, has just come out of drydock after a complete refitting so is clean as a whistle. I'm told it will do 35 knots flat out so perhaps we may go over all alone. If we do it will take about six days or less.

Friday, April 2, 1943

Some time in the early hours of Tuesday last we ran into quite a heavy storm and all day we rolled and pitched, and crawled along at a speed of about ten knots. Many people were sea-sick and missed their meals, but I managed to say on my feet. Early Wednesday morning the wind died down a bit and we were able to open up to around 25 or more knots although the seas were still fairly high and people continued to miss their meals. Thursday we still kept up our speed, zig-zagging to evade submarines. Today we are rolling quite badly in the trough of the waves and a few are sick. We are hoping
that by tomorrow afternoon we will be in Halifax because this is getting bloody monotonous There's nothing at all to do on this boat for some reason or other - perhaps we don't know many people aboard or something. Sherman (a W/O pilot), Don and I have been playing "Nines", sink the Swiss Navy, and poker solitaire, but still the time drags very slowly. This afternoon at 2:30 we are having our money changed to Canadian funds - that might mean we are arriving tomorrow - I hope it does. The three of us (W/Os) have to around with an officer on inspections every morning which takes pace during life-boat drill; we don't mind it particularly because it helps break up the mornings.

Sunday, April 4, 1943

We've been roving around this damned ocean for so long I'm getting so sick of the sight of water that I think I'll shudder even at even a glass of it after this. Gawd! - what I'd give for a sight of land! I'm beginning to think that Canada must have disappeared since I left it. However, it now seems pretty certain that we'll be in harbour tomorrow morning at six. Here's hoping we will anyhow. From what I can gather, our draft will be disembarking tomorrow just after lunch, in time to catch the Moncton train from Halifax; from there we shall be going straight to Montreal, arriving there around seven Tuesday evening where we perhaps wait until nine o'clock then catch the Ottawa train for Rockcliffe. The old tub has been rolling a lot today because we are traveling in the trough of the waves - she's a flat-bottomed boat which accounts for the unsteadiness. I've heard that on her last crossing they hit a very heavy storm and she nearly turned over so while she was in drydock lately for refitting they put some kind of fins on the bottom to help prevent those violent rolls. As far as I can tell they're no damn good at all.

Harry Arnott

I sailed on the Pasteur in 1942. The dates are: Boarded at Gourock 9 May and: Arrived Freetown 22 May.


Ship ran aground entering Freetown but came off on the rising tide. Remained anchored some distance offshore for a day or two. Arrived Durban 9 June. Rough calculations made by watching the ship's officers on the bridge taking their midday sights showed that we went well  south of the Cape of Good Hope  before turning north for Durban.  This was the roughest part of the passage as the Pasteur was sometimes taking water green over her bows in the high waves.
 
The conversion to a troopship was little more than adding a few extra bunks in some of the cabins and putting plywood boxes over all the Bidets in the toilets. Racks of rockets had also been fitted to her upperworks in the area of the funnel. If I remember correctly this was her sole defensive armament. 

David Asprey  (I was a Royal Air Force passeger on the Pasteur early in 1942, sailing from the Clyde (Gourock) to Port Tewfick via Freetown and Capetown.  AGAINST REGULATIONS I KEPT A DIARY.)

8 January 1942, Gourock, Scotland.
 
Decanted on to the quayside, hungry, overladen with kit, tired after long overcrowded overnight train  journey from depot in Cheshire.  many ships at anchor in the |Clyde, barrage balloons, dsetroyers moored alongside the rail tracks - sea-worn, dazzle-painted.  We board a fussy little tender... and wait....and wait.
At last we move; xcruisers, destroyers.merchantmen, a battleship, low and purposeful in the water, pass in our wake.  Ahead lies a dark grey monster with an enormous out-of-proportion funnel.  Heads hang from portholes shouting derisively in the usual Army way when they see blue RAF uniforms...."the glamour boys have arrived!".
 
Across the gangplank, through a small hole near the waterline, and we're aboard.  We are allocated messdecks: friends are lucky if they can keep together in the melee.  At last we can drop those lead-filled kitbags, release those cutting shoul;der-straps and survey our surroundings.  We find that we ar in E8 messdeck aboard the "Pasteur", 29,000 tons, ex french luxury liner built for the Bordeaux-Rio-Buenos Aires run, rescued at the fall of France in 1940 and taken to halifax by the Canadian Navy.
 
Our quarters prove a bit of a shock,  no luxury here!  We had expected overcrowding and discomfort but not to this extent.  The messdeck covered an area of about 100 feet by 40; the ceiling, originally about 9 feet high, is reduced to about 7 feet by the overhead racks on which our kit had to be stowed.  In this place 153 men were expected to live, eat.   and sleep.  Ventilation very poor - two small air blowers and the open doorway giving on to the stairs provided the only fresh air.  The portholes had to remain permanently shut once we wre at sea as they were only about 12 feet above the waterline.  Most of the messdeck space was occupied by 9 mess tables secured to the floor and the outer hull of the ship, seating an average of 16 men apiece; forms, also bolted to the floor, flanked them on either side.
Some largely uneatable food arrived about 6 pm.
 
Sleeping proves our next problem.  Some have hammocks  (I among them) the remainder thin mattresses on which they slept on tables or floor.  Once all the hammocks were slug (no easy job for landlubbers like us!) and beds in place, there was not an inch of room anywhere and the heat was terrific.  Anyone having a need to leave the messdeck during the night had to feel his way through a maze of sleeping bodies; hammocks struck him in the face, it was difficult not to tread on those stretched out on the floor.  Finding one's own hammock oln return was no easy amtter.
 
The following day, matters improve.  Kit is re-stowed in more orderly fashion, the food showed an improvement.  We can go on deck in the cool clear air and watch the comings and goings on the Clyde.  The purposeful warlike activity all around us contrasts with the sunlit slopes of the hills beyond the estuary.
Sunderland flying boats lumber into the air on morning patrol; ships everwhere....fussy little tugs bring up a stately aircraft carrier from seaward, destroyers thread their way thruogh the boom and disappear in to the haze..
 
The sanitary arrangements for the troops aboard the Pasteur deserve some comment.  For the 4000 or more troops on board ther are only 60 or so washbasins and as many lavatory seats, both primitive.  Water, nearly always cold, hard only available for limited periods during the day.  Less than a dozen salt-water showers, half usually unserviceable.  No laundry arrangements - we are expected to do ay washing in cold salt water and dry our clothes on deck when the weather is suitable.
 
It is understandable that the troops showed discontent when the luxury in which the officers were to travel became apparent ....cabins with bunks and private bathrooms,a superb dining room and lounge.  |Less than a fifth of those on board occupied three quarters of of the passenger space on the ship..
 
We should have sailed during the night of Saturday 10th January but were delayed by foggy conditions until the following evening.  We awoke the next morning to see lowering skies and heavy seas.  land fading astern and to port.  We're at the tail end of a convoy of 23 ships, mainly troopships, some large like the Britannic and the Stirling Castle.  The destroyer screen dart to and fro on our flanks.  Just astern is a smart Dutch AA cruiser.
 
12 January.  Weather getting really rough, 40 foot waves and rail squalls.  Pasteur is tossing around like a cork, her rolling motion swinging the hammocks at night until they bang against the ceiling.  Kit falls from the overhead racks, food slides along the mess tables.  Seasickness is rife; fortunately I seem immune and can take advantage of the food others cannot face - six of use share fine pork chops provided for sixteen.
The crew tell us that the Pasteur was taken from France in such a hurry that no stabliisers had been fitted and this omission continued during her conversion in halifax.  True? Surely no luxury liner should roll like that even though South Atlantic weather would no be so extreme.
 
Thursday 15 January. We gather that yesterday one of the troopships  was torpedoed by a Uboat and that during the night the pasteur was within an ace of collision with a freighter whose steering gear was damaged during the storm.  We are now somewhere in mid-Atlantic ,level with Gibraltar.  Late morning a panic to boat-stations as a German FW Kurier reconnaissance  aircraft circles the convoy;  our armament (one heavy naval gun and one lighter high-angle gun aft, four 20mm Hispano cannon and a variety of rifle-calibre machine guns here and there.  No attack materialises.
 
Speculation as to our destination is resolved . We wre heading for the Middle East, stopping at Freetown and either |Cape Town or Durban.
 
20 January. First flying fish sighted; interseting but somewhat disappointing.....I had expected somthing a bit bigger.  Today, now the weather is getting warmer, I experiment with sleeping on the open deck and continue that way until the end of the voyage - brilliant tropical sky, enormous stars, bright moonlight illuminating that huge funnel sprouting an absurd little wisp of steam.  Unreal, like a movie set.
 
23 January.  Seabirds appear.  land must be near.  Sunderlands patrol the horizon


25 January. Towards midday, land appears through the heat haze., dark hills and yellow beaches.  The sea colour changes from dark blue to green and then yellowish brown,  We come to a standstill some three miles offshore: portholes are opended at last. Pilot boats dart about, tossing in the swell.  In time we drop anchor in the estuary, to be surrounded by natives in dugout canoes offerin fruit and handicrafts.  We are forbidden to buy the fruit because of the risk of typhoid but some take a chance.


26 January. Three cases of typhoid  admitted to sick bay.  henceforth fruit vendors kept away by ship's firs hoses. Today saw a touch of Empire - a sedate motor boat, with lolling on a sort of dais in the stern a white man ,resplendent in a white duck suit, with a black boy waving a fan over him!
 
29 January. Put to sea again at 2 pm.  Weather now the hottest yet.  Unbearable below decks.  A number of men get painful sunburn,


31 January. Cross equator.  Good slapstick fun especially as it was mainly officers on the receiving end.


9 February.  It's definitely going to be Cape Town. Ships in convoy reshuffle; we are one of five to stop there, the remainder going on to Durban.
 
10 February. As we could not make port before dark yesterday, we idled all night at about five knots.  Came the dawn, Table Mountain loomed ahead.
 
TO BE CONCLUDED

 

Robert E. Ayers

I was a member of the 336th HarborCraft Company (attached to the 1st Amphibious Engineer Special Brigade) from Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida. We left from Camp Kilmer (POE) in March or April !944. We traveled on the New Jersey Central Railroad to the ferry pier in Jersey City. We arrived in the late afternoon and boarded a ferry. They put us inside the ferry, where vehicles were carried, I guess for security. We traveled up the Hudson River to a pier (I think it was called Pier 90). The ferry dropped a gangplank, and we off loaded. There was an Army Band to one side of the pier playing swing music of that era. I remember getting off with my Duffel Bag (which weighed a ton). The Band was playing "Choo, Choo, Baby. your Papa's off to the seven seas". I wished I had taken music lessons and could have been a member in NYC!!!

We entered the door at the end of the pier, following the guy ahead of me. It looked like night, no lights, except one at the far end. The place was packed with GIs. The line wove its way up and down. Finally, I reached that little light, I stepped on a scale with all my gear. Someone handed me a card that said something about D-7 Starboard. Another guy marked D-7 on my helmet. Then I followed the guy in front of me out a door which led to the ships gangplank. We entered the ship, it was still daylight, probably late afternoon. Inside the ship, it looked as if they tore out all of the interior. We proceeded to our location, where there were tables and benches attached to the deck. All the portholes were sealed and painted. There were steep steps going up and down to other decks. I assumed our location was deck 7 on the right hand side (starboard).

There was a bathroom (head to sailors) way up forward. I guess that's why they call it the head!! Well then we proceeded to get organized for our voyage. They told us no one could go on deck until the next day, so we didn't see the Statute of Liberty! They told us we would sleep in hammocks. There were bars welded above our heads, from one side of the ship to the other side, with "U" shape grooves that we would string the hammocks to. You could choose whether you wanted your head forward or your feet, either way. Since none of us had experience with hammocks, we had problems. First, I could hardly reach the bars, then I had to make sure the knots were O.K. The first night wasn't too good, because I left too much sag, slept in a "U" shape. I learned and the second night I pulled things really tight, except I had to pull the hammock apart to get in. It was a nice trick and I was scared of falling down one the stair wells, it was the only place that was open was over this stair well. The third night, I learned that you had to find a suitable spot about 3 pm every day, to cover all bases. I really didn't think sleeping would have been such a big deal.

My next problem was whether I would be on guard detail or being a galley waiter. I figured being a waiter would be better. Wrong again! First I had to get up around 4 a.m. Carry a  big coffee urn or a large tub down to the galley. It seemed to be miles away, and when you got there 100 other guys from other units were patiently waiting. (Here I should give you some explanations: 1. The Pasteur was sailing under British rules. 2. These rules were foreign to us GIs. 3. The food was came from some place in outer space, cooked by English Chefs. 4. We had two meals a day. 5. For breakfast we had stewed tomatoes and potatoes, slabs of bread and coffee, for dinner it was not describable. Of course many guys were seasick before the ship left NYC. Those of us who had "sea legs", were just plain Hungary. Now our big gripe with British Rules was that the first three graders (S/SSgt, T/SSgt and M/SSgt) were not allowed to live like us vermin. They had their own Quarters and Dining areas, which we Elms thought was unfair, and pushed many us in the direction of mutiny. This was really a sore part for the entire crossing.

Well on with our cruise. We were told there were about 8500 people aboard. The ship traveled without escort. Occasionally we would see a Blimp flying by, as well as some Navy Aircraft. We crossed the Atlantic by the southern route, past Bermuda, close to the Azores, then due north up the Irish coast, around the tip of Northern Ireland, down the Irish Sea, we spent our final night off the Coast of Wales, in the morning we went up the Mersey River and docked at Liverpool, where we had to disembark on a floating pier and lug our gear up a very steep ramp to the quay, where our troop train was waiting for us to take us to Plymouth. I think the trip from NYC to Liverpool took seven or eight days. We had a sister unit that left after us on the Queen Mary and arrived in Plymouth before us. We did a lot of zing sagging during the trip, the ship at times would dip suddenly and the wave would break over the bow and carry back on one side or the other. You had to watch out or get doused. The sudden turn we took at the Azores resulted in an extreme weather change, from balmy to damn right cold. I remember when we came up the Mersey River, there were Antiaircraft sites on stilts in the middle of the river, just something to remind you that "there is war on". I remember when we were in mid ocean seeing a B-17 with British Markings flying around the ship several times with some blinking away, probably antisubmarine patrol.

My unit supported the 1st Engineer Special Brigade on Utah Beach. Our STs (small tugs), MTLs (motor tow launches), and other types of craft were used in setting up the Mullbury and Gooseburys. We pushed and pulled Bk barges loaded with heavy equipment to the beach. It was mean and nasty at times, but the job was done. I was proud to have been a part of all this and never had any regrets. We were good!!! I am 83 years young and still going strong.
 
rayers@tampabay.rr.com
Robert E. Ayers
10040 Twelve Oaks Court
Brooksville, FL 34613

Harry W. Bachiochi (submitted by his daughter, Heidi Moore)

"..... served in WWII as a field medic.  He .... came home on the Louis Pasteur,"

Glenn Baker (submitted by his son, )

My Father's name is Glenn Baker.  He went over to Great Britain on the Pasteur.  He was telling me a story about when he and some of his fellow soldiers were on the bow of the ship and there was a huge wave that came up and over them and knocked a small building that they had bolted to the deck off and also knocked the cannon they had on deck off of its placement.  He said that the captain yelled at them to get inside and that they didn't need any more convincing than that.  They were lucky because the wave went right over them and didn't push them into the ocean.

Iris Dorothy Bardwell

I was born in the city of Northampton, England a place famous for it's shoes. In 1942 Ken Bardwell, a Canadian soldier, was billeted with our family and I ended up marrying him on the 30th October 1943.

Ken and Iris complete with their black market wedding cake.


In August 1944 Ken was sent back to Canada and I was given the option to follow him as soon and possible or stay in England until the war was over.

I decided to go as soon as possible and with the maximum allowance of 40 lbs of baggage and $40 dollars in my pocket I was instructed to go to Greenock in Scotland. We were issued with a badge to show who we were then at the last moment our shipping departure was changed to Liverpool.

Side one of Iris's Railway warrant. It shows the destination change from Greenock to Liverpool.

We were met by members of the Red Cross at Liverpool and put up in a hostel where we stayed for three days. One morning, with no warning the Army arrived and took our cases. About 800 of us war brides were taken to the docks and on the 8 December 1944 we boarded the Troop Ship "Louis Pastor" destined for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

(The ship was in fact the SS Pasture a famous French liner launched in 1938 who on her maiden voyage on the 2 June 1940 was commissioned to carry 213 tons of the French gold reserves to the safety of Canada. In August 1940 she entered service as His Majesty's Troop Ship Pasteur and due to her speed generally made her crossings alone, without a warship escort and not as a member of a convoy). Comments of Bill Overy.

I had made friends with three or four other girls before we left. One I remember was Scottish and she told our group she would look after our seating for our meals so we could sit together. What I didn't know at the time was that her husband was a Lt. Col. and the tickets she handed out were for officer's wives! When I told her my husband was not an officer she replied, "well he fought in the war didn't he?" So I felt lucky to be eating the more fancy food at the second sitting. The meals were so delicious after being rationed so much in England.

We experienced very rough seas for the nine days we were sailing and I was very lucky not getting seasick as so many others were. The cabins were quite small and 3 bunks were fitted one on top of each other with very little room between. We didn't take our clothes off and baths were limited. I felt sorry for the war brides coping with babies and small children. We were not a major convoy but traveled with a Hospital Ship the Lady Nelson I didn't realize how dangerous it was going to be until one day we were told that German planes were spotted above us. Another time we were told U Boats were in the vicinity.

We landed in Halifax on 17 December 1944. When we saw the lights of the harbor there wasn't a dry eye amongst us. Then it was a 7-day train trip for me to Calgary. The trains were packed because troops were going home for Christmas. I arrived in Calgary on 24 December 1944 and was met by my husband Ken. He had been meeting all the trains for 3 days because he had not been told exactly what day I would arrive.

Signed

Iris Bardwell

Roger L. Belanger

I was in the European Theater with the OSS as a Radio Operator. After D Day the mission changed and we were sent to the States for reassignment to the far East and other duties. We went from London by train to Liverpool about November 20th, we waited with all of our equipment weapons in a very large covered shed, we waited most of the day from noon until late afternoon, when we embarked a large liner, we did not learn of her name until later the next day, The ship turned out to be the Pasteur.

Our particular group were billeted together, isolated from the rest of the passengers, some were Nurses Invalids and War Brides. It was a large room and we slept in Hammocks, it was the first time that I had slept in a hammock, it made me glad that I had not joined the navy as I thought they were a little uncomfortable but of course better than some of the accommodations that I had experienced in the theater. The next morning we were at sea, we went on deck to see the sights, it had turned very stormy, the waves were perhaps 15 or 20 feet. I saw an escort destroyer over in the distance, perhaps 1/2 to 3/4 mile away, she would be sitting on the crest of a wave, it looked as though the hull was all out of the water except the center of the ship, then she would disappear for some time and later reappear again. I knew that it was rough weather but I did not what was to come. After a day or two it really got rough and we were all very seasick, we could not eat and there was slime all over the floors and it was a little difficult getting around. We were still at sea on Thanksgiving Day, we were served food but it only made us more sick, it was my suspicion that it was tainted, We were told that we were in very bad weather and the ship was trying to maneuver out of the storm, the ships propellers came out of the water frequently, the ship would shudder and you could hear the propellers rev up as they were out of the water.

We finally got to New York harbor about Nov. 28th and were greeted with water salute from escorting Tugboats. In looking over the ship we could see a lot of damaged to the rails and other fixtures. When we were warped into the dock there was a Navy Band Playing, it was certainly was a rousing welcome. We debarked and were shuttled to Camp Kilmer N.J. where we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and phone banks were set up for us to call our loved ones, Free yet. A day later we were taken to our final destination in the D.C. area and given 30 day leaves.

Roger Belanger (veteran of the OSS)
Maine

Gilbert C. Berry

I was with the 87th Infantry Division (with the Golden Acorn Patch), 912th Field Artillery Battalion, A Battery.

We left approximately November 1, 1944,from Camp Kilmer to New York harbor. That morning we passed the Statue of Liberty. On boat, we were assigned the area we were to stay. No bunks - just hammocks. It was an ordeal getting in and ou of these hammocks. The ship was rolling a lot and lots of men were sea-sick - so the ocean was really rough.

I went to the store aboard ship to get some candy and cookies and then came back to our area and it was on the back of the ship and there were other GI's there and we were sitting down and then some of theGI's left the area. It was all enclosed.

Then we were told they were going to fire their gun (boat was English manned and we didn't know why they were going to fire)- and they fired it- and the concussion blew (out) the back end of the bulkhead, wounding me and four other GI's.

I don't remember much after that but laying on the gurney and medics came by and lifted up the towel that had been put across my face and they shook their heads and they had given me a shot to deaden the pain and make me sleep. I don't remember anything until I was on the operating table and they were sewing up my face and nose (my nose was broken and also my cheek bone). They put me in the hospital aboard ship. (The beds there were nice beds because they stayed level no matter what position the ship was in - the beds stayed level.

I stayed in the hospital and the medics would come in and tell us where we were. The day before we landed at Liverpool, they sent me back to my outfit - my face still bandaged.

We landed at Liverpool and taken by truck to Mackelsfield and put into a school house with corn husk mattresses for beds.

Now my experiece over-seas began.

Does anyone have any information on the other GI's that were injured with Mr. Berry? One of them lost his eye and also lost the corner of his head. One fellow had chest injuries and another fellow had a broken leg. Anyone?

Sam Beverage (updated, 2/13/2013)

".....Do any of you recall the British Battleship at the same quay with us? It was said that it had been damaged while coming through the Mozambique Channel. I do not remember the name, but think it may have been the HMS Queen Elizabeth which eventually ended up in the repair dock at Norfolk, escorted there by Destroyer HMS Vimy, which later rescued the survivors of the torpedoed SS West Lashaway, which had sailed from West Africa about the time the Pasteur went by there. Several sagas of the sea entwined, but unknown to us at the time!

A book covering parts of these happenings of Aug. - Sept. 1942 is named "In Peril On The Sea", by Robert W. Bell and D. Bruce Lockerbie. It is well worth reading.

On the lighter side was our crossing of the Equator both N-S and again S-N. Quite surprising that in the midst of wartime that "Shellback" certificates were on hand and were issued to each of us! You will recall that the originals were quite large and that they were kept by our Co officials until some time later.

......We were about 10 days sailing time between each stop with one overnight stop at Freetown but no shore time. Remember how great it was to reach Durban, So. Af. and have two days ashore! Someone discovered that there was a brochure, "Welcome to Durban" available, and it was possible to have a copy mailed home, but no senders name. Many of us took advantage of this, and sure enough they arrived home as the first clue as to where we had disappeared to! I seem to recall that the folders were provided by the famous British "Cooks Tours", but "Barclay's Bank" may have been involved. Does anyone recall?

Another wonderful happening was a free meal with real meat and all the fixings. I believe it was at the Salvation Army "Red Shield Club". In any event it was quite a change from the starvation shipboard diet of such things as smoked herring, biscuits, tea and "library paste" for desert plus soggy vanilla wafers from the NAAFI!

Those of us who had been selected at the last minute to go to Ft. Dix and join the Signal Co. getting ready to go overseas were mostly flat broke, so we couldn't afford to spend much money at Durban, not even the luxury of a ricksha ride up to the main business district so we walked up an back both days, and it was a long way from dockside! By the posted rates, it was 6d. per mile. I recall that as about 12 cents in US money.

Fortunately, we did have enough to pay postage on the "Welcome To Durban, Khaki and Blue, we welcome you. Durban is glad to see you" folders.

We did find the people to be very friendly and helpful there, so personally I was quite unhappy many years later when this country applied "sanctions" on South Africa.

We located a roller skating rink and a bowling alley, but as best we could figure the finances, even if we pooled our assets we couldn't afford to do very much! So what was free? We went down to the aquarium and Snake Park near the beach area, but not even the fish and snakes were very lively!

We were surprised to find a Woolworth's 5 & 10 cent store looking just the same as the ones in Boston or New York, and there were actually some tall buildings! Up to then we had not realized that such places existed in Africa! Our first view of that Continent was of the jungle at Freetown, with waving palm trees. So this is Africa! Wrong impression!

The day we left Durban, the ship pulled out into the harbor and dropped anchor for a while. Looking down along the chain, we observed an ugly looking hammerhead shark, a reminder that we would not want to lose the security of our ship.

While on the subject of the Pasteur, I will mention a few recollections of life on board. As you recall, we were several decks down in what I believe was the 3rd. class dining hall, which was our duffel stowage and sleeping area as well. The ventilation was very poor once the portholes were shut, which happened about mid-afternoon it seemed. One of the British officials came around and cried out "All port'oles closed!" In making his rounds he must have started at the bow, near us, and worked his way aft, and there were a lot of them to check. See the views of the Pasteur.

As much time as possible was spent on deck both day and night, except in the South Atlantic, especially while rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Remember the crash and bang of pots and pans loose in the galley that night?"

Added, 12/31/2001:

".....With all the different outfits aboard it was no wonder that Berlin was out to get us. What a prize we would have been! One of the really nice things that happened was the issue of the little drawstring bags made of GI fatigue cloth. They were made and filled by the Ladies of the Red Cross in New Jersey. A shaving kit, and other toilet articles, a paperback book and a pack of playing cards. Sewn inside was a label giving the name of the RC chapter. Some claimed they also found a name of someone offering to be a Pen-Pal! Those kits were really tough and mine withstood the entire three years and I still have it today!. (Donald Wheatley of VT says he still has his!)

The British called it NAAF1 which I recall as meaning "Navy Army, Air Force Institute", something similar to our PX, 'Post Exchange'. It seemed that by the time our Assembly on the forward deck was over that the window was closed or about to close. About the only thing they seemed to have plenty of were those stale vanilla wafers. Most of us vowed never to eat vanilla wafers if we ever got home! I didn't make good on that and am really quite fond of crisp Nilla-Wafers!

Another food item was the can of corned beef which was issued to every other man leaving the ship at Suez.We were told that might be our first meal ashore and we were supposed to split it with the next fellow who didn't get any. As it happened we had hardly got ashore when we discovered a British soup kitchen. The Brits were very good about being sure the troops traveling by boat or train got a bite of food or a bowl of tea along the way. The can of 'Bully Beef'? Mine never got opened and I carried it in my pack all the way and brought it home as a souvenir! The can eventually rusted out and (the contents) had to be discarded.

There was a nice theater on Pasteur which we went to just once for some orientation. I think that was the time that Berlin had claimed we were sunk. At another lecture, on deck, the Medical Officer told us about the hazards of VD and that it was 100% in most anyplace we might be going. At that time India was rumored to be the destination. I wish they had told us more about the danger of eating certain fruit, such as grapes which the insects had left deposits on. Also that untreated water and milk, if any, were unsafe. Many learned the hard lessons at Rayak, Lebanon! Dysentery, just plain 'GI's' and Hepatitis took their toll.

A great cheer went up from our ship while still at Freetown. An American freighter with the flag flying and some women on the afterdeck was leaving the harbor. We wondered if they ever reached their destination? A lot of ships headed to or leaving that port never made it. We were really lucky to have such a fast ship that survived over 40 years! I have previously mentioned the British troopship Laconia which we crossed paths with. She was torpedoed and sunk SW of Freetown not long after we passed that way! She was a much slower ship than Pasteur and was a smoker and so easy to spot. We believe that the train load of prisoners we saw waiting at quay side Durban may have been the ones lost with her?

Does anyone recall the 'stern chaser' guns on the upper deck? I believe there were two, one a 5 or 6 inch and also a 3 inch. Don't know if they were ever fired but we know the AA funs in the 'tubs' were fired regularly for practice. How many of their size I never found out.

Sleeping on the deck near our life raft station seemed to be a good idea for several reasons. Too hot below decks, handy to the raft, nice starry sky, hum of the wind in the rigging, etc. We always had to keep our 'water wings' with us and they did make good pillows!"

Added, 12/31/2001:

"I notice that the 12th. B.G. is the only one mentioned...., but the entire 323rd. Air Service Group along with elements of (the) 57th. Fighter 98th. B.G. were on it also."

And a question: "Do you know which squadrons of the 12th. went where? Would like to know which was at El Gambuit in January, 1943".

If you can help Sam out on this question, please contact him at:

Sam Beverage

RFD 1

Box 858

North Haven Island

Knox County, ME 04853

Added, 1/03/2003:

I noticed that someone made the statement "after we went through the Canal" etc. It may have seemed like a canal but it was the Gulf of Suez, which is quite narrow as compared to the Red Sea. The Pasteur did not enter the Suez Canal at that time.

Bernard Bishop

I sailed on the Louis Pasteur out of Halifax sometime in 43 I was with the 904th Signal co attached to the  8th Air force.

Michael Blake (Contributed by his son, M.G. Blake

My father Michael Blake was transported to Casablanca in 1943.

Oryn M. Blashe (See the entry for John M. Kropp.)

Sydney.Booth (80 yrs.)

I sailed on the Pasteur from Liverpool,England on 8th May 1945.I was 18 1/2 years old and was on route to Palestine having enrolled in The Palestine Police.I recall that we had an escort,two navy ships,one each side.The next day the escort left as a U-Boat was on the surface,which I understood had surrendered.I think this was in the Bay of Biscay.( 9th.May 1945).We arrived Port Said nine days later where myself and about 30 others disembarked and prceeded to Haifa.Palestine.(now Israel)

Robert L. Bourland

I was among the many troops she transported during WW2.  Our group boarded her at Hampton Roads, VA in Sept. 1943.  I had never seen such a huge ship in my life.  We zig-zagged for 8 days (so the U boats could not get a fix) all the way to Casablanca.

Chet Bradford

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

John Brayton

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Geoffrey Brazier

..... at the advanced age of 81+, I am involved an in depth study of often mispent youth in the Royal Air force. The following is an extract from my service history.
 
After a couple of weeks in Blackpool I went on draft to Morecambe, where I made arrangement to marry, but I sailed from Liverpool on my proposed wedding day, on the HMTS. Pasteur. We went from Morcambe like thieves in the night and I remember passing what seemed like Dante's inferno twice, [Sheffield and Stoke on Trent] before arriving at 'the Pool' in the cold light of dawn., I suppose it was to confuse the enemy, it certainly confused us. Rumours abounded re our destination, which I had been informed was West Africa, but at a few days prior to 'D-Day' it was anybody's guess. The ship rolled like a barrel but I was one of the few who kept meals down, I was allocated to and trained on an Oerlikon Gun, more about this later, but it meant a lot of time on deck watching flying fish and dolphins and getting illicit info, about our route and destination, from the crew, we actually passed, about three hundred miles from Brazil, and finally made landfall at Freetown, Sierra Leone.
 
I made two other 'troopings' , the first from Freetown - Nigeria. two weeks after the Pasteur, in the Sibajak and about twelve months later , from Nigeria to the Gambia in the New Northland which had pre-war and post war service with Clarke Shipping of Canada, then went to the Dominican Navy and and finally sank off Cuba.


I am glad that it and the Pasteur evaded the breakers yard, many thanks for your website.

Thomas Henry "Harry" Broome (Contributed by his widow, Joan Westwick-Broome)

"...my late husband Thomas Henry "Harry" Broome often spoke of sailing across to war on the Louis Pasteur. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at Yorkshire, England where he was a sheet metal worker. (He returned after the war on the Queen Elizabeth). ...Sadly my husband passed away on May 12, 1999...

Hugh Brewer

...I crossed to Canada in October 1941-...When I crossed in October, the weather was so bad that it took 10 days to cross-and for some time we only made steerage way. The escort left us and the convoy dispersed. I well remember doing  look out duty on  deck wearing only my greatcoat and being frozen!! All went well though and arrived safely in Canada.  I returned in a rather grander fashion via the Queen Mary.

E. J. Brunanski

Serving with the RCAF I was on board the Louis Pasteur when the ship set sail at 12:30 a.m.or p.m. (my diary is not too clear) on November 4, 1941 from Halifax, arriving at Greenock Nov. 13.

Leslie Burrell (submitted by his friend, Mary Reddin)

Leslie and Jean Burrell, wedding, 1945

" ....... sailed on the Pasteur. He is 87yrs old ..... He was in the Canadian Royal Ambulance Corps....... Les sailed from Halifax Nova Scotia to Greenock, Scotland in 1942. After one week he travelled by train to Dorking, Surrey where he was stationed until 1944.  He was then sent to Normandy and then to Caen where he followed the Canadian Army through Europe to Oldenburg, Germany. He returned to England in 1945 and married a girl from Surrey. He now lives in West Sussex."

Murray Weldon Burns (Submitted by his sister, Margo MacDonald)

I have this information of my brother Murray Weldon Burns who returned home on the Pasteur on 30 June 1945, he was a private with the North Novies. I do not have any other information.

Margot Carmichael

"...I sailed from Liverpool Dec 12 arriving Halifax December 19th 1944 to join my R.C.A.F. husband in Canada. The ship was full of warbrides and children. We zig zagged across a very rough ocean and many days myself and two friends were the only ones who made it to the dining room. The boat was stocked up in N.Y. white bread and eggs and canned cocktail fruit - got me there. When we were almost ready to land in Halifax subs were sited and we started for New York then back to Halifax. I remember officers suddenly wearing guns. Lots of memories..."

