Enroute Home

Posted by Rebekah
Sep 02 2010

Grrrr….I’m done wrestling with my computer for a while.  I tried desperately today to make a graphic showing where Redfin with the Flier survivors and other Brooke’s Point people is as they make their dash for Darwin, but Google Earth and my  Photoshop programs are having issues and I’m the one giving up.  Hopefully, tomorrow, they’ll have made up and if they decide to continue their tiff, it’ll be when I don’t need them at the same time.

So tomorrow, I’ll show you where they are.

A submarine is no place for people who have not been trained to be there.  Officer’s Country is the least complicated (in terms of machinery) and most luxurious (in terms of…well as opposed to the rest of the submarine.  It’s still really, really, spartan) part of a submarine.  My guess, and mind, it’s only a guess, is the Sutherland family was in the Chief’s quarters because that is the only cabin with four bunks, and the Three Amigos (Charlie, George and “Red”) were in the XO’s cabin because that had three bunks, and Garretson and Keirson were in one of the junior officer’s cabins, because those had two bunks a piece.  That’s my guess at any rate.  But the non-submariners were kept to Officer’s Country outside of escorted trips anywhere, including the head, or bathroom, which was likely flushed for them.  (This is not an insult to anyone by the way.   For those who have ever READ the instructions for flushing a toilet on a WWII Gato-class submarine, you’ll see WHY people who are untrained shouldn’t attempt it.  It consists of like fourteen steps to flush the thing, some taking place before, some during and some after.  And if you get it wrong…eeeeewwww)

The Fliers of course, as fully qualified submariners (and, for the next few days, official members of the Redfin crew, they’re still listed on the crew’s Master Crew List) were given freedom  to walk about, and do as they liked if they stayed out of the way, and sleep where they could find an open space (which may or may not be out of the way).  With the nine civilians in Officer’s Country, not only did the Fliers but nine of Redfin’s officer ranks also had to nap where there was an open rack whenever they could.  A fully-staffed submarine feels crowded anyway, but this must have felt so much worse.

The civilians were allowed to take meals in the Officer’s Wardroom, however, and talk together, so it wasn’t like they were in solitary confinement.  One night, as a matter of fact, Mrs. Sutherland discovered a pair of silk stockings tucked under her plate as a gift for her.  She’d never owned a pair before, and thanks to military rationing in the States and Australia, they were quite rare and valuable now.  A sailor who had bought them for someone else decided he could simply get another pair in  a few days when they docked at Darwin.  Mrs. Sutherland may have been forced to be shoeless, but once she could fix that in Darwin, she would at least have stockings to go with!

Other than that, nothing much happened during these days.  The most exciting thing on Redfin’s report other than the gunfight with the mysterious maru, was the sighting on Radar of what appeared to be a destroyer, but on closer examination proved to be an Aircraft Carrier carrying what appeared to be Allied aircraft.  They also saw a few fishing boats and a small patrol craft.  Nothing exciting, compared with the normal fare.

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