LIFE OF THE TRACKER
Story of the escort carrier HMS Tracker 1943-1945




CHAPTER 2                            SOUVENIR TRIBUNE
 
 

       From Balboa,

       After 2,000 miles, the engine staged the first of many Big Moments, and then was
       established one of the most famous "Tracker" pipes-"All Engineers to the engine room at
       the hurry". We stopped dead for two hours in a placid Pacific, and then suddenly shot
       forward again into the heat. The canteen dripped with nutty (boxes of it), and the men
       dripped on their bunks (no camp Beds then), but there were more strenuous tugs of war
       and relay races in the evenings. We managed to leave the Panama Canal intact on
       March 24th.as we left Cristabal, we stood below the bridge while    Captain Dickens
       explained that he had decided to risk the Caribbean Sea with out escort , and exhorted
       look outs to be on the top of their form, after looking in at Norfolk,  Virgina for a couple of
       days, we went on to New York, where, from April 3rd to 23rd 1943 we saw the sights and
       stacked the rabbits. Her Commander Charles T.Collett, R.N. of Berkshire joined the ship,
       to take over and keep job that had sent a succession of officer ashore as sick men. In
       our trail run in Long Island Sound, we had a road escort of New Yorkers, blazing every
       know tune on their car sirens, as we all dashed down East River together. Dockyard
       workers, under a dynamic Major of the U.S. Army Air Force, who chewed gum rapidly,
       called everyone, regardless of rank or lack of it, "Bud", and organized work at an
       astounding pace, crammed the Tracker with land fighters.

       We found ourselves the only British Ship in a large well run convoy.Our transatlantic
       course remained in a disappointingly southern latitude, and on May 10th we reached, not
       the Clyde but Casablanca. The allies great North Africa advance had left the City of
       White House well astern, a vast supply base into which, in a few night hours under
       blazing lamps, the indefatigable bough boys unloaded our precious cargo. We were
       away in a day and a half, but kicked our heels in Gibralter for 17 days. On one bright
       night there was dotted with stage stars, for Leslie Henson, Brother in Law to our Air
       direction Officer Lt. Brain Eugene Malschinger R.N.F.R. of London, brought Vivien Leigh,
       Dorothy Dickson, and Beatrice Lillie, to exhilarate the humble hangar.

       Home to the U.K. The long awaited trip began on May30th, and we steamed into Belfast
       Lough six days later. Strenuous packing followed by anxious moments before customs
       officials, very human they were too, and at long last, after eight months of separation and
       a journey of 20,000 miles 13,309 of them in Tracker, we departed for 21 days glorious
       days leave.

      {Editorial Note 2002
       Leslie Henson's Son is a members of the Old Sennockians Golf Society today.}

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