Mrs. Carmichael adds "... who knows, maybe I will hear from my two friends on board with me who got to the dining room with me - Angela Boudreau and Stella Pierce (Pearce?) we lost touch years ago..."

Raymond John Carney

I was with the 12th Bombardment Group that trained in Esler Field , LA and from there we were taken to Dix Field, NY and secretly  loaded on to the Pasteur ( Pier 54) at night.  I departed NY on 16 July, 1942 headed for Port Suez arriving 31 days later.  As we departed the harbor,  I had to peek through the lowered steel storm  shutters on the  deck widows of the ship to obtain a view of the Statue of Liberty at daybreak.
This photo is taken on top of a pyramid in Giza , Egypt - 1943


Wilbur D. Connely, me ,and (an) unidentified sergeant  in the Air Force.

Gordon Carter [G.E.(Nick) Carter]

"After being presented with my wings as a WOP/AG (Wireless Operater/ Air Gunner) in Oct.41 I was transferred to Debert Nova Scotia for further training with Ferry Command. Before this extra training got underway we were given immediate orders to pack and then transferred to Halifax in the dead of night where we boarded this "one huge stacker" the Louis Pasteur. This date was on or about Nov. 5th 1941 and we really didn't have too much time to see or examine our method of transport to the UK. I think we were about four decks below the water line and very cramped quarters.

We shipped out within a day of arrival and set sail for Britain, with two tankers . About three or four days out in the Atlantic we encountered a raging storm. we lost the tankers (we have no idea what happened to them) however the Pasteur rolled so badly that everything that was not nailed down was sliding around the decks etc., Fire extinguishers normally set in boxes about 12 to 18 "high , flew out of the boxes and were speaying everything in sight, the piano in the officers lounge broke loose and was severely damaged. . We were led to believe that the Pasteur did not have "rollimg Chocks" therefore when she was sideways to a large wave the ship rolled to a 45degree angle, causing the loss of a lifeboat and a 20mm Orliken cannon from the top deck!! We were also informed that the Germans (Lord Haw Haw) had reported us as sunk Understandibly we didn't get much sleep for the remainder of our journey , we landed at Greenoch Scotland a few days later quite happy to be on Terra Firma once again.

Ed Cercone

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Robert Chamberlain

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Clint Chambers

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Roscoe Chambliss

I crossed the Atlantic on the Pasteur in March of 1944 on the way England then on to France and Germany.

James C. Chittenden

I was an engineer, gunner on B-24s of the 93rd Bomb Group, Sept. '43 through March '44.  Following the completion of my tour I was assigned to an airbase in Northern Ireland as an instructor for new crews.  I left England as best I can recall, from Liverpool in late June '44 aboard the Pasteur.  We disembarked in New York City.  I do not have any records of the time and date of this passage.

Robert K. (Bob) Collett (submitted by his son, Neil Collett)

"...... he sailed from Townsville in Australia to New Guinea and then to the then Dutch East Indies (Moratai) and then back to Brisbane at the end of the war. He was transported on a couple of ships including the "Louis Pasteur" and the "Bontiko". Not sure which legs of the trip though. He said that they nicknamed  it the "screwy Loius".

Nils Christensen

I was sailing in the Far East as a Merchant Marine when German forces occupied my homeland, Norway. Unable to return home, I enlisted in New York City and was ordered to report to a Royal Norwegian Air Force training facility known as "Little Norway" in Ontario, Canada. When my training was complete in May, 1943, I was sent to Halifax to board a troopship bound for Liverpool, England. The train took us right to the Halifax dock where we disembarked, walked directly through a warehouse and onto the Louis Pasteur. She was loaded up with about 5,000 military personnel and conditions were extremely crowded. Sleeping accommodations were arranged in layers ? on deck level (floor), on the tables and above the tables in hammocks. I became aware that the deck on the ship where I was sleeping was right at torpedo level, which did little to encourage peaceful rest while traveling across the dangerous Atlantic Ocean. We were given two meals a day, one in the morning and one at night, but I don't remember eating much. Most of the passengers appeared to be Canadian, but there was a small contingent of us from Little Norway all bunked together, and it was with these Norwegians that I spent as much time as possible in our quarters, rarely venturing up on deck.

 

It was stormy when we left Halifax and the ship pitched and rolled in the massive waves. As an experienced seaman, the movement of the ship was not alarming or uncomfortable for me, but for others, who were unaccustomed to ocean travel and tasting their first salty spray, the trip was dreadful and there were men throwing up all over the ship. The crew, desperate to get help cleaning up the stinking piles of vomit called on us Norwegian ex-sailors to help. We tried to pretend that we didn't understand English because we knew what they wanted of us, but our ruse didn't work, and we ended up swabbing the troop's quarters, the infirmary and the most disgusting of places, the latrine. The latrine was a long room with a trough extending the length of it with running water. 2" x 4" boards were placed on each side of the trough for seating and it was common to see 30 or 40 white-faced men sitting on the boards, retching. Unfortunately for those poor souls, the trip was not to be a quick one. Submarine sightings forced the captain to take a drastic zigzag route to get us to our destination and the voyage took about 5 days. We headed north, then south to the tropics, then back north again by Iceland, then south to the Azores Island, Portugal before finally heading north again towards our destination. The Louis Pasteur was traveling alone and was vulnerable ? no convoy, no escort - so we had to be extremely cautious, but she was also a fast ship (third fastest in the world at that time) and often traveled without escorts who would only slow her down. Upon arrival in Liverpool, the disembarking men thanked their particular God for prayers answered and relished the feel of solid ground under their feet.

Joe Chudnow (Sgt., Company B, 30th Sig, 5th Army)

(His son, Donald Chudnow, writing.) ......My father recently passed away at the age of 82. I had attended and taped his Army reunions for the 12 years prior to his death. He served with the 30th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion attached to the 5th Army. One of his stories was about being shipped to North Africa on the troop ship Louis Pasteur. He said it was one of the worst periods of the war for him. The ship was "packed solid" and thousands of soldiers were sea-sick. My father decided to sleep on deck the entire trip despite lousy weather. Apparently, that decision was based upon the stench below, crowded conditions and the fear of U-Boat attacks that would trap him below deck. Discussions with many of my dad's comrades during the renunions verified his story

Joe Cillone

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Ralph M. Clark
I was with the Royal Canadian Air Force -#163900 while in service, and with unit 410 R& S. Unit in France. I left Halifax for England on New Year's day 1944 on the Louis Pasteur. The north Atlantic was wild and cold, we zig zagged a lot to avoid the German Submarines.

John Clemens

I sailed on this ship from New York to Haifa Palestein in 1942. I was a S/SGT in the 343 Bomb Squadron 98 Bomb Group. My brother who was wounded in Sicely was returned in this ship to the USA.

Harwood (Woody) Colehour (12th. Bomb Group, 82nd. Squadron)

July 15, 1942 we boarded the Pasteur and went down to our suite? It was a mess-hall with picnic tables on which we slept until we reached warm weather and then it was out to decks. We slept in our fart-sacks as it cooled off in the evening. About 5:00 am, the Indian crews came out with their hoses and said "Washee deck." That meant to get the hell out of the way or get soaked.

The days we spent on deck. At night it was black-out, so no lights or cigarettes. Leaving New Your harbor, we passed debris floating on the water's surface and was told that a plane had spotted a sub and sank same. Our only escort was a couple of planes and they only followed us until we were well out in the ocean. We were told not to be concerned that we didn't have an escort because the ship was one of the fastest afloat, and we would be zigzagging every so often to make us a difficult ship to hit. They issued us life jackets (Mae Wests) as if that made us feel any better.

Near the end of July we put in a Freetown, Sierra leone, Africa. This was to take on oil, which ran the ship. We stayed on board as they told us that the country had a lot of disease. It didn't look too inviting anyhow. The natives always came out in their dug-outs hoping to get some hand-outs such as coins and cigarettes.

I haven't mentioned the "food" that was our chow for the rest of the trip. It was Limy's food that was so terrible that when they threw it overboard the sharks wouldn't eat it! We were supposed to get American food, but that went to the officers (both G.I. and English). Luckily there was a wet and dry canteen on board and we spent our lousy $12.00 on food, such as cookies, fruit juice and Pepsi Cola. Here's the way the Limeys sold it. Pepsi Cola: 50% cola and 50% water. Breakfast consisted of kidney stew and oatmeal that tasted and looked like wallpaper starch. Supper was tea, cheese and mutton pie. Hold on shark- you're getting a change of diet!

I will say that the average English soldier was a good fellow, including some English and Scotch officers. It was the English higher command that dictated what we would have.
Going around the Cape of Good Hope was quite something. Here's where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, and even the sun was shining and it was a clear day- we hit some rough water. Some of the G.I.'s hit the rail from being seasick. The boat rolled back and forth and it was really scary.

We were given short arms inspection while out on the middle of the ocean. Fall out on deck with nothing but your raincoat!

We put in port at Durban, South Africa and was given a 2 day leave. Durban was a welcome sight, after being on ship for weeks. A ride in a rikisha, pulled by a tall decorated Zulu native was quite a ride.

August, 1942 we docked Gulf of Suez. We could look overboard and see hundreds of jelly fish and hammerhead sharks all around the boat. This is where the G.I.'s broke into the food supply storage and broke out juice, food etc. that was denied us en route. We didn't care as we were leaving the ship for good! Our trip alongside the Suez Canal was on-board the Egyptian Express(???).

All in all, we were lucky no submarine or air attacks marred our journey to Egypt.


From Egypt to North Africa along the southern side of the Med, to Sfax, Sicily, South Italy and then to India. (Three years of overseas duty.)

Jerome Cohen

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

George McLellan Court (Contributed by his daughter, Marilyn Harrison)

He served in World War II and made the crossing on the Louis Pasteur in Dec. 1941.

William Creary (Submitted by his son, William J. Creary, Jr.)

"..... my dad sailed on the Louis Pastuer on his way to the European theatre during January, 1945.  He was 18 years old and evidentally, the men on the ship lived in 'squalor'." 

Joyce Crosby (nee Bredow)

Western Approaches. This was the Signals Office-nerve center for all operations in the North Atlantic. Here, in what was known as "The Citadel" beneath 12 feet of concrete, every move in the most vital of our defensive battles was studied and plotted.

I subsequently trained as a coder, dealing with signals received in W/T (wireless transmitter- radio) from ships and aircraft operating in the North Atlantic. In 1943 "Wren" coders were invited to volunteer for "special duties." We all volunteered, not knowing at first what this entailed. It meant that in December, 1943 I found myself on the SS Pasteur with the other Wren ratings and two cypher officers. Having signed on for three trips- replacing the Naval ratings who were required for other theaters of war.

The first trip was the most memorable. We had no idea where we were going. We knew only that the ship was carrying about 4,500 troops- British, Canadians, Australians, Americans- Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Pasteur was a DEMS ship- a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship. The Defensive equipment being one gun positioned on the stern. On our first morning- sailing out into the Irish Sea, without any warning, it seemed that all hell was let loose. They were having gun practice!! It certainly scared us rigid. Fortunately, during my time at sea, they never had to use the gun for real. One day we sailed right through the middle of a convoy. One of the escorts vessels warned us that there were U-boats "...to the rear" but we didn't encounter any.

We sailed each trip out of Liverpool "under sealed orders." This meant that the Captain was given a course to take and had to keep on that course until he received a signal from Admiralty allowing him to open the sealed orders and alter course. Breaking W/T (wireless transmitter- radio) was a mortal sin as any U-boat in the area could pick up our position. On one occasion the signal from Admiralty did not come at the expected time. We were heading further and further North, into worsening weather. The Pasteur had a reputation for pitching and rolling due to her one great funnel and for the fact that she wasn't built for North Atlantic sailing, so the situation became serious- especially when we had to reduce speed to 6 knots. The safety of the ship, and all on board was dependent on her speed- which was usually 22 knots. The Captain was furious and was threatening to break W/T (wireless transmitter- radio) silence. We never did know what happened, all we knew was that to our great relief 24 hours later we were in the Gulf Stream and heading for New York.

On arrival in New York we Wrens had a wonderful time. We were there for five days. We shopped in the first supermarkets we'd ever seen. We were given free tickets to any of the shows on Broadway, had "hair do's" and photographs taken at Saks Fifth Avenue, wined and dined and generally given a great time- especially when they realized we were English.

However, all good things come to an end. On the 23rd. December 1943 we left New York for Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had waved goodbye to the troops some days earlier, sadly, as we realized they were off to a very uncertain future. The Pasteur was like a ghost ship- empty and clanging.

On Christmas Day we arrived in Halifax- a dump in comparison to New York. The ship filled up with another human cargo and we set sail for England.

It was in Halifax that we Wrens were invited to a dance at the YMCA. There I met a Royal Naval Petty Officer named Jack Crosby, and fifty-eight years on- but that's another story!!

I did four more trips on SS Pasteur, the last two towards the end of the war. The Merchant Navy Officers on board were convinced that one day she would "turn turtle," but she didn't- not until she had carried thousands of human souls safely to their destinations.

Laurence Cunningham (Submitted by his son, Peter Cunningham)

"...... regarding my fathers sailing to Canada on the pasteur during WW2. (He) went to Canada as a young RAF pilot to train and get his wings. He returned to England and flew Mosquitos for 151 squadron for the rest of the war.

Ernest Davis (Submitted by his Grandaughter Adele Earnshaw.)

"My Grandfather, Ernest Davis, was crew on this ship throughout her wartime duties. He was an electrician. .... he was a Merchant Seaman rather than in R.N. ...."

John "Dixie" Dean (Submitted by his daughter, Brenda Dean.)

My father John "Dixie" Dean served in the 1st Battalion Beds & Herts Regiment. He and 83 others volunteered to serve as gunners on DEMS. On 6 May 1941,  a convoy left Alexandria and reached Malta 3 days later, under escort of half the mediterranean fleet. The men were billetted with the Cheshire Regiment until 23 July when it was considered safe to send the convoy to Gibraltar. The men were then taken to Scotland on "Pasteur" along with civilian families.

Dorsey E. Dent (submitted by his son, Tom Dent)

My father, Dorsey E. Dent was a Chaplain, Captain, assigned to the 323rd Air Service Group and he sailed on the Pasteur on 16 July 1942.  I am in the process of writing his personal Biography and I have accumulated a lot of information.  I found a declassified copy of an Army Air Force Historical Study involving the Ninth Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign to 23 January 1943.  Page 19 of this study states that the ground echelons of the 98th Heavy and the 12th Medium Bombardment Groups, departed Manhattan on 16 July aboard the British-operated troop carrier Pasteur.  Page 124, Appendix 3, Change of Station has the following information on the 98th Bombardment Group Heavy.


The Ground Echelon departed Brooklyn 16 July 1942 and arrived at Suez, Egypt, 16 August 1942 where it was divided and the 343d and 344th Bombardment Squadrons went to St. Jean, Palestine arriving there on 21 August 1942.  The Headquareters, 345th and 415th Squadrons departed Suez, Egypt, 19 August 1942 and arrived at Ramat David, Palestine, 20 August 1942. The Change of Station Appendix has several pages of information involving the various groups and squadrons.  My father's Group, the 323rd apparently was traveling with the 98th Bombardment Group, so I have watched for that information, although the 12th Bombardment Group also sailed on the Pasteur.  The Headquarters and the ground echelons of the 81st, 82d, 83d and 434th Squadrons departed New York, N. Y. 16 July and arrived at Kabrit Airdrome, Egypt, 16 August 1942.


The Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force, Alabama has a vast amount of information available on the 98th and 12th Bombardment Groups and the 57th Fighter Group.  There is very little data on the 323rd Air Service Group.  I have searched my father's records and this is what I know:


The 98th Bomb Group Heavy with the 323rd Air Service Group and associated units entrained and departed Lakeland, Florida Airport 2 for the staging area at Fort Dix, New Jersey on 3 July 1942.  My father's files indicate that he departed the POE Brooklyn on 16 July 1942.  The Air force Study states that the units departed Manhattan and the 12th departed New York, N. Y.  This had me confused for a while because I thought that maybe there were two different ships.  I now realize that perhaps the Pasteur may have been docked in the Hudson River (Pier 90?) where they could have loaded the 12th Bombardment Group and then moved to Brooklyn to load the 98th and associated units.  This is just speculation.


...I have several un-answered questions which may be revealed in the stories.  My father's mother passed away on 15 July 1942 and his brother (my Uncle) sent a telegram on 16 July 1942.  I do not know if this telegram reached my father since the Pasteur sailed on 16 July 1942.  The entire voyage to Suez took 31 days.  I am curious about the religious services which were probably held on the ship.

P.S.   The movement of the air echelons and the planes is another fascinating story.  The B-24s (Liberators) and the B-25s (Mitchells) flew from Florida to Brazil where they crossed the Atlantic to central Africa.  They crossed Africa to Egypt and then Palestine.  The 57th Fighter Group crossed the Atlantic on the Aircraft Carrier Ranger and their aircraft were launched off the west coast of Africa.


 John Dibello (submitted by his son-in-law, James Quick)

John DiBello, landed in England in January, 1945, after crossing the Atlantic on the Pasteur. He woke up the first morning at sea and all the escorts were gone! About a dozen ships one day and none the next. He knew that the ship would do 25 knots. He fought with Patton's 3rd army and then was an MP in a Wehrmacht POW camp in England once the ETO calmed down. It's kinda funny, I was researching the ship that carried his parents from Italy to Ellis Island in 1920 (the La Touraine) and how it was nick named the Steady Ship by immigrants because it sailed so well in rough seas. He landed in Havre on an LCT, the same port his parents left for America twenty-four years earlier. He then started comparing the ship that took him to Europe and the miserable tub that brought him home in 1946. ... He said he loved the Pasteur (quote "What a ship that was!") and can't even remember the name of the ship (it might have been a Liberty) that took him back to NYC.

Donald Doal (submitted by his Grandson, Steven Mamczasz

"My Grandfather was a Corporal with the 7th field company (calgary Highlabnders) and left from Halifax on the Pasteur. He is still alive..."

Andrew Duncan

I sailed on the Pasteur from Greenock(Glasgow) to Halifax on November 27th 1940,  It's so easy for me to remember the date since it was my 21st birthday.  In these days I was extremely prone to sea sickness, and spent the next six days lying and intermittently sleeping, and getting up to make a rush to the "bathroom".  I was one  of some 1000 RAF personel destined for  we didn't know where until mid Atlantic when it was revealed that we were headed for Carberry, Manitoba , to staff one of the first RAF Stations that pre-dated the establishment of the British Commonmwealth Air Training Plan.
 
By co-incidence three years later I believe it was on December 27th 1943. when returning, much to my initial horror it was the same "Louis Pasteur" ( You were right in your article - that's what we called her") that was waiting for us at the dockside in Halifax.  My fears , however were unnecessary, because as far as I can remember the voyage was uneventful, the Ocean behaved itself and I experienced No Mal de mere. ...I have now been happilly married to a Manitoba girl for 62 years.

George F. Dupras (Taken from an account published in "The Burlington Free Press" newspaper, May 27th, 2001)

"George Dupras sailed into war in July, 1942 on the deck of the Louis Pasteur, a troop ship longer than the American Woolen Mill building in Winooski where he had worked. He was a gregarious 20-year-old, seeing the world for the first time as a recruit in the 98th. Bomb Group of the 9th. Air Force. Dupras made precise notes in a little book as the crowded ship zig-zagged every two minutes to escape German submarines prowling the Atlantic: 'Crew- 460. 9 decks. Length 696 feet. High: 125 feet.' He noted the ship's itinerary: 'Freetown, Durban, Port Sues. Arrived 8-16-42, 1pm........" (This is the end of any reference to the Pasteur.)

Jack J. Dyer
I sailed from New York to Liverpool on the Louis Pasteur with the 117th. General Hospital unit US Army. We departed New York on June 21,l944 and arrived in Liverpool on June 29, l944. Most of my outfit and the other thousands aboard were seasick the entire voyage as we cruised into some bad storms and heavy seas. They had us running back and forth (port to starboard) so as to help keep the ship from capsizing. Water was running rampart all over the ship and conditions were so bad that it was impossible to eat anything and keep it down. At one point of the voyage they announced that a German U-boat was after us so we turned around and ran at top speed for approximately 4 hours trying to outrun the submarine. Evidently they were successful,so they turned back around for our original destination.

Bob Elliot (Submitted by his friend, Sybren van der Velden)

A friend of mine, Bob Elliot fought in WW-II in the 3rd Canadian Division of the Canadian Army. He was transported to England November 1941 on the Louis Pasteur. Last year a book about him and his wife was published : "The little coat". Look at : http://www.thelittlecoat.com/.

On the picture, Bob & Sue Elliot with the major at the wreath laying on the 4th of may 2009 (remembrance day) in  Wijk bij Duurstede Holland.

Leslie Alcwyn Fabian (contributed by his friend, Derek Davies)

My former boss and friend Leslie Alcwyn Fabian was born on 10th December 1910 in  Bridgend, Glamorgan, South Wales where he worked for the Penybont Rural District Council, but was conscripted in 1940 and served in the RAF as a wireless operator, after a period of training in Blackpool, Lancashire.
 
He was transported to the Middle East, via Cape Town, on the 'Pasteur', sailing from Gourock on the Clyde on 8th Januaty 1942 having arrived there from Liverpool. I recall him saying that the ship was incomplete, when it sailed from France to avoid capture by the Germans at the outset of the Second World War. The sea sickness which afflicted many of the troops on board, was partly attributable to the fact that there had not been time for stablisers to be fitted. Conditions on board were grim to say the least, he was billeted well below the water line in the bowels of the ship; the food was sub-standard. In 1945 on cessation of hostilities, he returned to his native town and resumed his career in Local Government. I recall that he was billited on the Pasteur with another RAF conscript named Arthur Lomas who came from Manchester. I have no other details as they disembarked at different ports.
 
He was pre-deceased by his wife Gladys and he passed away in Bridgend in June 1999 aged 88 years.

Jean Andre Faure

Here is a summary of my recollections of the Pasteur:

I had been in French Indochina since 1945 as a soldier of the Régiment d'Artillerie Coloniale du Maroc (Moroccan Colonial Artillery Regiment, RACM) and had learned that I was to leave for France on the troop transport Pasteur from Haiphong harbor on November 22, 1947. I remember noticing the immense size of the ship and thought it was like a small city. I joined other soldiers and got on the ship, which left Halong Bay, bound for the Mekong River delta to pick up more soldiers coming from Saigon (also bound for France). All told there were about 4,500 military personnel going back to France-plus 500 crew members on board. As I recall, early on, we were asked to volunteer to take care of some sick and wounded on board. We were cantoned in the hold, everybody slept in hammocks (except for the wounded), and we could not circulate freely around the ship. We watched the ocean from the portholes. I had gotten seasick on my way over to Indochina (on another ship) but nothing like that happened on my return trip on the Pasteur.

While on board, we thought quite a lot about those soldiers who stayed behind in Indochina for one reason or another (i.e., still completing their tours of duty). Days passed quickly attending to sick and wounded soldiers. We told each other stories of our time in Indochina and thought of those who did not make it out alive. We were anxious to see family after two years of absence.

Our first stop was in Singapore where the ship stocked up on supplies and refueled. Around that time, I ran into a young guy from my hometown (Bourgouin-Jallieu) who was also going home. I remember that the ship next docked in Aden where I got off briefly to buy some cigarettes and noticed the "red colored" landscapes of that coast. Next, the ship was piloted through the Suez Canal at Port Said. On board, I ran into my old captain from the France and Germany campaigns of 1944-45 (6th battery). Our original course was to take us directly to Marseille, but this changed due to a dockworker's strike and so we headed to Cherbourg instead via the strait of Gibraltar.

When I finally sighted Cherbourg I heaved a sigh of relief. I was back from Indochina in one piece and no injuries! We bid our good-byes to one another, wished each other good luck in life (civilian life would take some time to re-adapt to but military life forges character), and at dawn got off the ship with our bags. The return trip had taken 22 days and we had arrived right before Christmas.

Added by his Son-In-Law, David Rheault:

He was part of the Régiment d'Artillerie Coloniale du Maroc (Moroccan Colonial Artillery Regiment, RACM). As Morocco was a French colony, Free French forces left Casablanca between July and October, 1943 and landed in Corsica and Elba in Spring of 1944. They then landed on the French mainland by August 1944 and pushed north through eastern France north of Strasbourg until they crossed the Rhine into Germany near Mannheim. They then pushed south through the Black Forest south of Friburg to Lorrach and cut east to Stockach and Tuttlingen and Rottweil. That was the end of their mission in Germany. Some of these were the soldiers who were then sent to Indochina in 1945. My Father-in-law was one of them. He was quite a young man when he went back to France on the Pasteur.

He was only 22 years old.

Roy Findlay (Contributed by his son, David Findlay)

My father Roy Findlay, crossed on the Louis Pasteur from Quebec City to Southampton in 1945.  He was an Officer in the RCAF.

Cecil Finnamore

I crossed from Halifax to Liverpool on the Pasteur in March 1945. There were approx 5000 Canadian soldiers and a group of sailors who were going to Ireland to crew the newly built cruiser Ontario. i was in the Canadian Infantry Corp. During the voyage I met a home town friend aboard who was one of the sailors.

Maurice Fitzmaurice (submitted by his daughter, Mary Craymer)

" My dad, Maurice Fitzmaurice sailed home on the ship on May 31, 1945. He sailed from Southampton, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was a Pilot Officer in the R.C.A.F."

Ray Gager

I sailed from Halifax Canada to Gourock Scotland on HMT Loius Pasteur on 20 June 1941 arriving Gourock 30 June 1941 as a member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and later I served in the RAF, NZ 404657.

Stuart William (Bill) Gerard

I sailed overseas to England from New York  sometime around end of June 1943 to first of July on the Pastuer. I remember it  being refered to as the "Louis Pastuer". I do not remember the actual  date we left new york other that we were 2 days late in reporting in. We were escorted out of New York  by a couple of Frigates. On the first morning out  the escoerts left us, the loud speskers blared first thing asking for volinteers for lookout duties.  Several dozens of us did. As long as you didn't have a sea sickness porblem you  were accepted. We gathered on deck and were briefed on our duties and were given the choice of several stations. ie Port and Starboard Bridge positions also Stern lookouts. Then came the Crow's nest positions. These were approx. 60 feet up the Mast. from the deck. I think there was only 8 of us volunteered. We were all Aircrew and didn't have any  motion sickness problems. 2 hours on 4 hours off. The trip was great, calm seas with a roll, maybe 15 degrees off perpendicular, we could see over each side as she rolled. We reached Liverpool without ever seeing a sub, thank goodness.


The conditions for a troup ship was not bad. we slept in hammocks stacked 3 high Which were not bad once you got the nack of getting into them. The food could have been worse, But what did you expect ?

Percy W. Geuin (Submitted by his son, James L. Geuin)

"My Father sailed with the Pasteur from Ft. Dix in the USA on July 16th 1942 to Port Suez, arriving on August 16th 1942. He died in Alto, Corsica on June 14th 1944.  He served with the 57th Fighter Group, 66th Fighter Squadron."

Bobbie C. Glass (See the entry for John M. Kropp.)

John Clendenning (Submitted by his son.)

"My dad was a Canadian soldier who crossed to England in Dec,1940. on the Louis Pasteur. He returned to Canada on the Ile de France in Oct 1945.His name is John Clendenning."

Henry Glenk

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Jack Godwin
"........After we arrived in Fort Dix, near Trenton, N.J., we didn't do much but wait on transportation. On July the 15th., we began to move out. We loaded onto a train which took us to New York City, where (we) loaded onto a ship. This ship was The Louis Pasteur. This ship was built in France and was taken over by the British during the start of the war. It was the third fastest ship in the world at that time. It had a top speed of 27 knots. When it was built it was supposed to have been a luxury liner to run between France and South America.

We pulled out the next day, July 16th, 1942 and went by the Statue of Liberty.

While we were loading, we could see The Normandy laying on it side, a few piers (from) where we were. That ship was a French ship in the docks for repairs. An explosion of some kind happened and it turned on its side.

As we were leaving New York Harbor, we went by The Statue of Liberty, and thank God we had a couple of destroyers escorting us. Some where out of nowhere, a sub got on our trail. Thanks to those watchful destroyers they spotted it. They had a ball dumping depth charges. You could feel the ship tremble from the concussion of the explosion of the depth charges they dropped. They left a slick on the water, and a B-17 aircraft came over and dropped a depth charge, then you could see an oil slick boil up out of the water, that was an indication that they had hit their target.

We followed the East coast almost to South America, then we turned East and headed toward Africa.

After we were on that course a few days, we spotted a sub about a day out of Freetown, Africa. I and a few others that were riding on the bow shouted to the bridge, and when the captain saw it I thought he was going to turn the ship over, he turned it so quick, and began to zigzag it for several miles. We pulled into Freetown, Africa where we refueled. The next day we headed South. Down around the Cape, an overcoat felt good in August.

We learned later that the debris that we saw on the water, after we saw the sub, was our supplies. We also learned that Axis Sally had put out a report that the Germans had sunk The Louis Pasteur, and that we were at the bottom of the ocean. They knew we were out there somewhere on that ship, but they didn't know where we were, or where we were going.

The next stop was Durban, South Africa, where we refueled again and took on more supplies (mutton), our main food for the journey. We stayed there a couple of days. We were supposed to go to Bagdad, but the Germans were giving the English such a bad time in Africa they pulled us into Egypt on August 20th., 1942, and then on into St. Jeans (Jenin?), Palestine (The Land of Cannon) about 5 miles Northeast of Heifer (Haifa?), a port city located on the Northeast side of Mt. Caramel (Mt. Carmel?). ............"

Harry Goldman

"She" brought me back from Europe in '45.

Marinus Pieter Goudswaard (Submitted by his son, O.Goudswaard)

"My father was transported to India by Pasteur. Regiment 4-3RI .... He was there from March 1947 to February 1950 ..."

Sydney Grant

I sailed on the Pasteur from New York to Liverpool, Nov.30 to December 7, 1944. I was a soldier in the U.S. 788th Field Artillery Battalion. I was 18 at the time. Also on board were all our artillery pieces including twelve 8 -inch howitzers and the prime movers that hauled them. I remember many airforce personnel on board with us. I believe
there were at least 2000 men on board.

We slept in hammocks that were stored in the dining area where we ate the three meals a day we were served. I think the food was British. The crew were British, as were the gunnery crews that manned the anti-aircraft machine guns and the artillery piece on the stern deck. We took saltwater showers, but not frequently.

We did not have an escort, and we had several lifeboat drills on the way over. During the crossing, on the third day, we ran into a severe storm, and they strung ropes up and placed GI cans in the passageways. It was a very bad storm, and we were not allowed out on deck. The waves were more than forty feet high. The ship seemed very sturdy and powerful. Its mainstairway had a map showing the Atlantic and France and South America, which I thought was its original service route.

When we arrived in the Irish Sea, a big flying boat came to meet us and circled us for about a half hour signaling us with signal flashing.Then a few hours later, two destroyers came up, and took positions, one on either side of us, and escorted us for the last day into the Harbor at Birkenhead. We arrived early in the morning, and it was foggy. I remember the flak towers in the bay on the way in to the dock. We spent all day at the dock while supplies were unloaded. We left the ship in the late afternoon and went by rail to Congleton, Cheshire, where we were billeted in the attic of the Marsuma Cigar Mills, and we slept on straw mattresses.

In February we travelled south to Portland where we took LSTs to Le Havre. and thence to a Cigarette Camp nearby called Lucky Strike. We eventually traveled to Sittard, Holland, where we crossed into Germany and into combat duty, crossing the Rhine at Duisberg on pontoon bridges, at the end of March 1945.

Sam Grenek (submitted by his friend Sam Beverage)

" ...was one of my tent-mates during most of the three years spent overseas. Like myself he came into the 60th Signal Platoon from the 30th Signal Platoon of Manchester, NH. He was a Radio Operator, Repairman and was my boss when I first came into the 30th. I believe it was he who suggested that I be called "Bev" so as not to be confused with "Sam 1" or "Sam 2". There were seven of us taken from the 30th in the wee hours of a hot July night and whisked off to Ft. Dix bound we knew not where. Now 60 years later there are, as far as we know, just the two Sams left, or one "Sam" and one "Bev". In addition to being a Radio Operator he went to Radar School and specialized in repairing the before mentioned IFF's (see the account of Paul Jacob) and became very efficient at making them perform properly despite one of the worst hazards of the desert, very fine sand infiltrating into everything! IFF's of those days were about 50% mechanical so you can guess what problems sand caused! Something which I am not sure if mentioned before. Each of us was given a drawstring bag made of GI cloth. These were assembled by the ladies of the various New Jersey Red Cross Chapters. Each bag contained some toilet articles, a paperback book and a pack of Playing Cards which really got used on that long voyage! Our games were mild compared to those played in some parts of the Ship where small fortunes were made or lost. Those of us from the 30th were bankrupt so it was just some exciting long games of "Hearts"! Oh yes some of those Red Cross bags contained the name of the lady, young or old, not known, who had put it together. Very nice of the Ladies of the New Jersey Red Cross who must have been very busy considering the thousands and thousands they had to supply!..."

Sam Grenek is in the middle. To his left is Leon Hale, Sam "Bev" Beverage is on the right side. (Sam Beverage: "This picture of three was taken by a Street Photographer at Rayak, Lebanon in the Bekaa Valley. He had only a simple film developing and fixing solution and it is amazing that the picture has lasted 60 years! There was a Photographer with a similar rig who came to all the Barracks at Ft. Dix but for some reason his pictures didn't last. He had a limitless supply of "captive" customers whereas the Street Photog. only had a few.

Frank E. Grogan (See the entry for John M. Kropp.)

Peter Guide (contributed by his son, Jeff Guide

My father was stationed in Mississippi, went to Ft Myers, and then to Holloman in Alamagordo, NM, before shipping out of NYC in August, '42. He was a B-24 Flight Engineer, Staff Sgt, in the 98th, 343rd Bomber Group. My father had no big story to tell about the ship. He mentioned that the ship was reported sunk back home and his parents thought he was dead. At least until the ship "surfaced" in port. He said they seemed to be zig zagging nearly the entire trip and it took forever to get across the Atlantic. He slept on the deck as much as he could as it was hot inside much of the time. My father didn't begin talking about the war until 1991-92, which was apparently typical for the men in the war.

Peter Guide's certificate- issued to individuals that cross the Equator.

Orville Guyer


These remarks are from correspondence between Orvill Guyer and Sam Beverage. (Items in parentheses are by Mr. Beverage.)

(Part of a Jan. 1998 letter from Orville Guyer who was First Sgt. on our "Cruise" on the Pasteur. ) Quote "July 16, 1942 -- Long, hot shuffle to the Pasteur. The 2 day Rookie, Brooklyn boy got in our line and went overseas with us. My sleeping Card was a nice cabin. Had just started to settle in when the order came for me to go down below with the men! Hot, smelly, Mess close by, Hamocks to sleep in, Rats sometimes climbing the lines looking for snacks, and during "the big storm" complete chaos. Every pan in that Mess came loose and was bouncing or flying. Seasick Heaven!


I still have my "Passport", my Equator Crossing fancy Certificate, and a spoon from a Restaurant in Durban! Do you remember the little stern gun that was our entire protection? And the Spitfire on deck that some thought would fly out and do battle if needed? That was a long journey 55 years ago! Memories!" unquote.
(From a letter of Feb. 1998, Orville tells more about the boy who apparently fell in with the 323rd Group on the way to the boat and went overseas with no training at all!) Quote "The walk-on Rookie. I remember watching him take his basic training on the Parade Ground at the Rayak (Lebanon) Base. I believe Hqtrs. Co. took him aboard for the journey. He was doing ok." unquote.


(From a letter of March 1998, Orville tells how he became 1st Sgt..) Quote "Jake" (older brother of Paul Jacob) was the 1st Sgt. ahead of me. He became a WO. (Warrant Officer) One day in July he was leading our Calisthenics - next day , ex-Corp. Guyer was waving his arms and thinking about that ship waiting in the Harbor! Calisthenics, Daily and Early. One bright spot at sea was my day to give the Officers my version of exercising. Out of Ship's Galley to the Swimming Pool area, fresh air and Officers who had to keep up. They never asked me back! Lt. Somerville told me that the last, "Running in Place," with knees high and a moving deck was tough. Basically we had a good bunch of officers in the 323rd but after that Lt. Hay "Walk to the Mountain" project, I was a bit worried about what he might do under fire! (The "To the Mountain" hike took place from the Transient Camp at Suez, westward toward mountains that appeared quite close but never did seem to get any closer! Distances are very deceiving in desert heat conditions.)


(More of March 1998, Orville says) quote "Am also recalling that R.R. trip from Egypt through Jordan, Syria to Rayak. At some of those hills we got out and walked along the tracks to help the engine climb! We were trying! We met a young couple walking to somewhere, and he spoke English - They told us that his wife had a brother in Brooklyn, NY. Sgt. Charette asked the address - It was about 2 blocks from where he was raised! Small World!. The big Cat on a rock in Jordan-Puma-Cougar or something?


Enter the Parade Grounds at Rayak - Barracks, stone, French Foreign Legion - This is class! But at night the bedbugs came out of every crack. This was Hell! Food - bad, dangerous, sparse and that Bakery our Supply Officer found to make bread. (It was said it was at a Prison at Baalbeck and they must have swept the flour up off the floor as there were sticks and stones in it along with the bugs!) Those were not raisins! Bugs and Flies cooked! Lots of Dysentary, but I hit a high fever and passed out on the back Veranda trying to make the "John". The Doc. called it "Sand Fly Fever".


(Orville mentions the Softball League and how the 1060th Signal won a trip to Cairo to play the 9th AF team. In his words) "All returned safely to Bengasi, and that includes getting airplane out of that little Airport. Breathtaking!" (He is speaking of the very small field at Heliopolis which was hemmed in by fairly tall buildings!)
(He speaks of the great sandstorm at LG--174, El Amiriya.) " The big sandstorm! Wow! We did not lose our papers but Hqtrs. did . Somewhere out in that desert some orders and papers still remain! (Some currency was also lost!) In the Orderly Room (tent) I had a light and the phone, which never rang, and gobs of sand. That was a dandy - Someone told me to put the gas mask on and I did wear it all night. Every hour or so I would shake the sand out and put it back on. That night just about matched the night on the Louis Pasteur going around the Cape! Not quite!"

The foregoing are excerpts from three letters written to me in 1998 by Orville Guyer the 1st Sgt. Of the 1060th Sig. Co. 323rd ASG during the voyage on Pasteur, in Lebanon, Egypt and Libya. In parenthesis are my comments to help explain some places and things. Sgt. Guyer returned to the States in late Summer 1943 to train new troops. His address is his original home place at 4371 County Rd. U., Liberty Center, OH 43532-9513. You have his picture in the group at Rayak which also includes Lt. William Somerville, later Capt. and Major. Somerville also left the 1060th in 1943 going eventually to 15th AF Hq. We have lost track of Somerville now, but Guyer saw him back in the States on one occasion. The Lt. Hay mentioned also returned to the States and is said to have attained General rank by end of the War.

(All the above is correct to the best of my knowledge. Samuel H. Beverage on April 22, 2003, for Hal Stoen and "The Saga of the Ship Pasteur.")

Walter Halliwell (submitted by his son, Peter Halliwell)

"..... my Dad ...was on this ship traveling from Cape Town to Liverpool during June/July 1944 returning to the UK from Rhodesia as part of the RAF escort of a large contingent of Italian POW's.

Jack Hankes
As a young RAF airman in Egypt from 1953 to 1956, we used to swim in the Suez Cannel of Devisor Point just before the canal opens into the Great Bitter Lakes. In 1954 we read in the papers that Dien Bien Phu was under threat and saw the ship Pasteur moving through the canal loaded with French troops bound for that city. There were armed guards on all the lowered gangways and other vantage points and the troops were obviously confined below to thwart any absconding. Every porthole had at least two heads looking through. We thought that we did not have it easy, but these fellows were off to almost certain death. This ship sailed through the canal several times to my knowledge, I wonder how many of its passengers from that period made the return journey? And was it worth it?

T. G. Hanson

I spent six years in the UK, Italy and NW Europe and returned home on the Pasteur.

I knew many other Canadians who were carried to Europe on her, but my first acquaintance with her came when I boarded her in Southampton in June of 44.I was one of a few thousand who volunteered for service in the Pacific theatre. By the way, did you know that every one of the approximately 600,000 Canadians who served in the various theatres of war was a volunteer?. Unfortunately I can contribute little to your knowledge .I remember only the joy of travelling on a fully lighted ship across what had been a hostile ocean. We slept in hammocks, made a fast crossing to Halifax and that was the last I saw of her.

(I am writing a memoir for my sons and daughter, and now have photos of the three troopers I sailed on, RMS Aquitania in 1939, SS Edmund B Alexander, formerly the "Amerika", interned in new York in 1941, and the Pasteur. There was another, the "Ville d'Oran", a small Mediterranean vessel that carried my regiment from Naples to Marseilles in late 44, to join up with the other Canadian forces in Holland. I doubt if a photo of it would be available.

Rolland Hardt (Contributed by his grandaughter, Julie Schneider)

"..... My Grandfather crossed the Atlantic on the Pasteur for WWII...His Name was Rolland Hardt and he was part of the 372nd Engineers General Service Regiment.  My records indicate that he left Camp Shank NY on August 14, 1943 for Liverpool England.  Grandpa died this past summer and in going thru his stuff, I have discovered a wonderful collection of his WWII records and Medals.  Unfortunately, like so many other veterans, he didn't talk about his time in Europe during the War.  He received a purple heart for wounds received during the battle of Ardeens.   In wanting to find out more about his service and experiences during WWII, I am researching everything I can to help recreate his service to share with the rest of the family."

(Following is from Mr. Hardt's diary.) From Chicago we went to Camp Shank, NY where we went thru a lot of red tape. All our clothing was checked, new clothing given us, exams, etc. On the 4th day here we were suddenly alerted at 6 PM Friday 13th and in an hour moved out on foot with all our equipment except duffle bag which was taken by truck. This was a forced march of about 5 miles, and the fasted one under full equipment I ever was on. We went to a dock on the Hudson river, then was picked up by a ferry and taken to New York Harbor where we boarded a luxury liner a brand new ship the Louis Pasteur which had been captured and named by the British. It was bristling with all kinds of guns. There was about 10,000 soldiers aboard. It was terribly hot and crowded and the food was terrible. I could hardly eat it. I will never forget kippered herring. It was awful. The Limeys were crazy about it though. When we left, the German U-boats were plenty thick, especially in the waters we had to cross. But we went all alone, no convoys, so fast no sub could catch us. The ship changed its course every nine minutes. The second day out we were attacked by a pack of subs and had to go way out of the course. We went so close to Iceland, we could see the islands. We dropped several depth charges and easily out ran them., but lost a full day on our journey.

John Philip Hardstaff (submitted by his son, Paul Hardstaff)

My father, John Philip Hardstaff served in the Royal Navy during WW2.  His first posting was as Ordinary Seaman on armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire where one of his roles was in the ship's boarding party.

He recalls an instance when Worcestershire went to the assistance of Louis Pasteur either in the Red Sea or in off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean because of trouble with prisoners of war being carried south in Pasteur.

I have not been able yet to establish an exact date for this, so it may or may not be the same incident described by Bryan Samuels.  "After Alamein" is what I am told.  My father did not learn the original cause of the difficulties on board Pasteur.

He recalls an atmosphere of considerable tension and grievance between the prisoners and guards, such that both groups welcomed the arrival of the RN who had had no involvement in the build up of the situation and could keep them apart long enough for tempers to cool and tension to ease.  He believes the prisoners were mainly Germans but cannot be sure of who comprised their escorting guards.  What he clearly remembers, though, is that the sympathies of the boarding party came to be with the prisoners and against the guards, largely because of measures they had taken to retain control until assistance arrived.  He believes a steam hose had been used at one point.

Several hundred German prisoners were transferred aboard Worcestershire to ease the situation on Pasteur and were accommodated in the forward hold.  Worcestershire had not yet been converted for trooping, so conditions in the hold in that climate meant that the prisoners had to be allowed some periods topside.  My father was issued a pistol and sent to patrol among them as guard.  School language lessons permitted some chat, and the prisoners seemed quite relieved to be off the Pasteur.

(Only some time into this did the thought arise: "What if there is more trouble? I wonder if this pistol is loaded?"  When he was able to get enough privacy to check this out, he was reassured that The Navy had wisely avoided problems by not letting any ammunition anywhere near the prisoners.)

Bill Harnist (submitted by his Daughter-In-Law, Robin Harnist)

(Second Lieutenant, attached First Army, assigned Third Army. Arrived on Omaha Beach July 11, 1944, D-Day+35.)

(From his "diary" entries) "On the 5th of Feb, 1944, my company left Camp Pickett, VA for Camp Kilmer, NJ and the New York POE (Port of Embarkation). On the 20th of Feb, we took a train to Jersey City, a ferry to the Manhattan Pier, and boarded the troop ship Louis Pasteur, which was a French ship with a British crew and American Troops (a veritable floating United Nations). The Louis Pasteur had been scuttled by the French at the end of the African hostilities to prevent its use by Germany. It had been re-floated, refurbished, and put back in service as a U.S. transport.
 
On the 21st of Feb, we sailed from NY arriving at Liverpool, England on the 29th of Feb. As we sailed out of New York, we were told to stay below deck and out of sight. I remember looking through a porthole at 86th Street (my home street and also location of my grade school, PS-185). In seventh and eighth grade, from the top floors of the school, we were able to look out over the harbor to see all the ships, especially the new ones on their maiden voyages. As the Pasteur passed a battleship anchored in the lower harbor of Gravesend Bay, it began to pick up speed and launched twin depth charges by way of leaving New York.
 
The North Atlantic was very rough at that particular time of year. My station for the daily boat drills was directly beneath the Bridge on the front of the ship, which only amplified the motion involved with the swells and waves of 60 to 70 feet. The propellers coming out of the water shook the whole ship before diving into the next high wave. We were not in convoy and were constantly zigzagging so as not to give enemy subs an easy target.
I remember being okay the first day out of New York and the last day going into Liverpool, England. I was about as seasick as a person could get for the days in between and had nothing to eat, not even a soda cracker! When I finally showed up in the mess area, I was asked where I had been and I said that I had been about the same as the other 90% of the troops aboard the ship! 
 
And so began my 21 months of overseas duty  4 months in England, 9 in France/Luxembourg/Belgium, and 8 in Germany/Austria".

Angus Henley

Maryly Fraser's contribution exerpted from the Ottawa Citizen August 13 1945 tells of our arrival aboard the Pasteur the previous day. I was one of the 2,400 volunteers for the Pacific who entrained that night for the west coast.The welcoming ceremony was announced if we wished to attend,but there was little interest,these where proud men who had probably attended commemerative ceremonies for the fallen within their own brigades in the interem and had no interest in such nonsence.

Japan's surrender was told a couple of days later when we had reached the prairies-the reaction was largely muted,"what the hell am I going to do now".Many of these men had never known sustained employment during the depression,had lived through the drought ridden years of the dust bowl if from farmland and memories remained strong.I was about to enter a world that I did not know-alone,out of step and lost.

   
Whereas we had sailed three days from Southampton under blue skies and glassy seas my trip over was 9 days in a horrific storm.We arrived in Halifax in the dusk and boarded immediately in rain.The ship got  underway during the night and I awakened to the sounds of her straining her every resource-it was as if she would produce her own end. Daylight came to show a surface escort and an overhead PBY.The next morning the DE gave us a fairwell and turned off,the PBY at the end of day.We were on our own and the storm riseing to it's full fury. In time the heads (toilets) broke down in our section and flooded the compartment which along with seasickness ---the storm was stressing all systems.Accompaning us was a contingent of Fleet Air Arm who had completed training in Canada-these fellows made the day with song. Usually there were two groups-one foredeck and one aft surounded by us.These guys had a repertoire that was inexhaustible,none of it taught at sunday school and all of it irreverant,there was much laughter.

On day 4 or 5 we awoke to a clear blue sky and calm seas which produced a certain unease because of the huge black plume emmited from our funnel.Towards mid-morning a similiar plume appeared below the the horizon on a parallel course in the opposite direction.When this vessel came abeam it abruptly changed course and approached,keeping it's course.Our heliograph went into action upon appearance and gun crews began preparing the batterys positioned for and aft. All others were ordered below deck.Shortly a salvo was released and then a second volley in short order.We were then allowed on deck in time to see the intruder bursting it's boilers back towards the horizon.The nearest gun crew had cleared leaving only the battery officer,a person little more than my own age. I approached with some temerity and asked the obvious question.Perhaps luckedly I had stuck a kindred spirit and he replied "that is a vessel known to us manned by the IRA working in cooperation with the Germans.She is under a neutral flag and can not be touched unless she violates the articles of war. She was informed that further encroachment would be so."There was no doubt our position had been relayed.The following day we were back inthe storm,wicked as before.

On day 8 we found surface escort upon awkening,a ship that would show full profile one moment while riding the crest and all but dissapear while iin the trough with only the cross arm of the wireless mast showing.On day 9 we awoke to find company-the Nieuw Amsterdam and I think the Mauritania-both carrying American personnell. The spirit was compelling on the nearest with everyone waving and shouting.We were soon given the order of approach and gave way to see the others dissapear ahead,anxiety seemed to gather amongst us for  the first time but was allayed with the sight of land and Liverpool soon after.

Albert S. Hester
I was in Headquarters Battery, 912th Field Artillery, 87th Infantry Division during World War II and made the voyage from New York to Liverpool with the unit on the Louis Pasteur. According to my discharge, which I just looked up, my overseas service started November 4, 1944, which must have been the date we sailed. We got to Liverpool in about seven days but waited in the harbor for three more because the docks were busy. During most of that time we could not see anything on shore, which was not far away, because of the fog.

I recently wrote a note that was published in the 87th Division newsletter about the accident from the firing of the gun on the ship, which is mentioned by Berry, who was wounded, in your website. The ship was extremely crowded, many of us were seasick for the first four or five days. We had nothing to do, which was fine. It was November but not that cold.

On the morning of the accident many of us were lying on deck near a temporary wooden bulkhead that had been built to separate us from the naval gun that had been mounted on the fantail of the ship when we were in New York.  It had not been fired since it was installed.  I was lying near the bulkhead on the morning they decided to test it. Anyone that could was lying right next to the bulkhead or sitting on deck and leaning against it. The ship had a British crew, Merchant Marine (or Merchant Navy as they call it). One of the petty officers or officers came by and told us to move away because they were going to test the gun. We didn't see the need for this and practically nobody moved.

I remember the Brit's comment: "When the gunners come by they'll step in your bloody faces and they you'll 'owl!"

When they did fire the gun it blew part of the bulkhead out. At least a couple of men were hurt. In your website Berry (see entry for Gilbert C. Berry, above) mentioned that he was one of them. Another was hurt more badly, with a fractured skull and loss of an eye.

Berry and I were in the same battalion but in different batteries and I did not know him.

Before we boarded the ship we had come up from Ft. Jackson, SC, to Camp Kilmer, NJ, where we remained for three weeks. We got frequent passes and I made my first visits to New York (and New Jersey). I was from Virginia and had never been north before. When we left Kilmer  it was in the early evening after supper. We loaded onto a passenger train that pulled into the camp and headed towards New York. The train took us to a ferry which we got on. [It just occurred to me that this might have been at Hoboken and I might have left from the same place that I did when I commuted to 90 West Street next door to the World Trade Center, where I was on 9/11/01, and where I arrived back after the attack early enough to have missed the collapse of the towers--but that is another adventure!]. Anyway, the ferry took us to the end of a covered dock. Some of the New Yorkers said it was in Brooklyn, others in Queens. It was all the same to me. We could not see the ship because of the building that covered the dock. There was WAC band playing in the gloomy dock building. Each one of us had a number and letters chalked on the front of his helmet. Someone called out part of the number and we had to reply with the rest. They were very careful to account for each man and make sure he got on the ship. We walked individually  through a square hole the size of a garage door in the dock building and up a short, slightly sloping gangplank into a door (hatch?) in the side of the ship. A tall, older man in some sort of a foreign sailor uniform said in a peculiar accent. "Mount a step." We crossed into a different world.

The sailor we found out shortly was, like the rest of the crew, British. I may be wrong about the numbers, but as I remember it, we were told the ship was designed for 700 passengers and there were 4000 troops aboard. We were on E deck, which was about water level and had old signs about regulations for steerage passengers. Our quarters consisted of a mess hall with long tables and benches, all fixed to the deck. When we got on the ship we all had overcoats, weapons, field packs, and big duffle bags. We were directed by one of our officers how to sit so we could all fit in. One man sat on the bench with his feet under the table. The next sat on the table with his feet on the bench and so on. We thought we would be here temporarily before being shown our sleeping quarters. We groaned when we were told this would be our home for the next few days.

The officer told us that there was a system. We took turns removing our gear and stashing it in overhead racks fastend to the low ceiling (deck). Once we had done that we could all sit on the benches in a normal way. There was a pile of hammocks in the corner and hooks for them overhead. Once they were all hung we could  lie down. You could touch the man on either side, but it wasn't that bad. There wasn't room for everyone to sleep in a hammock and the few others slept on pads on the deck. After the first night I lost my  space somehow and there was no place to hang my hammock, so I hung it crosswise. This wasn't good because you were folded and unfolded as the ship rocked. For the rest of the voyage I slept on a pad on the deck. The ship did not smell very good, and smelled even worse after so many of us became seasick. The food was also terrible. Still, many people at that time in WW II were starving to death.

We didn't leave until the next morning. We were not allowed to show ourselves on deck because spies on shore might recognize some of us and figure out what unit we were in. We had to take off our division patches before we left South Carolina. Strangely we put them on again before or very soon after we went into combat. Although we couldn't go on deck we somehow all managed to see New York glide by as we left the harbor.

The ship did not travel in convoy but changed course every seven minutes as we zigzagged across the North Atlantic. It was supposed to take a submarine 10 minutes to track a ship going in a straight line to aim a torpedo. The seas got very rough on the first full day out. I wasn't among the first to get seasick, but was not far behind them. The waves were huge. I have never seen anything remotely like them since.  The ship rolled very heavily.

It must have become calmer before we got to Liverpool. I also got over my seasickness, although I ate almost nothing during the voyage.

A day or two out of Liverpool I was outside on the deck at the front of the ship. The ship was completely blacked out and it was a cloudy, dark night. We were watching little flecks of light in the water as the ship broke through the water. Fluorescent organisms of some kind, supposedly.

Later in the midst of all this blackness a bright object appeared on the horizon and we passed very close to it. It was a white ship, brilliantly lit, with a big red cross on its side. A hospital ship bringing wounded back from France to England. Apparently the Germans respected the Geneva convention.

When we arrived in Liverpool the door (hatch) through which we entered the ship was opened. After three days we left through it. We had another casualty that day. The dock floated to move with the tide and we had a very long ramp to walk up to the upper level, carrying full gear plus the duffle bag. One of the chaplains, a middle aged man, died of a heart attack in the process I was told.

We loaded onto what was a very strange train for us. Compartments for about eight of us opening directly to the outside, no connections between them. We had already seen a lot of new things and were to see a lot more. I always figured that my army service was as much of an education as my college was.

James G. Hirst (submitted by his daughter, Sandra Giduch)

My Dad, James G. Hirst serving with the Princess Patricia crossed from Canada to England with the Louis Pasteur.  He was seasick for the entire crossing.  He mentioned that the ship's stabilizer was broken and the constant zigzagging made the crossing miserable.
 
As the war in europe drew to a close, he volunteered for service against Japan.  Imagine his surprise and chagrin when arriving at the docks to embark, he saw the Louis Pasteur.  The ship which would carry him back to Canada.  He said that so many troops were jammed on board, there were men sleeping on tables, on the decks, in the corridors and wherever they could find a space to lie down.  My Dad, slept on deck when he wasn't being sick.  Apparently, the stabilizers were still out of commission.
 
Dad never stepped on board another ship for the rest of his days.

Stan Hodsdon (submitted by his wife)

My husband sailed on this ship in 1944.His  memories are as follows....
 
" I sailed on the Louis Pasteur from New York on March 13, l944 with a group of airplane mechanics from Seymour Johnson Field, Goldsboro, N.C. I do not remember the name of our unit.
 
Hammocks were hung over tables and between tables in the dining room.Nearly everyone, except my buddy and I, were seasick.We escaped being sick by forcing ourselves to eat rice as that was to only part of the meals which we could eat---the food was terrible. 
 
It seemed that the ship zig-zagged every 30 seconds;the wolf packs were waiting for us ;we had no escort.We hit a terrible storm and it seemed that the ship was moving up and down as well as side to side, all at the same time.
 
I received two RedCross packages while on board.Each package contained a Schick razor.I still use one of these razors every day.Another item in the packges was a paperback book.One book was a copy of "Forever Amber" which everyone wanted to read.
 
We arrived at Liverpool, England March 22, 1944."

Calvin G. Hogan

"I remember crossing the Atlantic on board the Pasteur on my way to war. My basic training was at Camp McCain in Mississippi, later to Fort Jackson, SC for advanced training. I was later involved in the Battle of the Buldge with the Headquarters Battery 336th Field Artillery. We left New York City in September 1943 and zig zagged across the ocean all the way to England. We rotated sleeping quarter, spending most of our time on deck. It seemed most everyone was sick at one time or another. In crossing, the sea was very rough. It seemed calmer in the Gulf Streams which we were glad. Boston baked beans were the staple until everyone was so tired of them, they finally fed us something else."

Mr. Hogan: Please email me with your mailing address. I accidentally tossed it away before I could send the CD. Thank you. Hal Stoen

James G. Holloway (Submitted by his daughter.)

My father, James G. Holloway, World War II Veteran, crossed on the Louis Pasteur, November 30, 1944.

John (Jack) Hooker (Submitted by his daughter, Margaret Hammerton)

My father travelled from Gourock en route to Ceylon in 1941/2.  I believe he disembarked at Durban and continued his journey on board the Dilwara. 
 
Dad John (Jack) Hooker from Croydon Surrey who sadly died in December 2006 was on board the Louis Pasteur for about three months and used to tell us many stories about this voyage not least the one regarding their arrival in Durban when the troops all rushed to the side to see the dock and the ship tilted at what was an alarming degree. Having seen service all over the Far East Dad came back to Britain in 1946 and was posted to POW Camp 165 in Watten Caithness as a guard - it was in Watten that he met and married my dear late mother Betty.

W.J. Hope

My own experience with the Pasteur was quite brief but I shall always remember her as the ship that finally brought me home to the UK after nearly four years service with the RAF in North Africa.  I boarded the Pasteur at Toulon and arrived at Southampton on 8th March 1946. Coming home in style in the Pasteur was a great change from life aboard the troopship in which I had journeyed round the Cape to Egypt across the summer of 1942. That was a converted refrigerated meat boat and was most uncomfortable.

Eynon Lloyd Hughes (Submitted by his son, Richard Huws)

".........my late father, Eynon Lloyd Hughes (1912-2002) sailed on the ship to Nova Scotia where he served with the RAF."

Lewis Boyd Hunt (submitted by his son, Terry G. Hunt)

My father Lewis Boyd Hunt was with the 82 Sq. 12th Bomb Group In North Africa and CBI. the dates listed for going over match my info. But do you know the Ship info for the return of the 12th Bomb Group?

Norman Hutchings (Submitted by his son, Gord Hutchings)

"In November of 1941, we arrived in Halifax and were preparing ourselves for shipping overseas. A few nights in Halifax were spent and we even went through some false-loadings so spies didn't actually know when the convoy was on its way. I remember one guy in camp who kept playing "Sweet Antonio Rose" on the Jukebox and it drove us nuts. Guys were getting sentimental 'cause they knew the time was near to be off. No advance notice for each false leaving and loading but finally at 3:00 a.m., we formed a route march through the centre of town and some of the guys were all sloshed up. We carried our kit bags, and overseas provisions on our backs and we waved at the people watching us from open doors and windows along the way. One park we passed had some old cannons from the first world war in it and one of the guys who was all sloshed up, demanded to urinate down one of the big cannons. So there he was, with two guys holding him by the legs, going pee down the end of the cannon. We had laughs and chuckles to calm the nerves and carried on.

It was a steep climb up the gangway so the tide must have been high and when I got to the top, a fellow, Ralph Hopkins, now my best buddy ever since then, got my attention and asked if I wanted a good place to crash. He had a room that was a converted freezer that consisted of about 30 bunks made of steel slats with 2x6 wooden sides all around. This was much better than being on the deck of the ship! The door was about 6" thick and it had this wheel handle on the outside and a bar on the inside that was broken and you had to keep it handy by the door to get out. I'll never forget a few of the events during our approximately 10-day crossing and one was this guy who brought his own gramophone, even with records. How he managed to carry it all this way without any damage was amazing. Anyways he would play his records, start crying and then peel off to a place to get some alcohol, returning drunk and flop back into his bunk. One night we were hit by what must have been one helluva a wave but at the time we thought we were taking evasive action from a u-boat, I still don't know what happened. The ship keeled right over and everything went flying, bunks, kits and men everywhere in the dark. One guy yelled "water coming in!" and that sent guys panicking badly. As the handle was lost we couldn't get out either until an officer opened the door and checked in on us finally. I'll always remember one guy, Barney, telling jokes to try and calm us. When we got up level the next day, our canteen had been torn right off the deck so away went things we could buy.

The bathrooms consisted of a long plank to sit down on, hang your business end over the edge and empty into a trough with running water below. The problem was, with the ship pitching and heaving so badly, the water and all the mess went racing down from end to end, hit the wall and splashed violently up and nailing the guy on either end. It was so awful that guys dispensed with this and hung their behinds over the railing, trying not to fall overboard in the process. The seas were so high that the ships in the rest of the convoy would completely disappear out of sight when they went down in the trough in front of us. There were two destroyers up front, the Louis Pasteur in the middle and then followed by two tankers side by each behind us. The destroyers communicated by whistles once in a while and then they'd switch sides or one peeled off to do a circle around our little convoy. The crew consisted of Irish and Scottish mostly and were in civies. We couldn't get much out of them especially where we were and what happened to one of the destroyers and one of the tankers after the terrific pitching that one night. One of our guys had a sextant so he was trying to find our location and plot our location. The Canadian Army did our cooking and stationed about 10 guys with Bren guns down each side of the ship, as if that'd do any good. I wasn't sure about the Destroyers but we were told that one had a Polish crew and one of the tankers had steel from Sweden. That tanker carrying steel was listing so badly with a terribly shifted load that when we looked aft and saw the pounding she was taking, we felt a little better off on our ship in comparison. It would go way down and the crest of the wave was covering her bow completely over. It was awful to watch knowing there were living souls on her. That's the ship that was gone the next along with the destroyer.

My first meal on the ship consisted of two spoonfulls of mashed spuds with one spoonfull of jam on top. One guy ("gen man") asked me if I was hungry and did I have any money. He led me down several decks below to a place where all these ropes were hanging and here I bought a sandwich and a raw turnip. It was probably stolen food. Guys pulled out their issued "irons" (utensils) and with their knives, peeled the dirty skin off the turnip and ate it raw.Life up on deck was a tad better with good card games and the nights were memorable when you could see the stars. If you hunkered close to the wam stack, you could see this wheeling array of stars go blasting past as the ship went from side to side - way over! I'll never forget that. I only puked once after I ate an orange and managed to keep things down by drinking gingerale and lieing down. It was a black watery drink back then.

The worst was when I was asigned to garbage detail which was way down at the lowest deck and it was so high with rotting food, your stomach just couldn't stand it. The names of "Hutchings and Irving" were being piped over the loud speakers for us to report to garbage detail, but we put it off as long as we could. When we finally showed up to the sargeant, he was pissed. Irving made some wisecrack about "not having a string around his asshole like the sarge had" since he couldn't hold anything in. We never did shovel garbage. They wanted us to shovel the garbage out only at certain times of the night and when it was possible. You see, garbage leaves a trail on the water. We arrived at Grenock, Scotland and then there's a whole other story about getting to our new digs and what happened then."( His son adds, "He was in the RCAF 408 squadron."

Paul Jacob (submitted by his friend Sam Beverage)

" .....was the Communications Supply Sgt. of the 1060 Signal Co, 323rd Air Service Group. It was his job to procure and supply replacement Communications Equipment as used in the B-24's Of the 98th and 376th Bomb Groups. Each B-24 contained a variety of items, ranging from Radio Compass Receivers and associated automatic loops to the somewhat secret IFF Transponder and fittings. The way it worked was that when the Bomb Group Communications men brought in a defective unit Paul would exchange a new or repaired item for the same. If the bad one was obviously finished, not repairable, as some had bullet holes or shrapnel through the casing, or if the IFFs came in completely destroyed inside from it's self contained explosive charge they were sent to the Signal Depot. The repairable units were handed over to the Communications Repair Section of our Signal Co, repaired and returned to Paul. That was how it was after we got out into the deserts of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. My earliest memory of Paul was, when I arrived at Ft. Dix, NJ in early July 1942, coming into an Outfit called the 60th Signal Platoon (Later 1060 Sig. Co.). Paul was kneeling on the Barracks floor with a can of white paint and a paint brush painting the number 6000C and "B" or "C" on the Barracks Bags of which each of us had two. The scheme, as I recall, was that we would carry our "B" bag with us and the "C" one would go ahead to the Ship. It was a lot of painting but we never heard Paul complain about it. We were supposed to have our daily needs clothing in the bag we were to carry and items less often used were to co in the "C" bag. As it turned out I never saw that 2nd bag again, but that is another story...."

 

Paul Jacob in the Western Desert of Egypt beyond El Alemain. He is examining an enemy gas mask found by the side of the road.

George Jennings
"......We boarded in Halifax, I dragged my kit bag up the gang plank. The trip across was not too rough, but the ship rocked quite a bit, some said it had a flat bottom. I believe it changed course a few degrees every 3 or 5 minutes, the reason was it took that long for a German submarine to aim a torpedo. Somewhere in mid Atlantic we met a convoy on the way back from England. There was a large gun on deck which was manned immediately, until identification was made. We could see the small corvettes bouncing along in the rough sea. Our quarters were one big room, guys slept on hammocks on tables and on the floor {no class}. On arrival we remained on ship in the Irish Sea for 2 days before entering Liverpool harbour. I guess this was to await the arrival of trains to handle all the troops.

Forrest Johnson

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Bill Johnston

I was an LAC in the RCAF waiting in Halifax to go overseas.
 
On the 23 of June 1943 I was delegated to fire-watch on the Pasteur while it was fumigated and the heavy brass decorations in the dining room were removed, We were told that on the trip from England the boat had keeled over too far because of the extra weight at the top and not being finished on the lower decks.
 
After several days in Halifax we sailed to England, arriving at Southampton on Aug. 1 1943.
 
On our first night out we overtook an Eire freighter who must have heard our engines and turned on a great display of neon lights from bow to stern. I was on deck at the time and the sudden lights in a pitch black night was almost like an explosion. The Pasteur immediately veered away from the lights.

Robert M. Johnston (submitted by his son, Christopher M Johnston)

"My father Robert M. Johnston was a member of the engineering staff of the Pasteur on her first two voyages and others during WWII. I believe that I have an original Pasteur blueprint and an ensign put away. Sadly, my father died last December at the age of 89.
 
When WWII started, my father was indentured to Thornycroft's shipyard at Woolston where his grandfather John Robert McDowall had been Chief Engineer until his death in 1935. My father lived with his grandmother at Hazeleigh Avenue, Woolston, worked at Thornycroft's and attended university at night. He joined the RNVR in 1940 when Capt. Villar, RN wrote the yard asking for a sharp young lad with sea trial experience. My father was at that time involved with sea trials of Thornycroft-built destroyers. Thornycroft Donaldson wrote Capt. Villar and recommended my father in a letter that I have.
 
I would be interested in learning more about the maiden voyage because the version you relate differs from what my father related, but then he always loved a good story. The particulars of his version were:


- When at sea, they were told that they were being taken to the Pasteur and had 48 hours to fire her off and get her to sea. If they couldn't get her fired off, she would be scuttled across the harbor entrance.
- The available drawings, labels and instructions were in French and metric, but they managed to fire her off and get her out of the harbor.
- Once out of the harbor, the Captain headed west across the Atlantic rather than toward Southampton as expected.
- They broke down part way across with sea water contamination in the condenser loop.
- When they landed at Halifax, they were put off the ship with instructions to return in exactly 48 hours. If they returned early they would be imprisoned by Marines, if they returned late they would be considered AWOL and possibly shot.
- They returned in 48 hours and took the Pasteur back across the Atlantic."

John Kaminski

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Donald E. Kasparek

I was a T/5 in the AG section of the 87th Infantry Division.I  was part of an advance detail that boarded the H.M.T. Pasteur in New York Harbor on November 2, 1944. Although the ship stood still in New York Harbor until November 4th many of my friends got seasick and lost a lot of their meals over the side of the ship.  On November 13, 1944 we arrived in what I presume was Liverpool harbor. We disembarked the next day.  On the trip over, we followed a zigzag path.  At one point in the crossing, we launched a depth charge.   There were some airplane pilots aboard who had sextants and knew exactly where we were at all times.

Darrell Kellams

In 1944, I shipped from the US to France on the troop transport ship named Louis Pasteur.

Glennon J. Kelly

"I boarded the Louis Pasteur on August 14th, 1943, in New York City.  I spent my 21st birthday, August 17th, on the ship and I was sick the entire time, but not from drinking; it was seasickness.  The voyage took 7 days and we landed in England on August 21st.

I remained in England with the rest of my company for over a year.  We eventually shipped out to France well after D-Day, and later did occupation duty in Germany.  I returned home early in 1946."

Sergeant Glen Kelly "God's gift to the working woman"

Peter Kemp (Submitted by Kenneth Pantling)

The following is extracted from Peter Kemp's autobiography The Thorns of Memory:
 
The rest of our voyage was uneventful. We found no U-Boat and spent three days submerged off the Canaries, watching through the periscope the bathers relaxing in the sun and the fishermen in their brightly coloured boats pulling in their nets. We stayed under water during daylight, surfacing at night to recharge the batteries and take some air aloft. Ingram's orders didn't allow him to stay longer and we reached Gibraltar ten days after we had set out.
July passed slowly, in heat, humidity and, for most of the SOE officers on the Rock, frustration. But on 3 August Burton and I received the welcome order to embark for England aboard the converted French liner Pasteur, one of the fastest passenger ships on the old New York run. Although we had to sail well out into the Atlantic we were in Glasgow a week later.
The officers of the Spanish section of SOE, where we reported on arrival in London, were in a large block of flats off Baker Street. We had an interview with two staff officers, both former solicitors and partners in the same firm as our previous boss on the Gibraltar mission. One was a solemn naval lieutenant - he eventually became president of the Law Society; the other was an Army captain with a cheerful outlook, whom I would often find around midnight in the popular nightclub, the 'Nut House', with his bottle of whisky in front of him and a blonde on either side.

 
Kenneth Panting: "From the context of the previous passages this would have been in 1941.  I've been doing some research as a friend has a copy of one of Kemp's earlier books, Mine Were of Trouble about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War fighting for the Nationalists, which has a dedication in the front referring to a fellow passenger on the SS Pasteur. Kemp was working for SOE at the time of this entry but after WWII he went on to fight in French Indo-China."

George Kieser (submitted by his daughter, Lynda Paquette)

My dad has told me stories of his crossing from Halifax to England during the war on this ship. He was a private in, I believe the Princess Patricia regiment at the time. He said that although the ship was supposed to carry about 1200 passengers and crew they had at least twice as many as that when then crossed. He said that they had hammocks hanging from the ceilings and also they slept on the floor or whereever there was space.  It was a very rough crossing and everyone including the crew were very sick. He said if you slept on the floor, you would try to get under a table for some protection.  He recalls that they zigzagged across to Europe to dodge enemy U-boats and when one was in the area, the engines would be shut down and everyone on board had to be completely silent to avoid detection.  My Dad's name is George Kieser and was a private in the army. From England he went to Holland during the liberation of that country. He is 88 this year and speaks more and more about those years as he gets older.

John King (submitted by his son, Tim King)

I persuaded my father John King to send me his war record and discovered he returned from Halifax Canada to Liverpool in 1943 on board the Pasteur.  He joined the RAF in January 1939 as an apprentice at RAF Halton.  He was posted to the Fleet Air Arm in Cornwall and sent on board the Queen Elizabeth liner to Canada from Greenock Scotland in 1942. He worked at No 1 TAG Yarmouth, Nova Scotia helping to train Swordfish pilots.  In 1943 he returned to Britan. This is what he says about the voyage on the Pasteur:-
 
"Halifax - boarded French liner 'Pasteur' - a flat-bottomed boat unsuitable for Atlantic storms.  I slept in a hammock and one night water came in through the port-hole and I got a bit wet.  It took about 13 days to cross the Atlantic - quite unescorted.  We eventually docked on a wet day in Liverpool.
 
Dad left the RAF in 1948 to return to help his father and brother on the family farm at Brickworth near Salisbury in Wiltshire.  Today he lives with my mum Faith in a retirement home in Cheddar in Somerset.
 
I noted the reference to HMS Barham on your site.  My mum's father Bernard Carver was the Chaplain on the Barham in the Med from 1928 to 1930.  I remember his amazing pictures of the ship on the corridor walls in his house when I was growing up as a child. I've seen the footage of it blowing up which is so sad with so many lives lost.

Merle K. King

I sailed from New York to Liverpool England on the Louis Pasteur in late 1944. Completed jump school at Ft Benning in summer of '44 and then jungle warfare training and thought sure I would be sent to South Pacific but to Fort Dix and Europe via Liverpool. My memories of the Louis Pasteur are not the most pleasant. Poor food carried down to hold in wash buckets. Tea and boiled potatoes. I seem to remember we [the group in our hold] were allowed on deck 1 hour per day. Slept in hammock which had to be taken down each morning but of course there was no visual reference to morning down in the hold.

Vilho Alfred Kivi (submittet by his wife, Dolores Kivi)

"My late husband, who died four years ago yesterday, was returned to Canada on the Pasteur, landing in Halifax on July 1, 1945. He had enlisted for the Pacific Force a couple of weeks after VE Day, and the carrot to do so was an early return to Canada and a 30 day leave after arrival. Of course the Pacific war ended in August and the Canadian Active Pacific Force disbanded in September. He was discharged October 25, l945, after serving more than five years in Canada and overseas.

His regimental number was H46404. He enlisted at the town of Dryden in the Lake Superior Regiment of Port Arthur (now part of Thunder Bay, Ontario) and served with them more than three years. After technical courses and a bout with pneumonia he was sent to the Mediterraean where he first served with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment a few months but then spent almost a year with The Princess Louise Fusiliers, driving a Bren Gun carrier in Italy and, in the spring of '45 ,in France, Belgium and Holland. Actually, he told me that they embarked at Pisa, Italy, and at Marseilles, France he drove his carrier off the ship and through France at "high speed" because the fighting was over there and also largely in Belgium, but still raging in Holland and Germany.

We had met and spent about an hour and a half together on Christmas Day, 1941; the next time I saw him was when he came to visit me on August 2, 1945. The next day he told me that he wanted to marry me and we were engaged one month later. He was a wonderful husband and father to our four children. Community minded he served on school boards, first small rural ones and then on Lakehead Board of Education for 20 years.

.... His name was Vilho Alfred Kivi and his boyhood home was in Quibell, Ontario. He served as a Private in the first two regiments but the equivalent rank was Fusilier with the PLF."
(For a poignant memory of the love between Vilho and Dolores, written by Delores, click here.)

Albi Knights (submitted by his friend, George Laws)

".... sailed the Atlantic on the Pasteur from (?) Southampton to Quebec on demob to Australia, coming across the Pacific on the 'Mariposa'."

Barend Koerssen (Submitted by his Nephew, Henk C. Woudenberg.(

My uncle was travelling with the MS Pasteur from The Netherlands to or from the far East. His name is Barend Koerssen, he died in 1983.

John M. Kropp (Contributed by his Grandson, Stephen Decker)

My grandfather arrived at the Seething, England airfield in December of1944. I would guess he crossed on the Louis Pasteur in late November or early December of 1944. They finished training at Mountain Home, Idaho. They were with the 448th Bomb Group stationed at Seething, England. I believe the three officers of their crew traveled by airplane.

(The remarks below were) ...written by the one survivor of my grandfather's crew:


"... I'll answer some of your questions, starting with the boat trip over. We sailed from Brooklyn, N.Y. and after eight days we landed in Liverpool. We were on a French ship called the 'Louis Pasteur.' It was large and fast, but we were pretty crowded. In the day time we all stayed on deck and watched the waves roll and I remember so well what (John) Kropp said, He said "I wonder if we have a round trip ticket?" None of us took it seriously, in fact laughed for we knew nothing would happen to us. But coming back I never was so lonely and sad, as I stood alone watched the waves roll, thats the first time I recalled what (John) Kropp had said. I prayed to God then for all of you, because I knew what I must do when I returned, I didn't pray for the boys, because we all had done that everyday and I knew they were at rest...."
B.G. Glass (Written to one of the crew member's mother.)

My Grandfather is the Kropp that he writes of.

The following are the names of the crew known to have traveled on the Pasteur:

Frank E. Grogan---Engineer----Riedsville, TN
Bobbie C. Glass---Radio Operator----Daingerfield, TX
John M. Kropp---Gunner----Racine, WI
Oryn M. Blashe---Gunner----Marion, WI
Dale W. Overy---Gunner----Toledo, OH
Joseph Parks---Gunner----Lake Valley, NM

Bobbie C. Glass was the only one to return alive.

Wim Kuijpers (contributed by Rob Dijksman)

In April 1943 he sailed from Halifax, Canada to Liverpool on the Pasteur. Wim got killed on March, 20th, 1944 over Northern France when his Mitchell B25 was hit by German anti aircraft fire.

Tony (A.J.) Lack

It was 1944, I was eighteen years old and had been stationed at Heaton Park, North Manchester, awaiting shipment abroad to continue my aircrew training as a Navigator/Bomb Aimer. Eventually we were instructed to mark DWDW on our Kitbags and fill in form 1980 to ensure that our mail could get to us while we were overseas ­ probably Canada or South Africa. Then we were issued with tropical equipment and clothing (including pith helmets) which convinced us that we would finish up in Canada!
Soon afterwards we were in the back of Bedford trucks to arrive that evening at Gladstone Dock, Bootle and straight on to His Majesty's Transport "Pasteur". This was a luxury French liner which, although it had never sailed its maiden voyage, carried much of France's gold reserves across the Atlantic to Canada. There it was taken over by the allies as a "prize of War" and converted to a troop ship ­ no luxury there!
That night we slipped away from a blacked-out and badly bombed Liverpool to make an unescorted voyage around Northern Ireland and out into the grey Atlantic. Needless to say, it was a crowded and uncomfortable journey. We were issued with hammocks but I, and many others, found the floor more comfortable but gradually we settled into a routine as we headed west ­ obviously Canada bound. We soon became familiar with life on board; the different deck, steep metal stairways and the constant worry about U-boats.
As many of us were potential navigators it was not difficult, at night, to check the direction in which we were sailing. However, after two or three nights heading west, Polaris, the Pole Star, appeared over the stren instead of to straboard. We then continued alone zig-zagging towards the south. The air grew warmer and Polaris sank lower every evening. The days were taken up with P.T. (physical training), lectures on many different subjects and hours spent in sheltered corners of the deck playing cards and reading. All this was interspersed with Boat Drill, spells on duty watching out for U-boats and sleeping.

As we obviously approached the tropics flying fish became the centre attraction and daily doses of Mepacrine (anti-malarial tablets) had to be taken which added to the sense of adventure. The Pasteur continued to Zigzag southwards before tunring east and after a day or two we caught our first glimpse of South Africa and eventually arrived and anchored in Freetown. Here a contingent of army personnel disembarked and after two sweltering days watching natives trying to sell us fruit and souvenirs from their frail bum boats we again put out into the Atlantic. We soon headed south, flying fish in attendance while on board, all eyes continued to scan the horizon for the tell tale wake of a U boat's periscope.
At night new constellations appeared as the Polestar finally disappeared over the northern horizon and we sailed into the southern hemisphere. Two weeks after leaving the gloom of blacked out Britain we saw the flat top of Table Mountain on the horizon and eventually docked in Cape Town for many months of flying training in sunny South Africa though I never recall any of us wearing our Pith helmets.

John F. Lankford (submitted by his son, Jim Lankford)

My father's name is John F. Lankford.  He was a Private first class in the United States Army-963rd Field Artillery Battalion.  The following excerpt was taken from:  Battalion History 963rd 1944-1945, authored by Lieutenant Colonel James E. Tarrant, Commanding Officer of the Battalion since 9 November, 1942.  It reads in pertinent part "When, on the 25th of December, 1943 secret orders were received alerting the Battalion for overseas movement, speculation was rife as to its role in the forthcoming battle of Europe. When final movement orders came the unit was at its peak of efficiency and was ready for any task.  Arriving at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey four days later, last minute preparations were completed and final visits made to New York and the surrounding areas.  The pleasant memories of these last few days in the United States furnished material for many hours of reminiscence.
 
On the 20th of February, [1944] the 963rd embarked at on of the famous piers along the lower Hudson River on the converted luxury liner, HMT Pasteur.  The outfit lost little time exploring this fast ship from stem to stern. Built by the French, it was used but a short time, then scuttled in the days after the defeat of France by Germany.  Raised by the English after the capture of Dakar, the ship was reconditioned and manned by British sailors, to become one of the fast troop carriers that sped across the Atlantic without convoy protection.  The trip was eventful in that not one calm day was encountered and many a good soldiers never did become accustomed to the roll and pitch of this vessel, dubbed by the British sailors aboard, 'The rollingest [sic] ship on the Seven Seas'.
 
It was a welcome sight for all when the shores of Northern Ireland were sighted in the early hours of the 28th of February.  The Pasteur's decks were lined with troops for this, their first glimpse of Europe."
 
The book then goes onto to recount the movements of the 963rd during the war.  This book was printed by Buchdruckerei Wilhelm Engel Schotten.

My father passed away when I was a small child so I did not get the opportunity to talk to him about his military service.

Ronald Percy Le Baigue (Contributed by his son, Cliff Le Baigue)

"...served on [the Pasteur] from 1942 (as well as other ships) as a Royal Naval Gunner, mostly anti-aircraft, but he said they'd shoot at anything that appeared to be a threat..

W, Robert Lee (contributed by his grandaughter, Julie Klettke)

"He was with the RSASC. 64th Transpotant Company. W.R.Lee B82667. He said that they ship sat in Port for about two weeks while she was being loaded before disembarking from Liver Pool in early Spring 1944. The ship was carrying Canadians Troops along with War Brides which had their own segregated area on the top deck. His most vivid recollection of the passage home was that they could not travel through the North Atlantic waters due to the threat of German U boats. The Pasture traveled home through the South Atlantic. He remembers going sleep one night in his hammock in the lower level of the ship and waking in the morning in such a sweat from the climate change. Meals were also served in three rotations. ...picture of my Grandfather in 1939. A retired farmer Bob and his wife (Thelma) of 63 years are both well and currently living in Kindersely Sask."

Ralph Lensing (Contributed by his son)

My dad was on this ship Dec 1944.

Georges Lents (Contributed by Bertrand Hugot)

According to the military papers of an ex-free french, the pilot Georges Lents (KIA 12/1944) sailed on SS Pasteur between Tanger (Morocco) and Gibraltar. Then he arrived in UK on 18 august 1941.

I do not know if the diarist did a mistake when he fill his paper and if the SS Pasteur joined only Gibraltar but also UK in august 1941.

Bertrand Hugot, Dijon, France

Charles Loertscher (submitted by his son, Clive Loertsche)

Charles Loertscher (1918-1980)

He was a Swiss in the French Legion in Indochina during WW II....and came back to Europe with the "Pasteur", which seemed at that time (dec. 1945) to be still under British flag. I translate to you the
description of his trip as excerpt of a series of articles published in January 1946 in a local Swiss newspaper (Journal de Montreux)

"....I arrive in Trincomalee, in Ceylan where I spend three days, from November 18th to 21st (1945). At last, I board on the "Pasteur" which comes back from Indochina with rapatriates.

We go to Bombay to receive a load of Britons and on December 1st, this beautiful ship heads resolutely to Port Saïd where we make a stop.

Even though everybody was happy onboard, discipline was nevertheless very stirct. We were under English command and every day we had to perform saving exercises, in case the ship would meet with
remaining floating mines.

We were around 6'000 onboard. In cruising near Malta and all allong the Mediterranean sea, we wore our saving jackets all the time. Up to Cherbourg we did not stop and on December 15th at 6:30 pm, I saw the "transbordeur" with people from Red Cross coming to welcome us. They take care of us with food, clothes, good care, aso. At midnight, I set foot on the pier. After seven years, I could touch at last for the first time the soil of Europe, for which I longed so much, lost in the Far East..."

Arthur Lomas (see the entry for Leslie Alcwyn Fabian)

Marion Luba (Contributed by Michael Hayward)

(Note: This is a rather exceptional entry. Michael Hayward is in Grade school. As part of a class project he "adopted" Mr. Luba at the rest home where Mr. Luba currently resides. Michael contacted me, and that is how the following narrative from Mr. Luba came about. Due to a war-related injury Mr. Luba is blind. Young Michael Hayward interviewed Mr. Luba and wrote this contribution down and forwarded it to me for publishing. Quite a young man indeed.)

...I will do my best here to provide you with this information I was able to get during our visit.

Marion, when asked about the "Pasteur" laughed and started by saying "she was a real roller" "she was shallow in the water and that's what made her so fast" "she was a beautiful ocean liner converted into a troop ship" "seems a shame that a beautiful Ocean Liner had to be used for that but that's what happened in those days we had to make everything work."

Marion spoke openly about the Pasteur saying things like "it made the Canadian combined forces a very focused and together bunch." (They were mostly air force troops in his area - he says he was part of the Number 6 Bomber Command, and 441 ground fire division) He said "when we first boarded the Pasteur, guys from the East would mock the guys from the West and vice versa and the American's would scoff and say things like you Canadian's are soft." "But something happened on the Pasteur" he said "a bunch of individuals became an army at sea respecting and appreciating each other."

He says "as it turned out us Canadians weren't so soft after all."

They went over in December and the ocean was really rough and that's why she was a real roller. There were guy's sea sick everywhere and guys trying to eat in the big mess hall or sneaking food back to their bunks.

He guessed that there was about 1800-2000 troops onboard when he crossed and everywhere you looked there were troops. They slept on the floor, on the benches, on the table tops but he was one of the lucky ones who got to sleep in the "monkey rigging"(hammocks that hung from the ceiling.) He thinks he was on "D deck" which was right at the water line.

When asked...How was the food?... He replied with a chuckle "it was okay just like the ship."

Frank LaQuaglia

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Bud Macfadyen (submitted by his daughter, Connie Thompson)

"My father came home from WWII after the war was over, on the SS Louis Pasteur. "

John McFarlane

"............. it must have been a great liner when she was built, but as a trooper, it was the pits (when) we sailed from southampton to Halifax, NS in april '45 to commission our ship in Vancouver BC. It was overcrowded (and) there was no room to sling our hammocks. We had to sleep on the deck wash in seawater and the food- oooh. Could not blame the cooks, the ship was carring twice as many it was built for. However it got us there even though it did smell a bit ripe.

John Macnab

I stumbled upon your website with all the information on the Pasteur whilst looking for information on evacuees leaving Glasgow circa 1940. I am not a veteran but was an evacuee and my sister and I came home from Canada after the war and sailed in the Pasteur. I was then about ten years old. If my memory serves me right we departed from Halifax and docked at one of the southern English ports. I have neither papers or memorabilia to remind me at which port we landed. We were transferred to London where we stayed a couple of nights then sent by train to Glasgow.
 
Though perhaps a little hazed over by the passage of time, I remember well the fun we had as young boys aboard the ship, especially the large stair well down which we dropped our life jackets at the end of the journey ! I can't remember just how many decks she had but it was quite a few. I believe she was one of,  if not THE largest single funnel liner in service at the time. We had only one day when the seas were high enough to cause any discomfort and that was just as we were approaching port in England. The outward bound crossing had taken something ten - twelve days in the SS Bayano2 but only about five coming home in the Pasteur.
 
That was all a very long time ago but landing on your site with so many stories to read, took me back 60+ years ! I have only my memories of the Pasteur and though I'm happy to be able to say "I was there" I wouldn't trust my recollections sufficiently to try and pass them on as 'reliable information'.

Ed Mclain

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Nevin Mantle (contributed by his Daughter, Lois Lane)

.... left camp Shank,NY on March 14th 1943 and arrived in Liverpool on March 23rd on the Louis Pasteur.... ,serial# 33505443.He was a CPL in the 440th group, 98th squadron. He drove truck.

John G. MIller (contributed by his Wife)

...My husband, John G. Miller, crossed (with) Stanley Hodsdon on the Louis Pasteur May 13, 1944 and served together for a time until Stan was transferred to the Infantry.

Alexander Milne (contributed by Dr. Charles C. Ormsby)

"...271st Infantry Regiment, 69th Infantry Division, 1st Army who received a purple heart fighting in Germany in 1945 (14 months in the hospital with numerous major operations recovering from his wounds finally being released in late June 1946). He was transported from NY City to Liverpool on the Louis Pasteur in January 1945 (I don't know -- but would like to -- the dates of the voyage). I have interviewed Alexander (now living in Andover, MA) and my article will be printed in The Valley Patriot's September 2005 edition, in an article entitled, 'Hero In Our Midst'."
Thank you for the website.

Capt. Sherman Hatfield Mills (Submitted by his daughter Marilyn [Mills] Fraser)

My father returned home from Germany in August 1945 on the S.S. Pasteur. He gave me a pennant with the ships picture and name on it (long since lost over many moves and years).

My father was Capt. Sherman Hatfield Mills. He was in the intelligence corps - RECCE??

He had been in the Survey branch of the RCE and when he went overseas they transferred him to Intelligence for his skill in reading aireal photographs. I'm told his name is mentioned in the RECCE book. Is there such a thing?

At any rate it was the Pasteur that brought him home. According to old newspapers it was reported that the S.S. Pasteur sailed into Quebec with the returning soldiers.

My father died many years ago now. He was a Canadian and moved to the States after the war. I am working on a family memoir.

John Morford

I crossed from Liverpool to New York in her in February 1945.  I was in the RCAF in the war. I remember the Grand Staircase with the ornate carvings.

John Morford, Victoria , BC, Canada 

Thomas J. Mullin

"Early in 1941, five of my friends and I piled into a car and left our homes in New York City for Canada. We all wanted to be pilots and get into the war. It seemed so glamorous to teenagers then. Only two of us survived the training and we left from Halifax for England in 1942 aboard the Louis Pasteur. We had a great trip. The weather was great all the way. We sailed alone because of the great speed of the Pasteur, however, it took us eight days to cross the Atlantic because of the constant zigzagging to avoid U-boats. As an officer the food wasn't bad. We were served at tables with tablecloths. However, my crew which was quartered below decks, couldn't eat the food which was provided for them. They existed with the food that I could purloin for them from the officer's mess. Several other officers helped me in this endeavor. I had a beautiful large stateroom. It was originally built to be occupied by a couple. I shared it with fifteen other
fellows. We slept in four quad bunks.

I remember that all the officers were given jobs aboard the ship, probably to keep us occupied. My job was submarine officer, assigned to a section of the ship. I had to look for subs from midnight until four in the morning. If you ever were on a blacked out ship in the middle of the Atlantic on a moonless night, then you will know how many subs I sighted. There was a gun mount in my section of the ship, so I spent most of my time drinking tea with the British gunners. I kept them entertained with stories of New York, some of which were true, and they enjoyed them. They held boat drill every morning between 6 and 7AM, and in spite of the noise and general melee, I never woke up to attend.

It wasn't until years later that I started to wonder, "How come they never missed me."

John Murphy

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Walter S. Newman

"I am pleased to send this abstract from my Memoirs concerning my days aboard HMT Pasteur. As a 19 year old enlisted man, this was quite an adventure.

September 20, 1943 Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia

At 11 PM, I, a Private in the Army Air Corps, boarded His Majesty's Transport: HMT Louis Pasteur, a British troopship, was assigned a hammock in Section D-6, Deck D, Port side, and the following morning at 10 AM, Sept. 21st. , 1943 we sailed. It was my last look at the US for over 2 years.

HMT Pasteur was designed in 1937 as a medium-sized liner for the French South Atlantic Company, intended for their Bordeaux-Buenos Aires run. Its' maiden boyage was set for Sept 10. 1939. But 7 days earlier, on Sept 3d, WWII began and Germany was already overrunning Belgium, the Nethererlands, Luxembourg, Poland, and was about ready to finish off France. So the maiden voyage of the Pasteur was made several months later, with very few passengers, but with most of France's gold reserves for safety in Halifax, Canada. There it was stripped down and transformed into a troop ship.

On board, reveille was sounded a 6AM, by 6:30 all hammocks had to be stowed away, and troops shaved and dressed. Breakfast was at 7AM, sick call at 8:30; boat drill at 10:15 and inspection at 10:30. Dinner was at 12 noon, with a tea (supper) at 5:30 PM. Guards and gunners had different hours than the troops. During the daytime we could be out on deck, but as soon as dusk approached, all troops went below where there was very strict blackout of portholes etc.

We sailed alone; there was no convoy. Several times while out on the Atlantic, we had a dirigible overhead signaling to our ship. Quite often we would suddenly zig zag for a long period of time so as to make it more difficult for an enemy submarine to torpedo us. We watched carefully where the sun rose as the days passed. At first it rose on the right (starboard) side; to England? Then a few days later it rose on the port side! 7 days later, on 28 Sept we sighted land, but because of a raging dust storm we anchored outside the harbor, not far from a sunken warship whose top was just above the water. The next morning about 1,000 of us disembarked at Casablanca, French Morocco. There we were driven to a large army base where we found wooden beds with chicken-wire for springs, spread out among palm trees in a vast stretch of sand.

On 2nd Oct. 1943 we boarded C47 planes at Cazes Airport and flew east, following the Mediterranean coastline. We made several stops along the way to billet and refuel. In Agra I was able to visit the Taj Mahal. We eventually ended at a little airfield in Assam, India, bordering Burma, where I spent the next 2 years. We were an advanced cadre of about 1,000 men, including pilots, radio men, navigators, cooks, clerks, etc, with about a dozen C-47 Transport planes. In 1942, after the Japanese invaded China, Pres. Roosevelt promised Chan--kai-Shek, President of China, with help via the Burma Road; but until that road could be built across dense jungles and mountains, supplies were to go by air. Soon thereafter about 6 airfields, including ours, were built in the Assam Valley because it was the closest point to China. Flying over the Himalayas, our planes delivered drums of gas and other supplies.

It was on that malaria-ridden, tiny outpost with just one landing strip, at the foothills of the Himalayas that I spent the next 2 years.

Sincerely, (signed) Walter S. Newman

Naperville, Illinois"

Mr. Newman also included a "Ship's Schedule" dated 20 September, 1943 that shows the daily routine of his voyage. Click here to see that schedule.

Col. Frederick Carter Newton (Ret)

I sailed new york to Bremerhaven July 1951 as a First Lieutenant headed for Paris to join AAFCE. It was a grand experience. A great ship it was.

Tania Nichol

"...All I know is that my Grandmother, Annie Cormier  (a war bride ) came across on the Louis Pasteur April 1944. She claimed to have a tote in the attic from the ship with a gas mask and news papers that were printed on board during the crossing but we have not located this box. She married my grandfather , Lance Corporal Sanford Lester Cormier on July 4th, 1942, Clanfield Southampton. I know it was not easy coming here for my grandmother 'war brides' were not treated very kindly ,she had no family or friends here I'm not sure how she ended up in South Western Ontario."

Kathleen (O'Connell) submitted by her son, Kevin Stewart

My mother Kathleen (O'Connell) came to Canada as a "war bride" on the Pasteur, arriving in Halifax on 19 Dec 44. Born in Kenmare, Ireland she'd been working in London before the war. My father Cyril "Bud" Stewart went to England with the RC Sigs and served in Sicily/Italy and briefly in Holland. They were married in London in 1943. Dad was one of the first back in '45 because he was one of the first over in '39. I was their first born in Aug '46. I remember mom saying there were a lot of children and a lot of seasickness on the ship - and that one evening it was cold & icy on deck, and the next morning it was very warm ­ a jaunt south to avoid a reported U-Boat. This delivered in a ho-hum fashion from a woman who we could never get to fly. She knew no one in Canada but went to stay with my grandmother in Toronto. My grandfather was away doing his second "world war" with RCEME in North Africa.

Walter O'neal (submitted by his interviewer, Joe Todd of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.)

"(He) lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  He was a member of the 912th Field Artillery, 87th Infantry Division and crossed the Atlantic from the US to England on the HmS Pasteur."

Dale W. Overy (See the entry for John M. Kropp.)

Joseph Parks (See the entry for John M. Kropp.)

Bill Perrin (Submitted by his friend Chris Ingersoll, retired Canadian Army)

Bill Perrin travelled to England and returned on the same ship with his troop mates heading to WWII. Bill was with the 44th Light Anti-aircraft Battery. He has told me several stories and is such a great man. Bill told me the enlisted in 1939 and went overseas sometime shortly after that, he trained in Halifax Nova Scotia. He was not sure exactly which dates and returned in late 1945.

Herbert B. Pearce (Submitted by his daughter, Sharon Shumann)

"His notes say he left on the Pasteur January Wednesday, January 17th, 1945.  He was in Troop B 87th Cav Ren Sqd MECZ."

Esther Peterson

My story of the Louis Pasteur is from the point of view of a 9 year old. My family was travelling from the island of Malta going back to the UK. We were taken around the Cape to reach the Uk because Uboats were in waiting in the Atlantic for any ship heading through the straits of Gibraltar.
 
My father David EWEN was posted to Malta with the Fleet Air Arm. He was serving on the Glorious air craft carrier. In 1937  my mother Janet, my sister Muriel and I joined him. In 1939 my Mother was pregnant with my sister Margaret and my Dad was encouraged to leave Fleet Air Arm and transfer to the RAF. The GLORIOUS was sunk on her next voyage. By that time the war had started. When Italy joined the Germans Malta became a dangerous place to be, however my parents were given the choice of staying. They felt that we were safer on the island with it's air raid shelters in the rocks , rather than venture onto the seas. We continued to live on the island despite the bombings. However in April 1942 the AIR MINISTRY notified the last 7 families that we had to leave A.S.A.P We had a 24 hour warning. We were taken to the Valletta harbour and were put aboard the Rowallan Castle, a cargo ship heading for Egypt. In one of the holds they had placed bunk beds divided by strips of sacking and this is how  we crossed the Mediterranean to Alexandria. On the way there was a torpedo attack and anxiety rose when one of the pavanes was damaged. The Rowallan Castle was sunk on her return trip to Malta so there was reason for anxiety.
 
We spent 6 weeks in a pensione in Alexandria. We took a train to Port Tewfic at the north of the Red Sea and that is where we connected to the Pasteur. On board the ship were German POW'S from the LIBYAN desert campaigns, including General von RAVENSTEIN and Major General Arthur SCHMIDT who had surrendered to Major-General I P de VILLIERS at BARDIA. ( My family still has a copy of a Durban newspaper showing these officers dis-embarking from the Pasteur, dated Tuesday March 24 1942).
 
Major-General SCHMIDT was given a cabin on the same deck as the families. We would pass this cabin on the way on deck and always saw a guard at his door. He was given the privilege of having his officers, from the main group of prisoners who were kept in the holds of the ship, to visit him. Later we would learn that these visits allowed the plan to be hatched to take over the ship and take it into MADAGASCAR, which was in Vichy hands, and therefore sympathetic to the German cause.
 
The ship was saved by a SOUTH AFRICAN guard who became suspicious on hearing 'all is ready for midnight'. He reported this and Bryan Samuels' account tells the rest about what was found in their possession. (Please read the entry for Bryan Samuel for this.)
 
Our journey continued and there was a great roar when LORD HAW HAW reported on radio that the ship had been captured. His news that night was wrong for which we were grateful. It took us three months to complete our journey home.

Jim Plate

On July 14, 1942, elements of the 323rd. Service Group boarded HMS Pasteur. We had been quarantined at Fort Dix for 10 days, to include rifle range qualification, supervised by 753rd. Ordinance Co., my unit. We took a train from Ft. Dix to the ferry, then to warehouse, boarded at/after dusk. We carried full field pack/barracks bag/gas mask, but no weapons- these were issued on the ship (later). It was hot, a steep climb up the gangplank- name, rank, serial number, confirmed by First Sergeant. I recall a prank- Sgt. Dave Lafitte, QM, wiry, small stature and his struggle- his buddies had added a large rock to his kit to make sure he carried his share of the load.

The 753rd. was quartered in section E-2, starboard bow, 5 decks down and below the water level. The QM Trucking Co. and Engineers were next to us. Twenty-some men from my company were detailed for the gun crew, quartered away from us to man Bofors and a 5 inch gun at the stern. The rest of us lived in space where we could all sit at one time at improvised picnic-style tables. We slept in hammocks or on deck- but no movement after dusk and no lighting smokes.

The food was poor. One buddy lost 40 lbs. of his 200 plus. At first, ship stewards would carry food from dumb waiter. After a shower of mess kits, shoes, hard hats, they refused. Then we became our own stewards.
Bathing, shaving, washing up done in communal areas; salt water showers with castile soap on schedule, not daily. Our latrine was 2 flights up in stairway landing with a 6-8 ft. trough, continuous running water, a plank on one side for sitting comfort. I do not recall much diarrhea or seasickness.

The ship was modeled after Normandie, with a narrow keel that made it fast, but also some unstable. I cannot recall any bad storms in 31 days, but there was some rough water around the Cape of Good Hope.

There was limited escort, but there was a Navy plane for a time and a Destroyer which dropped a few depth charges. First refuel at Freetown, Sierra Leone- July 25, my 22nd. Birthday. We berthed in harbor and heard drone of planes, Germans from Dakar. Ship eased out at dusk after one day to Durban for next fueling. This was a 2 day stop and we had liberty- each man of our Company had one day. There was a partial pay- $5.00 per E.M. I helped our Co. Clerk prepare his first payroll. Barclay's Bank was ready to make exchange. I think the South African Pound was about $4.00. Five dollars does not seem much, but most Privates, like me, were paid $30.00 a month before insurance and allotments. What was not spent in Durban ended up in one of many poker games on deck.

Ordinance had much duty below deck, issuing small arms weapons. Only a few soldiers came aboard with weapons. The boxes of Springfield Rifles, M1903, came from armories throughout the U.S. These were weapons mostly from WW1. A few M-1's and sub machine guns were new. I cannot recall pistols for officers. All were in cosmoline and required much cleaning.

While working in the hold of the ship, our men observed ship personnel bringing food upside. It was not food we ere eating. It was USA food, as we learned, taken on board in New York City. What we ate was food loaded at Egypt/South Africa coming to the U.S. with German and Italian POW's. So-o-o on our last night, there was a "midnight requisition" and a broken door. The loot was carried by hand/foot and passed around. What was not consumed was smuggled off the next day- Ordnance was last off the boat to the lighters. My Company came all the way to Rayak, Syria 2 to 3 weeks later with some of this stuff.
From hearsay mostly, I knew the HMS Pasteur was built by the French and made only a few trips with passenger service. The ship was picked up by British in a neutral port after France capitulated. I also "heard" the U.S. "paid" for our passage with reverse lend-lease. What a bargain!

The PX opened for a few hours on certain days. Our C.O. made a list and one GI waited in line. As time passed the line became smaller. The Durban $5.00 and pocket money was gone. I recall Coca Cola. Each person, mess kit cup in hand, waited for a mixture of Coke syrup and water, no fizz. It was a treat we passed in communion.

Arthur Plouff
(July 22, 2002)

Just 60 years ago today, myself and the 98th. Bomb Group of ground personnel boarded the HMS Louis Pasteur for a trip of 31 days. We were stuck in a hole in the bottom of the boat, next to the engine room that was hot as the fires of hell. Myself and a friend (Martin Tewes) found a spiral staircase that led to the top deck, which was out of bounds, and we found a raft that would hold at least 100 people tied to stanchions at the rail side and the bottom of the raft was at least 6 feet from the rail. This provided us with a place to stay the night and day for 31 days. This was on the Port side at the rearmost part of the ship.

In the center of this rear part of this boat was the dining hall for all the big shots of this boat. It had all fancy windows with curtains and a couple of doors. When Tewes opened the door for a look see he couldn't believe his eyes. There in front of him were many empty tables and three guys from our squadron doing K.P. duty. We dined on roast duck and a pitcher of ice water that night.

The following morning we were on our way to God only knows where. After we passed the Statue Of Liberty, German subs were spotted and our Navy and Air Force took care of them. ....As I remember we had just passed the The Statue Of Liberty, when out of nowhere came a destroyer escort and pulled up rather close to where our boat had been minutes before, and threw out about a dozen ash cans at the sub. Next came a B-17 bomber and he dumped his bombs where he thought the sub was. Then came a B-25 two-engine bomber and he hit the sub and a big explosion and oil slick resulted. The skipper of our boat came on the loud speakers saying the subs can't hurt us because it takes the subs three minutes to line up and fire a torpedo- and that he changes direction every two minutes.

Not much leeway for six or seven thousand soldiers on board if either one screws up. We made it to our destination and am very thankful to the both skippers of our boat and the sub.

Tewes returned with some blankets and a shirt with Master Sargents stripes that some guy had left to dry on Tewes' spiral staircase. He said it would come in handy if the British caught him in their dining room. He would be checking up on his men who were on K.P. The guys on K.P. were on for a week but they volunteered for the whole trip, because they had a nice room with showers and they ate the best food. Fruits of all kinds were available to us two traveling First Class.

We sighted land and took on oil and food at Freetown, Sierra Leone, Africa. For the long journey to Durbin, South Africa- where we were granted shore leave on August 4th. and 5th.

The boat left Durbin on August 6th, 1942. As we went around the Southern most part of South Africa, in the Cape of Good Hope, this boat rolled Port and Starboard so that Tewes and I on the top deck could touch the water as it rolled on our side. We had to hang on to the stanchions to save our lives. Neither Tewes or myself got sea sick, thank the Good Lord. The skipper came on the loud speakers, saying that this was the worst he had ever encountered in nine previous trips.

We continued up the Red Sea to Port Tewfig on the Suez Canal. On August 16th, 1942 we immediately unloaded and were told to holler your last name at the bottom of the ramp so an officer could check you off. When I hollered my name he called me back and asked where in hell I had been for 31 days? I told him an officer had put me on K.P. the very first day aboard and I had volunteered K.P. for the whole trip. He fell for this small fib and neither Tewes or I ever heard any more about it.

Eric Pole (contributed by his Son-In-Law, Dave Sheperd)

"My late father in law, Eric Pole, sailed on the Pasteur with the Kings Royal Rifles  in February 1941 from Greenock, Scotland as part of a large convoy to sail to Egypt. They stopped in Cape Town for 4 days before rejoining the convoy at Durban arriving at Port Tewfick on the Bitter Lakes at the southern end of the Suez Canal six weeks after leaving Scotland."

John F. Pozanc (Submitted by his Grandson, William Van Brunt.)

I am preparing this .... for my Grandfather John F. Pozanc, who traveled on the Louis Pasteur in May/June of 1944.
John was a Tec 5 in the 973rd Engineer Maintenance Company that was attached to the IX Air Force upon arrival in England on June 7, 1944. John boarded the Louis Pasteur on the Morning of May 27, 1944. The 973rd EMC was designated as the ship's MP Company, with Captain Tharp acting as Provost Marshal. The Company duties aboard Ship included maintaining order and ensuring the strict adherence of blackout regulations. The Louis Pasteur set sale the morning of May 29, 1944 and my Grandfather remembers the Ship's incredible speed and the fact that it could easily outrun German U-boats. According to Grandpa the journey from New York to Liverpool, was quite peaceful. He always compares that voyage with his return trip home aboard a Liberty Ship he was certain would be destroyed by the high seas. He remembers that every time the Liberty Ship crested a wave, the screws would come out of the water and shake the entire ship. The seven thousand troops aboard the Louis Pasteur arrived in Liverpool on June 7, 1944. The 973rd EMC disembarked the ship at 0230 hours on June 8, 1944. John and the men of the 973rd EMC entered the European Theatre of Operations on August 8, 1944. The role of 973rd EMC in the War was to ensure that the equipment needed to construct, repair, and maintain the Air Fields in Europe were operational when needed.
The information is derived from conversations with John F. Pozanc and the 973rd Engineer Maintenace Company. Company History: Initial Installment, 25 September, 1943 to 1 January 1946. European Aviation Engineer Command, n.d.

Tony and Joyce Prescott (based on their joint memories and contributed by Tony Prescott's son, Ian Prescott)

(My Father and my Aunt were evacuated to Canada during WWII in 1940 aboard the SS Hilary (apparently on the convoy before the sinking of the City of Benares which ended all further transport of children across the Atlantic) and returned in 1945 on the Pasteur of which my father speaks with great fondness. He and his sister ended up in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, and apparently they were the evacuees who ended up the furthest west from Britain! )

"Having spent from 1939 to 1946 as children evacuated to Port Albany on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, my sister and I returned to the UK aboard the SS Pasteur.  We Sailed from Halifax.  Once on board we were settled below decks in dormitories segregated male and female which had plenty of room.  The quality of the food was excellent and we were served at table by wonderful English staff.  We also have fond memories of the large cinema, but neither of us can remember what films were shown.  Although there was a swimming pool it was still closed due to the war.  We would climb the superb wooden staircases (one of which had a bust of Pasteur on display) to reach the upper decks and spent a lot of time in the forward observation lounge which had large windows overlooking the fo'c'sle.  We arrived in Southampton in July 1946 two days before school broke up for the summer. Apparently this was so the authorities could settle everyone back into school as required.  On docking at Southampton Docks I commented on the dockyard rail equipment as the trains and carriages appeared small compared to what I was used to seeing in Canada.  On our return home (having been away from our family for seven years) I was 14, and I joined the Royal Navy when I reached 15, my sister was 16 and went straight to a job glazing ceramics."

Ed Rabatin

4th. Of July, 1942 the 1060 Signal Platoon was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey by train. When we increased to a Company I was promoted to Supply Sgt. More personnel were assigned. A 2nd. Lieutenant (Regular) joined the Company in charge of re-supplies (2nd. Lt. Sam Wix Hays).

My orders from the Lieutenant were to requisition all extra supplies from Pvt. to C.O.- which were a lot more than we were allowed before (all supplies that were on our list). When the Lieutenant joined our outfit, he and I had a open conversation about the situation (the Lieutenant being a career soldier, knew a lot more about the military than I) so we had a good understanding about the job ahead. My job was to see that we had all of the equipment we were to have when we went overseas- to where we did not know- and we had only a little time to get the job done.

I don't remember how- it was only like 10 to 14 days- but one evening the call came to board the ship and we set sail on the Pasteur not knowing where we were going. So much happened in so little time. A lot of things were not really noticed, except when we were notified that a sub was sighted we all told and then we became more observant about things- like the ship zig-zagging to change direcrion so we the target were evading as much as possible (this was about two weeks out to sea).

The evasion worked so we docked at Durbin, South Africa, and we got shore leave 4 to 8pm that day. First thing we looked for a place to eat, having mostly mutton on board. One of the fella's that was in our foursome ate 3 steak dinners at one sitting.

Going around the Cape of Good Hope, the seas were about as rough as it could get. The ship (which was about 20-stories high I think, and somewhere over 800 feet long I was told) rocked and rolled from one side to the other. I was in the eating galley at the time- I remember that it was after shore leave, because I was late getting back on board so I got K.P. duty, waiting on the tables, from my Lieutenant no less- easy job.

We sail along to the next stop (Port "Twofith"? I believe) on the 15th. of August, 1942, sometime in the afternoon, and start unloading personnel by small boats to the shore. Since I was in Supply, another and myself were let down by crane at night time, just the two of us, into a boat with two natives who decided to quit work for the day. So there we sat, along side of the 20-story ship, in a little boat, until morning when they started working and took us to shore. Soon we saw English sailors and found out a few things, and had breakfast with them. I had my picture taken with the two sailors and it was published in the September issue of Parade Magazine. The caption read "First American Troops in Middle East".

Soon we were re-united with our Company and we went by wide-gauge railroad to Damascus, then by narrow-gauge railroad to an airfield near the Turkey border.
There was a general inspection of all the USA troops in the region. We were the only ones there that had impregnated underwear.

The 2nd. Lieutenant, Sam Wix Hays, was the Chief Signal Officer in the Middle East, also the major in rank. From there the outfit was sent to the outskirts of the Front at Alexandria- from which the push started on October 23rd, 1942 chasing Rommel, The Desert Fox.

Michael Israel Rabin

"F/O Michael Israel Rabin got his wings at RCAF Station St Hubert Quebec and was sent to RAF Station Perton UK by the gallant Vessel, Louis Pasteur in WW2."

Lee Rabin, Michael Rabin

"My name is Lee Rabin and my vessel was passed up by the Bremen on the St Lawrence River with a load of European immigrants heading  to Montreal. It was in the 1950's and I recalled that it was the old Louis Pasteur. After my service in WW2 in the Canadian Armored (landing on D DAY etc) I settled in Newfoundland and was mate on small freighter Ms Linda May operating in and around the gulf. Heading up the St Lawrence toward Montreal I was on deck watch and half asleep when all at once I was bounced back to life when a monstrous whistle came from aft and starboard. I stepped out and saw a huge vessel passing us at about 20 knots - we were almost at full.The vessel was the Bremen and on a beautiful sunny day there were literally thousands of passengers leaning, and waving from well above us. What struck me most was that magnificent funnel. I had no idea that she had been renamed Bremen a ship that my brother had traveled on during the war to England. My brother F/O Michael Rabin (RCAF) crossed to England in 1943 on this notable vessel. He died in 1970 in Toronto. I crossed to England on the QE in 1942 in the Canadian Army  and I am now 86. My name is Lee Rabin and after my service in WW2 in the Canadian Armored (landing on D DAY etc)"

Roy Rains (Submitted by his daughter, Deena R. Monday)

"My father, Roy Rains, was in WWII and came home after the war on the Pasteur ship from Liverpool. He has talked about this ship for years and always wondered about it's history before and after he was on it .........."

Jim Ranii

I crossed with 305th bomb group in march of '44. I don't remember much except I couldn't sleep in the hammocks so I slept under the picnic tables.

William D. Radtke (30th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion)

.... There seems to be no better place to start this travelogue or whatever you may call it than at dear old Camp Atterbury. In April 1943 everybody was busy packing and boxing equippment. The feeling in the air told everyone that things were going to happen soon, but what was going to take place and when was still a mystery. On the morning of the 18th with full field packs we started on our way to the railroad station. By 9 o'clock we were on the train, but still didnt know which way we were going. We left Indiana, crossed the state of Ohio, touched a part of Pennsylvania, followed the Mohawk Valley and the Hudson River in the state of New York and finally arrived at Camp Shanks, NY the following afternoon.


Shanks was a very new camp and they were still working on most of it. We were some of the first troops to arrive there, but after a week or so the camp was full. It was a short bus ride into New York from camp and after 10 days of processing we were given passes into the big city, visiting such as Jack Dempsey's, Stage Door Canteen, Paramount Theater and the top of the Empire State Building. We continued our training at Shanks. The evening of May 4, 1943 we hiked down to the railroad with full field pack and one barracks bag and left for the pier in New York. The train took us down to the Hudson River where we ferried across and boarded the S.S. Pasteur at about 10:30 that evening.


Bright and early the next morning the Pasteur pulled away from the dock and on passing the Statue of Liberty we finally realized that actually we were going overseas. We left port with the S.S. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. They went one way and we went another. It was a real suprise after we got away from land and couldnt see a convoy nor was there a ship in sight. We learned shortly that we were to go unescorted and rely on our speed to out run the subs. The Pasteur was a French ship and was manned with a British crew. I blieve it was the 13th largest ship in the world at the time and one of the fastest. The food was terrible, the quarters were terrible and it was a miserable trip. It was difficult to down mutton stew and tea on a rolling stomach. One night we would sleep on deck and the next we could go down into the hold and sleep on hammocks. The laterine was next to our hold and when it stopped up there was a stench. Thankfully the ocean was calm all the way across.


Several days after we left New York they told us we were going to land at Casablanca, Morroco. One afternoon they gave us a scare as they shot off the guns on the ship. The only trouble the ship ran into during the trip was a wolf pack of subs one night, but by morning it had outrun them. The shimmering white houses of Casablanca against the sandy brown hills were a welcome sight on the morning of May 12, 1943. it had taken us a little over a week to cross the Atlantic. We landed about 10:30 AM and marched to Camp Charles Du Shane, which was about 5 miles from the docks. the camp was being newly built by the Americans, but was originally the site of an old French camp. Casablanca was little affected by the war and the city was very pretty. All the homes had beautiful gardens with many flowers. It was very hot and dry and almost everything that was grown had to be irrigated.


....... This was to be the beginning of a two and a half year tour in the African/Meditarranean theater of operations. The 30th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion would go on to march across North Africa and participate in the invasion and occupation of Italy.

Daniel B. Rathbun

( Submitted by his son, Dan Rathbun)

"After several months of operations out of Pasteum and having completed 102 combat missions, I began to think that I needed a break, especially if it involved a return to my much-missed bride in California.  I conveyed this feeling to our Group CO (Dorr Newton) and he responded in a way that I agreed with wholeheartedly.  I told Col. Newton that I would be available if he needed me after my R&R had made me whole.  I then bid the troops good-bye and proceeded to hitchhike on Army planes to Casablanca, stopping along the way in Qairouane, Tunis, Gibraltar, and Port Lyautey.

In Qairouane, I came close to having "my goose cooked" in a C-47 heavily loaded with machinery.  Its port engine quit a few seconds after we were airborne.  We flew a wide 360° circle, scraping along at sagebrush height until we were able to land.  All's well that ends well!

After "processing" in Casablanca, I was told to board the Louis Pasteur, a passenger liner in the harbor.  Wow!  What a contrast with the quarters I had grown accustomed to!  The ship was a first-class French liner, equipped with an English crew, French chefs, linen tablecloths, etc.  To my dusty eyes, the lap of luxury. 

The ship traveled at a high rate of speed, so escorts were deemed unnecessary.  However, my purring stopped after two days when I was taken to the infirmary with malaria.  I stayed in the infirmary for several days, after which time I was told that I could look out a porthole at the Statue of Liberty.  It looked awfully good to me!" I was soon to bump into food stamps, gasoline coupons, and all the other evidence that the nation was at war.  Nevertheless I was ecstatic, particularly so after bumming rides to the west coast and finding my bride just as good-looking as I remembered her and as glad to see me as I was to see her.  To say that I was as happy as a clam grossly understates the truth.       

I was back where I wanted to be and enjoying life with my bride, Betty, first in a short stay in a fancy hotel in Santa Monica, known as a Replacement Center, where I was joined by brother, Ed, back from China."

Herbert Charles Rawcliffe (submitted by his son, Jack Rawcliffe)

My father is 90 yrs young 13/7/08. Dad went from Glasgow on the Pasteur to Durban on route to India & Ceylon. He was a member of the 63rd Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

William W. Reid (submitted by his grandson, Michael Reid)

My grandfather, William W. Reid flew in the Canadian Air Force.  He traveled from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Greenock, Scotland on the once named Louis Pasteur ship.

Walter Renshaw (submitted by a friend, Eldon A. Bezanger)

"...... sailed to England from Halifax on the Louis Pasteur I am not sure of the year......)

Emlyn Roberts (contributed by his friend Richard Harrison)

Emlyn Roberts sailed on the Pasteur in December of 1943.

Trevor Roberts (submitted by his daughter, Ann Pugh)

"Trevor Roberts enlisted with the RAF in November 1940 and trained as an instrument mechanic, holding the rank of Leading Aircraftsman. In November 1941 he embarked on The Pasteur for Halifax, Canada. He spent the next 26 months stationed at Debert, Nova Scotia, returning to the UK in the early spring of 1944. He went on to serve in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He was demobbed in 1946, and has spent most of his working life in the dairy industry. He now lives with his wife in the South of England and has 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren."

"This is his dairy, written day-by-day as he crossed the Atlantic in The Pasteur."

"Going overseas

Wednesday Nov.19th 1941 Padgate, Warrington, Lancashire

Last night I went into Manchester for the evening, met two raff u/t pilots bound shortly for Canada to complete their training. Had a slight celebration ­ why I don't know and missed the last train back to Padgate. Slept the night at the YMCA and caught the 7.10 from Central Station.

Today we have been told that tomorrow we leave camp en route for the boat and ­ we hope ­ Canada.

This evening, being confined to camp, went to an all-in wrestling show at the camp gymnasium.

We now have our kit bags marked with the code and packed ready to move on the morrow. The code words MAXIAN CHORD apparently implying the name of the boat and our destination.

So after a month preparing and waiting it looks as if we shall very soon be on our way.

Today received a letter from home and another from Pearl, I wonder how long it will be before I see them again.

Thursday Nov. 20th 41 Padgate 8.45 pm


We have to parade at 9.00 this evening and will then proceed to our port of embarkation ­ where that is we do not know. I make a guess that it will be Greenock, Scotland. Met Aubrey Wensley whilst waiting for tea this afternoon. He is here on draft and thinks he may be going to Canada. We also think we are going to Canada, here's hoping anyway. The lads are now having a sing song, now 'singing' the Rose of Tralee and Mountains of Maughan. Well it won't be long now.

Friday 21st Nov., 41. 10pm On board the "Duchess of Hamilton"

Well we paraded at 9pm last night. By the time we had eaten dinner, had a couple of roll calls and caught the train, it was midnight before we left Padgate Station.

After standing about in full pack for three hours, we were all feeling very tired and were soon all more or less asleep.

On waking I found we were in Harrogate ­ it was then somewhere about 2am. I soon fell asleep again and only really awoke when we arrived in Newcastle on Tyne. It was then just daybreak and a mug of tea was provided by soldiers on the station.

We soon set off and all went well until we arrived at a small station called Belford. We then found that bombs had been dropped on the track seven miles ahead of us just under half an hour earlier. A train passing at the time had also been machine gunned. We were delayed there for just over four hours and then soon after passed over the bombed section. There were about half a dozen houses at a level crossing and it was there that Jerry had dropped his load. The houses were severely damaged, but the track had been repaired. We soon arrived at Berwick-on-Tweed and there we passed the train that Jerry had machined gunned. It was damaged quite a bit and all the windows broken. From Berwick we travelled to Edinburgh and then to Glasgow. After a short stop we proceeded to Gurock, which adjoins Greenock and there embarked on "Duchess of Hamilton"

Later: The "Duchess of Hamilton" turned out to be merely the tender that took us out to the troopship 'Pasteur'. The 'Pasteur' is a former French crack liner that was taken over by Britain after the capitulation of the French. The French attempted to scuttle this ship and Lord Haw Haw has three times claimed to have sunk her.

We understand that our port of disembarkation is to be Halifax, Nova Scotia. As this is a fast ship and as far as I know will travel out of convoy after going as far as Northern Ireland, it should only take about 6 days, so we have been told anyway. The troops, army, navy and airforce have very crowded quarters, there being over 4,100 on board. In spite of this, the officers have quite spacious accommodation with a large elaborate messing room. We have to eat, sleep, and live in the same cramped quarters right in the bow of the boat.

Saturday Nov.22nd, '41 On board The Pasteur

The weather today is dull and stormy with a strong wind blowing. At four o'clock this afternoon we cast off and proceed a mile or so down stream, passing through a large collection of shipping. The masts and three funnels of a French warship are just showing above water. I hear she caught fire, blew up and sank about a year ago, with a large number of casualties.

We are at present anchored just off the mouth of the Clyde and will probably sail sometime during the night.

During last night there was quite a long air-raid warning, the all-clear went after it was light this morning. The noise of heavy gunfire could be heard during the night.

Sunday November 23, 1941

About 10 pm last night the 'Pasteur' moved from her anchorage and proceeded slowly to sea. At daybreak she was only just moving along and the Scottish coast was still in sight. At about 9am we met two other boats and a destroyer and proceeded on our way at about 12 or 15 knots. There was quite a swell running and quite a few were being seasick. Early in the morning we passed three ships and a while later fourteen ships in a convoy heading for Scotland. This afternoon we passed another convoy of about thirty vessels also going in that direction.

During most of the day various types of aircraft flew around us, all British, thank goodness. About dinner-time the wind started really blowing and by tea-time we were in a fully fledged gale, with quite a sea running.

We were not allowed on deck where the gusts were enough to blow one overboard. At tea-time another destroyer joined us. It looked like one of those we get from America. Our ship pitches and rolls too much for my liking, but these destroyers are standing on their tails one moment and sticking their noses under the next. A lot of fellows have been sick today. I have not been sick ­ yet ­ although at times I have felt far from good. At the moment the ship is rolling like hell.. It's funny I should have written that because almost before I finished the word 'hell', I had to jump up and run for it, so now I've been seasick.
I don't feel like writing much more tonight.

At 10pm we put our clocks and watches back 1 hour.

Monday, Nov. 24th 1941

Nothing much to write about today. Just sea, sea and still more sea. The other two boats and the destroyer are still with us. The sea is still rough so there have not been many people eating their meals. I watched the other boats and often all that could be seen was the masts and tops of the funnels of the destroyers. At about 3am this morning everybody was awakened by the ship vibrating like a jelly, just as if we had struck something. Many jumped from their beds. Apparently it was just an extra large wave. The 'Pasteur' is of over 30,000 tons yet that wave shook her like a rattle. Saw some seagulls flying near the ship this afternoon. They must be hard up for a job coming all this way out. This afternoon I saw a water spout reaching from the clouds to the sea, not very far from the boat. The weather has been stormy, with heavy rain quite a lot of the time.
We have not seen any other boats beside our little convoy, to-day.

This evening I was caught for fatigues and spent an hour or so down in the cookhouse ­ maybe I should call it galley. But it got so hot I got fed up and walked out on them. I didn't join the raff to cut up parsnips in the middle of the Atlantic.

Have seen no planes today. Yesterday morning our destroyer suddenly broke away from us and went chasing around. Some of the crew said there was a U-boat hanging around. We put the clock back another hour at 10.00pm. tonight.

Went to the ship's cinema show this afternoon.

Tuesday, Nov 25th 1941

Not a lot to write about today except the weather and the sea, both of which are much rougher. The 'Pasteur' has been rolling and pitching a lot all day, oftentimes digging her bows under the waves. This afternoon water smashed through some doors and flooded the promenade deck so no-one will be able to sleep there tonight. Some of the lower decks and have been, and still are, flooded and many of the troops are this evening baling it out, but it is still coming in, where from I don't know. The evening cinema show has been cancelled.

I've seen some huge waves today, makes the ship seem quite small. The two other ships and the destroyer are still with us and pitching so much that at times their screws leave the water. Although its rougher than ever today I've felt very fit and am eating well. I slept well last night. We have not seen any ships or aircraft today. I did see one seagull this morning flying around although it was blowing a full gale at the time. At times the sea shakes this ship like a leaf. Tonight we had to put the clocks back an hour.

Wednesday, Nov. 26th 1941

Today has been almost uneventful. Sometime during last night the other two boats left us. The destroyer is still ploughing on ahead of us. The weather early this morning had improved somewhat and the sea was slightly calmer. After an hour or so we ran into some hail storms and a very strong head wind with the sea almost as rough as yesterday. Early this morning I saw a ship on the horizon heading towards England. Our destroyer left us for a short while and went to have a look at her, soon returning apparently satisfied. Quite a few birds were flying around the ship today, stormy petrels I believe

This afternoon went to the cinema show and saw the film 'Convoy' ­ as if there was not enough sea outside.

Boy! This ship rolls like hell.

Thursday Nov. 27 '41

Last night the sea was very rough and I woke in the night to find the ship jolting and shaking so much I thought she must be falling apart. When I awoke this morning the ship was still in one piece and the weather much improved with the sea a lot less rough.

For days now we have only been crawling along, but at 9 am this morning the speed suddenly went up to about 17 knots and this evening I should say she is going over 20 knots, in spite of a head wind of gale force. The 'Pasteur' is said to be capable of 28 knots, making her about the fastest trooper in use.

This evening we saw a light someway away on the port bow. I suppose it was another boat. Anyway our destroyer went over to have a look. Our destroyer, the H37, is still ploughing on just ahead of us ­ they're tough little boats, almost as much submarine as boat in the seas we have been through. The fellows on them sure earn their money.

There is a very mixed crowd on this boat ­ some women and their children, RAF aircrew and ground crew, Atlantic bomber ferry pilots on their way to America to pick up more olanes to fly to England, marines and sailors on their way to Seattle to join the Norwegians going to Canada, and a lot of slightly wounded and medically unfit Canadians returning to Canada.

This evening a lot of us, raff, sailors, Canadians, and anyone else around had a good sing song with the aid of an accordion, a coup0le of banjos and an empty tin banged with a couple of sticks. The old boy, a Canadian, who started it has now invited a score or so of the revellers up to his quarters ­ which also happen to be my quarters, and here, when I want to go to bed, they're still 'Rolling out the Barrel'.

Friday, Nov. 28th 1941.

Not much to write about today. The sea about the same as yesterday, maybe a bit rougher. The wind's still blowing a gale, and it is getting much colder tonight. There's some ice out on the deck.

This afternoon I noticed quite a flock of seagulls were flying around the ship. The destroyer is still escorting us. We have seen no sign of any other shipping. Tonight we have been on this boat for just a week. The clock has to be put back another hour.

Saturday, Nov. 29th '41

Today is much colder. We had some snow last night and it remained in the deck most of the day, during which time we passed through several small snowstorms. The sea was moderate again today and the destroyer is still with us.

This afternoon I went out onto the forward deck, the first time since the rough weather. The sea has smashed one of the stairways up to the bridge and broken away two paravanes that were lashed to the deck. One of them had struck a metal upright and was twisted around it as if it were made of putty. No wonder the sea gave this ship such a shaking.
Altogether an uneventful day.

Sunday, Nov. 30th '41

The weather is somewhat warmer today although there was some snow on deck this morning. The sea is almost smooth and there is little wind.

This morning I went to a service in the lounge and this evening went to the ship's concert in the first class dining room. It was quite good. Howard Marshall and Prof. Julian Huxley were there. This evening I met a raff corporal I know by sight. He lives in St Michael's Avenue, Yeovil and is now on his way to some place in Canada.

I should think it is nearly time we saw some land ­ we've not seen any for over a week now.

Monday Dec. 1st 1941

This morning work to find the weather bitterly cold, with a strong wind and roughish sea. The decks are covered in ice and we often pass through snow storms.

This evening though the sea is as smooth as a millpond and although we are now moving faster than we have before, the ship is as steady as if she were in harbour. We are due to dock at Halifax, Nova Scotia at 12 am tomorrow. Outside it is freezing cold.

Tuesday, Dec 2nd '41 6.30 am

I have just pulled on some clothes and have been out on the deck to see the lights of Halifax. So it won't be long now."

Sidney Rosen (Contributed by his daughter, Vicki Rosen.)

My father, Sidney Rosen, ,,,,, sailed the Pasteur during WWII. Left NY harbor July 16, 1942 on the Pasteur.  Sailed to Dekkar, then Durbin, arriving in Cairo on Aug. 23, 1942.

William V. "Bill" Roudebush

( Submitted by his Son-In-Law, Jim Michaels) ....William V. "Bill" Roudebush, sailed as a private in the Army Air Corps on the Louis Pasteur. His voyage began July 16, 1942, when he boarded the Louis Pasteur from Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York. "With rifles on our shoulders, we marched out of Ft. Hamilton in a group approximately 150 strong, with a marching band playing "Over There" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy." As we approached the dock we observed a HUGE ship with an opening in its side. We were checked off of a list and then directed us through as maze of hallways to what we laughingly called a "state room." Built for 4 humans at a time we squeezed 8 into this room and tried to make it home. There were four bunks with a top and bottom. We threw our barracks bag and the rest of our gear onto the ends of our bunks and stacked our rifles against the walls. There we waited and waited until one of our officers finally came and informed us for the first time that we were going to Africa. Africa!? Part of what we were carrying was tropical gear ie: sun helmets and also cold weather gear. We were very confused.

Our first introduction to the food on board was the evening so- called -meal which was a disaster! Some kind of greasy meat, an attempt at fried potatoes, stale bread and something called coffee. And horrible cookies. After valiantly trying to fill our empty bellies, the officers took us up on deck. As we looked over the side we saw the huge ocean liner "Normandy" lying on her side like a beached whale. Divers were climbing in and out of the Normandy, attempting to find a way to raise it. This sight was quite sobering and made us quite thoughtful about the journey ahead of us. Eventually the officers sent us back to our cabins to turn in for the night. We slept in our underwear. We slept fitfully through that long night waking to find that the ship was underway. The first thing I noticed was that I was itching like mad all over! I was covered with bites and welts all over my body which was soon to be discovered to be bed bugs! The mattresses were literally lousy with bed bugs left to us by the former residents, Italian P.O.W.'s, which the ship had left off in Canada prior to our boarding. My buddy Rix, a Texan, and I decided that that was the LAST night we would spend down there. From that day forward we slept on deck, parking our gear under a life boat. At least that way we had clean air, no rats or bed bugs.


We were finally directed down a couple of decks to get fed. We were treated to breakfast consisting of what we called "Patriotic Eggs"... reddish white and bluish. We also had gruel and chunks of bread with Kippered Herring. Ugh! From good G.I. food to all of a sudden this GARBAGE! And very weak, tepid coffee. Enough about that meal.


As we watched the Statue of Liberty receeding into the distance our spirits were about as low as could be. I had a very strange, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. We saw PBY air planes trying to spot enemy submarines from the air and we also saw many destroyers patrolling the waters around us. Later in Africa we called PBY's "Peter Baker Yahoos." Later, as a seasoned soldier, I would join my mates and hang out the side of the PBY's and shoot Crocodiles. Good Food! Every day the MESS call was a MESS! The first day was unfortunately a precursor to what was to be repeated again and again. What we didn't know was that we were eating the leftover food from the Italian P.O.W.'s. Not the GOOD food that the British had taken on board in New York. This we knew because for one dollar we could buy bacon and eggs or fried chicken. This was the OFFICERS food. All the money I had was GONE! We lived for five or six days on Vanilla Wafers, chocolate bars and watered down Ginger Ale they called Ginger Beer - we were in a very, very surly mood! We complained to our officers and they complained to the British Captains but nothing changed. Finally on the 6th or 7th day our Mess Sergeants went to the head of the line, observed that once again we were being fed the same garbage. So they and WE threw our food trays down on the decks. We KNEW there was good food on board!

Later that day our officers called us up on deck with all of our rifles, bayonets, weapons of any kind and they impounded them! After the voyage we were to see that our weapons developed considerable rust. They were afraid of a mutiny! Rightly so! So we had to exist for the duration on bread with weavils, potatoes with potatoe bugs and horrible mutton! I have HATED lamb ever since! Another thought... it has been mentioned that the ship was armed. On the bow there was what looked like a 75 mm gun and possibly one or possibly two on the stern. On one of the stations above my lifeboat was a Bofors Anti-aircraft machine gun. Probably a total of four of them, two on each side. They were tested all the time and the FIRST drill took us by complete surprise! I woke up with a start and bashed my head on the keel of the life-boat I slept under. Later whern we were stationed in Durbin we would go to dances and have LOTS of fights with British Limeys as we called them. Seemed like we were venting our frustrations of that awful voyage! Our voyage was 18-20 days and we ALL lost at least 10-15 pounds. My first meal was at the "Playhouse" in Durbin. My first meal was STEAK AND EGGS! WONDERFUL! REAL eggs! The South African people treated us VERY good. This irked the British as the S. African people wouldn't let the British anywhere NEAR their homes. I imagine that the Louis Pasteur in its hey day was a true luxury liner as it still showed evidences of its former glory... but MINE eyes never saw it! To us it was a roach and rat infested, stinking scow! "In fact if we wouldn't have had so damned far to swim we would've welcomed a torpedo!!! "

Gordon Rowat

I sailed from Halifax as a 19 years old Canadian infantry reinforcement and arrived in the UK on December 31 1944.

John Rule (Submitted by his daughter, Margaret Thompson.)


"My Dad was on the Pasteur during WW2 and travelled from Greenock in Scotland to Egypt via South Africa ,he's not sure of the year..."

Samuel Alfred Russell (Submitted by his Cousin, Keith Mossman)

" ...... some detail on the exploits of my cousin who sailed on the Pasteur in 1940.

His name is Samuel Alfred Russell and he celebrates his 90th birthday on February 5th this year (2007). He served with the 12th Field Regiment Royal Artillery until it was disbanded in 1943.

He reports as follows:

1940

28 Oct Left Larkhill ( Salisbury Plain ) and travelled to Liverpool overnight.

29 Oct Arrived Liverpool 6.30am and boarded Pasteur.

30 Oct Sailed during the night.

31 Oct Woke up at anchor in the Firth of Forth ( Scotland ).

1 Nov In convoy in the Atlantic out of sight of land, convoy included Berwick, Ark Royal, Pasteur, Barham, and surrounded by destroyers

2 Nov At sea

3 Nov At sea

4 Nov At sea - very rough, enormous waves, clocks put back 2 hours.

5 Nov At sea

6 Nov Arrived Gibralter. Awakened at midnight to transfer to the cruiser Berwick. Ordered not to appear on deck in Army uniform. Borrowed overalls from sailors.

7 Nov Sailed during the night.

8 Nov In the Med, in convoy with Ark Royal and Barham.

9 Nov Bombed by Italian planes, No damage.

10 Nov Arrived at Valletta, Malta at mid-day.

Nov 1940 until Sept 1943 spent defending Malta, hardly a day passed without being bombed.

1943

Sep 1943 Left Malta for North Africa

1944

Feb Arrived Naples, Italy - the battle for Monte Cassino going on to the North and Vesuvius was erupting to the South !

1945

20 Mar Sailed from Naples aboard M.V Georgic

30 Mar Arrived back in Liverpool.

Five years he could have done without !!"

Noel Ryan

ATLANTIC CROSSING

December 1944

Just to set the scene, first let us go back to the canteen as I often did at Farnham. I justify my one beer a night by our increase in pay having finished basic training. I am now earning $1.30 a day and found, as the saying goes. This made up in part for the automatic loss of my stripe and the extra twenty five cents when we went to advanced training. No stripes were to be won at Farnham but I was still the marker.

I remember the canteen mostly as being excessively humid, smoky, and it had a juke box. I guess juke boxes were a part of everyone's life at that time. For me, they were a significant part of my life since the music they played was such a part of me. I have told you how the sentimental songs in particular were felt deep inside, residing there to later recall the full spirit of the association, the complete ambience of the surroundings. My favourite song at Farnham was the Sinatra version of "I'll Be Seeing You" with the Dorsey band. A close second was "Apple Blossom Time" with the Andrews Sisters. My favourite instrumental piece was and is, "Jersey Bounce" also by the Dorsey brothers. My all around favourite band was Harry James. Who can ever forget "Sleepy Lagoon", "You Made Me Love You", or Kitty Callum singing "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "I Had the Craziest Dream". I cant leave out Miller's "Moonlight Becomes You" and "Moonlight Cocktail" can I? There were so many of them. Each is deeply etched inside of me. Any one of hundreds can bring me to a state of joyfull distress remembering a very special time when I was in love with the lovely June, my heart open and overflowing with zeit geist. I am so fortunate to experience such an intensity of feeling which has never diminished. My whole world glowed at that time, the best of times. The worst was yet to arrive.

DEBERT

On my way to the worst, I had to arrive at Debert, Nova Scotia which was a transit camp. We arrived by train and may well have slept in our seats on the way down as it is an overnight trip from Montreal.

We were billeted into the now familiar "H" huts and sat around for a few days, mostly drinking filthy Nova Scotia beer, Red Ball being the worst and Moose Head only slightly better. We were waiting for the next overseas draft to be made up. One fine day, at roll call, the names were called out and checked off for the draft. My name was not included. Holy Shit! One of the principles of Army life was to bond with your mates forming a group which would mostly stay together. Remember, I had these feelings when I had earlier declined a quick trip to the front lines. Of course, there were other feelings as well, namely, only twelve days of glory?

I was upset enough that I went into a real funk. Like my head was in a fog. Three times I had to petition the Captain in person to find out why I had been dropped. That was in between mopping barracks floors. The story I got was that there was another Ryan, a John.

John was sick. His number was D145956. My number was D145952. He was sent on and I was kept behind, waiting for the next draft, about two weeks. I think I got drunk every night and I would often disappear from washing floors. O, I was the naughty one.
At the same time, as so often happens to me, being taken off of my supposed draft put me onto the Louis Pasteur.

The draft was called and we shipped out by train to Halifax where we embarked onto the Louis Pasteur, a liner with a short history. As we climbed the gang plank, I found out why there was no consistent supply of the better candy bars available at home. As we made it to the deck, we were each of us given a box of twenty-four chocolate bars. There was a choice of two of which mine was Neilson's Burnt Almond which I always thought of as being rather exotic. I do not remember the alternative. Whoever "They" were, they weren't giving anything away except candy bars, but I suspect the Red Cross. There were only two meals on board ship, breakfast and supper. Guess what I had for lunch.

I was assigned to a large room somewhere in the bowels of the ship. This was a combination mess and sleeping room. We ate our meals sitting on long picnic tables and slept overhead in hammocks, quite an experience. Our gear, small and large packs and a kit bag, were stored under the tables. I amost forgot, I had brought my Gibson guitar with me as well, minus a case. By the way, I was terrible player and have not improved over the years. That's what happens when you dont take no lessons. Apart from boat drills, there were no set routines. As with most sea voyages, there were specific mess times for the various groups. Breakfast, consisting mostly of a herring, cooked fortunately, a hunk of bread and coffee around seven A.M. and dinner around four o'clock. I cant remember what we had for dinner but I daresay it was nothing special. We would all scramble down to the food line-up and take it back to our bed-sitters to eat. Smoked kippers are quite good for breakfast but for a whole ten days? Let me tell you about the ship.

I dont like to use the word, but as usual, there was a lot of scuttlebutt about the ship. The Louis Pasteur, the discoverer of bacteria by the way, was French built. On the third of September 1939, it had its inaugural voyage from Cherbourg to Southampton. It returned the next day, unloaded the passengers, and returned to Southampton to be refitted as a troopship. The ship was fast, making over thirty knots but had a bad roll. It would list somewhere around the eighteen or twenty degree mark. after this they must have invented anti-roll planes I'm sure. The roll was scary even in a calm sea. Fortunately, we were to have a very quiet sea for our voyage on the Southern route. We sailed unescorted, all by our lonesome on the premise that we could out run any submarine. But what if they were lying in wait I used to worry.


After we had embarked, I was delighted and surprised to receive a parcel from home, from my Mother. She had included a lot of the Xmas cookies she always made, date squares, and such, packed in cardboard butter boxes. Everything was padded with several of the condensed novels from the Saturday Star. A lot of them were Perry Mason stories. Included as well was my standing order for a tin of lobster, a real treat. Tinned lobster is not generally on the market now. Then it was an expensive thirty-five cents a can and came packed in parchment. I loved it and could knock off a whole can faster than you can say "John Whatshisname". On receipt of any parcel from home, I would make it very clear that I would share all my bounty except for the lobster, no exceptions. This was especially since my overseas draft was made up completely with lads from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. I'm sure they were glad to learn that I too was born in New Brunswick, admitting me to clan Herring Chokers. A good reason to enjoy my breakfasts, I guess. They were a good bunch of guys and you will hear a story about them later. On board ship, I was to have one adventure. That I am here today testifies that it was not a misadventure but perhaps, only just. Wait till you hear this.

It could very well have been Christmas day. I was on deck in shirt sleeves, enjoying the sunshine and warm wind usually unfamiliar at this time of year. I wandered up towards the prow, past the huge anchor chains, stepping over a kind of breakwater and looked down at the water from the very front of the ship. I had a wonderful feeling of happiness, taking in the vastness of the ocean, the clear skies and particularly seeing and feeling the prow going up and down with the swell as it cut through the water. As the saying goes, it seemed a good idea at the time to climb up on the railing with my feet hanging over the water, my arm around the flag pole, going up and down with the bow just like on a merry-go-round. What a fantastic feeling of freedom with nothing in front of me except the wind, the sky, and the waves. I was joined with a friend holding on to the flag pole from the other side. We seemed to be there a long time before we heard a voice behind us saying "Ok, lads, Come on down from there". Being a couple of disciplined Canadian soldiers, we complied. It was suggested that we not come that far foreward on the deck again. Of course we didn't. I mean, neither one of us would break the rules. There was nothing to say we couldn't sit up there, was there?

It was decidedly not a very bright thing to do. I turn little green thinking about it even now. It was a hell of a long way down to the water, forty feet at least. If we had fallen off, the ship would never have stopped. We would have been sucked into the propellors anyway. I wonder what was going on in the bridge? I expect they would be having a fit, and probably wondering what to do. There were no recriminations, nothing was ever said about our little adventure. It was one hell of a ride let me tell you.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to see Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kate Winslet standing on the bow of Titanic, well not really. But, the feelings they expressed there were exactlly my feelings when I was almost in the same position on the Louis Pasteur. I find it difficult to think I could ever do such a thing. With my feet hanging over yet!

Bryan Samuels

(Mr. Samuels notes: ".....taken in 1941, just before I joined Barham.)

(Mr. Samuels contacted me in January of 2005 and kindly pointed out that I had misspelled his name, and had previously included some of his material that was copyrighted. These issues have now been corrected and I am grateful to Mr. Samuels for his contribution.)

On November 25th, 1941 the British battleship HMS Barham took three torpedos from a German U-Boat, the U-331, rapidly capsized, exploded and sank. Of the 1,311 aboard, 861 were lost and 450 survived. As it turned out, British cameramen were on a nearby ship and took footage of the capsize and subsequent explosion when the magazines were ignited. This famous footage is shown quite often during historical documentaries of naval operations in WW2.

One of those survivors was Bryan Samuels, who later wrote a book about his experiences "Never Make A Sailor". The following is quoted from that book.

"..... I was very agreeably surprised when my draft came through to travel back to Port Suez and with 140 other sailors, joined SS Louis Pasteur, a French liner being used as a trooper.

She was loaded with 2000 German prisoners of war captured in North Africa and bound for prison camps in South Africa.

They were guarded by South African soldiers, fortunately for us. Early one morning as we sailed down the East African coast, we were aroused and armed with rifles. The Germans were awakened and herded on to the fo'c's'le deck, separated from their officers who we marched to the after lounge where they were locked in and placed under guard. With the soldiers left to guard the prisoners for'ward, we sailors were sent down to the prisoner's quarters to search for weapons. It transpired that one of the South African sentrys had overheard some prisoners plotting to take the ship, he could understand German and he iminediatley reported the fact to his superior officer.

We were amazed at the collection of weapons we found, spoons and forks flattened out and sharpened, strips of wood shaved from tables and stools, sharpened and the points burnt, to harden them. We even found some automatic pistols which had somehow been smuggled aboard. It was a very close shave and we were grateful for the soldier who was able to understand what the plotters were up to.

Thankfully we arrived at Durban without further excitment and disembarked the prisoners, I was seen on Pathe News, armed with a Sten Gun, at the foot of the gangway as the prisoners were marched away.

(Also see the entries for John Philip Hardstaff and Esther Pwterson regards this incident)

We were then sent to HMS AssegaiI camp outside Durban, to await transport home whilst the Pasteur returned to Egypt..."

For the complete narrative of Brian Samuals' survival of the HMS Barham sinking, see: http://www.watersideweb.co.uk/Barham/samuels.htm

(For another observation of the Barham sinking, see the entry for John King.)

G. E. Sanders (DFC) (contributed by his son, Nick Sanders)

"......my Father who returned on the Louis Pasteur after his training in the States. His journey was from Halifax, 4th June 1943 to Liverpool, 5th July 1943.
 
In his words : 'After flying training in Ponca City, Oklahoma September 1942 to April 1943 I returned to the UK as a Sgt Pilot RAF (1445454) aboard the Louis Pasteur from Halifax NS to Liverpool. It was hardly a luxury liner at that time but quite an experience.'"

Elmer Schauer (Submitted by his daughter, Debbie Reeves)

"My Father, Elmer Schauer (13th Field Royal Cnd Artillary) crossed from Halifax to Grennock Scotland on The Pasteur in 1942 or 1943. 

                                                           
 Gerald Schwartz
 
On July 16, 1942 the squadron entrained for New York Harbor, where it loaded aboard the HMS Pasteur, for shipment to points unknown. We were dressed in "Olive Drab" (Woolen Winter uniforms) in the middle of the summer, presumably to be shipped to some frigid zone. We no doubt fooled our enemies by this, since we wound up in one of the hottest places in the world, (the Suez Canal")!  When our train arrived at Weehawken.,New Jersey, we were loaded on board a ferry and transported to Pier 90 North River where we tied up alongside the dock. We then passed through a door and climbed 6 flights of stairs. As we reached the 6th landing I asked a British seaman when we would go aboard the ship. He said "you have been aboard for the past half hour!"  We had reached the 6th deck, on top of the ship (the sports deck). Our quarters consisted of bunks 3 high in the center of the deck, around which walls had been built and a roof installed.  We found that the pier where this ship was docked (Pier 90 North River) was the largest and deepest pier in the harbor, and the only one that could accommodate this ship, and the SS Queen Mary also! It had been built in France to compete with the Queen Mary by making the crossing from Southampton, U.K. to New York in 4-1/2 days! It would do 28 knots ah hour in daylight and 30 knots at night!  If you can, try to imagine yourself in 90 degree temperature, wearing all woolen clothing, with puttees. You are carrying a Springfield rifle, a gas mask, wearing a belt containing 100 rounds of ammunition, a canteen of water and a mess kit and dragging two barracks bags up 6 flights of stairs. It's a wonder we all didn't die of heat prostration or a heart attack!  So starts our voyage to a war zone somewhere in the world, and nobody is telling us anything about it !
 
July 16,1942. The 57th fighter group loaded aboard the HMS Pasteur at New York harbor for a 33 day voyage to what we subsequently learned was  Port Tewfik, Egypt, the Red Sea entrance to the Suez Canal . At "first light" the morning after sailing,(around 4 AM) a  group of us who were unable to sleep were on our knees playing blackjack, when suddenly the ship tilted violently to one side. The players, cards and small change, all slid in the direction of the tilt. Articles which had been placed on the boards above the bunks began falling on the men, and there was a constant clanging noise to be heard.. When we tried to go out on deck a British seaman sought to stop us.  Well, there were 1000 of us and only one of him so we ran out on the deck and holding on to the ship's rail we had a front row seat to what we promptly realized was a naval sea battle. Our troopship and a small Destroyer (Corvette) were under attack by enemy submarines!. We watched the proceedings in stunned silence, our ship zigzagging like mad and steaming at over 30 knots, sometimes leaning heavily to port and sometimes to starboard. Even from our position on the sports deck (the top deck of a 6 deck Ocean Liner, the 2nd fastest liner in the world) we could still hear the "gongs" of the depth charges against the sides of our ship! The little Corvette was thrashing about at an incredible speed, the water foaming around her, .Her tannoy  (loudspeaker)  blasting short high toots, and the catapults  heaving depth charges into the water simultaneously on both sides of the ship . We were close enough to the Corvette to hear their loudspeaker issuing orders, preceded by the words "now hear this" ! We passed near a large oil slick in the water, which could only have come from a sunken submarine, and shortly thereafter we witnessed the nose of the 2nd one trying to surface unsuccessfully. The 2nd one was attacked by a B-24 (4-engine bomber) as it flew right over us, low enough for us to see the racks of 500 pound bombs in the bomb bay .To our dismay, the entire load was released as the plane was above us. However the bombs fell on the angle of flight a thousand yards ahead of us, causing a tremendous upheaval of water. It was only a short time later when we reversed our position to pass near that area that the damaged sub tried to surface. Its nose rose out of the sea momentarily, with water running off it, and it hung there for a while, and before slipping into the sea. The water above where it disappeared was agitated, marking the site of its disappearance.

After things quieted down, and we once again resumed our normal sailing procedure we held "action stations on our deck. As the roll call was being taken, the Captain came by to speak to us, and to our surprise he was announced by a bugle call from a British sailor who accompanied him. He told us that the Captain of the British Corvette said there were 3 German Submarines in the wolf pack that attacked us. Two of them were sunk, one by the corvette and the other by the B-24 and the third one broke off the engagement and departed. There can be no question, that this "wolf pack" was spread out, waiting for us. The Corvette stayed with us for 3 days and after that we were on our own for the rest of the voyage! The voyage was made longer than normal because the ship zigzagged  (changing course every seven minutes) to try to prevent an enemy submarine from getting a firing "fix" on our position.  We stopped at Freetown, West Africa to take on fuel and water, and the next morning we resumed our voyage, exiting the port when the submarine net was opened for us.. We were then advised by the Captain that since he had to maintain radio silence he would have no way of knowing if the British 8th Army was still occupying the Suez Canal  when we arrive there . He knew that the British Army was in full retreat from Tobruk, leaving behind 30,000 troops to be captured .and that the  British high command intended to stop the German Army at El Alamein ,Egypt  in order to protect the Suez Canal.


While at sea I was made "Buck" Sergeant, (3 stripes) having been made Corporal the previous month. At that time it was not explained to me that I had to achieve the rank of Staff Sergeant, because the "table of Basic Allowances" required the Crew Chief of a single engine fighter plane, to be a Staff Sergeant.


We arrived at Durban, South Africa to take on Fuel and water and we spent three days tied up at the dock. Everyone was allowed ashore for one day, and we really enjoyed visiting such a large modern city. We had fresh meat after three weeks at sea. Tied up alongside our ship at the dock was what we believed to be a battleship It was in fact the HMS Duke of York, a heavy cruiser and was the vessel in which Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain visited the USA during the war. It only had 14 inch guns, whereas battleships normally carry 16 inch guns. To us however those guns appeared enormous. The difference in firepower was made up by the fact this cruiser carried 8 or 10 guns whereas battleships normally carry 6 guns.  We later learned that this cruiser and the battleship HMS Rodney were sunk by the Luftwaffe when they were escorting convoys carrying supplies to the Island of Malta.  We then resumed our voyage, and entered the Red Sea. The night before we arrived at the Suez Canal some of our more adventuresome enlisted men discovered the huge cache of American canned goods which had been loaded on board at New York and were covered by bulkheads (temporary walls) .We were served none of this food.. Instead we had been eating the food that had been taken onboard during the last voyage, at Johannesburg, South Africa, and it was just short of being inedible .For example, our breakfast consisted of liver and kidneys. It was so foul that we called it "Liver and maggots"!  We lined up where it was being handed out through the break in the bulkhead, and I was given a case of canned pineapple. The man behind me asked what was happening and without turning around I said "don't ask, just help yourself". .When I turned around, it was our Squadron Adjutant, (a major) however he did help himself. We couldn't stop eating and we were shortly lying around groaning with full stomachs for the first time in 30 days! Before long the Captain came around and was practically foaming at the mouth he was so mad. He said that we had no right to break into the ship's stores, and what was worse, we had thrown the empty cans and cartons overboard. He said there was a trail of those things bobbing on the surface behind for miles that any submarine could follow.  (He was irate because the ship was scheduled to go to England next, where he meant to sell all the American food and pocket the money.). I am afraid we were rather rude to him at that moment, and he stormed away followed by our boo's, muttering all kinds of threats.  We discharged the next day at Port Tewfik, the Red Sea entrance to the Suez Canal and were transported to the Pier by lighters. We were somewhat surprised to see that the stevedores who were starting to unload cargo from our ship being beaten with whips when they malingered. .From there we went by truck a short distance, to the city of Suez where we spent the night.
 I must add a footnote here, in the event you were to consider our actions in breaking into the ship's stores as being an overly violent reaction to the miserable food we were supplied with for a whole month!. A year after the above events took place; we were told that subsequent to our voyage, Australian soldiers in Australia mutinied when ordered to board the HMS Pasteur. . They refused to go aboard the ship, because of the   terrible reputation it had.! The news of this event was obviously suppressed by the Australian Government, and we only learned of it from an Aussie soldier.

William Schwenck

Sometime in early 1954 , as a  Marine on the troopship "USS Rockwall" , we were doing a liberty port stop at Oran Algeria. I remember taking a bus trip to the home of the French Foreign Legion somewhere about an hours ride into Algeria .That night , thousands of troops , French Legionaries ,Indian ,and others , all mixed uniforms slept on the dock . The next morning , the Lewis Pasteur pulled into a dock and within two hours all the troops were on board , heading to French Indo-China .It wes around the time when the French were losing at "Dienbienphu".We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw many women standing along the rails of the ship going to the war zone along with the troops  . The Pasteur pulled out soon after and headed to the SuezCanel. Our ship was part of the Six Fleet , we were in the Mediterranean for some five and a half monthe and twice we were told we were going through the Canel to help the French but, we never did . At the time , we were very excited about the idea and would have been the first Marines in Vietnam. That's the last time I saw the Pasteur .

Roy Schiiler (submitted by his son, Brian Schiiler)

"..... my father who crossed the atlantic in the louis pasteur ..... .my dad is roy schiiler who is now 89 years old ,and is writing some memoirs of the 2nd world war."

Charles Seger

I sailed on the Louis Pasteur in January  of 1945 from new Jersey to Liverpool, England. I joined the 45th Division.

Roger Seynav

I was aboard the Pasteur in May 1953, sailing from Marseilles to Saigon with stop-overs in Oran (Algeria), where we embarked a battalion of French Foreign Legion, and then Port-Said, Aden, and Singapore.
 
I recall that we lost a few deserters along the Suez Canal, legionnaires who did not wish to fight a war in Indo-China (where the French army lost over 77 000 personnel in 8 short years, 1946 to 1954). These deserters were picked up by the British patrols along the Canal and returned to the ship in Ismailya.
 
Other than that, the 17-day trip was without incidents.

Richard Shaull
"I was a Staff Sgt. in the 20th. Photo Intelligence Detachment of the 9th. Air Force in WWII and served in England, France, Belgium and Germany. Going over on the Pasteur, we were without convoy and traveled around the northern end of Ireland past the Isle of Man and into Liverpool, England......"

Mrs. Benjamin Sharp (Submitted by her son.)

My name is Ben McGillivray and my mother and I emigrated to Canada from England in December of 1944. My Dad, Benjamin Sharp, was a L/Sgt. in the Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G) and was killed in action at Ortona, Italy on December 20th, 1943. My Mum re-married some time after emigration to Canada, hence my surname of McGillivray. My Mum told me that we came to Canada to Pier 21 in Halifax aboard the liner Le Pasteur.

Richard J. Shea

(Submitted by his Niece, Colleen M. Booth)

"...his recollection of this ship was that it was a big cruise ship that had been gutted and then re-done to be a transport ship. He recalls rows and rows of beds and toilets. Nothing fancy. He thinks that there were 2,000 to 3,000 men on board and many of them spent the whole trip being sick. It took seven days to get from the port in Virginia to Africa, near Casablanca." (Mr. Shea was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart in the course of his service.)

John V. N. Shelley

(As submitted by his son, Royston A. Shelley<royston.shelley@eds.com>)

Voyage home from Ceylon to England 1946
I boarded the S.S.Pasteur in January 1946 at Colombo when it was a troop carrier ship after serving in Ceylon with the RNAS (Fleet Air Arm). Once on Board I was informed she was capable of 27 knots cruising speed and was to learn that the French crew were on strike. Toward the end of the voyage we encountered a terrific storm which I will describe later on.

I cannot recall receiving orders about sleeping arrangements as most of the troops slept up on deck. We were allocated a mess for eating and recreation which was approximately 30ft x 30ft which consisted of fixed tables from bulkhead to gangway with forms fixed to each side of the tables which were also fixed to the deck. There were also hooks spaced at various positions for hanging hammocks of which from day one I used and slept in so as to stake my claim. I can't remember being inconvenienced by the crew strike and had no problems with food so assume the strike was confined to the seaman (deck hands etc).

The ship was not overloaded with troops, but after leaving Ceylon and on entering the Red Sea the troops that had been sleeping on the upper decks started to find it was getting colder and had to find various places about the lower decks for sleeping arrangements as all the available hooks for hammocks were taken and had to sleep in gangways, on top of and under tables. By the time we reached the Mediterranean Sea all the gangways were packed and to get to the toilets it was quite a hassle stepping over everyone to reach them.

I was on a deck on the starboard side and it must have been 'A' deck as the main reception area was close to the mess I was in.

As we approached Marseille the crew had a meeting and we were concerned about the ship being held back from docking but after a slight hold up we docked for just a few hours. I only managed to step ashore for a short time in the receiving area of the dock.

When we were underway it was dusk and heading off into the Atlantic the weather looked extremely ominous. The sky was completely black and I became very concerned, and as I was to find out I had good reason to be.

'The Storm'

At this time the Mess I ate and slept in was crowded with about 200 troops. The portholes were approximately 18 inches diameter and the glass was 2 inches thick. When bad weather was forecast, the Boswain (Bosun) on duty would secure them. During the night when everyone was bedded down, the ship was rolling and pitching, creaking and groaning. Plates and mugs rolled around the deck. Some of the lads were being sick out of their hammocks and moaning. It was about 2am when the porthole glass burst into the mess with terrific force as the side of the hull took the full force of a tremendous wave. The glass itself smashed into the side of one of the lads and knocked him out of his hammock as it twisted and threw him off onto the deck. The one sleeping on top of the table nearest the porthole got the full force of the water that poured in and was completely soaked. I remember seeing the shock and panic he was in when he realised what had happened. He was standing on top of the table holding the dead light down over the open port hole but someone luckily grabbed him around the waist and got him out of the way before the next wave came crashing in. I got twisted out of my hammock by the surplus water. My first reaction was that I thought we had struck a mine. My hammock held all my clothes and I managed to get dressed by standing on one of the forms. Once dressed I unhooked my hammock and moved out of the mess leaving the others. The place was in semi darkness with only the night-lights on.

I then made my way to the reception area which was well lit looking for a space to bed down. Sleeping bodies littered the deck. I finished up in the gangway adjacent to the reception. In the half dark I laid my hammock on the deck and covered myself up and tried to settle down. I could feel the vibration of the engines and the noise of the propeller and at one time the ship seemed as though it lifted itself out of the water and twisted itself around and slammed back into the sea, after that I don't remember anymore until morning. At breakfast I heard from the lads that there were another six port lights stoved in at various parts of the ship that night. By that time the storm abated.

The rest of the four-week voyage was uneventful and I disembarked in England. I cannot remember which port it was but it was either Southampton or Tilbury Docks in London.

(John V. N. Shelley served in the RAF from 1940 to 1946 as ground crew and was attached to the RNAS [Fleet Air Arm] from 1943 to 1946)

Joe Silagowski

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Ted Simpkins (writing for his Uncle)

The troop ship S.S.Louis Pasteur departed Halifax harbour on 20 June, 1941 carrying the Calgary Tank Regt. embarked plus others in a convoy with 5 other troop ships escorted by the battle cruisers H.M.S. Repulse and Ramilles plus an 8 destroyer screen. She arrived off Gourock in the Firth of Clyde early in the morning of 30 June, 1941 after an uneventful crossing, and was unable to land her passengers do to a shortage of train transport until Dominion Day 1 July, 1941. This info is garnered from the Calgary Tank Regt. history called "Onward II".

My uncle was on this crossing as a member of the Calgary Tank Regt. on his way eventually to the raid on Dieppe, France 19 August, 1942.

Ted Simpkins
Courtenay, BC

William George Sinfield (contributed by his daughter, Shirley van Dishoeck Sinfield)

William George Sinfield in the Libyan Desert, 1942.

...he sailed on the Louis Pasteur leaving Gourock (Scotland) 8th January 1942 via Freetown to Cape Town (8th February) via Indian Ocena, Red Sea to Port Tewfick (8th March 1942). He wrote all his experiences on board in a diary written on board. After marrying a Dutch girl he now lives in the Netherlands.

The following is from Mr. Sinfield's diary.

"January 8th 1942
We arrived from Liverpool area by train and embarked immediately on the "Louis Pasteur". All I can remember is, that it was a huge ship and looked as big as a block of flats. We were directed to our berths somewhere on the F deck which was near the water line. During the first stormy weeks we felt the waves were too near for comfort. Especially at night when we were supposed to be sleeping in our hammocks or on the tables. We heard there would be 4000 of us on board including a few women from the Womens Royal Navy and Womens Auxiliary Air Force. The ¨Pasteur¨ was a fast ship. 30+ Knots and 30.000 tons.

January 10th
Weighed anchor. 12 troop ships in sight as we took up our position. Moving tonight. Cancelled, too foggy.

Sunday 11th
Still foggy. Parade for the life boat stations and life jackets demonstration. Moved out at ± 22.45 p.m. Went on deck and watched weighing anchor.

Monday 12th
Well out at sea. Everybody sea-sick including me. Very rough. Waves higher than boat. Waves over bows. Marvellous to watch. Green water. Seagulls following ship. Good food, plenty cigs and chololate.

Tuesday 13th
Still rough. Counted about 20 troopships + 8 destroyers and corvets. Ten to 12 merchant ships as far as I could see. Been on deck all day. Better than below decks. F-deck is a long way down. We are in Section 3. Mess 5. At about 03.30 a.m. the ship gave a violant lurch. Everything on the racks came down on our heads. Sailing ´South´ now and are in ´Danger Zone´. Thinking of home and loved ones. Wish I was there now. They have no idea where I am.

Wednes 14th
Still in ´dangerous waters´. ´Action stations´ this afternoon. We make first port of call about a week on Saturday. May get a shore leave (rumours of course).
It's 8 p.m. now. Getting very rough. It took 4 of us to open door leading to the deck. It was fascinating to watch the huge waves with phosforence glowing as they broke. I'm below decks again now with the waves banging on the plating only a few yards away. A group of us is now on cookhouse fatigues (working 12 hrs on and 24 hrs off in the Officers Mess Kitchen). That meant preparing food. Afterwards swabbing out in kitchen and then enjoying our meals which was the same as the officers. 2 huge swimming pools on board were full of potatoes which we peeled at the rate of 2 tons per day.

Thurs 15th
Still rough. Nothing exciting 'thank God'. Friday, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tuesday same routine.
Changed into Tropical Kit (white knees and some laughs of course). Very hot. Sea as calm as a mill-pond.

Wednes 21st
'Cookhouse' as usual
Excellent food. As for officers.
Breakfast Eggs, fried bacon
Corned beef
Potatoe and onion mash
Dinner ? lb steak
Chips (French fried)
Peas
Snack
Late dinner as for officers
Duck
Roast potatoes
French fried
-
Peach sundae
Custard.
Watched boxing on deck during 'break '.

Thurs 22nd
P.T. (Gymnastics) on Promenade Deck. Saw a couple of sharks. 'Cookhouse' (kitchen) as usual. Second shift from 4-7.45 p.m.
Slept on open deck with nothing but the stars and sky for a roof.

Friday 23rd
Pay day. Draw 5/- and the remainer when we get shore leave at CAIRO!?! We stop at FREETOWN for supplies. Slept on deck in a raft.

Sat 24th
Royal Airforce disembark at Freetown. Get their money changed today. All being well we will 'dock' tomorrow. Saw lots of flying-fish today. They are fascinating little creatures and fly for quite 50 yds. Sharks seems to be following our ship. Heaven help anyone who falls overboard. Vaccination and innoculation tomorrow. Showed Taffy, my pal, Freda's curl today (Bless her! xxxx)
We shall get paid at (Cairo)? Which consists of what we have saved out on our pay plus about £ 1 per day extra danger money.

Sunday 25th
Stayed on deck after Parade and was one of the first to sight land about 12 noon. We pulled into Freetown at about 2-3 p.m.
The view was beautiful after being at sea so long. Like an oil painting. Mountains and tropical trees.

Monday 26th
Still hot. There's an oil tanker alongside pumping precious fuel into our tanks. Military Police are spraying water on the natives who are all around the ship trying to sell fruit. They are very excited and they have ropes which they throw up. The ropes are attached to baskets containing all kinds of fruit etc. They have bananas, grapefruit, pineapples etc and all kinds of things which they are trying to sell. Others are diving for money. Its amazing how many coins they get before they get out of reach. One poor little man sat crying and saying in broken English that he was very poor. That his wife was ill and his 6 children were starving.

Tues 27th
Boiling hot as usual, oiltanker still with us. The M.P.'s are still busy spraying water on the natives. The C.O. is worried about us catching tropical diseases which is not unthinkable because this part of the African coast is called 'the white mans graveyard'. All the same (although its not possible) I would like to go ashore.

Wednes 28th
As usual boiling hot. I forgot to record that we lost one of our 3 anchors as we were entering the harbour. It shook the ship as if the ship was a leaf in the wind. All 30.000 tons of it. It appears that a clamp which holds the anchor (after is has been raised) broke and down it went. Completely out of control. Later a Naval vessel came with it this afternoon so its safe on board again.
This evening a boat came round with a band playing good old fashioned marching songs with bagpipes and drum finishing up with a song called 'Farewell' and although they didn't stay long we enjoyed a 'touch of home' and showed our appreciation by whistling, shouting and clapping as they left.

Thurs 29th
Officers mess kitchen (Cookhouse) till dinner time. It is said we've run out of potatoes (not worried). We've replenished our oil and water supply and we're ready for sea again. We sailed with the tide this afternoon about 4 p.m.
I don't expect to see Freetown again. By 5 p.m. we were out of sight of land. (Worse luck)
Saw a huge shark 10' to 12' long.

Friday 30th
Same routine, sea calm. Saw school of sharks playing. I wouldn't like to join them. Every time we go down to our deck the heat is overpowering and we straightaway strip of all the clothes we can. I think noses are made for sweat to drip off.

Sat Jan 31st
Cool today but not cold. Pass the Equator this evening. One of the N.C.O.'s (non commisioned officers) says the 'fridge' is out of order and the food is going bad so the sooner we reach Capetown the better. Living on fresh air wont get us far.
I'm on deck now and a few ships have opend fire with their Anti Aircraft guns. The shells are bursting in 'V' patterns. Must be the Equator. Later it was confirmed that we crossed 3.30 p.m. All officers were duly 'ducked'.
Salmon for tea. Still sleeping on deck. I've just taken my bed up.

Sunday Feb 1st
One of the men of the Queens? (probably infantry) died yesterday and his body was 'consigned' to the deep this morning at 9 a.m.
There's a rumour that theres barely enough food to make to Capetown.
Library opens today (about 3 weeks late). Cinema tomorrow. Joe E. Brown in 'Circus Clown'. Work in kitchen again. Should arrive Capetown next Tuesday.
Hope everybody's well at home. We get BBC news every day. Its cold there. They're freezing to death and we're roasting to death.

Mon 2nd
Drew library book. 2d (pence) deposit. 'Span of the Hawk'. Kit inspection. Beat the R.A.F at 'tug-of-war'. Cinema afternoon.

Tues 3rd
No news.

Wednes 4th
Kitchen

Thurs 5th

Friday 6th
Pay day. Drew 25/-. African £1 note and 5/- English Silver. They wont take English notes in Capetown. Silver no trouble.

Sat 7th

Sun 8th
Still at sea but nearing Capetown. Convoy split up. Half went to Durban. Rhe rest to Capetown?

Mon 9th
Sea very rough. Very hot. Keep thinking of everybody in old England.

Tues 10th Febr
Woke up and made a dive to porthole. 'Yes' land in sight. Actually huge mountains but looking more like clouds (Table mountain we're told). The clouds, it appears, are called 'the devils table cloth' , as the slowly move down the mountain side.
After waiting in the harbour the 'pilot' came aboard and we slowly crept into our birth in the docks.
We were all so excited. We were walking round in circles all morning and then, at 12.00 hrs we were given passes from 13.00 hrs till 23.59 hrs with few exceptions.
At 01.15 hrs I set my feet on something solid after about 4 weeks dodging German 'U' boots. We could barely walk straight. I think we tried every kind of fruit we saw.
I went with Harry, Taffy and Jackson. I was very surprised to see so many white people. I had expected to see mainly dark skinned people. We saw so many beautiful girls and they all appeared to be so well dressed. Before we had chance to get to the city center we were invited by some women of the S.A.N.A.S. who put us on a bus and off we went for a local tour.

(This is where Dad made a drawing of the scenery) see below:

We went to Camp (or Cape) Bay to a swimming pool where we had a light meal with cakes, tea, etc, etc, plenty of fruit. Then back to the City where I bought a wrist watch for 12s/6d and white swimming trunks 10s/6d. Then we went to the cinema. All buses were free of charge and everything reduced in price for visiting troops. There were soldiers, sailors and airmen all over the place. After the cinema we went for a walk round the city center. The black childeren took our hands and pestered us for money. In the end they were a nuisance but never-the-less I liked them.

Wednes 11th
We started off on a route march this morning but we were turned back at the dock gates. It appeared too many troops in the City were causing traffic jams.
I decided to chance it on my own today. The scenery was magnificent in the mountains. I had another free tea and then boarded a different bus and visited the Rhodes Memorial which stands on a hillside overlooking the country side. I arrived back in Capetown having been round the back of Table Mountain.
I was wondering what to do to fill my day but my worries were soon put aside. Looking for a w.c. I went into the station and as I stood there, no doubt looking lost and not sure of myself, a young lady came to me and asked if I could care to go home with her for supper. Naturally I said "Yes" (why not?). A few yards away stood another girl, her sister, with 2 more soldiers. It appeared to be common practice for South Africans, probably volunteers, to invite soldiers who were calling at Capetown on their way to the various "theatres of war" into their homes for a meal or even a whole day.

Before we reached the end of a short train journey to Claremont we were chatting away like old friends. After a short bus ride we arrived at "Fennmoor" Franklin Rd. Claremont. It was a very nice house surrounded by tropical trees and vegetation.
We were soon introduced to Lucilles mother who was a keen as her daughters to make our short stay in S. Africa as pleasant as possible. I think the girls were about 20 years of age.
The family must have been expecting visitors because a meal had been prepared in the dining room where we enjoyed a marvellous supper and afterwards went outside on the "stoep" as they called it where we sat enjoying a smoke while we listened to records on the "radio-gram".
Later, after answering all the girls questions about ourselves, about our families and England, etc. Lucilles father, who had been to a meeting came outside with drinks, etc.
By this time it was getting late so it was time to catch the last train to Capetown. The girls went with us to the busstop where we discovered that the last bus had already left so we had to walk. There were six of us so we walked in pairs. Lucille was with me and we arranged to meet again the next day and go for a swim. I was lucky to get back to the ship inside limits (11.59 hrs). There was quite a crowd of us at the docks all waiting to get aboard so there was some pushing and shoving before we finally got on the ship. Luckily the M.P's were not too strict.

Thurs 11th Feb '42
Today I got down to the station at 01.30 p.m. and off we went to Lucilles where I waited in the drawing room while Lucille changed. Soon we were on our way to the station where we caught a train bound for KALKBAY. The fare was 1/9 return.
The beach was actually in the Indian Ocean and soon we changed into our swimming attire. I wasn't very sure of myself due to the fact that I wasn't a good swimmer. There was a pool built in the sea about 180 yds long and stretching 20 or 30 yds into the sea. I never really was sure if the wall was there to keep the sea in or to keep the sharks out. In any case we had fun. (Even now, 62 yrs later I can still picture the scene).
At about 06.00 hrs we left for Claremont where we enjoyed another excellent meal and then spent the rest of the evening sitting on the "stoep" (verandah).
Lucille worked as a 'model' for hats which were made locally and exported to Hollywood. She was an excellent pianist and was also taking singing lessons.

I'm sorry to say that was the end of our short stay on Capetown.
Lucille promised to write to me.

It was a promise she kept for nearly 2 yrs during the time we were in N.Africa.Iit was during this time that we got to know even more about each others families but as was to be expected, our correspondence gradually faded out but I, and thousands more will never forget the hospitallity shown to us by the people of Capetown.

Fri 13th
The "Louis Pasteur" pulled out into the bay this morning. There were some naval people on board testing something. We kept going round and round in circles at full speed.

Sat 14th Feb '42
At last we set off. Destination "Middle East". Hundreds of people were on shore flashing mirrors in the sunlight. We were still in sight of land at dusk.

Sun 15th
Church this morning. Sea very smooth. Well out to sea. Wind rose almost to gale force. Electrical storms in evening like gunfire flashing. Lovely sunset.

Mon 16th
Very hot. Doing good speed, more storms. Sunbathing.

Tues 17th
Saw land (Durban?) but did not pull in. Rest of convoy which had been there while we were in Capetown was ready to move out at 14.oo hrs. Sleeping on deck again. I've only slept below 4 or 5 times since we first crossed the Equator. Weather dull, may rain!

Wed 18th
Had to move inside last night. Raining. Still at sea, 21 ships aprox.

Thurs 19th
Usual routine. Browned off (fed up!)

Friday 20th
Pay day. There was a N.A.A.F.I. (Navy, Army, Airforce Institue) shop on board. Cookhouse as usual

Sat 21st
Battle ship joined us today.

Sunday 22nd
Convoy split up. Our 9 ships for NEAR EAST others for Far East?
Some of the other ships are "Brittanica", "Laconia", "Toranto, "Oranto", "Viceroy of India", "Sterling Castle", Strathavon", "Dorset".

Monday 23rd
Making for Aden. 7 Troopships, 2 merchantmen, 2 destroyers, one auxiliary.

Tues 24th
Crossed Equator again today (south to north). Had some fun when the officers were "shaved" and tipped backwards into the swimmingpool.

Wednes 25th
Still at sea. Convoy split again. 5 ships left. Other went off in direction Persian Gulf. Concert tonight.

Thurs 26th
--

Fri 27th
We left convoy today at full speed on our own. We're putting some troops off at Aden. Royal Artillery and Royal Air Force.

Sat 28th
Nearing Aden. Cookhouse. Having trouble with foot.

March 1st
Arrived at Aden at 09.00 hrs. Barren place on rocky promontory. First thing I saw was a lot of camels. Cigs rationed (50 per week). Went down a rope to a little boat and swapped a pair of scissors for 40 cigs. Refueling. No docks but we're very close to land.

March 2nd '42
Crew moved us off deck so that they could weigh anchor. Quite a few ships lying here including big American ship. Looked new. Took balloon on board.

Tues 3rd '42
Out at sea again. Nearly rammed a dredger when we pulled out yesterday. Still in sight of land.
In Red Sea now. British Somaliland on port side, Saoudi Arabia on starboard side. Going faster now than ever before. "ORANTO" ahead with Commodore on board. They have to dock first to arrange with movement control. Thats why we slowed down tonight. 8 knots.

Wed March 4th '42
Foot getting really bad now. "Athletes foot" probably contracted by work in cookhouse which entailed hosing out twice dayly in bare feet. Having treatment daily. Having trouble walking. Can't march when we disembark, I'm on "bagage party". We're disembarking on Friday afternoon.

Thurs 5th 1942
Eight weeks today since we came aboard "Pasteur". Drew rations, rifles and kitbags today. F.S.M.O. (field service marching order) to be worn. I think they'll have to carry me off. Ha! Ha! Ha! It's alright laughing but this is extremely painful and inconvenient.
Got wet tonight, moved inside.

Fri 6th 1942
We arrive sometime today. Full speed this morning. Great activity on board. Land in sight early this morning. I've got everything packed ready for going ashore. Well folks, the end of the Red Sea is in sight. Ship slowing to pick up pilot at 4 p.m. Seven or eight barges came along side to pick up the first troops to go ashore. This is the end of our long journey to Port Tewfik at the southern entrance to the Suez Canal Egypt. We're still in tropical uniform (shorts and shirts). Ashore now after quite a struggle. Foot very painful. Hungry.
Loaded into six-wheelers and trailer. A ride I'll never forget. Bitterly cold in our shirts and shorts. A lot of pain. Carrying full packs and two kit bags. Plus rifle and three blankets. I was glad it was only about 400 or 500 yds. There a meal was ready for us. After that we had to find a tent to sleep and then get properly sorted out next day. Then report to MO (Medical Officer).

/////

That's how we arrived at a hige base camp called Quassasin on the shores of the Great Bitter Lake. King Farouks yacht is moored not far away in Ismalia. After having 3 weeks treatment for my foot all the friends I had been with for 3 months before we left Engeland, had been sent to units in various places in Egypt which resulted in me being sent to join 552 Company R.AS.C. (Royal Army Service Corps) which was attached to the 8th Armoured Brigade. Which in turn was made of the Staffordshire Yeomanry
Nottinghamshire Yeomanry
3rd Royal Tank Regiment and
168 Field Ambulance.
8th armoured brigade was an independant tank brigade which oftern had the unpleasant tast of assisting where the fighting was heaviest. Usually with the original "Desert Rats" the 7th Armoured Division or the 2nd New Zealand Division.

After leaving Quassasin Base Camp I joined 552 Coy which I reached by travelling to CAIRO then on in the direction of ALEXANDRIA past the piramids and Sfinx to GIZA to a point near 'Halfway House Cafe". (halfway between Cairo and Alexandria)
There we turned off the road and crossed the desert for 10 or 15 miles by following oil barrels filled with sand to KATATBAH which was where 552 Coy R.A.S.C. was in camp till the fun started.
BILL SINFIELD

P.S.
8th Armoured Brigade went back to England after the defeat of the Germans in N.Africa and was reorganised. Units of the 8th Armoured Brigade were among the first to land in Normandy on the British Sector. The 8th Armoured Brigade went on to cross the River Rhine at REES. Later we liberated the CONCENTRATION CAMP at BERGEN BELSEN in Northern Germany at the end of the war.
I met Theresia de Vos a DUTCH GIRL in November 1944. After the German capitulation we served as Garison troops in Hannover for a year and then Berlin for ± 9 months.
We were married in September 1946. I was demobilised in November 1946 and we lived in England where SHIRLEY, the first of our three children was born at AHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH (we lived at Blackfordby).
In 1951 we went to live in the south of Holland near HEERLEN where two more children were born LEON and COLIN. I worked underground at STATE MINE "EMMA" for 23 ? years and was pensioned in december 1973.

I am now (July 2005) 83 ? years old being born September 23rd 1921 and my wife and I are still enjoying fairly good health. I still look forward to my annual pilgrimages to England where I have two sisters near Coventry.

Bill Sinfield.

P.P.S!!
If I could have one more wish, it would be to meet Lucille Martin again."

William Somerville

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

George C Souter (contributed by his son, Ian Souter)

" ... In early 1942 we joined the troopship Louis Pasteur, in Gourock, which was to transport us via Freetown to Durban in South Africa, where we left the ship. During the journey, as trained Royal Artillery anti aircraft gunners, we manned the anti-aircraft guns positioned in large 'tubs' around the vessel...."

William George Sinfield 259063 Royal Army Service Corps (GB)
sailed on the SS Louis Pasteur from Gourock (Scotland) to Port Tewfick

Clarence P. Sloan

I was an RCAF air gunner who went to Europe in Jan/44 from Halifax to Liverpool. 11 days onboard the Pasteur.

Donald Gordan Smith (Submitted by his Granddaughter, Leanne Bloy)

"My grandfather crossed On the Louie Pasteur on his way to Britain."

Donald K. Smith

"..... I sailed on the S.S. Pasteur from 6/22/1945-7/10/1945 as radar direction finder steward from Southampton, England, to Quebec, Canada.  My memory of her is that she rolled like a pig!"

Jack Springer (contributed by his Grandaughter, Kaelish Hudson)

.... served and crossed on the ship in 1942, he was a member of the 98th bomb group, 415th bomb squadrant. He has a few memories, but is struggling to put together the pieces....

F.J. Stamm

I boarded in Marseille in 1951 on the 21st. of February on this magnificient ship. It was huge...! There were up to 5,000 troops on board at times. The steam horns were always very impressive, a very low sound that petrified us... This ship was very much like military barracks and was organized as such.


From Marseille we went to Algeria, at Mers-el-Kebir, and picked up hundreds of Morocan Tabors. A few of them fought at Monte Cassino during the Italian Campaign, also 1,000 Légionnaires (French Foreign Légion ). Altogether with the 3,000 colonial troops (I was one of them ) (and) with a few more other troops, we close to 5,000. Next stop, Port Said in Egypt. We took the Suez Canal and came prettty close to the banks. Sailing into the Red sea the commanding officers ordered the troops to free the port side of the ship to enable the muslim soldiers to pray when we came close to Djedda, not too far from Mecca and the Kabba.


We then stopped in Aden Yemen, also in Ceylan ( Colombo ) and Singapour on the tip of Malaysia. Finaly we disembarked at Cap St Jacques, 70 km from Saigon, and then took (an) L.C.T. to go upstream on the river. The Pasteur, and most of the troops, went on to the Tonkin...this was in 1951, march 11th.


I keep from this journey incredible memories that will never fade away.....

Rupert Stangroom

I was surprised to see the Pasteur returning to Europe in early November 1941. She must have delivered us to Canada and turned right around. I was part of a US citizen contingency that returned to the US in late October/early November 1941 on the Pasteur. I believe there were about 150 US citizens aboard, (I was 15 at the time and we had been in England since 1933) plus the British Navy crew going to New York to pick up the Queen Mary, and thousands of Canadian soldiers "wounded" in England and returning home. We stopped at Halifax to unload the Queen Mary crew and then went down the St Lawrence to Quebec (I think). The movie star Michael Redgrave was in the crew and I still have his autograph (...at sea... Michael Redgrave...) We left Greenock in Scotland for the trip home. Being US citizens we had to wait for a Non British ship because the US was not in the war at that time. We had to wait outside Halifax harbor over night before they would lower the submarine gate to let us in. I still recall sitting outside the harbor as it got dark and seeing all the city lighting up. After several years of the blackout it was quite a sight for us!

Chris Stark

I sailed on the ship during the war. I left fom Greenock on the 27th of November and sailed to Halifax, Nova Scocia , I was with the Royal Air Force going to Canada with the 33rd. SFTS.

Clarence Statt

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

George Stewart (contributed by his son, Ian Stewart)

".....sailed in her on November 21 1941 from Gourock to Halifax, as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme. He spent the next 15 months in Florida and Canada training for aircrew before returning to UK in 1943. He joined 50 squadron and was shot down and spent 18 months as POW.

He still remembers the voyage vividly because he is a hopeless sailor and, because of extremely bad weather it took nearly 12 days for the crossing. My father was sick for most of it! He also remembers that there was just 1 escort ship, HMS Garland,which, I have subsequently found out, was on loan to the Polish Navy."

Ken Stofer

"... I came home on the Louise Pasteur, after the war in Europe had ended.  I had just returned from the Far East.  I was a Canadian in the R.A.F., and after being transferred to the RCAF I came back to England briefly and then came back to Canada in August of 1945.  The Louis Pasteur was the 2nd troopship since World War One to dock at Quebec City.  WOW! what a reception we had."

On 12/06/2007 Mr. Stofer added: "After a short stay in Bournemouth, England with Tom Ball I boarded the Louis Pasteur for Canada. What a trip that was. Of course being lovely summer weather, we had a smooth trip. Lots and lots of gambling on board and the dollar bills were flying left right and centre on the deck as the dice rolled. Always a cautious one, I stayed very clear of it all. I didn't have any money anyhow. However I do recall picking up a German Luger, a 38, which I brought home and later fired in Hudson Bay woods, and later still traded to brother Eric for some copper shares or something. Funny old life.

Our ship was the second ship since World War 1 to arrive at Quebec City, docking on August 7, 1945. It was a beautiful hot summer day. What a reception! Dozens of power boats of all shapes and sizes came out to meet us as we slowly steamed up the river to Quebec City. Whistles and horns of all boats blasted. Fireboats shot streams of water high into the air. Beautiful girls in bathing suits waved to us as they sprawled on the decks of pleasure launches that circled our barely moving ship. Servicemen threw English coins down on to the launches below. Hundreds of balloons (blown up condoms) drifted down from all areas of the Louis Pasteur. The ship's P.A. system boomed out patriotic music and I doubt there was a dry-eye on board.

When we pulled up alongside the wharf in Quebec City, there such excitement and anxiety amongst those of us on board that the greater portion of the servicemen flocked to the docking side the ship. This presented a huge problem, causing the ship to severely list to that side. No danger of capsizing, but just making it more difficult for the ship to tie up. The captains voice BOOMED! over the ships P.A. system practically pleading with us to disperse more, or else he could not dock and we would never get ashore. This struck a note with all of us, as we certainly DID want to get ashore and back home in Canada.

As we left the ship we were greeted like we were all Victoria Cross winners. Girls, goodies, bands playing. Oh what a homecoming this was. Soon we were on our way to Lachine where our air force contingent were paraded into a very large hangar and stood at ease. At this point we were given a great long speech of welcome plus more band music; Air Force March, Oh Canada, that sort of thing. All the guys in the Quebec City area who had relatives were met by them then and there in the hangar. It was a tearful occasion.

At this point I should tell you that prior to our homecoming, all relatives; parents, wives, brothers, sisters, sweethearts, had been advised in the newspapers of the exact time and day that their loved-ones would arrive at a particular railroad station as we all came home, across Canada. It was masterfully well organized.

Those of us heading further west boarded a train. At every railroad station, as our train crossed the country, there were crowds of people. Bands played and young ladies handed out cigarettes, candy, magazines AND KISSES!

I got off the train at Winnipeg with Tom Ball and went down into the station to meet his family. I had the best deal of all, sharing in all the stops, and all the goodies, until Vancouver, B.C.

Here I left the crowd in the Vancouver railway station and found my way to the CPR ship to Victoria, B.C.

It was a very emotional experience to walk down that CPR gangplank in Victoria and see my dad standing back while mom rushed toward me. Oh what a long hug that was. It had been four and a half years since we had hugged goodbye, in practically the same spot. It was wonderful to be home again."

Harold E. Swagerty

I crossed on the ship in late 1944. I left from Camp Shanks in New York. I was roomed on the sports deck across from the lounge which was off limits to the enlisted personnel. I landed at Liverpool and was destined to be a replacement in the 2nd Infantry Indianhead Division, 23rd Regiment (in the First Army). I was in the Battle of the Bulge. There's a good book by Charles McDonald who was a company commander in the 23rd, but I was in a different company. The book title is "Company Commander" and the author also wrote/compiled "Time for Trumpets" which is more comprehensive of the ETO. I came back on the U.S.S. Monticello and the troops were welcomed back by Marlene Deitrich, the actress.

Albert Ernest Swift (Submitted by his Granddaughter Kimberly Randell.)

My grandfather sailed on this ship, sept 1 1939- November 3 1941 and Oct 7 1943- September 2 1945

My Grandfathers Name was Albert Ernest Swift. He was in the Merchant Navy during WW11. He was a Able-Bodied Seaman.

Bryon Tamlyn

I returned to UK from Halifax N.S. on her in March 1944 I think after pilot training and well remember the scare stories being passed around in the transit camp in Moncton N.B.when we heard her name. We believed she had a very shallow draft, was totally flat bottomed and rolled very dangerously even in a moderate sea!!! I must say the rolls were terrifying & many times I was convinced she would never return to upright. She did of course, but accompanied by tremendous shudders & groanings.

James A. Taylor

I sailed among the SS Louis Pasteur (Feb. 14, 1945).

Lester C. Thompson (submitted by his son, Jim Thompson)

"... my dad crossed on the pasteur ... Lester C. THompson, passed away saturday the 9th (2006) at 87 years. wish i had written down every thing he told us, but thought id always remember it. not so i guess..."

Philip Thompson

I left camp shanks for the docks of New York in October,1943 and the ship Louis Pasteur. We later found out that we were bound for Great Britain. I was a sergeant with the 409th Combat M.P's. The first night out we encountered a powerful storm-so powerful that we listed to the port and starboard sides in an alternating fashion. It was so severe that the captain had units on the enclosed deck run from side to side on his orders to help the ship right itself . Later on we had a German sub scare and had to remain silent for hours before the all clear was sounded.There were 9000 troops on the ship and our area was the swimming pool. Our hammocks were suspended from the ceiling. Our trip took less than seven days.

After the storm and sub scare the trip was uneventful until we reached the Irish Sea where the Sea gods again gave us a terrific ride. The food was awful--it consisted of boiled mutton and other bad tasting food. I made friends with the ships baker and with his help got freshly baked bread and butter each day plus fruit so I made out O.K. I found out that the crew had steak etc for dinner--it was their ship.I also managed to get a shower in the crews quarters. Using salt water soap was a disaster they had fresh water for showers.

All during the trip thousands of the guys got sea sick --so you can imagine how the companion ways actually were.I spent most of my time on the sports deck over the engine room grating. It was warm there with a water spray to keep you from getting too hot.

I made the invasion of Normandie-liberation of Paris-fought and wounded in the battle of the Bulge--Crossed the Rhine -went past the Ruhr Valley and met the Russians at the Elbe river. I wasn't as lucky in coming home in November 1945 We came home to Virginia on a liberty ship (Top speed 11 knots-I'm told) 17 days at sea. The ship was the Felix Grundy.

Steve J. Tkalec (submitted by his daughter, Janet Tkalec)

(10/09/1923) Served: 1943-1945

My Dad is a World War II veteran. He was transported to England in June, 1944 on the Louis Pasteur.

Aubie Eugene Turner (submitted by his granddaughter, Carla Hudson)

My grandfather Aubie Eugene Turner went to WWII on the Louis Pasteur in 1942. It was a seven day and seven night trip across the Atlantic. He was apart of the 30th Construction Battalion which left New York with all of the equipment and men needed for their job. He said he remembers being followed by an enemy ship. They ran their ship zigzag until they were able to get away from the enemy ship. Their fist invasion was in Africa where the 30th Construction put up phone lines to help with communication. Then they went to went to Sicily from there to Salerno and on to Angelo Beach. They came back from war on a smaller boat carrying soldiers only to Georgia. This is where he was honorably discharged.

Lawrence Tyson

Corporal Lawrence Tyson R.C.A.F. Swordfish Squadron 415

Boarded Pasteur at Halifax in November 1941
 
We left port with escort ships, I don't remember what day in November, but we were on the ocean on Armistice Day November 11, 1941. I was amazed at the number of troops, some 4 - 6000 total.
 
I remember walking up the gangplank going onto the ship with all my equipment, suitcase and bags.  I think that there was some concern by everyone; they were quite quiet thinking about if we would make the trip over there.


I spent a lot of time on deck.  At first we were told to sleep in hammocks below but some of us didn't like the sleeping quarters in the E deck, so many of us moved up to sleep on the promenade deck.  Some of us were delegated to make sure that everyone carried their gas masks, and also to break up poker games, which made us very unpopular.


The ship was required to zigzag its course to stay clear of the German submarines.


I remember at night the sparkling waters as the waves rolled over the bow; they looked like a sea of diamonds, caused by the phosphorous in the water.  A big storm hit us and we were ordered below.  The ship rolled about sending things flying. After the storm ended, we found the deck cleared of everything.  There had been big containers filled with potatoes on deck, and they had been washed overboard. 


We landed in Greenock Scotland.


I returned home on the Ile de France.

Bruce Vaughan

"I was a member of the 440th Troop Carrier Group--98th Squadron. We boarded the Pasteur long after dark sometime near the first of March 1943. I was assigned to a room about 30 feet square up near the bow of the ship. It seems to me we were only down one level. I suppose there must have been about 30 to 40 of us in that room.

Strangely enough, we were, more or less, allowed free access to roam about the ship. I recall a large room, I assumed it was designed as a ballroom, with a beautiful bronze bust of Louis Pasteur. I would estimate that our group consisted of less than 800 passengers so there must have been other units on board.

About 90% of the passengers were seasick to the point of vomiting wherever they were. The restrooms were worse than a pig pen. I never ate any of the food offered us. Two times a day, two men carried a large aluminum pot down to our room. The pot was filled with tomatoes and bread. There was wood paddle in the pot for stirring up the mess. That was it..every morning about 8:00 AM and again about 5:00 PM they offered us this slop. There were few takers.

The ship was fast and we felt relatively safe during our crossing. There was little if any heat in our quarters. I slept in a hammock--which is not really as bad as one might think. I found a spot on the upper deck near the funnel that had a vent that expelled a lot of hot air. Most of my days were spent sitting on the deck in front of the hot air vent.

There was a canteen on board and I was surprised that they had some candy bars and some biscuits and cookies. This was what many of us lived on. Most were so sick that they wanted no food. A standard joke on board was that you never had to do any walking. You grabbed on to a support and waited until the deck slanted the way you wanted to go and you could slide on the filthy decks almost like ice.

As only two fellows in our quarters were not sea sick, me and one other, we were assigned to a mop and bucket. Very disagreeable work. I was trying to mop up the vomit on the stairs when two Second Lieutenants came by. I got a long lecture because I did not drop my mop and salute. Obviously they were not Air Force, so there must have been other outfits on board. I assumed they were recently commissioned, and did not know you did quit work on detail to salute. Anyway, at the time it mattered very little--a firing squad would not have been a lot worse than living in the filth we lived in.

Despite the living conditions and rampant sea sickness morale was not nearly as bad as one might expect. We knew the British had been holding on for several years and were short on almost everything. Most of us figured we could live five days without food if we had a few candy bars.

We docked at Liverpool and fell out in formation to march to the railway station. Prostitutes along our route kept us entertained with obsene remarks and suggestions. In the blackout we had little idea of what they looked like.

.....This is my memory of the crossing. Time does things to our memory but I feel it is realtively accurate."

"Duke" Waddell (information submitted by Mr. Waddell)

Duke Waddell is an American that enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the RCAF, in 1940.

He boarded the Pasteur in late December, 1941 at Greenock, Scotland and remembers that it was "raining like hell" at the time. The Pasteur sailed west to avoid German submarines then turned south.

Her original destination was Singapore, but that changed after the news was received that Singapore had fallen to the Japanese. The ship proceeded to Sierra Leone. After one day at Sierra Leone the ship sailed for Cape town, South Africa where she ported for "one or two days." After Cape town it sailed on to Aden, Yemen. From Aden the ship went to Port Tewfik, Egypt where all of the troops onboard where off loaded. The voyage from Scotland to Egypt took approximately 30 days.

The contingent on board was mostly made up of British Commonwealth troops.

Most of Mr. Waddel's unit was posted to the RAF Station Suez. Their duties were to crew American B-25's. Mr. Waddell and two others were posted to the 216th. Squadron flying Bristol Bombay aircraft, circa 1930.

(Mr. Waddell survived the war and went on to lead a very colorful life. He is now retired and living in California.)

Floyd Walters (submitted by his Nephew, John Pletsch)

"... my uncle  (Floyd Walters) ... went overseas on the Louis Pasteur.  It was in Dec 1943 & I believe the convoy number was AT.81.  (He) has passed on..."

H.K. West (submitted by his son, Allan West)

" ..... travelled to the UK from Canada on Sept 11, 1941. He was assigned to the 2 Canadian Heavy Ani Aircraft Regiment..."

Donald Wheatley

"....In July 1942 my outfit (the 1060th. Signal Service Co., 323rd. Air Service Group) sailed overseas on the Louis Pasteur. It had brought a load of Italian POW's to the U.S. The Royal Navy did not have the best of food as all aboard will tell you. Everyone will mention the storm we hit going around the tip of Africa. What few will not mention was during the worse part of the storm we were served herring and onions for breakfast. I think in our hold only 3 of us ate any breakfast that morning. ...(....it was) the best meal that I ever had. ....in Freetown harbor there was a native in a red canoe who had painted 'Mr. Blackout' on the side. He was a very black-skinned person."

Philo Williams

See photograph under the "1060th. Signal Company" listed under "VARIOUS MEMORABILIA FROM UNITS THAT SHIPPED ON THE PASTEUR" below.

Richard Williams

Captain Richard Williams, was the Commanding Officer of the 753rd Ordinance Company, 323rd. Air Service Group, Bengasi, Libya,1943.
(Picture from his son,via Jim Plate and Sam Beverage.)

William G. Williamson

Mr. Williamson has submitted some wonderful pictures from his time spent on the Pasteur. You may see these farther down in the "Photographs Section"

"... I spent two or more years on the Pasteur as an electrical officer   (1943/45+ ..... I have many interesting photographs of the ship also from the engine room ..... My name Wm.G.Williamson (age 85)

Rodney Wright

"The picture is 5 generations."

"I crossed over on the Louis Pasteur in late December or early January  1945. 18 years old. We were woke up at 2 am loaded on trucks for Fort Mead Md.  There were over 2000 replacements during the battle of the Bulge. loaded on the Louis Pasteur and for 13 days, zig-zagged across the Atlantic avoiding U-boats. I am 85 years old and in fairly good health. One of the lucky ones."

Y.B. Yeo (Writing about his father's crossing on the Pasteur)

"...he did tell me that some of the drains on the Pasteur did not function properly because they had been blocked with cement. He attributed this to French plans to disable or scuttle the ship rather than let it fall into the hands of the Germans. He said having poorly functioning toilets on a crowded ship was not fun. I asked him about the food aboard, but he had no complaints. He said he always walked on deck early in the morning and avoided seasickness (this a man who had grown up in Saskatchewan), and managed to eat a good breakfast.

George Yorgan (information submitted by Claude Payette, a volunteer at the Ste Anne Veterans Hospital,, Montreal,, Quebec,, Canada)

(b: 6/17/1922)

George Yorgan joined the Canadian Army on Saturday 12 Sept. 1942, at 20 years of age. (He was in) training (from) Sept., 1942 to Dec., 1943. (He was in the) RCCS, 2nd Division. 

On Friday December 24, 1943 (Christmas Eve), George entrained at Kingston, with destination Halifax, Nova Scotia. In late December 1943, George embarked on the ship "Louis Pasteur" and crossed the Atlantic, arriving in Liverpool, England on Thursday Jan 06 . (He served) overseas (from) 1943-1945.

Bob Young

I have three memories of the Louis Pasteur experience. First, it was my introduction to ocean travel and I did not take to it very well; in fact, extremely unwell. Second, upon arrival at Casablanca, I remember seeing a scuttled ship in the harbor. I believe it was the French battleship Jean Bart, based on information off the internet. Third, I remember looking at the people on the dock, noticing how they ignored flies that were getting moisture from around their eyes.

The ship's Electrical Officer, John (Jack) Maddock (click to go to this link)

Fascinating information. Period photographs of the ship's interior. Log entries, sailing dates, fuel consumptions etc. Great stuff!

The Army Air Force in North Africa

The Pasteur carried many American troops that served in the North African Campaign, and later on to the Italian Campaign and The Hump Operations. For a detailed history of these events see: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/II/AAF-II-1.html

Many thanks to Mr. James Plate for furnishing this link.

Various memorabilia from units that shipped on the Pasteur

1060th. Signal Company

(photo contributed by Sam Beverage)

The CO and some men of the 1060th at Rayak Airfield, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Fall 1942.
L.- R. Rear Ed Mclain, 1st Lt. Wm. Somerville, Ed Rabatin, 1st Sgt. Orville Guyer.
L.- R. Front Frank LaQuaglia, George Alphin, (?)Berglund.
Of the above we are only sure that Rabatin and Guyer are around in 2003. Lt. Somerville later became, Maj. Somerville, at 15th AF HQ.

(Rayak is the first base that the 1060th went to after landing at Port Taufig [near Suez] Egypt and staying a few days just north of Suez.)

"...most of the members of the 1060th Signal Company, 323rd Air Service Group, taken at Spinazzola, Italy in 1944. Most of the ones shown here made the July-August 1942 "Cruise" from New York to Suez, Egypt." Photograph courtesy of Sam Beverage.

Radio operators in Italy. Don Wheatley in the forground, Leon Hale to his right. Operating the radios for the l060th Signal Co. 323rd Air Service Group in Spinazzola Italy. Photograph courtesy of Don Wheatley.

Photograph courtesy of Orville Guyer.

At the tail of a JU-88, Bengasi, Libya, 1943. Three men of the 1060 Sig. Co. L-R Ed Cercone, Joe Silagowski, Henry Glenk. (Henry was a very popular fellow in the 1060th because he was in charge of the PX!) (notes by Sam Beverage)

323rd Air Service Group and the 1060th. Signal Company

Photograph courtesy of Orville Guyer

"The '9th Bomber World Series Champs' This was the group of fellows of the 323rd Air Service Group with some from the B-24 Sqdns. who in the Summer of 1943,went to Cairo, Egypt to play the Ninth Bomber Command Headquarters Team and beat them! The 1060 Signal Co was well represented! A * indicates them. 1st row L - R: Kaminski, John; Murphy, John; Cercone, Ed*; 2nd row Cohen, Jerome*; Bradford, Chet; Cillone, Joe; Chamberlain, Robert*; Williams, Philo*; 3rd row Somerville,William*; Brayton, John; Statt, Clarence; Chambers, Clint*; Guyer, Orville*; Johnson, Forrest.
The "Ebbetts Field" must have been a "put-on" by someone from Chicago!" (notes by Sam Beverage)

BOOK EXCERPTS:

"DZ Europe: The Story of the 440th Troop Carrier Group"

Chapter: "We Sail For Adventure" (Contributed by Randy Hils)

With training completed at Pope Field, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the entire Group moved by rail on February 12th. to Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana. This was the first stop of the itinerary that was to eventually find the 440th. in (jolly) old England.
They arrived at Baer on the 14th, a driving snowstorm not helping them much, and as usual, something was snafued for most of the day was spent in the camp theater sweating out a place to rest their weary bones.
George Fredericks found a piano and did his best to help entertain the boys until quarters were found for the Group. A week was spent a Baer, listening to lectures, getting proper clothing, having records straightened out, the usual physical, (Ha ha) and they were ready to move on.
The usual restriction was lifted after a few days and some of the boys hot-footed it into Fort Wayne. From the glowing reports, a good time was had by all.
For the boys who liked to stay around camp, the usual movies, chocolate sundaes, T-bone steaks, everything that is now just a memory, were obtainable.
For the first time since the Group was activated, an air echelon was chosen and remained another day while the ground group moved out of Baer Field on February 22nd on the next stop, their last station in the states.
The Ground Echelon arrived at Camp Shanks the following day and although most of the men never had even heard of the place, the many fellows who lived in the northeastern part of America knew that they weren't far from home.
The only thing on the credit side of Camp Shanks was its closeness to New York City. Aside from that everything was a liability.
Many things remain unforgotten after so many months; will any of the men ever forget the size of those messhalls, the call in the morning for details, KP, prisoner chasers, policing miles of area- just a few of the memories of Shanks.
How about the life boat drill? That was about the time most of the fellows would have been willing to lay the odds that they were going overseas, if there was any doubt in their minds up to that point.
Then there was that strenuous overseas physical that all men receive before they leave the states- the only way possible to fail to meet the requirements was the inability to take their clothes off or not have enough strength to carry a spoon.

To get to the brighter side, there were twelve-hour passes issued to 25% of the personnel, and for the first few days the demand was great, but it petered out as money started to fade away.
The more fortunate were the ones who lived in adjacent areas, some of them getting away every night during their brief stay; but it was rough getting back each morning at 0600.
One of the boys, at least one of them, managed to make a 36-hour week-end pass out of three 12-hour passes with the aid of a few confederates, the system of which must remain a secret. Many training movies were shown during the day. These always helped towards catching up on sleepless nights.
Remember the countless PX's all over the camp with their huge stocks of merchandise and the warnings about not stocking up on goods because "you can always get it overseas?"
On the 10th. of March came the expected alert and for the next few days, everything they did, every place they went, was in a formation, to chow, the PX, the movies.
Orders came through to pack and on the 13th the ground echelon made the long march to the train that was to take them to the ferry at Weehawken, New Jersey.
There's one observation that must be made to the average layman; the men in the Air Force have become accustomed to traveling light, planes usually taking them from one camp to another. To travel by foot with a pack on one's back belonged to the foot soldier until they left Shanks.
The walk to the train was pleasant since the duffle bags were transported there by truck, but once the train left the camp, the duffle bags were theirs, "to have and to hold."
Did you ever try to carry a fully stuffed duffle bag on your shoulder with a full pack on your back plus a carbine, gas mask and steel helmet? Well, it's damn near impossible for if the helmet doesn't start sliding off, the gun usually does.
That was the picture when the outfit alighted from the train at the ferry. It seemed like a ten-mile hike for some of the boys who were sadly located in the last cars of the mile long train.
The only suitable substitute to carrying the load was a "dragging" process except that the bottom of the duffle bags showed large gaping holes. But they had made the ferry; that was the important thing.
The ferry ride across the Hudson gave the boys that much-needed "ten-minute break" and an opportunity to see the fading light over the City of New York which was to be their last glimpse of America for many, many months.
Unlike the band that played martial music when the fellows boarded the train at Camp Shanks, the one at the pier was "giving out" with swing music; but it's a pretty safe bet to assume that no one was in the mood for dancing at that time.
That buck a year for the American Red Cross was justified, for coffee and doughnuts never tasted as good as the ones distributed by the girls just before the outfit boarded the transport.
Names were checked as the men went up the gangplank of the "Louis Pasteur," a French boat operated by the British Navy. It was built just before the war started, and it was a huge vessel of 35,000 tons.
After dragging duffle bags down countless stairs and numerous passageways, they finally reached "D" deck, which was to be "home" for the next week or so.

One particular group assigned to this not too large "hold" consisted of over 100 men (and there were accommodations for about 60) but somehow they managed, sleeping on tables and benches. Not only was this sleeping quarters, but it was also the messhall; and it was difficult to sleep during eating hours.
The boat wasn't scheduled to leave until the morning of the 14th. No one was allowed on deck and smoking was "verboten" in the hold. The lucky ones slept in hammocks, the rest on the floor or on the tables.
The long voyage started the next morning and the fellows were allowed on deck after the ship cleared the narrows of New York Bay and were barely able to see the skyline of New York City through the haze of the morning sun.
For most, this was their first ocean voyage and after the second day our, most of them acted that way. It's a lucky thing for the Navy that they weren't chosen for that branch of service.
The "Pasteur" was making the trip unescorted and that news didn't brighten the trip. The only escort that first day at sea were large flocks of sea gulls, but we soon lost sight of them on the second day. After that all one could see was water and more water with the monotony broken by schools of flying fish.
Below deck, life went on. The fellows made the best of a pretty rough deal, sleeping where they could find space. If no hammock was available, the next best thing was to sleep on the tables and floors.
The food, for the most part, wasn't too appetizing and to most of the boys it didn't matter- they were in no condition to eat. Reservations at the rail were at a premium during the first three days out but the men soon accustomed themselves to the swaying and pitching of the ship.

Fresh water for shaving and washing was obtainable only during certain hours, salt water being used to wash mess kits.
Every morning life boat drill was held which consisted of double timing up the stairs, the passageways and corridors and standing in formation in front of an assigned life boat. It's not a healthy feeling to think what might have happened in case of any difficulty in mid-ocean.

Cigarettes and candy were plentiful at the PX- beer and coke were available. Movies were shown during the day, helping to take our minds off the zig-zagging course the boat was taking; it really "rocked" most of the way.
With the approach of sea gulls and an occasional friendly plane, the boys knew they weren't far from their destination. The first sight of land, according to the geography-minded on board, was Ireland. Land never looked so good.
The boat docked outside of Liverpool but because of the tide, everyone was told that they'd RON until the following day. Many of the boys had their first good night's sleep in a week.
Much of the time was taken up feeding bread to the sea gulls, and watching them gracefully swoop down and carry it away.
It was a good feeling to know that the trip was made without incident, although the usual rumors circulated amongst the men about the number of submarines that had been sighted and evaded along with the usual latrine gossip about the boat outrunning them.
It should be mentioned, however, that the British gun crews who stood "watch" throughout the trip cannot be given enough credit for the fine job done. They were on the job 24 hours a day, firing practice rounds to keep their guns in working order, and at times giving it a realistic touch as we literally "bounced" over the ocean.
The "Louis Pasteur" finally docked at Liverpool on the evening of the 23rd of March. Everyone "caRRIED" their duffle bags down the gangplank for instructions were given that they would not be dragged down. You see, the outfit had to make a good impression on the English. It wasn't too bad for they had trucks to cart them to the railroad station from there.
The 440th ground echelon marched through the streets of Liverpool in the black of night, their first taste of a real blackout, but they marched along in formation, singing every song they knew from the Air Force song to "Yankee Doodle." Don't know whether the fellows were happy to be there or possibly they were scared of the dark, but they really raised a racket and no doubt made a good first impression on the English.
Liverpool Station and the first glimpse of the British Red Cross girls with coffee and doughnuts were warmly welcomed.

From there, a four-hour fide on the train, and we had reached our first English Station, Bottesford. This was in the early hours of the 24th of March, starting our ETO career.

! CONTEST !
What well-known 440th Sergeants are illustrated below?

"The Earthquakers: Overseas history of the 12th. Bomb Group"
by T/Sgt. R.E. Wilson, Dammeier Printing Company, Tacoma, Washington, 1947

"....July 15, 1942......At 6pm we arrived at docks on the Hudson River, transferred to a ferry boat, and were taken up the Hudson to the SS Louis A. Pasteur.

The Louis A. Pasteur was a French ship stranded in Canada when the war broke out. It was now a British liner with the Cunard White Star Lines. The Pasteur was one of the fastest luxury liners afloat- still probably one of the fastest, but far from being a luxury, as we were soon to find out. We were docked alongside the overturned Normandy that had burned in February of that year.

The first evening we spent fixing up our bunks. We were quartered in a large room with 108 others; space was quite scarce. You can imagine the mess trying to get everything in order so we could get through the aisles. Incidentally this room with the 108 GI's was formerly the Bridal Suite!

We steamed out of New York harbor the next morning. Due to security regulations we were not allowed on deck until out of sight of land.........

.......Few of us had ever been on so large a vessel- or at sea....

We discovered the SS Louis A. Pasteur was the thirteenth largest ship afloat. She was 30,000 registered tons with a speed of approximately 32 knots. It was 656 feet long, 88 feet wide and had a depth of 30-1/2 feet..........Our ship was an oil burner holding 8,000 tons of fuel. Refueling took 14 hours.

...Some times the ship rolled as much as twenty-five degrees. .....The ship never pitched but rolled back and forth in long, slow rolls. It made you think that it was going to roll completely over at times. From the gun turrets it was very pronounced.

...On August 16, 1942, we slipped into the Gulf of Suez and anchored to await smaller craft to unload us...."

(This is the end of any references to the Pasteur.)

"Earthquakers, 12th. Bombardment Group (M), USAAF"
Published by Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, Kentucky, © 1998

"On July 16, 1942, the French luxury liner Louis Pasteur, which had been taken over by the British, headed out of New York City bound for Egypt.....

The month-long cruise took the men across the Atlantic, around South Africa, and up the Indian Ocean to Suez, but despite riding on a former luxury liner, they enjoyed no luxuries on the way. .....The rooms on the lower decks approximately 10 feet by 20 feet had eighteen men in them and those 40 feet by 40 feet had one hundred men. The promenade deck was enclose after dusk and hammocks were strung so close that it was nearly impossible to walk from one part of the deck to another.....

....1942 was a very good year for the U-boats, and they had been very successful in attacking Allied convoys which typically had 50 to 60 ships. But the U-boats also did well against fast ships like the Louis Pasteur that went alone, sinking 840 of those going solo during 1942. In early 1942 a wolf pack of U-boats had been enjoying especially easy pickings just outside of New York harbor. However, American
anti-submarine capability was improving during early 1942, and this capability was concentrated on the New York wolf pack.

Therefore, by Mid-year the NY wolf pack had moved South to the Carolina Coast and the Caribbean. Thus, when the 12th Group's original overseas ground troops left New York on the Pasteur in mid July getting away from NY was less hazardous than it had been two months earlier. However, by heading South the Pasteur went toward the U-boats that had been chased away from NY. Also, by refueling at Freetown on the West African coast, the Pasteur had to approach a large U-boat wolf pack in the Eastern Atlantic.

Fortunately the U-boat evasion skills of the British sailors operating the Pasteur were much better than their much lamented culinary skills, so the Pasteur made it safely enough on the 15,000 mile trip around the Cape of Good Hope to Egypt. All troop bodies aboard the Pasteur were delivered to Port Twefik......

The horrible food on the Pasteur during the crossing is remembered by men of the 12th to this day. ....."

(This is the end of any references to the Pasteur.)

Personal memories of the Bremen

Linda Terentiak

"In 1964, my mother and I were passengers on the Bremen (June and July of that year). I was 8 years old and we were going to visit our family in Vienna, Austria. My memories of the Bremen were from the eyes of a child, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. I fondly remember the ship's movie theater and seeing "Brigadoon" with Gene Kelly and "What A Way To Go" with Shirley McLaine. Before the movies would begin, German popular music was piped in and I first heard England's brand new sensation, the Beatles, sing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in German. On the return trip home in July we sailed at the edge of a hurricane and ropes had to be strung everywhere to hang onto, otherwise you'd fall. People were vomiting everywhere and medication for seasickness was handed out. I kept thinking the ship would tip over and my mom had to reassure me it wouldn't! Unlike the memories of the troops on the ship in WWII, the food was incredible. I also enjoyed listening to the ship's band play on the sun deck. There were about three nightclubs (too young for that) and lots of activities for the kids. Also remember looking down to my delight and seeing dolphins "escorting" us. There was a daily itenerary posted on the prominade deck and would list the day's activities plus daily wire news from New York. One day, the itinerary said we would pass the westbound Queen Mary as we were heading east. That was really a site with both ships whistles blowing greetings. I wish I could remember more."

Linda has kindly submitted photographs of mementos that she saved from her crossing on the Bremen. Click here for those images.

Jim Douglas

Nice to see the Pasteur remembered. Was on board her for a midnight sailing from New York in 1965. Did my daily push-ups under her funnel, in the dog cennel, with lots of barking going on. Friendly passengers offered me a vodka and orange juice as I sat in deck chair, and watched across the slip as flash bulb photos lit up the s.s. United States. Saw her three years later coming upstream from the tip of Manhattan as I crossed back from Staten Island.

But the reason for writing you is to correct a detail-------------the Pasteur was not finished as 32,000 liner. She was registered as 29,000 tons right up to her being sold to Germany. It was with the rebuilding into the Bremen during 1959 that her new listing was 32,000.

(Also see Mr. Douglas' input Some thoughts on the design of the Pasteur/Bremen at the top of this page.)

The Pasteur as a "barracks ship"

The following was contributed by David Rheault, and is quoted from the book "Slow Boat to China" by Gavin Young (Penguin Books, 1981), pages 153-154. Mr. Young encountered the old Pasteur while she was on her last tour of duty, as a barracks ship in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. (Coincidentally, Mr. Rheault's Father-In-Law was transported home to France from the Indo-China war theatre on the Pasteur when he was a French soldier.)

"A friendly Filipino volunteered to drive me in a small pick-up to the dock gates some way from the Patrick Veiljeux. He told me he was the overseer of this particular gang of workers. Jedda docks are largely populated by Filipino stevedores: cheap, imported labour, part of a foreign workforce of thousands, mostly Filipinos, Koreans and Pakistanis. I had seen the old hull of a French ship, the Pasteur, where the Filipinos were barracked like battery hens, moored just off the wharf as the Al Wid sailed in. The Pasteur was big, about 32,000 tons, built in 1938, a fine trim ship then. She had ferried troops in the Second World War, then been turned over to North German Lloyd as the Bremen on the North Atlantic run from Bremerhaven. Subsequently, she was bought by a Greek company, renamed Regina Magna, and finally sold to the Filipinos as a 'hotel ship': a floating dormitory, bunks slapped everywhere, for five thousand Filipino workers.


The Filipino drove me past dozens of his countrymen manhandling cargo or resting, on ships or on the docks, skins dark as treacle, coloured scarves around their heads, like pirates in oily jeans, naked to the waist. He seemed to find it a relief to talk to an outsider. A stocky, dark-skinned man with scarred arms, he opened his mouth wide and threw his head back when he talked, revealing several gold teeth. He drove through the containers, crates and warehouses in erratic bursts of speed, wrenching the wheel from side to side in some kind of eccentric counterpoint to his animated character.


'We're about three thousand men in our company,' he shouted above the engine, 'and we get about five hundred US dollars a month-that is for supervisors like me, the others less. Not so much because here is hard. No drink here. We live in that old ship for two years. Tough, eh? Yeah, tough. Two years no girl! But we save some money. Philippines is a very poor country. Only we are not happy that the Koreans here get one thousand dollars US a month. When we say to our boss, "Why we only get five hundred dollars?" he says, "Take it or leave it. You want work or you want no work? If not, we bring other Filipinos and you go back home." So what can we say?'


Like Cubans, Filipinos are easygoing, irrepressible people, and their country is an uproarious melange of spontaneous song, easy sex and flamboyant spirits highly spiced with a strong dash of day-to-day mayhem, mostly by shooting. But two years cooped up in the Pasteur! It was not pleasant to imagine it, whatever the pay."

Menus from the Officers' Mess, December of 1944 (Click here to see the menus)

Mrs. Margot Carmichael has kindly submitted copies of these menus from her personal collection. (Mrs. Carmichaels' husband flew 35 missions in the Lancaster bomber while attached to the R.A.F.)

Detailed documents about the Pasteur from the Chief Engineer of the Pasteur, c.1940

(Click here to see these documents)

(These papers were kindly contributed by Mr. David Latus. His wifes' Grandfather was Mr. W. Sutcliffe.)

Mr. W. Sutcliffe was the Chief Engineer of the Pasteur. Mr. Sutcliffe was "Commodore Chief" for the Cunard Steamship Company, being in charge of the Queen Marys' engine room when she last took the trans-Atlantic speed record, the Blue Riband. He was in charge of the engine room of the Queen Elizabeth when she sailed to New York in 1940. From there he was flown to Halifax, Nova Scotia to bring back the newly captured (from the French by the Allies) Pasteur.

Some of the items included:

- Pay wage chit

- Extensive engineering report of the ships' condition when taken over by the Allies. This includes detailed information of the ships' engineering.

- An Officers' watch list

- Fuel burns and sailing times

- A damage report from an aerial bombing that the ship underwent on 9/23/1940

There are some fascinating details on these pages.

Pasteur as a POW ship

Ruth B. Cook is a published author working on a book about WW2 POW's that were interred in the United States. She has kindly made this contribution.

"The working title of my book is GUESTS BEHIND BARBED WIRE. It is scheduled for publication by Crane Hill Publishers in Fall 2005.

On August 2, 1943, the PASTEUR left Glasgow, Scotland, for the United States. Among the ship's passengers was a group of German POWs who had been captured in North Africa in May. Most of them had been moved around from transfer camp to transfer camp in Tunisia and Algeria before being sent by ship (on the WILHELMINA DE ALEGONDE) from Oran to Glasgow.
They spent about two weeks near Camp Douglas in Lanarkshire County, Scotland, undergoing interrogation and then returned to Glasgow and boarded the PASTEUR for the trip to the United States. The only description I have of their life on board is that they "swung from hammocks" at night.

When the PASTEUR docked in New York, the men were deloused and disinfected again in a large building (possibly at Camp Shanks) and then marched under heavy guard to the train station where some of them boarded a Frisco passenger train for Camp Aliceville in Alabama.

One of these POWs was W. Schlegel, a twenty-five year old member of a communications unit assigned to the 4th Panzerkorps. He had been captured by the English on the Cape Bon peninsula on May 11, 1943. Schlegel remained in Camp Aliceville until May 1945 except for a short time at Fort Dix in New Jersey during 1944. When the war ended, he was sent to France where he was assigned to work on several farms in the Dunkirk area. He did not return to his home in Germany until January 1948.

Schlegel became a successful banker in his hometown and has since returned several times to visit Aliceville and the museum that preserves the memory of the internment camp there during World War II. In 1989 he helped plant a gingko tree in front of the museum as a global expression of the hope for peace in the world. When he and his family visit Aliceville, they are the guests of a local family.

PHOTOGRAPHS

The Pasteur

From the collection of Jean-Yves Brouard

Mr. Brouard writes:

"The 'Pasteur' at Landevennec, near Brest in far west of France. Landevennec is a small village near which there is a famous and large mooring place for laid-up ships. On this photo, "Pasteur" is a new ship, and she has been laid up there in autumn 1939 and winter 1940, because of the beginning of war in Europe ; but she is prepared for military duties and painted in grey ; the photo has been taken in winter 1940 (a few weeks before "Pasteur" was commissioned as a military transport and before her first maiden voyage, carrying French gold to Canada). The photographer is Madame Marie-Claudine Le Gall. "Pasteur" returned at Landevennec in 1957, at the end of her service under French flag, and just before being sold to Germany (she became then "Bremen") ; photos of "Pasteur" at Landevennec in 1957 are not rare ; in 1940 : very, very rare..."

The Pasteur at "Tanjong Priok", circa 1947-1949. (Photograph kindly submitted by Pieter Kuiper.)

Mr. Kuiper: "The ship was photografed at the port of 'Tanjong Priok' those days Dutch Indie. As far as I know the ship was there only once as a troop-carrier during the 'politionele acties'."

The Pasteur underway, circa 1947 (From a postcard of the time, image contributed by David Rheault.)

The Pasteur in New York, mid-June1940. Note that she is now in "wartime gray". The Normandie is berthed next to her, then the Queen Elizabeth. (13) In 1942 the Normandie, "The Ship of Lights" was set ablaze by a welder's torch while being converted to a troop carrier. Fire boats poured tens of thousands gallons of water on the ship attempting to put the fire out. Becoming top-heavy from the torrent of water, the Normandie rolled over at her berth at came to rest on her port side on the bottom of the harbor. Sadly, she could not be salvaged and the Normandie, regarded by myself and others as the most beautiful liner to ever sail, was scrapped out. (Note that the forward stack was a "dummy". At the time, multiple stacks denoted size and prestige.)

(photo : U.S. National Archives. Copy courtesy of Jean-Yves Brouard)

Pasteur underway in her role as a troopship, May of 1943, off of the Northeastern U.S. coast line. Close examination reveals that the paint from the bow rearward has been worn off, probably from wave action.

The Pasteur. Date and location unknown.

(Photograph from the personal collection of Conrad Byers)

Mr. Byers writes: "I've been trying to do a bit of detective work on the photograph... a few clues noticed might be of interest?  Unfortunately because it is in B & W it is a bit difficult to read her flags: I can't make out the stern flag at all but at the gaff I believe it to be the Red Duster (meaning a British registry), while the flag on the peak appears to be the French tricolour, which would indicate a French or French controlled port. On the foremast the four letter signal hoist flags appear to be a G on top followed by an N, J, W.  If it is a G on top it means a British vessel and the other letters are code for the vessel's name. On the radio antenna (I presume) from foremast to Stack, flies the "I have a pilot aboard" flag and beyond that towards stack, the flag appears to be the Quarantine Flag. If I am correct in these identifications, it would confirm the vessel to be entering port, not departing.
 
I would also like to draw your attention to the name on the bow, Pasteur and not with first name as sometimes used in write-ups. Of interest too is that she is completely painted in white. (Does anyone) know if this was her colour when new or when used in Pacific waters?
 
Another point of interest is located in the triangle formed by the port derrick under the Bridge... in that area do you see the Nazi Flag?... Perhaps a war trophy by returning troops or an intentional showing by a prisoner?

After reading the above remarks by Mr. Byers Jean-Yves Brouard, author of the book "Le Pasteur" (shown at the beginning of this site) writes the following:
 
"This photo ... is published in my book on a large double-page (pp.72-73). It shows "Pasteur" in 1944 or better in 1945 before summer I suppose, arriving at Halifax (Canada), under British flag (the French flag is seen at the top of one of the masts thanks to an idea from the British merchant marine, who wanted to honor France to have launched such a beautiful liner (when "Pasteur" was a liner in 1939). Ship is grey.

Now Mr. Byers told it, I notice the Nazi flag behindthe port crane. I ignore why there is this flag. Maybe because "Pasteur" had transported German prisoners of war, mainly in 1943? Maybe because "Pasteur" kept the life of all her passengers during the war when Nazi U-Boote tried to get her ? (without success of course, because "Pasteur" was too fast). Maybe the photo has been taken in May 1945, when Nazis surrendered in Europe?

The other question of Mr. Byers (concerning for example the color of the ship in peacetime) has an answer in my book with many photographs."

Jean-Yves Brouard

Pasteur, date and location unknown. Perhaps taking British military personnel to Canada. (Photograph contributed by Richard Huws.)

Pasteur in the Gulf of Suez, 1949. (Photograph taken and contributed by Al Rogers.)

The Pasteur in Amsterdam, Holland (circa 1951) From the collection of J.G. Nierop & forwarded to me by Marco van Tol.

The Pasteur in drydock. Date and location unknown. Note the 4 screws and the stern anchor. Photograph compliments of Christophe Batardy.

The Pasteur underway under a rolling sea. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

The ship's Captain and staff on deck. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

The Pasteur's electrical control panel. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

Ship's engine. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

Ship's engine room. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

One of the ship's generators. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

Troops onboard during a passage. Most likely Canadian. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

Ship's funnel. Taken at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. (From the collection of William G. Williamson.)

The maiden voyage of the Bremen. Note the new "modern" stack.

The Bremen, at Bremerhaven, Germany.

Another shot of the ship at Bremerhaven, same dock, date unknown.

The Bremen, underway.

The Bremen, port unknown.

The Bremen, underway.

The ship certainly exhibits her classic lines in this picture.

Underway.

Underway

A model of the Bremen.

The Pasteur under the Greek Flag. Now owned by Chandris and named the Regina Magna.

The final voyage of the Pasteur

In heavy seas, the ship begins taking on water....

and develops a list to Port.

Well heeled over on her Port side.

Going down by the stern.

The bulbous bow that was added to the original ship is clearly visible.

The end of the Pasteur's illustrious history.

Photo credit:Sammlung Biedekarken, Fotos: Frans Schepers

The images are even more harrowing in color.

 

Hal Stoen

October 26th., 2001

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